839: Spatchcock

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 5m
July 3rd, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Dwayne Melancon-Arch Duke of the Pac NW, James Nafpliotis, Henry Claeys, Russ Williamson, Wesley C. Young

Cover Artist: Cesium137

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Plane crashes at Lake Travis Bob Wentz Park | KEYE
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:41
AUSTIN, Texas '--Austin EMS officials say a small plane crashed near Windy Point-Bob Wentz Park Saturday afternoon.
The call came in just after 4:15 P.M. Saturday at the 7000 block of Comanche Trail in west Travis County.
According to reports three people on the plane were able to get out of the plane and only one person had minor injuries. There were no patients transported to a hospital as a result of the crash.
Officials remain on scene to investigate the cause of the plane crash.
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Puerto Rico FREEPROM - Pending attack?
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Ottomania
Israeli gas may reach Turkey in three years, Israeli energy minister says - ENERGY
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 07:13
move to restore their relationship after six years of strained ties, both sides are looking forward to the opportunity to transfer Israel's natural gas to Turkey, a move which could happen as early as 2019, according to Israeli Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz.
''I think that it is quite likely that Israel will export natural gas to Turkey. And maybe also in the future we will export natural gas to Europe through the Turkish gas transmission system that is now under construction. I think it is good for Turkey. It is good for Israel,'' Steinitz told daily H¼rriyet over the phone on June 29.Turkey and Israel reached an agreement earlier this week that will allow the two countries to restore full diplomatic relations, which broke off in 2010 after Israeli forces raided a convoy of aid ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists.
Energy will be an important area of cooperation between the two countries, with Turkey being the most feasible route for Israel's future natural gas exports.
''The deal, if there will be such a deal, it will be a deal between companies from both sides,'' Steinitz said, adding, ''Israeli or American companies like Nobel and Turkish companies.''
''The two countries however will have to agree to give some kind of consent to such a deal, and agree to the construction of a gas pipeline from Israeli economic water to Turkey,'' he noted.
Israel can currently export 350 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, the minister said, adding there was potential for more production.
''According to the estimates, in a few years' time probably we will be able to export up to 2,500 bcm. This is a lot of gas,'' Steinitz said.
''And if this will take place, it is just an estimate [but] this is also the estimate of [the] U.S. Department of Energy that we will discover in the next few years much more gas than what was discovered so far. If this happens Israel will have to export a lot of gas to Western Europe. Then Israel can export gas through Turkey through the TANAP pipeline, a very large pipeline that is going be built, from [the] Caspian Sea to Turkey through Europe,'' he said.
Israel has three options to export gas to Europe, according to Steinitz, who outlined each of them.
''[The] first one is the LNG [liquefied natural gas] facilities in [the] Egyptian delta. In Egypt there are two LNG facilities. One of the ideas there was already some kind of MoU [memorandum of understanding] between the companies in Egypt that gas from Israel will move to [the] Egyptian delta, and in those LNG facilities will be liquefied and shipped with ships from Egypt to Europe. This is one possibility, but it is quite expensive.
''Another possibility is to build a pipeline from the Israeli economic water through Cyprus to Greece, a very long underwater pipeline. This is possible but it is a very big project and it might take much longer. It might take five to eight years to build such a very long undersea pipeline. Technically it is possible but it is quite expensive and quite long.
''The third possibility to export gas to Europe is through Turkey. And there are two possibilities here. One possibility is that Israel will export gas to Turkey. Currently it is a lot of gas, but in the future it might be much more, almost actually unlimited de facto if we find the additional gas fields. And this is very likely. This is highly probable. And the other possibility, if the two countries will agree, is that gas from Israel and [the] Eastern Mediterranean basin in general will be transported through Turkey to Europe. And then Istanbul can become an international energy hub,'' he said.
The minister noted the cost estimates for a pipeline to Turkey was ''about $2 billion or a little bit less,'' adding it would be financed by the private sector with the consent of both Turkey and Israel.
''It will be [financed] by [the] business private sector on both sides. If everything will go well, I think'... in 2019 Israeli gas from [the] Leviathan [gas field off the coast of Israel] can be exported to Turkey. It might be as early as 2019.
''But of course you know once Leviathan will begin to produce natural gas, it is possible by this timeline to build a pipeline not just from Leviathan to Israel, but also from Leviathan to Turkey. In the best case scenario we are speaking about approximately three years. Of course it might take longer, it depends. But actually technically, if everything goes well, in three years from now Israeli natural gas can already be exported to Turkey,'' Steinitz said.
Erdogan's apology to Moscow: Is it sincere? | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:33
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's apology to Russia for the shooting down of a Russian jet in November 2015 may not be quite as honest as it first appears.
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OpinionTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Source: AP
The sensational news of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's apology to Russia for the plane Turkey shot down in November 2015, and thus making the first step towards normalizing relations with Moscow, will unquestionably be subject to various interpretations and speculations that will fog and distort its meaning.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has already poured fuel onto the fire when he said that he had spoken with Erdogan on June 27 and that it was a conversation that took place at the Turkish president's initiative.
According to Poroshenko, Erdogan "merely expressed his condolences to the family of the dead pilot." "I believe that the Turkish president's position is absolutely understandable," said Poroshenko.
Poroshenko's denialPoroshenko was the first to try and deny the official version of Erdogan's apology before the Russian government. His reaction is quite understandable: Just recently Kiev and Ankara were speaking in unison about "the Russian threat."
This is why it is probably very difficult for Poroshenko to psychologically accept the thought that the unity between him and Erdogan has fallen apart '' or is about to fall apart, and Turkey will then go down the road of normalizing relations with Russia.
However, besides Poroshenko's entirely predictable reaction, there are now new, more serious grounds to doubt that Erdogan is really ready to do precisely and unambiguously everything that Moscow has been waiting for him to do for the last seven months.
Less than a day after Erdogan's apology made the world headlines, his right-hand man, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, made it clear that Ankara is in no hurry to meet Moscow's requirements concerning compensation.
"We haven't said anything about compensation, we merely expressed our sorrow. We are continuing the trial of the people suspected of killing the pilot," said Yildirim, speaking on the Turkish TV channel NTV. But just a day earlier he had said something completely different on television: "We said that if it is necessary, we will pay compensation."
What did Erdogan actually write to Russian President Vladimir Putin and how can the meaning of his missive be interpreted in light of all these contradictory facts and statements? Let's look at the matter from the point of view of translation. The Turkish phrase that Erdogan used ("kusura bakmasinlar") can be translated as, "Forgive me," "I am sorry" or "Do not be angry." In his message it is used once '' in the sentence addressed to the family of the dead Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov.
Moreover, by addressing the pilot's relatives, Erdogan implies that he perceives them as "a Turkish family," thus presenting himself as a wise eastern patriarch who is capable of feeling the other's grief and expressing words of comfort.
Who did Erdogan apologize to?Two conclusions can be drawn by looking at the message.
Firstly, Erdogan's apology is conditional, or at least half-hearted, since it was addressed to Oleg Peshkov's family and not to the Russian government. Secondly, Ankara does not admit its guilt in the downing of the Russian plane.
The attempt to stress the human tragedy gives the matter another dimension: Turkey is basically saying that a certain incident occurred, which it did not want, a person died, for this it is sorry and now it is ready to apologize to his family and punish those who killed him.
All this means that for a certain period of time the news about "Erdogan's apology" will live a parallel life in two separate information spheres '' Russian and Turkish. Discrepancies will be inevitable.
But what is important is whether or not Moscow and Ankara will want to emphasize these discrepancies or, on the contrary, will try and give each other the opportunity to save face by agreeing that the first steps to normalizing relations have been taken.
No matter how conditional Erdogan's apology was, it is important that the Kremlin did not reject it, and in the near future the presidents of Turkey and Russia are expected to hold a telephone conversation. Therefore we can cautiously conclude that the ice has been broken.
How governments apologizeIn general, the issue of official apologies on an international level is one of the most complicated, sensitive and challenging in international relations. The price to pay is exceptionally high '' a government's prestige is at stake. So every word and gesture that are perceived as an apology are viewed, in a figurative sense, under a microscope.
For example, 15 years ago in April 2001, after an American reconnaissance plane violated China's airspace and made a forced landing on Hainan Island, Beijing demanded that Washington officially apologize.
However, the U.S. stubbornly refused. The situation was extremely critical and the world began speaking of a possible open conflict between the countries. Then, after complex talks, the U.S. issued an enigmatic statement: "Accept our deep tsao." Each side interpreted the statement in its own way '' an apology or a regret. Fortunately, the polysemy of Chinese characters provides for such an opportunity.
The list of examples is endless. In the course of U.S. President Barack Obama's recent visit to Japan during the G7 summit the American president did not officially apologize to Japan for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago, but participated in a wreath-laying ceremony and expressed words of compassion. Earlier, Japan had refused to officially apologize to South Korea for its WWII crimes and pay compensation to rape victims, the so-called ''comfort women.''
Nevertheless, relations between these countries cannot be described as openly conflictive or dysfunctional. Through trial and error the world powers have learned not to make these relations hostages to issues in which it is impossible to sacrifice one's principles. And everyone ends up even.
First published in Russian in Kommersant
Here's why Erdogan is cozying up to Putin: Foreign Policy opinion | OregonLive.com
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 07:20
By Keith Johnson
Turkey's push to make nice with Russia, as it did this week with Israel, is part of Ankara's drive to shore up as many friendships as it can throughout a region roiled by the Syrian civil war and the rise of Shiite Iran.
And, like Turkey's reconciliation with Israel, better ties with Russia could jump-start stalled energy projects in Turkey, from a huge natural gas pipeline to a $20 billion nuclear power plant.
The deadly suicide bombings Tuesday at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, which experts blame on the Islamic State, and which left 44 dead and hundreds hospitalized, have underscored Turkey's need to rebuild frayed friendships to bolster its domestic security.
"The Istanbul attack, I think, increases the urgency of normalization for Turkey," said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Relations between Turkey and Russia -- which just two years ago were on track to morph into a "strategic partnership," fueled by multibillion-dollar energy deals -- went into deep freeze last November, when a pair of Turkish jets shot down a Russian plane that violated Turkish airspace near Syria. Since then, Russian restrictions on trade and travel have hammered the Turkish economy, the energy projects have been iced, and the Turkish military has been effectively locked out of northern Syria, where the Islamic State still has a stronghold.
This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered a written apology to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the jet incident, and two days later, Russia responded by rescinding its travel ban. That puts the two countries on a path to normalize relations, much as Turkey did this week after a six-year spat with Israel over the latter's attack of relief flotilla headed for Gaza. Erdogan described the olive branches to both Israel and Russia as a "win-win" for all countries.
The driving force behind Ankara's diplomatic push is the disintegrating security situation in the eastern Mediterranean and wider Middle East and the need to assemble a stable of like-minded countries that could act as de facto partners in the fight against the militants operating throughout the region.
The Syrian civil war, more than 5 years old, has created a safe haven for a terrorist group that has repeatedly struck at soft targets in Turkey, as well as in other cities in Europe. The war has also flooded Turkey and other countries in Europe and the Middle East with hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians.
At the same time, Iran has thrown off years of economic sanctions and international isolation -- thanks in large part to a nuclear deal inked with the Obama administration --and is making a bid to restore its regional leadership by pushing back against Saudi Arabia, the standard-bearer of Sunni Islam. Tehran has actively backed Bashar al-Assad's regime in the Syrian war and is supporting groups in Yemen fighting against the Saudis. At the same time, Iran is working overtime to restore its oil industry to the days of glory, boosting production and exports in an open challenge to the Saudis for leadership of OPEC.
"Turkey's main driver of the reconciliation is the need to contain the expansion of Iran's hegemony in the Middle East," said Michael Tanchum, an expert on energy and geopolitics in the region.
"The reconciliation with Russia is one component of a larger Turkish strategy that includes restored cooperation with Israel and deepening strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia and Qatar," he added.
But Turkey's also got some domestic reasons to bury the hatchet with Moscow. Erdogan, with aspirations to be a strong national leader, has struggled to crack 50 percent in any national vote; burnishing his strongman credentials requires defeating both domestic and international terrorist groups that have sown havoc in Turkey in recent years, namely the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and Kurdish militants known as the PKK.
Ankara's decades-old Kurdish problem has only gotten worse due to the Syrian civil war and the seven-month spat with Russia. Moscow is arming some Kurdish militant groups fighting in Syria, and many in Turkey feel the PKK, which had Marxist origins, could end up a Russian proxy, which would make it much harder to stamp out at home.
"Turkey wanted to delink the Kurds and Russia, and to do that, they needed to make up with Russia," Cagaptay said.
And now, the Islamic State has become a much bigger priority for Turkey, after years of halfhearted efforts to combat the group. The terrorists have launched more than a dozen attacks in Turkey, most recently the triple suicide bombing this week at Istanbul's main airport, which Turkish officials said was carried out by men from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The Islamic State has thousands of recruits from Russia and former Soviet states, and terrorism experts note the so-called "Uzbek battalion" is one of the group's toughest.
The problem is that since last November, after the shooting down of the Russian jet, Turkey has been all but blocked from carrying out military operations in northern Syria, making it harder for Ankara to tackle the Islamic State at its source.
"If Erdogan now wants to go after ISIS infrastructure in Syria, he needs Russia's blessing, so this makes Turkish-Russian reconciliation even more necessary," Cagaptay said.
The question is whether warmer ties between Ankara and Moscow will be enough to resuscitate the huge energy deals that were the linchpin of the strategic partnership the two announced in late 2014. That included a big natural gas export pipeline, dubbed "Turkish Stream," from Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey. The two are also working on a $20 billion Russian-built nuclear power plant, Turkey's first, that could help meet the rising demand for electricity.
"Russia needs to finish constructing the Akkuyu power plant as a showcase to preserve its global market share in civilian nuclear technology from advancing Chinese competition," Tanchum said. Russia's state-owned nuclear power firm, Rosatom, has landed scores of deals all over the world, from Hungary to Jordan to Vietnam, but has struggled to actually build the expensive power plants. Meanwhile, China is building more nuclear reactors at home than any other country and is eagerly eyeing the export market.
The future of Russian-Turkish gas cooperation is a little trickier. Turkish Stream seemed destined to feed only the Turkish market, rather than serving -- as Moscow once hoped -- as an export conduit to the wider European market. But Turkey has also tried to reduce its heavy reliance on Russian energy, especially natural gas.
That's one reason the rapprochement this week with Israel raised hopes around the region: Israel is looking for buyers for the gas from its big offshore gas fields, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed the role Israeli energy exports can play in cementing regional peace, especially with Turkey.
"I think Turkey has learned a lesson about over-reliance on Russian energy," Cagaptay said.
(c) 2016, Foreign Policy
Drone Nation
Obama Administration Finally Releases Its Dubious Drone Death Toll
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 15:56
In a long-anticipated gesture at transparency, the Obama administration on Friday released an internal assessment of the number of civilians killed by drone strikes in nations where the U.S. is not officially at war.
According to the data, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya killed between 64 and 116 civilians during the two terms of the Obama administration '-- a fraction of even the most conservative estimates on drone-related killings catalogued by reporters and researchers over the same period. The government tally also reported 2,372 to 2,581 combatants killed in U.S. airstrikes from January 20, 2009, to December 31, 2015.
Releasing the figures '-- which appeared on a Friday afternoon, on a holiday weekend, after seven years of selective leaks and official secrecy '-- along with an executive order prioritizing the protection of civilian life in counterterrorism operations, reflected core American principles, the president asserted.
In addition to mandating an increased emphasis on civilian protection in U.S. tactics and training, the executive order also called on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to release annual reports on civilian casualties resulting from counterterrorism operations, such as drone strikes, in nations where the U.S. is not at war '-- a move that, in effect, signals the further institutionalization of borderless wars for the foreseeable future.
''As a nation, we are steadfastly committed to complying with our obligations under the law of armed conflict, including those that address the protection of civilians, such as the fundamental principles of necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality,'' Obama's order read.
While many within the legal and human rights communities applauded the voluntary disclosure of casualty data and the executive order as a step in the right direction, some felt the Friday news dump fell short in key areas.
''It's hard to credit this death count, which is lower than all independent assessments,'' Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project, told The Intercept.
Organizations such as the Long War Journal, the New America Foundation, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimate that at least 200 and as many as 1,000 civilians have been killed by American drone strikes in nations where the U.S. is not at war since Obama took office. The administration offered no individualized accounts to explain where its numbers came from, or who the civilian casualties were. Without the government addressing individual cases, disclosing the identities of those killed, or providing detailed information on the investigations undergirding its conclusions, Shamsi contended, little could be done with the disclosures.
''Without key information like this, the public can't be confident,'' she said.
The drone program, as it's often referred to in press accounts, is in fact a combination of both independent and overlapping efforts overseen by the military and the CIA '-- with support from other intelligence community agencies such as the NSA '-- that vary in intensity and management depending on the country. Under Obama, the unmanned vehicles have become both a tool and a symbol of a new age of modern American warfare, one in which the U.S. government asserts the right to reach out and kill suspected terrorists wherever they may be.
The casualty data, presented in the form of a three-page account, claims to reflect ''credible reports of non-combatant deaths drawn from all-source information, including reports from the media and non-governmental organizations.'' The report acknowledged that discrepancies exist between the government's tallies and those compiled by NGOs over the last several years.
NGOs provide accounts that differ not only from official figures, but also vary widely from organization to organization, the report said. ''For instance, for the period between January 20, 2009, and December 31, 2015, non-governmental organizations' estimates range from more than 200 to slightly more than 900 possible non-combatant deaths outside areas of active hostilities.''
The government argued, as it has before, that it has access to information '-- informants and electronic surveillance, for example '-- that researchers, journalists, and human rights advocates are not privy to.
Yet the government's means of assessing the efficacy of individual strikes have been called into question in recent years. Informants on the ground for U.S. forces can provide mistaken information, and aerial battle damage assessments, or BDAs '-- a common tool for assessing drone strikes '-- have at times proved unreliable. ''According to one study in Afghanistan, initial air BDAs failed to identify civilian casualties in 19 out of 21 cases subsequently confirmed by ground force investigations,'' noted a report on civilian protection published last month by the Open Society Foundations.
The government's report also suggested that malign actors can spread misinformation that makes its way into NGO reports, resulting in slain militants being misidentified as civilians, though it offered no specific examples of this taking place.
While the administration's report was short on details, it did push back on claims that U.S. officials have, over the years, maintained a practice of labeling military-aged males killed in drone strikes as militants unless evidence is produced indicating otherwise. ''Males of military age may be non-combatants; it is not the case that all military-aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants,'' it said.
The government's insistence that it does not label dead young men as militants by default contradicted years of reporting from multiple news organizations (just this week, former military and intelligence officials speaking to the Los Angeles Timesconfirmed that had been a practice under the Obama administration until recently).
In October, The Intercept published The Drone Papers, a series of reports based on classified military documents detailing the inner workings of the Pentagon's drone operations. The source of the documents, a member of the intelligence community who worked on so-called targeted-killing missions, described how military-aged males, or MAMs, killed in drone strikes are routinely labeled as enemies killed in action, EKIA, unless there is information indicating otherwise.
''If there is no evidence that proves a person killed in a strike was either not a MAM, or was a MAM but not an unlawful enemy combatant, then there is no question,'' the source said. ''They label them EKIA.''
While the publication of the drone data is unprecedented, its lasting impact remains to be seen. Shamsi, the ACLU attorney, said Obama's executive order reflected ''a positive step'' for what has otherwise been a regime of near-total secrecy in matters of life and death, but it's an order ''sprinkled with caveats.''
''It's important to remember that the next president, whoever that president may be, can revoke this order with a pen stroke,'' she said.
The White House Doesn't Know How Many People It Has Killed in Targeted Strikes '-- War Is Boring
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 22:51
The White House Doesn't Know How Many People It Has Killed in Targeted StrikesOfficials can only give a range of dead terrorists and civiliansby JOSEPH TREVITHICK
Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., manned U.S. aircraft and drones have flown hundreds of strikes against terrorists abroad, including U.S. citizens.
Humanitarian groups and other critics of the policy have repeatedly demanded Washington explain how it chooses those targets and disclose how many innocent civilians died in the attacks.
On July 1, 2016'Š'--'Ša Friday before a holiday weekend'Š'--'Šthe Office of the Director of National Intelligence finally released the first official figures. In addition, from now on, the nation's top spy will provide updated numbers every May.
The new report states the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies killed fewer than 120 civilians'Š'--'Šfar fewer than any independent monitoring group has estimated in the past. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Drone War project claims the attacks may have accidentally killed more than 960 innocent bystanders in Pakistan alone.
All of these deaths occurred ''outside areas of active hostilities'' between Jan. 20, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2015. No specific countries are identified. '''Areas of active hostilities' currently include Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,'' the review noted.
However, between Oct. 7, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2014, the Pentagon said that American casualties in the War on Terror'Š'--'Šofficially called Operation Enduring Freedom'Š'--'Šincluded any troops killed or wounded in Guantanamo Bay, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
As of July 1, for similar accounting purposes, Washington said the new campaign against the Islamic State included troops killed or injured in Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and ''the Mediterranean Sea east of 25 degrees Longitude.''
The report does not say who was in charge of these strikes. Independent groups and journalists widely believe the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon's secretive Joint Special Operations Command are responsible for planning, directing and executing various parts of these missions.
At top and above'Š'--'ŠU.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drones. Air Force photosBut far more worrisome is that the figures show Washington simply does not have a firm idea of how many civilians or terrorists it has killed in more than 470 attacks.
Piloted and unpiloted American aircraft killed between 2,373 and 2,581 ''combatants'''Š'--'Ša stunningly granular total for a margin of error of more than 200 people. The strikes killed anywhere from 64 to 116 non-combatants.
''The assessed range of non-combatant deaths provided to the DNI reflects consideration of credible reports of non-combatant deaths drawn from all-source information, including reports from the media and non-governmental organizations,'' the report explained.
''The assessed range of non-combatant deaths includes deaths for which there is an insufficient basis for assessing that the deceased is a combatant.''
In short, agencies supplied data that didn't necessarily agree with other available sources and was potentially incomplete.
''The U.S. government uses post-strike methodologies that have been refined and honed over the years and that use information that is generally unavailable to non-governmental organizations,'' the review stated. ''Thus, the U.S. government may have reliable information that certain individuals are combatants, but are being counted as non-combatants by non-governmental organizations.''
But there is significant reason to be skeptical of these claims. In August 2015, War Is Boring obtained a previously classified official list of allegations of civilians casualties in Iraq and Syria through the Freedom of Information Act.
In 40 of the 45 alleged incidents, the Pentagon found no evidence that American or allied troops had killed civilians'Š'--'Šoften within 48 hours or less of investigating the reports. In eight cases, the top American headquarters for the Middle East said it had reached these conclusions because there simply wasn't enough information to prove otherwise.
In November 2015, Washington did admit that two A-10 Warthog ground attack planes accidentally killed several innocent bystanders near Hatra, Iraq. During the attack, intelligence analysts scrutinized a live video feed and decided an SUV and its occupants were Islamic State terrorists.
The Pentagon only reviewed the incident after getting an email from the owner of the vehicle asking for reimbursement. Otherwise, those individuals would have likely stayed in the ''combatant'' column for missions over Iraq and Syria.
In many cases, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies often appear to strike with no one on the ground to verify the targets. Otherwise, Washington has to pore over grainy video footage or rely on other reporting.
''U.S. government post-strike reviews involve the collection and analysis of multiple sources of intelligence before, during, and after a strike, including video observations, human sources and assets, signals intelligence, geospatial intelligence, accounts from local officials on the ground and open source reporting,'' according Director of National Intelligence's review.
This list lacks any direct mention of interviews with surviving civilian victims of alleged attacks, their families or other witnesses.
Of course, it is important to note that whatever the true figures are, Washington is not engaged in a campaign to actively murder innocent civilians'Š'--'Šunlike the Islamic State or the Syrian government. ''Western air forces present far fewer risks to civilian casualties,'' Chris Woods of the independent monitoring group Airwars told War Is Boring.
Unfortunately, these official numbers do not help reinforce Washington's repeated statements that it's being as transparent and accountable as possible. It may undermine those claims.
Elections 2016
FBI Discovers Hacker Guccifer Missing From Jail, Whereabouts Still Unknown
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:52
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How Covert American Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
July 2, 2016
FBI Discovers Hacker Guccifer Missing From Jail, Whereabouts Still Unknown
By:Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
An astounding Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today says that the Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar (known as Guccifer), who successfully gained access to all of the private and government emails of Hillary Clinton, was discovered missing yesterday by agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who were sent to interview him at the US jail he was supposed to be in'--and his whereabouts are still unknown.[Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]
Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka Guccifer
According to this report, Guccifer is at the center of what is turning into one of America's greatest political scandals for his hacking into the private email server of former Secretary of State (and current US presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton that, in turn, allowed the SVR to gain access to them too'--and which recently an unnamed US State Department official admitted to the Washington Times both China and Israel now have possession of too.
As we had previously reported too, Guccifer first came to the attention of the SVR in 2011 when he attempted to hack into the computer systems of the Federation funded RT television network, after which he was able to be tracked and his hacked documents seized'--some of which were then authorized to be leaked by Chairwoman of the Council of Federation Valentina Matviyenko that resulted in the 20 March 2013 RT article Hillary Clinton's 'hacked' Benghazi emails: FULL RELEASE.
In early March (2016), it should be further noted, after Chairwoman Matviyenko advocated releasing all of Hillary Clinton's classified and top secret emails to the public, the Obama regime responded by rushing Guccifer from his Romanian prison cell to the US'--and that NBC News kept secret from the American people for weeks afterwards.
Once in US custody, this SVR report continues, Guccifer (who described Hillary Clinton's illegal email computer server as being ''like an open orchid on the Internet'') reached a plea deal with the FBI that in exchange for his cooperation in the Hillary Clinton criminal investigation he would receive a minor prison sentence'--and to which he pleaded guilty to on 25 May with his sentencing scheduled for 1 September.
While awaiting his sentencing, this report continues, Guccifer was imprisoned at the Detention Center Bureau (DCB), located in Alexandria, Virginia'--but when 3 FBI agents tried to visit him there yesterday, they were informed that he had been moved to an undisclosed location on the evening of 25 May'--which (coincidentally?) was just hours removed from a secret meeting held between former President Bill Clinton and the Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch.
SVR analysts note in this report that Attorney General Lynch was the only US government official authorized to move Guccifer from the DCB and that she did so using agents from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) who are under her direct control.
As to why Attorney General Lynch would want Guccifer out of the reach of the FBI, this report says, is likely due to the upcoming interview of Hillary Clinton by those FBI agents investigating her, and that some US news reports say may even be happening today.
And to the most critical information held by Guccifer against Hillary Clinton, this report continues, are the ''encrypted computer keys'' to emails sent by Secretary Clinton to the Clinton Foundation'--and which a recent filing by the US State Department in a US Federal Court seeking to block their release estimated their staggering number at being around 34,000 emails.
The encryption algorithms of Hillary Clinton's emails deciphered by Guccifer, this report explains, are like a key that specifies the transformation of plaintext into ciphertext, and vice versa for decryption algorithms. Keys also specify transformations in other cryptographic algorithms, such as digital signature schemes and message authentication codes.
Though not specifically commented on in this SVR report, it does strongly suggest that the Federation has been behind the release of many of these keys to various international news organizations and whistle blowing sites that have then published revealing stories about Hillary Clinton's nefarious actions, including:
1.) How Hillary Clinton attempted to manipulate the debt negotiations between the European Union and Greece in an attempt to illegally enrich her son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky at the expense of the Greek people.
2.) How Hillary Clinton's State Department conspired with US Air Force General Philip Breedlove to instigate a war with Russia against President Obama's express order not to do so.
To if Hillary Clinton, or her husband, will ever be charged for their many crimes against the American people, this report concludes, is never likely to happen as these Western elites exist above the laws they force others to live under and have blackmail files on each other they constantly use to threaten one another'--and that the Kremlin now has on Hillary Clinton too.
July 2, 2016 (C) EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase content licensed under CC-BY and GFDL.
[Note: Many governments and their intelligence services actively campaign against the information found in these reports so as not to alarm their citizens about the many catastrophic Earth changes and events to come, a stance that the Sisters of Sorcha Faal strongly disagree with in believing that it is every human beings right to know the truth. Due to our missions conflicts with that of those governments, the responses of their 'agents' has been a longstanding misinformation/misdirection campaign designed to discredit us, and others like us, that is exampled in numerous places, includingHERE.]
Chaos?You Want Chaos? OK, WE'LL GIVE YOU CHAOS!!!
They Are Going To Come For You'...Why Are You Helping Them?
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Feds ask for 27-month delay in release of Clinton staff emails | TheHill
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:38
The Obama administration on Thursday asked a federal court to delay until October 2018 the release of 14,000 pages of emails from aides to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThe Trail 2016: Meet and greet and griefOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im boardBiden spills beans: Sanders will endorse ClintonMORE.
In a court filing on Wednesday, administration lawyers said the State Department miscalculated the amount of material it would need to process the documents as part of a lawsuit with the conservative organization Citizens United.
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As a result, the government asked for a 27-month delay to release the emails, which were originally due out on July 21.''State deeply regrets these errors, and is working diligently to correct them as quickly as possible,'' the lawyers said.
Citizens United has sued for emails between a handful of State Department officials and people at the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm, Teneo Consulting, which has ties to the Clintons.
Among other errors, State officials said than an initial test looking at just 300 emails, which was used to calculate the amount of time necessary to process the emails, neglected to include keyword searches of the messages. Instead, they only searched the ''To'' and ''From'' lines of the messages, which failed to catch many emails.
State Department officials also ''inadvertently'' labeled some email attachments as irrelevant to the open records request, without checking them to make sure.
The department has long had reputation for responding slowly to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), with delays spanning years.
But the demands have grown dramatically as Clinton has proceeded through the presidential election process, and the department's current estimates can sometimes seem comically long.
In a separate case involving the Republican National Committee, the State Department estimated that it could take at least 75 years to compile emails from a handful of Clinton's aides.
A department spokesman later defended the estimate as ''not outlandish.''
''There's been dramatic, significant surge in FOIA requests to the State Department in recent years, which we are working very, very hard to clear and to respond to,'' State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday, while declining to discuss the Citizens United case in particular.
Since 2008, he added, the number of FOIA requests to State has tripled. In fiscal year 2015 alone, the department has received 22,000 separate requests.
''The other thing I'd say is that these requests are also frequently more complex, and increasingly seeking larger volumes of documents requiring more time, more resources, and frankly more interagency coordination,'' Kirby said.
In the Citizens United case, the department has assigned four new staffers to work on the request part-time. But most of them are also working on several other cases, the Obama administration said in its court filing, and their ability to comb through emails has been slowed by their ''relative inexperience.''
As the requests under the Freedom of Information Act have shot up, so too have the number lawsuits filed against the department for slow responses.
- Updated at 6:20 p.m.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Served With Class Action Lawsuit | Observer
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 07:00
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
On June 28, the Miami-based law firm Beck & Lee filed a class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
''There are essentially six legal claims we are asserting in this lawsuit on behalf of the composed class members,'' said attorney Jared Beck in a YouTube video announcing the lawsuit. ''The first is a claim for fraud'--against the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz'--based on the revelations from the recent Guccifer 2.0 documents purportedly taken from the DNC's own computer network.'' The Guccifer 2.0 documents include internal memos in which the DNC broke legally binding neutrality agreements in the Democratic primaries by strategizing to make Hillary Clinton the nominee before a single vote was cast.
The second claim filed is for negligent misrepresentation, a legal theory based on the first claim of fraud. The third claim alleges the DNC and Wasserman Schultz participated in deceptive conduct in claiming the DNC was neutral during the Democratic primaries, when there is overwhelming evidence suggesting favoritism of Clinton from the beginning. The fourth claim of the lawsuit seeks retribution of any monetary donations the DNC to Bernie Sanders' campaign. The fifth claim alleges the DNC broke its fiduciary duties during the Democratic primaries to members of the Democratic Party by not holding a fair election process. The sixth claim is for negligence on behalf of the DNC'--for not protecting donor information'--as hackers broke into the DNC networks, potentially compromising their personal information.
''This lawsuit is our effort as attorneys to give a voice, in the political system, to all those who have been defrauded by the conduct of the DNC in supporting and promoting Hillary Clinton's candidacy in violation of its own charter which requires it to be neutral,'' added attorney Jeff Beck. The class of representatives in the class action lawsuit is currently in the thousands and continuing to grow, as any donor to Bernie Sanders' campaign eligible to join. The Beck & Lee Law Firm has set up a Facebook Page with updates on the progress of the lawsuit.
Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Primaries in large part due to the manufactured public consent within the Democratic Party that she would be the presidential nominee before the primaries even started. Prior to the first state to hold an election in the primaries, over 400 super delegates formally supported Clinton. Clinton's 2008 Campaign co-chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, did everything she could behind closed doors to ensure the 2016 primaries were not democratic, but rather a coronation for Clinton.
''It is clearly the case that, when given truth serum, Debbie Wasserman Schultz vastly prefers Hillary Clinton to be the nominee'--obviously'--and to the extent that there are things that can be done institutionally and marginally to facilitate that outcome, they are being done,'' said MSNBC host Chris Hayes this past May.
Such favoritism for Clinton has extended throughout the Democratic Establishment. DNC vice chair Donna Brazile even foreshadowed the rigging in 2013, revealing in an interview with ABC News, ''if Hillary Clinton gets in the race, there will be a coronation of her.''
The DNC's overtly fraudulent conduct and disregard for democracy has incited calls for Wasserman Schultz to resign, but the reforms and consequences for their transgressions don't start and stop there. Had the DNC not colluded with the Clinton Campaign to shield her from exposure, Clinton's fate would have likely been similar to that of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who fell from grace in a broad pool after once being presumed to come out on top as the Republican Party's presidential nominee.
Beyond Bernie Sanders, who was initially viewed as a non-threatening fringe candidate, the field was cleared to ensure Clinton could coast through the primaries. The DNC also rescinded a ban on donations from lobbyists and super-PACS'--first enacted by Barack Obama in 2008'--by organizing a joint fundraising committee with the Clinton campaign called the Hillary Victory Fund. According to a report by Politico in April 2016, the Hillary Victory Fund laundered money to the Clinton campaign under the pretense of funding down-ticket Democrats.
Hillary Clinton was never elected the Democratic presidential nominee, but was touted by the Democratic Party, who said it was her turn for the presidency'--rather than leaving the decision to voters. Beck & Lee's lawsuit the first of many consequences the Democratic Party will face for manipulating millions of voters.
Clinton tech agenda bakes in innovation teams
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 22:03
Politics
Clinton tech agenda bakes in innovation teamsBy Adam MazmanianJun 28, 2016Hillary Clinton plans to make digital innovation teams a permanent fixture of government. Photo credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com
Hillary Clinton plans to push ahead with current Obama administration policies on innovation teams inside government. The technology agenda of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee calls for making digital services a "permanent priority" for federal agencies, and for diving in on projects to make government services easier to use and more accessible.
Clinton released her tech agenda on June 28. While it is largely aimed at the commercial technology sector -- priorities include improving tech education, encouraging startups, promoting access to services and building out infrastructure -- much of the document focuses squarely on pushing ahead with government tech innovation plans rolled out by the Obama administration.
Specifically, Clinton plans to "charge the USDS with transforming and digitizing the top 25 federal government services that directly serve citizens," and to establish what the campaign is calling "Yelp for government," as a model for providing instant and continuous citizen feedback on the performance of government websites.
Clinton seeks "a constant flow of technology and design experts," working on government projects, which sounds like a bid to extend the flexible hiring authorities that 18F and USDS are using now to staff up their teams. Additionally, she's promoting agile development with a plan to "break large federal IT projects into smaller pieces," to make it easier to evaluate progress and halt work on failing efforts.
On the procurement side, Clinton wants to "streamline procurement processes and get rid of unnecessary internal red tape that prevents government from developing intuitive and personalized digital experience that they have come to expect from great consumer internet companies."
The continuity with the Obama administration should come as no surprise. Clinton's tech team reportedly includes Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America and onetime White House deputy CTO.
Clinton's cybersecurity plans focus on policy directed outward at businesses and governments, and inward to protecting government systems. She would build on Obama's Cybersecurity National Action Plan, "especially the empowerment of a federal Chief Information Security Officer, the modernization of federal IT, and upgrades to government-wide cybersecurity." She's also urging agencies to follow the lead of the Pentagon, and institute bug bounties and other crowdsourcing efforts "to encourage hackers to responsibly disclose vulnerabilities they discover to the government." At the same time, she plans to ramp up "elite, cleared government red teams" to seek out and remediate vulnerabilities on government networks.
Clinton is looking to advanced analytics to upgrade the government's efforts to conduct oversight of government programs, and evaluate progress on government goals. One possible upgrade over the Obama administration is the integration of "up-to-date, real time data" into the Performance.gov site. Currently the site is updated on a quarterly basis.
Clinton also plans to "continue and accelerate" Obama's open data policies, while also looking to the Data Act implementation to increase transparency of government spending. She would task regulators with collecting information from businesses as structured data rather than documents.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.
Judicial Watch - Chinagate
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 00:01
Over 60 Major Judicial Watch VictoriesMade Possible with Your Support
(Partial Listing)
invented the widespread use of civil lawsuits against corrupt politicians, government officials, lawyers and judges to obtain justice, since government cannot police itself
Unprecedented Criminal Finding Against Bill Clinton
1. Judicial Watch obtained the only court ruling that President Bill Clinton committed a crime when he violated the privacy rights of Kathleen Willey. Since others assisted Mr. Clinton in this case and because Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, Bruce Lindsey, David Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Charles Ruff are involved based upon sworn White House interrogatories, they are effectively included in the Courts findings as well.
Key Chinagate Victories So Far
1. Judicial Watch and Judicial Watch alone uncovered the entire Chinagate scandal in 1995, starting with a Freedom of information Act request to the Commerce Department. Chinagate is the most serious scandal in U.S. history. It involves the transfer of Americas most sensitive technology, including but not limited to nuclear missile and satellite technology, apparently in exchange for millions of dollars in contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort and the Democratic National Committee.
2. Judicial Watch obtained a court judgment against the corrupt Clinton-Gore Commerce Department in the Chinagate scandal, which found that evidence had been destroyed and testimony falsified.
3. The Honorable Royce C. Lamberth, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, ruled that the Commerce Department still has not complied adequately with Judicial Watchs lawful subpoenas and has appointed a magistrate judge to oversee Commerces production of documents, including phone records, e-mails, memos, and other evidence concerning key defendants and witnesses. As a result, the Chinagate case is now likely to turn criminal on obstruction of justice charges.
4. Judicial Watchs Chinagate lawsuits stopped the further sale of trade mission seats to Democrat fat cat contributors a key source of funding for the Democratic National Committee.
5. To date, Judicial Watch has conducted five depositions of John Huang. Judicial Watch and Judicial Watch alone discovered John Huang working at the Commerce Department. Huang was Communist Chinas link to the Clinton-Gore White House. He has been held in contempt over 140 times for refusing to answer questions and he will likely face jail time for this.
6. In court testimony secured by Judicial Watch, Nolanda Hill, the business partner and confidante of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, swore that Hillary Clinton conceived of the fundraising scheme involving the sale of seats on official trade missions, with the knowledge and participation of Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore.
7. Judge Royce C. Lamberth, in three separate court orders, ruled that Judicial Watch can undertake significant new discovery in the withholding of documents concerning Clinton-Gore Commerce Department trade missions.
8. Judicial Watch recently secured sworn testimony pointing to White House Deputy Counsel Cheryl Mills withholding documents from Judicial Watch.
9. The Clinton-Gore Administration offered to pay for all Judicial Watchs legal costs (totaling about $2,000,000) if Judicial Watch agreed to drop its first Chinagate investigation and lawsuit. Judicial Watch refused the bribery attempt and instead dramatically ramped up its Chinagate investigations and lawsuits.
10. Judicial Watch commenced, through a judicial ethics complaint, the largest investigation of judicial corruption in the nations capitol, when it was discovered that the Democrat Chief Judge, Norma Holloway Johnson, was bypassing the random case assignment process and assigning Chinagate cases under the table to Clinton judicial appointees and that these appointees were holding secret meetings. As a result of Judicial Watch's complaint, the Chief Judge must randomly assign all cases. Also, in the wake of the scandal, many believe Judge Johnson was forced into early retirement as Chief Judge. Judicial Watch continues to pursue judicial proceedings into the scandal.
11. Judicial Watch has thus far successfully prevented the Federal Bureau of Investigation from silencing Notra Trulock, its client, from revealing the breach of national security at the Los Alamos Nuclear laboratories. Were it not for Trulock, the massive breach of national security by suspected Chinese agent Wen Ho Lee, and others, would never have been known and acted upon. Trulock, through Judicial Watch, has sued Wen Ho Lee and his accomplices, as well as FBI Director Louis Freeh. The Wen Ho Lee trial is scheduled for this fall.
12. Through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, Judicial Watch exposed the Clinton-Gore Administration coverup of the dangers of Communist Chinese control of the two major ports of the Panama Canal. Specifically, Judicial Watch uncovered National Security Agency and CIA documents assessing and admitting this risk, while the Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney Administrations continue to deny this.
13. Judicial Watch deposed and represents Johnny Chung, the only Chinagate figure who has testified truthfully. He implicated Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore in Chinagate crimes. Mr. Chung, through Judicial Watch, has sued the Justice Department for its complicity.
Acquire all Chinagate related documents, records and e-mails from the new Bush White House, Justice and Commerce Departments. Obtain more major court verdicts and ultimately criminal convictions against Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, senior officials at the Democratic National Committee and their accomplices for furthering the transfer of Americas nuclear missile technology to Communist China, apparently in exchange for millions of dollars in contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort and the Democratic National Committee.
Key Filegate Victories So Far
1. Judicial Watch is conducting the only on-going investigation and class action lawsuit of the FBI Filegate scandal.
2. Judicial Watchs suits have proven that Hillary Rodham Clinton was mastermind of the Filegate scheme to use confidential FBI background files to dig up and misuse dirt on Republicans and opponents of the Clintons.
3. As a direct result of Judicial Watchs Filegate lawsuit, for the first time in U.S. history a President of the United States has been found by a judge to have committed a crime. The Court held that Bill Clinton criminally violated Kathleen Willeys privacy rights by releasing her confidential government files to the media in order to smear her reputation when she was making sexual harassment allegations against him. Hillary Clinton is an accomplice to the crimes.
4. Judicial Watch won a court victory to take discovery concerning the Big Brother White House computer database which contains the names, addresses and political affiliations of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and which is believed to contain information derived from the illegally acquired FBI files of Republicans and others.
5. Judicial Watch won a court victory to inspect White House e-mails, phone records and other White House documents related to Judicial Watchs Filegate and other cases.
6. The courts continue to hear arguments, discovery is proceeding and depositions of top Clinton-Gore White House officials continue to be taken.
7. Judicial Watch has filed suit against Independent Counsel Robert Ray for failing to turn over documents to Judicial Watch pertaining to Rays bogus Filegate investigation.
8. Judicial Watchs Filegate and related suits and investigations stopped the Clinton-Gore White House from continuing to illegally use the FBI to conduct opposition research on critics and adversaries of the Clintons and Al Gore.
Obtain court verdicts and criminal convictions of Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Al Gore for their roles in covering up e-mail evidence and collecting confidential FBI background files on Republicans and critics of The White House for the purpose of blackmailing their adversaries. Judicial Watch expects the Court to set a trial date this year.
Key E-Mailgate Victories So Far
(The key to Chinagate, Filegate and other Clinton-Gore scandals)
1. Judicial Watch and Judicial Watch alone uncovered the E-mailgate obstruction of justice scandal when, in the course of our investigations, we discovered that The White House illegally concealed e-mails from Congress, the Independent Counsel and Judicial Watch. These
e-mails had been under subpoena for years and were required to be turned over pursuant to law.
2. The Court has given Judicial Watch the authority to examine relevant e-mails which should yield a treasure trove of evidence for our Chinagate, Filegate and other cases.
3. Judicial Watch obtained testimony under oath from Betty Lambuth (a Northrop Grumman computer specialist hired by the White House) that senior Clinton-Gore White House officials threatened her with prison if she or her staff mentioned the estimated 1,000,000 e-mails The White House was hiding.
4. The Court has ordered lawyers for Northrop Grumman Corporation to detail any records they kept about Clinton-Gore White House threats against Betty Lambuth and other Clinton-Gore White House employees and contractors.
Goals For 2001-2002:
Obtain obstruction of justice convictions against Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Al Gore and their accomplices. Under authority granted to Judicial Watch by the Court, we hope to conduct a complete examination of relevant evidence in over an estimated one million e-mails the Clinton-Gore White House was hiding.
Key Voter Fraud Task Force Victories So Far
1. Within days of the November 7, 2000 election, Judicial Watch organized more than 500 lawyers and volunteers in Florida to monitor hand recounts in Florida and inspect ballots.
2. Judicial Watch was the first to utilize well before various media organizations the Florida Public Records Act, which allowed us to inspect ballots during the Presidential election contest period of last November and December, 2000.
3. Judicial Watch was granted official status to be present and file court briefs during the Presidential election trial before Judge N. Sanders Sauls in Tallahassee, Florida, which found in favor of George W. Bush. Judicial Watch played a non-partisan role in the proceedings to insure that justice was done.
4. Judicial Watch conducted its own recount and issued its own report of ballots in key Florida counties to ensure that history is not rewritten incorrectly by Jesse Jackson, liberal news media organizations and other partisans. George W. Bush was declared the winner.
5. Judicial Watchs investigation of the Palm Beach County recounts revealed that the manual recount was not reconciled to the machine recount of November 11th, but new totals were submitted anyway. A number of disputed ballots were also put in the wrong envelopes, and duplicate ballots were improperly prepared and used as replacements for allegedly damaged ballots. In addition, some ballots had chads taped back in the holes and security for ballots between recounts was entirely inadequate.
6. Judicial Watch is investigating apparent efforts by the Gore Campaign and Democratic Party to solicit the illegal votes of convicted felons while at the same time the Gore Campaign engaged in a targeted campaign to disqualify the absentee ballots of our overseas military.
7. Judicial Watch has commenced legal actions to stop the Immigration and Naturalization Service from illegally engaging in a systematic program of rushing aliens many with criminal backgrounds through the naturalization process to create millions of new voters, as clearly happened in Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, California and elsewhere.
8. Through INS whistleblowers, as part of the Democrats Import-a-Voter program, Judicial Watch has learned that non-English speakers have illegally had naturalization interviews conducted in the aliens native language.
9. Judicial Watch has uncovered at least one case where an alien was naturalized when the alien had no residence in the United States, no family or business ties in this country (as required by law) and had been out of the U.S. for 11-1/2 months prior to naturalization.
10. Judicial Watch has further discovered the so-called Florida INS backlog program in which INS officials were awarded bonuses and extra paid vacation time if they sped up the naturalization process and exceeded headquarters goals in time for the 2000 Presidential election.
Goals For 2001-2002:
Stop the Immigration and Naturalization Service from illegally engaging in a systematic program of rushing aliens through the naturalization process to create millions of new voters. Stop convicted felons from voting illegally in future elections. Reform Americas electoral system to ensure fair and honest elections that will have the confidence of the American people. Bring Al Gore and others, including involved Republicans and Independents, to justice for engaging in widespread and systematic voter fraud during the 2000 elections.
Key IRS-gate Victories So Far
1. Judicial Watch is conducting the only court-authorized investigation of how the Clinton-Gore White House used the IRS and other government agencies to harass and destroy its political adversaries.
2. Judicial Watch has filed lawsuits for Juanita Broaddrick (the woman who Bill Clinton raped), Gennifer Flowers, Johnny Chung, Joseph Farah and Western Journalism Center, Russ Verney and United We Stand America, and others against the IRS for political audits and other adverse actions.
3. Judicial Watch is defending the women the Clinton political apparatus tried to destroy with IRS audits and smears. Without Judicial Watch, these women (including Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Katherine Prudhomme, Dolly Kyle Browning, Linda Tripp and others who had accused Bill Clinton of various sex crimes and assaults) would have been unable to defend themselves. The best known feminist organizations joined the Clintons campaign to destroy these women. But Judicial Watch proved that it is the conservatives, not the hypocritical left-wing feminists, who genuinely care about the rights of women.
4. Judicial Watchs investigations of the IRS have uncovered the fact that virtually every major conservative organization and publication (including The Heritage Foundation, Christian Coalition, National Review magazine, the American Spectator magazine, and many other conservative organizations and individuals) have been the target of multi-year IRS audits under Clintons watch. Billy Dale, who was fired by Hillary Clinton as White House Travel Office director in order to replace him with her political cronies, was also the subject of an IRS audit and politically-motivated prosecution on trumped-up charges.
Goals For 2001-2002:
Demonstrate that the Clinton-Gore White House illegally used the IRS and other government agencies to target and destroy political adversaries and other politicians. Bring to justice the Clintons, Al Gore and others for this grievous crime and thuggish misuse of government power.
Key Castrogate Victories So Far
1. Expected responses to Judicial Watchs Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that the Clinton-Gore Administration and the INS collaborated with Fidel Castros government for Elians return to Cuba to deliver a huge public relations victory for Castro and defeat for the United States.
2. Judicial Watch now represents virtually the entire Little Havana neighborhood in its case against former Clinton-Gore Attorney General Janet Reno, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, and INS Commissioner Doris Meissner for the beating and gassing of innocent citizens. Recently, an INS whistleblower, Special Agent Rick Ramirez, has come forward to reveal anti-Hispanic prejudice among the INS agents who gassed and beat our clients in violation of their Constitutional rights.
3. Judicial Watchs defense of the Cuban-American and Hispanic communities shows that it is the conservatives, not the Jesse Jackson liberals, who really stand on the side of genuine civil rights.
Judicial Watch will find out what the Clintons, Al Gore and other corrupt politicians got in return from Castro for their cooperation. Judicial Watch will bring to justice Janet Reno and all her collaborators (including Bill Clinton) for orchestrating the illegal armed attack on the Cuban-American and Hispanic communities on Castros behalf.
Other Important Judicial Watch Victories
1. Judicial Watchs lawsuits on behalf of Don and Terri Adams (for the vicious assault on them by the Teamsters while the Adamss were engaging in a peaceful demonstration in Philadelphia advocating President Clintons impeachment) has already produced two criminal indictments and ultimately triggered convictions.
2. Judicial Watch is conducting the only complete investigation of illegal fundraising activities by the Teamsters on behalf of the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort.
3. Judicial Watchs suit to block transfer of the Panama Canal went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the Supreme Court allowed the transfer to go forward, Judicial Watch was the only organization attempting to block the transfer. Judicial Watch will continue to monitor the national security implications of the transfer with a special focus on the two ports awarded to Communist Chinese interests by Bill Clinton as part of the Chinagate scandal. Judicial Watch will not rest until we know exactly what Communist China got in return from the Clinton-Gore White House for these two strategic Chinese ports in Americas backyard. And more lawsuits are underway to have the Communist Chinese thrown out of the Canal.
4. Judicial Watchs suits concerning President Clintons Legal Defense Trust forced the closing of the first illegal legal expense fund. Judicial Watch contended that Clintons Legal Defense Trust was a conduit for bribery.
5. Deutsche Bank cancelled its plans to give a mortgage to the Clintons for their home in New York State after Judicial Watch filed suit charging that the Clintons were getting preferential treatment from the bank.
6. State Farm Insurance stopped paying the Clintons legal bills after Judicial Watch filed suit.
7. The Clinton-Gore White House stopped its illegal assaults on Congressman Bob Barr and others after Judicial Watch filed suit on his and others behalf as part of our Filegate investigation.
8. Judicial Watchs investigations and lawsuits concerning the many Clinton-Gore Administration scandals and crimes, as well as other corrupt politicians, government officials, lawyers and judges helped make ethics and honesty in government a major issue.
9. Judicial Watch investigated Republican Orrin Hatchs involvement in the BCCI banking scandal. While the suit is in progress, Senator Hatch now is more sensitized to the need for honest government.
10. Judicial Watch commenced, through its judicial ethics complaint, the largest investigation of judicial corruption in the nations capitol, when it was discovered that the Democrat Chief Judge, Norma Holloway Johnson, was assigning Chinagate cases under the table to Clinton judicial appointees and that these appointees were holding secret meetings. The proceedings are underway.
11. Judicial Watch forced Hillary and Bill Clinton, through its Senate Ethics Complaint, to return The White House property and gifts which they illegally stole on their way out of The White House on January 20, 2001.
12. Judicial Watch uncovered that the illegal Clinton pardons could be rescinded now. Through its Citizens Call to Action project, Judicial Watch is taking steps to try to have the pardons rescinded by order of President Bush.
13. Judicial Watch obtained a court judgment against the Federal Elections Commission over the illegal sale of trade mission seats for political campaign contributions.
14. Judicial Watch has filed complaints against corrupt judges; one of whom had sex with a defendants wife, and another who did not do his job, but instead went to the Caribbean. This has had the effect of putting judges on notice that they are not above the law. Judicial Watch praises and gives awards to good, honest judges.
15. Judicial Watch recently filed Federal Election Commission and Justice Department complaints, when House Republican Majority Whip Tom DeLay and House Speaker Denny Hastert refused to stop selling meetings on tax policy with high Bush Administration officials in exchange for campaign contributions. This conduct, regrettably, resembles the Clinton-Gore Administrations sale of seats on trade missions, rides on Air Force One, overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom, grave sites at Arlington Cemetery and other illegal fundraising practices.
16. Judicial Watchs legal actions concerning improper fundraising by Representative Tom DeLay and the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) caused House Speaker Denny Hastert to side with Judicial Watch to urge that the illegal activity stop. Specifically, Mr. DeLay and the NRCC are selling meetings with Bush Administration officials for campaign contributions. Similarly, Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R. Il.) resigned from the National Republican Senatorial Committee when Judicial Watch threatened legal action over similar illegal fundraising. Both Speaker Hastert and Senator Fitzgerald did the right thing in repudiating their partys illegal fundraising.
17. Judicial Watch instituted suit against California Governor Gray Davis over apparent attempts by California energy companies to buy influence with him through large campaign contributions. California faces an energy crisis of dire proportions, which is expected to spread nationwide. Governor Davis has sided with the energy companies over the citizens of California and the United States.
18. Judicial Watch has led the way in investigating illegal IRS audits of perceived Clinton adversaries and criminal conflicts of interest by Clinton-appointee Charles O. Rossotti, who continues as IRS Commissioner under President Bush. In addition to the illegal audits of Clinton adversaries, Rossotti continued to hold at least $14 million worth of stock in AMS -- a company he founded which does millions of dollars of business with the IRS. After Judicial Watch filed criminal complaints for this conflict of interest and delivered over 26,000 petitions to President Bush demanding Rossotti's firing, Rossotti. Responding to Judicial Watch pressure, Rossotti recently announced he would sell his AMS stock. Judicial Watch will continue to seek his criminal prosecution and firing by President Bush.
19. When it learned that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson was meeting with donors in his government office, Judicial Watch investigated through the Freedom of Information Act. When HHS refused to produce documents about the meetings, Judicial Watch sued in federal court. This lawsuit forced HHS to divulge documents about the fundraising activity, including the names of the donors with whom Secretary Thompson met. Judicial Watch analysis of the disgorged documents showed that the donors were likely chosen for the Thompson meeting because of their donations AND their links to interests with business before HHS. The Washington Post subsequently ran a report based on Judicial Watch's work. Judicial Watch is the only known entity to have obtained such donor lists from the Bush Administration. It is illegal to use government property for fundraising purposes and Judicial Watch will seek appropriate legal remedies against Thompson for abuse of office.
General Impact Of Judicial Watchs Activities And Cases
Today, corrupt politicians, government officials, lawyers and judges fear Judicial Watch more than any government law enforcement agency, because Judicial Watch takes action on a non-partisan basis, cannot be influenced to back-off, and gets results. Politicians of all political parties are far more careful today than they once were to stay on the right side of the law . . . because they know that Judicial Watch will move swiftly to hold any corrupt politician, government official, lawyer or judge accountable to the law.
Trump Used A Star Of David To Accuse Clinton Of Being Corrupt
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:10
Clodagh Kilcoyne | Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, at his Turnberry golf course, in Turnberry, Scotland, Britain June 24, 2016.
Donald Trump tweeted'--then deleted'--an image Saturday morning that accused Hillary Clinton of being the "most corrupt candidate ever" by showing her face over a pile of money and next to the Star of David.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wrote "Crooked Hillary'--Makes History!" above the image.
NBC Trump tweet Beneath the image were part of the results from a Fox News poll on June 29 that reported 58 percent of respondents described Clinton as corrupt.
The image immediately ignited a firestorm of angry responses.
Trump reaxTrump reax2Trump reax3More from BuzzFeed News: A first look at Apple's big iMessage updateApple denies report that it will end iTunes music downloads within next few yearsWe owe most of our greatest tech to the government, here's what it should do next
A short time later, Trump resent the tweet with the Star of David modified to a circle.
Trump tweetTrump reax4
LGBBTQQIAAP
Huffington Post: 'LGBT' not inclusive enough - Washington Times
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 05:22
Transgender fashion designer Adrian Wu says the gay-rights acronym ''LGBT'' '-- or ''lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender'' '-- is ''not really politically correct anymore.''
Writing in the pages of the Huffington Post on Wednesday, Wu, who identifies as neither male nor female, said the acronym fails to capture the myriad gender identities people identify as '-- pointing out that ''Facebook added 50 Gender Identity Options a few years ago.''
''Gender Non-Conforming people have been left out of the discussion for a very long time simply because people didn't know they could be Non-Binary until now,'' Wu wrote. ''But the reality is that Gender is a Spectrum and Male and Female are not the only Gender Identities.''
Wu said ''misgendering happens in the Transgender Community all the time'' and recommended people ask, ''What pronouns do you use?'' before making assumptions about one's gender identity.
''That person may respond with he/she/they/them/zhe and it's best to respect that persons [sic] pronouns if you still want them to stick around,'' Wu said.
Dvorak's Law
Hordes of eastern European prostitutes 'charging £10' flood UK before Brexit close borders | Daily Star
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:09
EASTERN European prostitutes are set to swamp Britain before the borders are finally closed after leaving the EU.
GETTY - stock image
PROSTITUTION: Eastern European prostitutes are set to move into the UKThousands of sex workers from nations such as Romanian and Bulgaria already live and work in Britain.
In the UK they can earn much more than they could working in the sex industry back home.
But now many are concerned that legions of women will try to get into the UK before the borders are tightened.
GETTY - stock image
VICE: Other sex workers are concernedLove Island Zara Holland nude topless sexy pictures
Sex workers in the UK have told Daily Star Online they are really worried that new vice girls may charge as little as £10 for a lusty meeting.
A Romanian hooker named Anna, who works in a street close to Bradford's city centre, spoke to us.
She warned of an explosion of foreign sex workers coming to the UK which would drive her prices down.
''They will be sleeping with men for just £10''
AnnaThe 20-year-old said: "I have been here three years and can now earn £1,000 in a week.
"I used to work in a massage parlour but the boss took too much of my money.
"I work hard '' seven days a week.
"I work 24/7 but more ladies coming from back home will not be good for me here.
"They will be sleeping with men for just £10."
Anna revealed that she charges £30 for a 20-minute "quickie" or £50 for an hour of sexual services.
Related videosFined for buying sex: French parliament votes to punish prostitutes' clientsFollowing a final vote in parliament on Wednesday, France has become the latest European country to punish prostitutes' clients who will face a 1,500 euro fine if caught buying sex. The bill includes measures to try to hel
Men abuse prostitutesMen abuse prostitutes
Prostitutes fight in the streetLadies of the night fight in the street
Another sex worker named Kirsty is Bradford-born and also thinks leaving the EU will cause a mass migration of European sex workers.
She told Daily Star Online: "Leaving the EU is just going to mean loads more girls from Eastern Europe coming while the going is good.
"There are already hundreds here.
"They charge bugger all so it means we have all got to drop our prices."
GETTY
LAW: The Government is set to decide if soliciting should be illegal"More and more girls coming just means one thing '' lower prices.
"I work hard at my job and I've got regular clients who will pay me £80-an-hour but that won't go for everyone.
"Blokes already shop around '' going from one girl to another to see who's the cheapest."
This news comes as the Government is set to debate whether soliciting in public should be made legal.
Leaving the EU will have other impacts on the sex industry.
GETTY
The English Collective of Prostitutes are concerned that Brexit will be bad for sex workersReal Dolls sex robots toys San Diego pictures
Many believe that without EU law, ladies of vice will be unable to argue that self-employed sex work is a legitimate job.
If this happens, they may not be able to stop cops removing them from the country.
The English Collective of Prostitutes argue that making sex work even more illegal will force them to hide from the police.
They argue that violence from dangerous punters will go up and hookers will not report crimes to the cops.
Recently Daily Star Online revealed that prostitutes were dropping their prices in a bid to tempt football-mad men away from the TV during Euro 2016.
Related articles
F-Russia
Russia in Review - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:12
Media Feature
July 1, 2016
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
Russia in Review: a digest of useful news from U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for June 24-July 1, 2016
I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda.
Nuclear security:
The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved the creation of a National Guard. The troops will be used to fight terrorism and organized crime, provide territorial defense, protect public order and secure government facilities. The guard's lawyers have also begun drafting bills that would transfer guarding of civilian nuclear facilities in Russia from the Interior Ministry to the newly established service, according to RIA Novosti. (Moscow Times, Belfer Center, 06.29.16).Iran's nuclear program and related issues:
No significant developments.Military issues, including NATO-Russia relations:
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says Russia has agreed to hold a Russia-NATO Council meeting after the alliance holds its July Warsaw summit. Ayrault said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on June 29 that Russia wanted to meet after the NATO summit so that Moscow could evaluate "the decision taken there."(RFE/RL, 06.29.16).President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will respond to NATO's military buildup near its borders, but will not be drawn into an arms race. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia is beefing up its western border by deploying ''2,000 units of new and modernized equipment'' in what he cast as a response to a NATO buildup in Eastern Europe. "The intensity of the trainings of the NATO armed forces conducted in direct vicinity of the Russian borders has more than doubled," Shoigu said. (Interfax, 06.29.16, RFE/RL, 06.30.16, AP, 06.30.16).The Russian Navy is to open a new base on the Black Sea coast in Novorossiysk hosting Varshavyanka class Project 636.6 diesel-electric submarines with Kalibr cruise missiles. (RBTH, 06.29.16).Russia has complained that a U.S. naval ship passed too close to one of its ships in the Mediterranean Sea and released a video that Moscow says shows how dangerous the encounter was. The USS Gravely had a close encounter with the Russian warship at a distance of 60-70 meters at the left side and crossed the Yaroslav Mudry's sailing course along the bow at a dangerous distance of 180 meters, the Russian Defense Ministry statement said. But Pentagon officials gave a different version of events and blamed the incident on the Russian warship, which they said carried out "unsafe and unprofessional" operations near two U.S. Navy ships. (RFE/RL, Moscow Times, 06.28.16).Canada will serve as one of four lead nations for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization deterrent force in Eastern Europe, Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said Thursday. NATO diplomats have said Canadian forces are expected to go to Latvia while the U.S. battalion goes to Poland, the Germans to Lithuania and the U.K. in Estonia. Other nations, including Denmark and France, are contributing smaller numbers of forces, officials have said. (Wall Street Journal, 06.30.16).Moscow has issued its strongest warning yet over the prospect of Montenegro becoming a full member of NATO. The Russian State Duma addressed a statement to the parliamentary assemblies of NATO and OSCE countries, as well as to the national parliaments of the Balkan states, warning of the possibility of "a new Cold War." (RFE/RL, 06.26.16).NATO has appointed the highest-ranking woman in its history, naming U.S. Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller as its next deputy secretary-general. (AP, 06.27.16).Missile defense:
A team from China's People's Liberation Army and their Russian counterparts in Moscow ran a five-day computer simulation of a joint response to a ballistic missile attack, Financial Times reported. The exercise took place in the Central Research Institute of Air and Space Defense in Moscow and involved sharing information in an extremely sensitive sphere, Vasily Kashin, an expert on China's military at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told Financial Times. (FT, Belfer Center, 06.23.16).U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft insisted the U.S. missile-defense network was not designed to attack Russia. ''We have talked to the Russian side; they have walked out of talks. We have offered to set up NATO-Russia facilities to show how these things would work to be. It would be, in effect, a confidence-building measure," he said. "Russia has not accepted any of those [offers]." (RFE/RL, 06.27.16).The first prototype of the S-350 air defense missile system will be ready in the imminent future, Sergei Babakov, head of the air defense missile troops department of the Russian Aerospace Force's Air and Ballistic Missile Defense Forces Command, said. (Tass, 06.27.16).Arms control:
The United States has authorized a Russian surveillance jet to overfly U.S. territory as part of the Open Skies Treaty, closing a dispute that had elicited vocal criticism from some lawmakers over the technology being used by the Russians. (RFE/RL, 06.28.16).Counter-terrorism:
The upper house of the Russian parliament has passed a controversial anti-terrorism legislation package. The laws include far-reaching surveillance initiatives, harsher punishments for inciting or justifying terrorism online, and an increase in the number of crimes with which children aged between 14 and 17 can be charged. (Moscow Times, 06.29.16).Russian man was the alleged organizer of ISIS' attack on the Istanbul airport, the Yeni Safak news website reported Friday. Chechen Ahmed Chataev has been accused of orchestrating the assault, which left 41 people dead and injured more than 230. Turkish media reported Thursday that another Russian national, Osman Vadinov, was amongst three terrorists who died at the airport. A Kyrgyz and an Uzbek national are also alleged to have died, Yeni Safak reported. One terrorist was detained by police, while a further three are still being sought. Kyrgyz authorities have said it is too early to confirm Turkish media claims (Moscow Times, 07.01.16, RFE/RL, 07.01.16).Kazakh authorities say security forces have apprehended a group of suspected radical Islamists weeks after a deadly attack in the city of Aqtobe. Kazakhstan's National Security Committee said on June 29 that one of the suspected Islamists blew himself up when security forces tried to arrest him. (RFE/RL, 06.29.16).Cyber security:
Russia stands behind leading nations in relation to development of information technology, the draft information security doctrine posted by Russia's Security Council said. "The absence of any rules to regulate state-to-state relations in cyberspace or any appropriate international legal mechanisms to reflect specific features of information technology, make it harder to forge a system of international information security, as designed to bring about strategic stability and facilitate an equal strategic partnership," the document said. (Interfax, 06.25.16).The attack on the Democratic National Committee's computer network this past spring was part of a broader months long campaign by Russian hackers against groups with ties to U.S. politics, according to a new report by SecureWorks Corp. The DNC is "confident" that Russian government hackers were responsible for the breach and has "deployed the recommended technology" to secure their systems, said a senior DNC official. In a previous statement, a Kremlin spokesman said: "I completely rule out the possibility of the government or government structures being involved in this." (Wall Street Journal, 06.27.16).Energy exports from CIS:
Gazprom will send some of the gas from Nord Stream 2 pipeline through Slovakia, Financial Times reported. The paper quoted Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller as saying Russian company had ''reached an agreement'' with Slovak pipeline group Eustream that ''Slovakian gas transport capacity will be used as part of the Nord Stream 2 project.'' (Financial Times, Belfer Center, 06.30.16).Bilateral economic ties:
The Russian State Duma has passed a bill banning the import and production of genetically modified organisms. (Moscow Times, 06.24.16).Other bilateral issues:
Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it. The U.S. is also ''preparing a response'' to claims that Russia has been harassing its diplomatic staff based in the country, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday. (Washington Post, 06.27.16, Moscow Times, 06.30.16).The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced allegations by the U.S. State Department that American diplomats in the country are suffering from ''continuous interference'' by Russian security services. ''Our diplomats in U.S. are constantly facing provocations from the FBI and CIA, whose employees do not hesitate to use illegal methods such as psychological pressure,'' Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. (Moscow Times, 06.28.16).Russia's Foreign Ministry says a U.S. diplomat who was involved in an altercation with a Russian guard outside the Moscow Embassy was a spy returning from an unspecified intelligence operation. The U.S. diplomat suffered a broken shoulder after being tackled on a sidewalk outside the U.S. Embassy compound in central Moscow on June 6, according to a U.S. official who spoke to RFE/RL about the incident. (RFE/RL, 06.30.16).Russia's Investigative Committee has requested help from U.S. authorities to investigate criminal charges against Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's anti-doping laboratory who exposed large-scale doping violations in Russian sport. (Moscow Times, 06.27.16).The United States has extradited Russian man Gennady Gavrilets wanted by Moscow for allegedly organizing a murder in the 1990s. (RFE/RL, 06.28.16)."I would be the slowest with the (nuclear) button," Donald Trump claimed. "But I would be the one who doesn't have to use it because they're going to respect us again. Nobody respects us now." (Washington Examiner, 06.29.16).II. Russia news.
Domestic politics, economy and energy:
Russia's recession is easing and growth may resume by the end of this year, analysts at Fitch Ratings said in a new report providing a country-by-country overview of sovereign credit trends in emerging Europe released on June 30. (Tass, 06.30.16).The Russian Purchasing Manager's Index surged to 51.5 in June from 49.6 in May, rising above the threshold of 50 that separates contraction from growth for the first time since last November, Markit Economics said Friday in a statement. (Bloomberg, 07.01.16).Russian air carriers saw passenger traffic drop 14.3 percent last month, the Federal Air Transportation Agency announced in a statement Wednesday. (Moscow Times, 06.29.16).The production of vodka in Russia has increased year on year by 30 percent in April and 29 percent in May. The increase has been informally linked to raids carried out by the Federal Security Service and Federal Tax Service. (Moscow Times, 06.29.16).President Vladimir Putin has praised the "vital" role of United Russia in consolidating society over the last 15 years, trying to whip up support for his party ahead of September 18 elections with the country in its longest recession in decades. Putin also spoke out against the risks of ''speculating on Russia's current difficulties,'' in the run-up to the general election. (RFE/RL, Moscow Times, 06.27.16).Russia has for the first time charged a human rights activist for failing to comply with its vague "foreign agents" law, Human Rights Watch said Monday. On Monday, Russian authorities informed Valentina Cherevatenko, chair of the coordination board of "Women of the Don Union", that they were bringing criminal charges against her. (RFE/RL, 06.28.16).The Kremlin has denied reports that Children's Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has been fired from his post. The news came shortly after the ombudsman drew public criticism for asking a young survivor of a deadly boating accident, ''how was your swim?''(Moscow Times. 07.01.16).Defense and Aerospace:
In the wake of an unprecedented purge of dozens of senior officers from Russia's Baltic Sea Fleet, the Defense Ministry on July 1 appointed two seasoned admirals from the larger Black Sea and Pacific groupings to take the helm and stabilize the ailing fleet. The new commander of the fleet will be Vice-Admiral Alexander Nosatov, who served as the head of the Baltic Fleet's main naval base in Kaliningrad from 2009-2012. (Moscow Times, 07.01.16).Russia recently wrapped up nine days of inspections of its military forces in order to judge their readiness. The surprise inspections involved all four of Russia's military districts, with the focus on command and control structures as well as military arsenals. (Voice of America, 06.27.16).Security, law-enforcement and justice:
A Russian governor arrested for corruption has claimed his innocence in a Moscow court. Nikita Belykh, governor of the Kirov region in central Russia, was arrested Friday after allegedly taking a 400,000 euro ($440,000) bribe. (Moscow Times, 06.27.16).Sergei Fedotov, the head of a Russian organization dedicated to protecting authors' rights has been detained on suspicion of fraud. (RFE/RL, 06.28.16).The remains of two men have been found inside an exploded car in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region of Dagestan. Preliminary investigations suggest that the men were transporting a homemade explosive device that detonated unexpectedly, killing the two men, who have not been yet identified.(RFE/RL, 06.28.16).Six Russian citizens and a Ukrainian have been detained by the Spanish Civil Guard, the El Mundo newspaper reported Tuesday. The Spanish daily said that the arrests were ''a new blow to the Russian mafia in Spain.'' (Moscow Times, 06.28.16).Moscow City Court has dismissed the criminal case against Domodedovo Airport owner Dmitry Kamenshchik, the gazeta.ru news website reported Friday. (Moscow Times, 07.01.16).Foreign affairs and trade:
Syria:U.S. President Barack Obama has set out a possible new agreement on military cooperation between Russia and the U.S. in Syria. The crux of the deal is a U.S. promise to join forces with the Russian air force to share targeting and coordinate an expanded bombing campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's branch in Syria. In exchange, the Russians would agree to pressure the Assad regime to stop bombing certain Syrian rebel groups. The United States would not give Russia the exact locations of these groups, under the proposal, but would specify geographic zones that would be safe from the Assad regime's aerial assaults. The text of the agreement was sent to the Russian government on Monday (Washington Post, Moscow Times 06.30.16).CIA Chief John Brennan has had "numerous interactions" with Russia, which he said hasn't lived up to its commitments to enforce a ''cessation of hostilities'' in Syria, where its military backs President Bashar al-Assad. "We are continuing to push the Russians" because there's no way forward on the political front without them, Brennan added. (Bloomberg, 06.29.16).Russia will countenance Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaving office, but only when it is confident a change of leader will not trigger a collapse of the Syrian government, sources familiar with the Kremlin's thinking say. (Reuters, 06.30.16).Other countries:Russia and Turkey have agreed to resume cooperation on travel and trade after the presidents of the two counties held their first telephone conversation since Ankara downed a Russian plane last year. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip also agreed to hold a face-to-face meeting in September on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in China. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also ready to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in August in Sochi, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. The conversation was initiated by Putin in a response to the Turkish president's letter this week, in which Erdogan expressed regret for the downing of a Russian jet last year. Alparslan Chelik, the alleged killer of the Russian Su-24 bomber pilot, will remain in custody in Turkey. Following Putin's instructions Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed ministers to prepare measures for the removal of economic sanctions against Turkey. (RFE/RL, 06.29.16. Tass, 06.27.16, Moscow Times, 06.28.16, 06.30.16, Tass, 06.30.16).Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has met his Turkish counterpart in Sochi amid a thawing of recently tense bilateral relations. After the meeting, Lavrov said that Moscow and Ankara have agreed to restore their antiterror cooperation and military contacts. (RFE/RL, 07.01.16, Tass, 07.01.16).Turkish officials have offered to give a house in the country's seaside resort of Kemer to the family of a Russian fighter pilot downed by Turkish air forces, the TASS news agency reported Friday. The family of the Su-24 pilot Oleg Peshkov, however, turned down the offer. The Turkish government also announced Tuesday that the country was ready to pay a compensation ''if necessary,'' but later backtracked on the claim. (Moscow Times. 07.01.16).The European Union has officially decided to extend its economic sanctions against Russia to January 31, 2017. (RFE/RL, 07.01.16).Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended the food embargo against the countries, which imposed sanctions against Russia, until the end of 2017. (Interfax, 06.29.16).A new European Union policy document describes Russia as "a key strategic challenge," wording that constitutes a compromise between member states that are more hawkish toward Moscow and those resisting an escalation of rhetoric. T he strategy also says EU should actively involve Russia in cooperation to prevent and resolve disputes. (RFE/RL, 06.27.16, Tass, 06.27.16).Russian President Vladimir Putin said the "traumatic effect" from Britain's vote to leave the European Union will be felt for a long time, although global market turbulence has subsided. (RFE/RL, 07.01.16).While it's ''unreasonable to draw direct parallels,'' it's obvious that the U.K. is going through a ''turbulent, confusing and unpredictable period,'' Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday. Russia ''has gone through the collapse of the Soviet Union and many generations clearly remember the period of the Soviet collapse, that period of uncertainty.'' (Bloomberg, 06.27.16).The Kremlin is hopeful that the UK's decision to leave the EU will mean better relations between London and Moscow, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced Friday. (Moscow Times, 06.24.16).Czech President Milos Zeman called for a referendum on the country's membership in the European Union and NATO, adding to concern that more European countries will copy Britain's Brexit vote even as he said he supported remaining in both blocs. (Bloomberg, 07.01.16).Lithuania, concerned about losing a strong defender of Russian sanctions in the European Union, has called for a gradual British exit from the EU that preserves ties with London. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius expressed worries that "the voices of the more principled positions will be weaker" within the European Union when it comes to dealing with Russia. (RFE/RL, 06.28.16).Russia's arms export agency Rosoboronexport has delivered a dozen Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters to Iraq in accordance with a 2012 agreement, says a source within the Russian defense industry. (RBTH, 06.30.16).Rosatom will start work on the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Bangladesh by the summer of 2017. (Interfax, 06.28.16).Russia has only managed to attract $560 million in foreign direct investment from China, less than 0.5 percent of China's total outbound direct investment in 2015 and much less than the $4 billion in Chinese investment Russia received in 2013, before the Ukraine crisis. (Foreign Policy, 06.25.16).Russia's neighbors:
Ukraine:One Ukrainian soldier has been killed and four wounded in attacks over the past 24 hours by Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on July 1. (RFE/RL, 07.01.16).Ukrainian opera singer Vasyl Slipak who left the Paris Opera two years ago to fight Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has reportedly been killed. (RFE/RL, 06.29.16).Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman has predicted Ukraine will join the European Union within the next 10 years. (RFE/RL, 07.01.16).Other neighbors:Pope Francis waded into turbulent geopolitical waters once again on Friday during his first visit to Armenia when he made an unscripted remark referring to the World War I-era massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as a genocide. The pontiff said Friday that ''that tragedy'' had been ''a genocide'' and was ''the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century. (New York Times, 06.24.16).German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned that the conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh could escalate and says Turkey and Armenia should hold talks to resolve their long-standing differences. (RFE/RL, 06.30.16)Armenian lawmakers have approved the cabinet's decision to join Russia's air-defense system amid protests by the opposition. (RFE/RL, 06.30.16).Former Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat has been sentenced to nine years in jail on corruption charges. (RFE/RL, 06.27.16).Kazakhstan has been elected non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for the 2017-2018 biennium. The former Soviet republic's campaign centered on four pillars: food security, water security, energy security and nuclear security. (EFE, 06.29.16).The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Georgia next week for talks on Tbilisi's push for closer ties with NATO and the European Union. (RFE/RL, 06.30.16).Kazakh security officials say followers of an ultra-conservative branch of Islam were behind a foiled terror attack. The Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) said on June 29 that it had detained several members of a group that had planned "terrorist acts using improvised explosive devices." (RFE/RL, 06.29.16)Belarus on Friday redenominated its currency, wiping four zeros off its ruble, the country's Central Bank said Friday. (Moscow Times, 07.01.16).Back issues of Russia in Review are availablehere.If you wish to either unsubscribe from or subscribe to Russia in Review, please e-mail Simon Saradzhyan atsimon_saradzhyan@hks.harvard.edu.
For more information about this publication please contact the The US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism at 617-496-0518.
For Academic Citation:
"Russia in Review.", July 1, 2016.
Hacked Emails Reveal NATO General Plotting Against Obama on Russia Policy
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 16:41
Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, until recently the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, plotted in private to overcome President Barack Obama's reluctance to escalate military tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine in 2014, according to apparently hacked emails from Breedlove's Gmail account that were posted on a new website called DC Leaks.
Obama defied political pressure from hawks in Congress and the military to provide lethal assistance to the Ukrainian government, fearing that doing so would increase the bloodshed and provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with the justification for deeper incursions into the country.
Breedlove, during briefings to Congress, notably contradicted the Obama administration regarding the situation in Ukraine, leading to news stories about conflict between the general and Obama.
But the leaked emails provide an even more dramatic picture of the intense back-channel lobbying for the Obama administration to begin a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.
In a series of messages in 2014, Breedlove sought meetings with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking for advice on how to pressure the Obama administration to take a more aggressive posture towards Russia.
''I may be wrong, '... but I do not see this WH really 'engaged' by working with Europe/NATO. Frankly I think we are a 'worry,' '... ie a threat to get the nation drug into a conflict,'' Breedlove wrote in an email to Powell, who responded by accepting an invitation to meet and discuss the dilemma. ''I seek your counsel on two fronts,'' Breedlove continued, '''... how to frame this opportunity in a time where all eyes [sic] on ISIL all the time, '... and two,'... how to work this personally with the POTUS.''
Breedlove attempted to influence the administration through several channels, emailing academics and retired military officials, including former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark, for assistance in building his case for supplying military assistance to Ukrainian forces battling Russian-backed separatists.
''I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized, '... ie do not get me into a war????'' Breedlove wrote in an email to Harlan Ullman, senior adviser to the Atlantic Council, describing his ongoing attempt get Powell to help him influence Obama.
''Given Obama's instruction to you not to start a war, this may be a tough sell,'' Ullman replied a few months later, in another string of emails about Breedlove's effort to ''leverage, cajole, convince or coerce the US to react'' to Russia.
Breedlove did not respond to a request for comment. He stepped down from his NATO leadership position in May and retired from service on Friday, July 1. Breedlove was a four star Air Force general and served as the 17th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe starting on May 10, 2013.
Phillip Karber, an academic who corresponded regularly with Breedlove '-- providing him with advice and intelligence on the Ukrainian crisis '-- verified the authenticity of several of the emails in the leaked cache. He also told The Intercept that Breedlove confirmed to him that the general's Gmail account was hacked, and that the incident had been reported to the government.
''The last conversation I had about it with General Breedlove, he said, 'Yeah, I've been hacked several times,''' said Karber. He added that he noticed at least one of his personal emails appearing online from the leak before we had contacted him. ''I turned this over to the U.S. government and asked them to investigate. No one has given me any answer.''
''I have no idea whose account was leaked or hacked,'' said Powell, when reached for comment about the emails. Powell said he had no comment about the discussions regarding Obama's response to the conflict in Ukraine.
In the European press, Breedlove has been portrayed as a hawkish figure known for leaning on allied nations to ditch diplomacy and to adopt a more confrontational role again Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. Breedlove, testifying before Congress earlier in February of this year, called Russia ''a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies.''
Der Spiegelreported that Breedlove ''stunned'' German leaders with a surprise announcement in 2015 by claiming that pro-Russian separatists had ''upped the ante'' in eastern Ukraine with ''well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of the most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery'' sent to Donbass, a center of the conflict.
Breedlove's numbers were ''significantly higher'' than the figures known to NATO intelligence agencies, and seemed exaggerated to German officials. The announcement appeared to be a provocation designed to disrupt mediation efforts led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In previous instances, German officials believed Breedlove overestimated Russian forces along the border with Ukraine by as much as 20,000 troops, and found that the general had falsely claimed that several Russian military assets near the Ukrainian border were part of a special build-up in preparation for a large-scale invasion of the country. In fact, much of the Russian military equipment identified by Breedlove, the Germans said, had been stored there well before the revolution in Ukraine.
The emails, however, depict a desperate search by Breedlove to build his case for escalating the conflict, contacting colleagues and friends for intelligence to illustrate the Russian threat. Karber, who visited Ukrainian politicians and officials in Kiev on several occasions, sent frequent messages to Breedlove '-- ''per your request,'' he noted '-- regarding information he had received about separatist military forces and Russian troop movements. In several updates, Breedlove received military data sourced from Twitter and social media.
Karber, the president of the Potomac Foundation, became the center of a related scandal last year when it was discovered that he had facilitated a meeting during which images of purported Russian forces in Ukraine were distributed to the office of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and were published by a neoconservative blog. The pictures turned out to be a deception; one supposed picture of Russian tanks in Ukraine was in fact an old photograph of Russian tanks in Ossetia during the war with Georgia.
Breedlove stayed in close contact with Karber and other officials who shared his views on the Ukrainian conflict.
''Phil, can't we get a statement to counteract the Russians on use of force? what can I do to help? If the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative, the Russians will see it as an open door,'' wrote retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who forwarded on his messages with Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. He also passed along concerns from the Bulgarian president that Bulgaria might be Russia's next target.
In other messages, Clark relayed specific requests for the types of military aide desired by Ukrainian officials. In addition to radar systems and other forms of military equipment, Clark recommended that Breedlove ''encourage Ukraine to hire some first rate pr firms and crisis communications firms in US and Europe.'' He added, ''They need the right tools to engage in information warfare.''
Ukraine did hire several D.C. lobbying and communication firms to influence policymakers. In June 2015, the government signed a deal with APCO Worldwide, an influential firm with ties to senior Democratic and Republican officials.
In an email in February 2015, Karber told Breedlove that, ''Pakistan has, under the table, offered Ukraine 500 TOW-II launchers (man-portable version) and 8,000 TOW-II missiles,'' adding that deliveries of the anti-tank weapons could begin by the end of the month. ''However,'' Karber wrote, ''Pakistan will not make these deliveries without US approval; moreover they will not even request that approval unless they have informal assurance that it would be approved.''
Karber told the Intercept that the Pakistani arms deal never materialized.
Breedlove was most recently in the news explaining that he now thinks we need to talk to the Russian government to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. ''I think we need to begin to have meaningful dialogue,'' he said last week, while reiterating his views on the need for a strong NATO to militarily match Russia. ''Russia does understand power, and strength, and unity,'' he said.
The emails were released by DC Leaks, a database run by self-described ''hacktivists'' who are collecting the communications of elite stakeholders such as political parties, major politicians, political campaigns, and the military. The website currently has documents revealing some internal communications of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and George Soros's Open Society Foundation, among others.
Top photo: General Philip Breedlove.
EU Council formally extends sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:27
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The EU plans to hold a detailed discussion on relations with Russia and its sanctions against it this fall. Source: RIA Novosti
The European Union formally extended economic sectoral sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017, the EU Council said in an official statement on July 1.
The decision will officially come into force on July 2 after publication in the official journal of the EU.
The "Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 January 2017," the statement says.
The decision is purely technical; the political decision to prolong sanctions was made on June 21 at the EU Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) meeting.
The EU plans to hold a detailed discussion on relations with Russia and its sanctions against it this fall.
Source: Tass.com
Russia, Japan to hold security consultations
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:33
The consultations will be held in Moscow on July 4.
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Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabko. Source: ITAR-TASS
Senior diplomats from the Russian and Japanese Foreign Ministries will meet in Moscow on July 4 for security consultations, Japan's Foreign Ministry said on July 1.
Japan will be represented by Kimihiro Isikane, director of the Asia-Pacific Region Department of the Foreign Ministry. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabko will represent Russia.
Japan's NHK television channel reported on June 30 that the Russian and Japanese diplomats were set to discuss key international issues, including the Syrian conflict and developments on the Korean peninsula.
Source: Tass.com
S-400 technology helps Seoul blunt Pyongyang threat
Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry disputes alleged beating of U.S. diplomat
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 20:42
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. Source: Getty Images
The Russian Foreign Ministry says a publication in the Washington Post newspaper about the alleged use of force against a U.S. diplomat in Moscow by the Russian law enforcement authorities contradicts real facts.
"It was really as follows. Overnight into June 6, a taxi cab drove up to the U.S. Embassy compound in Moscow, an unknown man with a cap pulled down over his face jumped out from the car and rushed to the guardhouse. A Russian policeman being on duty there wanted to check the documents of a suspicious man to make sure of the absence of a threat for the diplomatic mission, but the latter has hit the guard man with elbow in the face. In the sparked brawl the stranger pushed away a security guard and escaped in the embassy," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement for the media, whose text was published on the ministry's website.
"Hence, the newspaper report not just mispresented the situation, but contradicts the real facts. This was an assault on a policeman performing his duties that is confirmed by the video recordings from the monitoring cameras, which had been handed over to the U.S. State Department long ago. Besides, it became known that the assailant was a U.S. diplomat, and the Russian Foreign Ministry announced a decisive protest to the U.S. Embassy," Zakharova said.
"It is known that this diplomat is actually a CIA employee. On that night, he, masking himself, was returning after an intelligence operation. And whether he was strongly nervous about this, or just wanted to slip through unidentified, therefore, he did not show his diplomatic identity card, and when he was stopped he used his fists," she said.
Read more: Why the standoff between the U.S. and Russia is here to stay>>>
FSB Guard Assaults US Diplomat Outside Embassy | The Daily Caller
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 00:15
FSB Guard Assaults US Diplomat Outside Embassy | The Daily Caller
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A U.S. diplomat was assaulted by a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) guard June 6 as he was trying to enter the U.S. Embassy in central Moscow.
The FSB guard tackled the diplomat, who suffered multiple injuries including a broken shoulder. The diplomat was flown out of Russia for medical treatment, and he has yet to return. Four U.S. officials confirmed the previously unreported incident Tuesday for Josh Rogin of The Washington Post.
The U.S. Department of State quickly summoned Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak to complain about the incident. The motive for the attack is unclear, but different stories from U.S. officials claim the diplomat was seeking refuge at the embassy to avoid detention by the FSB, as he may be working as a spy in Russia under ''diplomatic cover,'' according to the Washington Post.
U.S. intelligence officials Monday shared stories of how Russian spies routinely break into the homes of American diplomats and rearrange their furniture. One case involved the killing of a U.S. defense attache's dog during President Barack Obama's first term in The White House. (RELATED: Russian Spies Assassinated An American Diplomats Dog)
''When the Russian government singles people out for this kind of intimidation, going from intimidation to harassment to something worse is not inconceivable,'' former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas told The Washington Post.
Russian agents slipped radioactive material in the tea of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 at a bar in London. A recently released British investigation claims Russian President Vladimir Putin likely approved the assassination. (RELATED: Here's The Circumstantial Evidence Linking Putin To The Murder Of Russian Whistleblower)
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Brexit
Theresa May - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 20:44
On 12 May 2010, Theresa May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his first Cabinet, becoming the fourth woman to hold one of the British Great Offices of State, after (in order of seniority) Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister), Margaret Beckett (Foreign Secretary) and Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary).[15] As Home Secretary, May is also a member of the National Security Council.[16] She is the longest-serving Home Secretary for over 60 years, since James Chuter Ede who served over six years and two months from 1945 until 1951.
May's debut as Home Secretary involved overturning several of the previous Labour Government's measures on data collection and surveillance in England and Wales. By way of a Government Bill which became the Identity Documents Act 2010, she brought about the abolition of the Labour Government's National Identity Card and database scheme[17][18] and also reformed the regulations on the retention of DNA samples for suspects and controls on the use of CCTV cameras. On 20 May 2010, May announced the adjournment of the deportation to the USA of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon.[19] She also suspended the registration scheme for carers of children and vulnerable people.[20][21]
On 4 August 2010 it was reported that May was scrapping the former Labour Government's proposed "go orders" scheme to protect women from domestic violence by banning abusers from the victim's home.[22] This was followed on 6 August 2010 by the closure of the previous Government's "ContactPoint" database of 11 million under-18-year olds designed to protect children in the wake of the Victoria Climbi(C) child abuse scandal.[23]
On 2 June 2010, May faced her first major national security incident as Home Secretary with the Cumbria shootings.[24][25] May delivered her first major speech in the House of Commons as Home Secretary in a statement on this incident,[26] later visiting the victims with the Prime Minister.[27][28] Also in June 2010, May banned the Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik from entering the United Kingdom,[29] resulting in Home Office officials who disagreed with the Government's policy of excluding Zakir Naik from Britain being suspended from work.[30] In late June 2010, May announced plans for a temporary cap on UK visas for non-EU migrants.[31] The move raised concerns about the impact on the UK economy.[32]
Speaking at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) conference on 29 June 2010, May announced radical cuts to the Home Office budget, likely to lead to a reduction in police numbers.[33] In July 2010, it was reported that May had corresponded with Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.[34] In August 2010, May attended a private meeting with Mr and Mrs McCann to discuss their case.[35]
In July 2010, May presented the House of Commons with proposals for a fundamental review of the previous Labour Government's security and counter-terrorism legislation, including "stop and search" powers, and her intention to review the 28-day limit on detaining terrorist suspects without charge.[36][37] In mid-July 2010, May oversaw a second major gun incident in the North of England with an unsuccessful week-long police operation to capture and arrest Raoul Moat, an ex-convict who shot three people, killing one. The suspect later shot himself dead.[38][39] During the incident, Moat was shot with a long-range taser. It later transpired that the firm supplying the taser, Pro-Tect, was in breach of its licence by supplying the police directly with the weapon. Its licence was revoked by the Home Office after the Moat shooting. On 1 October 2010 the BBC reported that the director of the company, Peter Boatman, had apparently killed himself over the incident.[40]
In August 2010, May banned the English Defence League from holding a march in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on 28 August. The EDL protested against the ban, claiming they planned a "peaceful demonstration".[41] Around 2 pm on the day of the ban, violent disturbances in Bradford between EDL members and their opponents were reported, calling for intervention by riot police.[42][43]
In early September 2010, allegations resurfaced regarding the phone-tapping scandal; tabloid paper journalists had been jailed in 2009 for intercepting the mobile phone messages of major public figures. The case involved a journalist employed by former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who had later become director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron. (Coulson was absolved of any role in the bugging incidents during a House of Commons enquiry in 2009.) Labour Party leadership candidate Ed Balls called on the Home Secretary to make a statement to the House on the matter.[44] On 5 September, May told the BBC that there were "no grounds for a public enquiry".[45] The Metropolitan Police said it might consider re-examining evidence on the allegations.[46] On 6 September 2010, May faced parliamentary questions over the allegations following an intervention by Speaker Bercow.[47][48]
On 9 December 2010, in the wake of violent student demonstrations in central London against increases to higher-education tuition fees, May praised the actions of the police in controlling the demonstrations but was described by The Daily Telegraph as "under growing political pressure" due to her handling of the protests.[49][50]
In December 2010, May declared that deployment of water cannon by police forces in mainland Britain was an operational decision which had been "resisted until now by senior police officers."[51] On 9 August 2011, May rejected their use and said: "the way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." May said: "I condemn utterly the violence in Tottenham... Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated, and the Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order."[52] She returned to the UK from holiday to meet senior police officials on 8 August.
In the aftermath of the riots May urged the identification of as many as possible of the young criminals involved. She said: "when I was in Manchester last week, the issue was raised to me about the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of crimes of this sort. The Crown Prosecution Service is to order prosecutors to apply for anonymity to be lifted in any youth case they think is in the public interest. The law currently protects the identity of any suspect under the age of 18, even if they are convicted, but it also allows for an application to have such restrictions lifted, if deemed appropriate." May added that "what I've asked for is that CPS guidance should go to prosecutors to say that where possible, they should be asking for the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of criminal activity to be lifted."[53]
At the Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2011, while arguing that the Human Rights Act needed to be amended, May gave the example of a foreign national who the Courts ruled was allowed to remain in the UK, "because'--and I am not making this up'--he had a pet cat". In response, the Royal Courts of Justice issued a statement, denying that this was the reason for the tribunal's decision in that case, and stating that the real reason was that he was in a genuine relationship with a British partner, and owning a pet cat was simply one of many pieces of evidence given to show that the relationship was "genuine". The Home Office had failed to apply its own rules for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK.[54] Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke subsequently called May's comments "laughable and childlike."[55] Amnesty International said May's comments only fuelled "myths and misconceptions" about the Human Rights Act and the fact "that someone in Theresa May's position can be so misinformed as to parade out a story about someone being allowed to stay in Britain because of a cat is nothing short of alarming."[56]
In June 2013, May signed an order prohibiting Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, two American bloggers who co-founded the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America, from entering the United Kingdom on the basis that their presence would not be "conducive to the public good".[57][58] The pair had been invited to attend an English Defence League march at Woolwich, where Drummer Lee Rigby had been killed earlier that year.[57] The pressure group Hope not Hate led a campaign to exclude the pair, whom the Home Office described as "inflammatory speakers who promote hate".[59][60]
May supported the detention of David Miranda, partner of Wikileaks journalist Glenn Greenwald under the Terrorism Act 2000, saying that critics of the Metropolitan Police action needed to "think about what they are condoning".[61] Lib Dem peer and former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald accused May of an "ugly and unhelpful" attempt to implicate those who were concerned about the police action of "condoning terrorism".[61] The High Court subsequently acknowledged there were "indirect implications for press freedom" but ruled the detention legal.[62]
In March 2014, May signed a secret security pact with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told The Independent: "Deals with nations like Saudi Arabia should not be done in secret."[63]
On 29 August 2014, the British government raised the terrorist threat level to "severe", as Prime Minister David Cameron and May warned a terrorist attack was "highly likely" following the coming to prominence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. May admitted that, although the threat level had been hiked to the second-highest possible, there was no intelligence warning of an imminent attack.[64]
Police reorganisationEditOn 26 July 2010, May announced a package of reforms to policing in England and Wales in the House of Commons.[65] The previous Labour Government's central crime agency, Soca (Serious Organised Crime Agency) was to be replaced by a new National Crime Agency. In common with the Conservative Party 2010 general election manifesto's flagship proposal for a "Big Society" based on voluntary action, May also proposed to increase the role of civilian "reservists" for crime control. The reforms were rejected by the Opposition Labour Party.[65]
Following the actions of a minority of Black Bloc in vandalising allegedly tax-avoiding shops and businesses on the day of 26 March TUC march, the Home Secretary unveiled reforms[66] curbing the right to protest, including giving police extra powers to remove masked individuals and to police social networking sites to prevent illegal protest without police consent or notification.[67]
Drug policyEditBanning of khatEditIn July 2013, May decided to ban the stimulant khat, against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The council reached the conclusion that there was "insufficient evidence" it caused health problems.[68]
Explaining the change in the classification May said: "The decision to bring khat under control is finely balanced and takes into account the expert scientific advice and these broader concerns", and pointed out that the product had already been banned in the whole of northern Europe, most recently the Netherlands, the majority of other EU member states, as well as most of the G8 countries including Canada and the US.[69]
A report on khat use by the ACMD published in January 2013 had noted the product had been associated with "acute psychotic episodes", "chronic liver disease" and family breakdown. However, it concluded that there is no risk of harm for most users, and recommended that Khat remain uncontrolled due to lack of evidence for these associations.[70]
Home Office reportEditLiberal Democrat minister Norman Baker accused May of suppressing proposals to treat rather than prosecute minor drug offenders from a report into drug policy commissioned by the Home Office.[71][72] The Home Office denied that its officials had considered this as part of their strategy. Baker cited difficulties in working with May as the reason for his resignation from the Home Office in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.[73][74][75][76]
Anti-social behaviourEditOn 28 July 2010, May proposed to review the previous Labour Government's anti-social behaviour legislation signalling the abolition of the "Anti-Social Behaviour Order" (ASBO). She identified the policy's high level of failure with almost half of ASBOs breached between 2000 and 2008, leading to "fast-track" criminal convictions. May proposed a less punitive, community-based approach to tackling social disorder. May suggested that anti-social behaviour policy "must be turned on its head", reversing the ASBO's role as the flagship crime control policy legislation under Labour.[77][78] Former Labour Home Secretaries David Blunkett (who introduced ASBOs) and Alan Johnson expressed their disapproval of the proposals.[79]
Family migrationEditOn 11 June 2012, May, as Home Secretary, announced to Parliament that new restrictions would be introduced, intended to reduce the number of non-European Economic Area family migrants. The changes were mostly intended to apply to new applicants after 9 July 2012.[80] The new rules came into effect from 9 July 2012 allowing only those British citizens earning more than £18,600 to bring their spouse or their child to live with them in the UK. This figure would rise significantly in cases where visa applications are also made for children. They also increased the current two-year probationary period for partners to five years. The rules also prevent any adult and elderly dependents from settling in the UK unless they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK.[81]
The rules were introduced by the 'back door' without a proper debate[82] and were criticised later as being arbitrary, dividing families, disrupting integration by a variety of different civil society groups.[83]
An MP, who was concerned about this, addressed May in Parliament as to whether she had examined the impact on communities and families on modest incomes, but he received no direct response.[84]Liberty concluded that the new rules showed scant regard to the impact they would have on genuine families.[85] The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration conducted an evidence based inquiry into the impact of the rules and concluded in their report that the rules were causing very young children to be separated from their parents and could exile British citizens from the UK.[86]
Deportation decisionsEditIn June 2012, May was found in contempt of court by Judge Barry Cotter QC, and stood accused of "totally unacceptable and regrettable behaviour", being said to have shown complete disregard for a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK Immigration Detention Centre. As she eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed, May avoided further sanctions including fines or imprisonment.[87][88]
May responded to a Supreme Court decision in November 2013 to overturn her predecessor Jacqui Smith's revocation of Iraqi-born terror suspect Al Jedda's British citizenship by ordering it to be revoked for a second time, making him the first person to be stripped twice of British citizenship.[89][90][91]
CrimeEditIn July 2013, May welcomed the fact that crime had fallen by more than ten percent under the coalition government, while still being able to make savings. She said that this was partly due to the government removing red tape and scrapping targets to allow the police to concentrate on crime fighting.[92]
Abu Qatada deportationEditOn 7 July 2013, Abu Qatada, a radical cleric arrested in 2002, was deported to Jordan after a decade long battle which had cost the nation £1.7 million in legal fees,[93] and numerous prior Home Secretaries had been unable to resolve.[94] The deportation was the result of a treaty negotiated by May in April 2013, under which Jordan agreed to give Qatada a fair trial, and to refrain from torturing him.[95]
May has frequently pointed to Qatada's deportation as a triumph, guaranteeing in September 2013 that "he will not be returning to the UK", and declaring in her 2016 leadership campaign announcement that she was told that she "couldn't deport Abu Qatada" but that she "flew to Jordan and negotiated the treaty that got him out of Britain for good".[96][97] The Qatada deportation also shaped May's views on the European Convention on Human Rights and European Court on Human Rights, saying that they had "moved the goalposts" and had a "crazy interpretation of our human rights laws", as a result, May has since campaigned against the institutions, saying that British withdrawal from them should be considered.[93]
Passport backlogEditBy mid 2014, American company 3M which makes the RFID microchips in new passports, and their client,[not in citation given] the Passport Office, revealed allegations of a large backlog in developing processing passport applications appeared.[98] David Cameron suggested that this had come about due to the Passport Office's receiving an "above normal" 300,000-rise in applications.[99] It was revealed, however, that May had been warned the year before, in July 2013, that a surge of 350,000 extra applications could occur owing to the closure of processing overseas under Chancellor Osborne's programme of cuts.[100] Around £674,000 was paid to staff who helped clear the backlog.[101]
Immigration Act 2014EditMay was accused by Lord Roberts of being willing to allow someone to die "to score a political point" over the deportation of mentally ill Nigerian man Isa Muazu.[102] According to Muazu's solicitor, May had arranged for the asylum seeker, who was said to be "near death" after a 100-day hunger strike, to be deported by a chartered private jet.[102] To strengthen the Home Office's tough stance an "end of life' plan was reportedly offered to Muazu, who was one of a number of hunger strikers at the Hardmondsworth immigration removal centre.[103]
Birmingham schools rowEditIn June 2014, an inflamed public argument arose between Home Office and Education Ministers about responsibility for alleged extremism in Birmingham schools.[104][105] Prime Minister David Cameron's intervened to resolve the row, insisting that May sack her Special Advisor Fiona Cunningham for releasing on May's website a confidential letter to May's colleagues,[106] and that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, apologise to the Home Office's head of Security and Counter-Terrorism, Charles Farr, for uncomplimentary briefings of him appearing on the front page of The Times.[107][108]
Greville Janner abuse concernsEditIn April 2015, May told the BBC she was "very concerned" about the decision not to prosecute the Labour politician Lord Janner over allegations of historical child sex abuse. Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that although there was enough evidence to bring charges against Janner, he was unfit to stand trial.[109][110][111]
European migrant crisisEditMay rejected the European Union's proposal of compulsory refugee quotas.[112] She said that it was important to help people living in war-zone regions and refugee camps but "not the ones who are strong and rich enough to come to Europe".[113] In May 2016, The Daily Telegraph reported that she had tried to save £4m by rejecting an intelligence project to use aircraft surveillance to detect illegal immigrant boats.[114]
Merkel Must Go Too!
28 Pages
Brennan: Release of 28 Pages Requires ''Discussions'' with Congress | 28Pages.org
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:23
John BrennanEchoing private comments made by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in May, CIA Director John Brennan today said the release of 28 classified pages that describe links between Saudi Arabia and 9/11 would necessitate coordination between the White House and Congress.
Brennan's remarks came in an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, and are the first public assertion by an administration official that an ongoing review of the 28 pages will not end at the White House.
The CIA director's statement was prompted by a question from the audience'--posed by a registered foreign agent of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A Review Two Years in the MakingIn the summer of 2014, spurred by members of the House seeking the release of the 28 pages, President Obama tasked Clapper with coordinating an intelligence community review of the 28 pages.
Asked today about the status of the review, Brennan replied, ''I am only the director of CIA, so I don't make decisions about the release of a congressional document.''
''There's an executive branch responsibility, because that document cited executive branch information,'' said Brennan. However, he said, ''there is going to be the appropriate discussions that need to take place between the executive and legislative branches to finalize (the declassification process.)''
Brennan did not elaborate on who would participate in those discussions or when they would take place. In May, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that ''intelligence officials have indicated they expect to complete that process by the end of June.''
The 28 Pages: Locked Behind These DoorsThe 28 pages are found in the report of a 2002 congressional joint intelligence inquiry into 9/11, and are housed in a secure facility beneath the U.S. Capitol.
As he did earlier this month, Brennan simultaneously endorsed the release of the 28 pages while questioning their value in providing a better understanding of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
''I believe it's important that that document get out because there's so much speculation and conjecture about it,'' said Brennan. ''I have said there are a lot of things in there that unfortunately I think will be used by some to maybe misrepresent the facts or history, but that's why the 9/11 Commission's thorough, thorough, researched investigation really should be seen by folks as the much more dispositive of it.''
28 Pages vs 9/11 Commission ReportBrennan did not mention Saudi Arabia in his remarks, but has previously made clear his concern that readers of the 28 pages might conclude the Saudis were complicit in aiding the hijackers'--a conclusion that they would share with former Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry. Graham has said that ''the 28 pages point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier'' of the 9/11 attacks.
On Meet the Press, Brennan said, ''The 9/11 Commission took that joint inquiry, and those 28 pages or so, and followed through on the investigation. And they came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that indicated that the Saudi government as an institution, or Saudi officials individually, had provided financial support to Al Qaeda.''
Brennan's suggestion that the 9/11 Commission report effectively rendered the 28 pages obsolete is countered by members of the commission, including former senator Bob Kerrey. In a statement offered in support of a the 9/11 families and victims suit against Saudi Arabia, Kerrey said, ''Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued.''
In addition, there are many more counterpoints to Brennan's assertion that the 9/11 Commission conducted a ''thorough, thorough'' investigation of Saudi links to the attacks.
28 Pages May Be Accompanied by Other DocumentsBrennan's remarks were elicited by a question from George Salem, a strategic advisor to DLA Piper, which is a registered foreign agent of Saudi Arabia. Salem asked Brennan to comment on the timing of the release, the expected extent of declassification and whether the release would be accompanied by additional investigation reports to provide fuller context.
''There are some other documents that may come out at the same time, as you point out, but again I defer to others who have that decision-making responsibility,'' said Brennan.
Contact Congress: Our guide makes it easy
File 17 is glimpse into still-secret 28 pages about 9/11
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:25
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Amid the clamor a year ago to release 28 still-secret pages of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks, the government quietly declassified a little-known report listing more than three dozen people who piqued the interest of investigators probing possible Saudi connections to the hijackers.
The document, known as "File 17," offers clues to what might be in the missing pages of the bipartisan report about 9/11.
"Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what's in the 28 pages," said former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, co-chairman of the congressional inquiry. He believes the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States.
"File 17 said, 'Here are some additional unanswered questions and here is how we think the 9/11 Commission, the FBI and the CIA should go about finding the answers,'" Graham said.
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir denies any allegations of Saudi complicity, telling reporters in Washington earlier this month that there is "no there there."
Former President George W. Bush classified the 28-page chapter to protect intelligence sources and methods, although he also probably did not want to upset U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally. Two years ago, under pressure from the families of those killed or injured on Sept. 11, and others, President Barack Obama ordered a declassification review of the 28 pages. It's unclear when all or some may be released.
The report by the two researchers, one of several commission documents the National Archives has reviewed and released, lists possible leads the commission could follow, the names of people who could be interviewed and documents the commission might want to request in looking deeper into the attacks.
File 17, first disclosed by 28pages.org, an advocacy website, names people the hijackers were in contact with in the United States before the attacks. Some were Saudi diplomats, raising questions about whether Saudi officials knew about the plot.
The 9/11 Commission's final report stated that it found "no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded" al-Qaida. "This conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al-Qaida," the report said.
Releasing the 28 pages might answer some questions, but the disclosure also could lead to more speculation about the key Saudi figures investigated by the U.S. after the attacks. A look at some of those named in the declassified report and what the 9/11 Commission concluded:
___
FAHAD AL-THUMAIRY
An imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, al-Thumairy was suspected of helping two of the hijackers after they arrived in Los Angeles. He was an accredited diplomat at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Los Angeles from 1996 to 2003.
The 9/11 Commission said al-Thumairy reportedly led an extremist faction at the mosque. He has denied promoting jihad and told U.S. investigators that he never helped the hijackers.
The commission said al-Thumairy met at the consulate with Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national, in February 2000 just before al-Bayoumi met the two hijackers at a restaurant. Al-Thumairy denied knowing al-Bayoumi even though the two talked on the phone numerous times as early as 1998, including more than 11 calls between Dec. 3-20, 2000. Al-Bayoumi told investigators those conversations were about religious matters.
The 9/11 Commission said that despite the circumstantial evidence, "We have not found evidence that al-Thumairy provided assistance to the two operatives."
A CIA document dated March 19, 2004, said Khallad bin Attash, an al-Qaida operative and suspected planner of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in October 2000, was in Los Angeles for two weeks in June 2000 and was seen in the company of "Los Angeles-based Sunni extremists (redacted section) Fahad al-Thumairy."
On May 6, 2003, al-Thumairy tried to return to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia, but was refused entry on suspicion he might be connected with terrorist activity.
___
OMAR AL-BAYOUMI
A Saudi national who helped the two hijackers in California. Al-Bayoumi told investigators that he and another man drove to Los Angeles from San Diego so that he could address a visa issue and collect papers at the Saudi consulate. Afterward they went to the restaurant in Culver City where he heard the two hijackers speaking in what he recognized to be Gulf Arabic and struck up a conversation with them.
The hijackers told him they didn't like Los Angeles, and al-Bayoumi invited them to move to San Diego. He helped them find and lease an apartment.
The congressional researchers' report said: "Al-Bayoumi has extensive ties to the Saudi government and many in the local Muslim community in San Diego believed that he was a Saudi intelligence officer."
The 9/11 Commission said al-Bayoumi was officially employed by Ercan, a subsidiary of a contractor for the Saudi Civil Aviation Administration. The commission also said that a fellow employee described al-Bayoumi as a "ghost employee," noting that he was one of many Saudis on the payroll who was not required to work.
He left the United States in August 2001, weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.
The 9/11 Commission said it did not "know whether the lunch encounter occurred by chance or by design." The commission said its investigators who spoke with him and studied his background found him to be an "unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement" with Islamic extremists.
___
OSAMA BASSNAN
A close associate of al-Bayoumi who was in frequent contact with the hijackers and lived in an apartment complex across the street from them in San Diego. Bassnan vocally supported Osama bin Laden.
The staffers' found that Bassnan, a former employee of the Saudi government's educational mission in Washington, received considerable funding from Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former intelligence chief in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's U.S. ambassador from 1983 to 2005. The money was supposedly for Bassnan's wife's medical treatments, and the 9/11 Commission said there was no evidence the money was redirected toward terrorism.
___
MOHDHAR ABDULLAH
The staffers' report said Abdullah translated for the two hijackers and helped them open bank accounts and contact flight schools. Interviewed many times by the FBI, Abdullah said he knew of the two hijackers' extremist views but said he did not know what they were planning.
The 9/11 Commission said: "During a post 9/11 search of his possessions, the FBI found a notebook (belonging to someone else) with references to planes falling from the sky, mass killing and hijacking. Further, when detained as a material witness following the 9/11 attacks, Abdullah expressed hatred for the U.S. government and stated that the U.S. brought 'this' on themselves."
The commission also learned of reports that Abdullah bragged to other inmates at a California prison in the fall of 2003 that he knew the hijackers were planning an attack '-- reports the commission nor the FBI were not able to verify.
He was deported to Yemen in May 2004 after the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California declined to prosecute him on charges arriving out alleged comments made in prison.
Obama Nation
Johnson: Biometric exit moving ahead
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:35
Homeland Security
Johnson: Biometric exit moving aheadBy Mark RockwellJun 30, 2016DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said the $1 billion Congress allocated last year for a biometrics-based entry/exit system marked a turning point for the department's efforts.
Biometrics-based exit technology could expand to key airports by 2018, and red team testing of critical cybersecurity might also be on the move, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate panel.
In a three-hour, sometimes politically charged Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 30, Johnson faced a barrage of questions about a wide range of issues, including violent illegal aliens, gun control, morale at the Department of Homeland Security, immigration policy and ammunition acquisitions.
Among the questions were inquiries about the status of biometrics-based exit programs and cybersecurity protection for critical infrastructure providers.
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) asked Johnson about the pilot project underway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to test the use of facial recognition technology to identify visitors when they leave the country. The test is an early step toward a long-awaited nationwide biometrics-based entry/exit system.
"By 2018, we'll have the pieces in place" to begin using a biometrics-based exit system more widely, Johnson said. "The early indications of the pilot are positive."
The trial tests how Customs and Border Protection systems work with facial comparison technology to process images of travelers leaving the U.S. CBP officials said the test targets passengers between the ages of 14 and 79 leaving the airport on a single daily flight to Japan. The trial is set to last until Sept. 30.
Johnson said the $1 billion Congress allocated last year for a biometrics-based entry/exit system marked a turning point for the department's efforts. "It's time to do this," he said.
It's also time to reorganize DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate into a new entity called Cyber Infrastructure Protection, Johnson told Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in response to the senator's question about protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattack.
Whitehouse asked Johnson whether DHS was using "red teams" to test the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure providers. Whitehouse said he had heard that critical infrastructure providers were pleased with DHS' cyber protection efforts.
"But are they happy because it's a robust plan or because they're not being asked to do much?" Whitehouse asked.
Johnson declined to share details on the red team testing and instead advised Whitehouse to request a fuller response off-line from Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Caitlin Durkovich.
"Let me take this as an opportunity to plug the reorganization of NPPD into a cybersecurity and infrastructure" organization, Johnson said. "We need an agency for cybersecurity and infrastructure."
NPPD has been pushing for the reorganization for months. NPPD Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding previewed the plan last October, and it's under consideration in Congress.
The proposed Cyber Infrastructure Protection organization would cut across the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the Office of Infrastructure Protection and the Federal Protective Service. The effort would put physical security experts alongside cybersecurity staff to provide a more effective and coherent defense against cyberattacks that could cause physical and cyber damage across sectors.
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.
EuroLand
Hof Oostenrijk beslist dat verkiezingen opnieuw moeten | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:12
Het constitutionele hof in Oostenrijk heeft vrijdag besloten dat de verkiezingen in het land opnieuw moeten. De rechts-populistische partij FP– vocht de uitslag met succes aan.Alexander van der Bellen van de Groenen werd op 22 mei uitgeroepen tot winnaar van de presidentsverkiezingen.
''De beslissing maakt niemand tot verliezer of winnaar'', verklaarde de voorzitter van het grondwettelijk hof, Gerhart Holzinger. ''Het oordeel dient ertoe het vertrouwen in de rechtsstaat en de democratie te versterken.''
De uitslag van de verkiezingen liet eind mei enkele dagen op zich wachten omdat twee partijen gelijk op gingen. De schriftelijk uitgebrachte stemmen moesten uiteindelijk de doorslag geven, waarna de Europa-gezinde links-liberale en onafhankelijke Van der Bellen de verkiezingen won met minder dan een procent voorsprong. Dat is gelijk aan zo'n 31.000 stemmen.
De FP– van Norbert Hofer besloot daarop de uitslag aan te vechten omdat er volgens hen "onwetmatigheden" waren vastgesteld bij het tellen van de stemmen. In 94 van de 117 kiesdistricten had de partij onregelmatigheden geconstateerd bij het tellen van de stemmen.
Zo stemde een klein deel van de kiezers per post, waarbij het stemgeheim niet kan worden gewaarborgd. Zonder de poststemmen had de FP– meer stemmen behaald dan de Groenen.
Nieuwe verkiezingenDe nieuwe president zou komende week bedigd moeten worden. Nu neemt het driekoppige presidium van de Nationale Raad (het lagerhuis van het parlement), waartoe ook Hofer behoort, de functie van staatshoofd voorlopig waar. Nieuwe verkiezingen zullen volgens Van der Bellen eind september of begin oktober plaatsvinden.
De functie van president is in Oostenrijk ceremonieel, maar met winst voor de FP– zou voor het eerst een eurosceptische partij het presidentschap in een EU-land vertegenwoordigen. EU-landen reageren opgelucht na de winst van Van der Bellen eind mei.
De nieuwe president wordt de opvolger van Heinz Fischer. De sociaal-democraat Fischer legt het ambt na twaalf jaar presidentschap neer.
Video: FP–-leider Norbert Hofer maakte begin juni bekend de uitslag aan te vechten
Door: NU.nl/Reuters
Pre-Crime
PRE-CRIME-White House Thinks Data Could Keep Many With Mental Illness Out of Jail - Nextgov.com
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:31
A White House program aims to reduce the number of low-level offenders in the criminal justice system, and tech companies including Amazon have signed up to help.
On Thursday, the White House unveiled a new data program that focuses on keeping low-level offenders with mental illnesses out of jail -- potentially by identifying people with the highest number of contacts with police, emergency rooms and ambulances and connecting them with mental health services.
The White House-led Data-Driven Justice Initiative involves 67 city, county and state governments who have agreed to use similar strategies to reduce the incarceration of people who pose little risk to a community.
This approach could reduce stress not only on the criminal justice system, but also on emergency health services, according to the White House.
The program is part of a larger set of White House programs aimed at using technology, including artificial intelligence, to make the criminal justice system more efficient. Last month, a senior adviser argued that machine learning could help decide which officers to deploy, based on their current levels of psychological stress, to minimize a potential misuse of force.
Several tech companies, including Amazon, Motorola and Socrata, have agreed to contribute technology, as well as data scientists and researchers, who can help governments analyze data while protecting the privacy of individuals. Software mapping company Esri, for instance, plans to donate licenses to the first 100 communities who sign up to create a pilot using spatial technology.
The program also aims to use "pre-trial risk assessment tools" that would help identify defendants who are low-risk but still being held in jail. Law enforcement and first responders would also be instructed in de-escalating crisis situations, and, where appropriate, diverting people to mental health service providers instead of arresting them, according to the White House.
NWO
Nieuwe NAVO-hoofdkwartier ge¯nspireerd op dubbele bliksemschicht SS? - NineForNews.nl
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 11:59
Nieuws >> Buitenland >> Nieuwe NAVO-hoofdkwartier ge¯nspireerd op dubbele bliksemschicht SS?
Het nieuwe hoofdkwartier van de NAVO heeft in de afgelopen weken tot de nodige controverse geleid. Het gebouw vertoont namelijk veel gelijkenissen met de dubbele bliksemschicht, het symbool van de Schutzstaffel (SS). Dat meldt het Russische staatspersbureau Sputnik.
Eerder zorgde de NAVO al voor ophef door Duitsland de leiding te geven over de militaire oefening Anakonda 16. De oefening, waarbij meer dan 30.000 NAVO-troepen betrokken waren, vond plaats in Polen op de 75e verjaardag van de Duitse invasie van de Sovjet-Unie.
ProvocatieRusland ziet de opbouw van de troepenmacht als provocatie, terwijl het de eerste keer is sinds de val van het naziregime dat er Duitse soldaten zijn gestationeerd in het Oost-Europese land.
De Duitse oud-bondskanselier Gerhard Schr¶der noemde de oefening op de verjaardag van de invasie een 'grote fout'. Op social media vragen mensen zich af of de alliantie bewust gekozen heeft voor nazisymboliek of dat er sprake is van puur toeval.
Niet voor het eerstHet is in ieder geval niet voor het eerst dat de door Amerika geleide coalitie in verband wordt gebracht met nazisme. Een YouTube-video toont een aantal SS-symbolen die zouden zijn gedragen door NAVO-troepen.
Daarnaast zijn er in het verleden nazi's geweest die deel uitmaakten van de NAVO-top. Zo was Adolf Heusinger, generaal en stafchef van het Duitse leger, tussen 1961 en 1964 voorzitter van het militaire comit(C) van de NAVO.
De bouw van het nieuwe hoofdkwartier startte in 2010 en wordt naar verwachting later dit jaar afgerond. De kosten bedragen ruim 1 miljard euro.
[Sputniknews]
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Getagged met: Anakonda 16NAVOnazi'sPolenSS
Robin de Boer (1983) heeft Economische Geografie gestudeerd aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Hij is sinds juni 2014 werkzaam als hoofdredacteur van NineForNews.
ArchiefArchief
Zika
Brazilian police greet tourists with 'Welcome to Hell' sign at Rio airport | Americas | News | The Independent
Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:03
Brazilian emergency responders have a message for travelers arriving to the city just ahead of the 2016 Olympics: ''Welcome to hell''.
The photo, shared across social media platforms, is generating concern over whether or not Brazil is ready to host the Olympic Games - exacerbated by ongoing trouble stemming from the Zika virus plaguing the country.
''Police and firefighters don't get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe,'' the sign reads.
Another sign outside of the airport read, ''Welcome, we don't have hospitals!''
Some 300 police held a rally on Monday rallied to protest unpaid wages and unsatisfactory working conditions. Some even claimed to have not received proper equipment for their jobs - down to basics such as gasoline for cars - and they lack even some of the most necessary of hygienic provisions.
''At the stations we don't have paper or ink for the printers, there's no one to come in to clean and some stations don't have a water supply anymore so the toilets are not functioning,'' said an officer identified only as Andre, a member of an elite police unit, told the AFP. ''Members of the public bring toilet paper to us.''
One officer told the AFP that he had not been paid in at least five months.
Police say that the unavailability of equipment could prove dangerous during the 5 August Olympics, which are expected to draw more than half a million foreign tourists.
Brazil rolls out new light rail ahead of Rio Olympics
An attack on Rio's largest hospital, close to the Olympic stadium, sparked security concerns. More than 20 armed men stormed the hospital on 20 June to reportedly free a drug kingpin being held inside, leaving one person dead and two injured.
The police could not call for backup because they do not have a helicopter at their disposal.
Rio officials declared a ''state of public calamity'' early June in hopes to trigger emergency federal funding amid the country's financial shortfall. But Interim Gov Francisco Dornelles says that they have yet to receive the R$2.9bn (£657m) Rio officials had requested.
''I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality,'' he told O Globo. ''[I]f some steps aren't taken, [the Olympics] could be a big failure.''
PP
Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Restrictions - NYTimes.com
Mon, 27 Jun 2016 14:53
WASHINGTON '-- The Supreme Court on Monday struck down parts of a restrictive Texas law that could have reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state to about 10 from what was once a high of roughly 40.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.
The decision concerned two parts of a Texas law that imposes strict requirements on abortion providers. It was passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in July 2013 by Rick Perry, the governor at the time.
Interactive Feature | Breaking News Emails Sign up to receive an email from The New York Times as soon as important news breaks around the world.
One part of the law requires all clinics in the state to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
''We conclude,'' Justice Breyer wrote, ''that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.''
The clinics challenging the law say it has already caused about half of the state's 41 abortion clinics to close. If the contested provisions take full effect, they say, the number of clinics would again be cut in half.
The remaining clinics would be clustered in four metropolitan areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. ''None is located west or south of San Antonio, a vast geographic area that is larger than California,'' a brief for the clinics said. An appeals court did allow a partial exemption for a clinic in McAllen, the brief added, but ''imposed limitations on the clinic's operational capacity that would severely restrict its ability to provide abortions.''
Graphic | How the Supreme Court's Decision Will Affect Access to Abortion The case centers on a Texas law that has resulted in half its clinics closing.
Officials in Texas said the contested provisions were needed to protect women's health, while abortion providers said they were expensive, unnecessary and intended to put many of them out of business.
The lower courts are divided over whether they must accept lawmakers' assertions about the health benefits of abortion restrictions or instead determine whether the assertions are backed by evidence.
Last June, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, largely upheld the contested provisions of the Texas law, using the more deferential approach. The court ruled that the law, with minor exceptions, did not place an undue burden on the right to abortion.
The court said women in West Texas could obtain abortions in New Mexico, a ruling in tension with one from a different panel of the same court that said Mississippi could not rely on out-of-state abortion clinics in defending a law that would have shut down the state's only clinic.
Graphic | How a Vacancy on the Supreme Court Affects Cases in the 2015-16 Term The empty seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia's death leaves the court with two basic options for cases left on the docket this term if the justices are deadlocked at 4 to 4.
Last November, the federal appeals court in Chicago used a more demanding standard in evaluating a Wisconsin law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Judge Richard A. Posner, writing for the court, said the state's justification for the law did not withstand scrutiny.
''The requirement of admitting privileges cannot be taken seriously as a measure to improve women's health,'' he wrote, ''because the transfer agreements that abortion clinics make with hospitals, plus the ability to summon an ambulance by a phone call, assure the access of such women to a nearby hospital in the event of a medical emergency.''
The justices had already acted once in the Texas case. In June, by a 5-to-4 vote, they temporarily blocked the appeals court's ruling pending its own decision in the case. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court's liberal wing '' Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan '-- to form a majority.
The court's last major abortion decision, in 2007 in Gonzales v. Carhart, upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which banned a particular abortion procedure. Monday's case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, No. 15-274, concerned a more fundamental question and seemed poised to be the third installment in a legal trilogy on the scope of the constitutional right to abortion, one that started in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, which recognized a constitutional right to abortion, and continued in 1992 with Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The Casey decision said states may not place undue burdens on the constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability. Undue burdens, it said, included ''unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.''
Agenda 2030
The mysterious 'cold blob' in the North Atlantic Ocean is starting to give up its secrets - The Washington Post
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:06
This story has been updated.
For some time, scientists have been worried that something odd may be happening in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The reason is that in the past several years, amid record warm global temperatures (2014, 2015 and 2016 seem likely to be the third-hottest, second-hottest and hottest years on record, respectively), ocean temperatures to the southeast of Greenland have often been quite cold. Sometimes, according to temperature maps provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they have even shown record-cold temperature anomalies in and around a region known as the Irminger Sea.
Combine this observation with recent research suggesting a slowing of the powerful ocean phenomenon known as the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC '-- which carries warm water northward and sends cold water back southward deep beneath the surface '-- and the cold patch starts looking pretty ominous. It could, perhaps, be an indicator that less warm water, and less heat overall, is making its way northward, a development long predicted as a result of climate change.
That is how it has been interpreted by some leading climate scientists. Stefan Rahmstorf, an ocean physicist with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and author of the study mentioned above, has written that very cold temperatures in the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean in the winter of 2014-2015 ''suggests the decline of the circulation has progressed even further now than we documented in the paper.''
But in a new study in Geophysical Research Letters reporting on deep ocean measurements from this region, two researchers present an alternative interpretation. They say that they found ''exceptional'' levels of deep ocean convection, or mixing of surface waters with deep waters of a sort that helps drive the overturning circulation, during in the winter of 2014-2015 '-- the height of the cold ''blob.'' And they attribute that temperature phenomenon to natural climate variability, driven by local weather and winds.
''We find that the observed temperature variability is explained without invoking a trend in the lateral heat transport that would be representative of an AMOC slowdown,'' Femke de Jong and Laura de Steur of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research write in the paper. They therefore question whether the ''cold blob'' has anything much to do with a slowing Atlantic circulation or one key change that some think could be contributing to that '-- namely, growing volumes of freshwater melting from Greenland.
Or as a press release describing the research puts it: ''This rejects a hypothesis that posed that increased meltwater from Greenland weakened deep water formation and caused the cold blob.''
If carbon emissions continue unabated, expanding oceans and massive ice melt would threaten global coastal communities, according to new projections. (Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)
To reach their conclusions, de Jong and de Steur studied data from an ocean mooring installed by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in 2003, and analyzed it through July of last year. The research is part of the broader OSNAP project '-- which stands for Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program.
The mooring '-- whose cable extended over a mile deep into the ocean, allowing for vertical measurements of key attributes such as the temperature of the water and also its salinity at different depths '-- was named LOCO, or Long-term Ocean Circulation Observations (you have to think scientists have fun with these names). The study says the mooring was ''located right in the area of interest, namely the center of the [sea surface temperature] anomaly.''
LOCO's large vertical range of measurement is important because if the ocean is highly stratified '-- with its warmest layer at the top and getting progressively colder below '-- then such an instrument will clearly detect that. But if the surface layers are mixing downward because they are so cold and salty '-- and therefore so dense '-- in the process of deep convection, then the vertical column of ocean water as a whole will show more homogeneity. And it is ocean waters such as this that are believed to drive the overturning circulation, or AMOC.
The study found this character to the water, observing particularly vigorous deep convection during the winter of 2014-2015, when the surface of the ocean was so strikingly cold. It is, de Jong says, one of the first confirmations that an overturning circulation occurs, as has long been suspected, in the Irminger Sea as well as in the Labrador Sea on the western side of Greenland. This appears to be an important new finding about how the ocean works.
''We found that the convection in the Irminger Sea was deeper [than] anyone had seen before,'' de Jong said in an email. ''We're exited about this because (1) this establishes this basin as another area that is potentially important for the overturning circulation and (2) shows that convection is still going quite strong.''
But the study attributes the particularly cold character of the water simply to atmospheric phenomena operating in the area that winter, which was longer than usual, extending cold temperatures into April.
''The 'cold blob' that is seen in the North Atlantic was mostly caused by the same strong winter that caused the convection,'' de Jong continued. ''Local cooling by the atmosphere is able to adjust temperatures much quicker than changes in the (much more sluggish) ocean heat transport can.''
The study, in other words, implies that this is business as usual for the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean '-- and not cause for alarm.
But Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf of Penn State University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research aren't so convinced. The two were authors on a paper that suggested that an ''unprecedented'' Northern Hemisphere overturning circulation slowdown has occurred since 1975, apparently tied to climate change. They argued that there is a long-term cooling trend in this broad region, separate from any shorter time-frame atmospheric variability, that is because of oceanic changes. And they have also pointed to the ''blob'' as a possible indicator of this trend.
''They are looking at short-term variability while we are looking at climatic trends; the mechanisms behind those are very different,'' said Rahmstorf by email, in commenting on the new study.
Rahmstorf further argued that measuring ocean convection in a localized way is not necessarily enough to determine what is happening with the larger Atlantic overturning circulation. ''Convection is a highly stochastic, weather-driven process,'' he continued. ''The linkage between local convection and the AMOC is complex and long-term; the most simple way to phrase this is that the AMOC responds like a long-term integrator of the convection events of the previous decades.''
The debate reprises, in a sense, what happened only last week when another paper suggested that Greenland's melting hasn't been large enough, at least not yet, to slow down overturning circulation in another key region where it occurs, the Labrador Sea. That study similarly raised questions about whether scientists can say for sure that an ocean freshening trend is blocking the sinking of cold, fresh water that drives the circulation or AMOC.
So it is fair to say that although there are many intriguing (and troubling) ideas out there, scientists are not in full agreement about what is going on in the North Atlantic Ocean. The good news, though, is that with ever-increasing scientific interest in ocean occurrences on both sides of Greenland, we can expect more and more research to help sort all of this out.
Indeed, the OSNAP mission heads back out to sea next month to make more observations '-- and to try to find just what is happening to the critical circulation of the ocean in these remote, freezing waters.
Read more at Energy & Environment:
The Antarctic ozone hole has finally started to 'heal,' scientists report
This robot is really cool. Seriously, it's a rolling air conditioner
California may have a huge groundwater reserve that nobody knew about
Massive effort to save the Amazon is failing even in 'protected' areas
For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.
Pentagon Says Global Warming Will Turn Britain Into Siberia In Four Years
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:27
Crack experts in the US military said that Britain will have Siberian climate by 2020, cities will drown and nuclear war will break out.
Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us | Environment | The Guardian
And the idiocy continues today.
Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions '' Washington Times
Science!
Have 1 in 5 UK academics fabricated data?
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:13
A small survey of UK academics suggests misconduct such as faking data and plagiarism is occurring surprisingly often.
The survey '-- of 215 UK academics '-- estimated that 1 in 7 had plagiarized from someone else's work, and nearly 1 in 5 had fabricated data. Here's how Joanna Williams and David Roberts at the University of Kent summarize the results in their full report, published by the Society for Research into Higher Education:
-Using references to support predetermined arguments rather than illuminate debate was undertaken by 38.1% (± 5.1%) respondents. This was the most frequently reported incidence of malpractice.
-36.0% (± 7.6%) of respondents reported self-plagiarising. This is more than one in three researchers.
-17.9% (± 6.1%) of academics surveyed reported having fabricated (entirely invented) research data. This is almost 1 in 5 researchers.
-13.6% (± 7.5%) of respondents reported having engaged in plagiarism.
Although these findings suggest there is cause for concern, they are higher than many of those reported by previous studies '-- including a 2014 paper by Roberts, which used similar survey methods and showed a fabrication rate of 0% among UK academics in biology.
For this and other reasons, these latest survey data aren't keeping Ferric Fang '-- who has conducted research into academic misconduct at the University of Washington '-- up at night:
'...I would be cautious in concluding too much from this survey with regard to the actual prevalence of specific unethical behaviors.
As part of the report, the researchers also conducted focus groups with UK academics, which offered unsurprising explanations for why researchers feel the need to cut corners, as Williams writes in the Times Higher Education:
Many of the academics we interviewed suggested that they and colleagues felt pushed into acting in ways that were if not unethical then at least lacking in integrity because of the pressures put upon them. This is seen most clearly in attitudes towards self-plagiarism. More than a third of those surveyed reported having published extracts from the same piece in more than one location. But, for some, this was not unethical but simply an efficient and common-sense means of maximising publications. As one academic explained: ''I don't think that self-plagiarism is the unethical thing; the unethical thing is the structural over-production that forces these things.''
However, Fang (who is a member of the board of directors of our parent organization) raised concerns about the authors' survey method '-- specifically, about the accuracy of a technique used to elicit truthful responses from people to sensitive topics.
As part of ''Academic Integrity: Exploring Tensions Between Perception and Practice in the Contemporary University,'' Williams and Roberts relied on an ''unmatched count'' technique (UCT) to get people to honestly answer questions about misconduct. Here's how they explain UCT in the paper:
The method involves randomly assigning participants to one of two groups: the control (baseline) group or the treatment group.
The control group was given a list of non-sensitive statements such as, 'Last year I published fewer than 3 papers.' Participants were then asked to indicate how many '' but importantly not which '' statements applied to them. The treatment group received the same statements but this time with the addition of a sensitive statement such as, 'In the past 5 years I have fabricated (made up) research that was then published.' They were also asked to indicate how many, but not which, statements applied to them. Participants in the treatment group are more likely to respond truthfully due to the protection the method affords them.
In other words: participants would have to indicate how many of five characteristics applied to them. In the ''treatment group,'' one of the five would be related to misconduct, such as ''In the past 5 years I have fabricated (made up) research that was then published.'' The authors would then compare the totals between the treatment and control groups, who didn't have any options related to misconduct:
The proportion of the sample engaged in a particular sensitive behaviour was calculated as the difference in the mean number of statements between the control and treatment groups.
For a sample questionnaire, see page 36 of the full report.
Williams acknowledges in the THE piece that ''this technique has quite a wide margin of error;'' indeed, when the authors questioned respondents directly about misconduct, the rates of each offense were sometimes much lower than what the UCT method revealed. (The final table includes data from both the direct questions and the UCT technique.)
Fang agreed that the ''uncertain reliability of the UCT method and the large error for data obtained by this method'' cause him to question the findings, along with the fact that the survey included relatively few respondents.
Stanford University's Daniele Fanelli, who studies misconduct, raised additional concerns about the methodology:
By having the survey emailed online, and then encouraging authors to divulge it, they have quite clearly allowed for a self-selection of the sample. Respondents sampled in this way were quite likely to be especially motivated, for one reason or another, to respond. The eagerness of respondents appears to have been so significant that the authors found significant numbers of duplicate questionnaires as well as people responding from outside the UK.
Even more importantly, the sample thus obtained is quite clearly unrepresentative of the research world, let alone the world of science. The demographics are severely skewed, 27% of respondents are from the Arts and Humanities, where no research data is usually produced, and another 46% in the social sciences, which includes qualitative research. If this wasn't unrepresentative enough, the self-reported average publication rate of the majority of respondents is one paper per year. Quite clearly, respondents in this survey are mostly non-scientists and mostly non-researchers.
Fanelli added:
Their findings are quite obviously extreme and rather at odds with the pretty much the rest of the literature. Respondents, according to the UCT methods, commit data fabrication at three times the rate than falsification, and at higher rates than plagiarism. Paradoxically, relatively more realistic answers came from the uncorrected, direct questions, which are still rather extreme, compared to dozens of existing surveys.
Here's a link to the full survey data. The authors defined ''fabrication'' as making up data, ''falsification'' as misrepresenting results, ''ethics form misuse'' as cutting corner on disclosing all ethical issues, ''reference misuse'' as cherry-picking papers to support the argument, and ''authorship abuse'' as adding your name to a paper without merit.
Fang concluded:
Although the prevalence of scientific misconduct suggested by this and other surveys is worrisome, I actually take some consolation from the comments of individual researchers, which demonstrate that although scientists are under substantial career pressures, at least some exhibit considerable insight into the potentially corrosive effects of these pressures on their behavior and express a desire to do the right thing.
Williams told us she believes the findings should be a wake-up call for the UK system of research:
I think the problem in UK universities is that there is too much interference in the research process. Issues of ethics and integrity have been reduced to a bureaucratic 'tick-box' exercise. In fact, research itself has been reduced to a game where many academics have become more concerned with scoring points in the 'REF' (national Research Excellence Framework that determines the distribution of government funding to institutions) than in the pursuit of knowledge. For many academics ethics has become a series of hoops to jump through. I think universities need to permit academics more autonomy so they can be responsible for their own work. I don't think integrity can be legislated into existence.
The solution: Step away from the ''tick-box'' exercise, Williams concluded:
I think institutional managers urgently need to consider the messages that they give out, particularly to junior academics. For younger academics especially, compiling a successful REF submission has become more important than researching with integrity. At a national level, the unintended consequences of such a high-stakes, narrow and managerial approach to evaluating research must be urgently considered. We need to get over the simplistic notion that when it comes to research obedience to a certain set of rules equals a quality contribution to the pursuit of knowledge.
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Down Under
Australians head to the polls in tight election contest - The Washington Post
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 06:54
CANBERRA, Australia '-- After years of political turmoil, Australians headed to the polls on Saturday with leaders of the nation's major parties each promising to bring stability to a government that has long been mired in chaos.
The election, which pits the conservative coalition government against the center-left Labor Party, caps off an extraordinarily volatile period in the nation's politics. Australian political parties can change their leaders under certain conditions and have done so in recent years with unprecedented frequency. Should Labor win, its leader, Bill Shorten, will become Australia's fifth prime minister in three years.
The so-called revolving-door prime ministership, coupled with global instability wrought by Britain's recent vote to leave the European Union, prompted promises by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that sticking with the status quo was the safer choice.
''In an uncertain world, Labor offers only greater uncertainty,'' Turnbull warned in one of his final pitches to voters this week. ''They have nothing to say about jobs, growth or our economic future.''
Labor, meanwhile, has sought throughout the eight-week campaign to cast Turnbull's Liberal Party as deeply divided, with Shorten saying: ''You cannot have stability without unity.''
Selling stability is a tough job for either party, both of which have been marred by infighting in recent years. Shorten played a key role in ousting two of the Labor Party's own prime ministers in the space of three years, and Turnbull himself ousted Tony Abbott as prime minister in an internal party showdown less than a year ago. Up until 2007, conservative John Howard served as prime minister for nearly 12 years.
Many Aussies who lined up at the polls on Saturday were weary of the constant change.
Morag McCrone, who voted for Labor at a polling station in Sydney, acknowledged her choice could lead to yet another new prime minister, but couldn't bring herself to vote for Turnbull's party.
''Internationally, it's embarrassing,'' McCrone said of the endless stream of leadership changes. ''It's a bit like ancient Rome at times, really.''
Sydney resident Beau Reid, who also voted for Labor, agreed.
''I'm getting a little bit sick of it,'' Reid said. ''Not to say that John Howard was a great prime minister, but it was good to have someone who was at the helm for a period that wasn't two (or) three years.''
Though the race is tight, polls suggest that Labor won't be able to gain the 21 seats it needs to form a majority government in the 150-seat House of Representatives. Labor currently holds 55 seats, the conservative coalition has 90, and minor parties and independents have five.
Results of Sydney-based market researcher's Newspoll that were published in The Australian newspaper on Saturday showed the coalition leading by 50.5 percent to Labor's 49.5 percent. The Newspoll was based on interviews with 4,135 people conducted between Tuesday and Friday, and has a 3 percentage point margin of error.
Polls have also shown that the public's frustration with Labor and the coalition may prompt an unusually high number of votes for minor parties, such as the Greens. That raises the prospect that neither Labor nor the coalition will end up with enough seats to win an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament.
The government has focused much of its campaign on a promise to generate jobs and economic growth through tax cuts to big businesses. Economic growth is a key issue for many Australians, who have seen thousands of jobs vanish from the country's once-booming resources sector amid China's industrial slowdown.
Labor has said it will keep the higher tax rates and use the revenue to better fund schools and hospitals.
Same-sex marriage has also emerged as a campaign issue. Turnbull, who personally supports gay marriage despite his party's opposition to it, has promised to hold a national poll known as a plebiscite this year that would ask voters whether the nation should allow same-sex marriage. But governments are not bound by the results of plebiscites, and some conservative lawmakers have said they would vote down a gay marriage bill even if most Australians supported marriage equality.
Labor, which dubbed the plebiscite a waste of taxpayers' money, promises that the first legislation the party will introduce to parliament will be a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
___ Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
War on Guns
California lawmakers pass unprecedented package of gun control bills - LA Times
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 15:42
Spurred by outrage over recent mass shootings, California lawmakers on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a sweeping package of gun control bills, including a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, background checks for those buying ammunition and new restrictions on homemade firearms.
The flood of bills was introduced in response to the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 people at a holiday party, but momentum for action swelled after the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub that killed 49 people.
''The killer sprayed that nightclub with bullets,'' Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Le"n (D-Los Angeles) said during the floor debate Thursday. ''How could someone filled with so much hate have such easy access to ammunition?''
Among the bills the Senate sent the governor was a measure from De Le"n that would require ammunition buyers to show an ID and have their name checked against a list of felons and others prohibited from having firearms.
Most Republicans voted against that bill and others. Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber said the measures would hinder citizens who obey the laws and would be ignored by criminals.
''Gun violence is not committed by law-abiding citizens, it is committed by criminals,'' Nielsen said during the floor debate.
The measures were expedited to the governor's desk Thursday in hopes that he might act on them immediately.
Legislators hope to convince Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to drop an initiative that has qualified for the November ballot that contains many of the same provisions in the gun bills approved Thursday. Newsom has indicated he has no plans to drop his ballot measure by Thursday's deadline, saying his proposal goes further in controlling firearms.
California already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, including a ban on assault rifles, but lawmakers said the new bills were meant to plug loopholes exploited by gun manufacturers and owners.
The bills sent to the governor include:
Ammunition sales: Requires an ID and background check to purchase ammunition and creates a new state database of ammunition owners
Large ammunition clips: Bans possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.
Bullet buttons: Two proposals would strengthen California's assault weapon law by outlawing a small buttonhole used for quickly swapping out ammunition magazines
Limit on gun loans: A new restriction on loaning guns without background checks.
Stolen gun reporting: Stolen or lost guns would have to reported within five days.
False gun reporting: A new punishment for falsely reporting guns as stolen
Ghost guns: Homemade ''ghost guns'' would need to be registered and there would be new limits on selling them
Long gun limits: Only one rifle or shotgun could be purchased per month
Gun research: Urges Congress to lift the prohibition against publicly funded scientific research on the causes of gun violence and its effects on public health
Gun restraining orders: Bans a person subject to a ''gun violence restraining order'' from having any firearms or ammunition while the order is in effect
Gun theft: Clarifies that theft of a firearm is grand theft and is punishable as a felony
NA-Tech News
Should robots have to pay taxes? June 22
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:56
That's the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences.
"Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity's capacity to control its own creation and ... the survival of the species," the draft states.
The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now "seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution."
Related: Smart robots could soon steal your job
The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs. Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis "given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy."
If advanced robots start replacing human workers in large numbers, the report recommends the European Commission force their owners to pay taxes or contribute to social security. The establishment of a basic income, or guaranteed welfare program, is also suggested as a protection against human unemployment.
Related: Switzerland rejects plan to pay every citizen at least $2,500 a month
Should robots ever become self-aware, the report suggests that the moral code outlined by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov be observed. Asimov's laws stipulate that a robot must never harm a human and always obey orders from its creator.
The draft report, which was written by Mady Delvaux, a member of the European Parliament from Luxembourg, could go before the full European Parliament for a vote later this year. Its approval would be largely symbolic, however, since EU legislation must originate with the European Commission. The Commission did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
In April, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee held a hearing to discuss the issue.
"Can a robot express intention? I think the answer is very simple when it comes to noncomplex algorithms, but when it gets more complex, I think we have a problem," Pawel Kwiatkowski of Gessel Law Firm said during the hearing.
CNNMoney (New Delhi)First published June 22, 2016: 9:06 AM ET
Spotify says Apple won't approve a new version of its app because it doesn't want competition for Apple Music - Recode
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:04
Spotify says Apple is making it harder for the streaming music company to compete by blocking a new version of its iPhone app.
In a letter sent this week to Apple's top lawyer, Spotify says Apple is ''causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers'' by rejecting an update to Spotify's iOS app.
The letter says Apple turned down a new version of the app while citing ''business model rules'' and demanded that Spotify use Apple's billing system if ''Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.''
The letter, sent by Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell on June 26, suggests that Spotify intends to use the standoff as ammunition in its fight over Apple's rules governing subscription services that use its App store. (Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date Spotify sent the letter.)
''This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,'' Gutierrez wrote. ''It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple's previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify '... we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.''
Spotify has distributed copies of the letter to some Congressional staff in Washington, D.C. Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized Apple, Amazon and Google for what she called anticompetitive practices; Warren said that ''Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music.''
Spotify declined to comment; Apple hasn't responded to request for comment.
For the past year, Spotify has argued publicly, and to various regulators in the U.S. and Europe, that Apple's subscription policies effectively punish third-party music services that use Apple's platform, while boosting Apple Music, the home-grown service it launched in June 2015.
Apple doesn't require subscription services to use its iTunes billing service, but it doesn't allow them to use an alternate payment system within the app, as Google does. Apple charges a monthly fee of up to 30 percent for those that do use its billing system '-- and it doesn't want app makers to use the apps to promote alternate subscription options outside the apps. (And, of course, app makers like Spotify can't distribute their apps onto iPhones outside of Apple's store.)
Those policies created lots of drama when Apple introduced them in 2011, but most publishers have ended up agreeing to use Apple's in-app billing option and paying Apple its fee.
A handful that don't, like Amazon, offer more limited versions of their apps in Apple's app store; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently suggested that Apple's subscription rules led Amazon to stop selling the Apple TV box in its store.
In Spotify's case, the company has used Apple's billing system for years, but passed on Apple's fee to customers by charging $13 a month instead of the $10 a month the service sells for outside Apple's store. Last year, after Apple launched its own music service, Spotify became more vocal about encouraging users to pay for the service outside of iTunes.
Last fall, Spotify started a new end-run via a promotional campaign offering new subscribers the chance to get three months of the service for $0.99 '-- if they signed up via Spotify's own site. This month, Spotify revived the campaign, but Gutierrez says Apple threatened to remove the app from its store unless Spotify stopped telling iPhone users about the promotion.
Spotify stopped advertising the promotion. But it also turned off its App Store billing option, which has led to the current dispute.
Spotify still has a commanding lead in the subscription music race. In March, it said it had 30 million paying subscribers; this month, Apple said it has 15 million paid subscribers for Apple Music.
Turning Sand into fuel - Silicon oil as an energy carrier - Sepp Hasslberger
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 19:18
Dr Peter Plichta studied chemistry, physics and nuclear chemistry in Cologne, Germany. He obtained his doctorate in chemistry in 1970, and in the years following he did much research, on the subject of silanes. Similar to hydrocarbons, silanes are hydrosilicons, molecules that incorporate atoms of both silicon and hydrogen.
Plichta also studied law, and in the 1980s he studied and researched logics, numbers theory and mathematics. As a result, he published several books outlining a new theory on prime numbers in German. In this article however, I will only discuss his proposal to use silanes as a highly energetic fuel.
Silicon is more abundant than carbon. It oxidizes or combines with oxygen into silicon dioxide, which forms crystals present in rocks like quartz, basalt and granite. Silicon dioxide is especially prevalent in sand which fills deserts and sea shores. We process silicon dioxide into glass and purify the silicon for use in electronics. Both of those processes require much external energy input.
Before the 1970s, silanes were considered unsuitable for use as fuels, because they instantaneously self-combust at room temperature. Not satisfied to leave it at that however, Plichta went to work and succeeded in producing longer-chained silanes that appeared as clear, oily liquids and were stable at room temperature. He argues that these higher (long-chain) silanes could be used as an abundant fuel as an alternative to both hydrocarbons and pure hydrogen.
Unlike hydrocarbons, silanes use both the nitrogen and the oxygen in air for combustion. While the hydrogen component of silanes reacts with oxygen, the silicon oxidizes in a highly energetic reaction with nitrogen. So the burning of silanes produces much higher temperatures and frees more energy than the burning of hydrocarbon fuels. The silane reaction leaves no toxic residues.
Much of the information in this article comes from a recent description of Plichta's discoveries and his proposed silane fuel cycle written by Norbert Knobloch and published in the German magazine raum&zeit.
If you read German, you can see the original article in pdf format here.
Dr. Plichta's website, also in German, has much additional information.
- - -
Peter Plichta's book "Benzin aus Sand" (Gasoline from Sand), first published in 2001, advocates a change in energy strategy away from burning hydrocarbons to using the energy potential of silanes or, as I would term them, hydrosilicates.
The book, so far only in German, is available from Amazon.
But let's get down to the nitty gritty details, to get a better idea what is being proposed and is being discussed, confidentially for now, with international investors.
Nitrogen oxidizes silicon
Silicon is the most abundant element in the earth's crust. Combined with hydrogen, silicon forms what in chemistry are known as "silanes". Given sufficient heat, silanes react with the nitrogen in the air. This is a new discovery. Nitrogen was thought to be inert, as far as combustion is concerned. So we obviously must re-think the possibilities of combustion. Silicon makes up 25% of the earth's crust, while nitrogen makes up 80% of air. A process that uses silicon/nitrogen combustion in addition to the known carbon/oxygen cycle, presages some mind boggling new possibilities.
While carbon is also a relatively abundant element, its prevalence is way lower than that of silicon. The relation is about a hundred to one. In addition, most of the available carbon is bound up in carbonaceous minerals such as marble and other carbon-based rocks and some of it is in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Those forms are not available for use in the combustion cycle. Only one in about a hundred thousand carbon molecules is bound to hydrogen, making it available for the purpose of combustion. So while carbon has served us well for the first century and a half of industrialization, it is a rather limited fuel.
Using 100% of air for combustion
Plichta's idea was to exchange chains of carbon atoms in hydrocarbons for chains of silicon in hydrosilicons or silanes. The long chained "higher silanes" are those with five or more silicon atoms in each molecule. They are of oily consistency and they give off their energy in a very fast, highly energetic combustion.
While hydrocarbon-based gasoline only uses oxygen, which makes up 20% of air, for their combustion, the hydrosilicon-based silanes also use nitrogen, which makes up the other 80% of air, when they burn. Silanes with chains of seven or more atoms of silicon per molecule are stable and can be pumped and stored very much like gasoline and other carbon-based liquid fuels.
The efficiency of combustion depends on the amount of heat that is created. Expanding gases drive pistons or turbines. When hydrocarbons are burned with air as the oxidant, efficiency of combustion is limited by the fact that the 20% of air that partakes in the combustion also has to heat up the nitrogen gas, which isn't participating but has to be expanded as well. When burning silanes, practically all of the air participates directly in the combustion cycle, making for a much more efficient expansion of all the gases involved.
Burning silanes
The combustion process of hydrosilicons is fundamentally different from the exclusively oxygen based combustion we know from burning hydrocarbons. In a sufficiently hot reaction chamber, silanes separate into atoms of hydrogen and silicon, which immediately mix with the oxygen and nitrogen of the air. The hydrogen from the silanes and the air's oxygen now burn completely leaving only water vapor, bringing the temperature of the gases close to 2000 degrees C.
Since there is no more oxygen, no silicon oxide can be formed in the following phase. What happens instead is an extremely energetic reaction of the 80% nitrogen in the air with the silicon atoms present, that forms a fine powder called silicon nitride (Si3N4).
For those more technically inclined, taking the example of hexasilane (Si6H14), here is what the reaction would look like:
' 2 Si6H14 + 7 O2 + 8 N2-> 4 Si3N4 + 14 H2O
After this first reaction, a great deal of unreacted nitrogen is still in the combustion gases, which would now react in a stochiometric combustion as follows:
' 4 1/2 Si6H14 + 18 N2-> 9 Si3N4 + 63 H
Overall, on the input side of the equation we would have:
' 6 1/2 Si6 H14 + 7 O2 + 26 N2
and on the output side, we get:
' 14 H2O + 13 Si3N4 + 63 H
The silicon nitride we find in the "exhaust" is the only known noble gas that exists in solid form, an original discovery by Peter Plichta. That white powdery stuff is a rather valuable raw material for ceramics.
Wikipedia says that silicon nitride powder will form
"... a hard ceramic having high strength over a broad temperature range, moderate thermal conductivity, low coefficient of thermal expansion, moderately high elastic modulus, and unusually high fracture toughness for a ceramic. This combination of properties leads to excellent thermal shock resistance, ability to withstand high structural loads to high temperature, and superior wear resistance. Silicon nitride is mostly used in high-endurance and high-temperature applications, such as gas turbines, car engine parts, bearings and metal working and cutting tools. Silicon nitride bearings are used in the main engines of the NASA's Space shuttles."
Rocket fuel for space propulsion
One of the first uses Peter Plichta envisioned for these long-chain hydrosilicons he discovered was to be a fuel for rockets. Space travel today is hindered by the immense weight of fuel a rocket has to carry to lift itself plus the fuel, plus its payload, into space. With a more efficient combustion process, and an oxidant that could be "scooped up" in the atmosphere, a disk-shaped craft could be propelled to great speed and altitude, before having to fall back on a rather small amount of oxidant that may be carried as liquefied air or liquid nitrogen.
I found a discussion of this on the net, here, which I reproduce below in shortened and slightly edited form:
http://discaircraft.greyfalcon.us/Richard%20Miethe.htm
"Dr Plichta can use his concepts of cyclic mathematics to effect a revolution in space travel. He has already received several patents for the construction of a disc-shaped reusable spacecraft which will be fueled by the diesel oils of silicon. The special feature of these carbon analog substances is that they do not only burn with oxygen, but also with nitrogen. Such a spacecraft can use the atmosphere for buoyance. Its engines can inhale air and thus do without the standard oxidant reservoir.
In 1970 Peter Plichta disproved the textbook theory that the higher silanes are unstable. One of his achievements was to create a mixture of silanes with the chain lengths 5 to 10 (Si5H12 to Si10H22). He also managed to separate the oil into the individual silanes by of means gas chromatic analysis. This showed the surprising result that silanes with a chain length of over 7 silicon atoms will no longer ignite spontaneously and can thus be used for commercial purposes.
Multi-stage rockets function from the mathematical point of view according to principles of rocket ascent. At the first stage of the launch they have to lift their whole weight with the power of fuel combustion. Because they quickly lose weight as they use up fuel, they then accelerate although the power of thrust remains the same. The discarded stages are burned in the atmosphere, which can only be described as a ridiculous waste of money. The Space Shuttle was intended to make space travel less costly; but actually the opposite has happened. Just as the invention of the wheel made all human transport easier, a circular spacecraft will some day soon replace the linear design of current multi-stage rockets. We are all familiar with the elegance with which a disc or a Frisbee is borne by the air through which it flies.
Peter Plichta got the idea of constructing a disc in which jet-turbines attached to shafts would drive two ring-shaped blade rings rotating in opposite directions. This will cause the disc to be suspended by the air just like a helicopter. The craft can then be driven sideways by means of a drop-down rocket engine. When a speed of over 200 km/h has been reached, the turbines for the blade rings will be switched off and covered to enhance the aerodynamic features of the shape. The craft will now be borne by the up-draught of the air, just like an aircraft is. This will also mean that the critical power required for rocket ascent will not be necessary. When the spacecraft accelerates into orbit, the N2/O2 mixture of the air will first be fed in through a drop-down air intake, as long as the craft is still at a low altitude of 30 km (1 per cent air pressure). The air will be conducted to the rocket motor and the craft will thus accelerate to a speed of 5000-8000 km/h. This is where a standard rocket jettisons its first stage, because by then about 75% of the fuel has already been used up.
The disc on the other hand will continue to accelerate to 20,000 km/h and will thus reach an altitude of about 50 km (1 per thousand of air pressure). The speed will increase as the air pressure drops, so that the process can be continued until an altitude of about 80 kilometers and 25,000 km/h can be maintained. In order to reach the required speed of 30,000 km/h and an altitude of around 300 km, only a relatively small quantity of oxidation agent will be needed at the end.
In the hot combustion chamber silanes decompose spontaneously into hydrogen and silicon radicals. The hydrogen is burned by the oxygen in the air and water formed. Because molecular nitrogen is very tightly bonded, it must be preheated and subjected to catalytic dissociation. The extremely hot silicon radicals will provide additional support for this process, which will in turn lead to silicon nitride being formed. In order to burn superfluous nitrogen, Mg, Al or Si powder can be added to the silane oil.
When the spacecraft returns from space the ceramic-protected underside of the disc will brake its speed to approximately 500 km/h. Then the covering will open again, making the blade rings autorotate. The jet turbines will then be started for the actual landing operation.
In 2006, Plichta developed a new low-cost procedure for the production of highly purified silicon. This makes it possibile to hypothesize a more widespread use of silanes. If widely and cheaply available one day, the new fuel could be used in turbines and modified internal combustion engines, in addition to space rocket use.
Large-scale production of silanes
In order to use long-chain silanes as a fuel, the possibility of large scale production of those silicon oils will have to be experimentally confirmed. According to Plichta, this process would also involve production of pure silicon for use in photovoltaic or other industrial applications. High grade energy is needed to transform silicon oxide into pure silicon, to be hydrated producing the silanes.
One possibile way to go about this is to use photovoltaic electricity to disassociate hydrogen and oxygen from water. Those gases could then be used to process sand into pure silicon and to obtain silanes.
Another procedure, widely used today, is to purify silicon dioxide using heat from coal, but Plichta has now developed a new process that would use tar, pitch and bitumen as well as aluminium silicate to produce pure silicon and silanes at a very low cost. The highly exothermic process produces large amounts of hydrogen and it involves super heated hydrogen fluoride. Monosilanes, a by-product of this new process, could be reacted with carbon dioxide to obtain water and silicon carbide, an extremely hard substance and industrial raw material.
Details are still confidential. The process is being patented.
Turbines and engines
Since the silane combustion process is substantially different from that of the hydrocarbons used today, specially designed turbines and engines will be needed to make use of the new fuel. Dr Plichta has patented a turbine that would optimally use the silicon-based combustion process.
A mixture of silane oil (10) and silicon powder (11) are mixed and injected by a pump (7) into the main combustion chamber. There the fuel is burned together with pre-heated air (8). In the secondary combustion chamber (2) the fuel mix is further burned with a large amound to cold air (9), quickly lowering the temperature of the gases from about 2000 degrees C to a few hundred degrees. This brings a large pressure increase. If the silicon nitride powder produced by the combustion process were too hot and not diluted with air, it would destroy the turbine blades.
The resulting mixture of gases (H2O, O2, and Si3N4 of oily consistency) is now able, in the turbine chamber (3), to cause the turbine blades to rotate. The rotation is transmitted over a connected shaft (5) to the compressor chamber (4) where air is aspired through air inlets (6). The air is mostly conducted into the secondary combustion chamber (2) and a small part of it goes, after heating, to the first combustion chamber (1). The the absorption of heat by the air also provides needed cooling of the combustion chambers.
The water vapor produced by the combustion process leaves the turbine through exhaust openings (21) while the cooled down, solid silicon nitride is trapped in dust bags (20), ready to be passed on for later industrial uses.
Internal combustion engines of the Otto and Diesel type would suffer breakdown of lubrication if made to burn silicon oils. The temperatures of combustion are considerably higher than those reached by gasoline or diesel. But according to Plichta, the Wankel-type rotary piston motor could be modified to accomodate the high temperatures. It parts would have to be coated with silicon nitride ceramics or be entirely constructed using the even harder silicon carbide.
The silane oils could not be compressed together with air, they would have to be injected at the point of maximal compression. The silicon nitride contained in the combusting fuel/air mixture would initially be in gaseous and liquid form, providing the necessary lubrification and acting as a sealant. Exhaust gases, still very hot, could be further burned in a turbine, with the addition of cold air as in the second stage of Plichta's turbine design.
Like in the turbine, combustion in this engine would produce small amounts of silicon nitride in powder form, which would be filtered out from the exhaust gases and collected by filling stations, to be passed on for industrial uses.
Solar energy and silanes - closing the circle
Solar energy can be transformed into electricity without much trouble, but not everything in this technological world can be run with electricity. Storage is a problem as battery technology definitely is not up to the task yet. One way around that is to produce hydrogen with solar energy and use the hydrogen as a fuel. This is problematic because of the volatility and the relatively low energy density of molecular hydrogen.
Bringing silicon into this cycle would allow us to continue using liquid fuels where needed, and given that silanes store energy at a higher density than hydrocarbons, and definitely at a higher density than pure hydrogen, this may be a good route to choose.
There are no byproducts of this cycle that would have to be vented into the environment and be destructive. The principal "exhaust gas" from silane combustion, silicon nitride, is a valuable industrial raw material that can easily be collected and recycled into technical and construction uses.
In case there would be "too much of a good thing" or an overabundance of silicon nitride, the powder could also be chemically transformed using sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). The transformation would produce ammonia (NH3) and water soluble silicates. The silicates are non-toxic and will degrade in ambient air to form sand crystals.
Although ammonia is atoxic gas, since it burns without any toxic residues and without carbon emission, it could be used in the production of further energy, or even as a fuel in cars, as proposed by nh3car.com. Burning ammonia with air produces steam and pure nitrogen.
' 4 NH3 + 3 O2-> 2 N2 + 6 H2O
Other uses for ammonia would be the production of nitrogen rich fertilizer, dynamite or household ammonia which is ammonia diluted in water.
The complete solar/silane cycle would involve the production of pure silicon from sand, either using solar energy or tars and bitumens. The next step is the synthesis of higher silanes. Plichta proposes to use a modified high pressure Muller-Rochow synthesis for this step. Then silanes could be burned in modified turbines and engines, or used in space propulsion systems. The fourth step is the re-cycling and re-use of the principal product of combustion, silicon nitride. What is not used industrially, can be chemically transformed into ammonia, which again produces nitrogen which was used in step 3 for combustion.
The pure silicon produced in step 1 would be of use in the production of more and cheaper solar panels to more efficiently capture the sun's free energy.
Dr Peter Plichta may be contacted through his website at
http://www.plichta.de/pp24/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=7
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Wanted in Russia: EU court blocked suspected Istanbul attack mastermind from extradition in 2010 - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 15:08
VIDEO-Did Juncker speak with aliens leaders of other planets ? - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:43
VIDEO-People actually like Burger King's Cheeto-dusted mac and cheese bites | Fox News
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:21
Burger King is bringing together two of America's favorite cheesy foods-- classic macaroni and cheese with bright orange Cheetos.
It's called Mac n' Cheetos and we at Chew on This can safely say we haven't seen a snack food mashup this extreme since 7-Eleven's cheese-stuffed Doritos Loaded Bites.
Combining the crunchy and cheesy Cheetos with the ultimate comfort food may seem like a no brainer now-- but the shape is pretty unusual. Burger King starts with a small serving of creamy macaroni and cheese, presses it into an extra large Cheeto-finger shape, deep fries it, then covers the whole bite in crumbled Cheetos.
But does the world actually need more crazy, cheesy mashups?
"Oh my god this is so good!"
"I like Cheetos and macaroni and cheese so this has got the best of both worlds," said one taster. "It's everything I thought it would be."
"It's really good. The outside is kinda crispy...and I like the mac and cheese inside, it's creamy," said another.
Many said the flavor of the Cheeto was pretty obvious while others just enjoyed being able to hold mac and cheese in their hands.
Frito-Lay has already teamed-up with other restaurants like Taco Bell for what is now widely considered a fast food changer: the Doritos Locos Tocos. And now Burger King is hoping to create a similarly successful partnership with the snack food giant.
A few tasters thought the product could use a bit of a "kick"--nothing a little sriracha can't handle-- but based on the reactions from most Chew on This tasters, this could be a homerun for the King.
"I would buy it if I hadn't just tried it right here."
"I would take the kids to try to these for sure."
Mac n' Cheetos made their nationwide debut at Burger King this week. Five pieces come in a bright orange box for just $2.49. Get 'me while they're hot-- the Whopper chain is selling Mac n' Cheetos for just eight weeks.
We're guessing the Flamin' Hot version will be out in a couple months.
VIDEO-Will Burger King's new Mac 'n Cheetos be a fast food game-changer? | WGN-TV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:18
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Burger King is rolling out a hybrid snack that has the internet buzzing '' deep fried sticks of macaroni and cheese breaded with a crispy, Cheetos-flavored exterior.
The restaurant chain is already testing the new Mac 'n Cheetos, the product of a partnership Frito-Lay, in some locations, according to Bloomberg. The rollout will extend to restaurants nationwide, but the offering will be for a limited time '' eight weeks or until supplies run out.
The snack has 310 calories and will cost $2.49 for a five pack.
"We're partnering up with one of Americans' favorite brands," Burger King North America President Alex Macedo said. "We're working on a few more menu items ... there's room for us to do more together in the future."
The Mac 'n Cheetos is being seen as Burger King's answer to Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos, a menu offering that helped boost the chain when many of its restaurants were struggling.
Here's a sampling of the (mostly positive) reactions on Twitter Wednesday:
VIDEO-Theresa May is a great self-promoter, but a terrible Home Secretary
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:07
In the run-up to the 2015 election, one of the handicaps David Cameron had to finesse was the fact that net migration to the UK was three times as high as he had promised it would be. Remarkably, none of the opprobrium this failure provoked brought forth the name of Theresa May, the cabinet minister actually entrusted with bringing migration down. Then, as now, it was as if the icy Home Secretary had a dark magic that warded off all critical scrutiny.
The fact that her lead role in this fiasco went unnoticed and unmentioned likely reflects Mrs May's brilliant, all-consuming efforts to burnish her image with a view to become prime minister.
After all, Mrs May's tenure as Home Secretary has been little better than disastrous '' a succession of derelictions that has left Britain's borders and coastline at least as insecure as they were in 2010, and which mean that British governments still rely on guesswork to estimate how many people enter and leave the country.
People find this hard to credit because she exudes determination and strength. Compared to many of her bland, flabby cabinet colleagues, she has real gravitas. And few who follow British politics would deny that she is a deadly political infighter. Indeed Theresa May is to Westminster what Cersei Lannister is to Westeros in Game of Thrones: no one who challenges her survives undamaged, while the welfare of the realm is of secondary concern.
Unfortunately this was an isolated incident that, given the lack of any subsequent (or previous) effort at police reform, seems to have been intended mainly for public consumption.
In general Mrs May has avoided taking on the most serious institutional problems that afflict British policing. These include a disturbing willingness by some forces to let public relations concerns determine policing priorities, widespread overreliance on CCTV, the widespread propensity to massage crime numbers, the extreme risk aversion manifested during the London riots, and the preference for diverting police resources to patrol social media rather than the country's streets.
There is also little evidence that Mrs May has paid much attention to the failure of several forces to protect vulnerable girls from the ethnically-motivated sexual predation seen in Rotherham and elsewhere. Nor, despite her supposed feminism, has Mrs May's done much to ensure that girls from certain ethnic groups are protected from forced marriage and genital mutilation. But again, Mrs May has managed to evade criticism for this.
When considering her suitability for party leadership, it's also worth remembering Mrs May's notorious ''lack of collegiality''.
David Laws' memoirs paint a vivid picture of a secretive, rigid, controlling, even vengeful minister, so unpleasant to colleagues that a dread of meetings with her was something that cabinet members from both parties could bond over.
Unsurprisingly, Mrs May's overwhelming concern with taking credit and deflecting blame made for a difficult working relationship with her department, just as her propensity for briefing the press against cabinet colleagues made her its most disliked member in two successive governments.
It is possible that Mrs May's intimidating ruthlessness could make her the right person to negotiate with EU leaders. However, there's little in her record to suggest she possesses either strong negotiation skills or the ability to win allies among other leaders, unlike Michael Gove, of whom David Laws wrote ''it was possible to disagree with him but impossible to dislike him,''
It's surely about time '' and not too late '' for conservatives to look behind Mrs May's carefully-wrought image and consider if she really is the right person to lead the party and the country.
There's a vast gulf between being effective in office, and being effective at promoting yourself; it's not one that Theresa May has yet crossed.
VIDEO-cbs evening news (friday july 1, 2016) - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:00
VIDEO-West secretly helping Syria against militants, says Assad | euronews, world news
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:33
Syria's President al-Assad is claiming that Western countries have sent security officials to help his government covertly fight militants.
In an interview with Australian broadcaster SBS on Tuesday (June 28), Assad said that the Western states opposed his rule, but were acting because they faced the threat of attacks at home in the name of Islam.
''Actually, this is the double standard of the West in general. They attack us politically and they send us their officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security, including your (Australian) government. They all do the same. They don't want to upset the United States. Actually, most of the Western officials they only repeat what the United States want them to say. This is the reality,'' President Bashar al-Assad said.
A Syrian warplane crashed northeast of Damascus on Friday and insurgents captured and killed its pilot, both Syrian and rebel sources say.
Meanwhile a monitoring group and rebels said in a rare gain, insurgents including the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front seized a strategic town in Latakia province.
Government forces had captured Kansaba in February, backed by Russian air power.
VIDEO-From London, with love: tens of thousands rally against Brexit vote | euronews, world news
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:26
Tens of thousands of Britons marched across the capital on Saturday (July 2), in protest against their nation's vote to leave the European Union.
Many were draped in EU flags, bearing slogans such as ''I'm with EU'' or ''Fromage, not Farage.''
London widely opposed a Brexit in last week's referendum and the vote showed the United Kingdom was all but united on the topic. Most of England and Wales voted to leave the EU, while in Scotland and Northern Ireland, most voters wanted to stay.
''Shame on you''The outcome of the vote has plunged Britain into political chaos and caused major turbulence on financial markets. The pound has dipped, the Bank of England said the economic outlook was deteriorating and Britain's credit rating has been downgraded.
Saturday's protesters were mainly young adults worried about their future, who said the ''Leave'' campaign was based on lies.
Cries of ''shame on you'' erupted as the rally halted outside the office of Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced the referendum in 2013.
Cameron, who backed a vote to remain in the EU, said after the result he would step down by October '' triggering a ruthless battle within the ruling Tory Party to succeed him.
More than 4 million people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum, saying the margin was too tight, with a 51.9 percent vote thrusting the country into the unknown.
VIDEO-Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel dies aged 87 | euronews, world news
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:22
The Holocaust survivor and former Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has died aged 87.
Born in Romania, after his wartime experiences he became a journalist and then an author, activist and academic, writing extensively of his imprisonment in Nazi camps.
The news of his death was announced by Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.
Wiesel won the Nobel prize in 1986, the committee calling him a ''messenger to mankind''.
His book ''Night'' which sold millions of copies, described his experiences at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
In 2009 he accompanied President Obama to Buchenwald, where an estimated 56,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed.
The World Jewish Congress praised Wiesel as a ''beacon of light'' who always fought injustice.
VIDEO-Australia in political limbo after cliff-hanger election | euronews, world news
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:15
Australia woke up on Sunday (July 3) to the prospect of a hung parliament and a minority government, after a general election that was too close to call.
Vote counting has been paused and was so tight that no party could claim a majority. Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull's Liberal Party-led coalition may need the support of independents and smaller parties to remain in power.
A clearer result isn't expected until at least Tuesday, when vote counting resumes. The process could take a week or more, and the coalition will rule under caretaker provisions in the interim.
Some will find the headache painfully familiar. Australia last faced a hung parliament in 2010, when then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard's ruling Labour Party had to secure an alliance with the minor Greens party and three independent lawmakers to form a fragile minority government. Before that, the last hung parliament was in 1940.
''I remain quietly confident that a majority coalition government will be returned at this election when the counting is completed,'' Turnbull told reporters.
But his main challenger, Labour party leader Bill Shorten, said while Saturday's election failed to produced a clear winner, there was one clear loser: the prime minister's reform agenda, which includes tax cuts for companies.
''Last night was an historic night. The Labor party is most certainly back,'' Shorten said.
Turnbull's gamble backfiresAs of Sunday, the ''Australian Electoral Commission'' said Shorten's Labour Party was leading in 71 seats, Turnbull's coalition in 67 seats, and small parties or independents in six seats. Six seats were still in the balance. Parties need to hold at least 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives to form a government.
The shift to the opposition and independent groups is a major blow for Turnbull, who ousted Tony Abbott as prime minister in a dramatic party-room coup last year and called the early election in a bid to strengthen his leadership and end a decade of political instability.
''I just feel that the country has turned against Malcolm because of what he did to Tony Abbott. I think they're fed up with what goes on in politics,'' said Sydney resident Debbie Moldovan.
Last week Turnbull invoked the turmoil Brexit caused on financial markets to call on Australians to vote for stability '' after the nation saw four prime ministers in the past three years.
''I think what we need now is a stable majority government particularly given some of the uncertainties that exist at the moment in the world,'' said another voter, Tom Curnow.
If Turnbull's coalition fails to form a government, it would be the first time in 85 years that a ruling party in Australia loses power after its first term in office.
Political skullduggery?Adding to the political drama, the Australian Federal Police said they were looking into thousands of text messages sent to voters on Saturday by the opposition Labour Party purporting to be from the state healthcare service Medicare, and alleging that Turnbull planned to privatise the service.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the message ''an extraordinary act of dishonesty'' in a speech to party faithful on election night. ''It's a pretty shameful episode in Australian political history,'' he said.
Labour's Queensland state branch said it had sent the messages but that it had not intended to make them appear as sent by Medicare. Labour made the prospect of privatisation of Medicare a key point of attack in its election campaign.
A Sky News exit poll showed 72 percent of voters rated health and Medicare as very important issues in deciding their vote. The poll also showed 62 percent of voters believed the coalition would win the election.
VIDEO-Russia harassing US diplomats? Wash Post Rogin queries Kirby. 01 July 2016 - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 05:50
VIDEOBenghazi Widow: Clinton Has No Right to Tell Me to Move On - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 05:36
VIDEO-Reporter: FBI Said No Video or Pictures of Lynch, Clinton Meeting - YouTube
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 05:31
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell Rejects 'Conspiracy Theories' About Clinton/Lynch Meeting | MRCTV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 04:53
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
During her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell dismissed the controversy over Bill Clinton's private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch as nothing more than a ''conspiracy theory'' as she rushed to defend Hillary Clinton.
Mitchell lamented even having to discuss story: ''Now on top of all of this, as though there weren't enough conspiracy theories out there already....Bill Clinton was in Arizona flying on a private jet, private airport....he did say hello to Loretta Lynch, met with her for about 30 minutes, she said it was completely social, they talked about grandchildren.''
VIDEO-Networks Ignore News on Hillary VP Contender, Democratic Senator's Gift Disclosures | MRCTV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 04:14
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Thursday, the ''big three'' networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC saw no interest in reporting that a possible Hillary Clinton vice presidential running mate had accepted more $160,000 in gifts while an elected official in Virginia as the veepstakes moves into its later stages.
In a piece published early Thursday morning by Politico, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine (Va.) had accepted ''more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences'' and included an ''$18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA Basketball Final Four.''
VIDEO_Gayle King Swears: Secret Clinton Meeting Not a 'House of Cards Scene' | MRCTV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 03:55
[See NewsBusters for more.] For the second day in a row, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Friday touted the most innocent explanation for a secret meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, despite the fact that the AG is in the middle of an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton. Not seeing the problem, King sputtered, ''It's like this is being treated like this is a House of Cards scene.'' Offering talking points, she continued, ''If it was going to be something that is so secretive, they wouldn't have done it in such a public place is what some people are saying.'' She hopefully wondered, ''Can we take them to their word? 'Listen, we are talking about our grand kids and he is asking me about my husband.' Could that possibly be true?''
VIDEO-Halperin: Clinton Met With Lynch Because He's a 'Really Social Guy' | MRCTV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 03:52
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Appearing on NBC's Today on Friday, Bloomberg Politics editor Mark Halperin offered a laughably naive explanation for Bill Clinton's controversial meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch: ''The most obvious explanation and probably the right one, is Bill Clinton is a really social guy...''
He cast Clinton and Lynch as celebrities who just ran into each other: ''And we've all seen situations where famous people on the tarmac, the two planes, it's kind of fun, 'Hey, let's go over and visit.''' He acknowledged: ''Someone '' Bill Clinton or Loretta Lynch '' or someone who worked for them standing there should have said, 'This is the wrong time for a social meeting.' The fact that it was 30 minutes is arousing a lot of suspicion....That's a long time.''
VIDEO-AG Lynch: Clinton Email Case Will Be Handled by 'Independent' Investigators 'Working on It From the Beginning' | MRCTV
Sun, 03 Jul 2016 03:46
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday that the FBI's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department will be handled by ''independent'' career agents and investigators that pre-dated Lynch's tenure at the Justice Department.
VIDEO-CIA Director John Brennan Discusses Global | Video | C-SPAN.org
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:23
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VIDEO-Man Pulls AR-15 On Drunkard SJWS Vandalizing His Trump Sign - YouTube
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:00
VIDEO-Exopolitics >> European Commission President Says he Spoke to Leaders of Other Planets about Brexit
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 22:37
In a speech before the European Parliament discussing the consequences of the Brexit vote, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made the stunning comment that he had spoken about it to ''leaders of other planets.'' Juncker's comment suggests that world leaders are in communication with extraterrestrials, which closely monitor global events and assess their geopolitical and 'exopolitical' impact.
Juncker's speech was given on June 28 at an emergency meeting in Brussels by the European Parliament. Here is what he said in French along with the English translation:
''Il faut savoir que ceux qui nous observent de loin sont tr¨s inquiets. J'ai vu et entendu et (C)cout(C) plusieurs des dirigeants d'autres plan¨tes qui sont tr¨s inquiets puisqu'ils s'interrogent sur la voie que l'union europ(C)enne va poursuivre. Et donc, if faut rassurer, et les europ(C)ens, et ceux qui nous observent de plus'... loin.''
''It should be known that those who observe us from afar are very worried. I met and heard and listened to several of the leaders from other planets who are very concerned because they question the path the European Union will engage on. And so, a soothing is needed for both the Europeans and those who observe us from '... farther away.''
The official transcript released by the European Commission has been edited to remove the reference to ''leaders from other planets''. The transcript now reads:
J'ai vu et entendu et (C)cout(C) plusieurs des dirigeants. Ils sont tr¨s inquiets '....
''I saw and heard and listened to several executives. They are very worried '...''
Yet, when one listens to an audio loop of what Junker's actually said, he very clearly includes the phrase ''dirigeants d'autres planets,'' which translates as ''leaders of other planets,'' as pointed out by native French speakers discussing Junckers speech, and also by Google Translate.
There has been clearly an official attempt to cover up Juncker's admission to having spoken to ''leaders of other planets,'' and making it appear as though he was instead referring to ''executives'' concerned about Brexit. So what did Juncker have in mind when he said he spoke with ''leaders of other planets''?
One possible interpretation is that he meant to say that he had spoken with ''other planetary leaders'' outside of the European Union, and made a simple grammatical error as some contend. If so, then why wasn't the official transcript corrected to make it clear that he had misspoken? Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine a major world leader would make such a dramatic error in an important speech to the European Parliament without realizing it immediately and correcting that error on the spot.
Also, at several points in his speech, Junckers makes references to himself as a ''human being'' and not a robot or a machine, suggesting that some in his intended audience are not human as one native French speaker has noted in translating and interpreting his comments in a helpful thread on the Project Avalon Forum.
Taken on face value, Juncker's speech directly raises the issue that ''leaders of other planets,'' or extraterrestrials, are very concerned by the Brexit issue and its implications for the European Union. It's worth exploring why this might be the case. There are two scenarios I wish to raise here.
One is that extraterrestrials require global unity as a precondition for revealing themselves to humanity, or having their existence disclosed. If so, then the effect of Brexit is one of slowing down the process of global political unification, thereby delaying any official announcement of extraterrestrial life.
If the above a scenario is correct, then what becomes important is whether the extraterrestrials are acting out of positive or negative intent in making global political unity a precondition for revealing themselves.
While it appears logical that global political unity is required for any planet to be introduced to wider galactic life, as popularly depicted in many Sci Fi shows, it does not follow that having a world government is necessary for open contact to happen. Here we need to distinguish between 'global government' and 'global governance'. Our planet may already have achieved sufficient 'global governance' in terms of interlocking international treaties and institutions, thereby making 'global government' a moot point.
Nevertheless, if some extraterrestrial leaders genuinely desire global political unity before revealing themselves, then while Brexit does slow this process down, it appears disingenuous for aliens to make this a precondition.
The second scenario is that the European Union is a fa§ade for a Nazi Fourth Reich which has secretly made alliances with a group of extraterrestrials called ''Draconians.'' A retired aerospace engineer, William Tompkins, has provided documents supporting his claims that he participated in a covert U.S. Navy program with 29 spies in Nazi Germany who had discovered that the Third Reich had made secret agreements with Draconians.
A result of the alien agreements led to the Nazi's coming within a whisker of winning World War II, but had nevertheless been able to relocate much of their technological infrastructure to Antarctica before the War's end. This gave the breakaway Nazis the time they needed to achieve a decisive technological superiority over the U.S. military, as demonstrated during Operation Highjump in 1947.
Subsequently, the breakaway Nazi groups established a Fourth Reich through covert economic means, which involved both the infiltration of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and the creation of the European Union. In such a scenario, Brexit is a clear challenge to the Fourth Reich as I have argued elsewhere.
There are other scenarios that may help explain why ''leaders of other worlds'' are concerned about Brexit, and why Junckers chose the European Parliament as the forum to ''leak'' this information. Most EU Parliamentarians are not part of the official loop on what would clearly be highly classified discussions with advanced alien civilizations, yet Junckers chose to reveal this to them. Why?
Many will be tempted to dismiss Junckers' admission of having spoken with extraterrestrials as him simply misspeaking about confidential discussions with other world leaders. However, the clumsy attempt by the European Commission to remove the ''leaders of other worlds'' reference from the official transcript of his speech, no effort to clarify his real intent in the transcript, and overall context of his speech suggest otherwise.
Junckers speech needs to be taken at face value, and therefore provides startling evidence that we are moving from a world of 'geopolitics' to 'exopolitics' requiring new levels of analysis in understanding major political events on our planet such as Brexit, and the existence of extraterrestrial life.
(C) Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice
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VIDEO-Tesla Draws Scrutiny After Autopilot Feature Linked to a Death - WSJ
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 22:01
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VIDEO-Source: Hillary Clinton To Meet With FBI On Saturday | The Daily Caller
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 20:56
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Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet Saturday with the FBI, a source close to the investigation into her private email server tells The Daily Caller.
The source went on to suggest the interview may take place at her Washington, D.C. home.
The bureau's interview with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is believed to be the final step in its investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information on Clinton's private email server.
Hundreds of now-classified documents '-- some of them ''Top Secret'' '-- were sent and received through Clinton's private server, which she housed at her New York residence during her tenure at the State Department.
FBI investigators have already interviewed several Clinton aides, including her former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. Investigators have also interviewed Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department information technology specialist who maintained Clinton's server. The Justice Department gave Pagliano limited immunity in exchange for his cooperation in the probe.
Scheduling the meeting on a holiday weekend will likely help with logistical issues for both the FBI and the Clinton campaign.Clinton has no campaign events listed on her schedule which means that she will not be tailed by the usual pack of campaign reporters. The FBI has sought to avoid drawing attention to its probe by bringing in witnesses in secret. That strategy has been successful, as reports of the meetings have only come out after they were held.
Past interviews with Clinton probe witnesses have reportedly been conducted by FBI agents, lawyers with the Justice Department's National Security division and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Va.
The politician has not been asked in several weeks whether she had scheduled an interview with the government. Her last comments on the matter came in late May. She said then that her legal team had been in contact with the Justice Department but that ''we do not have an interview scheduled.''
The meeting comes in the midst of a controversy involving another meeting '-- this one a secret conclave between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. The pair met on Lynch's airplane on the tarmac of Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday.
Lynch claimed that Clinton initiated the meeting and that the pair talked for around a half hour. She has claimed that they discussed Clinton's grandchildren, their travels, and former Attorney General Janet Reno, who served in Clinton's administration.
She disclosed the meeting only after reporters asked her about it on Wednesday.
On Friday, Lynch expressed regret about meeting with Clinton but declined calls to recuse herself from the investigation. She said she will accept recommendations handed down by FBI officials and Justice Department attorneys.
''I certainly wouldn't do it again because I think it has cast a shadow over how this case will be perceived,'' Lynch said at an Aspen Ideas Festival event.
''Believe me, I completely get that question. I think it's the question of the day,'' she added.
She said she will be briefed on the investigation by FBI and Justice Department officials and that ''I fully expect to accept their recommendations.''
Lynch was asked on Friday why she did not rebuff Clinton's request to meet with her on her plane. She dodged the question.
FBI director James Comey is said to be closely watching the investigation. He has maintained that the probe will be free from political influence.
But many observers have said this week that Lynch's meeting with Bill Clinton has tainted the integrity of the investigation.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch, the government watchdog group, asked the Justice Department's inspector general to open an ethics investigation into Lynch's conduct. The group pointed out that, in addition to the probe into Hillary Clinton's activities, the FBI is reportedly conducting a public corruption investigation involving the Clinton Foundation.
The FBI did not respond to TheDC's request for comment about Saturday's planned meeting. The Clinton campaign also did not respond.
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VIDEO-Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch meet privately - CNNPolitics.com
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:36
Lynch and Bill Clinton met privately in Phoenix Monday after the two realized they were on the same tarmac, an aide to the former president said. The encounter took place ahead of the public release Tuesday morning of the House Benghazi Committee's report on the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
The meeting is raising questions about whether the independence of the Justice Department, which is conducting an investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, might have been compromised.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said Thursday the meeting was "terrible."
"It was really a sneak," Trump told conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher. "You see a thing like this and, even in terms of judgment, how bad of judgment is it for him or for her to do this? Who would do this?"Trump continued his criticism during an interview with New Hampshire-based CNN affiliate WBIN-TV Thursday night, calling the meeting "shocking" and "very disappointing."
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, said the incident is why a "Special Counsel" should take over the email investigation
"This incident does nothing to instill confidence in the American people that her department can fully and fairly conduct this investigation, and that's why a Special Counsel is needed now more than ever," Cornyn said in a statement.
And Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group that has sued for access to records pertaining to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while leading the State Department, is asking for the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate the meeting.
"Attorney General Lynch's meeting with President Clinton creates the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment," the group said in a statement. "Attorney General Lynch's decision to breach the well-defined ethical standards of the Department of Justice and the American legal profession is an outrageous abuse of the public's trust. Her conduct and statements undermine confidence in her ability to objectively investigate and prosecute possible violations of law associated with President Clinton and Secretary Clinton."
Even some Democrats say the optics don't look good.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said he believes Lynch will remain objective in her role but would have advised against the meeting, which he says sends the wrong signal even if it was "a brief, casual, social meeting with the former president."
"I think she should have said, 'Look, I recognize you have a long record of leadership on fighting crime but this is not the time for us to have that conversation. After the election is over, I'd welcome your advice,'" Coons told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Thursday on "New Day."
Clinton's campaign hasn't commented on the meeting.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Thursday President Barack Obama's commitment to avoiding "political interference" in Department of Justice investigations after the airport meeting.
Referring back to Lynch's comments about the meeting, Earnest said Lynch understands investigations should be "conducted free of political influence and consistent with the facts."
He said Obama has also made clear he expects the Department of Justice investigation into Clinton's emails to proceed without political interference.
The huddle could feed into one of the biggest hurdles facing Clinton's campaign: that she's untrustworthy. Clinton herself acknowledged that challenge in unusually direct terms this week.
"I personally know I have work to do on this front," she said in Chicago Monday.
According to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter, the former president saw Lynch's plane on the tarmac and walked onto her aircraft. Lynch's FBI security detail did not stop Clinton and he proceeded to initiate an extended conversation that included discussion of grandchildren. Lynch was surprised to see Clinton walking onto her plane, the official said, and no Justice Department business was discussed.
Speaking at a news conference in Phoenix on Tuesday, Lynch confirmed the meeting and denied the two spoke about any matter pending before the Justice Department or the Benghazi probe. She also said the former president "did not raise anything" about an ongoing case or anything of that nature.
"I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane," Lynch said according to CNN affiliate KNXV/ABC15. "Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix."The former president's aide said nothing beyond Lynch's characterization of the account was discussed, and that Clinton "always" extends this courtesy when he is around cabinet secretaries, members of Congress and other dignitaries, pointing to the former president's unplanned meeting with Sen. Ted Cruz at an Alabama airport in May.
Asked in Los Angeles on Wednesday whether the meeting risked the department's impartiality in its investigation, Lynch said the email probe is "being handled by career investigators and career agents who always follow the facts and the law."
Top Democrats on Capitol Hill defended Lynch Thursday.
"All I can say is Loretta Lynch is one of the most outstanding human beings I've ever known," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. "Her ethics is above reproach."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called Lynch an "honorable person."
"She has said nothing was discussed related to the investigation so you have two choices: To say this didn't matter or she's lying," Schumer said. "I think it didn't matter. I don't think she's lying."
Of Hillary Clinton, Reid said: "I think she's pretty damn good."
VIDEO-The Polar Vortex Of White House Fraud | Real Science
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:32
The Polar Vortex weakens, and it become wavier.
John Holdren January 17, 2014The winter of 2011-2012 was warm in the US. Climate alarmists blamed it on global warming, and said it was the new normal. So during the cold winter of 2013-2014, the White House had to come up with some new BS, and claimed that a warming Arctic and shrinking ice cap were the cause of the cold.
We the Geeks: ''Polar Vortex'' and Extreme Weather | whitehouse.gov
The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes | The White House
Two days later, they had fooled 40% of the public.
This is the exact opposite of what scientists said 40 years ago, when they blamed the same weather pattern on a cooling Arctic and an expanding Arctic ice cap.
TIME Magazine Archive Article '-- Another Ice Age? '-- Jun. 24, 1974
International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere '' Article '' NYTimes.com
TimesMachine: January 5, 1978 '' NYTimes.com
The CIA blamed the expansion of the polar vortex on Arctic cooling and an expanding ice cap.
potentialtrends.pdf
The weather pattern in 1977 was nearly identical to the winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.
The Lewiston Journal '' Google News Archive Search
TimesMachine: July 14, 1977 '' NYTimes.com
The March 1, 1975 issue of Science News showed how global cooling caused a wavy jet stream.
8983
Compare that picture with Holdren's picture. Almost identical '' except that Holdren blamed Arctic warming and a shrinking ice cap..
CEI is suing the White House over release of the documents behind this fraud, and of course there aren't any because Holdren just made the whole thing up.
By Stephen Dinan '' The Washington Times '' Monday, May 9, 2016
The White House showed ''bad faith'' in how it handled an open records request for global warming data, a federal court ruled Monday, issuing yet another stinging rebuke to the administration for showing a lack of transparency.
For President Obama, who vowed to run the most transparent government in U.S. history, Judge Amit P. Mehta's ruling granting legal discovery in an open records case '-- the third time this year a judge has ordered discovery '-- is an embarrassing black eye.
In this most recent case, the Competitive Enterprise Institute was trying to force the White House office of science and technology policy to release documents backing up Director John C. Holdren's finding that global warming was making winters colder '-- a claim disputed by climate scientists.
Obama White House showed 'bad faith' in global-warming case, judge rules '' Washington Times
Not too surprising, because Holdren was also pushing the global cooling scam in 1970.
VIDEO-Pa. lawmaker questions use of Confederate flags in battle reenactments
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 15:37
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) '' Confederate flags and the soldiers carrying them came to Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863.
The history books tell us it was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
Historians tell us it was the turning point for the North.
Every year, participants from around country flock to Gettysburg to reenact the famous battle.
There's the blue.
And the gray.
The flag of the North.
And the South, which has state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia) fighting mad.
''I've been to a lot of reenacting and the reenacting does not tell the stories accurately,'' Brown said.
Brown recently protested a Confederate flag in a display at the state Capitol and Gov. Tom Wolf ordered it removed. Brown says it's a symbol of hatred and murder which wasn't mentioned in the Capitol display and likely won't be on the battlefield reenactment.
''If they're not going to tell the story properly, then they should not be displayed and they should not be reenacted unless they're going to tell the truth,'' she said.
''Well, I'm not so sure that trying to rewrite history is where we want to go,'' state Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) said. ''We're going to have people there reenacting Confederate soldiers as well as Union soldiers. Are we going to take all the Confederate soldiers off the battlefield and just have the reenactment one sided? Of course not, that would be crazy. Rewriting history is crazy.''
Moul represents Gettysburg and concedes bad things happened under that flag but happen they did.
''It was still America's history and to deny history at this point is something we shouldn't do,'' he said.
But Brown insists that to deny the hurtful nature of that flag is also something we shouldn't do.
''I've been to many [reenactments] and there hasn't been many that have really told the story about the oppression of the Confederate flag. I've not seen it and I enjoy those reenactments,'' she said.
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VIDEO-Breedlove's war: Emails show ex-NATO general plotting US conflict with Russia '-- RT America
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 14:41
Hacked private emails of the US general formerly in charge of NATO reveal a campaign to pressure the White House into escalating the conflict with Russia over Ukraine, involving several influential players in Washington.
The emails, posted by the site DCLeaks, show correspondence between General Philip M. Breedlove, former head of the US European Command and supreme commander of NATO forces, with several establishment insiders concerning the situation in Ukraine following the February 2014 coup that ousted the elected government in favor of a US-backed regime.
Breedlove served as the NATO Supreme Commander between May 2013 and March 2016. His personal email incorporated his Air Force call sign ''Bwana'' '' a Swahili word for ''boss.''
The hacked emails reveal his frequent and intense communications with retired General Wesley Clark, as well as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and involving a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, State Department official Victoria Nuland, and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.
Clark, who commanded NATO during the 1999 war in Yugoslavia, reached out to Breedlove in April 2014. On April 8, he forwarded ''intelligence'' obtained by Anatoly Pinchuk and Dmitry Tymchuk, activists close to the new regime, claiming a Russian invasion was in the works.
Read more
The information was conveyed by Phillip Karber, an ex-Marine and president of the Potomac Foundation, whom Clark calls a ''colleague'' and ''our guy.'' Karber wrote about observing the Russian border from inside a Ukrainian tank, and eagerly transmitted Tymchuk and Pinchuk's calls for support. Contacted by The Intercept on Friday, Karber confirmed the authenticity of several emails in the leaked cache.
Reporting on his meeting with Ambassador Pyatt on April 6, Karber wrote: ''State is the one trying to be pro-active and recognizes need to do more faster,'' while General Martin Dempsey '' at that point the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff '' was ''dragging his feet in order to save [military] relations with Russians.''
In an email dated April 12, Clark referred to his exchange with ''Toria'' Nuland '' the assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, who personally backed the Ukrainian revolution '' pushing for open US support for the regime in Ukraine to use force against protesters in the east. Prior to the coup, Washington had strongly warned Kiev not to use force against the anti-government demonstrators in the city.
Kiev's summer ''anti-terrorist operation'' ended in crushing defeat in August, and the first armistice between the government and rebels was signed in Minsk in September. Meanwhile, the so-called Islamic State jihadist group arose in Iraq and Syria, drawing US attention away from Eastern Europe with gruesome beheadings of Westerners. Frustrated by the White House's reluctance to back his belligerent agenda in Ukraine, Breedlove reached out to Powell, a retired general and former secretary of state.
''I seek your counsel on two fronts,.... how to frame this opportunity in a time where all eyes are on ISIL all the time,... and two,... how to work this personally with the POTUS,'' Breedlove wrote to Powell in September 2014. Powell's response was not made available.
Breedlove was introduced to Powell by Harlan Ullman, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and the author of the ''shock and awe'' doctrine used by the Bush administration in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In October 2014, Ullman urged Breedlove to reach out to Vice President Joe Biden. Aside from Powell, Ullman wrote, ''I know of no better way of getting into 1600,'' referring to the White House's address on Pennsylvania Avenue.
In November, Ullman also suggested Breedlove should get together with David O'Sullivan, the new EU envoy to Washington. Noting that Europe ''seems to be a six letter expletive in the White House,'' Ullman adds that ''perhaps quiet collaboration between him and NATO (SecGen) as well might be useful.''
''Obama or Kerry needs to be convinced that Putin must be confronted,'' Ullman wrote in February 2015, before the 'Minsk II' talks.
He also gave Breedlove pointers on getting into the good graces of Ash Carter, the new Defense Secretary. ''I would take or pretend to take careful notes. Ash is an academic. And he is trained that students who take good notes rise to be A grades. This may be maskarova. But it is useful maskarova,'' Ullman wrote, misspelling the Russian word for camouflage (maskirovka).
Washington did approve hundreds of millions of dollars in ''non-lethal'' aid to Ukrainian troops, including the notorious ''volunteer battalions,'' in the 2016 military budget.
Breedlove continued to push for more aggressive US involvement, claiming a heavy Russian troop presence in Ukraine '' which was later denied even by the government in Kiev. In March this year, the general was telling US lawmakers that Russia and Syria were ''deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.''
Breedlove was replaced at the helm of EUCOM and NATO in May, and officially retired from the military on July 1. He was replaced by US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, whose public statements suggest a similar level of hostility for Russia.
VIDEO-Tesla driver killed in autopilot crash 'was watching Harry Potter' | New York Post
Sat, 02 Jul 2016 14:39
WASHINGTON '-- The first American death involving a car in self-driving mode presents a dilemma: How aggressively to embrace the potentially life-saving technology after a fatal crash. The driver's history of speeding further complicates the question.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the design and performance of the Tesla Model S vehicle's ''Autopilot'' system after announcing the death of a driver on Thursday. The system was engaged at the time of the crash, but that is only part of the story.
The driver, Joshua D. Brown, a 40-year-old technology company owner from Canton, Ohio, was so enamored of his sedan that he nicknamed it ''Tessy'' and praised the Autopilot's safety benefits. Brown published videos on Youtube of himself behind the wheel with the system active.
He was killed May 7 in Williston, Florida, when his car's cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn't automatically activate the brakes, according to statements by the government and the automaker. Brown didn't take control and brake, either.
Brown's family said in a statement that it wanted to help the government and Tesla so that ''information learned from this tragedy will trigger further innovation which enhances the safety of everyone on the roadways.''
His death comes at an awkward time for the U.S. government and car makers.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind was expected later this month to announce guidelines on self-driving cars for states and automakers. The transition to the new technology could radically transform how people travel in the future.
Rosekind has stressed the potential life-saving advantages. In theory, automated vehicles will eliminate the human errors that are responsible for an estimated 94 percent of traffic fatalities. With more than 35,000 people killed on the nation's roads last year, the benefits could be enormous. Still, experts say some crashes and deaths will continue occurring.
Expecting ''defect-free,'' self-driving cars is unreasonable, said Timothy Carone, a Notre Dame professor and author of ''Future Automation: Changes to Lives and to Businesses.'' Still, he said the technology will become safer as it matures.
A former NHTSA administrator, Joan Claybrook, said the government should ensure car companies test self-driving software to eliminate defects before vehicles hit the road. She said automakers shouldn't make guinea pigs of their customers.
''There is nothing unique about software that it can't be tested,'' Claybook said.
Friends described Brown as having a ''need for speed,'' and state records obtained by The Associated Press show he had eight speeding tickets over six years.
Terri Lyn Reed, an insurance agent in northeastern Ohio who insured Brown's business, described her friend as ''kind of a daredevil'' who loved excitement and speed, and was fearless. A former employee of Brown's, Stan Staneski, said Brown drove fast, but he considered him a safe driver.
But the truck driver in the wreck, Frank Baressi, 62, of Palm Harbor, Florida, recalled Brown driving quickly when the accident occurred: ''He went so fast through my trailer I didn't see him.''
Frank BaressiPhoto: APBaressi also told the AP that Brown was ''playing Harry Potter on the TV screen'' at the time of the crash. Baressi acknowledged he couldn't see the movie, only heard it.
The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Friday that it found a portable DVD player in Brown's car after the accident, but agency spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said investigators could not confirm whether it was playing when the vehicles made contact.
Baressi is the owner of Okemah Express, a trucking company with one truck and one driver, himself. Federal records don't identify drivers by name, but they show Okemah and its driver were cited for seven violations during four traffic stops over the past two years. The most serious violation was in January when a Virginia state inspector ordered the driver off the road for being on duty more than the legal limit of 14 hours in one day. The driver was also cited for ignoring a traffic-control device in March and an improper lane change in December. An inspection last year found the truck's tires were going bald.
An attorney representing Brown's family said no decision had been made about whether to sue anyone.
''Once the complete investigation results are published, we'll obviously evaluate all the data and the conclusions and make our decision from there,'' Paul Grieco said Friday.
In addition to its cameras, the Model S has radar sensors that could have spotted the trailer. But Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that the radar ''tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events.''
VIDEO-No Biggie, Neil deGrasse Tyson Just Proposed a New Kind of Government | Big Think
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 19:25
In this election year, as we debate what kind of leaders we want to represent us, as well as what differing visions we'd like to see carried out, famous astrophysist and speaker Neil deGrasse Tyson just stirred the pot by tweeting his thoughts on an ideal form of government:
Tyson's viral tweet has generally been received with mixed emotions as people aren't sure how ''Rationalia'' would work and are immediately seeing some kind of fascist regime with eugenics on its mind. Or maybe something with communist underpinnings. Much of the doubt stems from the lack of confidence in the basic rationality of our species.
Presumably, Tyson does not see it that way and simply wants a government that is based on scientific evidence and reason.
In Tyson's videos for BigThink, he touches upon several topics relevant to this discussion. Here he talks about the intersection of science and faith:
neil-degrasse-tyson-on-science-and-faith
If you dissect the tweet further, you can notice that he's calling for Earth to have a ''virtual country'' with an evidence-based directive in its constitution. Perhaps, he's not saying this should be the only country in existence but it may be a sort of affiliation for all rational people (whatever physical country they might actually inhabit). This could lead to an interesting, internet-based experiment.
To further bolster the case for Rationalia, Tyson already recruited some of its first citizens. Namely, a host of famous "rational" people like Richard Dawkins and Brian Greene.
What, in particular, does Tyson like about rationality?
He goes into more detail in the video below. As he says towards its end (around 8:28) - it is unstable to build a government on a belief system. Religion or matters of belief or disbelief in provable issues (like the mountain of data suggesting climate change), do not have a place in government.
Tyson says:
''what you want is objectively verifiable truths, that we can all agree - that's what you build your economic system on, your government system.''
And if you wouldn't mind having a President Tyson, you might want to check out his views on why STEM is important in boosting America:
reinventing-america-by-incentivizing-stem
VIDEO-BUSTED!! Watch CNN Anderson Cooper caught lying for Hillary!
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 19:21
BUSTED! Watch CNN Anderson Cooper caught lying for Hillary! We must hold these liars accountable.
Story: BUSTED!! Watch CNN Anderson Cooper caught lying for Hillary!
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Donald Trump's campaign adding more veterans to teamTrump just exposed Loretta Lynch todayCheck out the latest Yuge move by the Trump campaign
VIDEO-West: Lynch-Clinton meeting "reeks of corruption" - YouTube
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:03
VIDEO-Judge Nap on Clinton-Lynch Meeting: 'Profound' Appearance of Impropriety | Fox News Insider
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:13
'Volcanic, Dangerous': Shocking Stories from Inside the Clinton White House
Report: Hacked Emails Show Hillary Campaign Secretly Tracked Journalists
Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted with disbelief on Fox Business Network to the meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.
The two spoke aboard Lynch's plane shortly after the two crossed paths at Phoenix airport in an allegedly impromptu meeting.
Lynch told reporters Tuesday afternoon that their conversation was "primarily social and about our travels" and that "there was no discussion of any matter pending before the department or any matter pending before any other body," including Benghazi or State Department emails.
Though he's on vacation, the Fox News senior judicial analyst spoke by phone to Stuart Varney, who called on Lynch to recuse herself from the case involving Hillary Clinton's private email server.
Napolitano emphasized that Lynch is the top law enforcement officer in the country and that the FBI is also investigating the Clinton Foundation.
He questioned how anyone could believe this was just a "coincidence" for the former president and Lynch to speak in this manner.
"Her agents and lawyers, more than 100 of them, are engaged in two serious criminal investigations of Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is inconceivable that she would permit herself to have any kind of contact with the husband of the target of a criminal investigation. The appearance of impropriety is so profound, no one could accept that she is now neutral in this case," he said.
Watch his analysis above.
Mother of Benghazi Victim: 'I'm Not the Liar, Hillary - You Are!'
Ex-Secret Service Agent: 'We Worried About Bill's Safety' Around Hillary
Judge Nap: Leaks Could Trigger 'Saturday Night Massacre' in Hillary Email Probe
'Every Time She Opens Her Mouth, She Lies': Judge Jeanine Blasts Hillary
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VIDEO-Trump supporter mocks Elizabeth Warren with chant
Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:58
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Elizabeth Warren.
Source: CNNStories worth watching (13 Videos)Trump supporter mocks Elizabeth Warren with chantDuring the pre-program of Donald Trump's rally in Bangor, Maine, radio talk show host Howie Carr used a mock Native American Indian tribal chant when speaking about Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Source: CNN
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton Outspends Donald Trump by $20 Million on Television Ads in June - ABC News
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:19
When it comes to television advertising, Hillary Clinton is blowing Donald Trump out of the water.
Clinton and her allies have outspent Trump forces by more than $20 million in June on television advertising, according to an ABC News analysis of CMAG/Kantar Media data.
For every $1 that Trump and his allies spent on television in June, Clinton and her allies spent $12. The presumptive Democratic nominee and her main super PAC, which can raise unlimited funds, doled out about $23 million during the month of June.
Almost 9 in every 10 dollars spent on television in June were spent boosting Clinton's campaign. Six in 10 dollars came from Priorities USA Action, the Clinton-backing super PAC, with another quarter of spending coming from Clinton's campaign itself.
Trump's campaign, meanwhile, has spent no money on television advertising, while unofficial super PACs backing his bid spent less than $2 million.
The lack of advertising spending isn't a change in strategy for the real estate mogul -- his bare-bones primary campaign relied heavily on dominating news coverage, but spending little money on advertising or staff.
But this means Clinton's ground game has a monumental head start moving into the general election. Her campaign and her main super PAC have almost $100 million the bank -- more than 20 times as much as Trump and his allies. And according to campaign finance records, Clinton has nearly 10 times as many staff on her campaign's payroll: 684 vs. 70.
The Sanders campaign and environmentally-focused super PAC NextGen Climate also each spent money leading up to the California primary during the first week of June.

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28 Pages

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Bengahzi

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Brexit

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Caliphate!

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Down Under

Australia in political limbo after cliff-hanger election.mp3

Elections 2016

Andrea Mitchell Rejects ‘Conspiracy Theories’ About Clinton-Lynch Meeting.mp3
CBS This Morning-Gayle King Swears- Secret Clinton Meeting Not a ‘House of Cards Scene’.mp3
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EuroLand

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LGBBTQQIAAP

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NA-Tech News

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Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel dies aged 87.mp3

Ottomania

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West secretly helping Syria against militants, says Assad.mp3

Zika

CBS Avoids Saying Democrats Held Up Zika Money for Planned Parenthood.mp3
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Zika Appropriation BILLS-114hr5243rds.pdf
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