DHS talks with states about shoring up cyber in voting systems
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 03:12
DHS talks with states about shoring up cyber in voting systemsBy Mark RockwellAug 16, 2016DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is conferring with state and local governments about the cybersecurity of voting systems.
In the wake of high-profile hacks of Democratic National Committee databases and associated concerns for the cybersecurity of the country's voting infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security has kicked off a campaign to raise awareness its cyber resources for states.
In an Aug. 15 conference call with members of state government organizations and other chief election officials to talk about the election infrastructure, Johnson said his agency was opening a Voting Infrastructure Cybersecurity Action Campaign. The initiative, he said, taps experts from the private and government sectors to get the word out on possible cybersecurity risks for voting infrastructure and processes.
The conference call was a key part of advertising the department's assistance capabilities, a DHS official said.
Johnson said on the call that representatives from the National Association of Secretaries of State had been invited to be part of the campaign. (NASS membership includes government officials from all 50 states, as well as from U.S. territories.) The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Department of Commerce's National Institute for Standards and Technology and the Justice Department also participated in the call, according to a DHS statement.
After repeated hacks of DNC systems by attackers who have been linked by multiple cybersecurity experts to Russian government interests, DHS is actively considering classifying the U.S. election systems as part of the nation's critical infrastructure, much like the power grid, communications and financial services sectors. Such a move would bring voting systems, which are run mostly by state and local governments, under DHS' cyber protection umbrella.
Johnson also reminded state officials that federal agencies are available now to help gird election systems against cyberattack. The DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center will conduct vulnerability scans, provide actionable information, and provide access to other tools and resources to help with election system cybersecurity on request.
He also advised state officials to heed NIST and EAC recommendations that electronic voting machines not be connected to the internet while voting is underway.
State officials who were on the call told FCW it was the first time they could remember that DHS had convened a discussion on election security. They said the call was productive, with the agency not only providing its advice to states for voting system cybersecurity, but with states telling DHS about their precautions in a contentious election cycle.
"The states feel, for the most part, that they're in good shape" cybersecurity-wise, as most have made sure their systems are self-contained and not Internet-facing, said one representative who agreed to speak on background.
Johnson had said in early August that DHS must "carefully consider whether our election system is critical infrastructure, like the financial system or the power grid. There is a vital national interest in our election process."
On the call, Johnson reiterated the agency was still mulling the idea, adding that DHS officials are not aware of specific or credible cybersecurity threats to systems supporting the upcoming general election. He added, however, that the situation could change quickly.
States, the call participant told FCW, are still unsure of the full implications a critical infrastructure designation and how it might affect their operations. State officials on the call asked DHS for more detail on potential effects as the election quickly approaches, with early voting in some states beginning in September.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
NBC chairman blasts Trump in private Facebook post
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 20:45
LOS ANGELES (AP) '-- The chairman of NBC Entertainment slammed Donald Trump, the network's onetime "Apprentice" star, as "toxic" and "demented" in a private Facebook post that became public.
Robert Greenblatt's post refers to a "sad state of affairs thanks to a pompous businessman turned reality TV star" who thinks that speaking his mind is "refreshing."
"It's actually corrosive and toxic because his 'mind' is so demented; and his effect will unfortunately linger long after he's been told to get off the stage," the executive said in the post Monday, which doesn't refer to Trump by name.
Greenblatt does not oversee NBC News or its campaign coverage. However, his remarks likely will give critics of the media an opening for attack.
His post also derided the business mogul's ratings prowess, writing that Trump's show "consistently ran LAST in its time period, by the way."
"The Apprentice," was a hit for NBC when it began airing in 2004 but the most recent season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice," the latest incarnation, finished in fourth place when it aired in February 2015, behind shows including "ABC's "The Bachelor" and CBS' "Two Broke Girls."
A person familiar with Greenblatt's private page said Tuesday the post came from the NBC executive. The person, who lacked authority to discuss the matter publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump's campaign did not immediately return a message seeking comment
NBC, part of Comcast Corp. subsidiary NBCUniversal, declined comment Tuesday, as did Comcast.
Greenblatt took over as entertainment chairman in 2011. In June 2015, NBCUniversal said it was cutting its business ties with Trump because of his "derogatory statements" about immigrants.
The network dropped the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that were a joint venture between NBC and Trump, noting that he already had said he wouldn't participate in "The Apprentice."
Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to take over as host in January.
But NBC Entertainment's attitude toward putting Trump on the air hasn't been consistent.
Six months after ending its relationship with Trump, the network featured him as host of "Saturday Night Live" '-- and earned the show's best ratings in two years.
At a news conference in January, Greenblatt said if NBC never had guests that its executives publicly disagreed with that "we would be out of business."
"We're not in business with him, but love him or not, he's one of the most important political figures of our time," Greenblatt said.
Earlier this month, Greenblatt told a TV critics meeting he took a skeptical view of the idea that "Apprentice" served as a launching pad for the presidential bid that Trump began in June 2015.
"We were happy to have a show that was doing really well with a guy who was a big TV star," Greenblatt said. "I don't think there's that much of a correlation of one to the other. ... That's what great about this country."
He likened Trump's successful run on " Apprentice" to Ronald Reagan's movie career and how it served as a useful prelude to his own second act in politics: "'Bedtime for Bonzo' helped make Reagan a national prominent figure," Greenblatt said.
Greenblatt's Facebook comments were first reported by the New York Post.
Clinton Foundation hired cyber firm after suspected hacking: sources | Reuters
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:36
Thu Aug 18, 2016 | 7:11 AM EDT
ByMark Hosenball, Dustin Volz and John Walcott|WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bill and Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation hired the security firm FireEye to examine its data systems after seeing indications they might have been hacked, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
So far, no message or document hacked from the New York-based Clinton Foundation has surfaced in public, the sources said.
One of the sources and two U.S. security officials said that like hackers who targeted the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democrats' congressional fundraising committee, the hackers appear to have used ''spear phishing'' techniques to gain access to the foundation's network.
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These techniques include creating bogus emails or websites in an effort to gain access to Clinton Foundation staffers' emails and then to the foundation itself.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the U.S. officials said the hackers used the same techniques Russian intelligence agencies or their proxies employed against the Democratic Party groups, which suggests that Russians also attacked the foundation.
Kremlin officials dismissed as absurd the allegations of Moscow's involvement, which were made last month amid political party nominating conventions for the Nov. 8 election.
Neither former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, the Clinton Foundation's principal lawyer, nor a spokeswoman for the foundation responded to requests for comment on the hacking and the precautions the organization has taken.
Officials with FireEye said the company could not discuss its clients.
Although no documents have emerged, the attacks have left some Democrats and Clinton campaign officials worried that the hackers might have obtained emails and voice messages that could be used to reinforce Republican charges that donors to the Clinton Foundation were rewarded with access to Clinton and her aides while she was secretary of state or to her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Another concern: hackers or outlets such as the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks website could release documents and emails damaging to her presidential campaign, several people familiar with the foundation's activities said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee convened a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to discuss best cyber security practices.
The meeting, according to people familiar with it, included a recommendation that staff and lawmakers change their phone numbers and email addresses if that information was published online by hackers believed to be working for or with Russian intelligence agencies.
One of the U.S. officials said, however, that the spear phishing pattern used against several organizations, appears to reinforce the intelligence community's "preliminary assessment" that the attacks were intended more for espionage than for trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.
So far, said a third U.S. official familiar with the attacks, there is no evidence that the hackers were able to follow any of the hacked emails into the State Department's classified email systems.
Anxiety in Washington over the possibility that a foreign power might be using hacked information to meddle in the U.S. election has prompted some Democrats and cyber security experts to urge the Obama administration to blame Russia publicly.
Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat on the House of Representatives intelligence committee, said the United States should carry "a big stick" in cyber security matters. "The U.S. government needs to be very clear, very direct, and hold these people accountable."
Current and former White House and intelligence officials said the Obama administration is unlikely to blame Russia publicly, given the difficulty of attributing the attacks without revealing American sources and methods, the geopolitical concerns at play, and a fear that doing so could risk aggravating cyber conflict.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, Joe Menn, Dustin Volz and John Walcott; Editing by John Walcott and Grant McCool)
Trump Campaign's New CEO Peddled Conspiracy Theories About Clinton Team | Mother Jones
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 20:48
Bannon's show propagated theories about longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin due to her Muslim background.Alex Brandon/AP
Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News whom Donald Trump has appointed as his new campaign CEO, hasn't been shy about trading in on the deepest fringes of conspiracy theories against Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff. Just a month before taking the helm of Trump's campaign, Bannon used his Sirius XM radio show to question whether one of Clinton's closest aides is tied to Muslim terrorists.
On July 5, Bannon invited Trump pal Roger Stone onto his daily radio show, Breitbart News Daily, to talk about Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide and vice chair of her 2016 campaign. Abedin has long been at the center of discredited, racist conspiracy theories thanks to her Muslim heritage, and Bannon and Stone happily treaded into those waters during the July interview. "You've got more breaking news on Huma Abedin," Bannon kicked off. "By the way, Roger, I still can't figure out how she got the security clearance. Can you help me out here?"
"It's very, very hard to understand because of her ties to the Muslim World League." Stone replied. "And the league's ties to extremism and to terrorism, to an organization, a trust, which funded the actual attack on America on 9/11 are inexorable. This is a fact; this isn't fiction. And Hillary continues to dodge all of these questions."
The fringes of conservatism have spent years questioning Abedin based on little more than her ethnicity. In 2012, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, sent a letter to the State Department requesting an investigation into Abedin's supposed ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Her letter was widely condemned, even by fellow Republican John McCain and the conservative Daily Caller.
Abedin's background has been a favorite topic of Stone's. A month earlier, also on Bannon's XM show, Stone said, "Most of the experts I look at, I've spoken to, looking at the various facts regarding Huma and her rise, where she came from, her family background, her various connections, conclude that she is most likely a Saudi spy, which is my own conclusion."
Listen to the interview below:
Democrats' new warning: Leaks could include Russian lies - POLITICO
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:04
The move could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise.
By Cory Bennett
08/17/16 05:11 AM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is warning that Russian security services have been known to doctor documents and images. | Getty
Democratic leaders are putting out a warning that could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise: Any future mass leaks of embarrassing party emails might contain fake information inserted by Russian hackers.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is among those sounding that alarm, echoing security experts who say Russian security services have been known to doctor documents and images or bury fictitious, damaging details amid genuine information. For hackers to resort to such tactics would be highly unusual, but security specialists say it's a realistic extension of Moscow's robust information warfare efforts.
Story Continued Below
Pelosi aired her concerns during a Saturday night conference call with Democratic lawmakers and aides who had been stung by a dump of their emails and phone numbers, according to a source on the call.
Democratic strategists say the party would be wise to trumpet warnings about faked leaks as it braces for the possibility of hackers releasing damaging information about Clinton or other candidates close to Election Day. Preemptively casting doubt on the leaks may be easier now than trying to mount a full response days before voters go to the polls.
''It is certainly a valid issue to raise, because clearly the people who are doing these attacks have a political agenda that's against the Democratic Party,'' said Anita Dunn, who was White House communications director in the early part of President Barack Obama's first term.
If Russia is indeed attempting to destabilize Clinton's candidacy through the widespread digital assault on Democratic institutions '-- as many researchers believe, and Democrats are alleging, but Moscow strongly denies '-- ''why wouldn't you want to raise the potential [for tampering]?'' asked Dunn, now a partner at communications firm SKDKnickerbocker. ''I think it's only prudent for people to raise that possibility."
Republicans say Democrats are just trying to distract the public from the most important issue: the content of the leaks. They say the Democrats already tried to do that with the first batch of 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails that leaked in July, which forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after showing that some DNC staffers had favored Clinton over primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
''First, they made it all about Russia instead of the substance of what was actually in the emails,'' said Matt Mackowiak, a veteran Republican strategist. Now, he added, ''If there is a massive trove of emails or documents relating to the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation '... they may just say, 'Look, the authenticity of the emails hasn't been confirmed.'''
Intelligence officials '-- including NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper '-- have long argued that data manipulation more broadly is a disturbing possibility, and potentially the next front in both cybercrime and the budding digital warfare between countries.
Last month, a bipartisan group of 32 national security experts at the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group warned of a specific type of fakery following the DNC hack, arguing that the suspected Russian hackers who struck the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee could ''salt the files they release with plausible forgeries.''
In Saturday's call, Pelosi was underlining a point made by cyber experts at CrowdStrike, the firm the party has hired to investigate the breaches at the DNC and the DCCC. The conference call was prompted by the late Friday release of DCCC spreadsheets containing nearly all House Democrats' and staffers' personal emails and phone numbers, which led to a flood of harassing emails and phone calls over the weekend.
In total, the hackers have reportedly infiltrated more than 100 party officials and groups, leaving progressives fearful that the entire Democratic Party apparatus is potentially compromised. During Saturday's call, House members in competitive races voiced concerns about what damning information might be out there.
But hacking specialists say the most harmful information might not even be genuine.
''You may have material that's 95 percent authentic, but 5 percent is modified, and you'll never actually be able to prove a negative, that you never wrote what's in that material,'' CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch told POLITICO. ''Even if you released the original email, how will you prove that it's not doctored? It's sort of damned if you do, damned if you don't."
Several Democratic operatives said they even expect fake information, though mixed with enough truth to cause damage.
''The most powerful lie contains truth,'' said Craig Varoga, a D.C.-based Democratic strategist. ''Whether it's the devil or it's Russian intelligence services, they traffic in things that are true in order to put across a greater lie.''
Historically, it's not unprecedented for intelligence agencies '-- including those in the U.S. '-- to release fake reports for propaganda purposes. The FBI's COINTELPRO program infamously used forged documents and false news reports to discredit or harass dissenters during the 1950s and 1960s, including civil rights leaders, anti-war protesters and alleged communist organizations.
Hackers have adopted similar strategies.
In 2013, Syrian hackers backing embattled President Bashar Assad hijacked The Associated Press' Twitter account, tweeting out falsified reports of two explosions at the White House that had injured Obama. The Dow plummeted in minutes, wiping out $136 billion in market value, according to Bloomberg. It stabilized shortly thereafter, once the report was revealed to be a hoax.
Russia has long been known for engaging in such propaganda warfare, going back to the days of the Soviet Union, when the KGB spread conspiracy theories about the FBI and CIA's involvement in President John F. Kennedy's assassination. In the 1980s, the KGB planted newspaper articles alleging that the U.S. had invented HIV during a biological weapons research project.
The security agency also secretly helped an East German journalist write a book, ''Who's Who in the CIA,'' that accurately outed numerous undercover CIA agents but also intentionally included a raft of people who were simply American officials stationed overseas, according to a former top Soviet security official.
In the weeks since the DNC email leaks, cyber specialists on Twitter have been circulating a passage from the memoirs of a former East German spymaster who wrote about the ''creative'' use of forgeries in conjunction with genuine leaks.
''Embarrassed by the publication of genuine but suppressed information, the targets were badly placed to defend themselves against the other, more damaging accusations that had been invented,'' wrote Markus Wolf, who had headed East Germany's foreign intelligence division for more than three decades. (On the other hand, he added that, ''my principle was to stick as close to the truth as possible, especially when there was so much of it that could easily further the department's aims.'')
In recent years, the Kremlin has adapted these tactics for a digital age.
The Kremlin was caught in 2014 manipulating satellite images to produce ''proof'' that Ukraine had shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight that was downed over Ukraine, killing 298 passengers. Last year, a Russian lawmaker's staffer was exposed filming a fake war report, pretending to be near the front line in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has seized territory.
''Standard Russian modus operandi,'' said James Lewis, an international cyber policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, via email. ''They've done it before in the Baltics and other parts of Europe: Leak a lot of real data and slip in some fakes (or more often, things that have been subtly modified rather than a complete fake).''
Digital forensics experts even noted that the metadata on some of the early documents leaked from the DNC '-- which included opposition research files '-- had been altered, although it didn't appear that any content was compromised. But the discovery showed how easy such an edit would be.
''They have information warfare as a core tenet of what they do form a geopolitical perspective,'' said Steve Ward, director of communications for digital security firm FireEye, which tracks many Russian hacking groups. ''It's really in their wheelhouse.''
But Ward and other digital security experts acknowledge that the exact scenario Pelosi was discussing would be novel, and that so far, hackers have had little incentive to manipulate leaked data. As anonymous digital actors, hackers already have the deck stacked against them when trying to expose information.
''You've got to suspend disbelief and trust the bad guys when you're looking at this stuff,'' Ward said. If they make just one discredited leak, hackers are ''effectively losing the value of the operation by creating distrust with the data,'' he added.
This leads many cyber experts to suspect that any release of faked emails, if it comes at all, would probably not come until days before the Nov. 8 election. At that point, the Democrats wouldn't have time to definitively prove a forgery.
So it makes sense, strategists said, for Democrats to put the concept in the public's mind now.
''What Pelosi is doing is making the response now,'' said Brad Bannon, a longtime Democratic consultant. ''Democrats do have their antenna up over this thing. They are anticipating.''
Eric Geller, Martin Matishak and Heather Caygle contributed to this report.
Is Trump Purposely Sabotaging His Campaign? '-- Medium
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 20:55
Is Trump Purposely Sabotaging His Campaign?Friends,
Donald Trump never actually wanted to be President of the United States. I know this for a fact. I'm not going to say how I know it. I'm not saying that Trump and I shared the same agent or lawyer or stylist or, if we did, that that would have anything to do with anything. And I'm certainly not saying that I ever overheard anything at those agencies or in the hallways of NBC or anywhere else. But there are certain people reading this right now, they know who they are, and they know that every word in the following paragraphs actually happened.
Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, ''The Apprentice'' (and ''The Celebrity Apprentice''). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you're going to do something is bupkus''--'DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.
Trump had begun talking to other networks about moving his show. This was another way to get leverage''--'the fear of losing him to someone else''--'and when he ''quietly'' met with the head of one of those networks, and word got around, his hand was strengthened. He knew then that it was time to play his Big Card.
He decided to run for President.
Of course he wouldn't really have to RUN for President''--'just make the announcement, hold a few mega-rallies that would be packed with tens of thousands of fans, and wait for the first opinion polls to come in showing him''--'what else!''--'in first place! And then he would get whatever deal he wanted, worth millions more than what he was currently being paid.
So, on June 16th of last year, he rode down his golden escalator and opened his mouth. With no campaign staff, no 50-state campaign infrastructure''--'neither of which he needed because, remember, this wasn't going to be a real campaign''--'and with no prepared script, he went off the rails at his kick-off press conference, calling Mexicans ''rapists'' and ''drug dealers'' and pledging to build a wall to keep them all out. Jaws in the room were agape. His comments were so offensive, NBC, far from offering him a bigger paycheck, immediately fired him with this terse statement: ''Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.'' NBC said it was also canceling the beauty pageants owned by Trump: Miss USA and Miss Universe. BOOM.
Trump was stunned. So much for the art of the deal. He never expected this, but he stuck to his plan anyway to increase his ''value'' in the eyes of the other networks by showing them how many millions of Americans wanted Him to be their Leader. He knew, of course (and the people he trusted also told him) that there was no way he was actually going to win many (if any) of the primaries, and he certainly would not become the Republican nominee, and NEVER would he EVER be the President of the United States. Of course not! Nor would he want to be! The job of being President is WORK and BORING and you have to live in the GHETTO of Washington, DC, in a SMALL 200-yr. old house that's damp and dreary and has only TWO floors! A ''second floor'' is not a penthouse! But none of this was a worry, as ''Trump for President'' was only a ruse that was going to last a few months.
And then something happened. And to be honest, if it happened to you, you might have reacted the same way. Trump, to his own surprise, ignited the country, especially among people who were the opposite of billionaires. He went straight to #1 in the polls of Republican voters. Up to 30,000 boisterous supporters started showing up to his rallies. TV ate it up. He became the first American celebrity to be able to book himself on any show he wanted to be on''--'and then NOT show up to the studio! From ''Face the Nation'' to ''The Today Show'' to Anderson Cooper, he was able to simply phone in and they'd put him on the air live. He could've been sitting on his golden toilet in Trump Tower for all we knew ''and the media had no problem with any of that. In fact, CBS head Les Moonves famously admitted that Trump was very good for TV ratings and selling ads''--'music to the ears the NBC-spurned narcissist.
Trump fell in love with himself all over again, and he soon forgot his mission to get a good deal for a TV show. A TV show? Are you kidding''--'that's for losers like Chris Harrison, whoever that is (host of ''The Bachelorette''). He was no longer king of the dealmakers''--'he was King of the World! His tiniest musings would be discussed and dissected everywhere by everybody for days, weeks, months! THAT never happened on ''The Apprentice''! Host a TV show? He was the star of EVERY TV SHOW''--'and, soon, winning nearly every primary!
And then'... you can see the moment it finally dawned on him'... that ''Oh shit!'' revelation: ''I'm actually going to be the Republican nominee''--'and my rich beautiful life is [email protected] over!'' It was the night he won the New Jersey primary. The headline on TIME.com was, ''Donald Trump's Subdued Victory Speech After Winning New Jersey.'' Instead of it being one of his loud, brash speeches, it was downright depressing. No energy, no happiness, just the realization that now he was going to have to go through with this stunt that he started. It was no longer going to be performance art. He was going to have to go to work.
Soon, though, his karma caught up with him. Calling Mexicans ''rapists'' should have disqualified him on Day One (or for saying Obama wasn't born here, as he did in 2011). No, it took 13 months of racist, sexist, stupid comments before he finally undid himself with the trifecta of attacking the family of a slain soldier, ridiculing the Purple Heart and suggesting that the pro-gun crowd assassinate Hillary Clinton. By this past weekend, the look on his face said it all''--'''I hate this! I want my show back!'' But it was too late. He was damaged goods, his brand beyond repair, a worldwide laughing stock''--'and worse, a soon-to-be loser.
But, let me throw out another theory, one that assumes that Trump isn't as dumb or crazy as he looks. Maybe the meltdown of the past three weeks was no accident. Maybe it's all part of his new strategy to get the hell out of a race he never intended to see through to its end anyway. Because, unless he is just ''crazy,'' the only explanation for the unusual ramping up, day after day, of one disgustingly reckless statement after another is that he's doing it consciously (or subconsciously) so that he'll have to bow out or blame ''others'' for forcing him out. Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn't want to do the actual job''--'and, most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser''--'LOSER!''--'on the night of November 8th.
Trust me, I've met the guy. Spent an afternoon with him. He would rather invite the Clintons AND the Obamas to his next wedding than have that scarlet letter (''L'') branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls have closed on that night, the evening of the final episode of the permanently cancelled Donald Trump Shit-Show.
Postscript:Don, if you're reading this, do it soon. Give your pathetic party a chance to pick up the pieces and nominate Ryan or Romney so they can be the ones to lose the White House, the Senate, the House and yes, praise Jesus and the Notorious RBG, the Supreme Court. Don't be too hard on yourself. You're only the logical conclusion to a party that has lived off the currency of racism and bigotry and fellating the 1% for decades, and now their Trump has come home to roost.
Ajamu Baraka - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 01:31
In 2008, Baraka worked with the US Human Rights Network and over 400 organizations to develop a CERD Shadow Report, which concerned US compliance with the terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. They felt the US government's reports did not adequately address racial profiling, displacement from Hurricane Katrina, and land rights for the Western Shoshone, among other issues. A large delegation presented their findings.
In October 2014, Baraka traveled to Palestine with the African Heritage delegation. From their experiences there, the 18 delegates drafted six findings and demands and urged the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) "to support moves to hold Israel accountable to international law." These findings / demands included: "settlement expansion amounts to ethnic cleansing and 21st century colonialism"; the settlements should not be financed or weaponized by the US; "Israel deports, harasses, detains, poisons, and even sterilizes its African refugees"; "The global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is an essential tool in the struggle for Palestinian liberation."
In September 2015, he wrote of being a human-rights activist: "[I]f today leftists in the U.S. can find a way to reconcile the suffering of the people of Yemen and Gaza and all of occupied Palestine for the greater good of electing Sanders, tomorrow my life and the movement that I am a part of that is committed to fighting this corrupt, degenerate, white supremacist monstrosity called the United States, can be labeled as enemies of the state and subjected to brutal repression with the same level of silence from these leftists."
Writings by Baraka have appeared in Black Agenda Report, Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, Pambazuka News, and CounterPunch, and other media outlets. In "What if the Green Party Stopped Being Kooky and Started Getting Real?", Politico writer Christopher Hooks stated that Baraka "has a long history of fringe statements and beliefs."
Domestic policyEditIn 2005, Baraka argued that the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita should be considered "internally displaced" and given assistance in accordance with internationally recognized rights for such people.
Foreign policyEditIsraelEditBaraka has been a vehement critic of the role of Israel in the Israeli''Palestinian conflict and of Israel's presence in the region. After traveling to Palestine in 2014, Baraka wrote that "a negotiated, relatively 'peaceful' resolution of the conflict is impossible" because "the Israeli state has no interest in a negotiated settlement with Palestinians." He accused Israel of carrying out what he termed a "brutal occupation and illegal theft of Palestinian land," adding:
During my activist life I have traveled to many of the counties that Western colonial/capitalist leaders characterized as despotic totalitarian states '' the old Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba before 1989 '' but in none of those states did I witness the systematic mechanism of population control and scientific repression that I witness in ''democratic'' Israel. The security walls, towers, checkpoints, and armed settlers created an aura of insecurity and impending assault on one's dignity at any time. I left that space wondering how anyone with a modicum of humanity and any sense of morality could reconcile living in that environment from the spoils of Palestinian dispossession and degradation and how any nation could support the Israeli political project.
Baraka also questioned news stories about the June 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, which Israel blamed on Hamas members and which led to Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip against Hamas. One month after the kidnappings, which he called a "false flag operation," Baraka indicated in an interview his belief that "the kids were supposed to be kidnapped but they weren't supposed to be murdered. That was an accident. But nevertheless it gave Israel the pretext that they were setting up for, and that was the opportunity to basically attack Hamas in order to destroy the unity government." Two suspects, both members of Hamas, were killed in a shootout with Israeli forces in September 2014, while a third Hamas member was convicted of the murders in January 2015.
In March 2015, Baraka condemned Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on the day of the 2015 Israeli elections. Netanyahu had warned supporters in a video posted to his Facebook page that his government was in danger because "Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls." Baraka called Netanyahu's words a "racist rant" that exposed "the brutal and immoral reality of the Israeli colonial project" and the "illusion" of a two-state solution.
Syria and IraqEditSpeaking in 2014 on U.S. involvement in Iraq, Baraka characterized U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East over the previous 20 years as "disastrous" and said that "what has occurred in Iraq was predictable."
In a 2014 interview, Baraka stated his belief that the U.S. had a part in creating the ''boogeyman'' of ISIS ''to basically garner significant public support for an argument that says that this monster, these evil forces'--that, by the way, we helped to create'--we are the only ones that can go in and slay this monster.'' Baraka has also asserted that the atrocities of the Syrian Civil War are being "fomented by a demented and dying U.S. empire, with the assistance of the royalist monarchies of the Middle East and the gangster states of NATO." In an interview, he has suggested that control of natural resources, such as the proposed Qatar-Turkey and Iran-Iraq-Syrianatural gaspipelines, is one of the underlying reasons for U.S. and Turkish interests in the region:
These are not just geopolitical fights based on principle, but these fights are based on real material realities, real material advantages. So you look at the routes of these various pipelines that are being proposed and actually built to bring natural gas from Central Asia to the European markets. Turkey felt that it was in their interest to make sure that they can influence the best deal possible that will allow them to be positioned to take full advantage of these pipelines. That's one of the reasons many people argue that Syria had to go: that when there were proposals to run these natural gas pipelines from Iran through Iraq and through Syria, that it was a direct threat to some of the ambitions that Erdogan has for Turkey.
Baraka has rejected the U.S. position that Syrian presidentBashar al-Assad and the 2014 Syrian presidential election are illegitimate. In an article, he wrote that the idea of Assad's illegitimacy had been "carefully cultivated by Western state propagandists and dutifully disseminated by their auxiliaries in the corporate media." He further argued that the election was proof that Syrians have "not surrendered their national sovereignty to the geostrategic interests of the U.S. and its colonial allies in Europe and Israel," and accused the U.S. of hypocrisy for supporting elections in Ukraine but not Syria.United NationsSecretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon criticized Syria's holding of an election during an ongoing civil war for undermining a political solution to the conflict, and the lack of independent election monitoring was widely reported.
UkraineEditBaraka characterized the 2014 Ukrainian revolution as a "U.S.-supported coup" that contained "racist neo-Nazi elements." After the 2014 Odessa clashes, which resulted in the deaths of 42 pro-Russian and six pro-Ukrainian protestors, Baraka wrote that he was "outraged by the murder of people defending their rights to self-determination at the hands of U.S.-supported thugs in Odessa." He has also suggested that the victory of Petro Poroshenko in the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election was illegitimate, questioning "what makes the election in Ukraine legitimate when half of the country boycotts the vote and the national army violently attacks its own citizens in Eastern Ukraine who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-makers in Kiev".
Two days after the event, Baraka expressed his suspicions that the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine was a "false flag" operation, saying: "Someone wrote about three weeks ago that we should expect a major false flag operation in eastern Ukraine that's going to be then blamed on the Russians. And that's exactly what has happened. They're trying to say in the Western press that the Ukrainian government does not have access to that kind of weaponry, when it's clear that they do." He criticized Western media coverage of the event for "undermining anything coming from Russia Today. That's where you see the story being advanced that there is a possibility that this story is a little more complicated than people realize." Baraka also claimed that observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were "sent in basically as spies who showed up on the scene to quote-unquote 'monitor'."
NigeriaEditBaraka has criticized calls for Western military action against the jihadistrebel groupBoko Haram, arguing that "a purely military response will only exacerbate an insurgency whose roots lie in the complex socio-historical conditions and internal contradictions of Northeast Nigeria." In May 2014, a month after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok, he expressed skepticism about the official version of events and the number of victims, saying that "even if there was a kidnapping, there's some people who are suggesting that the numbers are in fact inflated." Baraka also stated that while he was "outraged" by the kidnapping, he was also suspicious of U.S. humanitarian concerns in the region: "U.S. policymakers don't give a damn about the schoolgirls in Nigeria because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the south and to block the Chinese in Nigeria."
International tradeEditBaraka condemns the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and other free trade agreements that he characterizes as "neoliberal."
Baraka has termed trade deals a "Black issue" both domestically and internationally. He asserts that the TPP "is a weapon to maintain U.S. global hegemony by denying the fundamental economic, social and cultural rights of millions of people in order to benefit a parasitic white minority ruling class in the U.S." He has stated that poverty and disruption of Black communities in many US cities and among peoples in Latin America are the result of NAFTA.
Terror and raceEditJe suis CharlieEditBaraka described the vigil for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting as a "white power march" and Je suis Charlie as an "arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy" because of France's colonial history, the caricature at issue, French support for American policy in Syria and Libya, and the disproportionate interest in this particular act of war.
In January 2016, Baraka's "Je suis Charlie" article was republished in an anthology about the November 2015 Paris attacks, ANOTHER French False Flag? Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernadino, edited by Kevin Barrett, a Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Baraka also has appeared at least twice on Barrett's radio show. Other contributors to the anthology (including controversial figures such as Gilad Atzmon and Alain Soral) posited "that the Charlie Hebdo attacks and many others were perpetrated by the CIA and Mossad" as "false flags." In "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote for Jill Stein", Yair Rosenberg of Tablet described the work as a "veritable who's who of bigots and conspiracy theorists."
In August 2016, Baraka said that he had been unaware both of Barrett's Holocaust beliefs and of the views of some of the book's other contributors. In a statement, Baraka said that he would be "happy to discuss the details" of his own writing:
If others want to imply other motivations or positions not stated in my article related to the subject of the book or any of the authors, I cannot control that. But all who know me and my 40-year history of fighting for the rights of all people who have experienced the indignity of oppression will share my confidence that any smear campaign against my life of human rights activism will not succeed.
Baraka also released a statement disavowing Holocaust denial.
Charleston massacreEditIn an article titled "No 'Je Suis Charleston'?" Baraka contends that a similar collective response was absent after the Charleston church shooting at the Emanuel AME Church and criticized Obama for not calling suspect Dylann Roof a terrorist. As a longtime opponent of the death penalty, he has also criticized the Department of Justice's decision to seek the death penalty for Roof, saying that it "should be seen as no more than another tactical move by the state as part of the last phase of the counterinsurgency launched against the black liberation movement. [...] By appealing to African Americans, the group in the country most consistently opposed to the death penalty, state propagandists saw this as a perfect opportunity to undermine opposition to capital punishment and facilitate the process of psychological incorporation."
Politicians and activistsEditBarack ObamaEditBaraka has referred to President Barack Obama as an "Uncle Tom president" and has argued that he has shown "obsequious deference to white power". He has said that Obama (in addition to Loretta Lynch) is a member of the "black petit-bourgeoisie who have become the living embodiments of the partial success of the state's attempt to colonize the consciousness of Africans/black people."
Baraka was critical of the Obama administration's decision to not attend the 2009 UN World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. In 2013, Baraka stated that inviting Obama to the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington "should be taken as an insult by everyone who has struggled and continues to struggle for human rights, peace and social justice." More recently, he has argued that "the Obama Administration collaborated with suppressing the 2009 report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which identified violent white supremacist groups as a threat to national security more lethal than the threat from Islamic 'fundamentalists'."
Bernie Sanders, Ta-Nehisi Coates and BeyonceEditIn February 2016 during the Democratic Party presidential primaries, Baraka wrote that "[i]n this period of media-driven pseudo-opposition in the form of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Beyonc(C), or even Bernie Sanders, it is increasingly difficult to make the distinction between image and reality, especially when the production of images and symbols is controlled by dominant forces with an interest in keeping us all stupid." In September 2015, he said that "the world that a President Sanders promises'--continued war crimes from the sky with drone strikes and Saudi led terror in support of the Western imperial project." He has referred to Obama and the Sanders campaign as "a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and the assumptions of normalized white supremacy."
Bill ClintonEditIn June 2016, Baraka criticized the family of Muhammed Ali for inviting Bill Clinton to deliver the boxer's eulogy. Baraka described Clinton as a "rapist" and "petty opportunist politician."
Cornel WestEditIn September 2015, Baraka criticized Dr. Cornel West for supporting Sanders, saying that he was "sheep-dogging for the Democrats" by "drawing voters into the corrupt Democratic party". West later endorsed the Stein/Baraka ticket after Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Leonardo DiCaprio, the Malaysian Money Scandal and His "Unusual" Foundation | Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:14
On the evening of July 20, under a tent at a vineyard in St. Tropez brimming to his specifications with booze, billionaires and babes, Leonardo DiCaprio was preparing to host one of the glitziest charitable events of the year: the third annual fundraiser for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Earlier that same day, under far less glamorous auspices half a world away, the U.S. Department of Justice was filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles that suggested the recent Oscar winner is a bit player in the planet's largest embezzlement case, totaling more than $3 billion siphoned from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB.
While the complaint does not target DiCaprio '-- he's referred to twice in the 136-page document and only as "Hollywood Actor 1" '-- the scandal shines an unfamiliar light on the charitable foundation of the most powerful actor in Hollywood thanks to the way the LDF has benefited directly from DiCaprio's relationship with key figures in the saga. And much like the gala in St. Tropez, with its expressions of one-percenter excess ostensibly in support of saving the environment (guests helicoptering in to dine on whole sea bass after watching a short film about the dangers of overfishing), a closer look at the LDF itself raises questions about its ties to the 1MDB players as well as the lack of transparency often required (or offered in this case) for the specific structure the actor has chosen for his endeavor.
From left: Constance Jablonski, Joan Smalls, Doutzen Kroes, Lily Donaldson and Anja Rubik were photographed just before the July 20 Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala in St. Tropez.
Set up not as a nonprofit but instead as a donor-advised fund (DAF) attached to the California Community Foundation, which is a nonprofit, the LDF therefore is not required to file itemized public disclosures about its own revenue, expenditures and disbursements. "It's difficult to characterize the giving of the DiCaprio Foundation because its status as part of the CCF makes it impossible to look at its finances," industry trade journal Inside Philanthropy noted in 2015.
Despite repeated efforts, DiCaprio, 41, the LDF and the CCF all declined to fully answer fundamental questions related to transparency and accountability of the foundation '-- a decision that disappoints charity experts consulted by THR. "Everything might be perfectly fine, but we don't know," says Aaron Dorfman, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, of the LDF.
Among the questions asked: Who pays for the LDF's six-member staff (the CCF is not allowed to cover the expense) as well as underwrites the events and other operating costs? What's the total overhead, and how much of the money raised goes into operations versus charitable grants?
DiCaprio (right) with LDF global finance chairman Gatsby at the 2014 gala.
Also, is the LDF's global finance chairman, Milutin Gatsby '-- a Serb likely originally known as Gijic '-- operating under a pseudonym? (Yes, Gatsby-and-Gatsby jokes were on the lips of just about everyone at the St. Tropez event.) The LDF wouldn't make Gatsby available for comment.
(It also is unclear whether the DOJ will try to recoup 1MDB assets donated to the LDF. The Justice Department would not comment, other than to say this is an ongoing investigation. THR has learned, however, that charities are not off-limits in such asset-seizure cases.)
Multiple attendees who spoke to THR describe the annual LDF galas as freewheeling bacchanals in which wives feel outnumbered by suspiciously predisposed Slavic women in bustiers and couples openly cavort in the bathroom stalls. At the July 20 event in St. Tropez, where tickets started at $11,778 (10,500 euros) DiCaprio greeted a roomful of approximately 500 partygoers, including oligarchs (Dmitry Rybolovlev), supermodels (Naomi Campbell) and plenty of fellow A-listers, among them Bono, Charlize Theron, Tobey Maguire, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From left: Kroes, Saudi producer Mohammed Al Turki, Smalls and Alessandra Ambrosio at the LDF gala.
Notably absent this year was Jho Low, 35, the bespectacled Malaysian businessman and party boy at the center of the 1MDB scandal who, at least as early as 2010, became a regular drinking buddy of DiCaprio's (the biggest star on a roster of Low's celebrity friends that includes Paris Hilton, Jamie Foxx and Alicia Keys). Low, notorious for stunts like sending 23 bottles of Cristal to Lindsay Lohan for her 23rd birthday at the club 1OAK in Las Vegas in 2009, is alleged in the DOJ complaint to have used roughly $1 billion in 1MDB funds for a personal shopping spree. This included the acquisition of a $31 million penthouse in Manhattan's Time Warner Center, once occupied by Jay Z and Beyonce, and a $39 million Hollywood Hills mansion a few doors down from DiCaprio.
Low, who graduated from Wharton School of Business in 2005, in 2009 was brought into the inner circle of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as an adviser on a precursor to the 1MDB wealth fund. Despite only earning the bit-part title of "Malaysian Official 1" in the Justice Department complaint, Razak is the key figure at the heart of the scandal. But it's Razak's stepson Riza Aziz who provides the link to both Low and DiCaprio. It was Low who introduced Aziz to Joey McFarland, previously Hilton's party booker, and together they set up Red Granite Pictures. Red Granite eventually would surprise Hollywood insiders by landing the rights to DiCaprio's passion project The Wolf of Wall Street. The DOJ complaint alleges, however, that the financing for the film came from a $238 million pot of money siphoned from the 1MDB fund. (Red Granite maintains it is cooperating with all inquiries; the company still has an office above DiCaprio's own Appian Way in a Sunset Strip midrise opposite Soho House West Hollywood.)
The DOJ alleges Low paid for Vincent van Gogh's La Maison de Vincent a Arles using money from the 1MDB fund and an account in Singapore. It was seized by Swiss authorities July 21.
The 1MDB saga has been Hollywood-tinged from the start. Tim Leissner, the Goldman Sachs banker who brokered the deal that set everything in motion, is Kimora Lee Simmons' husband. (He since has left the firm.) Low was given a "special thanks" in the film's credits and hailed as a "collaborator" in DiCaprio's 2014 Golden Globes acceptance speech. The Malaysian returned the favor in grand fashion with splashy bromantic gifts '-- in one instance, according to the DOJ, he and the Red Granite execs brought DiCaprio along on an $11 million gambling bender in Las Vegas; in another, they reportedly laid out $600,000 to gift him Marlon Brando's best actor Oscar statuette for On the Waterfront. (DiCaprio '-- who has a notable habit of buddying up with smooth dudes who end up in federal prison for money crimes, from late investment adviser Dana Giacchetto to art dealer Helly Nahmad '-- still was several prestige roles away from finally claiming his own.)
They also made donations to DiCaprio's foundation. At the actor's birthday party in 2013, Low and McFarland were among those who reportedly helped raise more than $3 million for the charity by buying marked-up bottles of champagne. Earlier that year, diverted 1MDB funds were alleged by the DOJ complaint to have been used by Low to purchase a pair of artworks (for a total of $1.1 million) by Ed Ruscha and Mark Ryden at a Christie's auction benefiting the LDF (one of many buys during a spending spree that shook the art world). And at the glittering St. Tropez auction held in 2015, with the likes of David Geffen, Paul Allen, Tom Barrack and Harvey Weinstein in attendance, Low offered the LDF a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein, 1982's Brushstroke, valued at roughly $700,000. But Low wasn't there to see it go under the hammer; instead, he is believed to have fled to Taiwan '-- which has no extradition treaty with the U.S. '-- as the net of international investigators began closing in.
Roy Lichtenstein's Brushstroke sculpture
According to the LDF, the July 20 gala raised more than $45 million in funds for global conservation efforts. Yet the organization would provide no documentation to THR to support these and other claims. Due to its unorthodox structure, the LDF is not obligated to disclose any specifics about its donations and repeatedly has been critiqued in recent years by Inside Philanthropy for its opacity as a prominent celebrity charity. (By comparison, the most recently available 990 IRS nonprofit filing from, for instance, Elton John's AIDS Foundation, runs 101 pages to account for an entity handling just over $10 million in assets.)
The LDF did provide a statement from its recently hired CEO, Terry Tamminen. He contends that grants of more than $30 million already have been made so far this year and calls the LDF "an incredibly efficient, highly effective philanthropic organization that, through its relationship to the California Community Foundation, is supporting credible organizations that are carrying out some of the most important work on the planet." In its own statement, the CCF's senior counsel, Carol Bradford, explains that it "strives to preserve the wishes of our many donors, which can often include anonymity or privacy in their giving choices."
The LDF wasn't always a donor-advised fund. For its first decade, it was a small nonprofit run by DiCaprio's mother, Irmelin, distributing $1.6 million in 2008, its final year before dissolving its status to join the CCF. (DiCaprio's father, George, and noted economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, rounded out the board.)
Low snapped up a Bombardier private jet for $35.3 million.
DAFs increasingly have become preferred giving vehicles in the U.S., largely due to their immediate charitable tax deductions, negligible startup costs and the fact that they're not subject to the same annual payout requirements as a private foundation. According to a 2015 report published by the National Philanthropic Trust, the number of accounts launched between 2010 and 2014 jumped 29 percent, bringing the total to 238,293. While the most prominent entrant during this period was Mark Zuckerberg's $2.5 billion charitable effort in 2014, set up at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and greeted with public criticism over its structure, the NPT says the average account size is $300,000. In a fact sheet the LDF provided to THR, its decision to become a DAF is positioned as one of practicality and efficiency '-- that the well-regarded, century-old CCF (which manages nearly 1,600 charitable entities totaling $1.5 billion in assets) could assist with due diligence regarding grantees as well as expertly handle backend financial and administrative functions pertaining to donations processing. (The CCF also handles funds for a few other Hollywood figures, including Eva Longoria and, as it happens, Foxx.)
In general, DAFs' rising popularity, which experts explain also is bolstered by the paucity of red tape in the sector, has brought skepticism. The IRS, according to its web page about the category, now is examining cases (though none are specifically named) of DAFs that "appear to be established for the purpose of generating questionable charitable deductions, and providing impermissible economic benefits to donors and their families (including tax-sheltered investment income for the donors) and management fees for promoters." (THR has no evidence that the LDF is using the DAF structure in such a way.)
Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills was bought by a company called Wynton in January 2010, using funds traceable to Low's bank account, which the DOJ says were misappropriated from the 1MDB development fund.
Philanthropy authorities say the LDF, with its possibly subsidized staff and lavish events '-- as well as, crucially, its international solicitation apparatus '-- is a relative anomaly among community foundation DAFs, which typically are far more simple: A donor provides his own money and then advises where it should be spent. "It's unusual," says Ann Skeet, a director at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, which examines ethics in businesses and nonprofits. Adds Ray Madoff, head of The Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good at Boston College Law School, "Typically, Leonardo DiCaprio would gift his own assets to his donor-advised fund rather than using it as a fundraising vehicle."
That one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood '-- whom United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2014 designated as a U.N. Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on climate change '-- has been sainted by his professional and social circles for his globe-trotting do-gooding may have permitted him to operate with comparatively little scrutiny so far. Notes Daniel Borochoff, president of Chicago-based CharityWatch: "[DAFs'] structure allows them to shirk accountability. They aren't obligated to tell you, as a donor, anything. [DiCaprio's] able to fundraise with one because he's such a huge international celebrity. If you were an unknown, it would be a lot harder because people would quickly start asking questions."
Alex Ritman contributed to this report.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Spot the Spook
Former CIA asset has become a US headache in Libya - Africa - Stripes
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 06:36
He's a grandfather and longtime Washington suburbanite who now commands a powerful fighting force in North Africa. He's also a former CIA asset and anti-Islamist warrior who stands in the way of peace in Libya.
The United States and its allies can't figure out what to do about Khalifa Hifter, the Libyan general whose refusal to support a fragile unity government has jeopardized hopes for stability in a country plagued by conflict.
Since he emerged as an important post-revolution figure in 2014, Western governments have struggled to define an effective policy to deal with Hifter, who has styled himself as an antidote to extremists while building his own power base and shunning the political process brokered by the United Nations.
"Hifter is threatening many of the Western-backed initiatives in Libya and the establishment of a recognized political power," said Barak Barfi, a scholar at New America, a Washington think tank. "Hifter doesn't have the strength on the battlefield to deliver on his promises to defeat Islamists, but he can act as a spoiler."
Even as militia forces, backed by U.S. air power, make progress against the Islamic State in central Libya, Hifter looms as the chief impediment to White House hopes for restoring the democratic promise of the 2011 revolution that ended dictator Moammar Gadhafi's long rule.
Hifter's role in a much earlier, CIA-backed attempt to overthrow Gaddafi injects another element of complexity into American efforts to end Libya's long crisis.
A former senior U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that Hifter's connections across the Middle East and beyond have made it difficult for the Obama administration to develop a unified strategy to confront or co-opt him.
"Even if there had been unity of thought within the U.S. government, we didn't have the capability to marginalize him and we also didn't have the capacity to integrate him," the official said. "He was this free electron."
Hifter, who got to know Gadhafi as a young military officer, appeared to be a loyal follower of the Libyan leader until 1987, when he and 400 other troops were captured by opposing forces in neighboring Chad, where he served as a commander in the Libyan leader's war there.
Hifter turned against his onetime patron when Gadhafi repudiated the failed campaign in Chad, along with the prisoners of war and Hifter himself. Hifter joined the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a U.S.-backed group of Libyan dissidents that was laying plans to topple Gaddafi.
President Ronald Reagan's White House had previously approved a covert operation, code-named "Tulip," that aimed to channel support to dissident groups with the goal of overthrowing the Libyan leader. Gadhafi had ties to terrorist groups and was allied with the Soviet Union. Reagan branded him "the mad dog of the Middle East."
It was in Chad that Hifter's men connected with U.S. intelligence agents, according to multiple former officials who were involved in the Libya operation.
According to one former official, the Libyan soldiers under Hifter were trained by personnel from the CIA's Special Activities Division, the agency's paramilitary arm. The CIA declined to comment.
The former official described Hifter as a tough, experienced soldier. "He's a hardhead, but he's a reasonable man," he said.
The planned coup attempt went nowhere, and U.S. officials were forced to rescue the Libyans in 1990, when a new Chadian leader prepared to throw them out. The men were flown to Nigeria and then Zaire, but it soon became clear that no African leader wanted them.
"It was a long, sad history of trying to dispose of them and finding a place for them to live," a former intelligence official said.
Six months later, a U.S. military aircraft flew about 350 Libyan rebels to the United States. Some of the rebels, including Hifter, continued to train with weapons in rural Virginia in anticipation of another coup attempt, according to Bechara Charbel, a journalist working for the pan-Arab newspaper Hayat who visited a training camp at the time.
Hifter, living in Northern Virginia, eventually split from the NFSL but remained active in dissident circles.
After Libyans rose up in 2011, Hifter returned to northern Africa but failed to secure the backing of interim leaders to head rebel military operations against Gadhafi. He came back to Virginia "to enjoy my grandchildren," he told New Yorker magazine.
In February 2014, seemingly out of nowhere, the general released a video announcing a military coup. He railed against the inability of the then-central government to confront armed Islamist groups that had grown strong after the revolution.
At the State Department, officials scrambled to respond. "Everyone was like, 'Is this a joke?' " one former State Department official said. "Because this guy had been living in Vienna forever," referring to the suburb in northern Virginia. The coup gained no traction, and the episode was widely derided.
Soon afterward, with support from tribal and political factions, Hifter launched "Operation Dignity," a bid to clear eastern Libya of militant groups including Ansar al-Sharia, which was blamed for the 2012 attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi. As Libya's political crisis expanded, lawmakers in the eastern city of Tobruk named him their top military commander.
Hifter's actions also won him favor from some ordinary Libyans desperate for a response to rampant crime and lawlessness.
"In the east, he is a hero . . . someone who was able to take initiative when [others] failed to do so," said Mohamed Eljarh, a scholar with the Atlantic Council. "That is what won him trust, credibility and popularity."
Col. Ahmed Mesmari, a spokesman for the forces that Hifter commands, said they had sacrificed thousands of troops but succeeded in weakening a range of militant groups.
But the campaign has also fueled divisions among Libyans. Hifter's forces have clashed sporadically with groups now aligned with the U.S.-backed government.
In Tripoli and other parts of western Libya, some see Hifter as more dangerous than the Islamic State.
But the general has powerful allies, including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which have encouraged his campaign in the eastern part of the country. French troops have been using Benghazi's Benina air base, where Hifter's forces also operate. And although it is unclear what relationship he has with the French, he has benefited from the perception of outside backing.
Hifter has been compared favorably to Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the general-turned-strongman president in Egypt who shares the Libyan's desire to quash the region's Islamists.
"He's been able to parlay what I think has been uneven military performance into political leverage," said Frederic Wehrey, an expert on Libya at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Regional support is a key factor."
Like other top political leaders in the east, Hifter has refused to support the Tripoli-based unity government, as required under a U.N.-brokered political deal, until it secures the backing from lawmakers in the eastern city of Tobruk.
"Hifter is not interested in democracy," the former State Department official said. "I don't even think he's particularly interested in peace."
At the heart of the impasse is Hifter's own future and plans by the new unity government that would strip the general of his command.
Mesmari denied that Hifter and those under him were interested in politics, saying they want to protect Libya from a new government that he said had ties to Islamist factions. "We are military men," Mesmari said. "Our task is maintain the security in Libya."
Hoping to signal support for the unity government, U.S. diplomats have steered clear of Hifter, but neither do they expect a future for Libya without him. U.S. officials now hope to build support for giving Hifter a regional military position in the unity government.
But it seems unlikely the general, seizing his chance so many years after Gadhafi abandoned him in Chad, would accept a subordinate job.
Last week, the U.N. envoy to Libya acknowledged that support for the unity government, mired in infighting, is slipping away, threatening to collapse the Western project in Libya and creating the prospect of indefinite civil conflict and terrorist activity.
That may help the general, Eljarh said, as he consolidates his position and continues to portray himself as the only man who can save Libya.
"Hifter feeds on the failure of governance, the failure of initiative and the failure of the international community to come up with solutions that are workable," he said.
- - -
The Washington Post's Adam Goldman contributed to this report.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Dr. Drew "Gravely Concerned" About Hillary Clinton's Health >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 05:29
Board-certified medicine specialist and TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky says he is ''gravely concerned'' about Hillary Clinton's health, noting that the treatment she has received is ''bizarre'' and could explain the ''weird side-effects'' that people are seeing.
Appearing on KABC's McIntyre in the Morning, the hosts of the show were expecting Dr. Drew, known as ''America's most trusted physician,'' to debunk claims that Hillary is having significant health problems, but Pinsky instead dropped several bombshells.
Pinsky said he and his colleague Dr. Robert Huizenga had already analyzed what medical records on Hillary had been released and were ''gravely concerned'....not just about her health but her health care.''
Pinsky noted that after her fall, Hillary suffered from a ''transverse sinus thrombosis,'' an ''exceedingly rare clot'' that ''virtually guarantees somebody has something wrong with their coagulation system.''
''What's wrong with her coagulation system, has that been evaluated?'' asked Dr. Drew, adding, that Hillary was being given ''weird'' medication that could be exacerbating her health problems.
''So the very medicine doctors are using may be causing this problem and they're using an old fashioned medicine to treat it '' what is going on with her health care?'' asked Pinsky.
Pinsky said the situation was ''bizarre,'' adding that Hillary's medical condition was ''dangerous'' and ''concerning''.
Dr. Drew also highlighted when Hillary had to wear prism glasses after her fall, declaring, ''that is brain damage, and so that's affecting her balance'....tell us a little more about that '' that's profound.''
Pinsky pointed out that the treatment for Hillary's hypothyroidism '' Armour Thyroid '' was also ''unconventional'' and that it has ''weird side-effects''.
According to RXList.com, those side-effects include ''severe dizziness,'' while WebMD lists another side-effect as ''tiredness''.
Dr. Drew emphasized that the health care Hillary has been receiving is totally inadequate, commenting, ''she's receiving 1950s-level care by our evaluation.''
''You gotta wonder,'' concluded Pinsky, noting that Hillary's health care could make her physical capabilities a ''concern'' ahead of the presidential election.
The Clinton campaign and the media assert that questions over Hillary's health have been ''debunked,'' but a Rasmussen poll found that 59% of Americans want to see her full medical records released.
The fact that ''America's most trusted physician'' also shares those concerns is going to be a tough one for the pro-Clinton media to downplay.
As we highlighted, the same media that now dismisses suspicion over Hillary's health as a baseless ''conspiracy'' was obsessed with John McCain's medical history back in 2008.
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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.
VIDEO-Turkey releasing thousands of criminals to free jail cells for those arrested over coup
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 05:12
Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has said as many as 93,000 inmates could be released from the country's prisons to make room for the many suspects being arrested over last month's attempted coup.
In the first tranche, from Wednesday July 17, 38,000 are being set free out of a prison population of almost 214,000 according to the minister.
The so-called ''supervised releases'' under Turkey's state of emergency do not include those convicted of terrorism, murder and violent or sexual crimes.
Those leaving the cells have two years or less to serve of their sentences. Convicts who have served half of their prison term are also now eligible for parole; before they had to have served two thirds of their time.
In the resort town of Marmaris 11 commandos have appeared in court accused of trying to kidnap President Tayyip Erdogan from the hotel where he was staying on holiday on the night of the failed coup.
The president, having been tipped off that he was in danger, had fled the hotel by the time they arrived.
Video has also been released of soldiers taking over the headquarters of Turkey's national TV service in Ankara on July 15, including a top commander changing into his dress uniform to go before the cameras and tell the country that the military had seized power because of rising autocratic rule and increased terrorism.
In the end the plotters had one of the station's presenters read out the announcement of the coup that collapsed just hours later.
VIDEO-Berlin urges London not to postpone Brexit after delay reports
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 05:05
Germany has urged London not to delay Brexit, following a flurry of British media reports which suggested Prime Minister Theresa May might postpone the formal procedure to leave the EU.
The start of January is widely touted as the most likely date to trigger Article 50, which officially begins Brexit.
So far Downing Street has only said it will not be invoked this year.
That has raised concerns the UK's departure from the European Union could drag on until at least 2019, possibly longer.
Germany's European Affairs Minister Michael Roth said: ''The end of the year should really be sufficient time to get organised and adjust to the new situation. It does not need any additional political pressure, I am convinced that the economic pressure from Great Britain itself is strong enough, because it is in the interest of Britons and especially the British economy to provide more clarity on how Great Britain will continue outside the European Union.''
Under the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 must be enacted before the formal two year negotiations on Britain's departure from the EU can begin.
Despite mounting political pressure on Theresa May from Berlin and other European capitals to stick to a quick timetable, there are growing concerns she may be forced to delay because Britain's new Brexit and International Trade departments will not be ready.
VIDEO-Radical UK cleric guilty of supporting ISIL
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 04:54
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Tap to find outBritain's most high-profile 'hate preacher' Anjem Choudary has been found guilty of inviting support for the so-called Islamic State group.
The radical Islamist cleric was convicted of using online lectures and messages to inspire support for the militant organisation.
The chargesProsecutors said that social media posts showed Choudary and associate Mizanur Rahman had pledged allegiance to the co-called 'caliphate' declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 and said Muslims had a duty to obey or support him. The posts date between August and September of 2014. In one of the clips uploaded to Youtube he said:
''I would just say, uh you know, for people who want to live under sharia law, obviously this is a great thing, and for those people who say we are promoting Isis, they are not even called Isis any more. Rather, you have an Islamic state where you have millions of people who are governed by the sharia law and I don't think it is against the law to go and live there and want to abide by sharia law.''
In another clip from 2013 played to the jury for background he said:
''Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says 'what do you want when you grow up, what is your ambition?', they should say to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition.''
Both men deny the charges and call the case 'politically motivated'.
''These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no one within the counter-terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations,'' said Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police's counter-terrorism command.
The pair face up to 10 years in jail, and will be sentenced in September.
Britain's 'most hated man'The conviction is the result of a two-year investigation by Scotland Yard, but counter terrorism chiefs have been working for decades to bring Choudary to trial.
Dubbed 'the most hated man in Britain' for his rhetoric, he became known for praising the men behind the 9/11 attacks and called for Buckingham Palace to become a mosque.
He also refused to condemn the 2005 London bombings, but has repeatedly denied any involvement in militant activity.
However, he did serve two years in jail for encouraging followers to kill British and US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq at a protest in 2006.
He was once the head of now banned al-Muhajiroun organisation, which has been linked to dozens of terror suspects. Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who killed British soldier Lee Rigby, had attended protests organised by Choudary.
As media spokesmen for Islam4UK he made the statement about Buckingham Palace and also destroying Nelson's column.
VIDEO-Police break up bank protest in Zimbabwe
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 04:49
Where is this topic popular?
Tap to find outPolice in Zimbabwe have broken up a protest against plans by the government and central bank to re-introduce local banknotes in Harare.
Around 100 protesters, most of them holding flowers, set out to march through the streets of the capital.
They sang songs denouncing:
President Robert MugabeFinance Minister Patrick ChinamasaCentral Bank Governor John MangudyaThey have all backed the measure.
Several protesters set Zimbabwean cheques on fire.
What did the police do?The protesters were stopped and dispersed by riot police.
Some tried to give police flowers but the officers remained impassive.
A Reuters witness says tear gas and water cannon were used.
Why were they protesting?Zimbabweans fear the central bank's plan to introduce bank notes or ''bond notes'' in October to ease the dollar shortage could open the door to rampant money printing.
This happened in 2008.
Inflation hit 500 billion percent and wiped out people's pensions and savings.
Are protests commonplace in Zimbabwe?At the moment, yes.
In the last few months, there have been almost weekly protests against economic hardship.
Some have ended in clashes with police.
There have been movements such as:
#ThisFlag#Tajamuka (slang in Shona language for ''defiance''They have used Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to rally Zimbabweans against the leadership of the 92-year-old Mugabe.
His government is being blamed for the economic problems.
What has the government said?In June, President Robert Mugabe defended the introduction of local banknotes.
He called them ''surrogate currency'' that would discourage criminals from coming to Zimbabwe to ''fish'' for dollars.
What they are saying''We know what happens when the central bank prints money. Our message to Mugabe, Chinamasa and Mangudya is that we don't want those bondnotes,'' '' Promise Mkwananzi, leader of ''Tajamuka''.
''This is the build up to a big protest. They have seen nothing yet. When we get there, the government will realise that have to come to the table or leave office and allow a national transitional authority to manage the situations until elections,'' '' activist Stan Zvorwadza
VIDEO-Russia hits back at US claims over its Syria raids from Iran
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 04:41
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Tap to find outRussia has rejected US suggestions that it might be violating a UN resolution by using an Iranian air base to launch air strikes in Syria.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits the supply, sale and transfer of combat aircraft to Iran.
The US State Department said on Wednesday its attorneys were assessing whether Russia has violated the resolution but had not yet reached a determination.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Russia's continued use of the Iranian base to strike Syrian targets ''doesn't help'' to reach a cessation of hostilities in the country's civil war between government forces and militants.
He spoke after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to the US allegations during a news conference in Moscow.
Lavrov told journalists: ''There are no reasons to suspect Russia of violating Resolution 2231. According to this resolution it is necessary to coordinate with the UN Security Council the supply, sale and transfer to Iran of certain types of weapons, including military aircraft. In the case which is being discussed currently neither supply nor transfer or sale of military aircraft to Iran has taken place.''
He added: ''These military aircraft are being used by Russian air forces with Iran's agreement as a part of the anti-terrorist operation on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and on the request of the legal Syrian leadership which the Islamic republic of Iran also cooperates with upon request.''
At the same time the chairman of Iran's parliament Ali Larijani stressed that Russia does not have a permanent military base within the Islamic Republic.
He told a parliamentary session: ''We have not given a military base to anyone. The fact that we have cooperation with Russia as our ally over regional issues, specifically on Syria, does not mean that we have given the Russians a military base. If some media have reported such a thing, I deny that.''
Larijani's comments seemed to be more aimed at addressing concerns within his own country over the Russian air strikes.
Iran's constitution, ratified after its 1979 Islamic Revolution, states no foreign power can have a permanent military base on its soil.
US calls use of Hamadan air base ''unfortunate''
Russia's Defence Ministry said that on Wednesday SU-34 fighter bombers flying from Iran's Hamadan air base had struck Islamic State targets in Syria's Deir al-Zor province, destroying two command posts and killing more than 150 militants.
Moscow first used Iran as a base from which to launch air strikes in Syria on Tuesday, deepening its involvement in the five-year-old Syrian civil war and angering the United States.
Washington called the move ''unfortunate''.
VIDEO-NEW RAW VIDEO Milwaukee 2016 Riot Police Victim Sylville Smith's Sisters Speaks - YouTube
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 03:27
VIDEO-CNN Busted Deceptively Editing Another Video To Mislead Viewers'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 03:17
CNN manipulation of ''news'' is not anything new, there's entire memes generated by the false and misleading reporting that stems from the propaganda machine. However, even for CNN this one is a step too far.
Reporting on the Milwaukee violence, riots and protests CNN producer Ana Cabrera files a report claiming the sister of Sylville Smith, the armed man shot by police during a chase, was ''calling for peace''.
However, CNN conveniently cut out the rest of Sherelle Smith's message, where she was actually calling for rioting protesters to go and ''burn down the suburbs''.
Here's how CNN broadcast the segment:
'....And here's the truth of what Sherelle Smith's full message was:
''Burnin down shit ain't going to help nothin! Y'all burnin' down shit we need in our community. Take that shit to the suburbs. Burn that shit down! We need our shit! We need our weaves. I don't wear it. But we need it.'''...
VIDEO-Charles Ortel Interview
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:36
VIDEO-IMF Plans to Help Egypt Secure Remaining Money for Loan Deal - Bloomberg
Mon, 15 Aug 2016 18:14
The International Monetary Fund said it will help Egypt plug the remaining financing gap for its economic program before the fund's executive board approves a $12 billion loan deal with the Arab country.
The government is targeting $21 billion over three years to revive growth and ease a crippling foreign-exchange shortage. In addition to the IMF loan, funds will come from the World Bank, the bond market, and bilateral accords.
''All IMF-supported programs have to be fully financed,'' Chris Jarvis, the IMF's mission chief for Egypt, said in an e-mailed response to questions. ''In Egypt's case, we would be looking for commitments of around $5 billion to $6 billion from bilateral creditors before the program is brought to the Board so that we can be sure that the program is fully financed.''
The IMF will be ''working together with the Egyptian authorities in the coming weeks to secure this financing,'' he said.
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.LEARN MORE
VIDEO-Easy access to online porn is 'damaging' men's health, says NHS therapist - BBC Newsbeat
Mon, 15 Aug 2016 13:48
A top psychosexual therapist is warning about a surge in the number of young men suffering sexual health problems because of online pornography.
Angela Gregory says more and more men in their late teens and early 20s are suffering from erectile dysfunction.
She puts the blame on people becoming addicted to watching online porn.
There are no official figures but she says a lot of the time it is via smartphones and laptops.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4KB_2-Omi0"What I've seen over the last 16 years, particularly the last five years, is an increase in the amount of younger men being referred," she said.
"Our experience is that historically men that were referred to our clinic with problems with erectile dysfunction were older men whose issues were related to diabetes, MS, cardio vascular disease.
"These younger men do not have organic disease, they've already been tested by their GP and everything is fine.
"So one of the first assessment questions I'd always ask now is about pornography and masturbatory habit because that can be the cause of their issues about maintaining an erection with a partner."
Image caption Psychosexual therapist Angela Gregory says too much porn can damage men's health
Nick, not his real name, started watching porn when he got his first laptop aged 15.
"It quickly escalated and it was every day. What I was watching, it definitely got more extreme over a short period of time in my case.
Watch Newsbeat's documentary, Brought up on Porn, on Radio 1's iPlayer page.
"There was nothing that would give me a kick. Normal stuff didn't do anything any more, so I had to get more and more extreme material.
"[It was] disturbing stuff that disturbed me that, in normal life, I wouldn't dream of doing."
It wasn't long before Nick's own sexual health began to suffer.
'Wired to porn'"I found that when I was lying next to a girl a lot that I just wouldn't be horny at all, despite being really attracted to the girl and wanting to have sex with her, [because] my sexuality was completely wired towards porn.
"At my peak I was probably watching up to two hours of porn every day."
Newsbeat has been finding out how having easy access to online porn is affecting body image, sex and relationships for documentary Brought up on Porn, available now on iPlayer.
Getting helpOnce Nick realised he had a problem he tried to get help.
"At first I went to a doctor and she said, 'I don't think there's enough evidence to suggest it's a thing, however I do have a lot of young men coming to me with this problem.'"
In the end Nick went 100 days without watching porn and was relieved when things got back to normal.
"My libido came back with a vengeance and I met this girl and it was great.
"For the first time in ages I was able to flirt and within quite a short time I was able to have normal sex.
"I was feeling so balanced and happy."
He also has advice for anyone suffering with a similar problem.
"Once I recovered I spent a lot of time on online forums trying to help others do the same.
"There's a lot more information online than when I had problems.
"You should tell your friends, tell people who are close to you or just a couple of people you trust. And don't worry, there are many of us in the same boat."
If you think you're having a problem related to porn, Angela Gregory advises talking to your GP.
Help is also available at BBC Advice or at organisations like the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists and the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity.
Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat
VIDEO-A new mandate to spy on New Zealanders | Radio New Zealand News
Mon, 15 Aug 2016 12:07
Legislation giving the country's spy agencies an explicit mandate to spy on New Zealanders has been introduced to Parliament.
The change is contained in the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill, which - if it passes - will govern both the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS).
The bill comes in response to a review released earlier this year.
The review, carried out by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy, found current restrictions preventing the GCSB from intercepting the private communications of New Zealanders were confusing in terms of complying with the law, and in some cases were stopping the agency from helping New Zealanders, for example those in trouble overseas.
It recommended the GCSB and SIS operate under the same rules and compliance regime.
Prime Minister John KeyPhoto: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King
Prime Minister John Key, who announced the new legislation at his post-Cabinet media briefing, said the government had accepted the majority of the recommendations in the review.
He said the bill would be the most significant reform of the agencies' legislation in the country's history.
The government would implement what it called a "triple-lock" system to protect New Zealanders, which would require warrants to be signed off by the Attorney-General and a Commissioner of Intelligence Warrants.
The agencies would only be able to target New Zealanders for the purpose of "protecting national security", as defined in the bill.
The review recommended a three-tier authorisation system to cover all of the activities of the GCSB and SIS, but the bill as introduced included just two types of warrants - depending on whether or not New Zealanders were likely to be involved.
The bill would also give the two agencies direct access to certain government databases such as those for customs and immigration.
The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)'s spy base at Waihopai, near Blenheim.Photo: SUPPLIED
They would also be able to seek access to restricted personal information such as driver licence photographs, and tax information on a case-by-case basis.
The agencies would be subject to the Privacy Act's broader principles; currently, they operate under an exemption to that act.
The GCSB and the SIS would also be brought into the core public service to improve accountability and transparency.
The legislation would make it clear that any whistle-blowing involving classified information must only be made to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.
It would also create a new offence for people who hold a government security clearance who "wrongfully communicate retain or copy classified information".
Mr Key said the government was keen to get broad political support for the legislation.
When the review was released, Labour leader Andrew Little said he would have to be convinced whether any expansion to the powers of the spy agencies could be justified, and whether that was in the public interest, before his party could support the legislation.
The bill will have its first reading in Parliament on Thursday.
VIDEO-Donald Trump Speech (With Transcript): ''The Decisive Moment'''... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 23:36
Last night, speaking in West Bend Wisconsin, candidate Donald Trump gave an epic speech taking head-on all adverse interests.
['...] I am running to listen to your voice, to hear your cries for help. The quiet voices in our society, not the loudest demonstrators, need to have their demands heard'...Here's the video and transcript:
''It's so great to be here tonight. I am honored to also be joined this evening by Governor Scott Walker, Chairman Reince Priebus, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
We are at a decisive moment in this election.
Last week, I laid out my plan to bring jobs back to our country. Yesterday, I laid out my plan to defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism. Tonight, I am going to talk about how to make our communities safe again from crime and lawlessness.
Let me begin by thanking the law enforcement officers here in this city, and across this country, for their service and sacrifice in difficult times.
The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and peace.
Law and order must be restored. It must be restored for the sake of all, but most especially the sake of those living in the affected communities.
The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result.
There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration.
The narrative that has been pushed aggressively for years now by our current Administration, and pushed by my opponent Hillary Clinton, is a false one. The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police.
More law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs.
Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police. You know it, and I know it.
Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society '' a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent '' share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country.
They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.
Every time we rush to judgment with false facts and narratives '' whether in Ferguson or in Baltimore '' and foment further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African-American residents who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.
During the last 72 hours, while protestors have raged against the police here in Milwaukee, another 9 were killed in Chicago and another 46 were wounded. More than 2,600 people have been shot in Chicago since the beginning of the year, and almost 4,000 killed in President Obama's hometown area since his presidency began.
How are we serving these American victims by attacking law enforcement officers?
The war on our police must end. It must end now.
The war on our police is a war on all peaceful citizens who want to be able to work and live and send their kids to school in safety.
Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, the violent disruptor. Our job is to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent who wants their kids to be able to safely walk the streets. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.
For every one violent protestor, there are a hundred moms and dads and kids on that same city block who just want to be able to sleep safely at night. My opponent would rather protect the offender than the victim.
Hillary Clinton-backed policies are responsible for the problems in the inner cities today, and a vote for her is a vote for another generation of poverty, high crime, and lost opportunities.
I care too much about my country to let that happen.
We all care too much about our country to let that happen.
Good policing saves lives. My dear friend, Rudy Giuliani, knows a thing or two about this. The policies put into place by Rudy ultimately brought down crime by 76 percent and murder by 84 percent. Think of how many families were saved, how much heartache was prevented, when police were put into communities and criminals were removed.
Imagine how many lives could have been saved, all across this country, if Democratic politicians hadn't blocked in their cities what Rudy did in New York City? I'll make sure we deliver safe neighborhoods here in Milwaukee, and all across this country.
It's easy for Hillary Clinton to turn a blind eye to crime when she has her own private security force. I believe all Americans, not just the powerful, are entitled to security.
Hillary Clinton has had her chance. She failed. Now it's time for new leadership.
The Hillary Clinton agenda hurts poor people the most.
There is no compassion in allowing drug dealers, gang members, and felons to prey on innocent people. It is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and when I am President I will fight for the safety of every American '' and especially those Americans who have not known safety for a very, very long time.
I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future.
It is time for our society to address some honest and very difficult truths.
The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community. Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty.
Let us look at the situation right here in Milwaukee, a city run by Democrats for decade after decade. Last year, killings in this city increased by 69 percent, plus another 634 victims of non-fatal shootings. 18-29-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the homicide victims. The poverty rate here is nearly double the national average. Almost 4 in 10 African-American men in Milwaukee between the ages of 25-54 do not have a job. Nearly four in 10 single mother households are living in poverty. 55 public schools in this city have been rated as failing to meet expectations, despite ten thousand dollars in funding per-pupil. There is only a 60% graduation rate, and it's one of the worst public school systems in the country.
1 in 5 manufacturing jobs has disappeared in Milwaukee since we fully opened our markets to China, and many African-American neighborhoods have borne the brunt of this hit.
To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in every inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I am running to offer you a better future.
The Democratic Party has taken the votes of African-Americans for granted. They've just assumed they'll get your support and done nothing in return for it. It's time to give the Democrats some competition for these votes, and it's time to rebuild the inner cities of America '' and to reject the failed leadership of a rigged political system.
I'm not part of the corrupt system. In fact, the corrupt system is trying to stop me. I've been paying my own way. The voters in the Republican Party this year defied the donors, the consultants, the power brokers, and choose a nominee from outside our failed and corrupt and broken system.
The other party '' the Democratic Party '' nominated the personification of special interest corruption. The Democratic Party rigged the nomination to give it to Hillary Clinton, thus giving the soul of their party this year to the special interests.
I am running to listen to your voice, to hear your cries for help. The quiet voices in our society, not the loudest demonstrators, need to have their demands heard.
Jobs. Safety. Opportunity. Fair and equal representation.
We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future. She doesn't care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them.
The African-American community has been taken for granted for decades by the Democratic Party. It's time to break with the failures of the past '' I want to offer Americans a new future.
It is time for rule by the people, not rule by special interests.
Every insider, getting rich off of our broken system, is throwing money at Hillary Clinton. The hedge fund managers, the Wall Street investors, the professional political class.
It's the powerful protecting the powerful.
Insiders fighting for insiders.
I am fighting for you.
When we talk about the insider, who are we talking about? It's the comfortable politicians looking out for their own interests. It's the lobbyists who know how to insert that perfect loophole into every bill. It's the financial industry that knows how to regulate their competition out of existence. The insiders also include the media executives, anchors and journalists in Washington, Los Angeles, and New York City, who are part of the same failed status quo and want nothing to change.
Every day you pick up a newspaper, or turn on the nightly news, and you hear about some self-interest banker or some discredited Washington insider says they oppose our campaign. Or some encrusted old politician says they oppose our campaign. Or some big time lobbyist says they oppose our campaign.
I wear their opposition as a badge of honor. Because it means I am fighting for REAL change, not just partisan change. I am fighting '' all of us across the country are fighting '' for peaceful regime change in our own country. The media-donor-political complex that's bled this country dry has to be replaced with a new government of, by and for the people.
The leadership class in Washington D.C., of which Hillary Clinton has been a member for thirty years, has abandoned the people of this country.
I am going to give the people their voice back.
Think about it. The people opposing our campaign are the same people who have left our border open and let innocent people suffer as a result.
The people opposing our campaign are the same people who have led us into one disastrous foreign war after another.
The people opposing our campaign are the same people who lied to us about one trade deal after another.
Aren't you tired of a system that gets rich at your expense?
Aren't you tired of big media, big businesses, and big donors rigging the system to keep your voice from being heard?
Are you ready for change?
Are you ready for leadership that puts you, the American people, first? That puts your country first? That puts your family first?
Let's talk about what this means for the inner cities of America. It's time to break through the television noise, the entrenched interests. I understand that a lot of powerful people in our political system '' a lot of people who've created our problems '' will lose a lot of their contracts, and their special gigs, if African-American voters, and all minority voters, support my campaign.
It's time to stop making the special interests rich. It's time to make the American people rich.
I am going to Make America Wealthy Again.
The Democratic Party has run nearly every inner city in this country for 50 years, and run them into financial ruin.
They've ruined the schools.
They've driven out the jobs.
They've tolerated a level of crime no American should consider acceptable.
Violent crime has risen 17% in America's 50 largest cities last year. Killings of police officers this year is up nearly 50 percent. Homicides are up more than 60% in Baltimore. They are up more than 50% in Washington, D.C.
This is the future offered by Hillary Clinton. More poverty, more crime, and more of the same. The future she offers is the most pessimistic thing I can possibly imagine.
It is time for a different future.
Here is what I am proposing.
First, on immigration. No community in this country has been hurt worse by Hillary Clinton's immigration policies than the African-American community. Now she is proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, taking jobs directly from low-income Americans. I will secure our border, protect our workers, and improve jobs and wages in your community. We will only invite people to join our country who share our tolerant values, who support our Constitution, and who love all of our people.
On trade, I am going to renegotiate NAFTA, stand up to China, withdraw from the TPP, and protect every last American job.
On taxes, I am going to give a massive tax cut to every worker and small business in this country, bring thousands of new companies and millions of new jobs onto our shores '' and make it very difficult for our businesses to leave.
I am going to reform our regulations so jobs stay in America, and new businesses come to America to hire workers right here in Milwaukee. Every policy my opponent has sends jobs overseas. I am going to bring trillions in new wealth back to the United States.
On education, it is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers, and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first.
Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy.
I am going to allow charter schools to thrive, and help young kids get on the American ladder of success: a good education, and a good-paying job.
On crime, I am going to support more police in our communities, appoint the best prosecutors and judges in the country, pursue strong enforcement of federal laws, and I am going to break up the gangs, the cartels and criminal syndicates terrorizing our neighborhoods. To every lawbreaker hurting innocent people in this country, I say: your free reign will soon come crashing to an end.
On healthcare, we are going to get rid of Obamacare '' which has caused soaring double-digit premium increases '' and give choice to patients and consumers. Aetna, just today, announced they are dropping out '' as are many of the major insurance companies.
On government corruption, I am going to restore honor to our government. We've seen the corruption of Hillary Clinton, the mass email deletions, the pay-for-play at the State Department, the profiteering, the favors given to foreign corporations and governments at your expense. We've seen a former Secretary of State lie to Congress about her illegal email scheme, risk innocent American lives, and bring dishonor onto our government.
In my Administration, I am going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law.
I am going to forbid senior officials from trading favors for cash by preventing them from collecting lavish speaking fees through their spouses when they serve.
I am going to ask my senior officials to sign an agreement not to accept speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist for five years after leaving office, or from any entity tied to a foreign government. This is all just the beginning.
We are going to make this a government of the people once again. This is our chance to take back power from all the people who've taken it from you. The reason you see the establishment media lining up behind my opponent is because they are scared that you, with your vote, can take away their power and return it to your family and community.
These are tough times. But I know we can make American Greater Than Ever Before.
To do this, we are going to need a fighter in the White House.
I will be your fighter.
To defeat crime and Radical Islamic Terrorism in our country, to win trade in our country, you need tremendous physical and mental strength and stamina. Hillary Clinton doesn't have that strength and stamina. She cannot win for you.
Most importantly, she has bad judgment. Bad judgment on terrorism, bad judgement on foreign policy, bad judgment on trade.
The only individuals she's ever delivered for is her donors '' not the people.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My opponent asks her supporters to repeat a three-word pledge. Her pledge reads: ''I'm With Her''
I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ''I'm With You '' the American people.''
I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms, and seek a new future of security, prosperity and opportunity '' a future built on our common culture and values as one American people.
I am asking for your vote so I can be your champion in the White House. We will once again be a country of law and order, and a country of great success.
To every parent who dreams for their children, and to every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I'm with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.
Together, We Will Make America Strong Again.
We Will Make American Safe Again.
And We Will Make America Great Again.
Thank you, and God Bless''.