End of Show Mixes: - UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
This is a story about the question of who holds power over what we can say, hear, watch and read on the internet'--an increasingly urgent issue that many ordinary people have cause to think about every day. And yet the protagonist in this story, the man whose fate symbolizes the future of social media and the corporate web that controls it, is unknown to the vast majority of educated readers.
That man is PewDiePie, a Swedish comedian whose real name is Felix Kjellberg. With 77-million subscribers, he has the most popular YouTube channel in the world. Within YouTube's video subculture, he is regarded as a true celebrity'--a sort of Joe Rogan, Kanye West and Ben Shapiro all rolled into one. As of this writing, PewDiePie is closing in on 20-billion total views'--roughly equivalent to three views for every human on the planet.
Yet describing the actual content that Kjellberg delivers to his viewers can be challenging. When he dropped out of school and began seriously promoting his channel in 2010, his feed was largely devoted to video games. Kjellberg, meanwhile, worked day jobs, including a gig at a hot dog stand. But as his fame grew, Kjellberg began branching off into other sub-cultural niches, often in a way that built layers of satire and self-referential humour upon one another in an Inception-type manner: memes within memes within memes. Over the last decade, he's spent tens of thousands of hours developing this complex, self-referential web of eccentric material into a strangely coherent media identity.
But while Kjellberg's brand is unique, the story of how he's been mobbed is distressingly familiar: Thanks to a small group of journalists who've distorted his record, he's been falsely smeared as a Nazi sympathizer. The main mob cheerleader was Vox Media, which recently published a hit piece accusing PewDiePie of having ties to white supremacists.
YouTube's most popular celebrity keeps dallying with white supremacy. His 76 million followers don't care. https://t.co/zIb33cCwUY
'-- let Polly do the printing (@ajaromano) December 13, 2018
The lawyer-approved title was ''YouTube's most popular user amplified anti-Semitic rhetoric. Again.'' Which sounds ominous, until you find out that the story centres entirely on Kjellberg accidentally throwing a fringe site into a laundry list of other outlets he was seeking to signal-boost. As with everything connected to YouTube subculture, the story is complicated. And it took PewDiePie almost 20 minutes to meticulously debunk the slander, so I'm not going to try to do it inside of this paragraph. If you're interested, you can watch the video.
This raises an obvious question: If PewDiePie is in a position to immediately debunk the attacks against him, broadcasting his detailed case to a mass audience in such a way that the whole world can listen and decide for themselves, what was the point of Vox's attack? Could it be that Vox simply doesn't really understand the power wielded by a true YouTube celebrity?
In his rebuttal video, PewDiePie muses that Vox's real target was YouTube itself'--and possibly even its parent company, Google'--since they are (along with Facebook) the only consistent success stories in the brutally competitive market for online advertising. These are broad claims that make more sense when you consider the back story. In recent months, the cultural satire on Kjellberg's channel has been increasingly self-referential, and mostly focused on T-Series, an Indian media conglomerate that has been approaching PewDiePie's subscriber count. Originally on track to overtake PewDiePie in October, a herculean (and often hilarious) effort from PewDiePie's fanbase allowed Kjellberg to maintain a narrow lead.
While a battle between two YouTube accounts may not sound dramatic, there is little doubt that the PewDiePie/T-Series feud was the most important thing to happen on YouTube in 2018. It was a case study in new media acting as a force equalizer between David and Goliath. T-Series is an entertainment conglomerate with an enormous production budget and a large workforce that's able to push out a half-dozen music videos per day, all aimed at an audience migrating from more traditional platforms to online video. PewDiePie, on the other hand, is a single guy cracking jokes in his bedroom.
There's a sense of solidarity among YouTube's Davids: The late surge that kept PewDiePie ahead of T-Series was fuelled in large part by other YouTube ''creators'''--the one- and two-person shops that create original content solely for the YouTube platform. It was in his attempt to reciprocate their kindness that PewDiePie recommended a rapidly recited list of 28 little-known channels to his subscribers, one of which was later discovered, by Vox, to have old Nazi-sympathetic content in its archives. Which means PewDiePie is a Nazi, and you are probably a Nazi, too'--because that's how the Internet now works.
At around the same time, YouTube released its ''Rewind'' video for 2018'--an annual event which, since its debut in 2010, has presented a light-hearted mash-up of the platform's most memorable moments. And yet, in this year's installment, the curators failed to include any mention of PewDiePie, the subculture's most influential protagonist. Grass-roots members of the YouTube community responded with scathing fury. One comment on the video, liked over 100,000 times, described Rewind 2018 as ''the annual corporate circle jerk celebrating another year of the least creator-friendly site on the entire internet.'' With 13-million thumbs down, the video is the most disliked in YouTube history. Even The New York Times felt compelled to cover the story.
The official YouTube response, courtesy of spokeswoman Andrea Faville, was that ''honest feedback can suck, but we are listening and we appreciate how much people care. Trying to capture the magic of YouTube in one single video is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We also learned that creating content can be really hard and this underscores our respect and admiration for YouTube creators doing it every day.'' But YouTube wasn't trying to ''capture lightning in a bottle.'' The real goal seemed to be avoiding anyone deemed controversial'--including not only PewDiePie, but also U.S. actor Logan Paul (who got into trouble a year ago, after uploading footage of a recently deceased corpse in Japan) and sketch comedian Shane Dawson, in order to protect its appeal to mainstream advertisers.
This might seem to give weight to Kjellberg's vaguely argued notion that Vox was looking for a pretext to attack YouTube over its success in Internet advertising. But the line of attack gets muddled when we consider that YouTube seemed to want to avoid the ''controversial'' PewDiePie precisely because of the backlash promulgated by the likes of Vox. Which is to say: For different reasons'--clicks versus ads'--Vox and YouTube have made common cause in trying to diminish the influence of PewDiePie and other off-brand YouTube celebrities. Weirdly, Vox may not be alone in failing to understand YouTube: YouTube itself doesn't seem to fully understand YouTube either.
Like countless other high-profile creators, PewDiePie repeatedly has slammed YouTube for opacity in its policies on monetization, copyright and content restrictions. He also has called out YouTube'--a Google subsidiary since 2006'--for bowing to corporate whims at the expense of the creators and users who made the platform popular in the first place. As Jordan Peterson'--a very different kind of YouTube sensation'--would put it, the struggle is archetypal: PewDiePie is what YouTube was supposed to be. T-Series is what it has actually become, with YouTube's active encouragement.
And it is not just YouTube. As Quillette readers know, something similar is going on with Patreon, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. Defying its foundational architecture, the internet is no longer decentralized. A cartel of politically aligned capitalists controls access not just to cyberspace in the abstract, but, arguably, the very means of online business functionality. This is why PewDiePie has become a lightning rod: He has managed to buck this trend by building up a massive following that (for now) allows him to defy corporate control.
The nature of PewDiePie's pushback isn't ideological per se. Indeed, he barely touches on mainstream politics in his videos. Rather, he's a cultural satirist, in the vein of South Park, who will mock anything and everything. At major tech and media companies, promotion of progressive principles has become a matter of humourless, ironclad dogma. On Kjellberg's channel, by contrast, a video called How to: RESPECT WOMEN! is just another opportunity for silly mockery.
Kjellberg's true crime is that he's funny. And the online corporate giants have no idea what to do with humour, since humour always will target a society's prevailing dogmas'--including, at the current cultural moment, the earnest mantras that govern corporate messaging. Humour also happens to be the most powerful weapon against authoritarianism (corporate or otherwise), because it leaves an irreversible impression on its audience. Your intellectual ideas may be revised or rejected as you re-evaluate your premises in light of new experiences or reflection. But if you find something funny, that can't be edited out by intellectual efforts. It will sit with you, and may well fester into thoughtcrime. Humour can turn heretics into folk heroes who must then be shunned and de-platformed. (Just ask Godfrey Elfwick.)
PewDiePie is unique in that he has real leverage over the cartel. His continued presence is integral to the popularity of YouTube as a platform; and PewDiePie knows this, because PewDiePie understands YouTube. Unlike Elfwick or Milo Yiannopolis, he is too popular to be un-personned without YouTube experiencing a massive backlash. Unlike Dennis Praeger or Dave Rubin, his controversy is too oblique and apolitical to be faced down directly with culture-warrior hashtags. Unlike the developers whose apps powered the spread of Facebook and Twitter, he cannot have his back catalogue rendered obsolete by alterations to program-interface code. Unlike toilet plungers and coat hangers, the PewDiePie channel can't be undercut on price by Amazon. YouTube controls access to PewDiePie. But without PewDiePie'--and the other YouTubers like him'--YouTube withers away.
Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya once recalled his work with Facebook this way: ''We trumpeted [our platform] like it was some hot-shit big deal. And I remember when we raised money from Bill Gates'...And Gates said something along the lines of, 'That's a crock of shit. This isn't a 'platform.' A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it's a platform.''' The brilliant Microsoft founder knew that his own Windows operating system was a true platform because, as Microsoft openly bragged, the company itself captured only a minority of the value created through the Windows ecosystem. Facebook, YouTube and Google are in a completely different category'--because the vast majority of the wealth they generate is controlled by the social-media oligopolies themselves. They aren't platforms so much as rent-seeking agents that oversee a set of critical economic protocols.
Here, I am getting into an argument that is made better elsewhere'--specifically, that this kind of power hoarding exists only because of insufficiently farsighted design of the early web. Were there a public protocol that allowed video to be shared as easily as hypertext, there would be no need for YouTube. Were HTTP sufficiently robust to handle two-way links, there might not be a need for Google. Were there a public protocol for identity, Facebook might be extraneous. And were there a public protocol for value exchange, there would be no need for content that is almost exclusively monetized by advertising'--a development that has ushered in a risk-averse ad-driven corporate culture with its attendant censorship and house politics.
There is some hope among futurists that these technological problems can be remedied in the near future, thereby allowing something like a Great Decentralisation. And PewDiePie, for all his rough edges and bro amateurism, gives some insight into what this would look like: content creation and idea exchange in real time, with a tight feedback loop linking artist and audience; and communities forming around these ideas because they want to, not because they feel they have to; all mediated by an infrastructure that cannot be turned against them, because it has no controller.
We aren't there yet, and YouTube may eventually crush PewDiePie, with Vox getting the assist. Until then, PewDiePie remains an emblem of our times, worthy of study. You can hop on over to YouTube and check his work out for yourself. And if you do, then for the love of all that is good in this world, go ahead and smash subscribe.
Allen Farrington lives in Edinburgh, UK. He studied math and philosophy at the University of St Andrews. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A number of Slack users report that they have suddenly lost access to their accounts with no warning in what appears to be an aggressive implementation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In some cases, users have reported seeing revoked their access to free, public Slack groups, while access to paid accounts remains. Administrators of the public accounts were not notified of the account terminations affecting their group's members. Affected users include a University of British Columbia PhD student, a researcher studying at the Technical University of Munich and many other Twitter users who reported personal travel to Iran in recent years. Affected users reported receiving the following letter:
When questioned about the recent action taken against some users, Slack provided TechCrunch the following statement:
Slack complies with the U.S. regulations related to embargoed countries and regions, as does every U.S.-based company. We updated our system for applying geolocation information, which relies on IP addresses, and that led to the deactivations for accounts tied to embargoed countries. We only utilize IP addresses to take these actions. We do not possess information about nationality or the ethnicity of our users. If users think we've made a mistake in blocking their access, please reach out to email@example.com and we'll review as soon as possible.
Right now, it looks like any travel to Iran (and the associated Iranian IP address) were sufficient to flag an account under Slack's new geolocation update that triggered the bans. We've reached out to Slack with additional questions about when these accounts should expect to be reinstated, assuming that Slack doesn't double down on its aggressive policy implementation.
An Apology and an Update | The Official Slack Blog
Two days ago, we updated our system for applying location information to comply with U.S. trade embargoes and economic sanctions regulations.
Soon after updating, we discovered that we made a series of mistakes and inadvertently deactivated a number of accounts that we shouldn't have. We recognize the disruption and inconvenience this caused and we sincerely apologize to the people affected by our actions. In fact, we also apologize to the people whose accounts we intended to disable in order to comply with these regulations. We did not handle the communication well and in both cases we failed to live up to our own standards for courtesy and customer-centricity.
We did not block any user based on their nationality or ethnicity. As is standard in the enterprise software industry, Slack uses location information principally derived from IP addresses to implement these required blocks. We do not collect, use, or possess any information about the nationality or ethnicity of our users.
We have restored access to most of the mistakenly blocked accounts, and we are working hard to restore any remaining users whose access was blocked in error. If you think we've made a mistake in blocking your access, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll review as soon as possible.
We would also like to notify our users that as we continue to update our systems over the next several weeks, we will soon begin blocking access to our service from IP addresses associated with an embargoed country. Users who travel to a sanctioned country may not be able to access Slack while they remain in that country. However, we will not deactivate their account and they will be able to access Slack when they return to countries or regions for which no blocking is required.
We acknowledge that we made several mistakes here. Our attempts to comply with these regulations were not well-implemented. In our communications, we did not treat our customers and other users with the respect they deserve. And finally, in the rush to understand the impact and begin the process of mitigation, we were slow to communicate what was happening. To everyone affected, we apologize. We'll take the failures here as lessons we can use to improve our service and avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Slack institutes sweeping ban of users linked to Iran - The Verge
Thursday morning, many Slack users with ties to Iran discovered their accounts had been abruptly deactivated. The bans affected users living as far as Finland, Canada and the United States, many with few remaining ties to Iran in either citizenship or physical presence.
''In order to comply with export control and economic sanctions laws'...Slack prohibits unauthorized use of its products and services in certain sanctioned countries,'' the notice from Slack read. ''We've identified your team/account as originating from one of these countries and are closing the account effective immediately.'' Users received no warning, and had no time to create archives or otherwise back up data.
It was an abrupt reminder of the broad reach of US tech sanctions, and a sign of how haphazard companies are when enforcing them.
So @SlackHQ decided to send me this email. No way to appeal this decision. No way to prove that I'm not living in Iran and not working with Iranians on slack. Nope. Just hello we're banning your account. pic.twitter.com/giqYQcMJYz
'-- Amir Omidi (@aaomidi) December 20, 2018In a statement to The Verge, Slack said it complies with all US regulations on embargoed countries, and as a result, prohibits Slack use in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and ''the Crimea region of Ukraine.''
According to a company representative, today's deactivations were the result of an update to Slack's geolocation system. ''We updated our system for applying geolocation information, which relies on IP addresses, and that led to the deactivations for accounts tied to embargoed countries,'' the representative said. ''We only utilize IP addresses to take these actions. We do not possess information about nationality or the ethnicity of our users. If users think we've made a mistake in blocking their access, please reach out to email@example.com and we'll review as soon as possible.''
Many Iranian ex-pats see the company's interpretation of sanctions as overly broad, going far beyond the actual restrictions put in place by the US government. ''They are either incompetent at OFAC interpretation or racist,'' said Oxford researcher Mahsa Alimardani, who specializes in communication tools in Iran.
In a public statement on Friday, Slack apologized for any disruption caused by the update, saying it had restored access to the blocked accounts and was altering its sanctions compliance system. ''We would also like to notify our users that as we continue to update our systems over the next several weeks, we will soon begin blocking access to our service from IP addresses associated with an embargoed country,'' the company said. ''Users who travel to a sanctioned country may not be able to access Slack while they remain in that country. However, we will not deactivate their account and they will be able to access Slack when they return to countries or regions for which no blocking is required.''
Most technology exports to Iran are illegal under US treasury rules, particularly when those exports involve financial transactions. But since 2014, US sanctions have included a general license for personal communications tools, described in the license as ''fee-based services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Intemet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging.'' That clause is generally understood to include services like Slack.
''Detecting an Iranian IP address on a paid account (which is presumed to be for business) login as a violation of sanctions is a wrong interpretation of these regulations,'' Alimardani says. ''At best it's over-regulation to prevent any sort of misunderstanding or possible future hassle with OFAC.''
However, the mechanics of sanctions enforcement make it simpler for companies to ban first and ask questions later. The cost of violating US sanctions can be enormous, while the cost of deactivating a defensible account is relatively small. In many cases, companies prefer to avoid the details of sanctions licensing for fear of making an expensive mistake. Google places similarly broad restrictions on the Google Cloud and App Engine, although the Google Play Store and iOS App Store are available under the personal communications license.
Notably, Slack has encountered few corresponding problems from the government in Iran. Unlike many US-based web services, Slack is not blocked by Iran's internal web filters, and easily loads from IP addresses within the country.
The Trump administration has grown more aggressive about enforcing sanctions abroad in recent months, most notably against Huawei, which is based in China and does not consider itself subject to US sanctions. Earlier this month, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran, triggering an ongoing international incident.
Update 12/20 2:59 PM ET: Updated with further statement from Slack.
Update 12/21 7:24PM ET: Updated with public apology from Slack.
November 4, 2018 marked the final day of the 180-day wind-down period following the President's May 8, 2018 announcement to cease the United States' participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On November 5, 2018, the United States fully re-imposed the sanctions on Iran that had been lifted or waived under the JCPOA. These are the toughest U.S. sanctions ever imposed on Iran, and will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, such as the energy, shipping and shipbuilding, and financial sectors. The United States is engaged in a campaign of maximum financial pressure on the Iranian regime and intends to enforce aggressively these sanctions that have come back into effect.
On November 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) posted to its website
additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provide guidance on the sanctions that have been re-imposed. In addition, OFAC amended
FAQ 256 and
FAQ 417, and archived outdated FAQs.
As part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, in its largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime, OFAC sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels on November 5, 2018. This action was a critical part of the re-imposition of the remaining U.S. sanctions that were lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA. For more information on this action,
Additionally, on November 5, 2018, OFAC moved persons identified as meeting the definition of the terms ''Government of Iran'' or an ''Iranian financial institution'' from the List of Persons Blocked Solely Pursuant to E.O. 13599 (the ''E.O. 13599 List'') to the SDN List and removed the E.O. 13599 List from its website.
Finally, OFAC also amended the
Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), effective November 5, 2018 to, among other things, reflect the re-imposition of sanctions pursuant to certain sections of Executive Order 13846 and technical changes that remove references to the E.O. 13599 List.
Archived Iran-related Material
New Iran-related Legislation:
The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) introduces additional sanctions with regard to Iran. Please visit the link below for more information.
Information on Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions ActImportant Advisories and Information OFAC issues advisories to the public on important issues related to the Iran sanctions, while these documents may focus on specific industries and activities they should be reviewed by any party interested in OFAC compliance.
List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization Global Advisory to the Maritime Industry Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping LinesAdvisory on the Presentation of Fraudulent Shipping DocumentsAdvisory on the Use of Exchange Houses and Trading Companies to Evade U.S. Economic Sanctions Against IranGraphics of Iran-related Economic Activity
IRGC's Financial Lifeline (October 2018)Mahan Air Designations - June 2017 to June 2018Chart of Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) Currency Exchange Network (English Version)Chart of Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) Currency Exchange Network (Farsi Version)Frequently Asked Questions
OFAC has compiled hundreds of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about its sanctions programs and related policies. The links below send the user to Iran sanctions-related frequently asked questions.
List of Iran-related FAQs.List of Foreign Sanctions Evaders (FSE)
On May 1, 2012, the President signed Executive Order 13608, ''Prohibiting Certain Transactions With and Suspending Entry Into the United States of Foreign Sanctions Evaders With Respect to Iran and Syria.'' This Executive Order strengthens Treasury's ability to address behavior by foreign individuals and entities determined to have violated, attempted to violate, conspired to violate, or caused a violation of U.S. sanctions on Syria or Iran.
Foreign Sanctions Evaders List PageList of CISADA and NDAA Prohibitions or Conditions
In order to implement certain provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) and certain executive orders, OFAC has developed a list of foreign financial Institutions that are subject to sanctions under these laws and orders. This list can be found below in multiple formats.
The List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Part 561 (the ''Part 561 List'') (PDF)The List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Part 561 (the ''Part 561 List'') (text)Changes to the Part 561 List (PDF)'Changes to the Part 561 List (Text)'Non-SDN Iranian Sanctions Act (NS-ISA) List On October 9, 2012, the President signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13628, which provides for, among other things, the implementation of certain sanctions set forth in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA). Section 1 of E.O. 13628 provides that the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), shall take action to implement certain sanctions set forth in Section 6 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended (ISA), when the President, the Secretary of State, or the Secretary of the Treasury imposes such sanctions on a person pursuant to provisions of ISA, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended, or the TRA. Section 6 of ISA includes both blocking and non-blocking sanctions. Click here for additional information on the NS-ISA List.
In order to implement the non-blocking provisions of Section 6 of ISA, OFAC developed the NS-ISA List. OFAC implements the blocking sanction under Section 6 of ISA by adding persons subject to that sanction to the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons with the identifying tag ''[ISA]''. Pursuant to the United States commitment set out in Section 4.8.1 of Annex II and Section 17.3 of Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015, the Secretary of State determined, effective on Implementation Day, that the sanctions previously imposed on all the persons that had been named on the NS-ISA List as of the day prior to Implementation Day should be terminated. On Implementation Day, OFAC gave effect to the Secretary of State's determination, and as a result, the NS-ISA List is, as of Implementation Day, currently empty.
Changes to the Non-SDN Iranian Sanctions Act List (PDF) - (2016)Changes to the Non-SDN Iranian Sanctions Act List (Text) - (2016)Archive of Changes to the NS-ISA ListSpecific Guidance on the Iran Sanctions
OFAC offers guidance on a variety of subjects related to the Iran sanctions. Most of this guidance is specific in nature. General guidance on the Iran sanctions can be found in the Sanctions Brochures section at the top of this page.
Guidance on the Sale of Food, Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, and Medical Devices by Non-U.S. Persons to IranIndustry Guidance on Shah Deniz ConsortiumClarifying Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance and Related Exports to the Iranian PeopleClarifying Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance and Related Exports to the Iranian People (translated into several languages by the U.S. State Department)Interpretive Guidance And Statement of Licensing Policy on Internet Freedom in Iran' 'Treasury Department Reaffirms Commitment to Fostering Internet Freedom and Supporting the Iranian PeopleGuidance on the Donations of Food and Medicine to Iran and the Non-Specified Areas of SudanGuidance on Sponsorship of Conference by the Government of Iran or Iranian persons Guidance on Transshipments to IranAre U-Turn payments for Iran still permitted? CISADA: The New U.S. Sanctions on Iran French translated version of CISADA: The New Sanctions on Iran - Resume anal ytique de la Loi sur la responsabilite, le desengagement et les sanctions generales contre l'Iran Spanish translated version of CISADA: The New Sanctions on Iran - H o j a de datos: Ley Integral de Sanciones, Rendici"n de Cuentas y Desinversi"n contra Iran Russian translated version of CISADA: The New Sanctions on Iran - Ð ÐÑÐ°Ð²ÐºÐ° : Ð Ð° Ðº Ð¾Ð½ Ð¾ Ð² Ñ Ðµ Ð¾ Ð± Ñ ÐµÐ¼ Ð>> ÑÑÐ¸ Ñ Ñ Ð° Ð½ ÐºÑ Ð¸ Ñ Ñ Ð² Ð¾Ñ Ð½Ð¾Ñ Ðµ Ð½Ð¸Ð¸ ÐÑÐ°Ð½Ð°, Ð ÑÐ¸Ð² Ð>> ÐµÑÐµ Ð½Ð¸Ð¸ Ðº Ð¾ÑÐ² ÐµÑÑÑ Ð²ÐµÐ½Ð½Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸ Ð¸ Ð´Ð¸Ð²ÐµÑÑÐ¸ÑÐ¾Ð²Ð°Ð½Ð¸Ð¸ Arabic translated version of CISADA: The New Sanctions on Iran - Ù Ø§ Ù Ø Ù Ø§ Ø... Ù : ÙØ§ Ù Ù Ù Ø§ÙØ¹ÙÙØ¨ Ø§Øª Ø§ÙØ´Ø§Ù ÙØ(C) Ø¶Ø¯ Ø¥ÙØ±Ø§Ù ÙØ§ÙÙ ØØ§Ø"Ø¨Ø(C) ÙØ§ÙØªØ¬Ø±ÙØ¯ Ù Ù Ø§ÙÙ Ù ØªÙÙØ§Øª ' Interpretive Guidance
OFAC issues interpretive guidance on specific issues related to the sanctions programs it administers. These interpretations of OFAC policy are sometimes published in response to a public request for guidance or may be released proactively by OFAC in order to address a complex topic.
'Guidance on the Provision of Certain Services Relating to the Requirements of U.S. Sanctions Laws'Guidance on Certain Publishing Activities Interpretive Guidance And Statement of Licensing Policy on Internet Freedom in IranSubstantive Enhancement of Information (Iran)Guidance on Internet Connectivity (Iran)Exports/Aircraft Safety (Iran)Equipment to manufacture goods which may be sold to IranInternet Access to Informational Materials (Iran)Export of Services - Surveys & Interviews (Iran)Iran: Travel Exemption Posting of Information from Iran on WebsiteIndex of All Published Interpretative Guidance Applying for a Specific OFAC License
It may be in your and the U.S. government's interest to authorize particular economic activity related to Iran. Certain activities related to Iran may be allowed if they are licensed by OFAC. Visit the link below to apply for an OFAC license.
Apply for an OFAC License Online - Authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited.Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA) Program Information and TSRA License Application Process - Guidance and licensing information for exports of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices Guidance on OFAC Licensing Policy Certain activities related to Iran may be allowed if they are licensed by OFAC. Below OFAC has issued guidance and statements on specific licensing policies as they relate to Iran.
Licenses for Legal Fees and Costs - Guidance on the Release of Limited Amounts of Blocked Funds for Payment of Legal Fees and Costs Incurred in Challenging the Blocking of U.S. Persons in Administrative or Civil ProceedingsEntities Owned By Blocked Persons - Guidance On Entities Owned By Persons Whose Property And Interests In Property Are BlockedStatement of Licensing Policy related to the support of democracy and human rights in Iran and academic and cultural exchange programsStatement Of Licensing Procedure on support of human rights-, humanitarian-, and democracy related activities with respect to Iran'Archived Statements of Licensing Policy
Statement of Licensing Policy for Activities Related to the Export or Re-Export to Iran of Commercial Passenger Aircraft and Related Parts and ServicesGeneral Licenses OFAC issues general licenses in order to authorize activities that would otherwise be prohibited with regard to Iran. General licenses allow all US persons to engage in the activity described in the general license without needing to apply for a specific license.
Iran General License (No. J-1) - Authorizing the Reexportation of Certain Civil Aircraft to Iran on Temporary Sojourn and Related Transactions (Amended 12/15/2016)Iran General License (No. G) - Certain Academic Exchanges and the Exportation or Importation of Certain Educational Services AuthorizedIran General License (No. F) - Authorizing Certain Services in Support of Professional and Amateur Sports Activities and Exchanges Involving the United States and Iran'Iran General License (No. E) - Authorizing Certain Services in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations' Activities in IranIran General License (No. D-1) - General License with Respect to Certain Services, Software, and Hardware Incident to Personal Communications. List of Medical Devices Requring Specific AuthorizationIran General L icense - Authorizing the Exportation or Reexportation of Food ItemsIran General License - Authorizing the Exportation or Reexportation of Replacement Parts for Certain Medical Devices- Authorizing the Exportation or Reexportation of Replacement Parts for Certain Medical DevicesIran General License' - Related to Consular Funds Transfers and to the Transportation of Human RemainsIran General License Related to Personal Communication Services - Exportation of certain services and software over the internetIran General License (No. 2) - Authorizing U.S. persons who are employees or contractors of six international organizations to perform transactions for the conduct of the official business of those organizations in or involving IranArchive of Revoked and Expired General Licenses Executive Orders, Statutes, Rules and Regulations Relating to Iran
The Iran sanctions program represents the implementation of multiple legal authorities. Some of these authorities are in the form of executive orders issued by the President. Other authorities are public laws (statutes) passed by The Congress. These authorities are further codified by OFAC in its regulations which are published the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Modifications to these regulations are posted in the Federal Register. In addition to all of these authorities, OFAC may also implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) with regard to Iran.
13846 - Reimposing Certain Sanctions With Respect To Iran13608' - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With and Suspending Entry Into the United States of Foreign Sanctions Evaders With Respect to Iran and Syria (Effective Date - May 1, 2012)13606 - Blocking the Property and Suspending Entry Into the United States of Certain Persons With Respect to Grave Human Rights Abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria via Information Technology' (Effective Date - April 23, 2012)13599 - Blocking Property of the Government of Iran and Iranian Financial Institutions' (Effective Date - February 6, 2012)13553 - Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to Serious Human Rights Abuses By The Government of Iran and Taking Certain Other Actions (Effective Date - September 29, 2010)13059 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Iran (Effective Date - August 20, 1997)12959 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Iran (Effective Date - May 7, 1995)12957 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources (Effective Date - March 16, 1995)12613 - Prohibiting Imports From Iran (Effective Date - October 29, 1987)12294 - Suspension of Litigation Against Iran (Effective Date - February 26, 1981)12284 - Restrictions on the Transfer of Property of the Former Shah of Iran (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12283 - Non-Prosecution of Claims of Hostages and for Actions at the United States Embassy and Elsewhere (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12282 - Revocation of Prohibitions Against Transactions Involving Iran (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12281 - Direction To Transfer Certain Iranian Government Assets (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12280 - Direction To Transfer Iranian Government Financial Assets Held By Non-Banking Institutions (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12279 - Direction To Transfer Iranian Govt. Assets Held By Domestic Banks (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12278 - Direction To Transfer Iranian Government Assets Overseas (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12277 - Direction To Transfer Iranian Government Assets (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12276 - Direction Relating to Establishment of Escrow Accounts (Effective Date - January 23, 1981)12211 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Iran (Effective Date - April 17, 1980)12205 - Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Iran (Effective Date - April 17, 1980)12170 - Blocking Iranian Government Property (Effective Date - November 14, 1979)Statutes
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 18 U.S.C. § 2332d Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, P.L. 111-195, As Amended Through P.L. 112-239, Enacted January 2, 2013 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), PL 115-44Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) (PL 112-239)International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1706Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as Amended, 50 U.S.C. § 1701 noteInternational Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 (ISDCA), 22 U.S.C. § 2349aa-9 Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 H.R. 1905 (PL 112-158) Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, P.L. 112-81, As Amended Through P.L. 115-91, Enacted December 12, 2017 National Emergencies Act (NEA), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1651 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), 22 U.S.C. §§ 7201-7211Code of Federal Regulations
31 CFR Part 535 - Iranian Assets Control Regulations31 CFR Part 560 - Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations31 CFR Part 561 - Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations31 CFR Part 562 - Iranian Human Rights Abuses Sanctions RegulationsFederal Register Notices
83 FR 55269-18 - Amendment of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations 83 FR 30335-18 - Amendment to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 ("ITSR")81 FR 94254-16 - Changes to the Iran TSRA regulations and definition of Iranian-origin goods79 FR 18990-14 - Final Rule Amending the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations by expanding an existing general license that authorizes the exportation or reexportation of food to individuals and entities in Iran to include the broader category of agricultural commodities.78 FR 16403-13 - Amendment to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 561 (the ''IFSR''), to implement sections 503 and 504 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (the ''TRA'') and certain provisions of Executive Order 13622 77 FR 75845-12' - Publication of Final Rule Amending the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 560 77 FR 66918-12' - Amendments to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations to implement sections 214 through 216 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 201277 FR 64666-12 - 31 CFR Part 560 - Iranian Transactions Regulations; Final Rule'77 FR 16170-12' - Amendment to the Iranian Transactions Regulations to redefine the term "entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran" to substantially conform to the definition in the amended Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations77 FR '11724-12 - Amendment to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations: Implementing subsection 1245(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 ("NDAA")76 FR 63197-11 - Iranian Transactions Regulations - Amendments to authorize certain consular funds transfers and the transportation of human remains76 FR 63191-11 - Iranian Transactions Regulations - Amendments to authorize the exportation or reexportation of food items76 FR 7695-11 - Iranian Transactions Regulations - regulations with respect to Iran to implement Executive Order 1355375 FR 59611-10 - Iranian Transactions Regulations - Amendment to remove general licenses authorizing the importation of, and dealings in, certain foodstuffs and carpets of Iranian origin and related services75 FR 49836-10 - Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations - New regulations to implement the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 201075 FR 34630-10 - amendment to the Iranian Transactions Regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations to expand the scope of Appendix A to Part 560 to encompass any person determined by OFAC to be the Government of Iran75 FR 10997-10 - Amendments to authorize certain types of exportation74 FR 61030-09 - an interim final rule which makes technical changes to certain sections of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations and the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 CFR parts 538 and 56074 FR 36397-09 - allows U.S. banks to continue operating the accounts of U.S. persons who are temporarily in Iran73 FR 73788-08 - Final rule amending the Iranian Transactions Regulations to expand the scope of Appendix A73 FR 66541-08 - Revoking an authorization previously granted to U.S. depository institutions to process U-turn transfers72 FR 15831-07 - Amendment to the Iranian Transactions Regulations related to the movement of specific goods via diplomatic pouch72 FR 12980-07 - Clarification of Policy with Respect to the Process for Issuing Certain TSRA Licenses 71 FR 53569-06 - Treasury Cuts Iran's Bank Saderat Off From U.S. Financial System71 FR 48795-06 - Official Activities of Certain U.S. Organizations71 FR 29251-06 - Revisions to IEEPA made by the Combating Terrorism Financing Act of 200570 FR 15761-05 - Administrative Collection of Civil Penalties70 FR 15583-05 - Broker-dealer amendment to ITR.69 FR 75468-04 - General License for Publishing Activities68 FR 11741-03 - Authorization of Certain Humanitarian Activities by Nongovernmental Organizations in Iraq and Iran66 FR 38553-01 - Amendments to the Iranian Assets Control Regulations66 FR 36683-01 - Exports of Agricultural Products, Medicines, and Medical Devices to Cuba, Sudan, Libya, and Iran; Cuba Travel-Related TransactionsUnited Nations Security Council Resolutions
2231 - Endorses the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (20 July 2015)The provisions of Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1929 (2010), and 2224 (2015) have been terminated subject to re-imposition in the event of significant non-performance of JCPOA commitments.
1929 - Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (9 June 2010)1803 - Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (3 March 2008)1747 - Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (24 March 2007)1737 - Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (23 December 2006)1696 - Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (31 July 2006)'''
The U.S. Government controls exports of sensitive equipment, software and technology as a means to promote our national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Through our export control system, the U.S. government can effectively:
Provide for national security by limiting access to the most sensitive U.S. technology and weapons Promote regional stability Take into account human rights considerations Prevent proliferation of weapons and technologies, including of weapons of mass destruction, to problem end-users and supporters of international terrorism Comply with international commitments, i.e. nonproliferation regimes and UN Security Council sanctions and UNSC resolution 1540 Building A Single Licensing Agency
Under the current export control system, three different USG agencies have the authority to issue export licenses: the Departments of State, Commerce, and the Treasury. In 2009, licensing agencies within these departments processed over 130,000 applications. In 2010 alone, the Department of Commerce processed approximately 22,000 applications. In some cases, exporters were required to apply for multiple licenses from separate departments.
The goal of the ECR Initiative is to create a Single Licensing Agency (SLA), which would act as a ''one stop shop'' for businesses seeking an export license and for the USG to coordinate review of license applications. The result will be a licensing process that is transparent, predictable, and timely.
For more information on this effort, please see the Department of Commerce's export.gov website.
Essential Elements of an Effective Export Control System
To effectively implement an export control system, a country must exhibit a broad national commitment to the endeavor. This commitment is first illustrated by making the political decision to adhere to international nonproliferation norms, as defined by various multilateral regimes, and engage solely in responsible arms transfers.
Second, a nation must establish a legal authority to control the export of defense-related and dual-use goods and technologies. This authority would adhere to six legal principles:
Comprehensive Controls Implementing Directives Enforcement Power and Penalties Interagency Coordination International Cooperation Protection against governmental dissemination of sensitive business information. Third, a country should implement regulatory procedures to support export control laws and policies. These procedures should establish clear lines of authority and provide for a list of controlled items. The control list should adhere to international norms (multilateral regime lists and their associated catch-all controls). The regulations should be clear and easily accessible to exporters in their description of licensing and enforcement policy. The designated authority administering the regulatory regime should review license requests for completeness and clarity. The regulations should encourage transparency and predictability of governmental decision making, and should give sufficient room for exceptions to policy in the interest of the government.
Fourth, proper enforcement measures should be built into the system. Preventive enforcement is essential, and should include established procedures related to export license applications (i.e. screening the proposed item, quantity, end-use and all parties involved in the transaction for any potential export) and compliance mechanisms (i.e. working in partnership with industry to educate them on how and why -- to monitor and control their own export activity). The ability and authority to interdict and investigate illicit exports are necessary to implement an effective export control system. International cooperation can ensure full compliance with export legislation.
Nonproliferation Regimes and Arrangements
The U.S. is a member of various multilateral nonproliferation regimes, including:
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - With 39 member states, the NSG is a widely accepted, mature, and effective export-control arrangement which contributes to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of guidelines for control of nuclear and nuclear-related exports. Zangger Committee - The purpose of the 35-nation Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Exporters (Zangger) Committee is to harmonize implementation of the NPT requirements to apply International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to nuclear exports. The Committee maintains and updates a list of equipment and materials that may only be exported if safeguards are applied to the recipient facility (called the "Trigger List" because such exports trigger the requirement for safeguards). Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) - The 34 MTCR partners have committed to apply a common export policy (MTCR Guidelines) to a common list of controlled items, including all key equipment and technology needed for missile development, production, and operation. MTCR Guidelines restrict transfers of missiles - and technology related to missiles - for the delivery of WMD. The regime places particular focus on missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kg with a range of at least 300 km -- so-called "Category I" or "MTCR-class" missiles. Australia Group (AG) - Objective is to ensure that the industries of the thirty-eight participating countries do not assist, either purposefully or inadvertently, states or terrorists seeking to acquire a chemical and/or biological weapons (CBW) capability. Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) - The regime with the most extensive set of control lists; it seeks to prevent destabilizing accumulations of arms and dual-use equipment and technologies that may contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities that would undermine regional security and stability, and to develop mechanisms for information sharing among the 34 partners as a way to harmonize export control practices and policies. U.S. Export Control Legislation and Authorities
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) is the cornerstone of U.S. munitions export control law. The Department of State implements this statute by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). All persons or entities that engage in the manufacture, export, or brokering of defense articles and services must be registered with the U.S. government. The ITAR sets out the requirements for licenses or other authorizations for specific exports of defense articles and services. The AECA requires the State Department to provide an annual and quarterly report of export authorizations to Congress. Certain proposed export approvals and reports of unauthorized re-transfers also require congressional notification.
The Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended, authorizes the Department of Commerce, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, to regulate the export or re-export of U.S.-origin dual-use goods, software, and technology. The Department of Commerce implements this authority through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). In addition to export controls agreed in the multilateral regimes, the Department of Commerce also imposes certain export and re-export controls for foreign policy reasons, most notably against countries designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as state sponsors of international terrorism, as well as certain countries, entities and individuals subject to domestic unilateral or UN sanctions. Additionally, the Department of Commerce administers and enforces regulations that prohibit certain trade and transactions with certain countries, entities, and individuals by U.S. persons or from the United States under the Trading with the Enemy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Various other U.S. agencies have licensing authority for different exports, for example:
Nuclear - Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Departments of Energy and Commerce Trade embargoes & sanctions/Transactions - Department of the Treasury U.S. Control Lists and Licensing Procedures
U.S. control lists correspond directly with the lists maintained by the various multinational export control regimes, but are augmented by unilateral controls when necessary to ensure national security and foreign policy imperatives. The three major lists of export-controlled items are the Commerce Control List (CCL), the United States Munitions List (USML), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Controls (NRCC).
The CCL includes the following:
Items on Wassenaar Arrangement Dual-Use List Nuclear-related dual use commodities (compiled in the Nuclear Suppliers Group's Nuclear Referral List) Dual-use items on Missile Technology Control Regime List CW Precursors, biological organisms and toxins, and CBW-related equipment on the Australia Group lists Items controlled in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy and other objectives, including anti-terrorism, crime control, Firearms Convention, regional stability, UN sanctions, and short supply reasons Unlisted items when destined for specified end-uses or end-users (catch-all controls) The U.S. Munitions List regulates defense articles and services. An article or service may be designated as a defense article or service if it:
Is specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted or modified for a military application and Does not have predominant civil applications, and Does not have performance equivalent (defined by form, fit, and function) to those of an article or service used for civil applications, or Is specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted or modified for a military application, and has significant military or intelligence applicability such that control is necessary. NOTE: The intended use of the article or service after its export is not relevant in determining whether the article or service is controlled on the U.S. Munitions List.
The NRCC regulates:
Exports of nuclear equipment and materials, such as those in Part I of the NSG Guidelines. Also, the Department of Energy regulates the provision of assistance for foreign atomic energy activities:
Under its legal authorities, DOE can authorize U.S. persons under certain circumstances to engage in the production of special nuclear material outside the United States. Some transfers may take place pursuant to general authorizations in DOE regulations. Other transfers - including transfers of unclassified nuclear technology related to trigger list items listed in Part I of the Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines - require specific authorizations. Exporters generally must submit a license request with the appropriate agency for any item on one of these lists. License requests typically go through an extensive review process, including review by interested U.S. government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, the intelligence community, and NASA, as well as interested bureaus within the Department of State. During this process, the U.S.government reviews:
the eligibility of the applicant all parties involved in the transaction appropriateness of the quality and quantity of the proposed export to the end-user and stated end-use any legal impediments to the proposed export any national security implications presented by the proposed export any foreign policy implications, including but not limited to: potential effect on regional stability human rights ensuring compliance with multilateral control regimes. In 2004, the Office of Defense Trade Controls in the Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs reviewed approximately 55,000 requests for export licenses. The U.S. Department of Commerce receives some 12,000 to 14,000 dual-use export applications per year. Both the munitions and dual-use export control systems of the United States allow for license exemptions (or exceptions) when the government has determined that the particular item, value, end-use and end-user do not constitute sufficient risk to require an export license.
In addition to control lists, the U.S. export control system also relies on catch-all controls to ensure that problematic dual-use exports -- which are not otherwise subject to export controls -- are capable of being tracked, discussed with the recipient government, or even denied as an export transaction. Catch-all regulations incident to the dual-use list prohibit the export without a license of any equipment, software, or technology that would contribute to projects of proliferation concern. The Export Administration Regulations provide specific identification of particular foreign entities that the U.S. Government designates as end-users of concern. An individual license to export an otherwise non-controlled item is required if an exporter:
Knows or has reason to believe that an export will be used in a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program or missile project of concern, or Is informed by the Department of Commerce that an export would present an unacceptable risk of use in or diversion to a WMD program or missile project of concern. Each license application under catch-all controls is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If the U.S. Government determines that the export poses an unacceptable risk of use in or diversion to a nuclear proliferation activity, or that the export would make a material contribution to a chemical or biological proliferation activity, or a missile project of concern, the license is denied. These controls are consistent with AG, MTCR, and NSG catch-all requirements.
Exporters: Be familiar with your customers
Applying common sense is essential in weeding out potentially problematic transfers. Alarms should sound if:
A customer or agent -
Is reluctant to provide end-use/user information Is willing to pay cash for high-value shipments Has little background or history in the relevant business Appears unfamiliar with the product or its use Declines normal warranty/service/installation Orders products/quantities incompatible with the relevant business Provides vague delivery dates or locations A shipment involves -
Private intermediary in major weapons sale Freight forwarder designated as consignee/end-user Intermediate consignee's business or location incompatible with end-user's Shipments directed to trading companies, freight forwarders, or companies with no connection to buyer Requests for packing inconsistent with normal mode of shipping Choice of circuitous or economically illogical routing, or through multiple countries; The end-user requests -
Equipment inconsistent with inventory Spare parts in excess of projected needs Performance/design specs incompatible with resources or environment Technical capability/end-use incompatible with consignee's line of business End-use at variance with standard practices Middleman from third country to place order Refuses to state whether goods are for domestic use, export, or re-export U.S. Mechanisms of Enforcement
The U.S. government has built in various enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with our export control laws. U.S. Customs officials (now part of the Department of Homeland Security) have the authority to check any export or import against its license at the borders. For dual-use items, Department of Commerce officials also investigate violations. Licensing authorities often require pre-license checks and post-shipment verifications.
Criminal and civil penalties for export control violations can be severe. For munitions export control violations, the statute authorizes a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million per violation and, for an individual person, up to 10 years imprisonment. In addition, munitions violations can result in the imposition of a maximum civil fine of $500,000 per violation of the ITAR, as well as debarment from exporting defense articles or services. For dual-use export control violations, criminal penalties can reach a maximum of $500,000 per violation and, for an individual person, up to 10 years imprisonment. Dual-use violations can also be subject to civil fines up to $12,000 per violation, as well as denial of export privileges. It should be noted that in many enforcement cases, both criminal and civil penalties are imposed.
Controls on Brokering Activity
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) was amended in 1996 to cover brokering activity by all persons (except officers/employees of the USG acting in an official capacity) with respect to the manufacture, export, import, or transfer of any defense articles or defense service on the U.S. Munitions List of the ITAR. It is noteworthy that this coverage is not limited to U.S. origin defense articles/services, but can also extend to brokering involving foreign defense articles and services. Under the ITAR, persons engaged in the business of brokering activities are required to register with the Department of State and obtain the applicable authorizations for each brokering transaction. Brokering activities involving non-munitions items, where known by the perpetrator to be destined for WMD or missile activities, would be subject to U.S. catch-all controls.
As defined in the ITAR, a broker is anyone who acts as an agent for others in negotiating or arranging contracts, purchases, sales or transfers of defense articles or defense services in return for a fee, commission or other consideration. "Brokering activities" include the financing, transportation, freight forwarding or taking of any other action that facilitates the manufacture, export, import, or transfer of a defense article or service irrespective of its origin. This includes activities -- by U.S. persons who are located inside or outside of the U.S., or foreign persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction -- involving defense articles or defense services of U.S. or foreign origin that are located inside or outside of the U.S. This does not include, however, activities by U.S. persons that are limited exclusively to U.S. domestic sales or transfers, and persons exclusively in the business of financing, transporting, or freight forwarding, whose business activities do not also include brokering defense articles or defense services.
Any person registering as a broker must also provide an annual report to the U.S. government enumerating and describing its brokering activities and any exemptions used for other covered activities. Violations would be punishable under the same penalties noted above for munitions export violations.
The United States works closely with its friends and allies to halt the transfer of arms-related and proliferation-related items to countries or end-users of concern as well as regions of conflict. When we receive information on potential transfers of concern, we seek to persuade the countries involved to prevent such transfers. U.S. laws and regulations also provide for imposition of mandatory and/or discretionary sanctions on governments, entities, or persons involved in transferring certain military equipment or other items of proliferation of concern.
The voice of New York, come Jan. 7, may be no more.
That's because WABC, one of the city's premiere, preeminent stations, is poised to boot Michael Savage '-- to deplatform him, in broadcast-speak, said his attorney, Daniel Horowitz, in a telephone interview.
WABC isn't saying such; in fact, a recent news release from the station indicates Savage will be moving into a new, fresher format designed to take advantage of emerging media, one that will see him do one hour of radio alongside one hour of podcast.
But the behind-the-scenes story is a bit different.
According to Horowitz, who said he's seen ''the emails back and forth'' between his client, Savage, and the radio powers-who-be, ''The Savage Nation'' is actually poised to go dark on WABC on Jan. 7.
And not just on WABC: Horowitz said media powerhouses in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., are all giving the boot to Savage, as well.
Why? What's going on?
Well, it's not ratings, Horowitz said. And he's right; the numbers bear the truth of Savage's years-long radio dominance.
Take a look: ''Michael Savage Proves a Ratings Tour-de-Force on Bay Area's KSFO,'' Newsmax blared in a headline in June of 2016, in a story on Savage's domination in that West Coast market.
Then there's this: In late 2017, Talk Stream Live listed Savage, with 14.8 million listeners, as the second most-listened to top talk radio voice in the nation, behind only Rush Limbaugh's 16.5 million listeners '-- but far ahead of third place Laura Ingraham's 6.8 million.
Don't forget this: In 2016, Savage made the National Radio Hall of Fame in the category of Spoken Word On-Air Personality, based on the votes of the listening American public.
So if not ratings '-- what then?
Westwood One's Bart Tessler, the man Savage said was responsible for syndicating his show, replied to an email seeking an explanation by saying, ''that's a WABC item, not Westwood One.'' The contact he gave, Lisa Dollinger, didn't immediately respond.
Meanwhile, Radio Insight reported in September that Westwood One was ''shaking up its weekday afternoon Conservative Talk block'' and that ''Ben Shapiro To Go National As Michael Savage Cuts Back To One Hour.'' The release went on to note that Cumulus just ''launched Ben Shapiro on six stations in April including a live clearance on 770 WABC New York and delayed clearances on WMAL Washington DC, WLS Chicago, WYAY Atlanta and KABC Los Angeles.''
OK. So out with the old, in with the new?
Perhaps. Perhaps that's how the radio gods might put it. But given Savage's ratings and time-tested popularity with the people, that excuse doesn't meet the smell test.
More likely, it's this: Political distaste for Savage's fiercely independent streak.
''The only reason I can see,'' Savage said in a telephone interview, ''is because of politics. '... It makes no sense. I have a loyal, large audience. Why not at least do reruns at night?''
Horowitz put it blunter.
''Michael's voice, unlike [his conservative competitors] has always been very independent,'' Horowitz said. ''Savage is completely a wild card, right? And that's what they're trying to kill. It's all about corporate control. Taking him off the air is not a business decision.''
Conspiracy theory? Think again. Think Alex Jones. Think Megyn Kelly. Just a couple years ago, booting these big money media draws would've been unthinkable. Fast forward a couple of politically incorrect blinks later and indeed, the unthinkable has occurred.
Michael Savage, in that same vein, could very well be the next nationally known victim of media censorship.
''Networks are actually losing millions of dollars in order to keep Michael's voice off these stations,'' Horowitz said.
Yes, indeed. ''The Savage Nation'' could indeed be the next casualty of corporate censorship. And what a sad, sorry shame that will be for a nation already suffering from the plight of having too-few-and-far-between original thinkers.
' Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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Germany has been rocked by a scandal involving one of the top reporters writing for the reputable Der Spiegel magazine, who turned out to be a fraudster. What made a fabulst into a star? Let's look at some of his stories.
Claas Relotius, the 'brilliant reporter'-turned-fabricator, carved his way to pages of some of the most prestigious German newspapers with curious, sentimental and touching human stories from everyday life. Although, some of these intimate private stories clearly had some political angle.
Syrian 'Resistance' heroThe piece that brought him his latest (and probably the last) journalist award delved into a much more high-profile and much more politicized topic '' the Syrian crisis. The article centers around the plight of a Syrian teenager living in the city of Deraa, who stood against the Syrian President Bashar Assad, using graffiti as a tool to express himself.
Also on rt.com Fraud 'on grand scale': Top journalist at reputable German magazine faked his stories for YEARS Written in summer 2018, when the city was still at the hands of the militants, the piece calls Deraa the last ''resistance'' stronghold and the start of the Syrian conflict a ''revolution'' while the teenager himself is described as ''Syria's liberator'' and a ''legend'' to ''thousands.'' Now, Der Spiegel has to embarrassingly admit that this story that so vividly depicted the rebels' selfless fight against their supposed oppressors was mostly fabricated and many details described in the articles were just made up by the author.
Children 'orphaned' by AssadAnother report Relotius dedicated to the dire plight of Syrians tells the readers about a heartbreaking story of two Syrian siblings. ''They had lost everything '' their parents, their house and their country'' at the hands of ''dictator'' Assad and his soldiers, the article says, inconspicuously interweaving the two orphans' personal story with that of the battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Also on rt.com 'They're cowards hiding behind women's backs': Aleppo locals tell RT of terrorist atrocities The piece also puts the blame for the tragedy of the Aleppo residents almost entirely on the Assad government and the Syrian Army, missing on the many extremists, who kept the city hostage.
Death threats over jokeSometimes, the journalist also entertained his readers with the reports from a little bit more exotic corners of Earth. One particularly eyebrow-raising story recounts a haunting experience of a Scotsman, who was mercilessly chased and almost killed by the people of an entire country '' Kyrgyzstan '' just for a low joke about their food.
Trump's 'border hunters'Notably, Relotious also often wrote about the US but apparently could not stay unbiased here as well. One of his latest pieces, which became a starting point of Spiegel's investigation against him, used made up details to play to the popular anti-Trump angle in the complicated situation on the US-Mexico border. It tells the readers about a group of self-styled ''border hunters'' militia.
Its somewhat unlikeable members praise President Donald Trump and viciously hate all illegals seeking to come to the US. One of the supposed group members, who goes in the story by the imposing alias 'Pain', says ''he wants to kick the devils, who are running into America, out just like Donald Trump.''
Also on rt.com Is there really a 'militia caravan' traveling south to protect US border from marching migrants? This man, however, turned out to be nothing but a phantom born in the fraudster's inventive mind as the story turned out to be made up as well. Now, Der Spiegel has announced it established a special commission to investigate all Relotius' works and develop recommendations to help it improve its control mechanisms.
However, it also admitted that ''even with the sincerest of intentions, it is impossible to fully rule out'' such incidents in the future as their causes lie in ''human frailty'' and journalists are just as ''fallible'' as any other people. So what made it so difficult for Der Spiegel and other reputable media outlets to see that Relotius was a fraudster?
Maybe, he just was that good at delivering the German media what they themselves craved for so much. His pieces seem to be a blend of heartbreaking personal stories perfectly fitted into the 'liberal' narrative touted by the Western media. An ideal deception.
Kirill Kuznetsov, RT
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Freedom of the Press Foundation Releases its 2018 Annual Report
For anyone who cares about press freedom rights, it's been a concerning year. In the United States, the president attacks journalists as ''enemies of the people'' on a weekly basis. Leak investigations targeting whistleblowers are at an all-time high. Journalists have been arrested and physically attacked covering protests at alarming rates. Abroad, the number of journalists being jailed is unprecedented.
But there is also reason to hope.
At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we are at the forefront of all these issues. While there are certainly a lot of battles ahead, it's our job to equip journalists to face ever-changing threats in the 21st Century. While they face increasing dangers, they've also never been better prepared to handle them.
Help us sustain this important work with a donation by clicking here!
Without our supporters, our donors, and the brave journalists and whistleblowers who put their lives on the line, none of this would be possible.
We're going to fight harder than ever in the coming year, and with your support, the public's right to know will be stronger than ever.
Here's a few highlights of what we accomplished in 2018:
SecureDrop: Over 75 major news organizations have installed SecureDrop, Our open source whistleblower submission system, in the U.S. and abroad. It has become a vital tool for outlets holding the Trump administration to account and getting vital information to the public.
Digital Security Trainings: Our digital security training team has conducted over 60 digital security trainings with media organizations, journalists, and documentary filmmakers, training over 1,200 journalists to better protect themselves online this year alone.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: Since the launch of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in late 2017, FPF has documented 220 press freedom violations involving journalists and reporters.
Encryption Tools: Haven, an android app that acts as a security system, has been downloaded over 500,000 times since it's release.
Secure the News: News websites have an increasing obligation to protect the security and privacy of their readers, as well as their journalists and sources. Secure The News tracks the adoption of HTTPS encryption across major news websites and encourages them to adopt security practices that will protect journalists and readers alike. 86% of major news organizations now use HTTPS encryption by default, thanks to this advocacy campaign.
Archive the News: After Gothamist and DNAinfo were abruptly shut down, we built an open-source software tool enabling journalists to protect their work by saving an entire archive of their portfolios. In 2018, we created over 52,000 PDFs of articles for working journalists to include in their archives and writing portfolios.
The role of journalism in our democracy matters now more than ever and we are grateful for your support of our important work. Below is our complete annual report, outlining our projects and programs, highlights of the year, and expansion plans for 2019.
E-cig maker Juul is now more valuable than Airbnb and SpaceX
(Reuters) - Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc (MO.N ) will buy a 35 percent stake in Juul Labs Inc for $12.8 billion, a marriage between an old-line tobacco giant and a fast-growing electronic-cigarette rival looking to make inroads among smokers.
The deal, announced on Thursday, values San Francisco-based Juul at $38 billion, more than double the roughly $16 billion valuation it achieved in a July private funding round, highlighting what Altria sees as a growth path in the face of declining cigarette sales.
"We are taking significant action to prepare for a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose non-combustible products over cigarettes," Altria Chief Executive Howard Willard said in a statement.
The connection to Altria is expected to get Juul, which has risen swiftly over the last three years to become the U.S. market leader in e-cigarettes, more prominent distribution in convenience stores and other traditional retail channels, as well as such promotion as advertisements in traditional packs of cigarettes.
Altria brings decades of lobbying expertise in Washington that could benefit Juul as the company navigates heightened federal scrutiny of its products' popularity among teenagers.
"Our success ultimately depends on our ability to get our product in the hands of adult smokers and out of the hands of youth," Juul Chief Executive Kevin Burns said in a statement Thursday, adding that Altria's expertise will aid in those efforts.
Tying up with a tobacco company, however, carries reputational risks for the e-cigarette startup, which has formed a company culture around "disrupting one of the world's largest and oldest industries," according to its recruiting materials.
Under terms of the deal, Altria may not buy additional Juul shares or mount a takeover attempt for four years. Nor can Altria sell or transfer any Juul shares for six years or participate in the e-vapor category except through Juul for that period.
The deal, which is subject to antitrust clearance, would give Altria the right to nominate directors representing a third of Juul's board, the cigarette giant said.
Juul's devices, which vaporize a nicotine-laced liquid and resemble a USB flash drive, have grown from 13.6 percent of the market in early 2017 to more than 75 percent this month, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen retail data. In its release Thursday, Altria said Juul represented approximately 30 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette space, when factoring in online sales and products in specialty stores such as vape shops.
The vapor products market, which includes e-cigarettes, is still just a small fraction of the size of the market for cigarettes. Vapor products was a $4.6 billion market in the United States last year, according to data firm Euromonitor International, compared with the nearly $94 billion cigarette market.
Euromonitor projects the U.S. vapor market will nearly triple in size to $11.7 billion by 2022.
E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community, offering an alternative to the nicotine in cigarettes without the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. But there are concerns around creating new nicotine dependence, as teens are drawn to appealing candy and dessert flavor varieties.
A study released by the National Academy of Sciences this year cited evidence that vaping among young people increases the risk of eventually smoking tobacco.
Federal data released last month showed a 78 percent year-on-year increase in high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, coinciding with the rise in Juul's popularity, which equates to more than 3 million students.
On a conference call with investors Thursday, Altria CEO Willard said he believes underage purchases are a "small contributor" to Juul's overall sales.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month announced new curbs on sales of flavored e-cigarette products, including Juul's mango and cool cucumber, amid concerns of widespread underage use.
Juul has boosted its own lobbying spending, spending $890,000 so far in 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That is still far less than Altria's more than $7 million toward lobbying this year, making it the biggest spender in the U.S. tobacco industry.
One unknown is how the deal could affect Juul's reputation in the marketplace. In many ways the company positioned itself as the foe of big tobacco, saying in job postings that it was "driving innovation to eliminate cigarettes."
Juul CEO Burns called Altria a "seemingly counterintuitive" investor but said the company is convinced the deal could "help accelerate our success switching adult smokers."
Tobacco companies including Altria have been investing in e-cigarettes as U.S. smoking rates decline, but those products have lost significant market share over the last year as Juul's popularity has surged.
Altria said this month it would discontinue some of its e-cigarette brands, based on their financial performance and will take a related pre-tax charge of $200 million in the fourth quarter.
Federal data from earlier this month showed 14 percent of U.S. adults smoked cigarettes, the lowest level ever recorded.
Altria's cigarette volumes declined by 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 2018, from a year earlier. The company's share price has fallen by nearly 30 percent over the last year.
Some analysts on Thursday expressed concern that Altria was paying too high of a price. A note from Stifel said the deal should help Altria "address the changing consumer attitudes toward nicotine" but that "the price paid offsets most of the future potential benefit" from a Juul investment.
The Juul investment marks one of several bets Altria is making to position itself in a world with fewer cigarette smokers.
It has an agreement with Philip Morris International Inc to sell a heat-not-burn device called IQOS in the United States, where the product is still under review by the FDA. Earlier this month, Altria announced a $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group Inc, which could give it up to 55 percent ownership of the Canadian cannabis producer.
Altria on Thursday also announced a cost-cutting program that includes workforce reductions and reduced third party spending, to save $500 million to $600 million annually by the end of 2019.
The company expects pre-tax charges of about $230 million to $280 million, or nine to 11 cents per share, the majority of which will be incurred in the fourth quarter of 2018.
(Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Steve Orlofsky)
Altria Group, Inc. (renamed from Philip Morris Companies Inc. on January 27, 2003) is an American corporation and one of the world's largest producers and marketers of tobacco, cigarettes and related products. It operates worldwide and is headquartered in Henrico County, Virginia, just outside the city of Richmond.
Altria is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, John Middleton, Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, Inc., Philip Morris Capital Corporation, and Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Philip Morris International was spun off in 2008. Altria maintains a ~10% stake in Belgium-based brewer ABInBev. It is a component of the S&P 500 and was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average until February 19, 2008. On January 6, 2009, Altria acquired UST Inc., a smokeless tobacco manufacturer, which also owned wine producer Ste Michelle Wine Estates, and is now a subsidiary of Altria.
History [ edit ] Altria emerged from Philip Morris. The onset of "rebranding" of Philip Morris Companies to Altria took place in 2003 (Philip Morris would later split, with PM USA remaining Altria's primary and only consistently held asset). Altria was created because Philip Morris wished to emphasize that its business portfolio had come to consist of more than Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International; at the time, it owned an 84% stake in Kraft, although that business has since been spun off. The name "Altria" is claimed to come from the Latin word for "high" and was part of a trend of companies rebranding to names that previously did not exist, Accenture (previously Andersen Consulting) and Verizon being notable examples, though linguist Steven Pinker suggests that in fact the name is an "egregious example" of phonesthesia '-- with the company attempting to "switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values".
The company's branding consultants, the Wirthlin Group, said: ''The name change alternative offers the possibility of masking the negatives associated with the tobacco business,'' thus enabling the company to improve its image and raise its profile without sacrificing tobacco profits.
Philip Morris executives thought a name change would insulate the larger corporation and its other operating companies from the political pressures on tobacco.
The rebranding took place amidst social, legal and financially troubled circumstances.[vague ] In 2003 Altria was ranked Fortune number 11, and has steadily declined since. In 2010 Altria Group (MO) ranked at Fortune number 137, whereas its former asset, Philip Morris International, was ranked 94th.
In 2006, a United States court found that Philip Morris "publicly ... disputed scientific findings linking smoking and disease knowing their assertions were false."  In a 2006 ruling, a federal court found that Altria, along with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris were found guilty of misleading the public about the dangers of smoking. Within this ruling, it was noted that ''defendants altered the chemical form of nicotine delivered in mainstream cigarette smoke for the purpose of improving nicotine transfer efficiency and increasing the speed with which nicotine is absorbed by smokers.'' This was done by manipulating smoke pH with ammonia. Adding ammonia increases the smoke pH, in a process called ''freebasing'' which causes smokers to be ''exposed to higher internal nicotine doses and become more addicted to the product.''
On March 30, 2007, Altria's 88.1% stake in Kraft Foods Inc was spun off, through a distribution of the remaining stake of shares (88.1%) to Altria shareholders. That same year, Altria began selling all its shares of Philip Morris International to Altria stockholders, a spin off that was completed on March 28, 2008. Again in 2007 the company began the acquisition of cigar manufacturer John Middleton Co. from Bradford Holdings, Inc., which was complete in 2008. After Philip Morris International spun off, the former international subsidiaries halted the purchase of tobacco from America, which was a major factor in the closing of a newly renovated plant in North Carolina, an approximately 50% reduction in manufacturing, large-scale layoffs, and induced early retirements.
In 2008, Altria officially moved its headquarters from New York City to Richmond, Virginia after Philip Morris sold its downtown offices in New York City a decade earlier. With a few exceptions, all manufacturing, commercial, and executive employees had long been based in and around Richmond. Currently the company is headquartered in an unincorporated area within Henrico County, less than five miles west of the city limits of Richmond and less than ten miles from its downtown Richmond campus.
Aside from the Philip Morris/Altria headquarters, some of their other buildings included the Philip Morris Center for Research and Technology in downtown Richmond, their manufacturing center in South Richmond, and the adjacent operations center which began shutting down in 2007-2008, as a result of the loss of demand from PMI member companies. The layoffs beginning in 2007 affected thousands of Altria, Altria Client Services, Philip Morris USA, and contracted employees in Richmond and North Carolina.
In 2009, Altria finalized its purchase of UST Inc., whose products included smokeless tobacco (made by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company) and wine (made by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates). This ended a short era of competition between the new Marlboro smokeless tobacco products such as snus, and those produced by UST Inc.
In December 8, 2018, Altria has announced its intent to acquire a 45% stake in Cronos Group for $1.8 billion.
Finances [ edit ] For the fiscal year 2017, Altria reported earnings of US$10.208 billion, with an annual revenue of US$25.576 billion, a decline of 0.65% over the previous fiscal cycle. Altria's shares traded at over $66 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$118.5 billion in October 2018. As of 2018, the company ranked 154th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.
YearRevenuein mil. USD$Net incomein mil. USD$Total Assetsin mil. USD$Price per Sharein USD$Employees200618,79012,022104,2709.59200718,6649,78657,74611.98200819,3564,93027,21512.11200923,5563,20636,67711.06201024,3633,89037,40215.08201123,8003,37736,75119.25201224,6184,16735,32924.79201324,4664,53534,85928.709,000201424,5225,05834,47535.869,000201525,4345,23131,45947.868,800201625,74414,21545,93259.008,300201725,57610,20843,20266.748,300Corporate governance [ edit ] Board of directors [ edit ] Members of the board of directors of Altria Group as of February 2013 were:
Elizabeth E. Bailey (1989'' ), professor emerita, the Wharton School, University of PennsylvaniaGerald L. Baliles (2008'' ), director, Miller Center of Public Affairs at University of Virginia; former Virginia governorMartin Barrington, chairman and chief executive officer, Altria Group, Inc.John T. Casteen III (2010'' ), president emeritus, University of VirginiaDinyar S. Devitre (2008'' ), special advisor, General Atlantic Partners, New York, NY; former SVP and CFO of AltriaThomas F. Farrell II (2008'' ), chairman, president and CEO, Dominion Resources, Richmond, VAThomas W. Jones (2002'' ), senior partner, TWJ Capital LLC, Stamford, CT; formerly with Citigroup, Travelers and TIAA-CREFDebra J. Kelly-Ennis (2013'' ), former president and CEO of Diageo Canada, Inc.; also formerly with RJR Nabisco, Inc., Coca-Cola, General Motors and Grand MetropolitanW. Leo Kiely III (2011'' ), retired CEO, MillerCoors LLC, Golden, CO; formerly with Frito-LayKathryn B. McQuade (2012'' ), retired EVP and CFO, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited; formerly with Norfolk Southern CorporationGeorge Mu±oz (2004'' ), principal, Mu±oz Investment Banking Group, LLC, Washington, DC; Partner, Tobin & Mu±oz, Chicago, IL; formerly Overseas Private Investment Corporation and assistant secretary of the United States Treasury DepartmentNabil Y. Sakkab (2008'' ), retired Senior Vice President, corporate research and development, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OHHeadquarters [ edit ] Prior to being based in Virginia, Philip Morris had its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. In 2003, Philip Morris announced that it would move its headquarters to Virginia. The company said that it planned to keep around 750 employees in its former headquarters. Brendan McCormick, a spokesperson for Philip Morris, said that the company estimated that the move would save the company over $60 million each year. The company now has its head offices in an unincorporated area of Henrico County, Virginia, near Richmond. In addition, the company has a 450,000-square-foot, $350 million Center for Research and Technology located in downtown Richmond at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park that employs approximately 600 scientists, engineers and support staff.
Political influence [ edit ] According to the Center for Public Integrity, Altria spent around $101 million on lobbying the United States government between 1998 and 2004, making it the second most active organization in the nation.
Altria also funded The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition which lobbied against the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.
Daniel Smith, representing Altria, sits on the Private Enterprise Board of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Controversies [ edit ] In August 2006, the Altria group was found guilty of civil fraud and racketeering.
See also [ edit ] Philip Morris USATobacco industryTobacco Master Settlement AgreementReferences [ edit ] ^ a b c d e f "2017 Annual Report (Form 10-K)" (PDF) . Altria Group, Inc. February 2018 . Retrieved 30 March 2018 . ^ "Philip Morris completes its rebranding to Altria Group" . Retrieved 27 January 2016 . ^ Dan Caplinger (15 March 2007). "Coca-Cola vs. Altria: Altria" . Retrieved 27 January 2016 . ^ "Altria Director Discusses Rebranding Company, CNNfn". Finance Wire. November 11, 2003. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304. ^ a b Smith, EA; Malone, RE (2003). "Altria Means Tobacco: Philip Morris's Identity Crisis". Am J Public Health. 93 (4): 553''6. doi:10.2105/ajph.93.4.553. PMC 1447789 . PMID 12660196. ^ "Business Plan facts, information, pictures - Encyclopedia.com articles about Business Plan". ^ "Fortune 500 2010: Top 1000 American Companies - Altria Group - MO - FORTUNE on CNNMoney.com". Money.cnn.com . Retrieved 2011-03-16 . ^ "The Verdict is In: Findings from United States v Philip Morris" (PDF) . Tobacco Legal Consortium. 2006. ^ "In Ads, Tobacco Companies Admit They Made Cigarettes More Addictive". NPR.org . Retrieved 2018-11-02 . ^ "United States of America v. Philip Morris USA, INC., (f/k/a Philip Morris, Inc.), et al. Civil Action No. 99-2496" (PDF) . ^ van Amsterdam, Jan; Sleijffers, Annemarie; van Spiegel, Paul; Blom, Roos; Witte, Maarten; van de Kassteele, Jan; Blokland, Marco; Steerenberg, Peter; Opperhuizen, Antoon (2011-12). "Effect of ammonia in cigarette tobacco on nicotine absorption in human smokers". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 49 (12): 3025''3030. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2011.09.037. ISSN 1873-6351. PMID 22001171. ^ Walker, Dionne (2007-06-26). "Altria closing North Carolina plant". Usatoday.Com . Retrieved 2011-03-16 . ^ "Our History - Altria: 2001-Present". altria.com. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010 . Retrieved 2010-09-16 . ^ Speights, Keith (December 8, 2018). "Altria Buys a $1.8 Billion Stake in Cronos Group: 3 Things You Need to Know About the Monster Deal". The Motley Fool . Retrieved December 9, 2018 . ^ "Altria Revenue 2006-2018 | MO". www.macrotrends.net . Retrieved 2018-10-30 . ^ "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List". Fortune . Retrieved 2018-11-21 . ^ "Board of Directors", Altria webpage; with associated bio pages. Retrieved 2013-02-26. ^ "Contact Us." Philip Morris Companies. April 9, 2001. Retrieved on October 19, 2009. ^ "Philip Morris to Move Headquarters from New York City to Richmond, Va.." New York Daily News. March 5, 2003. Retrieved on October 19, 2009. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2009-10-11 at the Wayback Machine.." Altria. Retrieved on October 19, 2009. ^ "Page not found". Archived from the original on 2007-11-24 . Retrieved 2007-09-16 . ^ "Center for Public Integrity". Center for Public Integrity . Retrieved 27 January 2016 . ^ Monbiot, George (September 19, 2006). "George Monbiot on climate change and Big Tobacco". The Guardian. London. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11 . Retrieved 2012-05-11 . ^ "Judge finds tobacco racketeering". CNN.com. 17 August 2006 . Retrieved 27 May 2018 . ^ Levin, Myron. "Big Tobacco Is Guilty of Conspiracy". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 16 May 2018 . External links [ edit ] Official website Altria companies grouped at OpenCorporatesAltria Group U.S. political contributions from Influence Explorer at the Sunlight FoundationSEC Filings
This article has been edited to clarify that Constellis no longer trains forces at Camp Integrity and that Blackwater, if it returns, would not have a connection to Constellis.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is out.
Mattis' resignation comes amid news that President Donald Trump has directed the drawdown of 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, and 7,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a U.S. official confirmed to Military Times, a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine ''Recoil," the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: ''We are coming.''
Is the war in Afghanistan '-- and possibly elsewhere ' about to be privatized?
If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away. By 2016 Blackwater had been re-named and restructured several times, and was known at the time as Constellis Group, when it was purchased by the Apollo Holdings Group. Reuters reported earlier this year that Apollo had put Constellis up for sale, but in June the sale was put on hold.
A representative for Constellis told Military Times late Friday that while it had acquired the former Blackwater training center in the 2016 purchase, it has no affiliation with the former security firm. It did not retain Blackwater's founder and former CEO Erik Prince and has no current connection to him, or the firm's former management structure.
The Recoil ad suggests Blackwater is making a resurgence on its own, but it was not clear in what form. The public affairs firm that handles Prince's media engagements told Military Times Friday that he would not be able to speak beyond what was in the media ''at this stage.''
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Prince has courted President Donald Trump's administration since he took office with the idea that the now 17-year Afghan War will never be won by a traditional military campaign. Prince has also argued that the logistical footprint required to support that now multi-trillion dollar endeavor has become too burdensome. Over the summer and into this fall Prince has engaged heavily with the media to promote the privatization; particularly as the Trump administration's new South Asia Strategy, which was crafted with Mattis, passed the one-year mark.
Constellis, which had maintained a footprint at Camp Integrity by the Kabul Airport through its previous iteration as ''Academi." The firm no longer trains there, the Constellis spokesman said.
The news of a leaning on a smaller number of privatized forces, instead of a larger U.S. military footprint '-- and contracted support for U.S. forces that knew few bounds and at times included coffee shops, base exchanges, restaurants, a hockey rink and local vendor shops '-- may be welcomed by current U.S. military leadership on the ground. That includes former Joint Special Operations Command chief Army Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, a source familiar with Miller's approach told Military Times. Miller replaced Gen. John Nicholson as the head of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in September.
In an previous exclusive interview with Military Times, Prince said he would scrap the NATO mission there and replace the estimated 23,000 forces in country with a force of 6,000 contracted personnel and 2,000 active-duty special forces.
The potential privatization of the Afghan War was previously dismissed by the White House, and roundly criticized by Mattis, who saw it as a risk to emplace the nation's national security goals in the hands of contractors.
''When Americans put their nation's credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,'' Mattis told reporters in August.
But Mattis is out now, one in a series of moves that has surprised most of the Pentagon.
Drastic change would ''be more likely'' now, one DOD official said.
By Diamond Naga Siu 2018-08-14 18:31:05 UTCTurkey President Tayyip Erdogan announced today that the country would boycott all electronics from the United States after President Donald Trump slapped new tariffs on the region that caused the Turkish currency (the lira) to hit an all-time low.
The announcement, which specifically targeted Apple, comes amid rising trade tensions between the two countries (and leaders), but it will barely touch the tech giant.
SEE ALSO: Apple's 2018 iPhones have a serious naming problem
"If they have iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side. We have Vestel Venu¼s in our country,'' Erdogan said, referencing a Turkey-based smartphone manufacturer during the announcement to members of his national conservative Justice and Development Party.
"Together with our people, we will stand decisively against the dollar, forex prices, inflation and interest rates. We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together."
The problem with Erdogan's new strategy is that it will have a much greater effect on the Turkish people than any U.S. company. In other words, Turkey relies on Apple more than Apple relies on Turkey.
Only 2.08 percent of Turkish smartphone users owned a Vestel last December, while 17.41 percent owned Apple iPhones.
That means of the 41.09 million projected smartphone users in Turkey last year, 7.15 million of them used Apple, which is only 1.02 percent of the conservative estimate of more than 700 million iPhone users in the world.
Putting that into context, that means there are more than 8.5 times more iPhone users worldwide than there are people in Turkey.
The U.S. and China comprise Apple's two biggest markets, so this would be a much bigger deal '-- for both Apple and America '-- if this electronics ban came from China. Of course, the U.S. is also feuding with over trade, so it's not outside the realm of possibility.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday welcomed the United States' decision to withdraw its troops from Syria, adding that it should coordinate with Ankara on the pullout. Cavusoglu made the comment to reporters in Malta, where he was on an official visit, Reuters reports. NATO allies Ankara and Washington have long been at odds over Syria, where Washington has backed the YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization. US President Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw troops from Syria during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said Ankara could clear the remaining jihadists from the country, Hurriyet daily reported on Friday.
Turkije stelt operatie tegen Koerden uit nu de VS zich hebben teruggetrokken uit Syri
Turkse president Erdogan grijpt een toespraak voor zakenlieden vrijdag in Istanbul aan om aan te kondigen dat de operatie van het Turkse leger tegen de Koerdische milities in het noorden van Syri wordt uitgesteld. Beeld APEen leider van de door Koerden gedomineerde Syrische Democratische Strijdkrachten (SDF), Mustafa Bali, zei dat IS een grote aanval is begonnen in Hajin, op de oostelijke oever van de Eufraat. IS heeft daar een sterk geslonken stuk land in handen. Er zijn naar schatting nog vijfduizend IS-strijders in het gebied.
De VS steunen tot op heden de SDF met geld, wapens en training, en Amerikaanse militairen zijn in het oosten van Syri actief. Trump maakte woensdag bekend dat hij hen snel zal terughalen, omdat IS volgens hem verslagen is. De Koerden vrezen dat Turkije, zoals Erdogan herhaaldelijk heeft aangekondigd, de aanval inzet op hun autonome regio langs de Turkse grens.
Gevangen IS-strijdersSDF-voorman Elham Ahmed waarschuwde vrijdag in Parijs dat de dreiging van een Turks offensief de SDF dwingt hun strijders te verplaatsen van de regio Hajin naar het grensgebied met Turkije. Dat zou IS in de kaart spelen, zei Ahmed.
Hij waarschuwde ook dat de SDF straks wellicht niet meer in staat zullen zijn gevangen IS-strijders vast te houden. 'Door het dreigement van de Turkse staat kan de situatie uit de hand lopen, zodat we geen controle meer hebben', antwoordde Ahmed op de vraag van verslaggevers of de SDF van plan zijn IS-gevangenen vrij te laten.
TelefoongesprekPresident Erdogan heeft gezegd het vertrek van de Amerikanen 'voorzichtig te verwelkomen'. Trumps besluit en zijn telefoongesprek woensdag met zijn Amerikaanse collega brachten Erdogan ertoe de militaire operatie tegen de Koerden '' vorige week nog aangekondigd voor 'binnen enkele dagen' '' uit te stellen. 'We willen eerst zien wat het resultaat is van de Amerikaanse beslissing tot terugtrekking uit Syri.'
Erdogan kondigde verder aan dat het Turkse leger niet alleen de Koerdische milities gaat uitschakelen, maar ook de 'restanten van Islamitische Staat'. Die restanten bevinden zich echter helemaal bij de Iraakse grens, op 265 kilometer van Turkije.
Als dit voornemen serieus is, zouden de Turkse strijdkrachten niet alleen het gehele Koerdische gebied moeten doorkruisen, maar ook een door Arabieren bewoonde strook van zo'n 165 kilometer breed. De resterende IS-strijders zijn fanatiek, veelal van buitenlandse afkomst, en zullen zich niet makkelijk gewonnen geven. Turkije heeft de afgelopen jaren weinig belangstelling getoond zich in te spannen in de strijd tegen IS.
Trump call with Turkish president led to decision to withdraw troops from Syria
Skip to contentBefore the call with Erdogan, Trump was advised to clearly oppose Turkish incursion into northern Syria P resident Trump agreed to withdraw troops from Syria in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week.
Two officials briefed on the matter told the Associated Press that Trump rejected the advice of his top aides in agreeing to the withdrawal during the Dec. 14 phone call.
Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria led to widespread criticism, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned shortly after the announcement.
Surrounding the decision, Trump claimed that ISIS had been defeated and there was no longer a need for the presence of U.S. troops in Syria. He also said, however, that the U.S. did not want to police that region of the world, and instead said it was other country's responsibility.
Before the call with Erdogan, Trump was advised to clearly oppose Turkish incursion into northern Syria, the aides said, adding that ''the talking points were very firm.''
U.S. pullout from Syria will be 'trigger that blows up the region' | Euronews
By Associated Press with NBC News World News • last updated: 21/12/2018 @ Copyright :
BEIRUT '-- The United States' Kurdish allies had been gearing up for a new fight for weeks, digging trenches and defense tunnels in northeastern Syria in preparation for an offensive Turkey's president warned was imminent.On the ground, U.S. troops were bringing in reinforcements through the border with Iraq, beefing up patrols and observation points to prevent friction between the Turks and their Kurdish partners.
Then, in a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that he was pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, declaring the Islamic State group had been vanquished.The move plunged the volatile region into profound uncertainty, leaving America's only allies in Syria in the lurch.The U.S. forces "were as surprised as we were" by the White House decision, said Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
A quick and unplanned withdrawal of American forces opens the door for major turmoil as various groups rush to fill the political and security vacuum, giving leverage to America's enemies including Russia, Iran and President Bashar Assad's government. Experts warn the Islamic State group, currently fighting to hang on to its last pockets in Syria, would soon find its way back.Analysis
"A full withdrawal sends the wrong signal, one that also will be heard by other counterterrorism partners far from Syria," said William F. Wechsler, senior adviser for Middle East programs at the Atlantic Council.Not surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Trump's decision, saying Thursday the U.S. forces should not have been in Syria to start with. A key ally of Assad, Russia's military intervention beginning in 2015 turned the tide of the war in the Syrian leader's favor."I agree with the U.S. president, we have made significant progress in fighting terrorism on that territory and dealt serious blows to IS in Syria," the Russian leader said.
But Trump, whose announcement contradicted his own experts' assessments, now faces major pushback and political pressure from the Pentagon and other U.S. officials not to withdraw from Syria.On Thursday, he defended his decision, saying on Twitter: "Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever?"The announcement of a pullout is widely seen as an abandonment of a loyal ally, even though America's partnership with the Kurds against the Islamic State group in Syria was always seen as a temporary marriage of convenience. With U.S. air support, the Kurds drove IS from much of northern and eastern Syria in a costly four-year campaign.News
In a strongly worded statement laced with bitterness, the Kurdish force said that a premature U.S. pullout before IS militants are defeated would have dangerous repercussions, including a resurgence of the extremist group and a destabilizing effect on the entire region."The war against terrorism has not ended and (the Islamic State group) has not been defeated," the statement said, adding that the fight against ISIS was at a "decisive" stage that requires even more support from the U.S.-led coalition."The decision to pull out under these circumstances will lead to a state of instability and create a political and military void in the region and leave its people between the claws of enemy forces," the statement said.
Kurdish officials and commanders met into the night, discussing their response, local residents said. A war monitor said among the options seriously discussed was releasing thousands of Islamic State militants and their families detained in prisons and camps run by the Kurdish forces. It was not clear whether any decision was made, and Kurdish commanders made no mention of the discussions.The U.S. announcement came at a particularly tense moment in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch a new offensive against the Kurds but in recent days had stepped up the rhetoric, threatening an assault could begin "at any moment."Turkey views the People's Protection Units, or YPG, the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, as a terrorist group and an extension of the insurgency within its borders. U.S. support for the group has strained ties between the two NATO allies.
The Syrian government ultimately wants a foothold back into the oil-rich east, and the loss of U.S. support may push Kurdish forces into negotiating with the Damascus government. This shift in turn would open the door for Iranian-backed militias to enter the region."For the Syrian government, I think this is music to its ears," said Maha Yahya, director of Carnegie Middle East Center. She said a U.S. pullout will force Kurdish forces to negotiate with the regime with a bargaining position that has now been considerably weakened.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in Thursday, saying Israel will "intensify" its activity in Syria to prevent Iranian entrenchment following the withdrawal of American forces.Israel's main interest in Syria is to prevent its archenemy Iran from establishing a permanent military presence there, and to block sophisticated Iranian arms from reaching Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes during the Syrian civil war, mainly against suspect arms shipments allegedly bound for Hezbollah.Although the U.S. has not actively assisted Israel in this mission, the presence of U.S. forces in Syria has served as a deterrent to Israel's enemies.Ebrahim Ebrahim of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the SDF, called Trump's decision "treason" and said there is fear among residents in northern Syria that Turkey will invade the region following a U.S. withdrawal, and that government forces and IS militants will attack areas held by the Kurdish forces."The American withdrawal will be the trigger that blows up the region," he added.
A tumultuous week began with a phone call between Trump and the Turkish president
Karen DeYoungAssociate editor and senior national security correspondent
Missy RyanReporter covering the Pentagon, military issues and national security
December 21 at 8:03 PMWhen he spoke to President Trump on the telephone a week ago Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's agenda had not changed from when they met two weeks earlier at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
He repeated his inability to understand why the United States was still arming and supporting Syrian Kurdish fighters to conduct a ground war against the Islamic State. To Turkey, which shared a 500-mile long border with Syria, they were a national security threat, allied with Turkish Kurds that even the United States considered terrorists.
The Islamic State, according to Trump himself, had been defeated, Erdogan said. Turkey's military was strong and could take on any remaining militant pockets. Why did some 2,000 U.S. troops still need to be there?
''You know what? It's yours,'' Trump said of Syria. ''I'm leaving.''
The call, shorthanded in more or less the same words by several senior administration officials, set off events that, even by the whirlwind standards of Washington in the Trump years, have been cataclysmic. They ended, for the moment at least, with Thursday's resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
This account of the tumultuous past week is drawn from interviews with government officials in the White House and across national security departments, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity while the dust was still settling. The White House and the Turkish Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
For those who cared to defend the decision, including some on Trump's staff, a minority of lawmakers, and presumably a good portion of his unshakable supporters across the country, Syria withdrawal was a promise kept. Trump had long said he would reduce U.S. commitments overseas. Money, he said, was to be spent on protecting the homeland, and not in some faraway place that should be able to take care of itself, or at least pay the United States for doing it.
But for many members of Congress '-- Republicans and Democrats '-- and the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, it was an unmitigated disaster. None was officially informed in advance of Trump's announcement, made on Twitter early Wednesday. Most warned that Turkey, whose troops were poised on the border waiting for U.S. forces to leave, would slaughter U.S. Kurdish allies. Overall, they said, it was nothing less than a capitulation to the other two powers on the ground in Syria '-- Russia and Iran.
For Trump it was an assertion of presidential prerogative that he had repeatedly been constrained from exercising. It came at a time when he was feeling a loss of control over a range of issues, from the special counsel's Russia investigation to the falling stock market and a threatened government shutdown.
In the days after the Friday call with Erdogan, Trump's senior national security team tried, and failed, to get him to reconsider, saying it was the worst possible moment for such an abrupt action.
On Wednesday evening, in the Oval Office with aides, Trump complained that Mattis and others were still trying to dissuade him from the withdrawal. Syria, he railed, costs ''a fortune,'' and ''for what? What are we getting out of this?''
He had given Mattis and ''all the other fellas'' months to provide him with solutions on Syria, and no one had given him any, Trump said.
Top White House aide Stephen Miller, one of Trump's most hard-line advisers, had long told the president that his own defense secretary did not support his ''America First'' agenda.
For Mattis, Miller was right if ''America First'' meant doing things that were uninformed by history or respect for what he considered the foundational building blocks of U.S. national security. The Syria decision, he believed '-- along with Trump's order to prepare for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan '-- was the epitome of the president's careless way of operating.
On Thursday afternoon, before keeping a previously scheduled appointment with Trump, Mattis sat in his Pentagon office and watched a video lasting one minute and 19 seconds that the president had posted of himself on Twitter the night before. ''We have won against ISIS,'' the Islamic State, he said. ''We've beaten them badly, and now it's time for our troops to come back home.''
Having to call families of military casualties was ''heartbreaking .'.'. no question about it,'' Trump said, and there was ''nobody happier'' about his decision, he said, pointing up at the sky.
At 3:30, Mattis departed the building for the brief ride to the White House, his resignation letter in hand. It had been written for a long time, at least in his head, a ''fill in the blank'' missive about his broad differences with Trump, in which Syria had finally filled the empty space.
Before he left, he had ordered copies of the letter to be made for distribution to senior staff and the media.
It wasn't just Syria, a senior Pentagon official said, but ''a series of decisions. .'.'. If there was some big strategic benefit to abandoning the Kurds and doing this, then maybe there would have been a different answer. But this was seemingly very arbitrary.''
Mattis was done trying to talk Trump out of it. In a calm, 45-minute conversation with the president, he talked about their divergent views of the world and how to treat allies and partners. Trump, he said, deserved someone who thought more like he did. They thanked each other, and it was over.
His senior staff had gathered in the Pentagon's Nunn-Lugar conference room, named after two Senate statesmen who had cooperated across party lines to help reduce the threat from nuclear weapons.
The Defense Department's mission was about more than one man, Mattis calmly told those in the room. More than anything , it was about ''the sergeants and the privates who are on watch.'' They were all doing their jobs, he said, and ''we're fine.''
Failing to assuage Trump
Almost from the first moment Trump took office, he and Mattis had sparred over how best to employ U.S. military might. Initially, Mattis found a way to manage their differences, seeking to refashion Trump's views about restoring American military strength so they would benefit the world at large.
According to one person familiar with their relationship, it was less about Mattis seeking to win Trump over to traditional foreign policy principles than it was about ''translating his desires into a coherent national security strategy.''
As time passed, the needle became harder to thread. On a series of issues, from Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, his ban on transgender troops, his embrace of a new branch of the military for space and, perhaps most centrally, his brusque treatment of allies from Europe to Asia, the dissonance in their styles and beliefs became increasingly hard to paper over. Most recently, Mattis was taken aback early this month when Trump rejected his recommendation for the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an officer he expected to work closely with.
It was a year ago, in December 2017, when Trump again brought up what he had said during his presidential campaign. Why were U.S. troops in faraway Syria, and why was the United States paying to rebuild parts of the country destroyed in the anti-Islamic State campaign when others in the region '-- many of them oil-rich monarchies '-- were deriving benefit from the effort?
As they had before, national security advisers reminded him that the Islamic State was plotting terrorist attacks in the West, remained a deadly insurgent force, and only the United States was capable of leading the international coalition effort against it. The U.S. presence was also important to blunt Russian and Iranian influence.
U.S. soldiers, relatively few compared with the numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan, weren't actually fighting on the ground. That was being done by Syrian Kurdish fighters the Americans trained, armed and guided, while U.S. and coalition planes attacked the militants from the air. U.S. casualties were few, and the aid effort, limited to ''stability'' funds to get communities destroyed in the fighting '-- often by U.S. bombing '-- back on their feet, was important to keep the liberated population from turning back to the militants, or coming under the control of the Russian and Iranian supported government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In a telephone call that month, Trump asked Saudi King Salman to cough up stabilization money. Some had their doubts that the president had accurately heard Salman, who he said had promised $4 billion. Trump was assuaged for the moment, although the money didn't materialize.
His ire rose again in January, when then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a speech outlining a long-term U.S. presence in Syria, along with more than $200 million in U.S. stabilization funding.
In April, Trump raised the Syria issue again, canceling the $200 million and sowing the seeds of the final break with Mattis.
It began at a ''Make America Great'' rally in Ohio. ''We're knocking the hell out of ISIS,'' Trump told a cheering crowd, veering unexpectedly into foreign policy in a speech that was supposed to be about infrastructure. ''We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.''
[Retreating ISIS army smuggle a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria]
The president was still riffing onstage when the frantic calls from the White House Situation Room began pouring in to aides traveling with the president. Mattis and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly scrambled to understand what the president was talking about.
While the Islamic State had been greatly weakened, Kurdish partner forces had a way to go before they could secure eastern Syria and ensure militants didn't return.
After his bombshell, Trump walked off the stage in Ohio and took a swig of Diet Coke. Smiling broadly, he ''knew that people were freaking out,'' said one person familiar with the incident. An aide asked him how quickly he wanted the troops gone from Syria and Trump suggested that they should leave in about a week.
Back in Washington, Mattis and other top aides again sought to defer a decision.
''What the president wanted and the reality of the situation were so different that you couldn't merge the two and get it to work,'' said one former senior defense official. Mattis and other national security officials persuaded him they needed an additional six months.
John Bolton, the national security adviser, began working on another reason U.S. forces were in Syria '-- the need to kick Iran out.
That issue was not only important to U.S. policy but to Israel, which was already fighting off the presence of Iranians, and their Hezbollah allies, across the Syrian border.
In September, Bolton and newly installed special envoys to deal with the Syria situation, announced a three-part strategy, based on an indefinite stay for U.S. forces. It included the defeat of the Islamic State, the establishment of a new Syrian government and Iran's departure.
Yemen Genocide About Oil Control By F. William Engdahl20 November 2018 Image Credit: DNO - Creative Commons Licensehttps://bit.ly/2qWBrrB
The ongoing de facto genocide in the Republic of Yemen in a war whose most intense phase began in 2015, has until very recently been all but ignored in the Western mainstream media. What has also been ignored is the fundamental casus belli for the US-backed Saudi war, ostensibly against the Shi'ite Houthi by the Sunni Wahhabite Saudis. As with virtually every war and destabilization since the British first discovered abundant oil in the Persian Gulf over a century ago, the Yemen war is about oil, more precisely about control of oil, lots of oil.
Yemen is a strategically key geopolitical stretch of land at the critical connecting point of the Red Sea which links to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. It's the site of one of the world's most strategic shipping choke points, the Bab el Mandab, a narrow passage a mere 18 miles distance from Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, making it one of the US Department of Energy's Oil Transit Chokepoints. According to the US Department of Energy an estimated 4.7 million barrels of oil passesthrough Bab el Mandab in both directions daily, including oil bound for China
In March 2015 a new civil war raged in Yemen between the group known popularly as Houthis after Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, of the Zaidi sect of Islam. The Zaidi area traditionally moderate group who favors equality of women, something anathema to the Saudi Wahhabites.The Zaidi had ruled Yemen for more than 1,000 years until 1962.
The Houthi movement had forced the ouster of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in late 2011 on charges of vast corruption.He was succeeded by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, Saleh's Vice President. At that time both Saleh and Hadi were proxy presidents of Saudi influence.
Things began to change whenHadi refused to step down after his mandate expired. His decision to cut subsidies on fuel prices as well as refusing agreed reforms led to his arrest by the Houthi movement forces in early 2015. He managed later to flee to Saudi Arabia on March 25, 2015 and that same day Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman ordered the start of the ongoing bombing war against Yemen and the Houthis.
By the end of 2015 Prince bin Salman and his coalition in the strangely-named Operation Decisive Storm (remember Desert Storm) had inflicted atrocities on the civilian population of Yemen. Within six months of relentless Saudi-led bombing, the UN declared Yemen a ''Level Three'' emergency, the highest level. Bombings destroyed critical civilian infrastructure, health facilities and the Saudis blockaded urgently needed food, water and medical aid to an estimated 20 million Yemenis, in violation of international law. Some 2,500,000 Yemeni civilians have been displaced. Famine and cholera are rampant. In short, it is genocide.
Cheney Oil Wars
The roots of the ongoing Yemen war with the Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states can be traced back to the Bush-Cheney Administration in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 and declaration of the so-called War on Terror.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was about oil. Several US officials admitted so at the time including Paul Wolfowitz.''You've got to go where the oil is. I don't think about it [political volatility] very much,'' Cheney told a meeting of Texas oilmen in 1998 when he was still CEO of Halliburton, the world's largest oil services company. As Vice President under Bush Jr, Cheney by all indications architected the US military campaigns of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld to ''take out seven countries in five years,'' as General Wesley Clark famously reported it several years later. All those seven are strategic to control of the huge Middle East oil flows to China, to the EU and to the world economy.
In 2004 when the Cheney-Bush ''War on Terror'' went to Yemen to support then-president Saleh, Saudi domination of Yemen was unquestioned. US and British forces backed Saleh against an uprising by the Houthi minority that began after Saleh tried to arrest Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, the Zaidi religious leader.
By 2015 that US proxy war changed and the Pentagon and Obama Administration quietly backed a full-scale catastrophic Saudi military assault on Yemen.
What is the US or Saudi interest in Yemen? Control of the oil is the short answer, but perhaps not in the usual sense.
In November 2005 the Republic of Yemen expropriated its oil basins '-- the Marib Al-Jawf Block '-- from US Hunt Oil Company and ExxonMobil. That was an irritant but not a decisive game-changer. It was in 2014 when the Houthi rebellion against the President, Saudi-backed Hadi, was victorious that the war took a new form. By March 2015 the Houthi-led Supreme Revolutionary Committee declared a general mobilization to overthrow Hadi, after taking over Sana'a and the Yemeni government and proceeding to Aden.
There are two strategic aspects of who is in control of Yemen, especially the areas now in control of the Houthi. One is the mentioned geostrategic control of oil flows passing Bab el Mandab in the Horn of Africa. The second is the control of the largely untapped oil wealth of Yemen itself.
In 2002 a public report by the US Geological Survey (USGS) concluded that, ''When undiscovered potential is added to known reserves, the total petroleum endowment for the MadbiAmran / Qishn TPS rises to 9.8 BBOE, which then ranks Yemen 51st for potential of petroleum resources, exclusive of the US.''
Now, 10 billion barrels of crude oil might not seem huge compared with the Saudi claim to hold proven reserves of 266 billion barrels. Here, however, a CIA report from 1988 becomes interesting. The report, South Yemen's Oil Resources: The Chimera of Wealth, heavily redacted and declassified, has a cryptic note on potential oil reserves in the large disputed border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The CIA points to oil and gas reserves along what during the Cold War was the disputed border Neutral Zone between North Yemen and South Yemen.
The Hunt Oil Company of Texas has been sitting in the Alif Field since 1982 and discovered oil there in 1984. The Alif Field lies in the Houthi-controlled north of Yemen near the undefined border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The author had the occasion almost two decades ago during an interview with someone associated with the US Government to discuss notions of peak oil and oil geopolitics. At that point the person in discussion volunteered that the undefined desert lands between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, according to non-published US aerial and geophysical surveys, held oil reserve potential that likely exceeded that of Saudi Arabia.
Whether that statement was accurate is not possible to independently confirm. What is clear is that the space surrounded by the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, including Yemen and Somalia is one of the most tectonically active areas on our planet, a prerequisite for hydrocarbon discovery. Presence of huge oil and gas reserves in Yemen would explain much about why the Pentagon has actively backed the Saudi brutal effort to retake control of Yemen from the Houthi.
It has little to do with any Shi'ite versus Wahhabite Sunni conflict. Rather it has to do with strategic control of world energy. So long as Saana was in control of a Saudi proxy, whether Saleh or then Hadi, it was a secondary priority for Washington. The oil was ''safe,'' even if the Yemen government had expropriated the US company oil properties. Once a determined independent Houthi Zaidi force was in control of Yemen or a major part, the threat became serious enough to give the eager new Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman the green light to begin the war. That Houthi-controlled Yemen would be potential client for Russian or Chinese oil companies to open up serious exploration of the potentials. That combined with the fact that the Houthi also had friendly relations with Iran clearly set off red lights in the Obama Administration.
Salman not surprisingly claimed it was a war of Iran-led ''imperialists'' against the forces of Saudi-led ''freedom-loving'' Sunnis.China now has its first overseas military base across from Yemen in Djibouti, next door to the US whose Camp Lemonnier is the largest American permanent military base in Africa. Former colonial occupier France is also there. There is far more at stake in Yemen than we are being told.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
AT&T customers will start to see a 5G logo appear in the corner of their smartphone next year '-- not because they're using a 5G phone connected to a 5G network, but because AT&T is going to start pretending its most advanced 4G LTE tech is 5G.
According to FierceWireless, AT&T will display an icon reading ''5G E'' on newer phones that are connected to LTE in markets where the carrier has deployed a handful of speed boosting '-- but still definitively 4G '-- technologies. The ''E,'' displayed smaller than the rest of the logo, refers to ''5G Evolution,'' the carrier's term for networks that aren't quite 5G but are still faster than traditional LTE.
If this sounds sadly familiar, it's because AT&T pulled this exact same stunt during the transition to LTE. The company rolled out a speed-boosting 3G tech called HSPA+, then got all of its phone partners '-- even Apple! '-- to show a ''4G'' logo when on that kind of connection.
Find the thing that tells you this isn't real 5G.AT&T via FierceWireless It's an intentionally confusing and borderline deceptive move designed to win the coming advertising wars around 5G. By ''upgrading'' a bunch of customers' phones to ''5G'' now, AT&T will have a multitude of people using a ''5G'' network months, if not more than a year, before everyone else.
Technically, the ''E'' in the ''5G E'' icon will offer a degree of clarification. But I'm not banking on many people knowing that ''E'' is somehow supposed to indicate ''this isn't actual 5G.'' In a blog post yesterday, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote that AT&T was ''duping customers into thinking they're getting something they're not.'' The ''E'' is easy to miss, too, judging by a mockup AT&T sent out.
AT&T told FierceWireless that the ''5G E'' logo would initially come to ''a handful of devices, with more devices showing the indicator in spring 2019.'' It wasn't stated how many devices or which devices would show the icon, beyond it being ''the latest Android devices.''
FierceWireless guesses that ''potentially millions'' of people could see the new logo, with AT&T's 5G Evolution network available in over 400 markets by the end of 2018. Given that real 5G will be rare and limited for the next year or more, this tiny little branding change could lead to a great deal of misunderstanding around the state of the next-generation wireless technology.
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2018 Democratic Republic of the Congo general election - Wikipedia
DR Congo presidential election, 2018 ' 201130 December 20182023 ''General elections are scheduled to be held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 30 December 2018, to determine a successor to incumbent President Joseph Kabila.
According to the constitution, the second and final term of President Kabila expired on 20 December 2016. General elections were originally scheduled for 27 November 2016, but were delayed with a promise to hold them by the end of 2017. This promise was subsequently broken, but after both international and internal pressure the elections were finally scheduled for 23 December 2018. They were, however, postponed for a week on 20 December 2018 due to a fire in the electoral commission's warehouse in Kinshasa destroying 8,000 Electronic Voting Machines.
Incumbent President Kabila is constitutionally unable to participate. He and his party, the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, support the candidacy of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the former Minister of the Interior.
In opposition to Shadary's candidacy, seven opposition leaders, including Jean-Pierre Bemba and Mo¯se Katumbi, nominated Martin Fayulu as their candidate for president. However, tienne Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe soon after broke this agreement and agreed that Tshisekedi should run for president while Kamerhe would serve as his campaign manager and become Prime Minister if he won. They also agreed that Tshisekedi and his party will back a candidate from Kamerhe's Union for the Congolese Nation in the 2023 presidential elections.
Background [ edit ] On 29 September 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that the elections would not be held until early 2018. According to CENI's vice president, the commission "hasn't called elections in 2016 because the number of voters isn't known." The announcement came ten days after deadly protests against Kabila in Kinshasa saw 17 people killed. The opposition alleged that Kabila intentionally delayed the elections to remain in power.
An agreement reached with the opposition in December 2016 allowed Kabila to stay in office with a requirement to hold elections by the end of 2017. However, on 7 July 2017, CENI President Corneille Nangaa said it would not be possible to organize presidential elections by the end of the year. Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi condemned the announcement on Twitter, saying Nangaa had "declared war on the Congolese people."
In November 2017 CENI announced that elections will be held in December 2018, after previously claiming earlier that month that elections could not be held until April 2019 due to the difficulties of registering voters in a country with underdeveloped infrastructure.Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala confirmed in March 2018 that the election will occur in December.
According to the UN a total of 47 people had been killed at protests against President Kabila during this period, which occurred throughout 2017 and into 2018.
According to Human Rights Watch, government security forces used live rounds to disperse crowds of opposition supporters throughout August 2018, stating that the total death toll by then since 2015 was 300 people. HRW also documented attempts by the Congolese government to persecute members of the opposition, such as banning Mo¯se Katumbi from entering the country and forcefully dispersing a rally in support of Jean Pierre Bemba.
Electoral system [ edit ] According to Article 71 of the DRC Constitution, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is elected by plurality vote in one round. Article 72 specifies that the requirements to stand as a candidate for the presidency are being a Congolese citizen and at least thirty years old.
Article 101 of the Constitution provides the basis for electing a National Assembly. The 500 members of the National Assembly are elected by two methods; 60 are elected from single-member constituencies using first-past-the-post voting, and 440 are elected from 109 multi-member constituencies by open list proportional representation, with seats allocated using the largest remainder method to all lists gathering more than 1 % of the valid votes.
For the first time, electronic voting machines will be used in a Congolese election. This has raised concerns about vote-rigging, particularly after a warehouse fire in Kinshasa destroyed 8,000 voting machines, which represent more than two thirds of the voting machines that had been planned to be used in the city.
Potential candidates [ edit ] On 25 May 2018, businessman and former governor of Katanga Province Mo¯se Katumbi discussed with fellow opposition presidential candidate F(C)lix Tshisekedi, son of the late opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, at the Atlantic Council about fielding a single opposition candidate. In early September 2018, he again called on the opposition to unite behind a single candidate.
As of August 2018, the country's Independent National Electoral Commission is reviewing candidates. A preliminary list of candidates, including 25 names, was published on August 10, 2018. Another list will be published on August 24, and the final one will be published on September 19.
Vital Kamerhe, government minister and parliamentary speaker, Union for the Congolese Nation leader.Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, former governor of Maniema Province and Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.F(C)lix Tshisekedi, opposition leader in the Union for Democracy and Social Progress and son of Etienne Tshisekedi.Martin Fayulu supported by five opposition leaders including Jean-Pierre Bemba and Mo¯se Katumbi,On September 3, the Constitutional Court of the DRC upheld the national election commission's decision to ban six potential candidates from taking part in the election, including opposition leader Jean Pierre Bemba.
Disqualified candidates [ edit ] Samy Badibanga, former Prime Minister.Jean-Pierre Bemba, former vice president and rebel leader.Antoine Gizenga, 93-year old former associate of Patrice Lubumba and former Prime Minister of the DRC under Kabila.Marie-Josee Ifoku Mputa, the only female candidate.Mo¯se Katumbi, former Governor of Katanga Province. Katumbi has been purposely prevented from running because he has been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison for real-estate fraud.Adolphe Muzito, former Prime Minister.Bruno Tshibala, incumbent Prime Minister since 2017.Opinion polls [ edit ] Opinion polling is rare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to poor roads and lack of electricity. Nevertheless, the Congo Research Group (CRG) released a poll in October 2016 of 7,545 respondents in the country's 26 provinces. The poll found that 33% would vote for Katumbi, 18% for Etienne Tshisekedi, and 7.8% for Kabila.
A May 2017 poll of 7,500 respondents carried out by CRG/BERCI found that 38% would vote for Katumbi, 10% for Kabila, 5% for F(C)lix Tshisekedi, Vital Kamerhe and Jean-Pierre Bemba, 24% for other candidates, and 13% would not vote.
A March 2018 poll carried out by the CRG showed Katumbi obtaining 26%, Tshisekedi with 14%, Adolphe Muzito and Kamerhe tied at 9%, Kabila with 7%, and Augustin Mataya Ponyo and Aubin Minaku with 3% each.
A June 2018 Top Congo FM poll amongst opposition supporters showed Katumbi winning 54% of the opposition's vote, with Kamerhe at 34%, Bemba at 7%, and Tshisekedi at 5%.
In October 2018, the Congo Research Group released a poll that showed Tshisekedi winning 36% of the overall vote, with Kamerhe winning 17%, Shadary winning 16%, and Fayulu winning 8%, with 5% undecided or not voting. The remaining votes went to minor candidates.
References [ edit ] ^ Uncertainty as DRC sets election date to replace Kabila Al Jazeera, 9 November 2017 ^ a b DR Congo election: 17 dead in anti-Kabila protests BBC News, 29 September 2016 ^ DR Congo sets elections for December 2018 African Medias, 5 November 2017 ^ https://www.jeuneafrique.com/692324/politique/presidentielle-en-rdc-la-ceni-reporte-les-elections-au-30-decembre-2018/ ^ DRC crisis: aide says Kabila not standing in elections The Guardian, 7 February 2018 ^ a b c d e "Joseph Kabila says he will not run again in Congo". The Economist. 8 August 2018 . Retrieved 8 August 2018 . ^ "DR Congo opposition picks joint presidential candidate". Yahoo News. AFP. 11 November 2018 . Retrieved 11 November 2018 . ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-politics/congos-tshisekedi-and-kamerhe-form-presidential-pact-idUSKCN1NS1YV ^ Wilson, Thomas; Mbatha, Amogelgang (29 September 2016). "Congo Election Body Proposes Two-Year Wait for Presidential Vote". Bloomberg BusinessWeek . Retrieved 29 September 2016 . ^ Congo Election Commission: Vote Can't Be Held by End of Year The New York Times, 8 July 2017 ^ Felix A. Tshisekedi Twitter ^ Central Intelligence Agency (17 October 2018). "Congo, Democratic Republic of the". CIA World Factbook. Langley, Virginia: Central Intelligence Agency . Retrieved 24 October 2018 . DRC Government has delayed national elections, originally slated for November 2016, to December 2018. ^ Patient Ligodi, Amedee Mwarabu (5 November 2017). Congo sets presidential election for December 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018. ^ Congo presidential election on course for December, says prime minister. Standardmedia.ke. Published 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018. ^ DR Congo Faces Call For Standstill Over Protest Deaths. Channels Television. Published 9 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018. ^ Year of anti-Kabila protests in DR Congo leaves 47 dead: UN. Yahoo News. Published 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018. ^ DR Congo: Opposition Under Assault. Published 28 August 2018. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 30 August 2018. ^ a b Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (PDF), 2005. Retrieved 2 March 2018. ^ Democratic Republic of the Congo IFES ^ Electoral system IPU ^ team, Reality Check (2018-12-15). "Why do voters mistrust electronic voting?". BBC News . Retrieved 2018-12-15 . ^ Adebayo, Bukola (13 December 2018). "Fire destroys 8,000 voting machines 10 days ahead of Congo's presidential election". CNN . Retrieved 15 December 2018 . ^ Sen, Ashish Kumar. "Congolese Opposition Leaders Join Forces" . Retrieved 20 September 2018 . ^ Bemba disqualification expected: DRC opposition must unite '' Katumbi. Africa News. 4 September 2018. ^ a b c d e f 25 line up for DR Congo presidency. 12 August 2018. ^ "DR Congo opposition picks joint presidential candidate". Yahoo News. AFP. 11 November 2018 . Retrieved 11 November 2018 . ^ DR Congo's top court confirms Bemba's exclusion from presidential election. Africa News. 3 September 2018. ^ a b c d e All six banned DR Congo vote candidates appeal. 29 August 2018. ^ "DR Congo bans former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba's from presidential elections" . Retrieved 20 September 2018 . ^ DR Congo opposition rally behind exiled leader Katumbi. 10 March 2018. ^ DR Congo presidential election on track '' Prime Minister. 8 March 2018 ^ "Congolese oppose extension of Kabila's mandate, poll shows". Reuters. 2016 . Retrieved 22 January 2018 . ^ CRG (2017-05-23). "CRG/BERCI public opinion poll: The Takeaway | Congo Research Group | Groupe d'Etude Sur le Congo". Congo Research Group . Retrieved 2018-01-22 . ^ "RDC: Elections: des opposants en tªte d'un sondage '-- La Libre Afrique". 2 March 2018 . Retrieved 20 September 2018 . ^ "Moise Katumbi scores more than 50% votes in opinion polls '' Mwebantu". mwebantu.com . Retrieved 20 September 2018 . ^ "Elections 2018 : Redistribution des rapports de force politique" (PDF) . Nouveau sondage GEC/BERCI: Redistribution des rapports de force politique | Congo Research Group | Groupe d'Etude Sur le Congo. Congo Research Group . Retrieved 19 December 2018 .
News ' Dec 14, 2018   16:00   GMT Live facial recognition technology will deployed in locations in Westminster on 17 and 18 December as part of the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) ongoing trial of the technology.
This will be a mobile deployment and will cover areas in the vicinity of Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
As with all previous deployments, the technology will be used overtly with a clear uniformed presence and information leaflets will be disseminated to the public. Posters with information about the technology will also be displayed in the area.
The technology is being used in Westminster as part of the Met's ongoing efforts to reduce crime in the area, with a specific focus on tackling violence. All the faces on the database to be used during the deployment are of people wanted by the Met and the courts.
In order to provide a longer time period to test the technology, the deployment will run for about eight hours on each day.
Anyone who declines to be scanned during the deployment will not be viewed as suspicious by police officers. There must be additional information available to support such a view.
If the technology generates an alert of a match, police officers on the ground will review it and further checks will be carried out to confirm the identity of the individual.
Whilst the Met is developing this technology, engagement has been carried out with a number of stakeholders.
The strategic lead for live facial technology for the MPS, Ivan Balhatchet, said:
''The Met is currently developing the use of live facial recognition technology and we have committed to ten trials during the coming months. We are now coming to the end of our trials when a full evaluation will be completed.
"We continue to engage with many different stakeholders, some who actively challenge our use of this technology. In order to show transparency and continue constructive debate, we have invited individuals and groups with varying views on our use of facial recognition technology to this deployment.''
London police to test facial recognition technology on public
Tourists and Christmas shoppers in central London could come face-to-face with facial recognition scanners as police are set to trial the controversial technology.
This will be the seventh test by London's Metropolitan Police Service since 2016.
Police said the trials, which are taking place on December 17 and 18, are not meant to be covert and that scanners are set up with information and a ''clear uniformed presence.'' They added that anyone who refuses to be scanned won't be considered suspicious.
The current trials are only being held near Soho, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Three more tests are planned but have not yet been scheduled.
Big Brother Watch has already decried the technology as ''authoritarian, dangerous and lawless.''
''Monitoring innocent people in public is a breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and assembly,'' the group said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the group conducted an investigation which found the tech had flagged a ''staggering'' number of innocent people as suspects.
In the US, various civil rights groups have been pushing for strict laws and regulations over the technology's use, as scanners have started to pop up at airports.
China, which has more than 200 million surveillance cameras installed, is already using facial recognition to catch both criminals and jaywalkers.
Amazon accidentally sent the wrong person approximately 1,700 audio files and a PDF containing transcripts of intimate conversations - all recorded over the company's in-home echo assistant.
In August 2018, a German Amazon customer took advantage of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to request whatever personal data Amazon had on file about him. Several months later, he received a link to download a 100MB ZIP file, according to German news outlet Heise.
About 50 of the zipped files contained data relating to everyday things like Amazon searches, but there were also around 1,700 WAV files and a PDF cataloging unsorted transcripts of Alexa's interpretations of his voice commands. Schneider was extremely surprised to find these files as he doesn't use Alexa and doesn't own any Alexa-enabled devices. He listened to some random sample files but didn't recognize any of the voices they contained. -Heise
The man emailed Amazon on November 8 to notify them that they had sent the wrong customer's information, asking who they belonged to. When he hit a dead end, he contacted German computer magazine c't - feeling that the victim should be found and informed about the data breach which covered the entire month of May.
We asked him to send us some of the files (confidentially of course) so that we could get an idea of what they contained. They enabled us to piece together a detailed picture of the customer concerned and his personal habits. It was obvious that 'Customer X' uses Alexa in multiple locations. He has at least one Echo at home and has a voice-controlled Fire box connected to his TV. A female voice also spoke to Alexa, so there was clearly a woman around at least some of the time. -c't via Heise
The Alexa device was able to hear the customer in the shower - as well as commands given to thermostats and other smart devices around the house. The man used Alexa at home, on his smartphone and when he is out and about.
We were able to navigate around a complete stranger's private life without his knowledge, and the immoral, almost voyeuristic nature of what we were doing got our hair standing on end. The alarms, Spotify commands, and public transport inquiries included in the data revealed a lot about the victims' personal habits, their jobs, and their taste in music. -c't via Heise
The investigative team was able to quickly identify the customer and his female companion based on first names, last names, weather queries and other information which led them to public data from Facebook and Twitter. When they could not find any contact information for the customer, the c't investigators asked Twitter to request that the victim contact them - which they did. The victim immediately called back, and was "audibly shocked" when they revealed what Amazon had accidentally sent to a stranger. The man confirmed that the investigators had correctly identified his girlfriend, and then began running through everything he and his friends asked Alexa - wondering what secrets they may have revealed.
Amazon responded to c't's inquiries on what happened, calling it an "unfortunate mishap" which they had "resolved."
The fact that Amazon linked a customer's data to the wrong person and didn't notice the mistake points to a severe lack of control over the processes involved. It is obvious that no serious checks took place. The situation is worsened by the fact that Martin Schneider received no reply when he informed Amazon of the error. Furthermore, according to the victim, Amazon didn't contact him either. Amazon's data protection systems are obviously flawed on multiple levels. We contacted Amazon about the case without letting on that we had identified the victim. According to the law, Amazon is obliged to contact the data protection authorities within 72 hours of discovering such a breach, and we wanted to find out if they had actually done this (see the interview below).
Amazon said that they an employee made a "one-time error" and claimed to have implemented new measures to ensure this doesn't happen again, after resolving the issue with both customers (by calling them, apologizing, and claiming they had discovered the error themselves).
They also gave the victim a free Prime membership as well as new Echo Dot and Spot devices.
Amazon's Creepy Facial Recognition Doorbell Will Surveil the ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD
At first glance of Amazon's new patent application, one would be tempted to think it no more than a built-in ''smart'' security system.
But no, this facial recognition surveillance doorbell does a lot more than record would-be thieves.
Ding! Dong! Prepare to be downright disturbed.According to a new report, the patent application, made available in late November, would pair facial surveillance such as Rekognition, the product that Amazon is aggressively marketing to law enforcement, with Ring '' a doorbell camera company that Amazon acquired in 2018.
Amazon's application says the process leads to safer, more connected neighborhoods, as well as better informed homeowners and law enforcement.
Yeah, that's one way of putting it. Here's another:
Amazon is dreaming of a dangerous future, with its technology at the center of a massive decentralized surveillance network, running real-time facial recognition on members of the public using cameras installed in people's doorbells. '' Jacob Snow, ACLU
Wow. Do you feel safer yet?
This tech isn't really there to protect your house or neighborhood.It's going to record all who walk by and gather composite images and recordings that can be stored in the Cloud and accessed by law enforcement to help surveil and catch suspects.
One of the main problems '' besides the obvious privacy violations and smashing the 4th Amendment to smithereens '' is that facial recognition has been abysmal so far. That means if a database determines you are a suspect because you bear a striking resemblance, then the police could show up and detain you before you even drop off the potato salad to your next potluck.
While the details are sketchy, the application describes a system that the police can use to match the faces of people walking by a doorbell camera with a photo database of persons they deem ''suspicious.'' Likewise, homeowners can also add photos of ''suspicious'' people into the system and then the doorbell's facial recognition program will scan anyone passing their home. In either case, if a match occurs, the person's face can be automatically sent to law enforcement, and the police could arrive in minutes.
It would be far to easy to get yourself on a ''list'' with this technologyCNN reports:
The application describes creating a database of suspicious persons. Unwanted visitors would be added to the list when a homeowner tags them as not authorized. Other people could be added to the database because they are a convicted felon or registered sex offender, according to the application. Residents may also alert neighbors of a suspicious person's presence.
But some people, such as a mail courier, could be placed on an authorized persons list. Postal service logos could be used to help identify them.
Putting people on a naughty list? Wait, doesn't that all sound eerily similar to the social credit system rolled out in China?
''The patent describes the neighborhood surveillance system as an opt-in service,'' CNN adds.
But really, it is not possible to opt out of broad brushstroke surveillance. How can I opt out of my neighbor (and Amazon, and the government) storing everything about me in the Cloud? What if my neighbor hates that my tree branch hangs over their fence? Will I go on their suspicious persons list?
Remember when Amazon just sold books?''As a former patent litigator, I've spent a lot of time reading patents. It's rare for patent applications to lay out, in such nightmarish detail, the world a company wants to bring about,'' writes Jacob Snow in a recent ACLU report on the newest invasive technology by the company that only 10 years ago just sold'...books.
Is Justice blind or prejudiced?''These systems threaten to further entangle people with law enforcement, ripping families apart and increasing the likelihood of racially biased police violence,'' Snow claims.
He adds, ''this technology puts activists and protesters in danger when exercising their First Amendment rights.''
Tests from the ACLU showed that facial recognition doesn't correctly identify people and this leaves the door wide open to let A.I. do the justice. That means innocent people could be filling up the privatized prison system.
The ACLU tested the software, and'...The ACLU tested the Rekognition software and proved that it incorrectly identified members of Congress as common criminals. Yes, the irony would be giggle-inducing in a John Oliver segment, but not so much for the innocent person serving life in prison.
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This glaring inaccuracy prompted Amazon shareholders to urge the company to stop selling this tech to law enforcement. The recent patent application serves as a flippant disregard for that plea.
''The application also undercuts Amazon's own purported defense of its face surveillance product. The company has told the public that biometrics should only be used by law enforcement as an aid, not a replacement, to human judgment. But Amazon's patent application is pushing the technology toward automation, removing human judgment from the identification process, and instead potentially relying on data, like arrest photos, that itself is a record of racially discriminatory policing,'' says Snow.
The ACLU notes that facial recognition is even less accurate for darker-skinned people and that this technology paves the way for harassment and wrongful action against the formerly incarcerated. But for activists, too.
Here is a figure of the doorbell and the surveillance scope. Check out the rest of the patent application HERE:
That's Not All, Folks!Snow warns that the patent makes it painfully clear that this surveillance tech will not be limited to doorbells or homes.
Any complementary audio or visual device '' Cough! Echo! Cough! '' can be set up for biometric scanning.
Amazon is expecting to target a bevy of other biometrics such as:
fingerprintsskin-texture analysisDNA, palm-vein analysishand geometryiris recognitionodor/scent recognitionIn addition, the surveillance tech could even include recognition based on behavioral characteristics, like:
typing rhythmgaitvoice recognitionImagine a doorbell '' or in-home device '' that can do all that.
Do we even know each other as well as Amazon will know us?For Snow'...
It confirms that Amazon wants to enable the tracking of everyone, everywhere, all the time. And it's apparently happy to deliver that data to the government.
We always knew the government had boundary issues but this is just TMI '' too much intimacy.
A lot of people are comfy and cozy with the idea that they are being watched all the time, like the people lining up to be scanned at the airport to save two seconds of their time.
For me, being watched under a microscope by my government makes every nerve of my being burn with the fire of a thousand hells with the added dread that there is not one minute of reprieve, nor any identity of my own except to be an eyeballed object of the all mighty, omnipresent State.
But, hey, that's just me'...
You can't escape this recognition tech.If you go to someone's house, you'll be on the digital record.
Imagine if a neighborhood was set up with these doorbell cameras. Simply walking up to a friend's house could result in your face, your fingerprint, or your voice being flagged as ''suspicious'' and delivered to a government database without your knowledge or consent. With Amazon selling the devices, operating the servers, and pushing the technology on law enforcement, the company is building all the pieces of a surveillance network, reaching from the government all the way to our front doors.
Like I said before when I wrote about biometrics at the Atlanta International airport: it's nearly impossible to avoid facial recognition technology today.
Yet, we do still have control over how we spend our money, our voice, and with whom we spend our time. It's not much control in the grand scheme of things but if we rise up and fight this, our great grandchildren will honor us.
That is, if they will even understand the concept of privacy by the time they get here'...
What do you think of all this?It seems like every day I stumble across a new piece of creepy tech that someone wants to add to our everyday lives under the guise of ''convenience'' and ''safety.'' How will you avoid getting caught in the net? Are you creeped out by this stuff?
You can read more from Meadow Clark at The Organic Prepper.
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The Amazon Alexa Eavesdropping Nightmare Came True
Photo: GizmodoAn Amazon user in Germany recently requested data about his personal activities and inadvertently gained access to 1,700 audio recordings of someone he didn't know.
Germany's c't magazine reports that in August the Amazon user'--exercising his rights under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation'--requested his own data that Amazon has stored. Two months later, Amazon sent him a downloadable 100Mb zip file.
Some of the files reportedly related to his Amazon searches. But according to the report there were also hundreds of Wav files and a PDF cataloging transcripts of Alexa's interpretations of voice commands. According to c't magazine, this was peculiar to this user because he doesn't own any Alexa devices and had never used the service. He also didn't recognize the voices in the files.
The user reported the matter to Amazon and asked for information. He reportedly didn't receive a response, but soon found that the link to the data was dead. However, he had already saved the files, and he shared his experience with c't magazine out of concern that the person whose privacy had been compromised was not told about the mistake.
C't magazine listened to many of the files and was able ''to piece together a detailed picture of the customer concerned and his personal habits.'' It found that he used Alexa in various places, has an Echo at home, and has a Fire device on his TV. They noticed that a woman was around at times. They listened to him in the shower.
We were able to navigate around a complete stranger's private life without his knowledge, and the immoral, almost voyeuristic nature of what we were doing got our hair standing on end. The alarms, Spotify commands, and public transport inquiries included in the data revealed a lot about the victims' personal habits, their jobs, and their taste in music. Using these files, it was fairly easy to identify the person involved and his female companion. Weather queries, first names, and even someone's last name enabled us to quickly zero in on his circle of friends. Public data from Facebook and Twitter rounded out the picture.
Using the information they gathered from the recordings, the magazine contacted the victim of the data leak. He ''was audibly shocked,'' and confirmed it was him in the recordings and that the outlet had figured out the identity of his girlfriend. He said Amazon did not contact him.
Days later, both the victim and the receiver of the files were called by Amazon to discuss the incident. Both were reportedly called three days after c't magazine contacted Amazon about the matter. An Amazon representative reportedly told them that one of their staff members had made a one-time error.
When asked for comment on the matter, Amazon sent Gizmodo the same statement it had shared with Reuters. ''This was an unfortunate case of human error and an isolated incident. We have resolved the issue with the two customers involved and have taken steps to further improve our processes. We were also in touch on a precautionary basis with the relevant regulatory authorities.''
Amazon did not answer Gizmodo's questions about how a human error led to this privacy infringement, or whether the company had initially contacted the victim to inform them their sensitive information was shared with a stranger.
The recordings of the victim were from May. That same month, a Portland woman found her Echo had sent a recorded conversation between her and her husband to one of his employees. Amazon said the virtual assistant misinterpreted speech as an order to send the conversation to a contact.
Over the last few days, some iPad Pro owners have taken to the web to complain about subtle but noticeable bends in their iPad Pros. Of course, it goes without saying that if you spend a minimum of $800 on a brand new tablet, the last thing you want to see is an aesthetic imperfection.
Apple earlier this week confirmed that some iPad Pros will exhibit a slight bend, while also emphasizing that the bend is simply a normal part of the manufacturing process and that it will not get worse with time. Put simply, Apple doesn't consider iPad Pro units with a slight bend to be defective.
In the wake of Apple's admission, a MacRumors reader named Craig emailed Tim Cook about the issue. Craig subsequently received a reponse back from Dan Riccio, Apple's Senior VP of hardware engineering.
Riccio explained that the bent iPad Pro units meet all of Apple's stringent quality control tests with respect to ''flatness'' and that the standard of quality Apple uses on its 2018 iPad Pro models is actually higher than what it's been on previous models.
Riccio's message reads:
Relative to the issue you referenced regarding the new iPad Pro, its unibody design meets or exceeds all of Apple's high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing. We've carefully engineered it and every part of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled.
Our current specification for iPad Pro flatness is up to 400 microns which is even tighter than previous generations. This 400 micron variance is less than half a millimeter (or the width of fewer than four sheets of paper at most) and this level of flatness won't change during normal use over the lifetime of the product. Note, these slight variations do not affect the function of the device in any way.
Now, that all sounds well and good, but if you're one of the unfortunate users with an iPad Pro that just looks a tad askew, I'm sure Apple's talk of micron precision won't do much to alleviate your frustration.
Britain's justice secretary wants to ban miniature cellphones in a hapless effort to be seen to be doing something about prison smuggling. The "Beat the Boss" handsets (Amazon) are barely the size of lipstick or a stick of gum. They're unlocked, dirt cheap, popular with kids, and easily concealed.
They are marketed as being virtually metal-free and therefore able to beat the detectors anyone entering a prison must pass through.
"It's pretty clear that these miniature phones are being advertised and sold with the purpose of being smuggled," Mr Lidington will say in a speech on Monday.
"I am calling on online retailers and trading websites to take down products that are advertised to evade detection measures in prisons."
Looking at the specs, these are 2G GSM handsets and will only work in the U.S. on T-Mobile and (maaaaybe) AT&T.
"IT REALLY WORKS BUT DIFFICULT TO USE BECAUSE IT IS SO SMALL ''¸''¸''¸," writes verified purchaser Bill Hubner, who I stress is merely an Amazon customer and absolutely not suspected of any clever jailhouse shenanigans.
There are several sellers offering this gadget, all obviously identical.
eBay UK promised to stop sales of these months ago, according to the BBC, but the site remains well-stocked at press time.
Beat the Boss Phone [Amazon]
Keytar made out of a Commodore 64Enjoy this completely perfect keytar made from a Commodore 64. The pickups send sound via an FPGA to the original SID chip to allow a variety of chiptastic effects, applied using the computer's keyboard.
READ THE RESTMan who invented Keurig K-Cups regrets itJohn Sylvan, the Keurig engineer who invented the K-Cup pod coffee system in the 1990s, regrets his mistake. It was intended for the corporate service market and the idea that people have these things in their homes leaves him ''absolutely mystified.'' He says he doesn't begrudge the company for its success, or for wanting to ['...]
READ THE RESTAnalog privacy leak: discarded label maker cartridgesPeter Sobot, an engineer at Spotify, noticed something unsettling about his Brother label maker. Though apparently high-tech, under the laptop-style case they still use old-timey printing ribbons that retain an image of everything they ever spit out. Don't discard: destroy! Thermal label makers solve this problem, but don't offer quite so attractive a result. So ['...]
READ THE RESTThis writing assistant is more than just a spell-checkerWhether it's a simple work memo or a dating profile, make no mistake: You are being judged as much on your grammar as on your content. Maybe even more so. If you want to avoid the simple errors that cloud your message, the WhiteSmoke Writing Assistant guards against so much more than simple spelling errors. ['...]
READ THE RESTMake an audiophile's holiday with these wireless headphonesFor the true audio enthusiast, there's a lot of difference between putting on some songs ''for background music'' and a true listening experience. For the latter, there's nothing like a pair of sturdy headphones and the powerful speakers that come with them. And the wireless variety doesn't get much more powerful than the TREBLAB Z2 ['...]
READ THE RESTLand a job in project management with this comprehensive courseDigital or analog, there's a path of least resistance for any project. Finding that path is what the Agile methodology is all about, which is why proficiency in it is a must for any project management position '' and the paycheck that comes with it. And the quickest path to learning Agile? The Agile Project ['...]
T he House voted Friday to make it easier to deploy advanced nuclear reactors.
The bipartisan bill, approved by voice vote, is aimed at boosting nuclear energy and would modernize the federal government's approval process for advanced reactors.
The approval comes a day after the Senate did the same. President Trump is expected to sign the bill.
''This legislation will create more certainty for nuclear plant operations, without compromising safety or government oversight, and encourage greater investment for the next generation of nuclear power," said cosponsors Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Fred Upton, R-Mich. "We look forward to the president signing this important, bipartisan legislation into law.''
The legislation directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to create a licensing process for advanced reactors that is less prescriptive, allowing for faster approvals.
Advanced reactors are seen as key to improving the fortunes of nuclear energy, which emits no carbon, giving it a level of bipartisan support for its potential to help combat climate change.
''It's heartening to again see Congress step up to the plate in a big bipartisan way to bolster advanced nuclear technologies that are major part of the future of U.S. and global clean and reliable power,'' said Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath, a conservative group that supports nuclear energy. ''Bringing any new energy technology into the marketplace is daunting, and that's doubly-true for heavily regulated industries like nuclear.''
The smaller advanced reactors, still in the development phase, are supposed to be cheaper to operate and safer because they produce less waste.
''I am proud to have worked with this bipartisan group on this bill, which will give our nuclear regulator the flexibility it needs to bring new, safe reactors online to produce carbon-free energy,'' said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill, which was introduced by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
The nuclear industry got more help on Friday, when the Energy Department announced a plan to purchase power from advanced reactors designed by NuScale Power.
The Energy Department said it will buy power from two of 12 advanced nuclear reactors being built by utility Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems at the site of the Idaho National Laboratory.
The agreement stipulates that one of the reactors will be used for research and development and another for power needed by the lab, which is under the purview of the Energy Department.
Ron Paul says its Time to end the FED, Endorses Tax-Free Bitcoin - Blockmanity
Shrikar Posted On December 22, 2018 Ron Paul, former Presidential candidate has once again called for the abolishment of the Federal Reserve which recently increased interest rates from 2.25% to 2.5%.Ron Paul who was previously a critic of Bitcoin is now endorsing Cryptocurrencies and recommending a mixed economy where the FED is not the sole issuer of the currency. Mr. Paul believes that the FED distorts the economy by manipulating the prices. He is a free market proponent and doesn't think that a centralized entity like Federal Reserve can accurately determine the interest rates which is contrarian to most of the Keynesian economists.
The FED dropped interest rates to zero back in the 2008 financial crisis after which the interest rates have gone up slowly. This year alone the FED has increased the interest rates four times and is expected to further tighten the economy by drawing down $50 Billion each month from its balance sheet.
Ron Paul took on Twitter to bash the FED, holding a copy of his book ''End the FED'' in the picture Ron Paul Tweets:
The Fed has NO IDEA what rates should be.
The Fed manipulates prices, distorts the economy, and makes decisions by looking at the "data" of a distorted economy.
Central planning produces a world of economic delusions.
America needs to get back to reality.
End The Fed! pic.twitter.com/achfl4uIQ8
'-- Ron Paul (@RonPaul) December 19, 2018
Tax-Free CryptoRon Paul has turned from a Bitcoin skeptic to a supporting tax-free Cryptocurrencies. Mr. Paul is a proponent of commodity backed currencies where the free market gets to decide the price instead of the FED artificially controlling the monetary policy causing boom and bust cycles. As Bitcoin is close to being digital gold, Ron believes that Gold and Cryptocurrencies can co-exist.
According to Blockmanity's previous report, Ron Paul had called for tax exemption on precious metals and Cryptocurrencies. He believes this will help navigate the next FED induced recession.
''The only way to avoid crisis is to force Congress to end our monetary madness. The first steps are passing the Audit the Fed bill, allowing people to use alternative currencies, and exempting all transactions in precious metals and cryptocurrencies from capital gains taxes and other taxes.''
The 83-year-old former congressman also ran a poll on Twitter recently asking his followers what they wanted as a gift that could not be touched for ten years. Out of the 95k followers who took part in the poll, 50% of the participants opted for Bitcoin
A wealthy person gifts you $10,000. You get to choose in which form you'll accept the gift. But there's a catch: You must keep the gift in the form that you choose for 10 years without touching it. In which form would you accept the gift?
'-- Ron Paul (@RonPaul) November 15, 2018
Blockmanity's TakeWe at Blockmanity believe in free markets and stand by Ron's position on ending the FED. Even by exempting gold and Cryptocurrencies by capital gains taxes if the financial crisis cannot be stopped, it will at least provide the people a choice to opt out or hedge against the FED's monetary policy.
In other news, two congressmen proposed a bill to exclude cryptocurrencies from the Security Act of 1933.
Washington: Congressmen propose a bill to exclude cryptocurrencies from Security Act of 1933
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Oren Falkowitz CEO and Co-founder
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Blake Darch(C) CSO and Co-founder
Blake Darch(C) CSO and Co-founderBlake J. Darch(C) is a Co-Founder and the Chief Security Officer at Area 1 Security. Prior to this, he worked at CrowdStrike as a Principal Consultant, and at the National Security Agency as a Computer Network Exploitation Analyst. Blake holds an MS degree in Security Informatics from The Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Blake has built his career across a range of information security skill areas, including experience in both offense and defense.
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Jean-Claude Juncker is 'grotesque' towards women, says Rudd | Politics | The Guardian
Footage shows European commission president playing with woman's hair during meeting
Amber Rudd made the comments in an interview with the Telegraph.Amber Rudd has launched a scathing attack on the ''ghastly'' European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, criticising his behaviour with women.
The work and pensions secretary hit out after footage from last week's European council meeting in Brussels showed him playing with a woman's hair.
Rudd, a former minister for women and equalities, branded the behaviour ''grotesque'' in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. She said he would probably have been subject to an official complaint if it happened in the UK.
Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, also clashed with Theresa May. They were caught on camera having a robust discussion the day after Juncker used a press conference to describe her negotiating strategy as ''nebulous''.
Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker have 'frosty exchange' '' videoRudd replaced Esther McVey at the Department for Work and Pensions a month ago, having been sacked as home secretary over the Windrush scandal. In a wide-ranging interview which will fuel speculation she has leadership ambitions, the Hastings MP said Juncker ''is ghastly. What I minded before that were those pictures of the way he was holding the prime minister. I did not like that.''
Discussing the incident with the woman's hair on his arrival at the European council meeting, she added: ''It's grotesque. I mean, if that happened in our parliament I hope there would be a formal complaint.
''When I used to go the EU for meetings, I often had a terrible cold to insist that I didn't get enveloped in a bear hug. All the EU commissioners love doing their big hugs.''
Build The Wall
Government Shutdown Inevitable As Congress Adjourns Amid Impasse On Wall Funds : NPR
Unless the Senate goes along with a House-passed funding bill the government will partially shut down at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption
toggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP Unless the Senate goes along with a House-passed funding bill the government will partially shut down at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET
A partial government shutdown beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday looks certain after both the House and Senate adjourned until noon on Saturday without an agreement on spending acceptable to President Trump that would also pass in the Senate.
Trump has demanded any funding bill include money for his border wall '-- his central campaign promise '-- and appears to be goading congressional Democrats into a fight after being egged on by his base and conservative commentators. While a version of the legislation that includes some $5.7 billion for a wall on the Southwest border passed in the House Thursday night, the Senate won't take up a spending measure until there is a deal that can pass all of Congress and that Trump has committed to supporting.
Vice President Pence, along with budget director and incoming acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, continues to negotiate with bipartisan congressional leaders on Capitol Hill Friday night.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise's office told lawmakers they would get a 24-hour notice before the next vote making it likely a partial shutdown would continue through at least part of the weekend. In addition, Monday and Tuesday of next week are already scheduled as federal holidays.
Robert Wilkie, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, issued a statement Friday night saying that "all VA operations will continue unimpeded" in the event of a partial shutdown because the VA "is fully funded for fiscal year 2019."
"We thank the president and Congress for their commitment to our nation's heroes in funding VA, and stand ready to provide all of the VA benefits and services our Veterans have earned," Wilkie also said.
Trump said earlier Friday the government could be shut down "for a very long time" unless the Senate approves a funding bill opposed by Democrats. In a series of morning tweets, Trump, who previously said he would "be proud" to shut down the government, attempted to shift the blame onto Democrats for a potential shutdown.
"If Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don't want Open Borders and Crime!" Trump tweeted.
The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don't want Open Borders and Crime!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018A procedural vote on the House bill narrowly passed in the Senate Friday evening '-- after being held open for more than five hours to allow senators returning to Washington to vote '-- with Pence presiding over the chamber to break a 47-47 tie.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said there wouldn't be any more votes until an agreement between the White House and both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders is reached to keep the government open.
Wavering Republicans who had been considering opposing the procedural vote '-- such as Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who had changed his "no" vote to a "yes" '-- underscored that their support was given in a good-faith effort to keep negotiations going ahead of the midnight deadline.
"What this does I think is to push this ahead to a negotiation that yields a result and does the best we can to keep from shutting down government or if it does shut down, shutting down briefly," Corker said on the Senate floor Friday evening.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had told reporters Thursday night: "The bottom line is simple. The Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall."
Schumer did meet Friday afternoon with Pence, Mulvaney and Kushner at their request. Schumer's office said he "reminded them that any proposal with funding for the wall will not pass the Senate" but that other proposals that "contain border security funding '-- without the wall ... could pass both chambers."
Pence, Mulvaney and Kushner also met with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and some other House GOP lawmakers after their session with Schumer.
Unless funding is approved by Congress and signed by the president, the nine federal departments and several independent agencies that were not part of an earlier spending deal will shut down 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks as Christmas approaches.
Many employees who do what are considered essential duties, including law enforcement agents and Transportation Security Administration officers, would remain on the job.
Trump also met with Senate Republicans earlier on Friday.
Trump has urged McConnell to change Senate rules and allow a simple majority to pass the spending bill, rather than 60 votes, a major disruption to Senate protocol known as the "nuclear option."
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018When they held the majority, Democrats changed the rules to allow a majority to vote for nominations, but not legislation, and McConnell has opposed going further, with the knowledge that if Democrats regain the majority, it could be used against Republicans.
After the president's tweet, a number of GOP senators said they would not be in favor of changing the rules. "We have rules to follow," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. "I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules. I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not."
And a spokesman for McConnell put the final nail in the coffin with a statement that said, "The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option. Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming their opposition, and confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road."
NPR veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence contributed to this report.
Trump Persuaded Mexico to Shelter Asylum Seekers - The Atlantic
7:00 AM ET Contributing editor at The Atlantic and executive editor of National Review
Kim Kyung Hoon / ReutersPresident Donald Trump seems determined to force a government shutdown over partial funding for his proposed border wall, and it is not hard to see why. As Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a restrictionist think tank, observed in an interview with The Washington Post, Trump is exquisitely sensitive to ridicule from those he sees as his staunchest supporters.
As Trump's political standing diminishes, those on the restrictionist right who've put their faith in him have grown less admiring and more acerbic in their assessments. The columnist Ann Coulter, who some have identified as the inspiration for Trump's own restrictionist turn, has gone so far as to denounce the president as ''gutless'' for his lassitude in building the wall, and she is far from alone. Forcing a shutdown would dramatize his supposed commitment to the wall, which, for a president deeply invested in appearances, is what matters most.
Yet when we leave appearances aside, the Trump administration has accomplished something that, in the long run, is of far greater consequence than securing a $5 billion down payment for a physical barrier that, for all its symbolic resonance, will have no appreciable effect on asylum seekers or visa overstayers, and will likely fail to deter the most determined clandestine border crossers. To the surprise of many observers, senior U.S. officials appear to have persuaded the Mexican government to shelter Central American migrants who are seeking asylum north of the border. This is, in essence, the ''Remain in Mexico'' plan that was being discussed in late November, shortly before the inauguration of Mexican President Andr(C)s Manuel L"pez Obrador'--except the U.S. and Mexican governments are both insisting that this is not a formal agreement.
Read: Trump keeps invoking terrorism to get his border wall
Both parties are describing the move as a unilateral decision by the U.S. that in turn has elicited a humanitarian response from Mexico. Though no one on either side is suggesting that there's been some quid pro quo'--one assumes that Trump doesn't want to be seen as bribing Mexico, and L"pez Obrador doesn't want to be seen as having been bribed'--it hasn't escaped notice that the U.S. reportedly promised new development assistance to help improve living standards in Central America and southern Mexico, a high priority for L"pez Obrador throughout his long political career, just two days before the Mexican government announced its new policy.
Why is this tacit agreement so significant? Previously, asylum seekers were routinely granted permission to live and work in the U.S. as they awaited their court hearings. Because the U.S. asylum system is so severely backlogged, this has often meant that they could remain in the U.S. lawfully for years, regardless of the merit of their asylum claims. One result is that a large and growing number of Central American migrants have chosen to go through the formal asylum system rather than enter the U.S. without authorization, a far riskier path that, among other things, can limit access to social services.
Under the new dispensation, most asylum seekers will instead be expected to remain in Mexico, and the Mexican government has declared that it will grant them work authorizations and the right to travel freely between Mexico and their native countries as they wait. Considering that even the highest, most technologically sophisticated wall can't prevent migrants from lawfully seeking asylum, the cooperation of the Mexican government is absolutely essential to controlling Central American migrant flows to the U.S.
Quinta Jurecic: Trump's state of exception
Many observers were skeptical that such a deal could be struck, even if only informally. And it may yet unravel, especially if Trump further antagonizes Mexico's nationalist government, which is keenly aware that its ability to control migrant flows gives it a great deal of leverage. One way or another, the U.S. needs to reform its outmoded and overwhelmed asylum system. What Mexico has done is give the Trump administration much-needed breathing room, and a path to a more cooperative relationship.
But rather than cement this fragile compromise with Mexico by, say, showering L"pez Obrador with praise and calling for a new immigration agenda that would bring inflows under control by spreading prosperity throughout the region, Trump has chosen a different course of action. Once again, he will rage against congressional Democrats for refusing to fund a border wall that they feel quite confident in opposing, the heroic efforts of Vice President Mike Pence and the ubiquitous Mick Mulvaney notwithstanding. Then, after an interval of uncertain duration, he will cave as the political toll mounts, just as his detractors on the right are now predicting. Restrictionists have every reason to question their faith in their decidedly flawed champion.
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Reihan Salam is a contributing editor at
The Atlantic and executive editor of
National Review. He is the author of
Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders.
Report: Man Behind Border Wall GoFundMe Ran Fake News Websites - The Daily Beast
The man who has raised over $9 million for Trump's border wall on GoFundMe previously ran a network of fake news websites, NBC News reports. Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Iraq War veteran who made the fundraising page, reportedly fails to mention his history of running a Facebook page called Right Wing News on the GoFundMe. Right Wing News reportedly had a ''ring of affiliate sites'' which frequently posted conspiracy theories during the 2016 election. The site was taken down by Facebook earlier this year for ''using fake accounts'... to drive traffic to their websites'' and being ''ad farms'' disguised as forums for political debate, according to NBC. After the page and websites were taken down, Kolfage reportedly created another fundraiser called Fight4FreeSpeech'--which also is not mentioned on the border wall GoFundMe. Kolfage told NBC News he didn't mention his previous pages or fundraisers because he ''didn't want it to be a distraction.'' ''I don't wanna mix the two. That shouldn't be the focus,'' he said. ''My personal issues have nothing to do with building the wall.'' Kolfage also claimed he knew someone in the White House's ''inner-circle,'' and pledged that the cause was legitimately for the wall. ''We can work on a way where we can guarantee with a contract where [the funding] can only go to the wall,'' he said.
From 2001 to 2005 there was an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.A Grand Jury had been empanelled.Governments from around the world had donated to the ''Charity''.Yet, from 2001 to 2003 none of those ''Donations'' to the Clinton Foundation were declared.Hmmm, now you would think that an honest investigator would be able to figure this out.Guess who took over this investigation in 2002?Bet you can't guess.Non other than James Comey.Now, that's interesting, isn't it?Guess who was transferred in to the Internal Revenue Service to run the Tax Exemption Branch of the IRS?Your friend and mine, Lois ''Be on The Look Out'' (BOLO) Lerner.Now, that's interesting, isn't it?It gets better, well not really, but this is all just a series of strange coincidences, right?Guess who ran the Tax Division inside the Department of Injustice from 2001 to 2005?No other than the Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Rod Rosenstein.Now, that's interesting, isn't it?Guess who was the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during this time frame?I know, it's a miracle, just a coincidence, just an anomaly in statistics and chances, Robert Mueller.What do all four casting characters have in common?They all were briefed and/or were front line investigators into the Clinton Foundation Investigation.Now that's just a coincidence, right?Ok, lets chalk the last one up to mere chance.Let's fast forward to 2009.James Comey leaves the Justice Department to go and cash-in at Lockheed Martin.Hillary Clinton is running the State Department, on her own personal email server by the way.The Uranium One ''issue'' comes to the attention of the Hillary.Like all good public servants do, you know looking out for America's best interest, she decides to support the decision and approve the sale of 20% of US Uranium to no other than, the Russians.Now you would think that this is a fairly straight up deal, except it wasn't, the People got absolutely nothing out of it.However, prior to the sales approval, no other than Bill Clinton goes to Moscow, gets paid 500K for a one hour speech then meets with Vladimir Putin at his home for a few hours.Ok, no big deal right?Well, not so fast, the FBI had a mole inside the money laundering and bribery scheme.Guess who was the FBI Director during this time frame?Yep, Robert Mueller.He even delivered a Uranium Sample to Moscow in 2009.Guess who was handling that case within the Justice Department out of the US Attorney's Office in Maryland.No other than, Rod Rosenstein.Guess what happened to the informant?The Department of Justice placed a GAG order on him and threatened to lock him up if he spoke out about it.How does 20% of the most strategic asset of the United States of America end up in Russian hands when the FBI has an informant, a mole providing inside information to the FBI on the criminal enterprise?Guess what happened soon after the sale was approved?~145 million dollars in ''donations'' made their way into the Clinton Foundation from entities directly connected to the Uranium One deal.Guess who was still at the Internal Revenue Service working the Charitable Division?No other than, Lois Lerner.Ok, that's all just another series of coincidences, nothing to see here, right?Let's fast forward to 2015.Due to a series of tragic events in Benghazi and after the 9 ''investigations'' the House, Senate and at State Department, Trey Gowdy who was running the 10th investigation as Chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi discovers that the Hillary ran the State Department on an unclassified, unauthorized, outlaw personal email server.He also discovered that none of those emails had been turned over when she departed her ''Public Service'' as Secretary of State which was required by law.He also discovered that there was Top Secret information contained within her personally archived email.Sparing you the State Departments cover up, the nostrums they floated, the delay tactics that were employed and the outright lies that were spewed forth from the necks of the Kerry State Department, we shall leave it with this'...'... they did everything humanly possible to cover for Hillary.Now this is amazing, guess who became FBI Director in 2013?Guess who secured 17 no bid contracts for his employer (Lockheed Martin) with the State Department and was rewarded with a six million dollar thank you present when he departed his employer.No other than James Comey.Amazing how all those no-bids just went right through at State, huh?Now he is the FBI Director in charge of the ''Clinton Email Investigation'' after of course his FBI Investigates the Lois Lerner ''Matter'' at the Internal Revenue Service and exonerates her.Nope couldn't find any crimes there.Can you guess what happened next?In April 2016, James Comey drafts an exoneration letter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile the DOJ is handing out immunity deals like candy.They didn't even convene a Grand Jury.
Like a lightning bolt of statistical impossibility, like a miracle from God himself, like the true ''Gangsta'' Homey is, James steps out into the cameras of an awaiting press conference on July the 8th of 2016, and exonerates the Hillary from any wrongdoing.Can you see the pattern?It goes on and on, Rosenstein becomes Asst. Attorney General, Comey gets fired based upon a letter by Rosenstein, Comey leaks government information to the press, Mueller is assigned to the Russian Investigation sham by Rosenstein to provide cover for decades of malfeasance within the FBI and DOJ and the story continues.FISA Abuse, political espionage'..... pick a crime, any crime, chances are'...'... this group and a few others did it.All the same players.All compromised and conflicted.All working fervently to NOT go to jail themselves.All connected in one way or another to the Clinton's.They are like battery acid, they corrode and corrupt everything they touch.How many lives have these two destroyed?As of this writing, the Clinton Foundation, in its 20+ years of operation of being the largest International Charity Fraud in the history of mankind, has never been audited by the Internal Revenue Service.
Let us not forget that Comey's brother works for DLA Piper, the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation's taxes.
See the person that is the common denominator to all the crimes above and still doing her evil escape legal maneuvers at the top of the 3 Letter USA Agencies.
WHO IS LISA BARSOOMIAN?
Let's learn a little about Mrs. Lisa H. Barsoomian's background.Lisa H. Barsoomian, a US Attorney that graduated from Georgetown Law, is a protege of James Comey and Robert Mueller.Barsoomian, with her boss R. Craig Lawrence, represented Bill Clinton in 1998.Lawrence also represented: Robert Mueller three times; James Comey five times; Barack Obama 45 times; Kathleen Sebelius 56 times; Bill Clinton 40 times; andHillary Clinton 17 times. Between 1998 and 2017, Barsoomian herself represented the FBI at least five times.
You may be saying to yourself, OK, who cares? Who cares about the work history of this Barsoomian woman? Apparently someone does, because someone out there cares so much that they've ''purged'' all Barsoomian court documents for her Clinton representation in Hamburg vs. Clinton in 1998 and its appeal in 1999 from the DC District and Appeals Court dockets (?). Someone out there cares so much that the internet has been ''purged'' of all information pertaining to Barsoomian. Historically, this indicates that the individual is a protected CIA operative.
Additionally, Lisa Barsoomian has specialized in opposing Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of the intelligence community. And, although Barsoomian has been involved in hundreds of cases representing the DC Office of the US Attorney, her email address is Lisa Barsoomian at NIH gov. The NIH stands for National Institutes of Health. This is a tactic routinely used by the CIA to protect an operative by using another government organization to shield their activities.
It's a cover, so big deal right? I mean what does one more attorney with ties to the US intelligence community really matter. It deals with Trump and his recent tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, the border wall, DACA, everything coming out of California, the Uni-party unrelenting opposition to President Trump, the Clapper leaks, the Comey leaks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusal and subsequent 14 month nap with occasional forays into the marijuana legalization mix '.... and last but not least Mueller's never-ending investigation into collusion between the Trump team and the Russians. Why does Barsoomian, CIA operative, merit any mention?
BECAUSE'....She is Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's WIFE'....That's why!!
GET THIS INFORMATION OUT TO EVERYONE YOU CAN.
US report finds no direct foreign interference in 2018 vote
The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Friday that his agency has not found any evidence of any direct interference in the midterm elections.
Coats said he has submitted a required report to President Donald Trump that says the intelligence community has not uncovered any compromise of election infrastructure that would have disrupted balloting or changed results.
Coats said the intelligence community did find a continuation of previously disclosed ''influence activities'' and ''messaging campaigns'' by countries such as Russia, China and Iran ahead of the election.
He said in a statement issued Friday that the intelligence community did not assess whether those activities affected the outcome of the 2018 election.
The report, not publicly released, was submitted to Trump and is being reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department.
TRENDING: Illegal Immigrants Facing Deportation Get One Last Trip Courtesy of ICE Air
An executive order signed earlier this year requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report assessing foreign interference in U.S. elections within 45 days after the conclusion of the election.
Trump has faced criticism for not doing enough to respond to Russian election interference in 2016, but his administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia, Russian entities and individuals over their roles in the election meddling.
While this report does not find interference, it could increase pressure on Trump to prevent foreign influence campaigns ahead of elections scheduled for 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Who is Peter Comey and Why it Matters | New Eastern Outlook
On December 7 after weeks of legal resistance, former FBI Director James Comey was forced to appear at a closed-door hearing convened by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The hearing was called to investigate political bias by Comey and other officials against then-candidate Donald Trump. In the last days the focus has begun to shift to the surprise of many to the Democratic Party DNC, to Hillary Clinton and James Comey.
For almost two years the world has been inundated with select leaks and claims of Russian bias on behalf of Trump's candidacy. We saw naming of a Justice Department Special Council to investigate and presentation of a dossier to the Democratic National Committee in 2015 from ex-British MI6 agent Christopher Steele of dubious quality. Now, in the wake of the November US mid-term elections where Republicans actually increased their Senate majority to 53-47, the focus is turning to Hillary Clinton, James Comey and to the controversial and highly-interesting Clinton Foundation.
Without repeating the details here, the basic facts revolve around major mainstream media accusations of Trump obstruction of justice and wrongful dismissal of Comey in addition to Trump's alleged Russian crimes that Special Counsel, ex-FBI head Robert Mueller, is supposedly investigating. For two years the public has been inundated with salacious details and leaks around those investigations against Trump and associates. Now, to the surprise of some, the spotlight seems to shift to misdeeds not of Trump but of Hillary Clinton, Comey and of the increasingly controversial Clinton Foundation.
Reopening email investigation
Recall that during the contentious 2016 US Presidential campaign pitting Clinton against Trump, it became known that as Secretary of State under Obama, Clinton had used a private e-mail server for her work as Secretary of State, violation of security laws and, according to a clear whitewash investigation by then FBI chief James Comey where, in July 2016, Comey declared that, ''Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, my judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.'' The final Comey declaration also chose to ignore critical issues as to how many contained secret or top secret classification. It later emerged that Comey had drafted his statement of Clinton's exoneration almost two months before the investigation by the FBI ended. Keep in mind those emails also link to activities at the time of the Clinton Foundation run by husband Bill.
Now US Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered the Hillary Clinton email case reopened. ''At worst, career employees in the State and Justice departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this court,'' Lamberth wrote.
Now US Republican Congressman Mark Meadows has told press that the evidence against the Clinton Foundation is mounting. Meadows currently sits as chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Government Operations and was involved in the December 7 Comey questioning. Meadows declared that preliminary examination of testimony from numerous witnesses ''raises grave concerns their operations were not above-board'...''
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows says the evidence against the Clinton Foundation is mounting. The North Carolina congressman is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Government Operations and is poised to examine the organization next week in hearings.
Meadows told Fox News Thursday that hundreds of pages of evidence from witnesses have to be assessed, but that a cursory examination ''raises grave concerns their operations were not above-board as the American people have been led to believe.'' Meadows heads a special subcommittee that is to hear testimony on December 13 from John Huber, a special US Attorney named a year ago to investigate possible illegal activities around the Clinton Foundation when Hillary was Secretary of State.
On December 7 The Hill online site reported that 6,000 pages of evidence that was attached to a whistleblower submission was filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI by someone with inside knowledge of the Clinton Foundation. The documents reportedly reveal that the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties. Huber is to testify on this and other findings his staff of some 470 attorneys have been accumulating since 2017.
In this light, a news item from December 4, 2018 suggests that things could get very explosive around Clinton Foundation revelations. On that day US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, released a sealed indictment against a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, on charges including ''Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Tax Evasion, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering Conspiracy.'' Mossack Fonseca attorney Ramses Owens, a 50-year-old from Panama, remains at large.
Mossack Fonseca, was at the heart of the 2015 Wikileaks revelations of the so-called Panama Papers. It has several ties to the Clinton Foundation. They include Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton's first US Senate campaign and today ''senior adviser'' to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Fialkoff has donated to the Clinton Foundation and to Hillary's presidential campaign. It includes shady Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra, a business partner with Bill Clinton and board member of Clinton Foundation who is in the center of the soon-to-be infamous Uranium One affair. Guistra's offshore company UrAsia Energy Ltd was in the Mossack Fonseca Panama Papers leak.
Indications and investigations including court-ordered disclosues have shown evidence suggesting that while Hillary Clinton was Obama Secretary of State, she and husband Bill used the Clinton Foundation to solicit hundreds of millions of dollars in ''charitable'' donations from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bahrain to the foundation in return for direct access to Secretary of State Clinton. At the time, Hillary Clinton's State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation. Mills today is also listed on the foundation board.
James Comey's Brother
Now it so happens that James Comey has a brother, Peter Comey, who had an executive position with the Washington law firm that did the audit of the Clinton foundation in 2015. Peter Comey was officially DLA Piper ''Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas,'' in 2015 when the Clinton Foundation scandals first broke and Hillary was preparing her Presidential campaign. Not only was DLA Piper, the firm where Comey's brother worked, involved in the audit of the Clinton Foundation. According to the foundation's donor records, DLA Piper has given between $50,000 and $100,000 to the foundation.
There are other ''coincidences'' such as James Comey's role before becoming FBI head as Vice President for top defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which became a corporate donor to the Clinton Foundation.
Peter Comey, working for the law firm that did the audit of the Clinton Foundation, at the time his brother headed the FBI and led the whitewash of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton matters a heck of a lot. Even the mere hint of such conflict of interest ought to have led to FBI director Comey recusing himself from any contact with the 2016 Clinton email server investigation.
Now the emergence of a Clinton Foundation insider whistleblower working with the US Justice Department and the Huber investigation threatens to blow the lid off what increasingly looks like one of the most egregious centers of political corruption in Washington. It begins to become more clear why Hillary and friends used all influence in government and mainstream media to discredit the President and try to close all investigations that could put them in the docket. Now it gets interesting, as the signs are the Justice Department Clinton investigation is ready to be presented.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook.''
Environmental Research LettersLETTER ' OPEN ACCESSStratospheric aerosol injection tactics and costs in the first 15 years ofdeploymentTo cite this article: Wake Smith and Gernot Wagner 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. 13 124001 View the article online for updates and enhancements.This content was downloaded from IP address 220.127.116.11 on 22/12/2018 at 22:53
Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aae98dLETTERStratospheric aerosol injection tactics and costs in the¬rst 15 yearsof deploymentWake Smith1and Gernot Wagner21Associate Fellow, Trumbull College, Yale University, and Lecturer in Yale College, New Haven CT, United States of America2Harvard University Center for the Environment, 26 Oxford Street, MA 02138, United States of AmericaE-mail:email@example.comKeywords:solar geoengineering, albedo modi¬cation, solar radiation management, high-altitude aircraftAbstractWe review the capabilities and costs of various lofting methods intended to deliver sulfates into thelower stratosphere. We lay out a future solar geoengineering deployment scenario of halving theincrease in anthropogenic radiative forcing beginning 15 years hence, by deploying material toaltitudes as high as'¼20 km. After surveying an exhaustive list of potential deployment techniques, wesettle upon an aircraft-based delivery system. Unlike the one prior comprehensive study on the topic(McClellanet al2012Environ. Res. Lett.7034019), we conclude that no existing aircraft design'--evenwith extensive modi¬cations'--can reasonably ful¬ll this mission. However, we also conclude thatdeveloping a new, purpose-built high-altitude tanker with substantial payload capabilities wouldneither be technologically dif¬cult nor prohibitively expensive. We calculate early-year costs of'¼$1500 ton1of material deployed, resulting in average costs of'¼$2.25 billion yr1over the¬rst 15years of deployment. We further calculate the number of¬ights at'¼4000 in year one, linearlyincreasing by'¼4000 yr1. We conclude by arguing that, while cheap, such an aircraft-based programwould unlikely be a secret, given the need for thousands of¬ights annually by airliner-sized aircraftoperating from an international array of bases.1. IntroductionSolar geoengineering is commonly seen to be subjectto what some call its'incredible economics'(Barrett2008)and, more speci¬cally, its'free driver'effect: itsdirect costs are so cheap compared to its potentialclimate impacts so as to reverse many of the propertiesof the so-called'free rider'problem governing carbonmitigation decisions and climate policy more broadly(Wagner and Weitzman2012,2015, Weitzman2015).The governance problem becomes one of cooperationto restrain rather than increase action. Here we probethese economic assertions and review the capabilitiesand costs of various lofting methods intended todeploy sulfates into the lower stratosphere, the leadingproposed method of solar geoengineering(Keith2000, Crutzen2006, National Research Council2015).Stratospheric Aerosol Injection(SAI)would requirelofting hundreds of thousands to millions of tons ofmaterial each year to altitudes up to'¼20 km. Here weseek answers to three questions: if SAI deploymentwere to commence within the foreseeable future withthe tools and technologies at our disposal, how wouldsuch deployment be physically achieved, how muchwould it cost, and could it be done in secret?National Academies of Sciences(NAS), Engineer-ing and Medicine(1992)provides an early review ofSAI deployment options, deriving detailed pricingfor naval ri¬es and two different balloon systems(appendix Q.11). McClellanet al(2012)attempt toprovide the¬rst comprehensive answer to this ques-tion, publishing results from an earlier Aurora FlightScience Corporation analysis(McClellanet al2010).Like McClellanet al(2010,2012), and later reviewedby Moriyamaet al(2017), we explore an array of dif-ferent SAI lofting technologies and given our morespeci¬c mission criteria, we conclude that aircraft arethe only reasonable option. Unlike them, we concludethat modi¬ed existing business jets are incapable of¬ying above'¼16 km, a conclusion con¬rmed directlyby the manufacturers of the jets in question. Thisdirectly contradicts both McClellanet al(2010,2012)OPEN ACCESSRECEIVED23 July 2018REVISED14 October 2018ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION19 October 2018PUBLISHED23 November 2018Original content from thiswork may be used underthe terms of theCreativeCommons Attribution 3.0licence.Any further distribution ofthis work must maintainattribution to theauthor(s)and the title ofthe work, journal citationand DOI.(C) 2018 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd
and IPCC(2018). The latter demonstrates the largein¬uence McClellanet al's analysis has had on thebroader conversation. IPCC(2018)states that'there ishigh agreementthat aircrafts after some modi¬cationscould inject millions of tons of SO2in the lower strato-sphere('¼20 km)'(chapter 4). IPCC cites three studiesin support of that statement, including McClellanet al(2012). However, both of the other two studies,in turn, base their conclusions, in large part, onMcClellanet al's earlier analysis. Irvineet al(2016)also cites the other(Davidsonet al2012), which, inturn, cites McClellanet al(2010). Robocket al(2009)provides one further independent analysis, reviewingcapabilities of military¬ghters and tankers. We agreewith Robocket al(2009)that military¬ghters arecapable of reaching'¼20 km, but they are incapable ofsustained¬ight at that altitude(see table2below).We further conclude that no other existing aircrafthave the combination of altitude and payload cap-abilities required for the mission, leading us instead tothe design of a new plane.We propose such a plane and call it SAI Lofter(SAIL), describing its basic speci¬cations and provid-ing detailed cost estimates for its design, manufacture,and operation under a hypothesized solar geoengi-neering scenario of halving the increase in radiativeforcing from a date 15 years hence. We do not seek toforetell future technological breakthroughs, nor do weguess at costs in 50 or 100 years when next-generationdeployment technologies would likely become avail-able. Further, we do not consider solar geoengineeringmethodologies other than SAI or materials other thansulfate aerosols(Keith2000, Keithet al2016).Weinstead hope to illuminate discussions of direct SAIdeployment costs based on existing technologies,thereby facilitating further bene¬t-cost comparisonsand grounding'free driver'discussions in concretenumbers supported by science-based SAI deploymentscenarios and sound aerospace engineering.2. Stratospheric aerosol deploymentscenarioFollowing a research hypothesis proposed by Keithand Irvine(2016), we consider a limited SAI deploy-ment scenario(Sugiyamaet al2018)intended to cut inhalf the rate of temperature change from the¬rst yearof the program onward. While such a scenario is lessambitious(and less environmentally risky)than thoseaimed at keeping temperatures constant from a certaindate forward, it is more ambitious than SAI merelyholding the rate of temperature change constant(MacMartinet al2014).We further assume anthropogenically drivenradiative forcing of'¼2.70 W m2by 2030, with anassumed decadal increase of'¼0.5 W m2that isroughly consistent with the Representative Con-centration Pathway(RCP)6.0 scenario(Mosset al2010, IPCC2013). Assuming the desire to cut this rateof increase in half implies the need for SAI to reduceradiative forcing by'¼0.25 W m2by the end of the¬rst decade of deployment. The implied change in glo-bal average surface temperatures from SAI deploy-ment is0.2 K per decade, with an assumed globalaverage temperature sensitivity of 0.8 K per W m2.We focus on SAI using sulfates, not because theyare optimal'--they may not be(Keithet al2016)'--butbecause the long record of prior analyses on both ef¬-cacy and risks of sulfate deployment(NationalResearch Council2015)renders them the best under-stood and therefore least uncertain material withwhich to commence in this hypothetical scenario ofpartial deployment. In the base case, we assume a top-of-atmosphere(TOA)sulfate forcing sensitivity of0.25 W m2per Tg S yr1, a value toward the lowerend of recent estimates. Pierceet al(2010)estimates0.34 W m2and Daiet al(2018)derives a rangefrom below0.50 to over2Wm2for injectionsbetween 30°N and 30°S. Other estimates for differentinjection scenarios, roughly converted to TOA values,range from0.15 W m2(Kuebbeleret al2012)to0.33 W m2(Niemeier and Timmreck2015), whilePitariet al(2014)shows results from the Geoengineer-ing Model Intercomparison Project(GeoMIP), hereroughly converted to TOA, for one point of injectionat the equator ranging from0.47 to0.98 W m2.Table1summarizes the base-case SAI deploymentscenario for the¬rst 15 years of a program commen-cing in 15 years. The year 2033 is entirely hypothetical.It is not the most likely start date, nor are we suggestingit is an optimal one, but any deployment much soonerseems highly unlikely based on scienti¬c and politicalTable 1.Hypothesized base-case SAI scenario in the¬rst 15 years ofdeployment commencing in 15 years. Tons of S carried are half oftons SO2dispersed.YearUnabatedforcing(Wm2)Targetforcing(Wm2)SO2dis-persed(Mt)aTemperaturereduced(K)b2033 2.850 2.825 0.20.022034 2.900 2.850 0.40.042035 2.950 2.875 0.60.062036 3.000 2.900 0.80.082037 3.050 2.925 1.00.102038 3.100 2.950 1.20.122039 3.150 2.975 1.40.142040 3.200 3.000 1.60.162041 3.250 3.025 1.80.182042 3.300 3.050 2.00.202043 3.350 3.075 2.20.222044 3.400 3.100 2.40.242045 3.450 3.125 2.60.262046 3.500 3.150 2.80.282047 3.550 3.175 3.00.30aAssumes0.25 W m2per Tg S.bAssumes 0.8 K per W m2average temperature sensitivity(seetext).2Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001
considerations. Later deployment may mean theapproaches explored here can be revised in light ofnew scienti¬c and technological developments.The assumed linear ramp-up, and assumed loftingof sulfate for the purpose of dispersing SO2(Smithet al2018), implies the need to loft'¼0.1 Mt of S in yearone, increasing at a rate of'¼0.1 Mt yr1linearly there-after. Note this is signi¬cantly less material thanMcClellanet al(2012)assumed mass¬uxes of either1 or 5 Mt yr1of S, presenting a more limited andphased deployment scenario(Sugiyamaet al2018).Another important consideration is the locationfor SAI. Following Tilmeset al(2018a), we assumebase-case injection sites at latitudes of 15°and 30°North and South of the equator. This is no verdict as tothese four latitudes being optimal or de¬nitive. It is astatement that, if forced to choose today, these fourlatitudes appear like a good starting point for discus-sions(Kravitzet al2017, MacMartinet al2017, Richteret al2017, Tilmeset al2017, Daiet al2018). Note thatwhile SAI latitudes matter, longitudes appear not to, asinjections at any one longitude mix rapidly to all oth-ers. Latitudes, meanwhile, in¬uence the height ofinjections. At 15°N and S, injections may be requiredas high as'¼20 km(Pierceet al2010). Some argue thateven higher injection altitudes would provide greaterradiative bene¬t(Tilmeset al2018b). For the purposeof de¬ning the deployment scenario, we de¬ne theservice ceiling necessary for the lofting platformat'¼20 km.3. Review of possible lofting technologiesWe have undertaken a review of all lofting technolo-gies that seem plausible as methods to hoist 0.1 Mt S toan altitude of up to'¼20 km in 2033. Our mainresearch involved engaging directly with commercialaerospace vendors to elicit what current and near-termtechnology platforms can achieve at what cost. Wehave met or corresponded directly with: Airbus,Boeing, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin,Northrup Grumman; GE Engines, Rolls RoyceEngines; Atlas Air, Near Space Corporation, ScaledComposites, The Spaceship Company, Virgin Orbit,and NASA, the latter in respect of its high-altituderesearch aircraft¬eet.Table2summaries our¬ndings across loftingtechnologies. We eliminate technologies we deeminsuf¬ciently mature to be used for deployment 15years hence and those incapable of reaching therequired altitude. Existing commercial and militarytransport aircraft cannot achieve the required alti-tudes, even with extensive modi¬cations. Modi¬edbusiness jets, noted prominently in McClellanet al(2010,2012)study, are incapable of reaching altitudesabove'¼16 km. High payload, high altitude aerostatshave been hypothesized but not yet successfully tested,and in all events, are operationally fragile, unable tooperate in adverse weather conditions. Tethered hosesare even less technologically mature and to-dateuntested. Military¬ghters such as the F-15 havereached altitudes of'¼18 km in the context of record-setting ballistic climbs in ideal conditions, but they areincapable of either sustained¬ight or regular opera-tions at such altitudes.Among technologies capable of achieving the mis-sion, costs are often prohibitive. NASA's existing high-altitude aircraft that can reach appropriate altitudes doso with'¼1 t payloads, making them very costly. Rock-ets are intended to reach altitudes 15''25higher thanare required to reach the lower stratosphere, renderingthem both ill-suited and extremely costly. Even if theunit-costs of the massive SpaceX Falcon Heavy werereduced by 95% to account for the ratio of its normaltarget altitude to the'¼20 km assumed here, it is stillroughly 50costlier than SAIL. Balloons and largenaval-style guns are capable and plausible alternatives,but their per-ton costs are at least 10as high as thosewe estimate for SAIL.Table2also shows McClellanet al(2010,2012)new high-altitude aircraft, which posits a cost-per-tonsimilar to that of SAIL. While we derive a similar unit-cost, SAIL's numbers apply to the initial years ofdeployment, while McClellanet alconsider annualmasses of both 1 and 5 Mt, the latter of which implies alarger and more mature program that may haveachieved substantial economies of scale. For reference,our estimate is that a second-generation platform loft-ing the same 5 Mt yr1might have unit costs at least20% lower than the $1400 calculated here for a¬rst-generation SAIL technology.4. SAI lofter(SAIL)Given the apparent inadequacy of existing technolo-gies, especially of previously assumed-to-be-adequatemodi¬cations to existing aircraft(McClellanet al2010,2012), we propose a novel aircraft with dispro-portionally large wings relative to its narrow fuselage.We also describe the aircraft¬eet requirements, andwe calculate development and deployment costs fromconception through year 15 of the hypotheticalprogram.4.1. DesignThe aircraft is designed to meet the assumed require-ments outlined in section3above. In particular, it iscapable of level¬ight at an altitude of'¼20 km whilecarrying a 25 ton payload'--large enough to loweroperational costs signi¬cantly relative to existing high-altitude aircraft, yet small enough to make the missionpossible. We have developed the design with directinput from several of the aerospace and enginecompanies consulted. It assumes a novel aircraftdesign but utilizes modi¬ed pre-existing low-bypassengines, which, though disfavored in commercial3Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001
service due to their reduced fuel ef¬ciency, willperform better at high altitudes.Broadly, SAIL is equivalent in weight to a largenarrow body passenger aircraft such as the A321, or inBoeing terms, sized between the 737''800 and the757''200. In order to sustain level¬ight in the thin airencountered at altitudes approaching'¼20 kms, SAILrequires roughly double the wing area of an equiva-lently sized airliner, and double the thrust, with fourengines instead of two.(While maximum thrustrequirements of most aircraft are de¬ned by takeoff,SAIL's engines are con¬gured to perform at high alti-tudes.)At the same time, its fuselage would seemstubby and narrow, sized to accommodate a heavy butdense mass of molten sulfur rather than the largevolume of space and air required for passenger com-fort. SAIL would therefore have considerably widerwingspan than length. Its compact fuselage, however,would sit behind a conventional manned cockpit.While it is easy to imagine SAIL migrating to unman-ned cockpits over time, under current certi¬cationrules, it would be substantially faster and thereforecheaper to certify the aircraft with onboard pilots.More speci¬cally, the preliminary design for SAILcalls for a length of'¼46 m, a wingspan of'¼55 m, and awing area of'¼250 m2, with an aspect ratio of'¼12:1.The maximum structural payload would be'¼25 t,with maximum takeoff weight(MTOW)of'¼100 t,operating empty weight(OEW)of'¼50 t, and max-imum fuel load of'¼32 t. The aircraft would have 4wing-mounted low-bypass engines, modi¬ed forhigh-altitude operations with an aggregate take-offthrust of'¼25''30 t and a thrust-to-weight ratio of'¼30%.(GE Engines considers its F118 engine ade-quate, noting that it powers the NASA Global Hawkaircraft to similar altitudes; its Passport 20 engine maysimilarly be capable. Rolls Royce suggests its BR710 orBR725 engines.)The design will require a smaller¬fthcenterline auxiliary power unit for bleed air andonboard combustion of the molten sulfur payload.This highlights another advantage of aircraft as alofting platform, since they can take advantage of theonboard combustion system from S to SO2exploredby Smithet al(2018). Lofting S would cut in half thepayload required compared with lofting SO2. More-over, S is a less dangerous substance than SO2to han-dle on the ground or contend with in the event of anaccident. Other possible lofting methods such a bal-loons and guns could not accommodate thisin situconversion with existing technologies and would,therefore, need to loft SO2with twice the mass ofSAIL's payload.SAIL is designed for a service ceiling of'¼20 km,with a maximum altitude of up to'¼19.8 km in aTable 2.Cost and capabilities comparison of lofting technologies.Platform Cost('000 $/t)SAIL multiple SourceMission capableSAILa1.4 1McClellan New High Altitude Aircraft 1.5b'¼1McClellanet al(2010,2012)Delft SAGAc4.0'¼3Delft ReportcMcClellan Modernized Gun 19'¼14McClellanet al(2010,2012)Balloons'¼40'¼28Near SpacedNASA WB57 43'¼30NASAdNASA ER2 50'¼35NASAdNASA Global Hawk 70'¼50NASAdSpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket 71e'¼50Chang(2018)Gun Mark 7 16'137'¼100McClellanet al(2010,2012)Vector Rocket 1180e'¼850Chang(2018)Virgin Orbit Rocket 2000e'¼1400Virgin OrbitdMission incapableExisting Commercial Aircraft Not capable of reaching'¼20 kmfModi¬ed Commercial Aircraft Not capable of reaching'¼20 kmgExisting Military TransportershNot capable of reaching'¼20 kmgMilitary Fighters Not capable of sustained¬ight at'¼20 kmgTethered Hose Not suf¬ciently mature technologygAerostats/Airships Not suf¬ciently mature technologygaSee section4for cost derivations.bAssumes a program deploying'¼1Mt yr1.cTU Delft student report developing SAGA, the Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Aircraft(Design Synthesis Exercise Group 22016).dPersonal communications with individuals at respective entities.eReduced by 95% to account for 20 km target altitude relative to 200 km for Earth orbit; Chang(2018)'s estimates for Vector Rocketcon¬rmed by Vector Launch.fMcClellanet al(2010,2012)and authors'analysis(see text).gAuthors'analysis(see text), including, for military¬ghters, personal communication with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and NorthrupGrumman.hIncluding existing military tankers.4Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001
typical mission. Each mission would last'¼5 h, with'¼2 h of ascent and descent time each, plus'¼1 h on sta-tion. The'¼2 h for ascent and descent time situatesSAIL reasonably between the performance rates of theGlobal Hawk and U2/ER2. That assumes a'¼25 t pay-load and a conversion of S to SO2at'¼0.5 t S per min-ute. Operational¬ights are¬own out and back to thesame base, with a range of'¼4500 km for each plane atmaximum payload. While Tilmeset al(2018b)havenoted that injections at altitudes 5 km higher wouldadd perhaps 50% to the radiative bene¬t derived fromdeployed aerosols, SAIL and similar aircraft deployingconventional engine technology to haul large payloadsare unable to substantially exceed'¼20 km.The design assumes 2 pilots plus 1 payload opera-tor, and accommodates 1 supernumerary, possibly ascienti¬c observer. Crucially, there are no passengers,which simpli¬es regulatory certi¬cation for the newlydesigned plane. SAIL would only have one missionand at most a handful of operators. Ferry and position-ing¬ights aside, SAIL can be expected to¬y only in afew remote air corridors, likely enabling it to operateas an experimental aircraft in a restricted categorywithout full commercial certi¬cation. This in turnwould substantially reduce developmental costs.4.2. FleetWe calculate that in year 1 of the deployment program(assumed to be 2033), the SAIL¬eet would require 8new aircraft including one¬ight-ready spare plane ateach of the two initial bases. This assumes that onespare does not substantially in¬uence our cost esti-mates. Table3summarizes SAIL¬eet and activity inthe¬rst 15 years of deployment.Such a scenario also assumes that by year 16, the'¬rst-generation'SAIL technology is supplanted by asecond-generation lofting solution for which muchhigher development sums would be expended toachieve substantially lower subsequent operatingcosts. No new SAILs would be manufactured there-after, though the existing SAIL¬eet would serve out itsremaining economically useful lifespan. We thereforeconsider development costs of this¬rst-generationSAIL technology, commencing 7 years before year 1 ofthe program, but do not include any additional devel-opment costs to further re¬ne or supplant thetechnology.4.3. Development CostsWe estimate total development costs of $'¼2 billion forthe airframe, and a further $350 million for modifyingexisting low-bypass engines. These numbers aretoward the lower end of McClellanet al(2010,2012)range of $2.1 to $5.6 billion and signi¬cantly below theTU Delft students'estimates of $14 billion for itspurpose-built Stratospheric Aerosol GeoengineeringAircraft, or SAGA(Design Synthesis Exercise Group22016). The former base their estimates largely onRAND Corporation's Development and ProcurementCosts of Aircraft(DAPCA)model¬rst developed inthe 1960s and 1970s(Boren1976, Raymer1999). Thelatter use McClellanet al(2010,2012), and thusDAPCA indirectly, as one data point, but also considera more granular build-up of development costs bycategory, and¬nally compare those numbers to thedevelopmental budget for the A380. We arrive at ournumbers by developing the preliminary aircraft designdescribed in section4.1and then budgeting theelements of that design in a series of personalconversations with relevant commercial vendors.Among the important¬ndings derived from thatapproach was that while both McClellanet aland TUDelft devoted roughly half their developmental budgetto the development of new engines, we found severalTable 3.Total¬eet and¬ight activity by hypothesized deployment year.Year New aircraftaTotalaircraftaTotal payload(Mt S)bFlights/year BasesMonthly¬ight hours/aircraftcFlights/base/day2033 8 8 0.1 4007 2 278 52034 6 14 0.2 8015 2 278 112035 8 22 0.3 12 022 4 278 82036 6 28 0.4 16 029 4 278 112037 6 34 0.5 20 036 4 278 142038 6 40 0.6 24 044 4 278 162039 7 47 0.7 28 051 4 272 192040 6 53 0.8 32 058 4 273 222041 6 59 0.9 36 065 4 273 252042 6 65 1.0 40 073 4 274 272043 6 71 1.1 44 080 4 274 302044 6 77 1.2 48 087 4 274 332045 6 83 1.3 52 095 4 275 362046 6 89 1.4 56 102 4 275 382047 6 95 1.5 60 109 4 275 41aIncludes one spare aircraft per base.bS burnedin situto disperse 2SO2(see table1).cExcludes spare aircraft.5Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001
pre-existing engines that can power SAIL, though withsubstantial modi¬cations to account for the high-altitude operations.We de-emphasize commercial aircraft develop-ment programs as relevant data points, since it is verydifferent and signi¬cantly costlier to design a¬exibleaircraft for a range of commercial operations than todesign a small batch of specialty aircraft like SAIL thatis intended for a novel but very speci¬c mission. SAILmust demonstrate that it can ful¬ll its mission, but itstesting and certi¬cation process does not need toexplore the entire¬ight envelope to determine therange of operations for which a variety of operatorsmight purpose the aircraft. Moreover, SAIL does notneed to compete against other aircraft based on oper-ating costs. In these senses it is more like a militarydesign exercise'--what matters is that the aircraft canachieve the speci¬ed mission, but the optimization ofoperating costs is a substantially lesser consideration.Much of the design, certi¬cation, and testing costs forcommercial manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, andBombardier lies in optimizing the aircraft for opera-tional cost by reducing drag, fuel consumption, andmaintenance cost, while increasing operational relia-bility. These same considerations would be applicableto a second-generation SAI lofting solution, when(and if)the desirability of this intervention has beenproven and the lofted masses need to be substantiallygreater. This may be a more advanced and potentiallyunmanned aircraft, or a non-aircraft lofting technol-ogy. The¬rst-generation solution on the other handwould favor'quick and cheap'experimental aircraftfor an experimental mission.Moreover, the small production run of SAIL isunlikely to attract the world's biggest airframe devel-opers and is more likely the province of experimentalaircraft designers. Two such companies have revieweddetailed SAIL speci¬cations and contributed to theconclusion that development costs for SAIL would beless than the reported $300 million budget for Strato-launch(Foust2011), the massive catamaran aircraftcurrently being built with funding from the late PaulAllen. Given that the 650t MTOW of Stratolaunch ismore than 6 times that of SAIL, a $250 million budgetfor the demonstrator aircraft seems generous. Testingcosts for a restricted category certi¬cation, meanwhile,would run two to three times that, placing the total air-frame budget at $0.75 to $1 billion. We arrive at our $2billion airframe development¬gure by taking the highend of the range, and arbitrarily doubling it to accountfor the well-established history of cost overruns in air-craft developmental programs.To this airframe budget we have added $350 mil-lion for engine modi¬cations and testing, which per-sonal communications with Rolls Royce indicateswould be suf¬cient to purpose one of its existingengines to this program.Both Scaled Composites and The Spaceship Com-pany estimate¬ve years to be the best-casedevelopment timeframe, and would suggest allocating7 years from the commencement of a fully funded pro-gram through certi¬cation in the relevant jurisdictionsand entry into service of the¬rst production aircraft.All this assumes a deliberate but standard develop-ment program rather than a crash effort intended todeploy SAI as soon as possible in response to a(per-ceived)crisis. Such a military-style deployment effortcould cut several years off the assume 7-year develop-ment phase and bypass the required civil certi¬cationprocess, while substantially increasing costs.4.4. Operating costsWe build a SAIL operating budget using modelingconventions and cost factors common to the air freightindustry, including aircraft¬nancing assumptions.Table4details SAIL operating cost assumptions basedupon the relevant cost drivers. We assume $2.00 pergallon for fuel, which comprises one of the largestelements of operating cost, while the cost of sulfurcomprises a mere 3% of the budget. We assume a costof $80/t for molten S(US Geological Survey2018,pp160''161)with an assumed additional $20/t fortransport.We assume the average marginal cost(i.e. exclud-ing amortization of development costs)for each addi-tional aircraft to be $100 million, roughly equal to theactual purchase price(as opposed to list price)ofB767-300 and A330 freighters, both of which haveabout twice the OEW of SAIL. This assumes that SAILaircraft will be priced at a substantial premium relativeto OEW peers such as the A321 because of the muchlower projected production volume.Given that the low annual aircraft production rateswill not facilitate optimization of the production line,we assume conservatively that the build time for oneSAIL aircraft is two years. That implies that prior tothe commencement of operation, the program willhave funded not only the $800 million required for theinitial complement of 8 aircraft, but an additional$300 million in progress payments towards the addi-tional six aircraft required in year 2.In addition to pre-start capital costs, we assumethe need for an aggregate of $'¼40 million to fund anadministrative entity that will manage the develop-ment program for the aircraft over its seven-yeargestation cycle as well as to plan for the commence-ment of operations. During the two years immediatelypreceding deployment, a yet larger sum will berequired for start-up costs such as hiring and trainingstaff, setting up bases, procuring inventory, and certi-fying the airline(s)that will actually operate the¬ights.We estimate the capital required for this purpose to be50% of the¬rst year operating budget, excludingaircraft capital costs'--a sum equal to roughly $100million.Table5summarizes total SAIL capital require-ments during the assumed seven-year development6Environ. Res. Lett.13(2018)124001
phase and the¬rst 15 years of operation. Total pre-deployment capital requirements are'¼$3.6 billion.All costs(pre-start and operational)through Year 5 are'¼$10 billion. Total costs through Year 15 are'¼$36billion.Total ops costs in table5presents the resultingannual operating costs, including capital costs for¬eetprocurement as well as the amortization of total devel-opment costs. All told, year 1 operating costs are'¼$310 m, increasing annually in rough proportion tothe growing deployment masses. Unit costs perdeployed t SO2decrease slightly in each year due toaccumulating but limited economies of scale. Bothsimple and weighted average operating costs are'¼$1400/tSO2deployed, in 2018 US $. That placestotal costs well below any other alternative currentlyavailable technology and roughly equivalent toMcClellanet al(2010,2012)$1500/t unit cost estimatefor 1 Mt deployed via its proposed new aircraft pro-gram. For the reasons outlined above, we have sig-ni¬cantly more con¬dence in our estimate. While$1400/t may convey a false sense of precision, we arecon¬dent to conclude that average operating costs are
After mocking ''chemtrails'' for over a decade, global elites suddenly announce geoengineering plan to ''dim the sun'' with aerial spraying
Back in 2008, a news publication called Phoenix Times News published a story mocking people who believe in so-called ''chemtrails,'' calling the concept of geoengineering a ''strong competitor for dumbest conspiracy theory ever.'' There's simply no such thing as chemical aerosols that are blasted from airplanes, and that remain suspended in the atmosphere, we were all continually told '' with a constant emphasis on the alleged ''ridiculousness'' of such a notion.
Well, all of that mockery came to a screeching halt just a few short days ago, as mainstream media outlets the world over suddenly showed eagerness to report on how chemtrails are now apparently real, and that we supposedly need them now in order to combat the ever-impending threat of ''global warming.''
It's true: The very same ''elites'' that back in the day not only denied chemtrails but turned into a laughingstock anyone who believed in them now insist that chemtrails are totally real. And going a step further, these same elites also now claim that chemtrails are the weapon we've been overlooking all along to win the War on Climate Change.
These ''stratospheric aerosol injections,'' as they're now calling what they previously claimed didn't exist, can reportedly now be used to blanket the skies in swaths of chemicals, effectively blocking out the sun's rays and ''cooling'' the planet. It's as simple as that, according to self-proclaimed scientists from the Ivy League institutions Harvard University and Yale University, who wrote all about this newfangled climate change weapon in a paper recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The researchers behind the paper attempt to validate their newfound claim that shooting untold tons of sulfur dioxide aerosols into the world's skies will effectively block out just enough natural sunlight to ever-so-slightly ''cool'' the planet, which climate change lunatics insist needs to happen in order to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions they've erroneously dubbed as ''pollutants.''
Global warming and chemtrails: a smokescreen of deceptionSome readers may recall that the term ''global warming'' has gone somewhat out of vogue in recent years as a result of the infamous ''Climategate'' scandal, which several years back brought to light the fact that so-called ''climate scientists'' had fudged the numbers about weather patterns, and that the planet is actually already cooling and possibly even entering an ice age all on its own '' hence why ''climate change'' has now become the climate fanatics' new buzzword.
But as pointed out by Dave Hodges from The Common Sense Show, it's all so obvious what's actually going on in this ever-evolving trend of climate deception. Chemtrails have, in fact, been around for many, many years, and after denying their existence for decades, the ''elite'' now want to hijack the narrative and create a whole new set of lies in favor of something that they insisted in years past doesn't exist.
''Apparently, the Harvard and Yale researchers have returned to the concept of global in the hope that the public has a short memory of the fraud that was perpetrated upon the public a decade ago,'' he writes about this sudden admission that chemtrails exist, accompanied by a fresh narrative about how they're needed to cool a planet that's apparently already been cooling for quite some time now.
''First of all, there is no scientific justification from either the literature review their (sic) own repeatable findings, located in this journal, that the concept is even valid,'' Hodges adds. ''The article jumps from hypothesis to scientific conclusion with no scientific justification. There is no level of significance attached to this shoddy research.''
Be sure to read Hodges' full analysis at this link.
You can also keep up with the latest news on chemtrails '-- now an accepted scientific strategy for altering the atmosphere '-- at ChemtrailsNews.com.
Sources for this article include:
War on Weed
BREAKING: Trump Just Ended Hemp Prohibition Across America, Legalizing Industrial Hemp Farming Nationwide
Achieving another breathtaking win for the American people while fighting against a criminal, corrupt establishment, President Donald J. Trump just legalized industrial hemp nationwide by signing the new Farm Bill into law. The hemp legalization provision was spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), further demonstrating that Republicans support hemp legalization and agricultural freedom.
After nearly 50 years of prohibition, industrial hemp will be legal to grow across America beginning January 1, 2019. It's another huge victory that helps Make America Great Again by unleashing the power of agricultural freedom and natural health.
''This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II,'' said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. NORML also adds:
The hemp-specific provisions of the 2018 Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
''Although hemp will no longer be in the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, prospective growers will have to submit cultivation plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), either through the state government or the USDA itself,'' reports Marijuana Moment.
CBD and other cannabinoids are essentially ''de-scheduled'' from the Schedule I controlled substance list, but only if they are produced in accordance with the Farm Bill stipulations, meaning growers must comply with state and federal regulations which are so far not described anywhere. The USDA will reportedly regulate hemp production now, and states that wish to exert more restrictive state controls must coordinate their plans with the USDA. As NORML reports:
The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess ''primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp'' to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture. The agency has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan. In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, ''it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state '... without a license.''
The Brookings Institution further explains:
It explicitly allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. It also puts no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as those items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.
FDA still claims total control over CBD, but may relax its restrictions in the near future
Under the leadership of the Trump Administration, the FDA is indicating it may pursue regulatory reforms to legalize CBD in dietary supplement products nationwide. Via a December 20 announcement from the FDA:
Among other things, this new law changes certain federal authorities relating to the production and marketing of hemp'... These changes include removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law.
At first, the FDA reiterates that it maintains total control over CBD and that CBD is currently not allowed to be sold as a dietary supplement for the bizarre reason that certain companies are studying CBD for use as a possible prescription medication:
Additionally, it's unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived. This is because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of substantial clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements. Under the FD&C Act, it's illegal to introduce drug ingredients like these into the food supply, or to market them as dietary supplements.
That said, the FDA signals its willingness to hold conversations with industry leaders with the possible outcome of issuing new regulations that would eliminate its current restrictions on the selling of CBD-based dietary supplements. ''[T]he FDA has authority to issue a regulation allowing the use of a pharmaceutical ingredient in a food or dietary supplement,'' says the FDA, implying that CBD is a ''pharmaceutical ingredient'' even when CBD has been around for millions of years, long before pharmaceutical companies even existed. ''We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process.''
The FDA further explains it will hold public meetings to solicit input on further regulatory changes it might pursue:
Given the substantial public interest in this topic and the clear interest of Congress in fostering the development of appropriate hemp products, we intend to hold a public meeting in the near future for stakeholders to share their experiences and challenges with these products, including information and views related to the safety of such products.We'll use this meeting to gather additional input relevant to the lawful pathways by which products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds can be marketed, and how we can make these legal pathways more predictable and efficient.
Stay informed on hemp, cannabis and medical marijuana at HempScience.news.
VIDEO - Fire destroys thousands of voting machines in DR Congo | News | Al Jazeera
A fire broke out in an electoral commission building in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, officials said, 10 days before presidential elections that have been foreshadowed by violence.
The blaze destroyed thousands of voting machines and ballot boxes that were due to be used in the election, a presidential adviser said.
Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi said 70 percent of the equipment due to be used for voting in Kinshasa, the country's capital, was destroyed in the fire he said was started by "criminals".
"The enemies of democracy have stepped it up a gear," he said.
Kikaya said that t he police guarding the warehouse had been arrested and that preparations for the vote, which could mark the country's first peaceful transfer of power, would go ahead as voting machines from elsewhere in the country would be recalled to be used in Kinshasa.
Congo's first use of voting machines on December 23, a rarity in Africa, has caused concerns among the opposition, diplomats and experts about possible manipulation in favour of President Joseph Kabila's preferred successor. Kabila is stepping aside after taking power in 2001.
The fire broke out around 2am in a building where election materials were being kept, the head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) said. A thick cloud of black smoke was still visible above the city by early morning, the AFP news agency reported.
The blaze came after three people were killed on Wednesday in clashes with police on the sidelines of an opposition rally in eastern DRC.Clashes erupted in Kalemie, a town on Lake Tanganyika, as opposition candidate Martin Fayulu was campaigning there.
Two witnesses said live rounds were fired after the opposition candidate arrived and headed to the rally venue.
Fayulu blamed the violence on police - as well as on "armed youths on drugs", who, he said, were "dressed in PPRD clothing," a reference to the country's ruling party.
On Tuesday, two of Fayulu's supporters were killed and 43 hurt in clashes at a rally in Lubumbashi, the DRC's second-largest city.
Fayulu, 62, a little-known legislator and former oil executive, has made a late surge after being named the joint candidate for several opposition parties.
The DRC is in the throes of a major campaign in advance of the December 23 election to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast central African country since 2001.
The nation has never known a peaceful transition of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
VIDEO - Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Arria-Formula Meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo - YouTube
Kids joined our USA TODAY tech panel and told us they had no interest whatsoever in Facebook. USA TODAY
Here at Talking Tech, we've spent 2018 keeping you up to date on the latest trends and news from the world of tech.
The year that's just about to close was notable for new iPhone models that appear to have stalled with the public for the first time, the continued adoption of smart speakers as the fastest growing category in tech, no really hot new app for the first time in many years and cameras on phones that are now as good as the DSLRs I paid $1,000 and more for 10 years ago.
But let's face it, all pales compared to Facebook.
The Social Network seems to put its foot in it week after week, with new reports of how it shared our personal information with other app makers and media partners and engaged in political style semantic games with the public by denying things '-- and then admitting '-- they were uncomfortable to have revealed. Like hiring a Republican associated political operative firm to dig up dirt on liberal financier George Soros, at first not recalled, then fessed up to.
The backlash began in March, when Facebook did admit that a rogue app developer had grabbed personal information of 87 million members after users signed up for a personality prediction app called "thisisyourdigitallife."
There have been reports for two years about how Russians manipulated the social network to help get Donald Trump elected. This week, a bombshell report given to Congress that showed how Russian interference was even more widespread than at first believed.
Several advocacy groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and Moveon.org called for co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to step down from the Facebook board of directors in response to how the network allowed other entities to target civil rights groups.
And Bobby Rush, a Democratic congressman from Illinois called on Facebook to fire Zuckerberg altogether. "The American people are tired of the excuses, the lies, and the deliberate evasion."
Influential tech columnist Walt Mossberg quit Facebook this week, saying its actions made him feel uncomfortable.
Hey, as an avid Facebook user, I don't disagree with Mossberg, but I'm not about to quit Facebook '-- nor do I think you are. I like posting photos and videos and hearing from friends that they enjoyed them, finding out what's up with old friends, using the network as a service to keep family up to date on comings and goings, and, of course, promoting and distributing my latest USA TODAY work '-- or latest personal guitar video.
And face it, most everyone we know is on Facebook. What are the alternatives? Instagram? Well, that's owned by Facebook, too. I love the Japanese app Line, which is colorful and fun to use, but it won't keep me up to date on friends and news like Facebook, nor does it have the access to meet like-minded people in groups.
I've heard from many of you that you, too, don't like the way Facebook operates, but you're not willing to walk away. "It's like a negative codependent relationship that nobody ever leaves," wrote James Sama on Facebook this week.
The business model makes us the product '-- the more we like, share, check in, search and turn on our camera, the more Facebook knows about us, and thus is able to sell targeted ads based on our ZIP code, income and likes to advertisers.
Despite the controversy, as I noted this week, Facebook has more members now than it did at the beginning of the year '-- just over 2.2 billion, and it's on track to beat 2017's ad revenues, over $55 billion. It's taken a hit on Wall Street '-- but so have many other tech companies as the Dow has gone south at the end of 2018.
So clearly Facebook's main problem is perception and the messaging. This is a public relations nightmare that has the press and politicians concerned and consumers seemingly not. But eventually, this could catch up to Facebook's business model if it doesn't change course in 2019.
In talking with many of you this week, it's clear that we don't mind being marketed to, we just want Facebook to be upfront and honest about it.
"I think most people know free sites like Google and FB do targeted ads," noted tech investor Peter Pham of Science, Inc. on Twitter this week. Being targeted secretly is a different story. Tell people what's really going on and people will say, "I'm OK with it if you tell me," he says.
Readers, what's your take? Are you willing to delete Facebook? What changes would you like to see from the social network in 2019?
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk says he's planning to offer the public free rides through a tunnel he bored under a Los Angeles suburb to test a new type of transportation system. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File) (Photo: Chris Carlson/AP)
In other tech news this week
Tech wunderkind Elon Musk gave reporters a sneak peek at his underground tunnel in Los Angeles, his alternative to subways that saw the press driving around underneath Hawthorne, California, in a Tesla. "There is a path to alleviate traffic congestion in cities," Musk said at the event.
On Friday AT&T turn on its mobile super-fast 5G network for the public in 12 cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio and Waco, Texas. Unlike Verizon, which launched its first 5G network earlier this year as a home broadband replacement, AT&T's 5G network will be more traditional to mobile wireless networks. The first device for the network will be a 5G mobile hotspot from Netgear called the Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. Other 5G phones are expected in 2019.
Alexa, play Apple Music for me. The unthinkable happened this week, as Amazon opened up its Echo smart speakers to rival Apple. The iconic iPhone maker joined Amazon Music, and other services like Pandora and Spotify.
This week's Talking Tech podcasts
Rich DeMuro's new iPhone book
Ed Baig on Apple Watch's new ECG features
Amazon really will buy Target: Gene Munster
Kids Talk Tech: Facebook, Instagram and Umizoomis.
Riding through Elon Musk's tunnel
And that's this week's Talking Tech news wrap. Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter: http://technewsletter.usatoday.com, listen to the daily Talking Tech podcast on Apple Podcasts, follow me (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/12/22/delete-facebook-lets-honest-youre-not-quitting-and-neither-am/2392974002/
VIDEO - MSNBC analyst: Russian ran disinformation campaign so U.S. would 'welcome an invasion' - YouTube
video CNN's Jeffrey Toobin: Republicans Should Be Running Ideas by Ann Coulter 'Because Apparently She's the President' NowCNN's Jeffrey Toobin believes that the entire government shutdown standoff is the result of President Donald Trump having his ''manhood'' challenged by conservative commentators '-- one of whom, in his view, has proved to be the heavy on this issue.
Appearing on The Situation Room, Toobin picked up the conversation after host Wolf Blitzer said that Republicans have been frustrated by the fact that they don't know what it will take to get the president to agree to a deal which would avert a shutdown.
''What they should be doing, obviously, is checking with Ann Coulter,'' Toobin said. ''Because apparently she's the President of the United States, as far as this is concerned.''
Toobin, in a scathing rebuke, expressed little optimism for a Coulter-led government.
''Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter started challenging the president's manhood. And the House Republicans started stamping their feet. And the president decided, 'No, no, no, I'm going to scream and yell and shut down the government, even though I still don't have the votes.' So I guess Ann Coulter has to figure out how this is all going to end, because she's the person who is driving the federal government at this point. God help us.''
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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VIDEO - (1) Sen. Mazie Hirono blasted Pres.Trump for Trump's shutdown on MSNBC's 'All In' with Chris Matthews - YouTube
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VIDEO - Portugal's 'yellow vests' turn out for anti-government protests | Euronews
In Portugal 20,000 police officers are on alert on Friday with demonstrations expected across the country.
Mirroring France's worse mass protests in 50 years - organisers have called for ''Coletes Amarelos'' or "Yellow Vest" rallies of their own and blockades of motorways.
Working under the slogan ''Vamos Parar Portugal'' '' which roughly translates as Let's Bring Portugal to a Halt '' sporadic event pages on Facebook have appeared and disappeared, some with thousands stating they would attend.
Some disruption to traffic was reported on the outskirts of big cities as various groups responded to calls on social media to "block Portugal".
The situation however, is not like France '' where President Macron's popularity is waning. In Portugal, polling shows that over 70 percent of the electorate are supportive of the government. Portugal's economy has been making steady growth for the past three years and unemployment has fallen.
Antonio Costa who faces re-election next year has put an end to state salary cuts introduced by the previous government as well as raising taxes on goods and services rather than on incomes.
VIDEO - 'Euronews isn't chirping on this': Putin hits out over Russian sailors
Strategic risk consultant and best-selling author F. William Engdahl discusses his latest book ''Manifest Destiny'' describing US-sponsored democratic regime change operations known as ''color revolutions'' which utilize civil society organizations such as USAID, Soros' Open Society Foundations, and NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). He provides his analysis on whether or not the French ''Yellow Vest'' revolution is sponsored by the U.S. and discusses his change of mind on whether President Trump is an authentic patriot fighting against globalism.
Podcast: On this edition of geopolitics and empire, we interview strategic risk consultant and best-selling author, F. William Engdahl. We'll be talking about his latest book, Manifest Destiny, and the latest in Geopolitics, Economy War, Trump and Empire. Let's start with the main idea of your latest book, Manifest Destiny. Now, I wrote my graduate thesis on this topic of U.S. sponsored democratic regime change otherwise known as Color Revolutions about a decade ago. In my thesis, I tried to look at a color revolution that was not written much about. I looked at Mongolia in the 1990s because I spent some time there as a peace corp volunteer. I was surprised to discover the same U.S. State Department, National Endowment for Democracy NED, Soros' Open Society formula at play there that you detail in your book, Manifest Destiny. After the Soviet Union FELL, sure enough, James Baker paid a visit to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, the capital. The young Mongolian named Elbegdorj who was educated in the U.S. at Harvard, just like Saakashvili, the former leader of Georgia.
Elbegdorj founded a liberty center, which Saakash really did as well in Georgia with the same name. They were both funded by Soros, NED, USAID. I documented that about Mongolia and interesting that Elbegdorj eventually became the president in 2009. In your book, Manifest Destiny, you basically look at how Washington has systematically attempted to take over nation after nation including Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia, China, Georgia, Ukraine. Could you, for listeners, describe this basic framework or template that Washington uses to take down foreign governments in a way that makes it look like Washington had nothing to do with it. show
William Engdahl: What happened in the 1980s, there was a whole series of congressional investigations, expos(C)s, whistle blowers, et cetera, about the illegal activities of the CIA. Assassinations of people like Pinochet in Chile, the coup d'(C)tat against Mosaddegh in Iran, in Guatemala, rbenz and so forth. As damage control, Reagan's head of CIA, and Will Casey, proposed a privatization of this regime change machine instead of using CIA agents on the street in civilian clothes who can be discovered and then revealed as a government operation. He said, ''Let's do it through private NGOs, non-governmental organizations,'' and then if they're caught in some attempt in some country, we can always say, ''Oh, that's private. We can't control what private foundations do. They want human rights, liberty, democracy.'' You allow them to work in your country. We have no '... Et cetera.
That was actually at the beginning of brilliant and very effective way to get rid of regimes that Washington didn't like. This was ruled out in one of the earliest experiments in Poland with the help of the Pope, John Paul II, who had a secret meeting with President Reagan and worked out an agreement where the pope would be informed of the CIA's activities in Poland with Solidarnosc, the trade union movement and then would appear in Poland, in the streets, and give support to the fight for liberty and freedom. Of course, ultimately led to the topelling of the communist government. Then, one by one, the communist countries in the east block, began falling down. It was financially rocked the manipulations of the U.S. with collapsing the oil price in 1986. It created that, but then what George Bush Sr, someone to my view does not deserve any kind of praise or thanks from the nation or the world for the evil that he did in his lifetime.
George Bush Sr. Worked with a group of old cronies from the CIA, CIA Old Boys, and they locked in with a very senior level of KGB Operatives, KGB Senior Officers, head of international organization and really top level guys. And they pulled off this coup notice Boris Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin was an asset of the CIA of the Bush crop. And what they did was to not only bring down communism in the soviet union, but they brought in key economic advisors like professor Jeffrey Sachs from Harvard university and others to organize the privatization through criminal bans or today called the oligarchs, the Russian oligarchs and began looting that country to the poem. And George Soros was involved in that process. He was picking up crown jewels left and right Bush was involved, many people from the west until 1999 when it really wasn't possible to push it anymore and a nationalist faction came in [inaudible 00:06:23] that's another story.
So the book traces, why do I call it, Manifest Destiny? Well, in the 19th century, America is, as you well know, that was an ideology of empire. We have a destiny from God to essentially dominate the world. It was a very powerful inner ideology of the elite families, the powers that be in all the space 18080s, 18090s and that justified not only the Spanish American war and the acquisition of the first colony, the Philippines, but also pushing all the way toward China in the pacific and through Latin and south America and beyond. So the idea of Manifest Destiny and the book is really about how this machinery of fake democracy has been created. Fake human rights. NGOs like Open Society Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, which is US government, financed CIA controlled NGO, but it masquerades as a private freedom will have an enterprise, it's anything but that.
One of the key figures before his death was John McCain the senator from Arizona, some people say one of the most treasonous figures in the US senate in recent history. That history will have to judge but certainly not one was the white hats or one of the good guys. And he was president of the republican institute, which was an arm of the National Endowment for Democracy. He was involved in the cia coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2013, 14, directly involved along with the victoria Nuland at the state department whose husband was one of the leading neoconservatives and vice president Joe Biden never was up there and you think good wherever he went.
Podcast: So speaking of empire and Europe, nowadays with Trump and all this talk about NATO not paying its dues and all this back and forth that's happening. If we could kind of go back and forth in time. In your book, you describe the Europeans. So I suppose in the 1980s and 1990s that leading Europeans viewed America as a declining empire. And so they were kind of set to, I guess, replace a lIttle bit of that unilateral US world or challenge a bit of it. And at the same time we saw Saddam wanting to trade oil, not in dollars exclusively but in euros, and so the US invaded Iraq in the 1990s. And we've had on-
William Engdahl: I'm not sure that was the only reason, but that was one of the reasons. Yeah.
Podcast: And we've previously interviewed Alistair Macleod of Gold Money who wrote about Chinese military analysts saying, that was one of the reasons for Yugoslavia as well to '... The war in Yugoslavia that the US also interfered in and helped stoke to kind of, I guess, delay that the EU project. I'm not sure. And so we see the US continued seemingly trying to go against the EU, whether it's Brexit or forcing the EU to just stop buying cheap Russian energy and instead to purchase expensive US gas. As well as the sanctions not allowing the EU to do business with Iran. So could you talk about that section in your book, what's going on with the EU US relationship?
William Engdahl: Well the European Economic Community back in the 50s, the coal and steel union between France and Germany was a project encouraged not only by Winston Churchill but by the CIA and the US president to create an entity that they could better control in the cold war period and create larger markets for US exports and so forth. Well, as Europe got on its feet in the late 60s and 70s, that calculus had begun to change. Now in the period, you're talking about in the 80s and the 90s, the government shouldn't Washington were concerned that Europe not develop an independent defense pillar, but it not be after the end of the cold war, that not be its own decider of what its military and defense policy would be. That it would be dependent on NATO, which means dependent on the US. And so they quite effectively killed off the part of the master treaty of 1990 that called for a European defense pillar.
They said no, this will be called NATO and it will stay in NATO. And then the military industrial complex began creating lobbyists in Washington advocating the spreading of NATO to the East and violation of the solemn pledge that James Baker gave to Gorbachev for the unification of Germany. And so they made sure that Europe was not independent. And I think the reason for the Yugoslav war, there were several elements to it. One was, and the war was this, you probably know very well, but the war was instigated, manipulated and led by Washington, by the CIA, by the Bush administration. They submitted laws to congress. They lied about the events and for Yugoslavia and Serbia and so forth, they created a one sided narrative to while they were financing genocide essentially in Bosnia Herzegovina through Bin Ladin. Bin Laden was in the Bosnia Herzegovina during the war. He was brought there by the CIA with radical Arab Jihadists from Saudi Arabian and elsewhere that had fought in Afghanistan.
So they were there training the muslim forces of IzetbegoviÄ. This is something a few people are aware of. So what came out of that was, number one, the Balkanization of a country that could have provided, I think it could have provided kind of a middle way economic model between radical free market transformation, which is the Harvard shock therapy, IMF policy. And a centralized state planning, it had the elements of a transition between the two that could have been imitated by many of the former communist economies, especially Russia. So that model was effectively destroyed. And also they created the basis to put huge military base, NATO base called Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo after the war. So there were many levels of it, but I think the primary one was to say we NATO Washington are running the military show here and don't get any ideas. I think what's going on now with Trump and the NATO, you're not paying your fair share is a slightly different agenda, but we can talk about that later.
Podcast: I just wanted to comment on that section of the book and Yugoslavia. It creates a little bit of cognitive dissonance in me because I'm a Croatian-American. And so I kind of like, it's kind of confusing regarding allegiances and the one reason that I recommend people pick up the book, you have a lot good sources from official government documents. And I looked some of them up and you mentioned regarding Yugoslavia, the October 27th, 1990, I believe. Foreign operations appropriations act 101-513. So basically what happened in the 1980s, I guess you have the whole Brooklyn Woods IMF system, they get the country into debt, Yugoslavia, and then they're never going to be able to pay that debt and then at the same time they give them foreign aid, I guess, to help them kind of service that debt.
And then when it comes time, they, in this appropriations act, there were saying US was going to stop giving the foreign aid which would collapse Yugoslavia and that actually says like, it's unbelievable. I have a Croatian colleague that works with me and I was telling them this today and they couldn't believe it says all the individual republics of Yugoslavia need to hold free and fair elections so as not to have this aid removed. So I mean, it's there in the government documents and then you quote Sir Alfred Sherman saying the war in Bosnia was America's war and every sense of the word the US helped start it, kept it going and prevented it's early end. So again, I mean it's documented.
William Engdahl: Yeah. It's shocking. It was shocking to me as I got deeper into the research. My first book in Serbo or Croatian or Serbo Croatian language was translated into Croatian in 1999 and I was invited by the translator who later became publisher many, many times to Croatia to give speeches at the universities and so forth. And the book was a bestseller. And at that time I did not understand this larger dimension of the war. When I did and when I wrote that with the documentation you're talking about, her contacted and I considered her and a husband really dear friends. Simply broke off. She could not look at that. And in war there are very few good cats but in this one, it really was horrible. They forced everybody to begin making board against every other part of Yugoslavia. Slovenia was on the edge, and they somehow avoided the worst of it. But Croatia, Serbia, the Bosnia's, the muslim, the ethnic people in Bosnia Herzegovina and it's just tragedy beyond belief.
Podcast: Going back then to the color revolutions, I mean, I don't think we have to go too much into detail. You've given interviews on this recently so people can go listen to those to get into more detail. They can read your book, but the gist of it is, from 2000 with Serbia, 2003 Georgia, 2004 Ukraine and on and the Kurgastan. So the US state department the NED, the USAID, Soros, Open Society, all these foundations come in and start funding and training youth and overthrow these countries. And so if we can kind of then bring it up to today and what's happening now is interesting in France. I read an article, I think it was a national review. I'm not sure I call the Tax Revolt in France and this yellow vest movement and they're saying that it's the first color Revolution yellow, not sponsored by the US state department, NED, USAID, or Soros. And we know that Macron is an agent of the elite. He worked literally for Rothchild. And he's an EU yes man. And he tried to implement this austerity global warming tax. So do you think the Yellow Vest are an organic movement or is this the US again taking a shot at the EU?
William Engdahl: I'm convinced that the Yellow Vest movement is organic and real and this is what has Macron and his bankers, the bankers in Paris and Brussels and at first they didn't '... They thought it would go away. They tried, he tried to ignore it. He didn't make any public statements and then people came in from the countryside, even Germany and go off into two or three hours drive to France and you see that the standard of living has deteriorated steadily over the past years, the past couple of decades, and people kind of live a great life. It used to be to go to France and so there was a lot of fear people were happy and enjoyed good food and wonderful wine and fellowship and friendship and that you don't see. People that are struggling to pay the rent or to own a house to simply feed their family and the taxes go up and the benefits go down. It's just horrendous.
And then comes Macron with this very strange manipulated election. I have a gut feeling that Marine Le Pen, the conservative, I don't call her right wing left wing. But the conservative candidate actually probably won the election, but they manipulated the thing so that Macron becomes the surprise winner. Before the run off it was within 2% of each other and Macron was simply given the media backup from the elite, they own the media, defense industry and so forth. And they got their boy in there. They got their man in whatever you want to call as president. And then he began just rolling back workers' rights, trade union rights in a country that says the strong tradition of fighting for those rights. So I think what's going on is the beginning that what's going to expand across the European union, how it will expand, I don't know, but already Macron is scared enough that he's agreed to postpone the gasoline tax for six months, I think.
It's not about gasoline tax. It took on an organic dimension. People said we're sick of the 1% destroying that 99% of the population. We're sick of these policies. We want France back again. We don't want France to be a suburb of Africa. We want to be France to be France with its own history, culture, pride and tradition and its own economy instead of this globalization nonsense. So I think that's kind of what's going on here. You see what I've seen videos of this. What Macron has ordered is that the French intelligence insert, provocateurs police, you even see in films, they go behind their van and start changing into civilian uniform and put on the yellow vest and then start throwing rocks to incite violence and so forth. And then the yellow vest discover this and they say, ''Police, police. Look at that police agent, and they run away.
So to see this and of course, what the mainstream media films are scenes of violence and you think these are nothing but hooligans and an attic fire, the US terrorists and so forth they're not '... But this is genuine. And it's got the powers to be freaked out I think. And there's a plan. It goes back to the 1920s from certain circles in Europe, [inaudible 00:23:24] was one of the architects of this to destroy the borders of the nation state Brzezinski in his book, Technetronic Era between two agents. I think it was called in the 1960s, wrote that the nation state is essentially finished. Actually it's a quote I like to cite if you allow me a 1969, he wrote very prophetically because he was very close to David Rockefeller who was one of the architects of this process.
He said ''The nation state, as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting filing in terms that are far in advance. It's certainly true of the political concepts of the nation state.'' Well, think Google, think Facebook, think Apple and Amazon and so forth. And these are the corporate entities and the big global banks like Citi group like the JP. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and so forth that are just, they have been deregulated and allowed to create such a massive size that they simply tell governments what to do. Private banks should be regulated by governments, not the other way around. So this migration thing I'm convinced is part of a longer term project to simply as George Soros with this initiative on migration, international migration initiative NGO. They talk about migration is the new normal and talk about millions per year coming into the EU and they talk about the US migration channel from Latin America in into the US unlimited.
If you think about it, the economic policy, which is a globalized policy of these corporations, created the poverty and created the wars in the Middle East. The so called Arab Spring, created the wars in Africa. They financed them to give guns to both sides and so forth in order that they can come in and loot the raw materials. And then through those wars, like the war in Syria, you create refugee flows, people are desperate to get out and in those refugee flows you can also create embedded terrorists like Isis or Al-Qaeda and so forth, bring those into Europe and began creating unlivable situation. And the amazing thing to most Germans is that the top level politicians in Berlin are complicit in this. Merkel has no idea that she's going to change your policy. She insisted on signing this ridiculous initiative, this compact for migration it's not compact on migration, that you have certain principles that nations agreed to.
It's a compact for migration to encourage migration and make opposing this a hate crime and this horrendous. This is fascism nations like people they have a right to decide who their friends are, their companions are or their citizens. This is the fundamental of national sovereignty. This is what nations are all live up with borders as well. It worked fine for hundreds of years, so there's no need to stop that and open everything up to chaos. So that's, I think what is going on in France and it's spreading. It's already spreading into Belgium. Germany is a much more controlled country so you don't have the same kind of manifestation. You've had various groups and then you've had some, I think fake groups like [Pegida 00:27:59] created to give genuine protesters the bad name in Germany.
But most Germans are fed up with this policy of Merkel. And also the fact that their pensions are being cut, they're told to work longer, more use and their health benefits. Their health insurance is being cut back, the quality is going down the roads, the railroads, the state on railway system, which is partly privatized but mostly state owned. The [inaudible 00:28:31] is a disaster. They don't invest in the upkeep of the local motors and the railroad. So trains don't run on time as the expression goes. So these are the genuine real elements to this. and I don't see that all the hands of a color revolution. I think a lot of them look at what's going on with protests in the US around the Trump election. And they maybe say, okay, let's try to protest some of these things ourselves.
Let's say enough with this migration, we need to have a war with Europe of some sort, this is not fascism. This is normally how it used to work. You would come into the United States through a point of entry and declare your citizenship, show your papers and say why you're applying for asylum or whatever it is, or a work visa, you know, if you have skills and so. And that would be an orderly process. But this is out of control.
Podcast: And I make a joke about this un migration pact because basically the UN and these folks want to force all countries to be subject to this and where they make illegal immigration legal. And I'm on my third passport. I have three citizenships, three passports. So what have I been doing collecting passports all this time when essentially you will need a passport because now I can go anywhere.
William Engdahl: Yeah but that's not how it's going to work.
Podcast: And just final question on that color revolution aspect. Last week we interviewed Dmitri Orlov about his book Technosphere and he briefly wrote about color revolutions and he used the term political technology. It's been a good 20 to 30 year run by the US in their use of this political technology, if you will. Do color revolutions still work? Are they still effective?
William Engdahl: Less and less Russia has outlawed the NGOs as undesirable NGOs, which I think is a very good idea. China has cracked down '... They're cracking down on everything. Churches, religion, [wigos 00:30:57] and so forth. But China has cracked down and many countries have realized that these NGOs are up to no good. They're just plain ignorant or corrupt I think today because there's so many examples. So I think it's running out of effectiveness. And I think the other thing, and this is harder to judge, of course, there are networks that have been embedded in the permanent bureaucracy in Washington through the time. If you look back, I think this destruction of the american democratic institutions or political institutions began significantly around after the assassination by the CIA and others of JFK in 1963. And then of course you had the scaling up with the Vietnam war under Johnson who did whatever the military industrial complex and the CIA told him to do basically.
But then you had the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush, former head of the CIA who was ambassador to China and involved in some very corrupt dealings with the corrupt Chinese circles from everything I can glean. And then George Bush lasted for one term because he was not very well loved. He wasn't a lovable type contrary to his funeral orations. Then you had Bill Clinton, who before he was president, was identified as visiting Kennebunkport Maine. The Bush family compound something like 17 times before the 1992 election. He was Governor of Arkansas receiving illegal drug payments through allowing the Mena Arkansas airport to fly in cocaine from Columbia the CIA pilots and so forth. And they would bring stacks of $100 bills under the governor's office and put them on the desk. So this is Bill Clinton and then went through the Clinton '... There was a continuity of destruction here that goes from Clinton, eight years of Clinton up to the year 2000. And then you have going back to the Bush family, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, most of the key people around George W. Were all Bush Senior hold overs.
Then you had the war on Iraq, war in Afghanistan, all these regime change operations, going into high gear. And then you had after two terms of George W, you had Obama who's part of the same machine with Hillary is as secretary of state. Laughing at the brutal assassination of Gaddafi and one of the few countries in Africa that before the color revolution there was prosperous and peaceful. And the people had because Gaddafi wanted to have stability. He made sure the oil revenues a good part of it went to his own people. And so now now we're at kind of an interesting turning point and I think the venom, and this is a conclusion I'm slowly coming to, if I may expand on this point a little bit. The venom being directed by the mainstream media, and by the democrats against Trump. I think Trump was the president that wasn't supposed to be.
Podcast: 'Cause you had written, I guess some years ago an article '... I mean, and it's great. They say one of the key skills for the 21st century is to learn, unlearn and relearn. And I think you wrote an article some years ago about Trump saying he's part of the same system. And what causes you to change your thinking now?
William Engdahl: Well, several American friends whom I respect and whose political fillers are pretty good, started telling me to rethink this and I realized that there's a genuine change going on in the country against this globalization, phony nonsense of the last 20 years or so. And that Trump is very much a part of that. And I said, oh, this can't be true. But then I started listening to videos, reading speeches and so forth, and take the case of North Korea. North Korea I was told by the late James R. Lilley, who was a CIA senior officer for 30 years and a skull and bones pile of George Bush Senior. He was ambassador in beijing at the time of the Tiananmen Square business. I write about this in the book Manifest Destiny and according to everything I was able to research and Chinese so the talk was in visits to China years ago, and American journalists who were there, Tiananmen square. There was never a government massacred by the students. But James R. Lilley was the ambassador running the color revolution. It was one of the early color revolutions that didn't work. It flopped. And George Soros had to get out of the country. He was accused of being a CIA operative, which is probably not far from the truth. I was sued by Soros for a million dollars over something I wrote about his daughter's foundation in Tibet but that as it may.
Then I began looking at What trump is doing on many levels. And it's difficult because you have an embedded permanent bureaucracy that is committed to this destruction and it's in the state department and the justice department. Look at this guy Comey. He's now back in the news James Comey, the former director of the FBI was put in charge of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation during the election campaign, if you remember. And he gave a press conference where he stated that even though there's evidence that we uncovered of Clinton's, know abusive of the email rules and even though there were classified documents on her private server and so forth. We do not find any grounds for '... What did he say? ''Although there's evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, my judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.''
Well, it's not the job of the FBI or the cops, it's not the cops job to be a prosecutor. They give it to the prosecution, which is the justice department. So he was in on the fixed to cover up this incredible email, the abuse by Hillary Clinton and the wiki leaks just before the election of the so called a pizza gate emails with Hillary and and so forth indicated her campaign, chairman Podesta and others. This threatened to bring all the trees in the forest. So now that's coming out. It turns out that the brother of James Comey, Peter Comey is a senior employee of the law firm, DLA Piper in Washington that did the audit of the Clinton foundation when Hillary was secretary of state and using her private email servers to do her official government business. And there's so much a smoking gun of corruption here on this.
This is now beginning to come out. And I think that's creating a huge free cow in the democratic camp. And in the camp of the people who are complicit in this, such that they're trying to attack Trump for unbelievable charges of impeachment because he supposedly used campaign money his own apparently. If that's the case to buy the silence of this woman who claims that he had an affair with her. And all these sort of things that are coming up. But the real story I think is this private email server. The exchange of classified information to foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, including the people of the republic of China so on and so forth and including Russia. There's a scandal about to come out again called Uranium One. that is, to my mind, the real Russia gate scandal.
And that involves Hillary Clinton as secretary of state doing something very, very ugly with the CEO of a major chunk of US uranium. So what is trump during his campaign slogan was Make America Great Again and now I began looking more closely at the trade war. And what do we have? We have China. I've been to China many times. I was very positive about the development I saw. They were actually building things where Europe is kind of going downhill, as the US in the last 40 years, the US economy. And I thought, well, China really working hard and doing this. Turns out that since the time of Bill Clinton's presidency, 27,000 factories were dismantled in the US. The jobs of course were closed down and the factories moved to China by multinational corporations and Clinton facilitated that transfer. So indeed American jobs, were ruined and the competitive advantage that China had was helped by friends from the outside and billionaires abounded everywhere.
So I am now beginning to relook at what trump is doing with the trade war on China is a very calculated move. It began to become clear and that is against something called made in China 2025. It's a 10. point strategy that China will become, not a leading competitor or player, but the world leader in 10 areas of technology by 2040. 2025 it will achieve an irreversible forward momentum. And that includes such things as 5G telephony communications, something that's highly controversial and highly dangerous in my view. But for the internet of things, we'll look more closely at what the internet of things is about. It's about this electronic surveillance of all citizens everywhere. I don't need a computer program to tell me when I opened my refrigerator, oh your egg supply is getting low. You should mark it down on your shopping list to buy new eggs. Or you were at this restaurant yesterday, do you want to give a rating? Do you want to go again et cetera et cetera.
Everything we do, everything we buy is going to be in some data bank. So we're controlled by private corporations and that's exactly I think what Brzezinski was foreshadowing back in 1969 in that court. So the areas, biotechnology, the Chinese, Just a bio engineered the first genetically edited humans supposedly immune from HIV virus by copying the DNA, spearheaded the certain place and injecting a virus from an HIV positive male sperm and the twins somehow are born, but God knows what's going to happen, what kind of genetic mutations. Because gene editing is not a stable, proven technology. It's highly controversial even from some of the developers.
So began looking at a trade war strategy and said maybe there's something interesting here for once a president attacks the federal reserve said this is very bad. What the federal reserve is going to be ami with interest rates and that's the usual pattern of the fed. If you look at historically greens pan did this time and again, every fit chairman has done this. You raise interest rates at a time when bubbles build up because money is relatively cheap and then you pop the bubble and you say, well, we can't tell when there's a bubble. This is nonsense. They know very well. Stock market's overpriced and all these other indicators.
So a president of the United States coming out attacking openly the federal reserve is unheard of and I think that's very interesting sign. So I'm at this point withholding judgment and going from negative to neutral in my evaluation of Trump and watching to see if his administration is successful in bringing indictments to law breakers, presumed lawbreakers, from all evidence such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, people in the Obama administRation and so forth. Then I think we're looking at something genuine about draining the swamp and it didn't appear so at the beginning. And I think part of the reason is the swamp it was just everywhere. You have to have a strategy to start. And that's what I began to see now through the appointments of Whitaker as acting attorney general. Someone who realizes that the motor, special investigation of the Russia gate is simply gone out of control and is looking for dirt on any direction simply to weaken the powers of the trump presidency.
So I think it's time of titanic shifts going on and I think some of the things that trump is doing actually are rather positive. Other things, I can't say I'm terribly excited by the tax law that he enacted two years ago. But again, there might be parts of that that actually helped the economy. Economist friends of mine in the US who follow hard economic data telling me that the economy is genuinely doing better in the last two years. So maybe there is something to all this. And the idea of stopping the invasion and I think that's the right word, is thousands of people being financed by private NGOs and reportedly also Soros NGOs to simply storm the wall on the borders of the US coming from Honduras, including MS13 gang members who according to reports are CIA trained to be gang terrorists if they get an order, okay, we want you to get rid of this guy and make it look like gang violence. But these are drug gangs that are coming into America United States and up to no good.
The family's legitimate families half of central America accordIng to the opinion polls would like to come to America as the land of choice 10 million people. And let's do this in an orderly way ladies and gentlemen. This is an [inaudible 00:48:39]. So in this respect even though he's attacked as vicious racist president, I don't think he's racist. I don't see that evidence. He's certainly not Antisemitism, he's own daughter is a converted Jew and his son in law is Jewish. He has good relations with this and so forth. So, they have trouble with him. He's kind of a '... And he's got very good support within the career military who felt that the Obama was really destroying the defenses in the country. So let's see. I'm virtually critically looking at this thing in a slightly different light. In politics I've learned over the years that reality is often not. It's presented in the mainstream media.
Podcast: And that's very fair enough. And as we're winding down, I guess one of my final question would be 2018's coming to a quick and 2019 is upon us. As you say, it's a very shaky time. And perhaps if you could just leave us with what do you think? We're heading into 2019. We've, got some interesting events in the Middle East. Qatar just announced they're leaving OPEC and in another report that Iraq might also and then in your book, you've written about it as well. We see it in the daily headlines. The Saudi government's is experiencing troubles and perhaps they're targeted for regime change. The war in Yemen, in one of your chapters, you talk about how Yemen might have as much oil reserves as Saudi Arabia on the border. NATO has been talking about the obsession of Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia speeding those up as well as well as the economy. So, I mean going into 2019, I don't know what are the things that are on the top of your mind?
William Engdahl: I think number one, I think we will not have a war with Russia. I don't think is going to happen. I think there are certain Russian oligarchs and certain networks in and around Moscow that we're trying to influence because they probably assumed that Hillary would be the president is most of the world did including Hillary. But then the voting machines didn't function as they should maybe I don't know. By the way, most of the voting machine companies are owned by '... I recently discovered are owned by companies that are connected with George Soros and others like that who are definitely pro Clinton. So I think we will not have war. I think there will be a huge upheaval in the political establishment in the US. Huge upheaval. If it comes to arrests of prominent people like Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and people around the Obama administration, I think that will be a very positive development.
Because this cesspool of corruption has to be cleaned out. They're promoting an agenda that's not only destroying the United States of America, it's destroying a nation state globally. And that is losing steam and beginning to lose popularity if people are realizing that this manipulation is going to kill them, literally kill their livelihood and their ability to live a peaceful life, then this game might began to change. In terms of the Middle East, I think what's going on in Saudi Arabia is the more I look at this Khashoggi affair the more I began to doubt the official narrative. The official narrative was governed by ErdoÄan the president of Turkey. The whole Khashoggi business smells or some kind of setup. Not only of Khashoggi but maybe of Trump and the Saudi prince, the Saudi royal house.
And that might be because what Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he just go Saudi Arabia and reportedly briefed the prince MbS Salman who in the royal family is plotting a coup to get rid of Salman and prevent him from becoming the next king. And suddenly, you remember about a year ago, there were these mass arrests of billionaires, including all the Al-Waleed and the several princes, billionaire princess. And they were essentially stripped of their fortunes. Well, if you look at Al-Waleed bin, he's a major donor to projects of the Clinton foundation to Citigroup, one of the dirtiest spikes in the world, a Citi corporation and so money laundering. And these Saudi slush fund monies were a major factor in political corruption by the cabal around the Clintons, the Obama's and so forth and the Bush family over the last 30, 40 years. So if that is the background to this relation between Trump and MbS, then it would make sense and the CIA's seems to be really acting not in the interest of the good of the United States and probably never has.
I know Kennedy wanted to just '... In his second presidency term, he wanted to dismantle the CIA as an institution because it was run by certain old families that was like a private intelligence operation to extend their power and [inaudible 00:55:03] Bush [inaudible 00:55:04] and so forth. So the CIA seems to be playing a very dirty game against Trump in this particular case, probably they rely on a lot of slush fund money for black operations coming from Saudi Arabia or did rely. So if that's being cut off, if the black money from China that used to go to Hillary Clinton or Dianne Feinstein in the senate or Bill Clinton when he was president, if that's been cut off, then we could see in 2019 a major upheaval in some of the negative things going on inside the United States. And if that begins to happen, that will begin to have shockwave effect on those same kinds of networks in the European union, in France, in Germany.
Merkel was very closely tied with the Obama people and so forth. And when Trump came in, she just absolutely went bizarre. So the proverb is we live in very interesting times, and I think 2019 is going to become a decisive year either where mankind as human beings begins to say, okay, we're losing our fundamental values. Let's stop this geoengineering weather modification experiments with climate on the planet. Let's stop all this GMO poison that we give our children call it food. The agribusiness destruction of healthy food production in the world. The globalization of agriculture. And let's bring the central banks under political control constitution. There was a coup d'(C)tat in 1913 when the federal reserve was created as a private central bank. So I think all of these things potentially could be on the agenda in 2019. If they are, I think the world will breathe great sigh of relief. Few people unfortunately have a glimpse as to what's been done over the past 30, 40 years. But it's beginning to change and that gives me optimism.
Podcast: Well it's going to be interesting and it's always a pleasure talking with you, William. I would recommend listeners go out and get every single one of your books from Century Of War to Manifest Destiny. I know I have multiple copies of each and finally, how can people best follow you, your work support you?
William Engdahl: If you go to my website, which is williamengdahl I spelled my name without anything in between e-n-g-d-a-h-l, williamengdahl.com, very simple. Go to my website and there a window will pop up, offering a free subscription to my monthly newsletter geo political newsletter. And then you go onto the website itself and you'll find links to most of my articles over the past five or six or more years. And there you can access for free. So if people go there, they will find YouTube interviews like this as I say, the articles and also links to my books. So that's the best way to follow.
Podcast: And they can leave a donation as well. So thank you.
William Engdahl: Yes. Please. Thank you.
F. William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst, strategic risk consultant, author, professor and lecturer.
He has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years. His various books on geopolitics'--the interaction between international power politics, economics and geography'--have been translated into 14 foreign languages from Chinese to French, from German to Japanese.
His most recent works trace the strategies and events that led to the rise of the US as an international superpower. He describes the emergence after 1945 of an American power as a new kind of Empire not based upon sole military occupation of land, but control of vital resources. Domination was through creation of an informal empire where control of finance, of the basic food chain, of energy'--above all of oil, would be the basis for what would become the greatest concentration of power in history, an American Sole Superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Born in Minnesota, William Engdahl grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative freelance journalist in New York and Europe.
He has lectured on contemporary geopolitics as Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with focus on political risk. He has given talks at the Ministry of Science and Technology Conference on Alternative Energy, Beijing; London Centre for Energy Policy Studies of Hon. Sheikh Zaki Yamani; Turkish-Eurasian Business Council of Istanbul, Global Investors' Forum (GIF) Montreaux Switzerland; Bank Negara Indonesia; the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies; the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economics.
F. William Engdahl also contributes regularly to a number of international publications on economics and political affairs including Asia Times, FinancialSense.com, 321.gold.com, The Real News, RT.com OpEdge, RT TV, Asia Inc., GlobalResearch.com, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Foresight magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Grant'sInvestor.com, European Banker and Business Banker International, Globus in Croatia, and has been interviewed on various geopolitical topics on numerous international TV and radio programs including USA Coast-to-Coast with George Noory, Al Jazeera, CCTV and Sina.com (China), Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and Channel 1 Russian TV.
William is a Research Associate of Michel Chossudovsky's Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada and member of the editorial board of Eurasia magazine. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing and giving interviews on current events, consults as a political risk economist for various private organizations, major European banks and private investor groups. Why the ''F.'' in F. William Engdahl? That's an interesting question.
*Podcast intro music is from the song ''The Queens Jig'' by ''Musicke & Mirth'' from their album ''Music for Two Lyra Viols'': http://musicke-mirth.de/en/recordings.html (available on iTunes or Amazon)
VIDEO - (1) GSM Update 12/21/18 -'POLAR VORTEX DISRUPTION' COULD INFLICT ONE OF THE HARSHEST WINTERS ON RECORD - YouTube
Express. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. MICHELLE OBAMA has been criticised after mocking US First Lady Melania Trump via a reference to mid-90s comedy film 'Friday', with TV host Piers Morgan accusing her of ''b*tchy sniping''. PUBLISHED: 03:43, Fri, Dec 21, 2018 | UPDATED: 16:32, Fri, Dec 21, 2018
Mrs Obama made the controversial remark during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show. She also claimed she felt awkward when Mrs Trump presented her with a Tiffany gift box. Mr Morgan wrote in The Daily Mail: ''Melania Trump must have winced with anger and humiliation.
''Michelle inexplicably decided to plunge the b**chy knife firmly into the back of her successor as First Lady.
''How sad to see Michelle Obama, a woman I greatly admire, go so low simply to belittle her successor.''
During her appearance on The Tonight Show, Mrs Obama said her reaction to leaving the White House after Donald Trump's election win was ''bye, Felicia''.
Ms Obama was on the show to promote her memoirs, currently the best selling book this year in the US.
Mr Morgan argued: ''Michelle Obama likes to pride herself as being street-wise and down with the kids.
Grab your pitchfork, the Breunion Boys are headed for a pub near youIf UK MPs hoped to get through Christmas recess without mention of the "B" word, they're shit out of luck because a Dutch boyband has dropped the hottest and only pro-EU earworm of the year.
Breunion Boys' debut single, "Britain Come Back", couldn't have come at a more critical time for remainers. Parliament broke up for holibobs yesterday and won't return until 7 January. A week later, MPs face a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's tenuous Brexit deal. And what better to help them really consider their options than this oddly catchy slab of propaganda/master lesson in trollery?
Britain's departure from the European Union cannot be legally implemented without the terms approved by the House of Commons. Can the tuneless warbling of 20-somethings capture the hearts and minds of the ruling classes and send the UK hurtling back to the pre-Brexit era when neighbours didn't one day decide to hate each other?
Let's dig into the lyrics, which are essentially a love song to Blighty from Europe. Yes, Brits have a tendency to give the Continent a hard time, but over the Channel they are much more forgiving.
Oof. OK. No-deal, anyone? Like an overly attached ex, they might actually be pushing us further away.
"Your choice turns my spine grey"? So English isn't their first language, but the sea metaphor is... cute. Take it to the chorus...
Desperate stuff, but desperate times and all that. The song isn't without criticism for the EU either. "We cannot deny we made mistakes, had a rocky start (ups and downs)," the boys croon, "but you didn't have a fair choice, you've been misinformed, the lies let all of us down."
You've also got the pure gold of:
You've even got the rap verse, which begs Blighty to "think of what you're leaving behind" as the boybander, amazingly, rips his shirt open and gestures towards his six-pack.
The project's creator, Dutch animation artist Julia Veldman, told Reuters that when she heard Britain had voted to leave, "I cried, I really cried my heart out. It was so unexpected and overwhelming and it made me feel powerless."
In a "final, desperate, ultimate attempt" to stop Brexit, Veldman claimed to have spent a year auditioning pro-EU dreamboats to form a boyband with a message as a nod to Blighty's illustrious tradition of churning out irredeemably crap pop aimed at pre-teen girls.
"I thought, what else will work better than the voice of Take That, or a boyband '' the best thing Britain ever gave to us* '' to convince them to take us back?"
Anyway, now we have five lads, aged 22-25, apparently wanting to tour British pubs to spread their message. Although if this is a real tour and not the subtle troll many at The Reg believe it is, one suspects they'd be chased out of town.
What do you think, dear readers? Remainer anthem or more fuel for the Brexiteer fire? It'd make a hilarious Christmas number one for sure. Let us know in the comments. ®
* I rest my case, your honour (Reg pro-troll faction)
VIDEO - Veteran MD Drops Bombshell At 5G Hearing - YouTube
Ms. Vinograd is a CNN National Security Analyst and a Senior Advisor at the Biden Institute. She began her career in Iraq working for the U.S. Department of the Treasury and subsequently served on President Obama's National Security Council in several roles including Director for Iraq, Director for International Economics, and Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2013 where her work focused on building public '' private sector partnerships across a broad range of policy and business issues, and she later led Global Public Policy at Stripe. Ms. Vinograd was a featured speaker at the Aspen Security Forum and was recently named a Newsweek ''Woman of the Future.''
She is deeply engaged in social impact work and serves as an advisor to the US Fund for UNICEF. She also regularly engages with students across the country and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Public Policy Institute. She was named a David E. Rockefeller Fellow at the Trilateral Commission and a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
She writes a weekly column on cnn.com (the Presidential Weekly Briefing) and has published in several outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Daily Beast, USA Today, Harper's Bazaar, Politico, and Marie Claire.
Ms. Vinograd is fluent in French and studied advanced Arabic and Hebrew. She received her B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University.
Samantha Vinograd (born February 19, 1983) is an American foreign policy commentator who serves as National Security Analyst at CNN.
Biography [ edit ] Vinograd was born to a Jewish family in Connecticut. Her parents are Barbara (n(C)e Lefkowitz) and Serge G. Vinograd, and her father is a Holocaust survivor. She has three siblings, Ariane, Cassandra, and Benjamin. Vinograd is a 2001 graduate of the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut. She graduated with a B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University. After graduation, she worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Baghdad and then in various positions for the administration of Barack Obama where she worked on the National Security Council as the Director for Iraq, as the Director for International Economics, and as the Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor. In 2013, she went to work for Goldman Sachs focusing on public-private sector partnerships.
References [ edit ] ^ "Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: February 17, 2017". Haaretz. February 17, 2017. ^ "Cassandra Vinograd, Adam Cohen". New York Times. September 1, 2013. ^ Vinograd, Sam (January 30, 2017). "President Trump, You Have the Wrong Enemy - Welcome to a less secure America". Marie Claire. ^ Tellides, Theodore. "Two Holocaust Survivors Speak at Hopkins Assembly". Hopkins School. ^ a b c "Samantha Vinograd, Global Public Policy Lead, Stripe". Concordia.
Here's Who Could Succeed James Mattis as Defense Secretary - The Atlantic
Keane is a defense hawk'--and an outspoken one, at that. He recently criticized Trump's proposal (which was ultimately reversed) to cut the defense budget to $700 billion. He also called the withdrawal of American troops from Syria a ''huge strategic mistake'' that Trump will ''come to regret.''
The 75-year-old's experience and candor could give him a relatively easy confirmation process in the Senate, but he may not want the job. ''I don't intend to go back into public service,'' he told NPR on Thursday. ''I'm confident the president will be able to find ... a capable person to serve the nation.''
Senator Tom CottonThe Republican from Arkansas is a member of the Senate's Intelligence and Armed Services Committees. Cotton, 41, is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was previously floated as a possible CIA director to succeed Mike Pompeo when he moved on to become Trump's secretary of state. (The job instead went to Gina Haspel.)
Cotton is one of Trump's staunchest supporters in the Senate, and particularly shares the president's judgment that Iran is the major malign actor in the Middle East. But on other crucial issues, such as the importance of U.S. alliances, the withdrawal from Syria, and the drawdown in Afghanistan, the senator's views hew more closely to the mainstream. Indeed, he and Senator Lindsey Graham'--another potential contender'--signed a letter criticizing the Syria decision and urging Trump to reconsider.
Still, his support for Trump could mean a rough confirmation battle. It's also unclear whether he'll want to a leave a position of influence in the Senate for a job that can be thankless, managing an unpredictable president who often veers off the agreed consensus. Additionally, given the president's legal troubles and an incoming Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with subpoena power, Trump might want to keep his most reliable congressional allies in Congress.
Senator Lindsey GrahamThe Republican from South Carolina is perhaps the president's strongest backer in the Senate, an unexpected role for a man who began as a critic of Trump.
But Graham, a retired Air Force judge advocate general, is also a hawk who has been a strident critic of the withdrawal from Syria, comparing it to the Obama-era policy in Iraq, and the Afghan drawdown. He has broken with the administration on its defense of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As defense secretary, he would be in charge of navigating the relationship with Saudi Arabia, one of world's largest purchasers of American weaponry.
There is also the question of whether he would leave what could soon be an even better job: Graham is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has a pivotal role in confirming Trump's judicial nominees.
Ancient Corals May Provide Record of Rapid Sea Level Rise - Scientific American
Ancient reefs recently exposed in Mexico show that sea levels can rise by as much as 10 feet in half a century
Credit: COURTESY OF PAUL BLANCHONWith Greenland's glaciers melting and on the move while vast ice sheets in Antarctica continue to shatter, the proportion of water in the seas continues to grow. And with the climate at the poles expected to continue to warm rapidly in coming decades, many researchers are trying to determine how much and how quickly sea levels might rise. Now newly excavated reefs in Mexico may have provided an answer: high and fast.Geoscientist Paul Blanchon of the National Autonomous University of Mexicoand his colleagues examined the record provided by ancient reefs uncovered during the excavation for Xcaret, a new theme park on the Yucatan Peninsula. By measuring the decay of thorium in the reefs, the researchers estimated their age at roughly 121,000 years old'--from a period in the Pleistocene epoch known as the Eemian interglacial, which saw average temperatures that were roughly 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) warmer, higher sea levels, and less ice than today.
The buried reefs revealed that sea level rises of as much as two inches (five centimeters) per year resulted in at least a 6.6 foot (two meter) jump in as little as 50 years, based on a series of reefs retreating closer to a receding shore over time. An older reef's tip crested at roughly 10 feet (three meters) above present sea level but a second reef crest farther inland grew 10 feet higher than that, indicating that sea level had risen by as much as 10 feet by the time the latter formed because corals grow nearly to sea level, according to the findings published today in Nature.
"Twenty centimeters (eight inches) of reef accreted or grew in a little over 50 years," Blanchon says. "We found that the first corals that grew in the new reef were up to 1.5 meters [five feet] tall, indicating that sea level had to be at least two meters [6.6 feet] higher than the older reef which grew up to three meters [10 feet] above present sea level."
Other evidence has shown that 14,000 years ago, at the beginning of the current epoch (the Holocene), ice sheet melting led to sea level rises of as much as 49 feet (15 meters) in 300 years. But this find indicates that sea level can rise even faster, most likely from collapsing ice sheets, Blanchon says.
The dating of the reefs by the decay of thorium as well as comparison with similarly aged reefs from the Bahamas remains in question, however, because Blanchon and his colleagues failed to confidently date the first reef.
"Their accuracy is suspect," the researchers admitted in the paper. Yet, other studies have shown that sea levels rose by as much as 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) per century during the Eemian.
This finding "is the first indication that ice sheet collapse caused a sea level jump during the last interglacial," Blanchon says. "If we can find back-stepping reefs during the last interglacial in [Western Australia and other areas], I think we will have a rock-solid case for ice sheet collapse and catastrophic sea level rise." Given the ongoing meltdown in Greenland and Antarctica, that may be a grim presentiment of our own predicament.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)David Biello
David Biello is a contributing editor at Scientific American.
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Trump Administration Warns Palestinian Aid Recipients That Funds May Soon Be Cut : NPR
Sanitation kits and soap provided by USAID is transported for displaced people in Gaza City on Aug. 15, 2014. The Trump Administration has slashed more than half a billion dollars to the Palestinians this year. Roberto Schmidt /AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Roberto Schmidt /AFP/Getty Images Sanitation kits and soap provided by USAID is transported for displaced people in Gaza City on Aug. 15, 2014. The Trump Administration has slashed more than half a billion dollars to the Palestinians this year.
Roberto Schmidt /AFP/Getty Images The Trump administration has slashed more than half a billion dollars in aid to the Palestinians this year. Now, the United States says it may cut more money for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The U.S. Agency for International Development told grant recipients by email Saturday to start planning for the possibility that their funding could end by January 31, due to a new U.S. anti-terrorism law that could compel the Palestinian Authority to compensate American victims of terror attacks in exchange for U.S. assistance '-- a step Palestinian authorities are considered unlikely to agree to.
One U.S.-funded aid group, Anera, said such a funding cut would block at least two planned infrastructure projects to provide clean water to homes in Gaza, which faces a water crisis, as well as a playground for Gaza youth.
"It could mean the U.S. is taking itself out of a constructive development role," said Sean Carroll, president of Anera.
A U.S. official said the USAID funding cut was not final, and aid money could continue if Congress passes an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act after the government shutdown. A Senate aide said there was bipartisan interest in Congress to find a fix to allow funding to continue. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to brief the media on the matter.
The anti-terrorism law could also put an end to U.S. funding to Palestinian Authority security forces, which coordinate with Israel to maintain security in the West Bank. An official in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' office told NPR he believed the U.S. would find a way not to cut security funds.
In recent months, the U.S. has slashed $300 million for Palestinian refugees and more than $200 million for humanitarian assistance, economic projects, medical aid and peace-building activities for Palestinians. The cuts were made, in part, to pressure Palestinian leaders to cooperate with U.S. efforts to broker a peace deal with Israel.
Palestinian leaders have not resumed ties with the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem last December as Israel's capital, a city where Palestinians also have claims. Administration officials say they will unveil a peace plan soon.
U.S.-funded aid groups say they had been expecting possible funding cuts. Kids4Peace, a group that runs joint programs for Israeli and Palestinian high school students in Jerusalem, said it has raised money from other sources to ensure its programs can continue without U.S. help.
The group said it is a finalist for receiving a $1.5 million USAID grant next year, but fears the grant may now be cut.
"Because of USAID, Kids4Peace has doubled in size, professionalized operations, and launched a new youth-led social action program that is creating peace in Jerusalem from the ground up," said Fr. Josh Thomas, executive director of Kids4Peace International. "Without continued funding, we will have to turn away hundreds of Muslim, Jewish and Christian families who want a nonviolent, pro-peace youth program for their kids."
Dave Harden, who oversaw U.S. aid to Palestinians under the Obama administration and now directs the Georgetown Strategy Group, criticized the possible funding cuts.
"This is another example of the Administration vacating political space, putting at grave risk of any hope for stability, and ceding influence to our adversaries," Harden said.
TRANSCRIPT OF CALL BETWEEN MATT CHRISTIANSEN AND JACQUELINE HART OF PATREON, 12.20.2018
JACQUELINE: So I wanted to reach out to you - we've had a lot of creators on Patreon with concerns. And there was obviously a lot of concern last week, so I wanted to follow up with creators on the platform. So even though you didn't reach out to us, we had others that reached out, so I wanted to make sure that we heard directly from creators about what their concerns would be and so that's really the reason I set up this call.
MATT: Sure. I've definitely got a lot of notes and a lot of questions that I'd like to ask. I wanted to begin by just noting the scale of the loss on my account, if you're comfortable with that.
JACQUELINE: : Yes. Yes.
MATT: I did the numbers this morning. I am down 39% of my total patrons, 42% of the money on my account. I've been on Patreon 2 years and 3 months now, so over 2 years of work on Patreon at stake here. I don't know for sure - I'm estimating that roughly an entire year's gain has been wiped out. Everything that I was able to grow over 2018 is gone now. I just hope everyone at Patreon understands the scale of the damage that the decision that they made has caused to uninvolved creators. And I hope you would understand why almost half of my patronage would leave given the decision that you made.
JACQUELINE: Yes. And that's obviously one of the reasons that I wanted to set up this call, because - sorry, one small thing. I just wanted to make sure that we're not recording. Like, I'm not recording on my side.
MATT: Sure. Yeah.
JACQUELINE: Okay perfect. Just to confirm, like, you're not recording, I'm not recording, just to make sure that we're both okay with that.
MATT: I mean I live in a two-party consent state. I'd be breaking the law. And California is as well.
JACQUELINE: . Understood. I just wanted to make sure. I want to recognize that it's a huge loss, and I understand that we are a source of revenue for you, and that's obviously something we don't intend to have happen, but it has happened in this case, and it's something that we want to try to make sure does not happen in the future.
MATT: But do you understand why it happened? I understand you don't intend it, but do you understand why? If you had to explain why - if you had to take a crack at giving an explanation about why people are leaving in these massive numbers, what would you say?
JACQUELINE: I completely understand that you have a lot of audience overlap , and I've listened to some of your live stream where you discuss the fact that you yourself are a patron of sargon's. I understand the inter-connectivity. And I understand that people are unhappy with Patreon. They're unhappy with the decision and that it bleeds over into your following as well.
MATT: Is it just this particular area of Patreon though? Because I've seen people totally unrelated to Sargon, totally unrelated to politics, bigtime podcasters, for example, people who don't talk about social issues at all, necessarily, who are saying, if they haven't left the platform already, as soon as a competitor is available, they will be leaving.
JACQUELINE: And I very much understand that this all revolves around the definition of free speech and what you can do on a platform . I completely understand that there is interconnectivity, obviously, on this subject, and that there are a lot of people that that is something they feel very passionately about, and would be interested in not using Patreon.
MATT: Does patreon feel passionately about it though?
JACQUELINE: The problem is is patreon takes payments. And while we are obviously supportive of the first amendment, there are other things that we have to consider. Our mission is to fund the creative class. In order to accomplish that mission we have to build a community of creators that are comfortable sharing a platform, and if we allow certain types of speech that some people would call free speech , then only creators that use patreon that don't mind their branding associated with that kind of speech would be those who use patreon and we fail at our mission. But secondly as a membership platform, payment processing is one of the core value propositions that we have. Payment processing depends on our ability to use the global payment network, and they have rules for what they will process.
MATT: Are you telling me that this was Patreon's decision then, or someone pressured you into this?
JACQUELINE: No - this was entirely Patreon's decision.
MATT: Well then I don't understand passing the buck off to somebody else.
JACQUELINE: No, I'm not passing the buck off. The thing is we have guidelines, but I'm trying to explain, #1 it is our mission to fund the creative class and obviously some people may not want to be associated.
MATT: Well if it's your mission, then payment processors are irrelevant. It's your mission. That's what you're pursuing.
JACQUELINE: We're not visa and mastercard ourselves - we can't just make the rules. That's what I'm saying - there is an extra layer there.
MATT: Right, but that extra layer is not necessarily relevant if your own goals that you're pursuing are already doing that anyway.
JACQUELINE: I don't necessarily see it that way. I sort of see it along two lines - so if we said, we want this to just be a free speech platform - we're 100% dedicated to free speech - then that isn't really true to our mission.
MATT: What percent dedicated are you to free speech?
JACQUELINE: I don't really know how to answer that question. What I'm trying to say is we want to fund the most creators we possibly can, and we believe in free speech, and there are different perspectives on what is free speech.
MATT: And your perspective is what?
JACQUELINE: My personal perspective?
MATT: No, Patreon's.
JACQUELINE: So for Patreon, we can have free speech up to a point. And that's why we have guidelines where the line is drawn.
MATT: To summarize my perspective on this entire thing, I think you guys have an untenable standard, these guidelines that you're referencing. I think those are untenable and I think you're enforcing them through an unfair process. And so I have several questions related to both the standard and the process that I was hoping to ask you.
JACQUELINE: Okay. Let's go for that.
MATT: So as far as the standard, and I've read through your statement, I've read through the guidelines, I'm familiar generally with what the website says. I'll admit to you freely - I use language that is banned by your terms all the time . Jokingly in conversation with friends, text messages, on skype, all the time. If a text message of mine were to leak, or someone got ahold of my skype communication and sent it to patreon would I be subject to banning ?
JACQUELINE: It's a case-by-case basis . You'd have to be much more specific on the details.
MATT: Let's say that I wrote what Sargon wrote in a Skype chat - in a private conversation.
JACQUELINE: So again, I would have to look at the context.
MATT: Exactly the same. Same context as Sargon.
JACQUELINE: I don't see how it's exactly the same.
MATT: I'm saying if everything was the same but Sargon said it in a Skype chat, instead of on a stream.
JACQUELINE: So the thing about Sargon and the thing about your case that you're giving me is that we do an entire review where we look at your body of work and determine is this what you - and have you done this multiple times. We have to look at this as your body of work and as you as a creator.
MATT: So you're saying it's individual treatment.
MATT: How is that possibly a viable standard? Shouldn't it be a uniform treatment for everybody?
JACQUELINE: That is a really great question. And yes, we would love for it to be a uniform standard for everyone, but as you might imagine, it's quite difficult to make something so granular. And I actually don't know if we want to go that direction because it takes the human element out of it . Right now today, we have humans that review and reach out to our creators, and so of course there are problems with a human process, but we don't this to be about bots or taking you down because you said 3 words that were over the threshold. We want this to be a holistic review.
MATT: Do you understand how that's inherently subjective?
JACQUELINE: Yes, I do.
MATT: Okay. And do you understand how that would make creators like myself and everybody who's leaving very nervous and untrusting of your platform?
JACQUELINE: So, the thing that we try to do here is have the most diverse team that we can possibly have so that we have transparency and so that we have multiple views on this. Not that we're operating in some kind of an echochamber - we like to have a process that we have a lot of differing opinions on when we review creators.
MATT: Okay. I do have questions about that process and I'll get to those in a minute. And I appreciate you listening to my questions here as well, and giving me the time. Given the scale of what you're talking about, what is potentially ban-able, do you honestly believe that this can be uniformly and fairly enforced and if you do, I'm wondering and many people are wondering why are there countless terms of service violations on your own site right now? Specifically I'm talking about people raising money for explicitly violent purposes, and if I search the N word on Patreon right now it yields more than 10 pages of results. People posting that same type of content on your platform no less that aren't being dealt with with the system.
JACQUELINE: Yes. To explain our process a little bit - because it is inherently manual - we have human beings that deal with this on a case-to-case basis. We rely on user reports to our system. And so this has actually been one of the best ways to receive a lot of user reports is that people are reporting things like what you just mentioned. We don't go and proactively review the site. We rely on people to report things. We obviously review our site, but it's not - like I said, we don't have an algorithm that's trolling our site for us.
MATT: Okay. So just to be clear, what we're talking about then is user reports - we're empowering the mob to notify you, and then you are going to make a subjective decision as you've described about what is and is not allowed.
JACQUELINE: No. What I'm saying is when users report things like some of the things you just mentioned - we have received user reports in the last week of that. And we're very grateful to have those reports of, ya know, hate groups here or there, that maybe are using our platform. But we are 170 people and 10% of that is our trust and safety team today . So we do have a fair amount -
MATT: Right. So what I'm understanding here is the scale of the issue is much broader than the trust and safety team can manage, therefore there will uneven targeting and uneven punishment .
JACQUELINE: No. No - that's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying that it's not an overnight fix.
MATT: So people are going to get their justice later.
JACQUELINE: No. What I'm saying is it's not an overnight fix. When I saw the tweet about the N word appearing on Patreon, it was a situation where we said great, now we need to dig into these complaints.
MATT: How many days does it take to review that? Because this is a week plus old now. Still out. I looked last night.
JACQUELINE: Right. So the thing is we're working through those, page by page. Obviously that's not the only report that we've received. And again, we're grateful for all the reports that we've received. But now we're sifting through those.
MATT: Okay. Last question about the standard here - I saw Milo Yiannopoulos was banned for 'association with the Proud Boys' and in the email Maria from the trust and safety team had sent out, she said even though he has disavowed - so it was acknowledged in the email it was disavowed - it's still grounds for termination. My questions would be what does association mean in Patreon's eyes, and if not for disavowal, how would one sever an association ?
JACQUELINE: Again, it's a case-by-case basis. Every creator is allowed a chance to appeal. I want to make sure that that's perfectly clear. Whenever we take action on someone's account, they can always appeal. And so that offer was given to Milo, of course. But the thing with the disavowal is it has to be creators who make that choice and it's not just - l ike if you look at the disavowal, it was a situation where I think a lot of people said this wasn't really a disavowal.
MATT: Okay so it's a subjective judgment about whether the disavowal is good enough?
JACQUELINE: Basically, you can discuss groups on Patreon, but any creator who is praising or actively supporting these groups won't be allowed on Patreon.
MATT: I praise Milo, and I enjoy Milo - I've got his picture right back there, actually. Does that make me an associate of a banned person? Am I ban-able for that association? I'll tell you right now - I like the guy. I think he's great .
JACQUELINE: No, of course. And the thing is, like, my personal feelings have nothing to do with it. But the thing is, it's not Milo that you're being associated with. That's more about a group that you're praising.
MATT: Well I'm praising him, and he is not allowed on Patreon. Why would that not be a similar association?
JACQUELINE: Praising Milo is not equal to hate speech or something of that nature .
MATT: What did he do that's equal to hate speech or something of that nature?
JACQUELINE: I don't want to get into specific cases - I really -
MATT: You emailed me with reference to a specific case. That's the nature of this conversation. The origin of it.
JACQUELINE: Absolutely. So, I really wanted to get your feedback. And I heard some really good feedback on your livestream last night where you talked about the fact that when Patreon got rid of Sargon's account, you were a Patron of his and that you never even received a notification that your patronage was cancelled. And I thought that was very thoughtful, great feedback, because I agree - that's yet another place that we can improve our process and I wanted to hear if you had other thoughts on ways we can improve our process.
MATT: I do have a lot of thoughts about the process, or questions, because quite frankly, I am not just fearful I am going to be a target of your trust and safety team, I think it's a matter of time. I don't see a meaningful distinction between myself and the people that you are targeting with your enforcement, I believe subjectively and unfairly. So the process is of particular importance to me if I have any likelihood of remaining on this platform at all. So about the process - how did Patreon become aware of the Sargon stream in question?
JACQUELINE: Again, we take user reports.
MATT: So someone emailed Patreon and said this guy said a bad word on this stream?
JACQUELINE: N o, not at all. So user reports is basically where you can submit information. So you have a tweet, or a live stream , something that has to do with someone, you can submit it on our site.
MATT: Okay so tweets count, too. So if I tweet hate speech tomorrow, that would be considered.
JACQUELINE: So if your entire basis as a creator, if you're funding that through Patreon, but just to be a little more specific, we're talking about, ya know, you, and the case for you - if you have any questions about something you might be saying, is that you can always contact us. This is one of the things that we do with creators is if they say, hey, I'm about to go and do this thing, we say don't link that to Patreon, or don't say this or this -
MATT: Okay so I have to consult you for communication advice.
JACQUELINE: What I'm talking about is that we've had people that have had photos that are quite controversial and they've contacted us before and said - is there going to be a problem if I post this on my Patreon?
MATT: But do you see how you've inserted yourself unnecessarily here? What makes Patreon succeed, what makes people like me succeed on Patreon, is the relationship between people who enjoy my content and me. And it's really up to them whether they decide if it's too controversial or not, and if it is, they'll support me or not, and all you have to do is sit back and allow the market to function. Instead you've inserted yourself and you're now trying to influence that content. Do you see how that's a problem?
JACQUELINE: We're not a free market. Again, this goes back to -
MATT: Okay. I'm glad you admit that.
JACQUELINE: This goes back to what I was saying about that we are a payment processor and that is one of our core value propositions that we have, is that payment processing depends on our ability to use payment networks and we have to abide by those rules.
MATT: But that is not what you've been telling me repeatedly. You go back and forth between telling me we have to uphold our ideal, and then passing the buck off to payment processors who are holding you to this standard, begrudgingly I suppose. Either you agree with that standard or you don't.
JACQUELINE: What I'm saying is we have to have policies whether or not I personally believe in something or-or.
MATT: When I say 'you,' I mean Patreon, obviously.
JACQUELINE: The problem though is that Patreon itself has to base their guidelines on the people that they work with and that they share information with and so-
MATT: But you have been telling me this whole time that you support those guidelines.
JACQUELINE: I do support those guidelines.
MATT: Okay. So -
JACQUELINE: But you have to base those on something so this is what I'm saying. Even if I personally came into Patreon and said, you know, 'I believe 100% in absolute free speech' I-I will not be able to make that the guidelines even if that's what I personally believe. We have a lot of people here who believe that, but -
MATT: Well let me ask you this - has there ever been a case where a payment processor has come to Patreon and said 'you guys are enabling too much hate speech, we're gonna cut you off?'
JACQUELINE: As in Patreon?
MATT: Yeah - is there a reason you have to bend the knee to these payment processors? Have they made you bend the knee before?
JACQUELINE: I- I'm not going to get into a discussion about our payment partners specifically .
MATT: Well, you brought up the payment partners . You initiated that conversation, not me.
JACQUELINE: What I'm saying is, we exist in a world where we want to give payment to creators. We are an intermediary -
MATT: Not with'...with lots of asterisks. Right?
JACQUELINE: Well what I'm saying is that you could, yourself, go and get a merchant account. You could absolutely go to a bank and set up a merchant account and you would be dealing one to one with the bank, whereas, Patreon has set up that relationship with the bank in order to pay you and other creators and potentially, you know, get you critical mass of a better rate or, you know, give you a home on a platform. But, at the end of the day, it's about us paying creators - that's our mission is what I'm trying to say.
MATT: Is it? Or is it upholding your ideology - because that seems to be of primary importance - paying creators is secondary.
JACQUELINE: No..what..the main mission is paying creators everything else is..is..seconda-
MATT: To the extent that they fit the ideology - to the extent that they have behaved within your terms, if you want to phrase it that way.
JACQUELINE: You do have to abide with the guidelines in order to process payments through Patreon, yes.
MATT: Okay. So you had mentioned, because Jack Conte had mentioned this last year around the Lauren Southern banning - and maybe it's just because I didn't see discussion of this that I was under the impression it didn't happen - but Jack Conte mentioned last year that there would be a system of warning and appeal on Patreon - you mentioned appeal previously - is there warning? Why did Sargon not receive a warning? 'Hey you've kind of crossed a line here, let's talk about it?'
JACQUELINE: So, with a warning system, um..any creator is free to submit an appeal as I mentioned. You know - Milo, Sargon, anyone who has been removed from or taken down from our platform is allowed to appeal. The process of a warning system is very difficult because then it goes back to the thing that I said before of - what do you have? You know, do you have two words that fall into a 'tier 1' category, you had three that fall into 'tier 2' , like - it's very difficult to write a policy like that - and I think that's what you're saying as well. So, for us, what we feel works the best is more of having an appeals process. So if we take a creator down and we say to that creator, 'You can appeal this process and reform.' that is wildly successful in the majority of cases that we have - where the creator is back up on the site and taking payments again.
MATT: I guess I'm a little bit confused. If the system is all about individuals and case by case basis and humans operating with humans - why would the initial reaction not be to reach out to that person instead of just hitting the delete button and letting them find out through their friends realizing that this has happened?
JACQUELINE: And again - it depends on the situation because we do have situations where it's some small thing. Or, like I said, you posted something to your Patreon page that's not suitable for all ages, we reach out to you and say you need to take it down or make it patron only. We do have situations where that happens.
MATT: So why didn't Sargon get that? What was the distinction in the Sargon situation?
JACQUELINE: This is a much different situation than you having a small thing on your Patreon page .
MATT: Okay, so what's the difference between a small thing and a big thing?
JACQUELINE: ...They're'... so.. it's it's.. it... *sigh* again it's subjective - as you've already mentioned.
JACQUELINE: (Inaudible) is actually reviewing Sargon - so it's also a case that we were public about in 2017 - so that, to us, counts as basically he understood where the line was..and we -
MATT: So is there X amount of strikes, is that how it works? You get three strikes and you're out? Or is that subjective too?
JACQUELINE: No - no. We do not have a strike policy. But the fact that in 2017 we talked about his case publicly - that to me would indicated that, yes, this creator has been given a warning. And again -
MATT: Okay, so can I feel confident? Because I have not been given a warning by Patreon at all. So I can feel confident that I would be given that warning if I did something that you find to be egregious and against your terms?
JACQUELINE: So, you and I are having a conversation right now. If you're concerned about something that you may be saying or want to say in the future -
MATT: Yeah, I've got a ton of text messages in here that have N words and F words and all kinds of bad stuff. If I were to show them to you, would that be a warning for me?
JACQUELINE: Okay, again, I would really appreciate if you do have something - we'll take context into account - that you would reach out to us if you ha-
MATT: I'll confess all my sins right now. I said bad words to my Dad in a text last night if you want me to read them to you.
JACQUELINE: No, it's not, I feel like it's not germane to our discussion - but again, if there is something that like..er..you know, you really want to go out and say and do - then please, reach out to us!
MATT: Well I'm glad you mentioned that in the future, because that's different from what happened here. Sargon of course was punished for something that's well in the past at this point. Is there any statute of limitations on how far back you are willing to go? Let's say I did something 10 years ago - that considered?
JACQUELINE: It's interesting that you mentioned it being so far in the past because I think you're talking about the main video from the spring - but there was another video that goes with it that was from..November? Where he doubles down on what he was saying in the spring and so that, to me, feels very relevant.
MATT: Okay so what - is the implication that I'm to take there that there is a statute of limitations of how far back you're willing to go?
JACQUELINE: Again, it's a case-by-case basis.
MATT: Okay - so there's no line.
JACQUELINE: Well this is what I'm trying to say - that we do take context into account - so it's not like we're sorting through your entire history and trying to look for something that you've ever said. That's not what this is about at all. But, if there's something that's relevant and - you know - it seems fair to say that the older something is, you know, the less relevant it is.
MATT: Okay. In offering Sargon appeal, you asked him to prove a negative. You asked him to provide evidence that it's not hate speech. What would that evidence possible look like and how does one prove the negative? Could you give me an example of evidence Sargon could have provided that would have exonerated him?
JACQUELINE: You know, to be perfectly frank, if Sargon had come with a full-throated apology - and I'm not saying an apology to the group that he was, you know... trying to offend because I understand that's not a savory group - I'... I - I understand who Sargon is and - and, you know, what he was trying to say - but, you know, to say something like 'hey guys, you know, things got away from me and that-that's not how I intended it - that's not how I normally speak' there are many -
MATT: But you know how he intended it, he has spoken out about it at length. You know he didn't intend to demean black people in the way you described in your statement.
JACQUELINE: No, no. That's not what the statement said. So, what I'm saying is - uh - especially if you take into consideration the second video where he doubled down on the statement - if he came out and repudiated and said 'This is not what I'm about and it was a poor choice of words' you know, something to the effect of what Joe Rogan was saying about it. You know - 'Thats not how I usually operate, I'm usually very articulate, I was tired, I was sick..' You know, something that would help us - but there has been nothing. Nothing even like that.
MATT: Okay, so they have to satisfy your subjective expectations of whether or not there's enough atonement, enough apology, enough sensitivity.
MATT: That's the evidence you're describing? Because the request was for evidence.
JACQUELINE: That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is I'm happy - I'm happy to look at each case individually and I'm just giving you an off the cuff place to start. But um -
MATT: Okay. But again, this standard - everything is individual, everything is subjective, everything is off the cuff and I'm supposed to have confidence in this system? Are you kidding me?
JACQUELINE: Again, like I, this is why I'm reaching out to you because - uh - I-I'm happy to-to take your feedback I-I'm it's very helpful feedback and I want to make this process - uh - a good one in the future, I'd love to stay in contact with you. I've only been here a few months so I'm trying to reach out to our creator community and understand what the perception is, where we can make improvements. Um, I would really love to, you know, continue this conversation and have additional feedback -
MATT: Okay - that is helpful. Thank you for that because I'm guessing at some level you've been thrown into quite the difficult spot here - and I can sympathize with that because I can understand that you've been tasked with defending something that, quite honestly, is very difficult to defend. I would not want to be in your position and have to defend this policy and this particular action because I find them both to be fundamentally indefensible - as the market reaction has demonstrated. So, nothing I'm saying is to be taken as any, you know, shot at you personally or anything and I'm glad you explained that context to me because that is helpful for me to understand the perspective you're coming from.
JACQUELINE: Absolutely. Yeah, I don't want this to be in a vacuum. So I know that our time is running out - but um, why don't we have a check in in the next couple months? I'd really like to keep this dialogue open if you're comfortable with that.
MATT: I cannot commit to that because I cannot commit to your platform. But I will say that - I'll give you one final question if you are willing to entertain it - and it's sort of to that spirit. Because given the uncertainty that Patreon has created for people like me, creators like me - huge hitters who are creating their own alternatives - who have built their name on your platform, quite frankly. The market reality - you have prompted serious competition coming your way eminently. What would be the top reasons you would give me to stay on Patreon and not jump ship?
JACQUELINE: That's a really good question. So, in my experience, this is one of the only companies that I've worked for where the people who work here genuinely care about creators. We're the only platform that would engage with creators like this that I've experienced. We understand the payment space and that it's critical to the success of a platform. So, those are my personal, um, reasons that I would'... that I would stay. And - and as I said, you know, I - I would like to keep this dialogue going and if I can give you my email address. Or, I mean, I understand that's working with Patreon so if it's that, I could connect with you on Linkedin or something. But just so that, you know, genuinely I would like to keep this conversation going. I've appreciated your comments and I've appreciated listening to your comments on your podcast as well.
MATT: Sure. And I - despite the reality that I have massive disagreements with the policy and the implementation of it - I do appreciate that you're willing to discuss these sorts of things. You're welcome to email me anytime. My email is in all of my videos - it's linked in all of them if you need to grab it. So, I'd be happy to take an email from you whenever. Unfortunately, I just don't know if I'll have an ongoing communication with Patreon per se - there's just so much uncertainty that has been thrown into my relationship with Patreon at this point that I just can't be confident in it. So I can't make any commitments to the future because it doesn't seem like Patreon is willing to make a serious commitment to people like me. I-I don't like the precedent - that I'm having to constantly consider whether a mob is going to take something 'damning' I've done or said to Patreon - and then I'm going to be forced to bend the knee to Patreon or surrender my income. I'm not comfortable with that standard and I don't think anyone really would be. So, I don't know what's going to happen with me and Patreon. I wish I had a firm answer and I wish I could give you a firmer answer on your request to further communicate. I appreciate that sentiment and request sincerely and I hope the best for you. It seems like you're open to the criticism and the thoughts here so I appreciate that - and I hope everybody all the way up to Jack at Patreon is considering this seriously. I think as these competitors rise up, the worst hit to Patreon is yet to come. I think it's going to get worse from here, unfortunately.
JACQUELINE: Yeah - and I appreciate all your comments. They're fair. It's fair feedback and I appreciate you being open in your comments and if you are on Patreon in a few months my ask stands and I would love to hear more.
MATT: Alright, well I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time.
JACQUELINE: Absolutely, thank you.
MATT: Yeah - Merry Christmas, Happy New Year - all that.
JACQUELINE: Yes, you as well. Thanks Matt. Bye bye.
Report: Democrats Spent As Much On Fake Russian Bots As The Russians Did On Real Ones
The ''elaborate 'false flag' operation'' sought to ''enrage and energize Democrats'' and ''depress turnout'' among Republicans
The Democrats have been wailing about the Russian influence on the 2016 election, but it turns out, as Mary blogged earlier this week, that they are implicated in creating their own army of fake Russian bots to influence the 2017 Alabama Special Election.
According to reports, Democrats spent the same amount of money on fake Russian bots intended to spread disinformation and fake news as the Russians spent on real Russian bots.
The Daily Caller reports:
While the debate rages on over how much Russia really influenced the results of the 2016 presidential elections, one detail put the entire controversy in perspective: Democratic operatives spent an identical amount of money on their project to create a Russian bot ''false flag'' campaign during the Alabama 2017 special election.
Multiple reports detailed the Russian government-backed Internet Research Agency spent up to $100,000 on Facebook advertisements throughout their entire disinformation operation. As The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Wednesday, billionaire-backed Democrats ''created more than a thousand Russian-language accounts that followed [Roy] Moore's Twitter account overnight.''
The group of Democrats behind the ''elaborate 'false flag' operation,'' as described in an internal report obtained by The New York Times, also created fake conservative Facebook accounts for the purpose of convincing voters not to support Republican candidate Roy Moore.
The cost of the effort totaled $100,000 '-- the identical amount Facebook says the Russian IRA spent during the last presidential election.
The New York Times has more details about the Democrats' false-flag operation.
An internal report on the Alabama effort, obtained by The New York Times, says explicitly that it ''experimented with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.''
The project's operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.
''We orchestrated an elaborate 'false flag' operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,'' the report says.
Mr. Morgan said in an interview that the Russian botnet ruse ''does not ring a bell,'' adding that others had worked on the effort and had written the report. He said he saw the project as ''a small experiment'' designed to explore how certain online tactics worked, not to affect the election.
Mr. Morgan said he could not account for the claims in the report that the project sought to ''enrage and energize Democrats'' and ''depress turnout'' among Republicans, partly by emphasizing accusations that Mr. Moore had pursued teenage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.
The NYT describes the connections between power brokers in the ''world of political technology'' who were ''brought together'' by this allegedly small, relatively inexpensive effort.
Despite its small size, the Alabama project brought together some prominent names in the world of political technology. The funding came from Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, who has sought to help Democrats catch up with Republicans in their use of online technology.
The money passed through American Engagement Technologies, run by Mikey Dickerson, the founding director of the United States Digital Service, which was created during the Obama administration to try to upgrade the federal government's use of technology. Sara K. Hudson, a former Justice Department fellow now with Investing in Us, a tech finance company partly funded by Mr. Hoffman, worked on the project, along with Mr. Morgan.
A close collaborator of Mr. Hoffman, Dmitri Mehlhorn, the founder of Investing in Us, said in a statement that ''our purpose in investing in politics and civic engagement is to strengthen American democracy'' and that while they do not ''micromanage'' the projects they fund, they are not aware of having financed projects that have used deception. Mr. Dickerson declined to comment and Ms. Hudson did not respond to queries.
The Alabama project got started as Democrats were coming to grips with the Russians' weaponizing of social media to undermine the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and promote Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Morgan reached out at the time to Ren(C)e DiResta, who would later join New Knowledge and was lead author of the report on Russian social media operations released this week.
The NYT's description of the false-flag fake Russian bot operation reportedly includes a Facebook page and a number of sketchy-sounding characters who refused meetings and ''stayed in the shadows.''
The NYT continues:
Mr. Morgan confirmed that the project created a generic page to draw conservative Alabamians '-- he said he couldn't remember its name '-- and that Mac Watson, one of multiple write-in candidates, contacted the page. ''But we didn't do anything on his behalf,'' he said.
The report, however, says the Facebook page agreed to ''boost'' Mr. Watson's campaign and stayed in regular touch with him, and was ''treated as an advisor and the go-to media contact for the write-in candidate.'' The report claims the page got him interviews with The Montgomery Advertiser and The Washington Post.
Mr. Watson, who runs a patio supply company in Auburn, Ala., confirmed that he got some assistance from a Facebook page whose operators seemed determined to stay in the shadows.
Of dozens of conservative Alabamian-oriented pages on Facebook that he wrote to, only one replied. ''You are in a particularly interesting position and from what we have read of your politics, we would be inclined to endorse you,'' the unnamed operator of the page wrote. After Mr. Watson answered a single question about abortion rights as a sort of test, the page offered an endorsement, though no money.
''They never spent one red dime as far as I know on anything I did '-- they just kind of told their 400 followers, 'Hey, vote for this guy,''' Mr. Watson said.
Mr. Watson never spoke with the page's author or authors by phone, and they declined a request for meeting. But he did notice something unusual: his Twitter followers suddenly ballooned from about 100 to about 10,000. The Facebook page's operators asked Mr. Watson whether he trusted anyone to set up a super PAC that could receive funding and offered advice on how to sharpen his appeal to disenchanted Republican voters.
Shortly before the election, the page sent him a message, wishing him luck.
The report does not say whether the project purchased the Russian bot Twitter accounts that suddenly began to follow Mr. Moore. But it takes credit for ''radicalizing Democrats with a Russian bot scandal'' and points to stories on the phenomenon in the mainstream media. ''Roy Moore flooded with fake Russian Twitter followers,'' reported The New York Post.
FRANCE LATEST: 40-THOUSAND YELLOW VESTS ESTIMATED TODAY, POLICE IN PARIS ATTACKED THIS EVENINGThe government says that some 40-thousand Yellow Vests protesters were active on this Saturday before Christmas in France. That's down from 66-thousand last week.220 were reported arrested by evening nationwide with 81 kept in custody.Among those arrested Eric Drouet who called on protesters this morning at 9am to come onto the streets of Paris in the 9th Arrondissement of the city. This is an area where police would find it difficult to contain or control protesters.The protest was moved from Versailles after police shut down railroad stations to prevent people from Paris reaching Versailles.2000 protesters were estimated to be on the streets of Paris today.By evening there were some confrontations with police in the city including an incident with three police motorcyclists attacked by protesters throwing paving stones and scooters along the Champs-Elysees.Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux denounced the actions of Yellow Vests protesters posting on Twitter that they were "racist, anti-Semitic, putschist". He denounced a reported protest Friday night in southwestern France where a mock trial of President Emmanuel Macron was held and an effigy of him was decapitated.In Toulouse, 2500 hundred protesters were on the streets and 2600 took to the streets in Bordeaux.Border crossings with Spain, Italy and Germany were blocked by Yellow Vests protesters.(INFORMATION FROM BFM-TV VIA GOOGLE TRANSALTION WAS USED IN THIS POST)
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has announced that the Kingdom will spend 7 percent more next year, at around $295 billion (1.1 trillion riyals).
This breaks the previous record set this year, with budget spending at $261 billion and it might spark concerns about the economy's sustainability as the increase for next year includes a hefty bill for cost-of-living allowances introduced this year.
The cost-of-living allowances were instituted at the start of this year, CNBC recalls in a report on the budget announcement, and they cost the budget an estimated $13 billion. Their purpose is to stimulate economic growth, most directly through greater consumer spending, but also to strengthen support for Crown prince Mohammed whose policies aimed at an economic turnaround have met with mixed reactions. It's no coincidence that the allowances target public servants and military personnel, besides pensioners and the poorest segments of society.
Also on rt.com Oil will skyrocket to $300 if OPEC-Russia alliance disbanded, Saudi institute claims The record-breaking budget means Saudi Arabia's deficit will be wider than expected by the International Monetary Fund a couple of months ago. Then, the IMF forecast the Kingdom's budget gap at 2 percent, but only if the cost-of-living allowances were suspended. Since this will not be the case, the budget announced by King Salman has stipulated a deficit of 4.2 percent, or $35 billion. This will be the sixth straight year of budget deficits for the country. However, the projected budget deficit is lower than this year's, which stood at 4.6 percent, according to a recent announcement from the finance ministry.
The budget also stipulated GDP growth of 2.6 percent next year, versus 2.3 percent this year, with oil revenues rising to $176.48 billion (662 billion riyals) from $161.82 billion (607 billion riyals) this year. This is rather optimistic amid the current slump in oil prices that has persisted despite Saudi Arabia's success in the latest OPEC production talks that ended with a commitment to reduce combined production by 800,000 bpd beginning in January.
Also on rt.com Saudi Arabia doesn't need US permission to cut oil output '' energy minister While the size of this cut is smaller than the one agreed in 2016, 800,000 bpd is still a large enough dent in supply or at least it should have been. However, a bleak economic outlook for the world has weighed on bullish sentiment as has the continued rise of US crude oil production. Russia's obvious reluctance to begin cutting and cut fast enough to make a difference has not helped the Saudi case either. Even a major production outage in Libya over the last two weeks has not been able to arrest the price slide.
Investment banks are one by one beginning to revise their forecasts for oil prices next year and these forecasts are lower. Usually, production outages in large OPEC producers such as Libya would have had an immediately bullish effect on prices, but now that this has changed as well, there aren't a whole lot of tailwinds for the oil price that would offer some relief to Saudi Arabia.
Also on rt.com 2019 will be a wild year for oil The Kingdom still needs Brent at a lot higher levels to break even. The IMF estimated this breakeven at almost $88 a barrel. But breaking even is not the main problem, as noted in a 2017 article by Saudi expert Ellen R. Wald for Forbes. There are other countries that run much higher budget deficits and still survive just fine. Yet the difference is, these countries, the US being a case in point, do not rely almost exclusively on one revenue source, which makes them more flexible in managing their deficit. Saudi Arabia has ambitious diversification plans but these plans need funding and funding availability directly depends on oil revenues. They may indeed rise in 2019 if the Kingdom expands its market share, but if the budget authors have based their projections on expectations of higher oil prices, they may be in for a nasty surprise judging by the latest price movements.
This article was originally published on Oilprice.com
ALERT Man and woman arrested over 'criminal use' in drone disruption at Gatwick | AIRLIVE.net
Sussex Police said a man and woman were detained ''in the Gatwick area'' shortly after 10pm on Friday.Superintendent James Collis said ''As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick Airport, Sussex Police made two arrests just after 10pm on 21 December.
UPDATE 3 Elaine Kirk, 54, and Paul Gait, 47, from Crawley, have been named locally as the middle-aged suspects arrested by police.
UPDATE 2 Police are searching a house in Crawley in West Sussex linked to the investigation into the use of drones which caused disruption at Gatwick Airport.
UPDATE 1 The man is 47 and the woman is 54.
''Our investigations are still on-going, and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones, by deploying a range of tactics.
''We continue to urge the public, passengers and the wider community around Gatwick to be vigilant and support us by contacting us immediately if they believe they have any information that can help us in bringing those responsible to justice.
''The arrests we have made this evening are a result of our determination to keep the public safe from harm, every line of enquiry will remain open to us until we are confident that we have mitigated further threats to the safety of passengers.
''Anyone with information about the incident or who may have suspicions about the drone operators is asked to report online or call 101 quoting Operation Trebor. If you see anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the airport, please dial 999 immediately.''
Video: Over 100 Yellow Vests Detained In Paris As Protests Continue Against Macron, EU
Another Saturday in France as movement against globalism continuesThe atmosphere at the Yellow Vest protests in the heart of the French capital has become more strained as demonstrators engage in scuffles with police officers.
Tensions rose hours into the rallies and police resorted to force against the rioters near the artistic Montmartre district in the north of the capital.
Scuffles also broke out near Madeleine Church, some 2km from Montmartre. Protesters were also seen near the iconic Louvre Museum and Sacre-Coeur Basilica. More than 100 people have been detained, according to the Paris Police Prefecture.
Deux #GiletsJaunes pacifiques qui bousculent violemment un groupe de #CRS pour les provoquer'...#Montmartre #ActeVI #Acte6 pic.twitter.com/hrFNWB9DSd
'-- Bob le Centriste (@BobLeCentriste) December 22, 2018
Some 2,000 people in fluorescent vests '' clothing usually worn by drivers that has now become an emblem of the rallies '' were marching in the capital Saturday, according to the city's police prefecture. The number of participants in the streets has notably diminished, however.
Yellow Vest protesters changed their usual meeting place. Instead of the Champs-Elysees, where violent clashes have occurred, they rallied in Montmartre. Yet, the district wasn't the intended venue for the rallies. Initially, they were called to march towards a French symbol of power and a major tourist site '' the iconic Versailles Palace. Located some 20km west of Paris, the palace was once besieged during the French Revolution.
#Montmartre : premi¨re Marseillaise entonn(C)e par les #GiletsJaunes devant le Sacr(C)-coeur #paris #22Decembre #Acte6 pic.twitter.com/6wI4NzoNsI
'-- Fabien Rives '' #RTFrance (@FabienRivesRTFr) December 22, 2018
As in previous weeks, the protests have also spread beyond the capital. Across the whole country 23,800 protesters tuned out, BFMTV reported. Some 300 demonstrators gathered in front of the city hall in Marseille. People also marched near a local police station, demanding the release of two Yellow Vests who had been detained earlier in the day.
Thousands of #GiletsJaunes demonstrating in Marseille as we speak. #ActeVI pic.twitter.com/kZn7q939rU
'-- Jordan ð¹ (@Jordan_SP1) December 22, 2018
Protesters also gathered at the A9 highway toll of Le Boulou in southern France. Waving Catalan flags and carrying a banner saying ''All united'' the rally was apparently a nod to Friday's protests in Barcelona.
France has been hit by a sixth consecutive weekend of Yellow Vest rallies. Previous protests turned violent, with demonstrators hurling stones and fireworks at police, while law enforcement resorted to using tear gas and water cannon. The mayhem has left almost 3,000 people, both protesters and police officers, injured. Over 4,500 have been detained and placed into custody since mid-November.