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|1:12 PM 11/13/2017 Is the FBI capable of handling the counterintelligence matters? by Michael Novakhov|
Is the FBI capable of handling the counterintelligence matters, in its present structure, and as a matter of personnel selection, their education, training, and the FBI’s institutional culture? The record does not look impressive. Is there something structurally wrong? Would the new forms of the workforce organization be helpful? Should the Counterintelligence Services and Forces be grouped directly … Continue reading“1:12 PM 11/13/2017 – Is the FBI capable of handling the counterintelligence matters? – by Michael Novakhov “
|The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks – The Atlantic|
|The Early Edition: November 14, 2017|
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
Donald Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign via direct messages on Twitter, the messages advised Trump Jr. of the launch of a Political Action Committee (P.A.C.) run website that would draw attention to connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump Jr. responded to the message saying that he was unaware of the P.A.C. or the website but offered to ask around and emailed top Trump campaign officials that WikiLeaks had made contact, Julia Ioffe reveals at the Atlantic.
WikiLeaks was behind the leak of damaging Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that WikiLeaks was acting as a conduit for Russian operatives when it published the hacked emails. Trump Jr. published screenshots of a selection of his conversations with WikiLeaks on Twitter last night and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Twitter that he could not confirm whether his group had corresponded with Trump Jr. Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos report at the New York Times.
Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us, the WikiLeaks account wrote to Trump Jr. and included a link to hacked documents from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta; although Trump Jr. did not answer, shortly after the message, Trump senior tweeted about WikiLeaks and the information it had revealed about the Democratic Party. Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman report at the Washington Post.
The communication had been handed over to congressional investigators by Trump Jr.s lawyers and the presidents son sought to play down his contact with WikiLeaks, referring to his whopping 3 responses which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. Sophie Tatum reports at CNN.
The Vice President Mike Pence was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with WikiLeaks, Pences press secretary said in a statement yesterday, marking another instance where the Vice President has sought to distance himself from the investigations into Russian interference during the election campaign. Matthew Nussbaum reports at POLITICO.
The C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeos remarks about Russian interference in the election have sought to silence former C.I.A. officers, however former officers must have the space to speak out about threats to national security. Three former C.I.A. officers Cindy Otis, Ned Price and John Sipher write at the New York Times.
The Russian-backed R.T. television station registered as a foreign agent in the U.S. with the Department of Justice yesterday, the channel was described as Russias state-run propaganda machine by the U.S. intelligence agencies in a report published in January 2017. Jack Stubbs and Ginger Gibson report at Reuters.
TRUMP ASIA TRIP
Human rights issues were largely ignored during Trumps tour of Asia, the president has not yet mentioned the situation in Myanmar, he did not challenge Chinese President Xi Jinpings authoritarianism or the Philippine President Rodrigo Dutertes extrajudicial war on drugs, and his neglect of human rights reflected the approach he took when visiting leaders in the Middle East in May. David Nakamura and Emily Rauhala explain at the Washington Post.
Trump stayed largely on message during the 12-day trip, which many were concerned would take its toll on the president. Jonathan Lemire and Jill Colvin provide an overview of the visit at the AP.
While the trip went better than expected, and Trumps speech in South Korea was particularly well-received, expectations were low and confusion remains over the Trump administrations strategy in the region. Julian Borger explains at the Guardian.
The six key takeaways from Trumps trip, which ended today, are provided by Dan Merica at CNN.
Trumps Asia trip has been at times a disaster, at times a farce, his cozy relationship with autocratic leaders and his unbelievable comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian interference in the 2016 election reveals what happens when a very big nation is led by a very small man. Eugene Robinson writes at the Washington Post.
The U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises currently taking place are creating the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula, North Koreas ambassador to the U.N. Ja Song Nam said in a letter the Secretary-General yesterday, stating that the three U.S. aircraft carriers present were taking up a strike posture. The naval exercises began on Sunday and lasted for four days. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
It will be realistically difficult for North Korea to completely destroy its nuclear capabilities when their nuclear and missile arsenal are at a developed stage, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in said today, saying that negotiations could be held with all options open. Christine Kim reports at Reuters.
The U.S.s top North Korea negotiator Joseph Yun arrived in South Korea today to help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Josh Smith reports at Reuters.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing today on the Presidents sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, the hearing coming amid concerns about the presidents bellicose approach to North Korea. Jim Acosta and Barbara Starr report at CNN.
The U.S. will fight the Islamic State group in Syria as long as they want to fight, the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday, saying that the U.S. militarys longer-term objective was the prevention of the Islamic State group returning and added that it was important to support a diplomatic solution to the civil war in Syria. Phil Stewart reports at Reuters.
At least 53 people were killed by three airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Atareb in northern Syriayesterday according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, it is not clear whether the Syrian government or Russia were responsible for the strikes, and the town was meant to be protected by a de-escalation zone. The BBC reports.
Russia has not promised to ensure the withdrawal of pro-Iranian forces in Syria, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by the R.I.A. news agency today, Reuters reporting.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the future of Syria in talks yesterday in the Russian city of Sochi, the two countries have supported opposite sides in the conflict but the two leaders hailed their cooperation in Syria and their joint support for de-escalation zones. Vladimir Isachenkov reports at the AP.
Before meeting with Putin, Erdogan criticized the U.S. and Russia for their approach to Syria, saying that if the two countries agreed that a military solution was not the answer, then they should withdraw their troops from Syria. Al Jazeera reports.
Islamic State militants and their families were able to escape from the city of Raqqa in a secret deal that neither the U.S.-led coalition nor the Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) want to admit any involvement in, the BBC reveals.
Russia said today that it has been talking to the U.S. about the U.N. Security Council renewing the mandate of the inquiry looking into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, however the U.S. has said that Russia has refused to engage on its draft resolution. Michelle Nichols reports at Reuters.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 12. Separately, partner forces conducted one strike against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution stating that military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen was not authorized by the 2001 or the 2003 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (A.U.M.F.s), the vote was largely symbolic but signals frustration with the lack of scrutiny of U.S. military engagements abroad. Gregory Hellman reports at POLITICO.
Saudi Arabias ambassador to the U.N. denied that there has been an embargo on Yemen, saying yesterday that there are many sources of supply to Yemen and that the restrictions were a temporary procedure that lasted a few days in response to the launch of a ballistic missile by Yemeni Houthi rebels at the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Nov. 4. The AP reports.
A suicide bomb in Yemens southern port city of Aden killed at least six people yesterday, according to residents, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. Mohammed Mukhashaf reports at Reuters.
Kuwait today expressed support for Lebanons sovereignty and efforts to overcome the delicate situation that was triggered when Lebanons Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on Nov. 4 in televised comments broadcast from Saudi Arabias capital of Riyadh; Hariri cited the destructive role of Iran and its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon as the reason behind his decision. Reuters reports.
Iran hopes that Hariri would return to Lebanon and continue as prime minister if Lebanese laws allow, the top adviser to Irans Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said today, also denying that Hariri had resigned after a tense meeting with him in Beirut. Reuters reports.
An overview of the role the Iran-backed Lebanese militant Hezbollah group plays in Lebanon and the region, and Saudi Arabias desire to restrict its activities, is provided by Erika Solomon at the Financial Times.
Saad Hariris announcement that he would return to Lebanon soon and Saudi Arabias announcement that it would reopen ports in Yemen suggest that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been trying to walk back the escalations in the two countries. Zeina Karam explains at the AP.
Hariris resignation and the ensuing crisis in Lebanon has set the stage for future confrontations in the Middle East, Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post, referring to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the Saudi-Iran rivalry, the complex relationships in the region and the war in Yemen.
The U.N.s International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) certified that Iran has not been violating the provisions of the 2015 nuclear agreement in a report issued yesterday, strongly suggesting that Iran has been honoring its commitments. George Jahn reports at the AP.
The European Union has no plans to discuss new sanctions on Iran, the E.U. foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said yesterday, adding that the issue was not on the agenda when she discussed the Iran nuclear deal at a series of meetings in Washington last week. Laurence Norman reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The Justice Department said yesterday that prosecutors are considering whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Clinton Foundation, an Obama-era uranium deal with Russia and other Clinton-related issues. An investigation would raise questions about the impartiality of federal investigations and the role of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has come under repeated criticism from the president, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report at the New York Times.
A new defense pact was agreed by 23 European Union countries yesterday in an effort to boost defense cooperation, the E.U. foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said that it was a historic day that meant the E.U. could develop its military capabilities to reinforce its strategic autonomy. Julian E. Barnes and Robert Wall report at the Wall Street Journal.
Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said yesterday at an informal session that was boycotted by Russia, China, Egypt and Bolivia and denounced by Venezuelas U.N. ambassador. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in elections and spreading disinformation in a speech yesterday, saying that Russia has attempted to undermine western democracies and that the U.K. would do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise. Rowena Mason reports at the Guardian.
At least 22 police officers were killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistans southern province of Kandahar, officials said today, Reuters reporting.
Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain show no signs that they want to reach a solution to the Gulf crisis, Qatars Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said today, referring to the Saudi-led blocs isolation of Qatar on June 5 due to its alleged support for terrorism and ties to Iran. Reuters reports.
Palestinian officials rejected a report by an Israeli new outlet that claimed that Saudi Arabia had ordered the Palestinian Authority leader President Mahmoud Abbas to accept U.S. peace efforts or resign, a spokesperson for the Fatah party saying that the Palestinian position and the Saudi position are aligned. Al Jazeera reports.
Trumps latest travel ban partially went into effect yesterday after a ruling by the U.S. appeals court in California, Lawrence Hurley reports at Reuters.
|Spain sees Russian interference in Catalonia separatist vote – Reuters|
|Taking Putin’s Word For It|
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|8:47 AM 11/13/2017 Russias Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure The New Yorker: Members of Congress should pay special attention to the F.B.I., which conducts counterintelligence in the United States but which, according to most insiders I interviewed recently, is not up to the job of detecting and countering Russian disinformation.|
The Cabal against Clinton: Giuliani, Bannon and the FBI New York bureau (part 2 of 2) 4:33 PM 5/7/2017 – Recent Posts: WATCH: Comey admits FBI investigating leaks to Giuliani and Trump team To add some comments to this very good and straightforward article, in my humble opinion. The situation is further complicated by the … Continue reading“8:47 AM 11/13/2017 Russias Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure The New Yorker: “Members of Congress should pay special attention to the F.B.I., which conducts counterintelligence in the United States but which, according to most insiders I interviewed recently, is not up to the job of detecting and countering Russian disinformation.””
|Dana Priest – Google Search|
|Dana Priest | The New Yorker|
RUSSIA’S ELECTION MEDDLING WAS ANOTHER U.S. INTELLIGENCE FAILURE
Facing one of the clearest domestic threats in a decade, the intelligence community did not warn the American public of Russia’s online disinformation campaign.
|Russia’s Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure – The New Yorker|
|Russias Election Meddling Was Another U.S. Intelligence Failure|
After failing to detect and stop Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack sixteen years ago, Congress more than doubled the budget of American intelligence agencies and gave them unprecedented secret authorities. As the intelligence beat reporter for the Washington Post at the time, I watched these agencies grow in size, as dozens of new buildings appeared around the Washington region to house a ballooning workforce of over a million people with top-secret security clearances.
The National Security Agency obtained permission to collect and store the private Internet correspondence and cell-phone data of millions of Americans. The F.B.I. was granted the power to obtain citizens’ banking, library, and phone records without court approval. The C.I.A. opened secret prisons abroad where they tortured terrorist suspects. Local police departments began employing military-grade weapons, armored vehicles, and cell-phone-tracking devices.
All these measures, and many more, were put in place in the name of national security. And yet, last year, these vastly larger agencies failed to defend, or even warn, the American public against the most audacious Russian covert operation toward the United States since the end of the Cold War. Only after the fact, when a Russian disinformation campaign had already tainted the 2016 Presidential election, did the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, another vast post-9/11 creation, disclose the Kremlin’s interference. The unclassified January, 2017, report, made public by the O.D.N.I., included only the thinnest of evidence, leaving many people wondering if it were true. Whether the Russian campaign actually changed the outcome of the election is impossible to know, but it clearly succeeded at exacerbating political divisions in the United States and undermining the credibility of the results.
Unlike 9/11, the Russian campaign did not occur without warning on a quiet fall day. Rather, it unfolded over at least six months on Americans’ social-media accounts—hardly the stuff of spy novels. Kremlin leaders had signalled their plans years in advance. The Russian playbook wasn’t a secret, either. It had been well documented by European governments, researchers, and journalists after the Kremlin’s information operations to destabilize Estonia, in 2007; Georgia, in 2008; Ukraine, in 2014; and Britain, in the leadup to the 2016 Brexit vote.
Facing one of the clearest domestic threats to the U.S. in a decade, neither the F.B.I., which has the responsibility for conducting counterintelligence inside the United States, nor the O.D.N.I. warned Americans that platoons of Russian-backed automated “bots” and human trolls were working online to amplify racial divisions and anti-government conspiracy theories. The F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew McCabe, admitted in a CNBC interview on October 4th that the U.S. intelligence community “should have predicted” the attacks “with more clarity, maybe, than we did.” “When you overlay these attacks onto what we’ve known on our counterintelligence side about the Russians for many years, it completely fits into their playbook,” he went on. “This ability to insert themselves into our system, to sow discord and social and political unrest, is right up their alley, and it’s something we probably should have seen.” In a recent interview, a senior intelligence official who was given permission to speak with me, agreed. “He’s spot-on,” the official, who asked not to be named, said of McCabe.
John Brennan, who served as the C.I.A. director from 2012 to 2016, has said that there was no way for U.S. intelligence officials to have seen such a Russian effort coming. “People have criticized us and the Obama Administration for not coming out more forcefully in saying it,” he said at a national-security forum in Aspen in July. “There was no playbook for this.”
Many members of the intelligence community, or I.C., as the collective agencies are known, blame President Obama for being reluctant to publicly criticize the Russian campaign during the 2016 election. But, by law, the intelligence chiefs must also keep congressional intelligence-committee members briefed on major threats to national security—yet it doesn’t look as if they gave the representatives many details either. Instead, members of Congress seemed as surprised as the rest of us when they learned about Russia’s social-media presence from recent testimony by Facebook and Twitter. Max Bergmann, who worked at the State Department until 2017, and had access to classified reports on the Russia activities, described the problem to me as “a failure of imagination. Everyone was guilty of the same sin.”
I don’t think even that sentiment captures the scope of the failure, and neither do the foreign officials and experts who watched the Russian effort unfold in the United States. A senior European diplomat, who asked not to be identified, told me recently that the two years that passed between Russia’s cyberattacks on the Ukrainian elections and the 2016 U.S. election “should have been enough to alert U.S. officials.”
Among the first to document Russia’s online disinformation tactics was Olga Yurkova, a thirty-two-year-old journalist who recently graduated from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy School of Journalism. On March 1, 2014, Yurkova watched on television and online as armed men in unmarked uniforms occupied Crimea. Russian media named them “polite people.” Yurkova and her university colleagues, steeped in previous Russian disinformation operations in the Baltics and elsewhere, knew better.
“Their lies were so blatant that all Ukrainian journalists were speechless with shock,” Yurkova told me from Kiev. “As responsible journalists, we had to do something with this.” The following day, Yurkova created a Web site called StopFake.org, which is dedicated to debunking fake news and identifying Russian disinformation. The article announcing the launch of the site, and its mission, was shared thirteen thousand times on Twitter within two hours, Yurkova told me by e-mail. Readers quickly began sending in bogus stories, and soon were even trying to debunk articles themselves. Every day, StopFake’s team combed Russian- and English-language media for suspicious content. They checked the veracity of sources cited, the accuracy of translations, the validity of numbers and statistics, and the authenticity of photos and videos. Sometimes, they made phone calls to people quoted in a story, or cross-checked facts with laws and regulations. It often took weeks to refute false articles with convincing evidence.
“We have been working for three years to inform very diverse people about why they should consider this problem, how they can reduce the impact of propaganda, and what are the possible ways of countering propaganda as a phenomenon,” Yurkova said. Although StopFake now publishes in eleven languages and has thirty employees, the organization still operates on a shoestring budget: two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in 2016, compared to an over-all U.S. intelligence budget of seventy billion dollars. StopFake doesn’t have an office, and, to save money, all of its workers use their personal computers and communicate via Facebook.
Another research center whose work is public is the Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, a NATO-affiliated organization housed in a boxy white building, which I visited last spring in Riga, Latvia. The center’s 2014 report on Russia’s campaign against Ukraine identified the same themes that the Kremlin would use against the United States two years later. “Russia media has systematically cultivated a feeling of fear and anxiety,” the report found. The Presidential Administration, a Kremlin office under the direct authority of Vladimir Putin, “controls a large number of bloggers and trolls in the social media to spread information supporting Russia’s narrative and to silence opponents.” The report said that the bloggers use false personas and identities to flood Facebook and Twitter discussions.
Another analyst who publicly identified Russian disinformation tactics more than two years ago is the former journalist Ben Nimmo, now an Edinburgh-based propaganda expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Nimmo first noticed Kremlin-linked social media interfering in Western democratic processes during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and he says that they remain active in the U.S. today.
“The structures that are in place are still operating,” Nimmo said. The hundreds of fake accounts that Facebook and Twitter recently identified as Russian-created, he warned, “are like cannon fodder. The Russians use them and just throw them away and create new ones.” Yet the intelligence community remains silent, as if the Russians had gone away.
I found at least a dozen other institutes that appeared to be producing groundbreaking work. Mark Laity, the director of strategic communications at NATO military headquarters, lauded the work of research groups. “They’ve very often done far better than officialdom,” he told me. “They’re producing product that is superb.”
None of the work of these non-government researchers is conducted using surveillance systems, supercomputers, or subpoena power. Nothing the public researchers do is classified. And that is precisely the problem. Government analysts have always viewed open-source information, or OSINT, as it is called in the intelligence world, as a poor substitute for classified information. Intelligence officials often dismiss the importance of public pronouncements by foreign leaders, actions recorded by journalists, data collected by university professors, and discussions at open conferences. It is a decades-old problem. In 2002, the practice helped blind U.S. intelligence officials to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s evidence that Iraq did not actually possess weapons of mass destruction. In 2010, it blinded them again to the Arab Spring revolutions brewing across the Middle East. Devaluing OSINT has become a more significant problem as Russia and China use social media as an arena to wage disinformation operations.
Unless F.B.I. agents and American intelligence officers get over this bias, they will continue asking for special powers to snoop on Internet users in ways that should not be allowed. If they are denied their surveillance requests, they will likely throw up their hands and say that they then can’t help fix the problem. (The F.B.I. declined to comment for this article.)
Russian disinformation operations in the United States continue unabated. Leaving a recent closed-door hearing on the Russian campaign, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, told reporters, “You can’t walk away from this and believe that Russia’s not currently active.”
The senior intelligence official I interviewed expressed the same concern. “I don’t think we’ve seen a change at all in Russian activity,” she told me. “They are still trying to use race, religion, Democrats, Republicans, E.U., NATO issues as a division. They are still on social media in every way. There’s no change.” The official expressed worry because there has been no intense public debate in the United States, as there has been in the Baltics and Ukraine, about how to respond to Russian disinformation. “I don’t think we’ve been through the same national conversation as Ukraine and other countries to say we will use everything we can to defend against it,” she said.
To see the ongoing Russia disinformation campaign for myself, one day in late September, I went to the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s new public dashboard of trending stories on six hundred Kremlin-oriented or -influenced Twitter accounts. That day, they included claims that the United States is helping ISIS in Syria, conspiracies about the Las Vegas mass shooting, and an attack on the actor Morgan Freeman for launching the Committee to Investigate Russia. The Freeman post—with the headline “Morgan Freeman Psy-Op Proves How Desperate the Deep State Has Become,”—was the most popular.
The 9/11 attacks were followed by a cascade of investigative journalism, congressional committees, and special panels that uncovered damning evidence of the I.C.’s failure to detect the plot and warn the public beforehand. This pattern could repeat itself soon in the Russian debacle. It doesn’t matter that President Trump believes that the allegations are a hoax perpetrated by the media and Democrats. It doesn’t matter that he believes Putin when the Russian leader told him this weekend that he did not meddle in the American elections. It doesn’t matter because the press and Congress are still free to do what they are empowered and protected by the Constitution to do—hold the executive branch accountable.
To avoid long drawn-out investigations and the wasting of even more time, the I.C. should remember two of the most important lessons that emerged after 9/11: it is unwise to conceal the truth and to pretend that all is well. Instead, the director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, one of the few members of the Trump Cabinet whose reputation for independence is still intact, could quickly deliver to the public the details of the Russian disinformation effort—minus only the most perishable sources and methods. He could commission educational materials, like those on StopFake’s Web site, that help the public spot online disinformation. He could disclose to Congress the weaknesses in the I.C.’s capabilities, and make the case for rearranging resources to combat this not-so-new threat. Members of Congress should pay special attention to the F.B.I., which conducts counterintelligence in the United States but which, according to most insiders I interviewed recently, is not up to the job of detecting and countering Russian disinformation.
If Coats doesn’t take these steps, then Congress should do so. There is no time to waste. As the senior intelligence officer told me recently, “We have no reason to believe that 2018 will be any different.”
|5:21 AM 11/13/2017 A freak accident or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message?|
Some of the victims of the stairwell collapse at Vault PK in Barrio Logan, Saturday night, being assisted by first responders from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and San Diego Police Department. (Keven Smith) A freak accident or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message? Interpretation: San Diego: Son, die e … Continue reading“5:21 AM 11/13/2017 A freak accident or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message?”
|Trump Cozies Up To Duterte, Ignores Human Rights Questions|
He also laughed when the Philippine leader referred to journalists as “spies.”
|children staircase – Google Search|
KRIS Corpus Christi News
CBS 8 San Diego–Nov 11, 2017
SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Multiple children were injured Saturday night after a stairwell collapse at Vault PK. Witnesses told News 8 a staircase …
More than 20 children hurt after staircase collapses
KRIS Corpus Christi News–14 hours ago
21 children injured after platform collapses at San Diego parkour …
Washington Post–11 hours ago
Stairwell Collapse At San Diego Indoor Gym Leaves 21 Kids Hurt
<a href=”http://Patch.com” rel=”nofollow”>Patch.com</a>–20 hours ago
Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that …
Highly Cited–Los Angeles Times–Nov 11, 2017
Dozens of children injured in stairwell collapse in Barrio Logan
Highly Cited–The San Diego Union-Tribune–Nov 11, 2017
Los Angeles Times
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The San Diego Union-Tribune
|Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that injured nearly two dozen children|
San Diego building inspectors are still trying to determine how a stairwell at an indoor gym in the Barrio Logan community collapsed Saturday night, injuring more than two dozen people, most of whom were children.
The incident occurred about 7:40 p.m. at Vault PK on Main Street near Sigsbee Street, a large warehouse that shares space with a paintball facility and Crossfit gym, officials said. Vault PK specializes in parkour, a physically demanding sport that requires athletes to navigate military-style obstacle courses.
The accident occurred in the midst of an open gym night for ages 5 to 14, according to the gym’s website.
Twenty-one children and two adults, ages 72 and 46, were taken to various hospitals with moderate to minor injuries. Three or four of the victims suffered spinal injuries when a 10-by-30-foot wooden platform collapsed on them, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Steve Wright.
“It could have been much worse,” he said.
The patients were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Mercy, Sharp and UC San Diego Medical Center, Wright said. There were additional people with minor injuries who left on their own, rather than by ambulance, he said.
Zachary Smith, who was there with his son for a birthday party, said he was standing on the platform, which he described as a viewing area, along with about 30 others, when the staircase below collapsed, causing the platform to topple. He fell onto a young girl but neither was seriously hurt, he said. Smith’s son was also on the platform at the time but suffered only minor scrapes.
“It was a freak accident,” Smith said, adding that he believes it could have been avoided because the structure did not appear to be built to hold such weight.
Smith said the collapse sparked chaos with parents scrambling to find their children amid the debris.
One parent who did not provide his name said the stairwell collapsed after so many children were running up and down to get pizza. Many parents were likely using a Groupon that had been offered for the evening’s open gym, he said.
His 11-year-old son was not injured. He said he thought 40 to 50 people would show up for the evening “but there were probably three times that.”
Joe Saari said that when he and his wife dropped off their two children for a few hours, there were 100 to 150 kids at the warehouse, which includes trampolines and bouncy houses. The couple were heading back home to Chula Vista when one of their children called and said there had been an accident.
His kids suffered minor scrapes, Saari said.
A woman said her 13-year-old son was unhurt but “devastated” by the traumatic scene. She said she went inside to get him out and saw one child with blood all over his face.
At Total Combat Paintball, which shares the facility with the gym, the day began normally before the accident.
“It was business as usual until we heard a loud boom come from the gym, at which point our staff and some customers ran over to the gym to help any way we could,” the company said in a statement.
An hour after the incident, the street around the warehouse was lined with ambulances and fire trucks, some leaving with victims inside and yet still more emergency vehicles arriving. One woman stood on the sidewalk, holding an ice pack over one eye while she talked on her cellphone.
Children huddled nearby in groups, some with parents. San Diego police corralled the children and matched them up with parents as they arrived.
City building inspectors were on the scene Sunday to investigate the cause of the collapse.
3:20 p.m.: This article was updated with more comments from witnesses and fire officials.
9 a.m., Nov. 12: This article was updated with new comments from witnesses and fire officials.
11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.
10:30 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.
This article was originally posted at 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 11
|PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017|
On this edition for Sunday, Nov. 12, President Trump arrives in the Philippines, his last stop on a five-nation Asia tour. Also, researchers in Hawaii, already a state leader in renewable energy, are using ocean waves to make electricity. Megan Thompson anchors from New York.
|James B. Comey, called a liar and leaker by Trump, tweets a quote about truth and justice – The Washington Post|
Former FBI director James B. Comey has been somewhat active on Twitter over the past month, mostly tweeting nature photos and avoiding anything blatantly political.
In one of his latest tweets, he quoted a sermon from the late English Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon about the difference between a truth and a lie: “If you want truth to go around the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go around the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.”
|Trump voters were motivated by racism, not economic anxiety : The Massachusetts Daily Collegian|
(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Last week, when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed that the Civil War resulted from “a lack of ability to compromise,” he engaged in one of America’s most cherished pastimes: whitewashing history to coincide with a narrative that both sides of a particular conflict had worthy arguments, and the real tragedy was their inability to come to a mutual understanding. Indeed, if not for his history of commanding Department of Homeland Security officials to generalize immigrant populations as criminal, and his ill-considered feud with African-American Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, General Kelly’s behavior could be viewed as largely a product of the education he received growing up. Until the 1970s, U.S. history textbooks across the country routinely referred to the Civil War as the “War Between the States” and depicted secession and Reconstruction as equally egregious mistakes.
While it’s now easy to recognize the folly in portraying both sides of the Civil War as noble and just, we have continued to advance narratives that favor American mythology over uncomfortable truth—none more pervasive than the dogma that voters who supported President Trump did so because of “economic anxiety.” The theory goes that Trump was the only politician to speak to the working class’s financial fears, exacerbated by the daunting forces of globalization, immigration and mechanization. This ignores Trump’s overt sexist and racist appeals during the campaign and repackages them as legitimate economic grievances. In this world, it wasn’t Trump’s conflation of Mexican immigrants with rapists that motivated his supporters; it was his criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
This has been generally accepted by vast swaths of the media and political landscapes, with the “New York Times”’ Nicholas Kristoff and the “New Yorker”’s George Packer, as well as liberal Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden coalescing around a similar argument that Trump voters’ motivations were primarily economic in nature. Biden has repeatedly rejected that prejudice was a primary motivating factor for Trump voters, pleading that “they aren’t prejudiced, they’re realistic” and that “they’re not racist. They’re not sexist. But we didn’t talk to them.”
But this is a bunch of malarkey.
Post-election surveys and exit polls tell a much different story of the voting habits of the working class. For instance, it is not well-known that the typical Trump supporter was actually much better off financially than the average American. The median household income of a Trump voter during the primary was $72,000—considerably higher than the median American household income of $56,000, and roughly $11,000 more than the median family income for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters. This trend repeated in the general election, when Trump won more of the voters making $50,000 to $250,000 or higher in a year than Clinton did, and Clinton won more of the voters earning less than $50,000 than Trump did. A Public Religion Research Institute study found that white working class voters in the worst financial shape were actually 1.7 times more likely to support Clinton than Trump, virtually disproving the myth of economic anxiety and suggesting that Trump supporters were more likely to be suburban investment bankers than rural coal miners.
So, what compelled voters to support Trump if not for financial reasons? In a post-election study, University of Massachusetts political science professors Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams and Tatishe Nteta found that voters who denied the presence of racism in the United States were more likely to vote for Trump than those who acknowledged its presence by a 60 point margin, and those who expressed sexist views were more likely to vote for Trump than those who did not by a 20 point margin. All in all, the authors remarked that economic variables “were dwarfed by the relationship between hostile sexism and denial of racism and voting for Trump.” In a similar vein, political scientist Philip Klinkner found that the most predictive question to determine if a white person supported Trump in the primary was not their pessimism on the economy or free trade deals, or even their partisan identification, but if they thought President Barack Obama was a Muslim—a unique falsehood levied against the first Black president and used as political fodder by Trump. Racial animus was the single most potent factor in the 2016 election.
There is an inherent danger in telling one dominant story to communicate the intentions of millions of people. Of course not all Trump supporters are racist or sexist—many even have legitimate economic concerns. But to suggest that these factors played no part in Trump’s ascendance is not only willfully ignorant; it’s disingenuous. The stories we tell about ourselves have meaning. They help to communicate our history and intentions, and most importantly, how we perceive ourselves. It is up to us, then, to tell them honestly and in good faith, and not cast aside difficult conversations for convenient lies.
Matt O’Malley is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.
Yesterday finished up one of those calendar occurrences that are oh-so-cherished by members of any student body: a three-day weekend. The reason for this most recent elongated treat was so the country could observe one of its lesser-recognized holidays. I am talking, of course, about Presidents’ Day – or should…
February 19, 2007
Filed under Archives, Columns, Opinion, Scrolling Headlines · Tagged with bernie sanders, brian schaffner, dj joey franchise, Elizabeth Warren, Frederica Wilson, George Packer, Hillary Clinton, John Kelly, Matthew MacWilliams, New York Times, New Yorker, Nicholas Kristoff, President Trump, Tatishe Nteta
|Bulgaria’s Richest Man or Mafia Kingpin? Possibly Both | Provocateurs|
You may not know their names, but the world’s Little Known Billionaires wield a hidden economic clout. Read more of this OZY original series.
There’s a saying that goes “Other countries have the mafia; in Bulgaria, the mafia has the country.” Many Bulgarians may reject the notion, but from the look on his face, whether in photographs or the rare interview, Vasil “the Skull” Bozhkov, supposed mafia kingpin and Bulgaria’s richest man, doesn’t disagree. Often shown smirking or reclining with a cigar, Bozhkov, an entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, gives off an air of impervious and unbridled power.
The origin of the nickname is unknown, but glance at a leaked 2009 report on Bulgaria’s most wanted criminals prepared by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires John Ordway, and you’ll find a colorful cast of Bulgarian mob bosses, including the Beret, Big Margin, the Chicken and the Billy Goat. Perhaps Bozhkov is known as the Skull because of his very prominent facial bones, or maybe it’s the way his piercing eyes peer out from deep-set sockets. Or, it could be something more sinister.
Bulgarian mogul Vasil Bozhkov has amassed an extensive collection of rare Thracian artifacts, offering a glimpse of a little-known ancient civilization which has left no written records.
Source Courtesy of CSKA sports
Bozhkov, 61, made his fortune during Bulgaria’s transition from communism to capitalism in 1989. His first company, a currency exchange opened in 1990 in Sofia, quickly expanded into a chain. In 1991, he and two partners formed IGM, a gambling company that started with one casino at the Hotel Rila in Sofia and now has countless sites throughout the city. By the end of that year, Bozhkov had amassed profits so great that he set up a holding company, Nove, which today is comprised of more than 30 businesses with numerous subsidiaries, including the popular Eurofootball lottery.
Though it seems an impossible leap to go from owning a handful of currency exchanges to running a multinational empire in a single year, it’s important to note that just after the fall of socialism, a little went a long way. Bozhkov’s rise in Bulgaria was, in some ways, a preview of the wealth a handful of Russian oligarchs would rapidly amass a few years later thanks to a similar transition, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. “At this time, you could buy a three-bedroom flat in Sofia for $4,000,” explains Lachezar Bogdanov, manager of the Bulgarian economic think tank Industry Watch. “Everything was so cheap that if you had a few million dollars, it was a huge advantage.” And the Skull had more than a few million — in fact, he had a whole bank’s worth of leva. In 1994 he opened the Bulgarian Commercial Industrial Bank, which soon merged with Credit Bank of Multigroup, a savvy move that gave Bozhkov the power to lend himself money through the network of companies under the Nove umbrella.
Born in 1956 in Velingrad, Bulgaria, the man who would become the Skull grew up under the totalitarian regime of Todor Zhivkov, a Soviet bloc Communist who ruled his country with an iron fist for 35 years until his ouster in 1989. It was a period when Bulgaria was a reclusive, agrarian country, sheltered from Western capitalist influences — and utterly devoid of the flashy foreign cars driven by designer-clad gangsters that zip through the streets Sofia today.
Precisely when and how Bozhkov allegedly entered organized crime is unknown, but according to the report from Ordway, a veteran foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador, he is “Bulgaria’s most infamous gangster.” And while he has never been brought to court for syndicated crime, another leaked report — this one classified in 2005 by former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew — states: “Bozhkov’s illegal activities include money laundering, privatization fraud, intimidation, extortion and racketeering.” Organized crime in Bulgaria, as detailed in Ordway’s report, is particularly active in international money laundering, drug and human trafficking, counterfeiting and contract killing.
Today, the Skull has strayed far from the Communist ideals of his childhood, enjoying the opulent lifestyle afforded by his billionaire status. An avid art collector, he owns hundreds of Roman, Greek and Thracian works of art. In 2011, he loaned artifacts for an exhibition at the National History Museum in Sofia, and to coincide with Bulgaria’s admission into the EU, he was invited to exhibit items from his collection in Brussels. Unfortunately, while Bulgaria boasts some of the richest archaeological sites around, plunderers are known to raid tombs and graves — fueling a black market in ancient treasures that some speculate can be traced to Bozhkov’s extensive collection.
Philanthropic gestures aside, Bozhkov is still seen as a key player in Bulgaria’s deeply corrupt landscape. According to a report published last year by Transparency International, Bulgaria is perceived as the most corrupt country in the European Union on measures that include freedom of the press, independent judiciary and organized crime. “Corruption risks in Bulgaria remain high,” explains Miriam Konradsen Ayed from GAN’s Business Anti-Corruption Portal. “The judiciary is particularly susceptible to corruption due to undue influence from politicians and well-connected businessmen.” And Ordway maintains in his leaked report that bringing reputed mafia ring leaders like the Skull to justice “would be a major victory for the new government and demonstrate to a skeptical European Commission (and Bulgarian public) that the days of impunity are over.”
It’s a reality that may be inching closer. In 2015, Bulgaria adopted two strategic documents — the National Strategy for Preventing and Countering Corruption 2015-2020 and Strategic Guidelines for the Prevention and Counteraction to Corruption 2015-2020, notes Jasna Panjeta, program and outreach director for the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative. She believes the Bulgarian government has made it a priority to increase transparency across all public sectors and says the European Commission’s Cooperation and Verification Mechanism will continue to monitor judicial reform and efforts to curtail corruption and organized crime.
Not everyone agrees that the Skull’s rise to the top is a clear example of corruption. “It’s the way that the system works,” insists Bogdanov, adding that the “entrepreneurs” who made quick starts out of the gate in the early ’90s exploited the opportunities presented by the regime change and gained a major advantage. Infamous gangster or crafty businessman? We tried asking, but the Skull didn’t respond to our request for an interview. And we left it at that.
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These were all examples of how making someone’s personal, and sometimes private, information public on the internet led to intense harassment.
Today, each of the cases could easily be termed a form of doxxing — short for “dropping documents.” In the last few years, doxxing has increasingly been used as an online weapon to attack people. People’s “documents” — records of their addresses, relatives, finances — get posted online with the implicit or explicit invitation for others to shame or hector them.
But while doxxing may seem both creepy and dangerous, there is no single federal law against the practice. Such behavior has to be part of a wider campaign of harassment or stalking for it to be against the law.
It was all fascinating and disturbing, and I think leaves people, myself included, with a lot to think about concerning doxxing, its effectiveness and appropriateness both. Reporters, after all, have been doing a form of doxxing for decades.
But to hope of thinking clearly about doxxing, it always helps to better understand it and its practitioners.
So, how do doxxers dox? They use public records, like property records, tax documents, voter registration databases; they scour social media, real estate websites and even do real-life surveillance to gather information. Then, they publish the information online.
For some, doxxing is morally troubling. Law professor Danielle Citron is one. “It provides a permission structure to go outside the law and punish each other,” she says. “It’s like shaming in cyber-mobs.”
Then, there is the matter of doxxing the wrong person.
Here’s an example: After the infamous “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, an attendee wearing an “Arkansas engineering” shirt was identified as Kyle Quinn, a professor at the University of Arkansas. Except Kyle Quinn wasn’t in Charlottesville. That didn’t stop the internet, and so when “Kyle Quinn” was doxxed as one of those torch — bearing protesters in Charlottesville, Quinn spent a weekend in hiding due to the amount of online abuse he subsequently received. The real protester, a former engineering student named Andrew M. Dodson, later apologized.
In some cases, people doxxed after taking part in white supremacist marches have been arrested, lost their jobs or allegedly been disowned by their families.
Other experts question whether doxxing white supremacists is a useful tactic. “Is this an effective means of challenging racist views?” ask Ajay Sandhu and Daniel Marciniak, researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. They argue that doxxing simply isolates people, forcing them into smaller parts of the internet. “You don’t really challenge them, you allow them to exist in those isolated spaces,” Sandhu says.
Some tips on how to protect yourself from doxxing
The short answer is: You probably can’t fully. But we have a few tips that will help make the information you want kept private more secure.
Two-factor authentication adds another level of security for online accounts. You should set this up for your social media, online banking, and any account connected to your credit cards (Venmo, PayPal, Amazon), and things with recurring payments that have credit card info like Netflix. For social media, here’s
for your Facebook account, and here’s one
Increase privacy on your social media accounts
There may be, and probably is, personal information that is viewable by the public on your social media accounts. Or your social media accounts are completely public. It’s worth looking at the privacy of those. Here are a few things to do to button those up:
For Facebook, you can adjust your privacy settings
. Some boxes to check:
Also helpful to reduce personal information in your public profile:
How strong are your passwords?
Protect your email accounts
Where is your email address located out on the internet? Do you want it there? If not, remove your personal email address from personal websites, social media accounts or wherever else it might be.
Remove yourself from people search sites
Here’s how to remove yourself from many popular people search sites. These sites can reveal relatives, phone numbers, addresses (old and new), etc., that can be used by angry internet trolls to harass you and your family. Some of these sites are more obnoxious than others to opt out of, but if you go through all of them, it will take you out of most of the common online search services. Also, never provide sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security number while opting out. Each of the links below will take you to the current opt-out page or instructions on how to opt out:
Other sites: Once you’ve scrubbed the above listings, it’s a good idea to Google your name and the words “address” or “phone number” and see what comes up. If something does, find a way to manually opt out of each one of those sites.
Worth remembering here: Due to the nature of these services, your name might pop back up on them again. It’s worth it to re-check every few months to see if you’re still listed.
A step further: Data brokers
The sites above often get your information from data brokers. To ensure that your data doesn’t pop back up in other types of “PeopleFinders,” you have to go directly to the data brokers. This, however, can take time and sometimes be complicated. Here’s a list of some of the biggest data brokers and their opt-out pages:
A note on voter files
Voter files are public records in nearly every state, but some states block the release of information for certain people. For example,
information for individuals participating in the state’s Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence and stalking. It’s worth checking with your local or state election authority to see how your state operates.
If you want more, here are some guides we are particularly fond of:
Tips and advice compiled by: Mike Tigas, Ken Schwencke, Jeff Larson, Derek Willis, Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr.
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