Friday, June 22, 2018

Trump Insider Wanted to Sell Social Media Surveillance Tools to Abusive Governments, Leaked Documents Suggest

By Sam Biddle

Earlier this year, it was reported that Elliott Broidy, a convicted felon in a 2009 bribery case and a top Donald Trump fundraiser, proffered meetings with the president to foreign regimes who were also potential clients of his defense firm Circinus. Little is known about Circinus, but purported company documents obtained by The Intercept contain plans to peddle social media surveillance software to repressive regimes.

The Circinus website paints the contractor as a red-blooded defender of U.S. national security: “Are you a patriot determined to keep our country — both government and private industry — safe?” its careers page reads. Circinus’s executive roster boasts experience in U.S. special forces, Homeland Security, and military intelligence. But the documents, a series of pitch decks, indicate that the company was prepared to sell what’s described as a suite of sophisticated internet-mining tools to the governments of Cyprus, Romania, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, touting the ability to detect and identify online “detractors.” The recent histories of Tunisia and the UAE are rife with human rights abuses, including crackdowns against political dissent.

It is not clear if the pitches were actually presented to any or all of the countries in question, but the New York Times in March identified Romania, Tunisia, and the UAE as prospective Circinus clients. The newspaper described meetings between Broidy and officials from Romania and Tunisia, as well as reporting that Broidy wrote to others about efforts to win business from the UAE.

The presentations obtained by The Intercept, dated 2016 and 2017, focus on the collection of so-called open source intelligence, referred to as “OSINT” throughout. This is a flashy way of describing information that can be freely accessed online, such as tweets, blog posts, and any other content not locked behind a password. Although typically not as sensitive as the content people keep stored privately, internet users frequently leave trails of “open source” breadcrumbs across the web that can be used for compromising purposes.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Intercept_

Trump Appears to Be Planning for a Historic Putin Summit

Trump’s hawkish adviser John Bolton is expected to arrive in Moscow as early as next week.

As ties to traditional allies fray, US President Donald Trump seems to be gearing up for a major summit with Vladimir Putin

On Thursday, the Kremlin said it was “aware” of a forthcoming Moscow visit by the White House’s national security adviser, John Bolton. According to the Interfax news agency, that visit could come as early as next week, with Mr Trump following soon thereafter. 

Two dates are said to be under consideration: either before the Nato summit beginning on 11 July in Brussels, or after the president’s UK visit two days later. One of the more likely locations is Vienna, the headquarters of the OSCE, of which both Russia and the US are members. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Independent

In Memoriam: Charles Krauthammer

In April of 2005, Krauthammer was interviewed about his syndicated column in the Washington Post and the policies of President Bush in his second term. He also talked about his life and career, political philosophy, and observations about American politics and culture. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Antwon Rose Police Shooting Sparks Second Night of Pittsburgh Protests

Hundreds of protesters enraged over an East Pittsburgh police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen poured into the streets for the second straight night, demanding justice for 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr.

A large crowd blocked Interstate Highway 376 in the city, shutting down portions for more than five hours into early Friday. Chanting, “No justice, no peace,” and “Say his name, Antwon Rose Jr.,” protesters blocked the highway in both directions, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

Pope Francis: Every Country Should Welcome As Many Refugees As Possible

Pope Francis is urging the nations of the world to take in as many refugees as possible.

The pontiff told reporters aboard the papal plane Thursday that he believes it is incumbent on governments to “welcome, to accompany, to place, to integrate” as many refugees as their societies can reasonably accommodate.

“Each country must do this with the virtue of government, which is prudence, and take in as many refugees as it can, as many as it can integrate, educate, give jobs to,” Francis said during the in-flight press conference, according to The Associated Press.

“We are living through a flood of refugees who are fleeing war and hunger,” the pope said.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

NY Senator Cites Recent Killing of Rappers in Call for an End to Gun Violence

Queens, NY – Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) said rappers XXXtentacion and Jimmy Wopo recently killed by guns as the nation marks June as Gun Violence Awareness Month, underscores the urgent need for communities to unite and protect lives.

“Rappers XXXtentacion and Jimmy Wopo were talented young men with potential to touch many lives, and now we will never know what contributions they would have made had they not lost their lives to gun violence,” said Senator Sanders. “As we across this nation reflect on the lives lost to senseless shootings, we must also come together to develop resolutions to stop these killings from happening.”

Rising star XXXTentacion was killed in a drive-by shooting in Deerfield Beach, FL. The controversial rapper penned chart-topping hits before his death, June 18. The same day, Pittsburgh-based rapper Jimmy Wopo was gunned down. Jimmy Wopo was killed in the very streets he rapped about.

“Shootings of rappers in the news opens old wounds for us here in Southeast Queens, where we are all too familiar with gun violence,” said Senator Sanders.

In recent years, Queens lost its share of notable rappers to gun violence:

Stack Bundles – The rapper was killed by an unknown gunman on his way home in Far Rockaway on June 11, 2007. Bundles was a rising star in the Jim Jones-led rap group, but still lived in public housing where he feared for his safety. His murder is unsolved.
Chinx – The Queens rapper well-known for his appearances on a French Montana mixtape was killed in Briarwood on May 17, 2015 by an unknown gunman. Two men were later arrested in connection with his murder.
Jam Master Jay - Run-D.M.C. founding member Jam Master Jay was shot dead by a masked assailant inside a Queens recording studio on Oct. 30, 2002. His death remains unsolved.

Source: New York Daily News

School shootings this year captured even more headlines. According to CNN, the news network says there have been 23 school shootings in 2018, an average of one school shooting a week.

“It’s become too common for our young to take the lives of others with guns,” Sanders said. “This shouldn’t be the case. We have to put differences aside and band together for the sake of life itself.”

In 2013, New York became the first State in the nation to designate an entire month to the issue of gun violence. It was created in an effort to bring attention to the needless and senseless acts in the State’s communities, while focusing on keeping citizens safe. Initiatives include preventing gun violence and promoting gun safety, and bringing citizens and community leaders together to discuss ways to make communities healthier.

To learn more visit

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr. 

Has a Global Trade War Become Inevitable?

The latest shots in a looming trade war were fired on Friday as the European Union imposed $3.3bn in tariffs on US goods.

How Partisanship is Affecting Our Daily Lives

Source: CBS News

Supreme Court Rules on Cellphone Tracking

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said that police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects' movements through their cellphone records. Supreme Court expert Ilya Shapiro, of the CATO Institute, talks with CBSN about the decision, which is considered a victory for privacy advocates in the digital age.

Source: CBS News 

Greece: Mixed Feelings About the Years of Austerity

Nicaraguans Trying to Flee the Continuing Violence

Mexico Political Killings Mar Election

Turkey: Kurdish Parties in Election Race Despite Crackdown

Europeans in UK Deeply Worried About Post-Brexit Future

The 51%: Are Women Leading the Tech Revolution in Paris?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

City Scoop: Reducing Marijuana Arrests, FDNY EMT Arroyo Dedication, NY Botanical Garden Edible Academy Expansion

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Announces Paid Parental Leave for City Teachers

This video was published on YouTube on June 20.  

Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared on CNN's New Day with John Berman. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo visited a facility in the New York City metropolitan area housing children who have been separated from their parents at the border. Previously, the Governor issued a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding information on the immigrant children being housed in New York to ensure that appropriate services are being provided.  
Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Organiser of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' March Wins Approval to Hold Rally in Washington DC

The organiser of a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to violent clashes and left one woman dead, has been handed approval to stage a second march in Washington DC.

Jason Kessler filed an application last month to host what he described as a “white civil rights rally” in August in Lafayette Square, a public park close to the White House.

Although the application has been approved, a permit for the event has yet to be issued, a spokesman for the National Park Service said.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Independent 

Gov. Cuomo Requests Information on Immigrant Children Housed in New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo today issued a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar requesting information on the immigrant children being housed in New York to ensure that appropriate services are being provided.

The full text of the letter is available below:

Alex M. Azar II
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Azar:

I am writing with deep concern regarding immigrant children that are being housed in New York State. I contacted your office earlier this morning with an urgent request to speak with you to offer immediate services to support children who have been separated from their parents and are being housed in New York State. I have not received a response from you.

The New York Constitution places an affirmative obligation on the State to provide for the health and welfare of everyone within our borders and ensure that the due process rights of all inhabitants are protected. Accordingly, as Governor of New York, I am requesting that you provide information on the number of children that have been sent to New York, where these children are being housed, and whether any children have been discharged from federal custody to the state foster care system or to family members in the community. New York State certifies residential facilities and we have an obligation to ensure that appropriate services are being provided. The information that I am requesting is essential to the proper discharge of our responsibilities to those who are within our borders.

The New York State Department of Health has raised significant concerns about the deeply traumatic effects and life-altering consequences of separating children from their parents. The experience of multiple stressful and unpredictable events during childhood is cumulative and can have negative impacts on health and well-being throughout the child's life and into the next generation. When the developing brain is chronically stressed, it leads to poor health outcomes and negative health behaviors throughout the life span.

The President's plan to setup detention centers for children and their parents pursuant to his Executive Order violates the terms Flores Settlement and will likely never come to fruition. As a result, the State's concern is further heightened that services need to be provided immediately to these children.

Earlier this week I announced that New York intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the administration, and we are moving forward with this lawsuit to protect the children and ensure our country remains true to its values. But we cannot wait to provide and verify that the separated children with the care they need. To date, we know of at least 345 children who have been separated from their parents, and according to news reports more children continue to arrive in our state.

These children are in urgent need of health and mental health services that the State is uniquely positioned to provide. It is imperative that you provide the State with information requested without delay. The health and safety of these children are at stake.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

President Donald Trump 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Protests Erupt Following Fatal Police Shooting of 17-Year-Old Antwon Rose

by Chandelis R. Duster

Hundreds gathered outside of the East Pittsburgh Police Department Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen who was running away from officers when he was killed.

Antwon Rose II, a Woodlands High School honor student and rising senior was shot three times while running from a vehicle that had been stopped because it matched the description of a car potentially connected to a drive-by shooting earlier that night.

Rose was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Pentagon Sending Military Lawyers to Border to Help Prosecute Immigration Cases

An NBC News Exclusive

by Alex Johnson and Courtney Kube

Twenty-one military lawyers are being sent to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to help prosecute illegal immigration cases, the Defense Department told MSNBC on Wednesday night.

The lawyers, who are to have "criminal trial experience," will be appointed as full-time special assistant U.S. attorneys for up to 179 days, or around six months, the Defense Department said in confirming the plan, which was first reported by MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Click here for the full article.

Supreme Court Rules States Can Require Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

by Pete Williams

WASHINGTONOnline shopping will soon become more expensive after the U.S. Supreme court ruled Thursday that states can require internet retailers to collect sales taxes.

The 5-4 decision broke with 50 years' worth of legal rulings that barred states from imposing sales taxes on most purchases their residents make from out-of-state retailers.

The decision was a victory for South Dakota, which had asked the court to uphold its recently passed law imposing an internet sales tax.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Ex-CIA Contractor Makes Millions Flying Immigrant Kids to Shelters

MVM, Inc. went from guarding the U.S. spies in Iraq to hauling children away from the Mexico border on commercial airline flights.

The Trump administration has been paying an intelligence contractor millions of dollars to to fly immigrant children to shelters across the United States.

MVM, Inc. has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide “unaccompanied alien children (UAC) transportation services” worth $162 million, according to records reviewed by The Daily Beast. MVM’s recent job postings show it sought to hire people to escort immigrant children from the border on commercial airlines. MVM is one of a number of defense contractors cashing in on the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of locking up immigrant families.

The policy was implemented in early April, and soon after MVM posted several of job advertisements looking for employees to escort immigrant children in cities like Phoenix, San Antonio, and McAllen, Texas, home of the infamous “Ursula” facility seen in photographs of separated children housed in chain-link cages. In a posting for a “Bilingual Travel Youth Care Worker,” MVM sought escorts for “unaccompanied children and teens.” The job would entail “accompanying them on domestic flights and via ground transportation to shelters all over the country.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

CBS News' David Begnaud on His Visit to Child Detention Center

CBS News correspondent David Begnaud has been inside one of the detention centers used for immigrant children. He joins CBSN to talk about what he saw, and how it compares to the videos released by the government.

Source: CBS News 

Melania Trump Arrives at Texas Border Amid Crisis Over Separated Families

by Jane C. Timm

First lady Melania Trump arrived in Texas on Thursday to visit the border area amid the administration's crisis over the separation of families, her office said.

She will take part in "briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center," said a statement from her office, adding the first lady wanted to "hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Report: At Least 450 Patients Died at UK Hospital Due to Overuse of Opioids

Source: FRANCE 24 English

South Sudan: Warring Leaders Meet in Ethiopia

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Italian Prime Minister Will Now Attend Migration Mini-Summit

Source: euronews.

EU Citizens Must Pay €74 to Stay in UK After Brexit

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid also criticised EU countries for “taking far too long” to outline their plans for Britons living on the continent after Brexit. 

Source: euronews.

Israeli Prime Minister's Wife Charged with Fraud

Source: euronews.

Europol: Terror Threat in the EU is Rising

According to the European Police Agency, Europol, the terror threat in the EU is rising. Last year there was a 45% increase in terrorist incidents. But the EU hopes to combat the threat through reforms to Europol, Eurojust and a future European public prosecutor.

Source: euronews. 

'Orban Sees Himself as the Defender of Christian Europe'

European leaders in favour of a restrictive migration policy gather in Budapest on Thursday for a meeting of minds, a day after Hungary passed legislation criminalising help to asylum seekers. 

Source: euronews.

Controversial Copyright Directive Approved by EU Legal Affairs Committee

Source: euronews.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump Signs Executive Order to Keep Families Together at Border

Gov. Cuomo, NY AG Underwood Announce Lawsuit Against Manufacturers of Hazardous Firefighting Foam

Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood today announced that the state has filed a lawsuit against six companies that manufactured aqueous film-forming foam containing the chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonic acid/perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and/or perfluorooctanoic acid/perfluorooctanoate (PFOA). PFOS and PFOA contamination resulting from these firefighting foams has been found at locations across New York, including Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh and Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Southampton. The lawsuit seeks to hold the companies accountable and recover state costs and natural resource damages associated with PFOS/PFOA contamination at several sites and is the latest step in New York's ongoing efforts to tackle emerging contaminants.

"As state experts continue to investigate contamination caused by firefighting foams, New York is working to end the dangerous practices that threaten our natural resources," Governor Cuomo said. 

"By taking necessary legal action against these companies, we are sending a clear message that we will do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers."

"The conduct of these manufacturers caused widespread contamination of our drinking water and our environment - and jeopardized the health of tens of thousands of New Yorkers," Attorney General Underwood said. "My office will hold these companies accountable for endangering the health of New Yorkers, including forcing them to fully repay the state for cleaning up the toxic mess they created." 

Defendants in the suit include 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard, Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, National Foam, Inc., and Kidde-Fenwal, Inc.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Behind the Criminal Immigration Law: Eugenics and White Supremacy

The history of the statute that can make it a felony to illegally enter the country involves some dark corners of U.S. history. 

Amid a bipartisan backlash, President Trump has tried repeatedly to shift blame to Democrats for his own administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being taken from their families along the U.S.–Mexico border. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

The president didn’t specify which law he was talking about. But the statute at the center of his administration’s policy is the work of Republicans — with origins dating back all the way to World War I — albeit with substantial Democratic support along the way. Known originally as the “Undesirable Aliens Act,” the statute would not exist without support from, respectively, a eugenicist and a white supremacist.

The law in question was the foundation of a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in early April that laid out the administration’s new, zero-tolerance policy. In the memo, Sessions instructed federal prosecutors in the southwestern United States to file criminal charges against any adults caught entering the country illegally. His order stripped officials of discretion over whether to place migrant families seeking asylum into civil proceedings, which allow families to stay together. (Court rulings limit how long the government can detain migrants in civil proceedings. There’s also no guarantee they’ll return for future hearing dates once they’re let out, a phenomenon that has prompted the president’s complaints about “catch and release.”)

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

School Honouring Confederate General Renamed Barack Obama Elementary

Move part of trend to rename public buildings and remove statues which honour those who fought to keep slavery. 

An elementary school in Richmond, Virginia has changed its name from that of a Confederate-era general to the nations first black president, Barack Obama.

The Richmond Public School Board voted six to one to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School, named after a Civil War general who fought to keep slavery in the American South, to Barack Obama Elementary School.

Approximately 95 per cent of the school's students identify as African-American and the name was chosen from seven finalists, which included options to honour civil rights activists Barbara Jones, Henry Marsh, and Oliver Hill. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Independent 

Video Shows Unaccompanied Kids Brought To NYC Foster Center In Dead Of Night

Unaccompanied children who may have been separated from their families crossing the U.S. border were brought to a New York City foster care organization in the dead of night, according to new video taken by the cable news channel Spectrum News NY1.

“It was jarring to see in the middle of the night,” reporter Josh Robin said during a report Wednesday morning that aired video of young girls who were speaking Spanish being led into a facility in East Harlem run by Cayuga Centers around 12:45 a.m. The children, their faces covered with coats, were led out of the building and into cars about an hour later.

“There was basically no one else on the street and the woman that they were with emphatically denied that they had been separated from their parents,” Robin reported.  

In addition to the girls shown in the video, at least 74 children have been sent to nine shelters in New York, according to the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D). The immigrant kids are being separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy so the parents can be prosecuted for entering the U.S. illegally. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

Special Report: Trump Expected to Sign Executive Order That Could End Family Separations

President Trump meets with Congressional leadership at the White House and comments on upcoming border legislation.

Bonus Reports

70 Kids Separated From Migrant Families Now in NY Facilities

Gov. Cuomo says more than five dozen children separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration's hard-line immigration policy are being housed in New York facilities that have federal contracts -- and the Democrat vows to sue the government over what he calls an "inhumane" tactic.

Most of the facilities where the 70 kids are being held are in the New York City area, Cuomo said Tuesday. He also said that he expects the lawsuit to be filed within two weeks, and that it will claim the children were taken from their parents without due process under federal and state laws.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 4 New York