London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

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Flight risk remains, says judge as she refuses bail attempt

Julian Assange has failed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to get out of prison – after a judge ruled that his previous antics made him a flight risk.…


India’s peak IT body tells outsourcers to check contract cancellation fine print while COVID-19 reigns

logicfish Business indias peak body tells outsourcers check contract cancellation fine print while covid-19 reigns All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
In case force majeure means they can't deliver. And right now some haven't delivered detailed continuity plans

India’s peak body for the IT and business process outsourcing industries – NASSCOM - has advised its members to read the fine print in their services contracts so they understand the implications of a long lockdown that leaves them unable to deliver services.…


India's tech hub Bengaluru tells IT outfits to send workers home as part of COVID-crimping action

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Infosys closed office on suspicion, swabbed it out, but open for business again today

The Indian city of Bengaluru has advised the IT industry to let its people work from home as part of its response to COVID-19, as at least two cases strike the city.…


US Plotted To Assassinate Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Attorney Tells London Court

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US Plotted To Assassinate Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Attorney Tells London Court

On Monday Julian Assange's defense team told a London court that the United States plotted to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder

After describing US intelligence attempts to plant “intrusive and sophisticated” secret surveillance devices in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange had been living under asylum for seven years, Assange's attorne

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y Edward Fitzgerald told the court according to an explosive Daily Mail report published Tuesday:

“There were conversations about whether there should be more extreme measures contemplated, such as kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange in the embassy.”

Via Getty Images

The plot is alleged to have involved a private Spanish security company named UC Global, reportedly acting on behalf of the US authorities, which was engaged in eavesdropping on Assange and his visitors who entered the Ecuadorian embassy to meet privately with him. Officially the firm was in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Prior reports say live-stream audio and video devices were secretly hidden inside the embassy, and supplemented what could be picked up by laser microphones from outside. Court documents detailing UC Global SL's illegal operation were previously presented to Spain’s High Court.

The new disturbing allegations which came out during the first day of the WikiLeaks' founder extradition hearing involved scenarios wherein a "kidnapping" or killing could be made to look like an "accident"

Fitzgerald made reference to a “Witness Two” who revealed UC Global owner David Morales — a former Spanish military officer — discussed the "extreme measures". The witness was among a group of whistleblowers who previously came forward to testify against illegal and shady practices of the Spanish security firm.

Witness Two detailed that Morales “said the Americans were desperate and had even suggested more extreme measures could be applied against the guest to put an end to the situation,” Fitzgerald told the court.

Fitzgerald read the witness statement in court, which according to The Daily Mail also included the following:

He said there was a suggestion the embassy door could be left open to make a kidnapping look like it could have been 'an accident', adding 'even the possibility of poisoning had been discussed'

Giving credence to the newly revealed alleged plot, it must be remembered that in 2017 while Assange was still holed up in the embassy, then CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a speech before a Washington think tank audience that he deems WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service".

David Morales, left, owner of Spanish security firm Undercover Global SL. Image source: UC Global/Reuters

"It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," Pompeo said.

This was widely interpreted as a sign the CIA considered Assange and WikiLeaks members as fair game for assassination or kidnapping, given Pompeo essentially declared them "enemy agents" of the US.

Two years following these remarks, the Spanish-language daily newspaper El País revealed the major surveillance plot targeting Assange while in the embassy:

Documents and videos revealed by EL PAÍS in July, months before Assange took legal action against Morales, show that UC Global SL spied on the cyber-activist’s conversations with his lawyers, at meetings where they were designing his defense strategy to avoid extradition to the US. Morales allegedly delivered these and other conversations to US intelligence services, this newspaper revealed. Morales was arrested and released pending trial to face charges of violation of client-attorney privilege and illegal arms possession.

ABC News Australia also days ago published spy footage it obtained from inside the embassy showing:

"Julian Assange's conversations, including legally privileged meetings with Australian lawyers Geoffrey Robertson, Jennifer Robinson and Melinda Taylor, [which] were secretly recorded inside his London embassy home."

During his last months and years in the embassy, Assange was said to be deeply worried he was being recorded by WikiLeaks' enemies, at times going so far as to sleep in a tent in his room so his every movement couldn't be captured. 

He was rightly paranoid in part because the US and UK have long charged that Assange "put lives at risk" in previously releasing hundreds of thousands of government top secret files related to wars and covert operations especially across the Middle East, which gained international attention. He's now awaiting potential extradition to the US while under horrible conditions at London's notorious Belmarsh prison.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 21:05

Bernie Tells "Autocrat" & "Thug" Putin To "Stay Out" Of US Elections, But Also Slams WaPo For Hit Job

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Bernie Tells "Autocrat" & "Thug" Putin To "Stay Out" Of US Elections, But Also Slams WaPo For Hit Job

The newest evidence-free anonymously sourced claims of Russian interference ahead of the 2020 election is a return to and new twist on Trump and Putin's supposed three-dimensional chess playing, this latest version which goes something like this:

...the Kremlin wants Trump for four more years, so the best w

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ay to do this is elevate Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee — ensuring a Trump win. 

Sanders said he's been briefed on the matter, however, The Washington Post admitted revealingly, “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

As we noted earlier this seemingly by design puts the Democratic front-runner in a difficult spot, given he runs the risk of being attacked for disbelieving (even disloyalty to) U.S. intelligence, and, by default, defending the Kremlin.

Naturally, he had to go full anti-Putin to satisfy the Russia-obsessed Democratic base, warning the "autocrat" and "thug" to "stay out out US elections". 

“Mr. Putin is a thug. He is an autocrat. He may be a friend of Donald Trump —  he’s not a friend of mine,” Sanders said while in California.

“Let me tell Mr. Putin: The American people, whether you’re Republicans, Democrats, independents, are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections.”

He also took the timing of The Washington Post's reporting to task. Sanders' intelligence briefing was about a month ago, but has only been made public a day before the crucial Nevada vote.

“I’ll let you guess, about one day before the Nevada caucus. Why do you think it came out?” he told reporters. “It was The Washington Post? Good friends,” he added sarcastically.

Sanders had previously questioned of the new allegations, “Show me the proof that Russia is trying to help me” because, well... zero evidence has actually been presented. Sanders said additionally:

“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do. In 2016, Russia used Internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020.”

But his opponents have predictably already seized on what appears a carefully timed and calibrated smear.

Joe Biden immediately on the heels of the Post report told a Las Vegas crowd that Russia is “engaged again, right now as we speak, trying to affect not only the general election but who becomes the nominee of the Democratic Party.”

Elizabeth Warren also chimed in, questioning why the "Russian efforts" were not made public earlier, saying further the Russians "continue to have too much influence". 

Though this is all clearly part of the Democratic establishment's well-documented ongoing war to prevent a Bernie Sanders nomination, it must be remembered that Sanders himself for years added his own fuel to the Russiagate conspiracy fire when it came to Trump and the Republicans.

It's now been repackaged and is coming back to bite him. 

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 16:25

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer

logicfish Security dont natwestcouk online banking natwest bank tells baffled customer All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Dot-com is all the rage, yo

British customers of High Street banking brand Natwest are being advised not to use the domain natwest.co.uk – by none other than Natwest itself.…


Uncle Sam tells F-35B allies they'll have to fly the things a lot more if they want to help out around South China Sea

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Plus: Move to Agile is 'high risk' and infosec snafus still not fixed

British F-35Bs deploying to the South China Sea next year may not meet key reliability metrics set by an American government watchdog, its annual report has revealed.…


Autonomy did count some hardware sales as marketing costs, ex-finance bod tells High Court

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HP bad, Deloitte and Lynch and Hussain good, says current Invoke Capital bod

Autonomy trial  A witness who worked on the Autonomy finance team told London's High Court during the long-running Autonomy trial that the firm had indeed been accounting for some hardware sales as marketing expenses in its annual accounts.…


The soap opera continues. HP again tells Xerox: Show us more money!

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$33bn 'significantly undervalue' the stock, your move again copier giant

The board at HP has yet again rejected advances from Xerox, telling the hard pressed copier giant that it needs to increase the tabled bid of $33bn before it considers mutual due diligence and then putting the offer to shareholders.…

0 View

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City Tells Church It Will Lose Religious Designation Because It Shelters Homeless People

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City Tells Church It Will Lose Religious Designation Because It Shelters Homeless People

Authored by John Vibes via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Earlier this week, on Christmas Eve, an order from the city of Cleveland was posted on the door of the Denison Avenue United Church of Christ, demanding that they kick out the homeless people that they had been allowing to sleep on their property or face losing their status with the city as a religiou

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s organization.

The order came from the Cleveland Division of Fire, citing code violations that they claim are dangerous for the inhabitants. The city is following the letter of the law, in this case, suggesting that it is illegal to change the official use of the building without first filling out the required paperwork and making significant changes to the property.

According to the city’s building department, for the church to give shelter to homeless people, they would need to go through a costly process of not only updating the building but also getting the required permits and licenses that would designate the building as a homeless shelter.

Pastor Nozomi Ikuta has promised to appeal the ruling, saying that the church has been battling the city for months over their right to help the homeless.

“According to the city, it is improper for us to allow the Metanoia Project to use our building to provide overnight hospitality. They are telling us to apply to change the use of our building from a church to a shelter,” Ikuta told Cleveland.com.

Ikuta said that the church is happy to make changes to their building to make it safer, but she doesn’t believe that the church should have to change its designated purpose.

“In essence, this forces us to choose between our identity as a church and helping homeless people. We want to work with the fire department to resolve any concerns it might have, but we don’t think we should have to stop being a church just so we can help keep people off the street,” she said.

Among the changes that are required by the fire department are updates to the building’s fire alarm system, adding fire extinguishers and exit sights, along with fire sprinklers and other safety measures.

Local homeless advocates have argued that it is more dangerous to keep these people out on the streets than it is to house them in a building that may not be entirely up to code.

“Six people have frozen to death over the past few years and the unsheltered homeless population continues to rise,” NEOCH executive director, Chris Knestrick told Scene.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 17:30

BlackBerry tells UK High Court that security outfit SentinelOne is its direct rival

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Non-compete legal brouhaha reveals how once-mighty handset biz now sees itself

BlackBerry, the former phone handset company, has accused rival security business SentinelOne of systematically poaching its top talent during a court hearing in central London where the Canadian company tried to block a salesman from jumping ship.…

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Macron Tells NATO, Russia Must Come In From The Cold War

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Macron Tells NATO, Russia Must Come In From The Cold War

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Last week I went through just some of the highlights as to why Russia is becoming a destination for global capital.

For years it’s been a little lonely out here banging on about how well the Russian state headed by Vladimir Putin has navigated an immense campaign by the West to marginalize and

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/or isolate Russia from the world economy.

But that is changing rapidly. And 2020 will likely be the year the New Cold War begins to end. And it starts with Europe. In recent weeks there have been a number of moves made on both sides to end the economic isolation of Russia by Europe.

As always, however, it begins politically. French President Emmanuel Macron speaking at a press conference before 70th Anniversary NATO Summit in London no less, made it clear that he no longer wants the EU positioning itself as an adversary of Russia or China.

Standing next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Macron put a further down payment that he is looking to replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the person setting the tone for European Foreign Policy.

“NATO is a collective defense organization, but against what or against who? Who is our common enemy? We need to clarify that. And it is a very strategic question,” he told reporters at a press conference in Paris on Nov. 28.

“Sometimes I hear some saying that it is Russia or China, our enemy. Is it the purpose of the Atlantic Alliance to identify one or the other as our enemies? I don’t think so. Our joint enemy, clearly within the Alliance, is terrorism that’s struck our countries.”

Macron said that NATO needs “a common definition of terrorism, of who the terrorist groups are and how to act in coordination against them.” He said that “the absence of dialogue with Russia” did not make the European continent safer and that he wants to “clarify our relationship with Russia.”

“We want a lucid, robust, and demanding dialogue with Russia, with neither naivety nor complacency,” he said.

Macron’s full remarks can be found here.

The big shift here is Macron signaling out that NATO needs to shift its focus away from Russia and China and focus on threat of terrorism. There are at least two reasons for him doing this.

First, this aligns Macron with Putin on where the focus of security concerns should be. Putin has been banging this drum for years, certainly since his game-changing speech at the 2015 U.N. General Assembly two days before he sent Russian troops into Syria.

These words more than the others are music to Putin’s ears and a complete needle-scratch for the foreign policy orthodoxy on K Street and in Vauxhall. As they have been the architects of this new Cold War with Russia which has altered the landscape of EU economic progress for the past five years.

At some point the ‘frozen conflicts’ that Macron mentions in his remarks have to thaw because, as he rightly points out, it has been Europe that has been made less safe by U.S. foreign policy imperatives — ending the INF Treaty, freezing all diplomacy with Russia, etc.

So, Macron is prepping the table for his upcoming Normandy format talks with Germany, Russia and Ukraine on how to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Reality has seen in that Crimea is now off the table for NATO and so are the eastern breakaway provinces of the Donbass. I’ve maintained for years that Russia was always playing the game of attrition in Ukraine, winning by waiting for the EU and Ukrainians to tire of the war and eventually sue for peace.

Moreover, the economic defense of Russia that Putin mounted supported this policy. By doing the unthinkable in 2014, floating the ruble and allowing it to fall, he laid the foundation for today’s victory.

Make no mistake, this speech by Macron is a victory for Russia and, by extension, the world. Because Macron, Merkel and Putin have all the tools in their grasp to now push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to fully implement Ukraine’s responsibilities under the Minsk agreements.

This would never happen under former President Petro Poroshenko, who is a long-standing U.S. asset and who openly bankrupted Ukraine during his tenure even more than his predecessor Viktor Yanukovich, no mean feat that.

Secondly, Macron’s comments underscore his desire to raise a transnational EU army and his comments are a direct statement that he wants the two security infrastructures to have separate mandates. It’s clear Macron doesn’t want Europe’s security to depend on the U.S. any longer.

And I’m sure that this idea gets a sympathetic ear from President Trump. The problem, of course, is that that idea isn’t popular with anyone else in the U.S. Deep State. Hence the push to create a chimeric impeachment process to remove him from power, or, at least, neuter him completely.

On the latter point they’ve nearly succeeded.

To Macron, NATO should deal with terrorism, downgrading its importance and paving the way for ending it in the future, while the EU army is under the control of the European Commission, which to a globalist like Macron is the epitome of ‘sovereignty.’

Macron, with these remarks as a prologue of what he will argue for at the NATO Summit, is telling the world Europe is done paying the price for the U.S.’s Cold War with Russia.

He’s also letting everyone know that 2020 will see the end of the sanctions in exchange for ending the conflict in Ukraine and re-opening the floodgates of European investment into Russia.

This puts paid everything I talked about in last week’s blog and which was also picked up by Alexander Mercouris at The Duran who is one of the very few analysts who understood Russia’s strategy and what the end-game would look like.

This is welcome news in Germany who absolutely want the sanctions lifted which will put Merkel under even more pressure to lift them. Putin has already made the moves necessary for Merkel to save face here — offering a new gas transit contract for Ukraine, handing back the ships seized in the Kerch Strait incident, prisoner exchange, etc.

A lot will ride on Putin’s upcoming meeting with Zelensky. There is so much coming together for the first half of December that by year-end we could be staring a very different geopolitical landscape in Europe.

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you want unvarnished analysis of European Politics.  Install the Brave Browser if you want to continue speaking freely about it outside of Google’s prying eyes.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 08:10


War Conflict


'Joe Biden Doesn't Have It': Obama Tells It Straight As 2020 Candidates Seek Wisdom

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'Joe Biden Doesn't Have It': Obama Tells It Straight As 2020 Candidates Seek Wisdom

Barack Obama has been frustrating the Democratic establishment of late. By refusing to endorse his former VP Joe Biden - who is barely clinging to his lead as the 2020 frontrunner, while at the same time panning progressive candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the former president appears to be tacitly admitting that the current pool of Democratic cand

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idates - and Biden in particular, is not worth risking his reputation over.

Politico's Ryan Lizza sat down with several people in Obama's orbit, including former Attorney General Eric Holder - who wanted to run for President in 2020 but couldn't because of Biden.

Last year, Obama let it be widely known that he would not make his preference known or, in the phrase that his close advisers frequently use, “put his thumb on the scale.” It wasn’t just Biden who was disappointed. Holder was particularly wounded that his close friend wasn’t more encouraging of his own ambitions. ”He’s still pretty sensitive about it,” said someone close to Holder. “He was really frustrated about having arrived at the decision not to run. Holder couldn’t get in because Biden and Holder have the same set of people. Once Biden was getting in then Eric couldn’t get in. So that frustrated Holder. It blocked him. And Biden has turned out the way they all feared, and that’s really frustrating to Eric.” -Politico

The seemingly obvious answer as to why Obama won't endorse Biden is simple; they worked together for eight years, providing ample insight into Biden's gaffe-prone mental faculties and tone-deaf opinions - not to mention the whole Ukraine thing. Both Biden and Obama have stated that Biden asked Obama not to endorse him until he'd 'earned' it.

Instead, the former president has been dispensing advice to all 2020 candidates who seek it, and "sees his role as providing guardrails to keep the process from getting too ugly and to unite the party when the nominee is clear," according to the report.

That said, while Obama has been incredibly careful not to speak ill of Biden - he did take a jab at his former VP, suggesting that when it comes to having an 'intimate bond with the electorate' (especially in Iowa), Biden 'really doesn't have it.':

With several lesser-known candidates, according to people who have talked to him or been briefed on his meetings, he was blunt about the challenges of breaking out of a large field. His advice is not always heeded. He told Patrick earlier this year that it was likely “too late” for him to secure “money and talent” if he jumped in the race. Occasionally, he can be cutting. With one candidate, he pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate, especially in Iowa, that he no longer has. Then he added, “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.” -Politico

More takeaways from Politico:

  •  Biden's camp has been frustrated with Obama's silence over Ukraine

One person who is very close to both Obama and Biden said the only time the Biden campaign has been disappointed in Obama is over Trump’s Ukraine scandal. “I don't think anybody in the Biden world challenges Obama’s affection for Biden, or challenges his strategy of not weighing in for anybody,” this person said. ”I do think there's frustration when Joe Biden and Hunter Biden get attacked by Republicans on the Ukrainian thing and they say, ’Obama and his administration looked the other way back when this was happening,’ and Obama doesn't say anything. The Biden people ask, ‘Why won’t Obama say something?’

  • If Obama saw Bernie Sanders as a serious threat, he would actively campaign against him.

Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him. (Asked about that, a spokesperson for Obama pointed out that Obama recently said he would support and campaign for whoever the Democratic nominee is.)

  • Obama offers candidates three big points: "Don’t run if you don’t think you are the best person to be president; make sure you understand the toll a campaign will take on your family; and ask yourself, “Can you win?”"

As he put it recently at a donor event in Washington, “Not are you guaranteed a win, but do you have a theory, a pathway whereby you win not just a primary but you also win a general election, because there is not an empty exercise if you, in fact, get in. Your goal should be to actually ultimately become the president and then be able to lead the country and the world in a serious way.”

  • Obama planned to focus on setting up his foundation, writing a memoir and dealing with global issues, but feels dragged back in by Trump's 2016 win.

But the original plan of a relaxed post-presidency of writing and thinking and mentoring, one that was relatively unencumbered by partisan politics, was blown up by the twin surprises of Trump’s victory and Biden’s decision to challenge him in 2020. Instead of remaining above the fray, Obama was forced back into the center of politics by Trump and Biden, who, for opposite reasons, talk about him and his legacy at every opportunity.

“In a perfect world, he would have retreated to a greater degree from public life than he has, much in the same way that I think George W. Bush did in his post-presidency,” Holder told me. “He would have liked to have been, though he’s too young, an elder statesman.”

Tyler Durden

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 13:05




Globalist Magazine "The Economist" Tells Plebs To Eat Bugs

zerohedge News globalist magazine economist tells plebs bugs All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Globalist Magazine "The Economist" Tells Plebs To Eat Bugs

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Globalist magazine ‘The Economist’ published an article encouraging people to live on a diet of bugs like citizens in the conflict-torn Congo in order to save the planet.

Entitled ‘Why eating bugs is so popular in Congo’, the piece champions the consumption of caterpillars, cric

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kets and grasshoppers as being “richer in protein than beef or fish.”

“Others around the world should catch up,” writes the unnamed author.

“Bug farming takes up less land, requires less food and does less damage to the environment than meat or fish farming.”

Hunting insects is easy, too. Anyone can wander into the forest—or, indeed, to the airport—and gather caterpillars, ants and grasshoppers,” he adds before admitting that

“The wrong variety of insect can poison consumers.”

Eating bugs being popular in the Congo may have something to to with the fact that the DROC is a a conflict-torn, corrupt, politically unstable hellhole with a barely functioning economy from which hundreds of thousands have fled while millions more are at risk of malnutrition and starvation.

Just a thought.

The irony of the Economist telling people to eat bugs is pretty thick given that its own readership, which largely comprises of wealthy privileged elitists, would never even consider doing such a thing.

Once again, it’s very much a case of do as we say not as we do.

Eating bugs has been heavily promoted by cultural institutions and the media in recent months because people are being readied to accept drastically lower standards of living under disastrous global ‘Green New Deal’ programs.

*  *  *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/18/2019 - 19:45

Pack your bags, you're going to America, Lord Chief Justice tells accused Brit hacker

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High Court throws out Nathan Wyatt's extradition appeal

A Briton once suspected of hacking Pippa Middleton's iCloud account – although he was cleared after a police probe in 2016 – now faces deportation to America.…


Try as they might, ransomware crooks can't hide their tells when playing hands

logicfish Security they might ransomware crooks cant hide their tells when playing hands All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Sophos sees common behavior across various infections

Common behaviors shared across all families of ransomware are helping security vendors better spot and isolate attacks.…


Morrisons tells top court it's not liable for staffer who nicked payroll data of 100,000 employees

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Supermarket takes appeal to most senior legal eagles

Brit supermarket Morrisons is arguing in the Supreme Court that it shouldn't be held vicariously liable for the actions of a rogue employee who stole and leaked the company's payroll.…


'Nothing Illegal In Trump-Zelensky Call': NSC Official Tells Impeachment Inquiry

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'Nothing Illegal In Trump-Zelensky Call': NSC Official Tells Impeachment Inquiry

A top National Security Council official who quit the day before his testimony told Congressional investigators on Thursday that he does not believe Trump discussed anything illegal with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky according to The Federalist.

Tim Morrison

"I want to be clear, I was not conc

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erned that anything illegal was discussed," said Tim Morrison, former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs who was on the July 25 call between the two leaders.

Morrison also testified that the transcript of the phone call which was declassified and released by the White House "accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call."

Morrison testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that certain military funding had been delayed by the Trump administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call, casting doubt on allegations that Trump somehow conveyed an illegal quid pro quo demand during the July 25 call.

I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,” Morrison said. That is the same day that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chief anti-Trump inquisitor in the U.S. House of Representatives, disclosed on Twitter that funding had been held up. Politico also published a story that day, sourced to anonymous leaks, that military funding had been temporarily held up. -The Federalist

Last week, Morrison was named during testimony earlier this month by William Taylor, Trump's top envoy to Ukraine, according to Politico.

William Taylor

As we reported earlier today of Morrison, following the call, Morrison informed Taylor that it "could have gone better," and that Trump suggested Zelensky and his staff meet with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr.

Morrison's hawkish views align with those of Bolton and he has been described as a creature of process by some close to him.

Bolton always told those who worked for him that process was their protector and sometimes you have to listen to the person elected -- advice Morrison adopted, sources said.

Morrison is a lifelong Republican described as a Reaganite and is referred to as "'Bolton's Bolton,' he is really hard right," according to one source familiar with Morrison. -CNN

"The NSC process does not allow anything that isn't legal. It just, it would never get to the President. Certainly not any process that Tim was ever a part of," said one source close to Morrison. "A piece of paper does not get to the national security adviser without first going through the lawyers, much less to the President."

Taylor also said that Morrison witnessed Trump Ally Gordon Sondland convey a quid pro quo arrangement;

Taylor also described a conversation in which Morrison relayed word from Sondland that Trump had told Sondland directly that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky should publicly announce the investigations.

House impeachment investigators are exploring whether Trump conditioned nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine — and a White House visit for Zelensky — on Ukraine's willingness to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Taylor told lawmakers that Morrison relayed concerns about Trump's posture toward Ukraine to then-national security adviser John Bolton and to NSC lawyers. -Politico

According to Morrison, the national security process worked as designed.

"I am pleased our process gave the president the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance," he said, adding "I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump administration accomplish."

Earlier Thursday, House Democrats (all but two) approved impeachment procedures against President Trump. No Republicans voted for the measure.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 13:40


Human Interest


US Ambassador Tells Impeachment Panel Of Trump-Ukraine Quid Pro Quo

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US Ambassador Tells Impeachment Panel Of Trump-Ukraine Quid Pro Quo

A lightning-fast leak of closed-door testimony from US diplomat to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, reveals his ongoing belief that there was a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine - who President Trump asked to investigate the country's role in the 2016 US election, as well as corruption allegations levied at Joe and Hunter Biden.

William B. Taylor Jr., the top Ameri
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can diplomat in Ukraine, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Democrats have called the testimony the most damaging account yet, as Taylor provided an "excruciatingly detailed" opening statement, according to the New York Times.

(We're still waiting on a leak - or at least a transcript, from Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, whose testimony earlier this month was reportedly exonerating). 

Taylor notably expressed his concerns in a Sept. 9 text message to US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, saying: "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

To which Sondland replies "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind," adding "I suggest we stop the back and forth by text."  

On Tuesday, Mr. Taylor directly addressed accusations surrounding Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of the leading Democratic candidates for president.

He “drew a very direct line in the series of events he described between President Trump’s decision to withhold funds and refuse a meeting with Zelensky unless there was a public pronouncement by him of investigations of Burisma and the so-called 2016 election conspiracy theories,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said. -New York Times

As the Washington Post notes, Taylor said "By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelenskyy wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma," the Ukrainian gas firm which employed Hunter Biden, "and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections." 

Taylor also said the quid pro quo was explicitly communicated to Ukraine

He says he was told by National Security Council aide Tim Morrison that Sondland, the European Union Ambassador, directly communicated that quid pro quo to a top Zelenky aide, Andriy Yermak.

“During this same phone call I had with Mr. Morrison, he went on to describe a conversation Ambassador Sondland had with Mr. Yermak at [a meeting in] Warsaw,” Taylor says. “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.” -WaPo

Now, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are discussing bringing Sondland back for further testimony, as some believe he was not forthcoming with them. 

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 17:05




Ex-Goldman Billionaire Backs Warren Redistribution Plan, Tells 'Rich' To "Lighten Up"

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Ex-Goldman Billionaire Backs Warren Redistribution Plan, Tells 'Rich' To "Lighten Up"

While most billionaires and establishment elites have thoughtfully rejected  (or avoided discussion of) Elizabeth Warren's (and Bernie Sanders' for that matter) plans to unleash a wealth tax on the richest Americans, there appears to be a new champion in the virtue-signalling arena.

Billionaire Michael Novogratz, former Goldman Sachs partner

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and founder of crypto-fund Galaxy Investment Partners, told his fellow rich elites to 'stop worrying so much about Elizabeth Warren'.

“You’re not victims, you’re the richest people in the world,”

“How in God’s name do you feel like a victim?”

In an interview at a benefit for Hudson River Park Friends, of which he’s chairman, Novogratz added that

“Ninety-seven percent of the people I know in my world are really, really fearful of her,

“They don’t like her, they’re worried about her, they think she’s anti-rich,”

“It’s a little carried away.”

As Bloomberg reports,  Warren has been gaining momentum in a huge field of candidates for the Democratic nomination, with plans for a wealth tax and tougher regulation.

Source: Bloomberg

And, looking down from his billionaire perch, Novogratz believes plans to take from the rich to give to those who are struggling make sense.

“The way the country is functioning today, the bottom 60% aren’t doing well,” said Novogratz, who has supported Democrats in the past.

“She’s speaking to that group. She wants to redistribute. Bernie’s a socialist, Elizabeth says she’s a capitalist, she just wants to redistribute more. And I think we’re going to have more redistribution.”

But Novogratz did have some words of advice for the Massachussetts Senator:

“The first seven things out of her mouth were divisive and anti-rich,” he said.

“And I called and I was like, ‘Dude, you can’t heal the country by telling them all rich people cheated. LeBron James didn’t cheat. He was just really good at basketball. Maybe the markets don’t work the way they should, that’s a fair argument, but don’t say they cheated.’ So I got really angry about that.”

However, criticism has been heaped on a Washington Post op-ed by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman purporting to show that for the first time in U.S. history billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class.

Adapted from Emmanuel Saez, 2019, "Taxation of Financial Capital: Is the Wealth Tax the Solution?; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Former Treasury Secretary and head of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, disagrees with Novogratz:

"I do not think a focus on wealth inequality as a basis for being concerned about a more just society is terribly well designed."

Additionally, Summers slammed the economists behind Warren's plan, noting that he believed Saez and Zucman had overestimated "by a third" the amount of wealth held by American billionaires and that he doubted the tax would deliver "even half of their wealth figure."

Having heard such comments as "billionaires shouldn't exist," Warren claimed, during Tuesday’s Democratic candidates’ debate, “look, I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” in response from criticism by former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke that she was pitting the country against itself.

“All I’m saying is, ‘You make it to the top, the top 0.1 percent, then pitch in two cents so every other kid in America has a chance to make it.’”

Of course, this wealth tax comes on top of massively increased income taxes for the richest too...

Finally, back to Novogratz, who concludes that, while he will not whine about Warren's wealth tax, he’d rather have a more centrist Democrat as the candidate, but hasn’t yet found someone he thinks can win, even though he likes Pete Buttigieg.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 15:50




Johnson Tells Merkel Brexit Deal "Essentially Impossible" As Talks Teeter On Brink Of Collapse

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Johnson Tells Merkel Brexit Deal "Essentially Impossible" As Talks Teeter On Brink Of Collapse

Sorry, Goldman.  But it's truly starting to look like a new Brexit deal between the UK and Brussels might be out of reach.

According to Bloomberg and several local media reports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a "very difficult" call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday morning.

Merkel reportedly insisted that the EU27 wo

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uld never agree to a Brexit deal that didn't include a backstop arrangement that would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.

Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel a Brexit deal is essentially impossible if the EU demands Northern Ireland should stay in the bloc’s customs union. An irritated Johnson reportedly replied that if this was non-negotiable, then a deal would be "effectively impossible." Around this time, a senior official in Johnson's government texted reporters to let them know that his government was preparing for talks to collapse.

According to the BBC, phrases like "overwhelmingly unlikely" were also thrown around.

MPs will publish updated no-deal Brexit planning documents later on Tuesday, as talks teeter on the brink of collapse.

Johnson is hoping that he will be able to hammer out a final deal during an upcoming EU Council meeting on Oct. 17 and 18.

With the odds of a no-deal exit at the end of this month on the rise, the pound tumbled 0.5%.

Labour was, unsurprisingly, quick to criticize Johnson, denouncing the remark as a "cynical attempt to sabotage the negotiations." Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Johnson "will never take responsibility for his own failure to put forward a credible deal," and called on Parliament to "unite to prevent this reckless government crashing us out of the EU."

Little progress has been made in the days since Johnson unveiled his alternative Brexit plan, which focused on replacing the so-called backstop, the policy negotiated by Theresa May and the EU to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland, which has long been a sticking point.

After the call with Merkel, a No. 10 source accused the EU of being "willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement" by rejecting Johnson's plan.

Meanwhile, the UK revamped the tariffs it plans to levy on Eu goods after a no-deal Brexit following warnings that an earlier plan risked making domestic producers uncompetitive.

Germany confirmed that a call between Johnson and Merkel did take place, but they're refusing to confirm any details from the call.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 06:35




Here we go again: US govt tells Facebook to kill end-to-end encryption for the sake of the children

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Uncle Sam calls on tech giants to open up platforms for government snooping

The US government is renewing its efforts to talk tech firms out of using end-to-end encryption methods that would keep police from snooping on conversations.…


Buyer Beware: Peloton IPO Crash Tells Us The Global IPO Market Is Going Bust

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Buyer Beware: Peloton IPO Crash Tells Us The Global IPO Market Is Going Bust

Day two, the Peloton IPO continues to collapse, at the 10 am hour, shares are trading down -7% in the 23-handle, and in the last 645 minutes of trading, are now down more than 13%. 

Peloton, having priced the IPO on Thursday at $29 - the upper end of the range - and being promoted by mainstream media as "oversubscribed," has been a bloodba

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th for insiders who bought 40 million shares at $29 each, now collectively down 17.5%.

As Bloomberg pointed out, the worst opening trades for a $1 billion or greater IPO since 2008 are:

  • SmileDirectClub -11% (Sept. 12)

  • ADT -9.6% (2018)

  • Uber -6.7% (May 10)

Peloton, opening-up at $27 on Thursday, was a 6.9% drop and thus the third-worst opening trade for a unicorn IPO.

There have been nearly 100 IPOs with better starts since 2008 after raising at least $1 billion.

None of this should be a huge surprise to readers as the value of Peloton on a fundamental basis, is nowhere close to $29, but rather worth $14 per share, something we outlined yesterday. 

The collapse of the Peloton IPO is a massive embarrassment for underwriters Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Securities, who have done very little, as far as judging by price action, in stabilizing trading for the second day.  

It's very likely the IPO window is shutting, with news overnight of Endeavor Group Holdings pulled its planned offering. Endeavor is the second recent company to pull its IPO after WeWork's parent company pulled its offering earlier this month. 

And the reason for the horrible performance of the Peloton IPO could be due to the global IPO market is collapsing as a worldwide recession is imminent, reported Dealogic, first reported by the Financial Times.

Nearly 845 companies listed their shares via IPOs globally so far this year, that's a 25% decline versus the same period in 2018 and the lowest level since 2016. 

Translation: the IPO market is closing as speculative money is finished betting in the global stock market casino. 

"In more than two decades in the IPO market I've never seen so many risk factors and uncertainties," said Martin Steinbach, IPO leader for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa for EY, the consultant. "These uncertainties create volatility like we saw over the summer period and volatility has a negative correlation with IPO activity."

Dealogic said Europe was the worst region for IPOs in 2019. Activity plunged by nearly 40% so far this year compared to the same period last year. The US posted a 23% decline. 

As shown in a series of charts below, 2019 IPOs in the US have been a complete bust. Any millennial who bought into the whole CNBC hype of buying Lyft and Uber at IPO day is significantly in the red, and will be in the red for a generation to come.

Other IPOs, including Levi Strauss and Pinterest, are also underperforming as well.

In the Asia-Pacific region, IPO activity so far this year dropped 9%, versus the same time last year.

The window to IPO companies around the world appears to be rapidly closing as a global recession is imminent.

We noted earlier this week that a fascinating trend is developing among the ultra-wealthy: the dash for cash ahead of the next market crash

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 11:14


Business Finance


They're Murdering My Son – Julian Assange's Father Tells Of Pain And Anguish

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They're Murdering My Son – Julian Assange's Father Tells Of Pain And Anguish

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian As

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sange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.

First though an introduction to the Assange case.

Few media figures can be attributed with transforming international politics and the global media landscape. Arguably, Julian Assange, author, publisher and founder of the Wikileaks whistleblower website (2006), is in the top tier of world-changing individuals over the past decade.

The Australian-born Assange has previously been awarded with accolades and respect for his truth-telling journalism which exposed massive crimes, corruption and nefarious intrigues by the US government and its Western allies.

One of the most shocking exposés by Wikileaks was the video ‘Collateral Murder’ (2010) which showed mass, indiscriminate deadly shootings by US troops in Iraq. Similar war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan were also revealed by Wikileaks. The so-called US and NATO “war on terror” was exposed as a fraud and gargantuan crime.

Assange worked with American whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, the latter revealing the illegal systematic global surveillance by US spy agencies against ordinary citizens and political leaders around the world in flagrant violation of human rights and Washington’s much-vaunted claims of upholding civil liberties and international law.

The powers-that-be have gone after these truth-tellers with a vengeance for daring to expose their hypocrisy and vile record. Snowden is in exile in Russia unable to return to the US out of fear of imprisonment for “treason”. Manning is currently being detained indefinitely in the US because she refuses to testify against Assange. Julian Assange’s ground-breaking journalism exposing government crimes did so in a way that so many established Western news media outlets failed to do out of cowardly deference to the powers-that-be. Such so-called “independent” media are now facilitating the persecution of Assange by smearing his reputation and ignoring his plight in prison. He has been smeared, among other slanders, as a “Kremlin agent” and a “cyber terrorist”.

After almost seven years (2012-2019) confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he sought political asylum to avoid arbitrary arrest by British authorities over trumped-up sex assault claims (since dropped), Assange was illegally arrested in April this year by UK police storming the Ecuadorian embassy. He has since been detained in maximum security Belmarsh prison where he is held under conditions of solitary confinement. He is being detained indefinitely while the US prepares a request to British authorities to extradite him. If he is extradited to the US, Assange will face charges under the Espionage Act which could result in 175 years in jail.

Belmarsh prison in London is a Special Category A jail (the most severe of four grades of detention centers in the British penal system). It has been used previously to detain mass murderers and the most dangerous convicted terrorists. Julian Assange’s ongoing incarceration there under lockdown is preposterous. It is an outrage, and yet Western media show little or no concern to report on this gross violation of due process and human rights law.

Earlier this month, on September 13, Assange was ordered by a British judge to be detained further even though he was due to be released this week on September 22, after having served out his sentence over a minor bail infringement that occurred back in 2012 when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That bail infringement is null and void since the original sex-assault claim in Sweden has been dropped due to lack of evidence against Assange.

Evidently, his detention is being used by the British government (no doubt at the behest of Washington) in order to destroy his health and very being. At age 48, his physical and mental condition are deteriorating by the day under the extreme conditions which amount to torture, as the UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer noted after visiting the prisoner back in May this year. The UN report called for Assange’s immediate release.

The following is an interview conducted with Assange’s father, John Shipton. He is currently on a tour of European countries to highlight the gross miscarriage of justice against his son. Shipton is visiting Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden to campaign for Julian’s immediate release. He is also traveling to Russia.

In contrast to Western media indifference, John Shipton says he has encountered great public support for Julian, demanding his freedom. Among his supporters are prominent public figures, award-winning journalist John Pilger, renowned thinker and writer Noam Chomsky, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and the courageous actress Pamela Anderson.


Q: Can you describe the current prison conditions for Julian and his state of health?

Julian has lost 15 kilos in weight, is held in Belmarsh Maximum Security prison hospital 22 hours per day in solitary confinement. Nils Melzer, United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, visited in company with two people expert in recognizing the effects of torture. Nils’ report stated Julian showed the effects of torture physically and mentally. Since Nils’ visit in May 2019, Julian continues to lose weight, now totaling 15 kilos. Nils and company describe Julian’s deeply distressing condition in firm language. UN report linked.

Q: It is reported that you are being restricted from contact with your son in prison despite you having traveled from Sydney, Australia, to visit him. Is that correct?

Julian can receive two, two-hour social visits per month. My visit was double-booked with another thus cancelled. A week later, in company with Ai Wei Wei, we visited Julian. Sitting in the prisoners’ meeting room for 46 minutes, upon complaining we were told Julian could not be found. Couple of minutes later Julian was brought in.

Q: Is Julian being restricted from contact with his lawyers in order to prepare his defense against the pending extradition case from Britain to the US?

Yes, severely. Sentenced to maximum security as a Grade B prisoner in solitary confinement, without access to computer or library. I gather the prison library has no books on criminal law.

Q: The latest development this month on September 13 saw a British judge rule that Julian’s detention in London’s max security Belmarsh prison is to be extended indefinitely despite him being due to be released on September 22 after serving his time for a bail infringement back in 2012. What, in your view, is objectionable about the latest ruling by the British judge?

The judge, Vanessa Baraitser, made her own application for Julian’s bail which, with bottomless ignominy, she promptly refused. Baraitser in summing her judgement used the phrase, “likely to abscond”. Julian has partaken of legal conventions of asylum, and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory, reviewed and supported by 32 states in the American Organization of States, and he has ceaselessly offered Swedish prosecutors opportunity to interview him on allegations or travel to Sweden if guarantees of no onward extradition to the United States. Stephania Maurizi’s Freedom of Information requests of United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecuting Service and Swedish Crown Prosecuting Authority had revealed irregular anti-procedural state cooperation keeping Julian in Ecuador’s London embassy. Mini Adolf Eichmanns all of them are.

Swedish prosecuting authority has had four prosecutors, two interviews, one in Sweden 2010 and 2017 in Ecuador’s London embassy, during nine years under regulations stating that cases must be progressed. To land a man on the moon took eight years!

This is prosecutorial and judicial insouciant malice towards Julian.

Q: What are your concerns about what could happen if your son is extradited to the US where he is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act?

They will murder Julian one way or the other.

Q: What do you say to politicians and media figures, like Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late US senator John McCain, who denounce Julian as a cyber terrorist”?

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, moron and crook or if you prefer, crook and moron, if memory serves, first uttered this phrase purportedly bringing Julian under the Patriot Act as a terrorist, thereby able to be extra-judicially murdered. Floundering morons repeat meaningless phrases echoing other bubble-head nonsense. Everyone of those morons are horrified by and terrified by truth and facts which everyone all can see and read on Wikileaks.

Q: Are you proud of your son’s work as a publisher and whistleblower? What do see as his main achievement from his publishing work?

The achievements are many. In diplomatic cables we can read of how the geopolitical world is composed and disposed of people therein. We can understand what Uncle Sam wants and how the US state gets what its wants. Many millions of people, communities and states benefit from Wikileaks, some greatly. Example, Chagos Islanders at the International Court of Justice. Iraq War and Afghan files exposing war crimes. Vault 7 exposing CIA cyber illegalities and crimes. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video’s revelation of US war crimes in Iraq. The list of revelations and beneficiaries is long and deep. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are a necessity.

War crimes revealed, sordid practices, blackmail and bribery. Seven countries destroyed, millions dead, rivers of blood and millions displaced. Yet only Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, both innocent of giving hurt and crime, rot in jail.

Q: Is Julian’s treatment by British and US authorities a grave warning to all citizens about the danger to their right to freedom of expression and independent media?

Yes, a grim warning. Shut up or be crushed. What free press? English-speaking mass media is homogenous in its deceptions, prevarication and banal lies. Popular internet search engines deflect enquiry to corporate cronies. Facebook corporation is greed incarnate. All these entities can be simply regulated. Nations states have powers, however, do nothing but salivate over access to data we generate… our data.

For Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are icons of oppressive state violence towards revelation of astonishing corruption and staggering criminality.

Many gifted, brave writers, commentators and film-makers continue a furious fight in alternate media and blogs. We give our gratitude and salute such men and women, for they all know, intimately, there is no monster colder than the US state and its allies.

Q: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the government in Canberra have refused to make appeals for Julian’s release despite him being an Australian citizen. How do you view the Australian government’s lack of response to the case? Why are they apparently derelict? For example, Premier Morrison is visiting US President Donald Trump this week but he is reportedly scheduled to not raise the Assange case or to request his release. Why is Morrison acting with such indifference, and deference to the US?

The Australian government is complicit. More than complicit as silence indicates agreed involvement. Notable exception are ex Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, with concordance of ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, raising Julian with Jeremy Hunt, the former United Kingdom Foreign Minister and Mike Pompeo, the current United States Secretary of State.

Q: Are you hopeful that Julian will be released in the near future? How important have public supporters like journalist John Pilger, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and actress Pamela Anderson, as well as ordinary members of the public, been to Julian’s spirits?

To Julian’s spirits, friends and supporters are alpha to omega of life.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 09/25/2019 - 02:00


Law Crime


Rome Needs "A Little Bit More Time" To Reduce Italy's Debt, Conte Tells Brussels

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Rome Needs "A Little Bit More Time" To Reduce Italy's Debt, Conte Tells Brussels

In his first comments to Brussels since being sworn in to his second act as prime minister, Italy's Giuseppe Conte, who is now leading a coalition of the Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, told the incoming president of the European Commission that Italy would need "a little bit of time" to cut its debt.

According to the FT, Conte told U

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rusla von der Leyen, the incoming head of the commission, that Italy wouldn't "risk financial stability" - i.e., risk triggering another bond-market-rattling showdown with Brussels by insisting on blowing out its federal budget deficit - but that the country would need to make investments that set it back on the path toward economic growth.

"We must make investments that allow us to direct growth towards greater employment, and we want to make a transparent pact with the EU on what is our programme," Mr Conte said. "Our objective is the reduction of debt,” he said. "We are not saying that we do not want our accounts in order, but we want to do it through a reasonable growth and productive investments."

There's a chance that Brussels might prove more receptive this time around (last year, the showdown between the anti-establishment coalition and Brussels reignited speculation about the possibility that Italy might leave the euro). Brussels eventually caved and allowed Italy to pursue a number close to its original request of around 2% of GDP. Though it was later revealed that the country's estimates were way off, and that its budget deficit would like be much larger than anticipated.

Conte and outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

For one, the new coalition has already been rattled by internal conflict that has prompted some analysts to speculate about a possible election later this year.

But Conte's relationships with several key figures in Brussels should help negotiations go more smoothly.

Expectations that public spending negotiations between Rome and Brussels will be smoother this autumn - when the Italian budget for next year is drawn up - were boosted by the appointment of Roberto Gualtieri, a veteran member of the European Parliament, as Italy’s new economy minister. Another Italian, Paolo Gentiloni, a former prime minister and foreign minister, was this week nominated as Brussels’ new European Commissioner for the economy by Ms von der Leyen.

Last year, Italy's ruling coalition was threatened with sanctions by the commission. But with Germany reportedly considering a "shadow budget" - fiscal stimulus that many analysts believe would help right-size the European economy, it's likely that the Commission won't risk doing anything that could further destabilize the bloc's third-largest economy.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 02:45


Business Finance


Michael Flynn Tells House Intel Democrats To Pound Sand Over Testimony And Documents

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Michael Flynn Tells House Intel Democrats To Pound Sand Over Testimony And Documents

Former National Security adviser Michael Flynn is refusing to cooperate with the Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee's demand for testimony and documents, according to Politico, citing a Monday letter by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). 

Moreover, Flynn's new legal counsel, Sidney Powell, has been giving House Democrats the b

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"Notwithstanding repeated efforts by committee staff to engage with your counsel and accommodate your adjournment requests, you have, to date, failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena or cooperate with the committee’s efforts to secure your compliance," Schiff wrote to Flynn - demanding an appearance for testimony on September 25. 

Of Powell, Schiff wrote that she "exhibit[ed] a troubling degree of unprofessionalism" during communications with committee staffers, which were outlined in the letter. 

According to Schiff, Powell “refused to accept service” of the subpoena issued by the panel in June. Schiff indicated that Powell repeatedly sought deadline extensions for Flynn’s cooperation before ultimately ignoring phone calls attempting to arrange Flynn’s testimony for late July, just ahead of Congress’ six-week summer recess.

Schiff also said Powell told the committee that Flynn would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and would not answer any questions other than confirming his name. -Politico

"The Fifth Amendment privilege must be invoked in response to specific questions or topics that might tend to incriminate you if answered truthfully," wrote Schiff. "Your counsel’s blanket invocation of the Fifth Amendment … is, therefore, inadequate."

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to laying about his interactions with Russia's ambassador prior to Trump taking office - denying a discussion of sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in retaliation for alleged election meddling in 2016. 

Interestingly, Powell urged Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea - writing in a Daily Caller Op-Ed; "Extraordinary manipulation by powerful people led to the creation of Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation and prosecution of General Michael Flynn," adding "Notably, the recent postponement of General Flynn’s sentencing provides an opportunity for more evidence to be revealed that will provide massive ammunition for a motion to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea and dismiss the charges against him."

Powell also claimed that Flynn's Constitutional rights were violated by his former legal team, arguing in March 2018: "[General] Flynn should be fully exonerated," adding "All charges against him should be dismissed for [egregious government misconduct] that infected the setup and prosecution of him from the beginning."

"There are also serious 4th Amendment violations," said Powell. "Did his legal team pursue a vigorous defense?"

As Politico notes, Powell has also been "intensely critical of Schiff and Mueller," while filing a brief last week with the court that spelled out a "litany of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct — much of which aligned with Trump’s unsupported allegations against Mueller and his team — and suggested that the government had withheld evidence from Flynn."

Prosecutors are aiming to sentence Flynn this fall. 

Tyler Durden

Mon, 09/09/2019 - 13:11


Law Crime


Massachusetts city tells ransomware scumbags to RYUK off, our IT staff will handle this easily

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Oh, so you can just do that? That's possible? Restoring from clean, good backups after an infection? Who knew?

The City of New Bedford, in Massachusetts, has found a way to deal with ransomware without paying: shoring up defenses, restoring from backups, and rebuilding systems.…


What The Latest Secret Government File Tells Us About The West's Middle East Policy

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Authored by Mark Curtis via TruePublica.org.uk,

The British government is refusing to release a 1941 file on Palestine, as it might “undermine the security” of Britain and its citizens. Why would a 78-year-old document be seen as so sensitive in 2019?

One plausible reason is that it could embarrass the British government in its relations with Israel and Iraq, and may concern a long but hidden theme in British foreign policy: creating false pretexts for military intervent

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The Colonial Office document, at the National Archives in London, was uncovered by journalist Tom Suarez and concerns the “activities of the Grand Mufti [Haj Amin al-Husseini] of Jerusalem” in 1940-41.

After the assassination of Lewis Andrews, British district commissioner for Galilee, in September 1937, the British Government dismissed al-Husseini from his post as president of the Supreme Muslim Council and decided to arrest all members of the Arab Higher Committee, including Husseini.

He took refuge in the Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif), fled to Jaffa and then Lebanon, and ended up in Iraq, where he played a role in the Iraqi national anti-British movement.

He spent the Second World War moving between Berlin and Rome and took part in the propaganda war against Britain and France through Arabic radio broadcasts.

A plan ‘to clip the mufti’s wings’

In April 1941, nationalist army officers known as the Golden Square staged a coup in Iraq, overthrowing the pro-British regime, and signalled they were prepared to work with German and Italian intelligence. In response, the British embarked on a military campaign and eventually crushed the coup leaders two months later.

But Suarez discovered in the files that the British were already wanting such a “military occupation of Iraq” by November 1940 – well before the Golden Square coup gave them a pretext for doing so.

The reason was that Britain wanted to end “the mufti’s intrigues with the Italians”. One file notes: “We may be able to clip the mufti’s wings when we can get a new government in Iraq. FO [Foreign Office] are working on this.” Suarez notes that a prominent thread in the British archive is: “How to effect a British coup without further alienating ‘the Arab world’ in the midst of the war, beyond what the empowering of Zionism had already done.”

As British troops closed in on Baghdad, a violent anti-Jewish pogrom rocked the city, killing more than 180 Jewish Iraqis and destroying the homes of hundreds of members of the Jewish community who had lived in Iraq for centuries. The Farhud (violent dispossession) has been described as the Iraqi Jews’ Kristallnacht, the brutal pogrom against Jews carried out in Nazi Germany three years earlier.

There have long been claims that these riots were condoned or even orchestrated by the British to blacken the nationalist regime and justify Britain’s return to power in Baghdad and ongoing military occupation of Iraq.

Historian Tony Rocca noted:

“To Britain’s shame, the army was stood down. Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, Britain’s ambassador in Baghdad, for reasons of his own, held our forces at bay in direct insubordination to express orders from Winston Churchill that they should take the city and secure its safety. Instead, Sir Kinahan went back to his residence, had a candlelight dinner and played a game of bridge.”

1953 coup in Iran

Could this be the reason that UK government censors want the file to remain secret after all these years? It would neither be the first, nor the last time that British planners used or created pretexts to justify their military interventions.

In 1953, the covert British and US campaign to overthrow the elected nationalist government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran included a “false flag” element. Agents working for the British posed as supporters of the communist Tudeh party, engaging in activities such as throwing rocks at mosques and priests, in order to portray the demonstrating mobs as communists. The aim was to provide a pretext for the coup and the Shah of Iran’s taking control in the name of anti-communism.

Three years later, in 1956, Britain also secretly connived to create a pretext for its military intervention in Egypt. After Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal and Britain sought to overthrow him, the British and French governments secretly agreedwith Israel that the latter would first attack Egypt. Then, London and Paris would despatch military forces on the pretext of separating the warring parties, and seize the canal. The plan went ahead but failed, largely owing to US opposition.

Five years later, in 1961, it was a similar story in Kuwait. This little-known British intervention was publicly justified on the basis of an alleged threat from Iraq, but the declassified files that I have examined suggest that this “threat” was concocted by British planners. When Kuwait secured independence in June 1961, Britain was desperate to protect its oil interests and to solidify its commercial and military relations with the Kuwaiti regime. The files suggest that the British therefore needed to get the Kuwaitis to “ask” Britain for “protection”.

Kuwait intervention

On 25 June 1961, Iraqi ruler Abdul Karim Qasim publicly claimed Kuwait as part of Iraq. Five days later, Kuwait’s emir formally requested British military intervention, and on 1 July, British forces landed, eventually numbering around 7,000.

But the alleged Iraqi threat to Kuwait never materialised. David Lee, who commanded the British air force in the Middle East in 1961, later wrote that the British government “did not contemplate aggression by Iraq very seriously”.

Indeed, the evidence suggests that the emir was duped into “requesting” intervention by the British, and his information on a possible Iraq move on Kuwait came almost exclusively from British sources. The files show that the “threat” to Kuwait was being pushed by the British embassy in Baghdad but contradicted by Britain’s consulate in Basra, near the Kuwaiti border, which reported no unusual troop movements.

British intervention was intended to reassure Kuwait and other friendly Middle Eastern regimes that were key to maintaining the British position in the world’s most important region. The prime minister’s foreign policy adviser said that letting go of Kuwait would have meant that “the other oil sheikhdoms (which are getting richer) will not rely on us any longer”.

By the time we reached the invasion of Iraq in 2003, creating false pretexts for interventions had become a familiar theme in British foreign policy.

A matter of routine

To return to the 1941 document, British authorities have had a policy of either censoring, “losing” or destroying historical files that could undermine relations with current governments.

In 2012, an official review concluded that “thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments”, according to a report in The Guardian.

The files covered policies such as the abuse and torture of insurgents in Kenya in the 1950s, the alleged massacre of 24 unarmed villagers in Malaya in 1948, and the army’s secret torture centre in Aden in the 1960s.

Other papers have been hidden for decades in secret foreign office archives, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

Whatever is in the 1941 document, if the British government is withholding its release for fear of upsetting relations with key allies, this would be less than surprising and more a matter of routine.


Don't give it away, give it away, give it away now, bot busting biz tells reCAPTCHA data serfs

logicfish Security dont give away busting tells recaptcha data serfs All http://go.theregister.com   Discuss    Share
Instead of enriching Google, try making a market for click work

Analysis  Internet companies depend on free labor. Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google rely upon content creators who give their work away for the sake of platform participation or perhaps naive altruism.…


Trump Tells "Progressive" Dems To Go Back To The "Crime Infested Places" They Came From

zerohedge News trump tells progressive dems back crime infested places they came from All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

4-D chess? We think not.

In what many are suggesting is his most controversial twitter-tirade yet, President Trump told progressive congresswomen to go back to their “totally broken and crime infested” countries of origin and mocked the infighting rocking the Democratic Party.

“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even

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have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.

Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.

“These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” 

The tweet appeared to be aimed at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her squad, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar.

Despite Trump's line of attack, RT notes that only one of the squad actually hails from outside the United States. Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia, and arrived in the US at the age of 12 after fleeing her country’s civil war. Her persistent criticism of Trump and American foreign policy has led right-wing pundits to blast her as un-American, with Fox News host Tucker Carlson accusing her of harboring “undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people” in a segment aired on Tuesday.

All of the squad have emerged not only as fierce critics of Trump’s immigration policies, but also at loggerheads with their own party’s leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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