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Watch What Happens When A Priest, A Rabbi, And An Atheist Smoke Weed (Video)


Watch What Happens When A Priest, A Rabbi, And An Atheist Smoke Weed (Video)

Posted: 25 Mar 2017 11:31 AM PDT

We Are Change

Article via True Activist

Does religion truly divide? Or can people find common ground with each other, particularly after smoking a joint?

What sounds like the introduction to a corny joke is actually the description of an event which recently took place. Fortunately for folks around the world, the meeting was recorded by Cut, which has produced numerous videos of diverse individuals getting high on marijuana (such as “Grandmas smoke pot for the first time”).

Recorded in Washington state where recreational marijuana is legal, the video features rabbi Jim Mirel, who is the Rabbi Emeritus at Temple B’nai Torah in Seattle, Rev. Chris Schuller, who once served as the rector at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a self-proclaimed atheist named Carlos, who describes himself as a “conservative homosexual.”

After hitting a bong and passing a joint around, the men use their time to discuss spirituality and religion. Once again, it’s proven that people can maintain their own personal beliefs while respecting others. Each offers a blessing or prayer to the other and they finish the experiment referring to each other as ‘friends’.

Watch as the trio’s brotherhood thickens, along with the amount of smoke in the room:


This article first appeared on TrueActivist.com and was authored by Amanda Froelich.

The post Watch What Happens When A Priest, A Rabbi, And An Atheist Smoke Weed (Video) appeared first on We Are Change.

The Evidence That Russia Hacked The DNC Is Collapsing

Posted: 25 Mar 2017 11:13 AM PDT

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Article via Antiwar

The allegation – now accepted as incontrovertible fact by the “mainstream” media – that the Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee (and John Podesta’s emails) in an effort to help Donald Trump get elected recently suffered a blow from which it may not recover.

Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company hired by the DNC to determine who hacked their accounts: it took them a single day to determine the identity of the culprits – it was, they said, two groups of hackers which they named “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear,” affiliated respectively with the GRU, which is Russian military intelligence, and the FSB, the Russian security service.

How did they know this?

These alleged “hacker groups” are not associated with any known individuals in any way connected to Russian intelligence: instead, they are identified by the tools they use, the times they do their dirty work, the nature of the targets, and other characteristics based on the history of past intrusions.

Yet as Jeffrey Carr and other cyberwarfare experts have pointed out, this methodology is fatally flawed. “It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method,” writes Carr:

“Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong. Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).”

Likening attribution claims of hacking incidents by cybersecurity companies to intelligence assessments, Carr notes that, unlike government agencies such the CIA, these companies are never held to account for their misses:

“When it comes to cybersecurity estimates of attribution, no one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there’s no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.”

This lack of accountability may be changing, however, because Crowdstrike’s case for attributing the hacking of the DNC to the Russians is falling apart at the seams like a cheap sweater.

To begin with, Crowdstrike initially gauged its certainty as to the identity of the hackers with “medium confidence.” However, a later development, announced in late December and touted by the Washington Post, boosted this to “high confidence.” The reason for this newfound near-certainty was their discovery that “Fancy Bear” had also infected an application used by the Ukrainian military to target separatist artillery in the Ukrainian civil war. As the Post reported:

“While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.

“Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, ‘we have high confidence’ it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit ‘Fancy Bear.’”

Crowdstrike published an analysis that claimed a malware program supposedly unique to Fancy Bear, X-Agent, had infected a Ukrainian targeting application and, using GPS to geo-locate Ukrainian positions, had turned the application against the Ukrainians, resulting in huge losses:

“Between July and August 2014, Russian-backed forces launched some of the most-decisive attacks against Ukrainian forces, resulting in significant loss of life, weaponry and territory.

“Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the two years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine’s arsenal.”

Alperovitch told the PBS News Hour that “Ukraine’s artillery men were targeted by the same hackers, that we call Fancy Bear, that targeted DNC, but this time they were targeting cell phones to try to understand their location so that the Russian artillery forces can actually target them in the open battle. It was the same variant of the same malicious code that we had seen at the DNC.”

He told NBC News that this proved the DNC hacker “wasn’t a 400-pound guy in his bed,” as Trump had opined during the first presidential debate – it was the Russians.

The only problem with this analysis is that is isn’t true. It turns out that Crowdstrike’s estimate of Ukrainian losses was based on a blog post by a pro-Russian blogger eager to tout Ukrainian losses: the Ukrainians denied it. Furthermore, the hacking attribution was based on the hackers’ use of a malware program called X-Agent, supposedly unique to Fancy Bear. Since the target was the Ukrainian military, Crowdstrike extrapolated from this that the hackers were working for the Russians.

All somewhat plausible, except for two things: To begin with, as Jeffrey Carr pointed out in December, and now others are beginning to realize, X-Agent isn’t unique to Fancy Bear. Citing the findings of ESET, another cybersecurity company, he wrote:

“Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words? – ?malware deployed is malware enjoyed!

“In fact, the source code for X-Agent, which was used in the DNC, Bundestag, and TV5Monde attacks, was obtained by ESET as part of their investigation!

“During our investigations, we were able to retrieve the complete Xagent source code for the Linux operating system….”

“If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.”

Secondly, the estimate Crowdstrike used to verify the Ukrainian losses was supposedly based on data from the respected International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). But now IISS is disavowing and debunking their claims:

“[T]he International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told [Voice of America] that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened….

“’The CrowdStrike report uses our data, but the inferences and analysis drawn from that data belong solely to the report’s authors,” the IISS said. “The inference they make that reductions in Ukrainian D-30 artillery holdings between 2013 and 2016 were primarily the result of combat losses is not a conclusion that we have ever suggested ourselves, nor one we believe to be accurate.’

“One of the IISS researchers who produced the data said that while the think tank had dramatically lowered its estimates of Ukrainian artillery assets and howitzers in 2013, it did so as part of a ‘reassessment” and reallocation of units to airborne forces.’

“’No, we have never attributed this reduction to combat losses,” the IISS researcher said, explaining that most of the reallocation occurred prior to the two-year period that CrowdStrike cites in its report.

“’The vast majority of the reduction actually occurs … before Crimea/Donbass,’ he added, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The definitive “evidence” cited by Alperovitch is now effectively debunked: indeed, it was debunked by Carr late last year, but that was ignored in the media’s rush to “prove” the Russians hacked the DNC in order to further Trump’s presidential ambitions. The exposure by the Voice of America of Crowdstrike’s falsification of Ukrainian battlefield losses – the supposedly solid “proof” of attributing the hack to the GRU – is the final nail in Crowdstrike’s coffin. They didn’t bother to verify their analysis of IISS’s data with IISS – they simply took as gospel the allegations of a pro-Russian blogger. They didn’t contact the Ukrainian military, either: instead, their confirmation bias dictated that they shaped the “facts” to fit their predetermined conclusion.

Now why do you suppose that is? Why were they married so early – after a single day – to the conclusion that it was the Russians who were behind the hacking of the DNC?

Crowdstrike founder Alperovitch is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, and head honcho of its “Cyber Statecraft Initiative” – of which his role in promoting the “Putin did it” scenario is a Exhibit A. James Carden, writing in The Nation, makes the trenchant point that “The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council – which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk – has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia.” Adam Johnson, writing on the FAIR blog, adds to our knowledge by noting that the Council’s budget is also supplemented by “a consortium of Western corporations (Qualcomm, Coca-Cola, The Blackstone Group), including weapons manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) and oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP).”

Johnson also notes that CrowdStrike currently has a $150,000 / year, no-bid contract with the FBI for “systems analysis.”

Nice work if you can get it.

This last little tidbit gives us some insight into what is perhaps the most curious aspect of the Russian-hackers-campaign-for-Trump story: the FBI’s complete dependence on Crowdstrike’s analysis. Amazingly, the FBI did no independent forensic work on the DNC servers before Crowdstrike got its hot little hands on them: indeed, the DNC denied the FBI access to the servers, and, as far as anyone knows, the FBI never examined them. BuzzFeed quotes an anonymous “intelligence official” as saying “Crowdstrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything they have concluded is not accurate.”

There is now.

Alperovitch is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and one wonders if our clueless – and technically challenged – Republican members of Congress will question him about the debunking of Crowdstrike’s rush to judgment. I tend to doubt it, since the Russia-did-it meme is now the Accepted Narrative and no dissent is permitted – to challenge it would make them “Putin apologists”! (Although maybe Trey Gowdy, the only GOPer on that panel who seems to have any brains, may surprise me.)

As I’ve been saying for months, there is no evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC: none, zilch, nada. Yet this false narrative is the entire basis of a campaign launched by the Democrats, hailed by the Trump-hating media, and fully endorsed by the FBI and the CIA, the purpose of which is to “prove” that Trump is “Putin’s puppet,” as Hillary Clinton put it. Now the investigative powers of the federal government are being deployed to confirm that the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Kremlin in an act the evidence for which is collapsing.

This whole affair is a vicious fraud. If there is any justice in this world – and there may not be – the perpetrators should be charged, tried, and jailed.


This article first appeared on Antiwar.com and was authored by Justin Raimondo.

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Legal Marijuana: 5 Trends To Watch As Prohibition Ends

Posted: 25 Mar 2017 10:48 AM PDT

We Are Change

The year was 2012 when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, sparking a nationwide debate on the future of marijuana prohibition.

Since then, there have been 5 more states to legalize recreational marijuana, including our nation’s own capital.

It seems that prohibition is starting to come to a screeching halt, and that more and more states will continue to legalize marijuana for recreational use. As this time approaches, there are 5 trends which we have noticed in the states that have legalized recreational ganja.

1. Chemical Additives

As marijuana becomes legalized, it seems that the production became a little shadier. As we can see in the pictures above and below, there are many chemicals that have been known to be added into your recreational weed. For example, the chemicals circled in red above are illegal pesticides that were found on an ingredient label of a dispensary in downtown Denver.

 2. Taxes Can Make Shops Cost More Than Dealers

If you live in a state with legal weed, odds are ‘high’ that you are paying a high tax for it. Colorado, for instance, has a 12.9% tax on recreational marijuana, which is also then subject to local sales taxes. As the LA Times reports, Californian smokers are subject to a similar scenario, which results in a 15-30% tax.

Depending on your local laws, there are two ways to work around this scenario. First, check to see if the medical marijuana tax is as high as the recreational tax. Colorado, for instance, only has a 2.9% tax on medical marijuana.

However, if the tax rates continue to be so high on recreational marijuana, competition from local dealers and the black market could prove to be much cheaper, simply because there is no tax. This, of course, raises further safety concerns of having to deal with a dealer acting illegally, which is a reason many smokers to prefer shopping at dispensaries.

3. Historic Potency Levels Will Send You to Mars

Not everybody has the tolerance of Cheech & Chong. As Forbes reports, the potency of marijuana products has risen drastically. It is not strange to come across a strain that boasts upwards of 30% potency these days, which sources claim are two to three times as potent as what was typical only 30 years ago.

Edibles and concentrates are an entirely different story altogether. One company in Colorado offers oil concentrates which range upwards of 70% potency. This means that the people who are blown away by 30% potency will be sent to Mars by the more potent products.

4. Federal Laws Leave State Legality Status as Questionable

As Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said after the legalization in his state: “federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.” States rights activists have cited the 10th amendment as the reason that recreational marijuana is still, in fact, legal, but recent trends illustrate a potential problem.

It had seemed that the federal government would do little-to-nothing to stop the legalization of marijuana by individual states. However, recently the Trump administration has reportedly vowed to have “greater enforcement” of the federal law, which states that marijuana has no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

5. Ways to Consume Safely and Cheaply

Odds are none of the above items will hinder you from smoking, and so be it. However, keep in mind that there are strategies to avoid many of the problems described above. For starters, growing your own weed is a great option for marijuana smokers who want to avoid the chemical additives of the dispensaries and smoke for free.

Secondly, know how much marijuana you can consume, and how much you can’t. You don’t have to be taking heroic doses of the substance to experience the positive and medical effects of marijuana. If you are somebody who likes to use concentrates, know how much you can handle. Most importantly, don’t call the police and say that you are dying if you end up past your limit.

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Chaos In Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel Rolex Store Robbed

Posted: 25 Mar 2017 02:07 AM PDT

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An ‘active shooter’ was reported inside the Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel by several patrons.

Active shooter at #bellagio hotel in Vegas. Almost got trampled

— BabyDash (@BabyDashCo) March 25, 2017

Panicked guests tweeted how they were forced to flee and hide under tables as the shooting broke out at around 1 a.m. pst.

Reports from the scene suggest the shooting was linked to an attempted armed robbery on a Rolex store inside the complex.

Witnesses on the scene spoke of the chaotic scenes in which people were trampled as they attempted to escape the venue.

At least two men are said to have stormed the upmarket store armed with guns and sledgehammers.

One hotel guest @JillyJill wrote on Twitter: “Omg mass panic at Bellagio. A fight and Or shooting. Everyone running. I’m currently ducked on the floor under a table.”

Now I’m hiding with several guests in an emergency exit stairwell. All I heard was shots an waves of ppl running yelling RUN RUN! #bellagio

— Jilly T. (@JillyJill) March 25, 2017

“Now I’m hiding with several guests in an emergency exit stairwell. All I heard was shots an waves of ppl running yelling RUN RUN!”

Bruh i think there was just gunshots at the bellagio. Wow man wtf. Me and Bee made it back to room. Everyone ran. What theeeee fuckkkkkkj

— LG PROBLEM (@ProblemWright) March 25, 2017

#bellagio pic.twitter.com/dlniE3cCie

— Zuleyka Veronica (@Zuleyka_Alvarez) March 25, 2017

One man was captured on camera wearing a pig mask and holding a weapon police have now placed the scene on lockdown. In a video posted to Twitter dozens of police cars are seen gathered outside the famous venue. The woman who captured the man in a pig mask on camera further said that the man was apprehended by police shortly after.

Literally just witnessed an armed robber in a pig mask at a Rolex store at the Bellagio & then his arrest #bellagio #vegas #rolex #robbery pic.twitter.com/m53T6bHS2z

— Kir (@Kir_kamil) March 25, 2017

A spokesman for the Bellagio said no-one had been injured but refused to give more details on the incident the Independent reported.

Police denied initial reports that there was an active shooter calling the accusations false.

Currently investigating burglary at @bellagio. Initial reports indicated there was an “active shooter” which was false. NO injuries.

— LVMPD (@LVMPD) March 25, 2017

(THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES.)

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Growing White Supremacist Movement Reveling In Increased News Coverage

Posted: 25 Mar 2017 12:26 AM PDT

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White supremacists have targeted college campuses, causing upset and gaining attention.

Article via Mint Press News

The Houston man laid out the details of his triumphant plan during a podcast last July: He told listeners that he had wanted to paste white nationalist fliers across the city’s downtown, and, just as importantly, he had wanted the Free Press, a local news and arts website, to write about the fliers.

“I want to trigger them into writing an article about me,” the man said in the podcast.

He got what he wanted. On July 6, 2016, the Free Press posted, “White Nationalists Bring Hateful Garbage to Houston,” noting the fliers downtown and printing their contents in their entirety.

“Achievement unlocked,” the man said of the coverage. “They succeeded in promoting our message.”

The nationalistic sentiment evident since the presidential campaign, complete with calls for mass deportations, Muslim bans and economic nationalism, has led in recent months to intense media coverage of a clearly emboldened array of white supremacist groups across the country. It’s a degree of attention that the groups seem to be enjoying.

In another recent podcast, a different figure in the far-right movement, Greg Johnson, publisher of the website Counter-Currents, spoke bluntly about the benefits of gaining media coverage.

“We have very little in the way of force, but our enemies have all kinds of power,” Johnson claimed during his podcast. “If we can get their neurosis working for us, that can multiply the effects of our activism tremendously. I think that’s a really valuable form of asymmetrical cultural warfare.”

The pasting of fliers in public places 2014 especially college campuses 2014 looks like a core tactic for that kind of warfare.

Since September 2016, white supremacists groups have draped college campuses with fliers at least 118 times, according to data released by the Anti-Defamation League. The groups advocate for a whites-only country and to bring fascism or Nazism to the United States.

They’ve left their propaganda at campuses ranging from Clemson University in South Carolina to the University of Minnesota to the University of California in Los Angeles. In response, they’ve gotten coverage from local newspapers as well national outlets like CNN and the Washington Post. Universities have felt compelled to respond as well, like the University of Michigan, which unveiled an $85 million diversity and inclusion program just days after racist fliers were found on its Ann Arbor campus.

While many of the supremacist groups appear to be small, they claim to be growing. Traffic to their websites are up 2014 including one apparently read by Dylann Roof, who killed nine black people in a South Carolina church in 2015 2014 and many of the online spaces where they congregate are urging real-world meetings.

Texas A&M student Harsimran Singh, from India, signs a message board outside Kyle Field where an “Aggies United” event is scheduled for Tuesday evening at Texas A&M University Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in College Station, Texas. The event is taking place at the same time Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, is set to speak at a separate event at the university after being invited by a former student. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

From online discussions documented by ProPublica and conversations with those in the white power movement, the groups are counting on the media to serve as their amplifier and appear to cultivate and collect reports of their activities.

In an email interview, Kathleen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said journalists had some basic obligations, including reporting as accurately as possible how popular or marginal the groups are.

“First, don’t overstate the number or impact of people with hate in their minds and hearts,” she said.

“Extremist groups have always been good at propaganda, and journalists have an obligation to understand that and not become part of any stream of misinformation or disinformation.”

According to the ADL’s data, Identity Europa is the chief source for fliers promoting white supremacist groups. It’s unclear how many members the organization has. They claim supporters across the country, but in multiple photos released by the group there appear to be only the same handful of people.

In a video, the group’s founder, Nathan Damigo, an Iraq War veteran who went to prison for robbing a cab driver at gunpoint in late 2007, called for people to download the group’s fliers and plaster their cities.

“We would actually invite everyone to do this. To get out to these students what they’re not being told,” he said, referring to his belief that university professors are telling students lies about diversity.

Damigo’s group sells its propaganda for between $1.50 a sticker and $30 for a glossy poster. The posters make vague statements on civilization and European identity over photos of classic sculpture. At least one references President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” They make no mention that Damigo once chaired the National Youth Front, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says was tied to a Southern California skinhead group.

“It ends up a lot of times that the stuff that would end up in a garbage can ends up as a free disseminated advertisement,” said Brian Levin, Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino. “Damigo and all these other folks know that they’ll get publicity.”

Damigo did not respond to interview requests.

Another white nationalist faction called Atomwaffen Division, associated with an online Nazi forum, produces grainy recruitment-style videos of their flier campaigns. The posters they leave behind are much more stark: radioactive symbols, swastikas, guns and the call to action, “Join your local nazis.”

On their website, testimonial-style quotes from news coverage tops every page, and some of their recruitment videos contain clips of news anchors describing their flier campaigns.

The site has sections dedicated to the downloadable propaganda that’s found its way onto telephone poles, cork boards and other public places, as well as another section of the site for collecting news coverage about themselves.

Other popular white supremacist factions have their own propaganda corners. For Vanguard America 2014 neé American Vanguard, not to be confused with National Vanguard, or the Vanguard News Network 2014 one simply needs to click the “posters” link on the homepage to choose a printable flier. Their posters feature anti-immigrant sentiment and promote white identity, while their website calls for fascism to replace U.S. democracy and for the creation of a whites-only nation.

In two instances, the posters even seemed to print themselves. In a pair of well-publicized exploits, Andrew Auernheimer, known by his online moniker “weev,” wrote code to loop through vulnerable printers across the country, forcing them to spit out reams of racist propaganda linking to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website he helps run. Later in the year, he did it again, this time with a letter saying that he supports the murder and rape of non-white children. In blog posts, he gleefully pointed out the social media and news coverage of the hacks.

“I began the modern era of white supremacist fliers,” Auernheimer said by email. “I showed everyone at massive scale how easy it is to send an entire campus into apoplexy with only a few pieces of paper.”

Auernheimer went on to point out that posting such fliers is useful for local recruitment, and puts university administrators and journalists in a bind.

“We will still be posting fliers no matter what. If they don’t get investigated, we can wholesale turn urban centers and campuses into recruitment centers for white supremacy and fascism with no resistance,” he said.

The media campaigns don’t end with fliers. In late 2015, the Daily Stormer’s owner, Andrew Anglin, urged his readers to create social media pages claiming to represent white student unions at universities, regardless of whether such groups existed.

“Make more of these White Student Union pages on Facebook for various universities. You don’t have to go there,” he wrote. “Get it up, then forward links to the local media.”

As news reports from local papers and national outlets like the Washington Post picked up 2014 and then debunked 2014 that a wave of white student unions were cropping up at schools, Anglin denied that he was responsible for prompting fake groups.

“The fact that I said, 2018You don’t have to actually go there’ does not somehow translate into these groups are a hoax, it simply means that some of them could potentially have been started by a person not attending the school,” he wrote on his site. Anglin did not respond to a request for comment.

Around the same time, Damigo, writing on his personal site, said, “A media storm promptly hit, and with it, increasing interest in our new movement, which has become the typical unintended consequence of anti-White shrieking.”


This work by Pro Publica is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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The Pentagon Just Announced The U.S. Will Keep Ground Troops In Libya

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 11:23 PM PDT

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Commander: Troops Needed to ‘Degrade’ ISIS Forces

Article via Antiwar

In a press briefing at the Pentagon today, African Command leader Gen. Thomas Waldhauser announced that the US intends to keep ground troops in Libya for the foreseeable future to support “friendly forces,” and to “degrade” the ISIS forces that remain in the country.

Waldhauser did not specify how many US troops are in Libya now, or how many will stay, but did estimate that there were less than 200 ISIS fighters left in Libya. The US had announced the end of the anti-ISIS campaign in Libya back in December, but never fully withdrew from the country.

The US forces were in Libya trying to help the “unity” government defeat ISIS in the city of Sirte. US officials repeatedly claimed the city was totally surrounded, and that no ISIS fighters would get away, though when the fighting finally ended, a substantial number of ISIS fighters did in fact get away.

Waldhauser hinted that the US operations in Libya would primarily be airstrikes going forward, saying that the US needs to have troops on the ground for “precision airstrikes” and “close-air support operations.” He added that the last US airstrikes, in January, involved US troops meeting face-to-face with allies on coordinating the strikes.


This article first appeared on Antiwar.com and was authored by Jason Ditz.

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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis: American Troops Needed In Iraq For ‘Years’

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 11:10 PM PDT

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Insists Keeping Troops in Iraq Is in the ‘National Interest’

Article via Antiwar

With US officials still hopeful that Iraq’s ongoing offensive in Mosul is the beginning of the end of ISIS’ presence in that country, top Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, are also eager to point out that it’s not going to mean the end of the US military presence in Iraq.

In comments to Congressional committees over the course of the week, Mattis was very clear about the need to keep US troops in Iraq, calling it a “national interest” and insisting US forces need to stabilize Iraq, while downplaying the idea that this would be nation-building.

It’s not going to be a short process either. While Mattis wasn’t very specific on how long this post-ISIS US military presence would last, he made it clear that it would be “years,” and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said the same thing later.

Pentagon officials have been insisting since last year that the deployment to Iraq this time is more or less permanent. That they are couching this as a matter of “years” now does not necessarily mean that the timespan is going to be finite, but that they don’t want to admit, believing the war is closer to ending, that they intend to stay in an open-ended manner.


This article first appeared on Antiwar.com and was authored by Jason Ditz.

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FBI Director Comey Unexpectedly Shows Up At The White House

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 11:04 PM PDT

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Update: as Reuters’ Steve Holland reports, the reason Comey is at the White House is for “a routine inter-agency meeting,” per WH official.

Article via Zero Hedge

Re FBI’s Comey at the White House: “He is here for a routine interagency meeting,” per WH official.

— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) March 24, 2017

FBI Director James Comey is at the White House, @ABC confirms. No answer from FBI or WH as to why.

— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) March 24, 2017

And as CNBC adds, around 3pm ET, Comey departed the White House after his unannounced visit.

* * *

ABC’s Jennfier Hasler reports that FBI Director James Comey is at The White House and has had no response from either The FBI or White House as to why..

Video: FBI director Comey just left the White House. (He’s the tallest guy in the shot) pic.twitter.com/Ar3Iq0tzyK

— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 24, 2017

.@FBI Director Comey has been here at White House for past 30 minutes or so per @JaxAlemany. Unclear who he is meeting with now.

— margaret brennan (@margbrennan) March 24, 2017

Interesting timing no doubt after Nunes’ press conference this morning

The lack of a leak investigation is quite concerning. We need to make sure that these leaks are being tracked down…There are just questions that we have for Dir. Comey and Adm. Rogers probably that they couldn’t answer in a public setting…”

What happens next?


This article first appeared on ZeroHedge.com and was authored by Tyler Durden.

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The Real Drug Lords: A Brief History Of CIA Involvement With Drug Trafficking

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 06:10 PM PDT

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Article via PJNM

In the beginning, CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labor unions from the Communist Party.

The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks — ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille’s first heroin laboratones were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.

EARLY 1950s, SOUTHEAST ASIA

The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the world’s largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the CIA’s principal airline proprietary, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia. (See Christopher Robbins, Air America, Avon Books, 1985, chapter 9)

1950s to early 1970s, INDOCHINA

During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many GI’s in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world’s illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America’s booming heroin market.

1973-80, AUSTRALIA

The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of US generals, admirals and CIA men, including former CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealings. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt. (See Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA, W.W. Norton & Co., 1 987.)

1970s and 1980s, PANAMA

For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated ”guns-for-drugs” flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-CIA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellin Cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically drug trafficking through Panama increased after the US invasion. (John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, Random House, 1991; National Security Archive Documentation Packet The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations.)

1980s, CENTRAL AMERICA

The San Jose Mercury News series written by Gary Webb, documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating:

“There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots mercenaries who worked with the Contras, and Contra supporters throughout the region…. U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua…. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had intormation regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter…. Senior U S policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.” (Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and Intemational Operations, 1989)

In Costa Rica, which served as the “Southern Front” for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several different CIA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation detailed by the Mercury News, and Noriega’s operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other CIA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The US repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull back to Costa Rica to stand trial. Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Americans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shrimp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to move cocaine to the U.S. Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service — closely associated with the CIA — harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.

Additionally, the Medellin Cartel’s Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies and banks) to these CIA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US government contracts to carry non-lethal supplies to the contras. Southern Air Transport, “formerly” CIA-owned, and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well. Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other locations, including several military bases Designated as ‘Contra Craft,” these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn’t clued in and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled on behalf of dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.

In 1979 the Sandanistas overthrew Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Debayle. Fearing the creation of a Communist state allied with Cuba and the Soviet Union, the U.S government under Ronald Reagan, began funding and arming groups of rebels opposed to the Sandanistas known as the Counterrevolutionaries, or Contras. This is all easily obtainable information. Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series, appeared in the Mercury News in 1996. The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles and claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade, using cocaine profits to support their struggle. It also suggested that the Contras may have acted with the knowledge and protection of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Webb was following the trial of a Contra leader named Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes who testified as to the C.I.A’s involvement in cocaine trafficking into Inner city Los Angeles in the 1980’s.

The lead of the first article set out the series’ basic claims: “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.” This drug ring “opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles” and, as a result, “The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America.”

To show this, the series focused on three men: Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandón, and Norwin Meneses. Ross was a major drug dealer in Los Angeles. Blandón and Meneses were Nicaraguans who smuggled drugs into the U.S. and supplied dealers like Ross. After introducing the three, the first article discussed primarily Blandón and Meneses, and their relationship with the Contras and the CIA. Much of the article highlighted the failure of law enforcement agencies to successfully prosecute them and suggested that this was largely due to their Contra and CIA connections.

The second article described Blandón’s background and how he began smuggling cocaine to support the Contras. Meneses, an established smuggler and a Contra supporter as well, taught Blandón how to smuggle and provided him with cocaine. When Ross discovered the market for crack in Los Angeles, he began buying cocaine from Blandón. Blandón and Meneses’ high-volume supply of low-priced cocaine “allowed Ross to sew up the Los Angeles market and move on. In city after city, local dealers either bought from Ross or got left behind.”

The third article discussed the social effects of the crack trade, noting that it had a disparate effect on African-Americans. Asking why crack became so prevalent in the black community of Los Angeles, the article credited Blandón, referring to him as “the Johnny Appleseed of crack in California.” It also found disparities in the treatment of black and white traffickers in the justice system, contrasting the treatment of Blandón and Ross after their arrests for drug trafficking. Because Blandón cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), he spent only 28 months in prison, became a paid government informer, and received permanent resident status. Ross was also released early after cooperating in an investigation of police corruption, but was rearrested a few months later in a sting operation arranged with the help of Blandón. The article suggested this was in retribution for Ross’ testimony in the corruption case.

There’s a movie coming out this year staring Tom Cruise called “Mena” about a pilot named Barry Seal who was a known DEA informant responsible for flying TONS of coke into the U.S working with the Sandanistas and Medellin cartel from Columbia, I.E the Ochoa brothers, Pablo Escobar, etc… This rabbit hole can lead you all the way to George H.W Bush, who oversaw the Federal Drug Task Force commissioned by Reagan to Bill Clinton who was Governor of Arkansas at the time where Mena (population roughly 5,000 people) is located in a quiet, mountainous region of western Arkansas. Clinton brought in C.I.A front companies by awarding them state-backed low interest loans to relocate to Arkansas. One of the businesses that relocated there was Rich Mountain Aviation Inc.that did illegal modifications to the planes which allowed Seal to fly weapons to Nicaragua and transport cocaine back into the United States. Barry Seal was indicted several times in 3 different states and protected from prosecution by the U.S Attorney General’s office and the D.E.A. He was murdered in 1986 after he started openly bragging about being a C.I.A operative. 

1980s to early 1990s, AFGHANISTAN

ClA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported govemment and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. The Agency’s principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and leading heroin refiner. CIA supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. US officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies. In 1993, an official of the DEA called Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.

MlD-1980s to early 199Os, HAITI

While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients’ drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN was purportedly created to fight the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in the trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some of the Haitian military and political leaders.

The heroin epidemic resembles the days when “Crack cocaine” became the major drug that destroyed communities across the United States and other parts of the world including the Caribbean that began in the early 1980’s. The Crack epidemic coincidently began around the same time when the Iran-Contra Scandal was being exposed. U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York City experienced a rise in crime and disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported back in 2015 that “heroin use in the United States increased 63% from 2002 through 2013.” Fast forward to 2016, heroin is sweeping across the United States at unprecedented levels. 

According to an NBC affiliate  reported that state officials were set to declare a “public health emergency” in New Haven, Connecticut over the rise of heroin use which has resulted in two deaths:

Officials in New Haven on Friday were set to address a public health emergency declaration brought on by a rash of heroin overdoses in the city beginning Thursday. New Haven police said emergency responders saw at least 15 overdoses since Thursday afternoon, and possibly up to 22. At least two people have died. The city is warning residents that there is a batch of tainted, life-threatening heroin on the streets.

In the suburbs of Long Island, NY, heroin use is an increasing problem. According to www.suburbanheroin.com a website devoted to the heroin epidemic on Long Island states that in 2012 – 2013 more than 242 people died from heroin use. Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest communities in New York State which goes to show that heroin is affecting all neighborhoods rich and poor. The NBC news report said that the CDC admitted that heroin has become an epidemic since 2002 

“The CDC reports that between 2002 and 2014 the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled and more than 10,500 died nationwide in 2014.”

Now the question is why heroin use has dramatically increased since 2002? Maybe the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11th attacks under the Bush regime had something to do with it? The main-stream media (MSM) establishment mouthpiece The Washington Post admitted in 2006 that heroin production in Afghanistan “broke all records” while under U.S. occupation:

Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.

In addition to a 26 percent production increase over past year — for a total of 5,644 metric tons — the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent. Cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132 percent

Washington claims that Mexico is the source of the heroin that is flooding U.S. streets “with 10,500 hectares under poppy cultivation in 2012” while Afghanistan had “224,000 hectares” according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a 2014 report but the numbers tell a different story. Mexico’s heroin trade is small in comparison although it has been increasing its production capabilities.

However, not only heroin from Afghanistan is the major source for U.S. citizens, “BigPharma”, or the ‘corporate drug dealers’ who sell “legal drugs” also have a hand in the epidemic because they produce and sell ‘Opioids’ such asOxyContin and Percocet which is similar to heroin. Opioid medications are normally used as painkillers for broken bones, lacerations or post-surgery pain. However, abusing Opioids can also lead to heroin use.

The online news source The Huffington Post published an article titled ‘Ron Paul Had Accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers’ highlights what the former Libertarian Presidential nominee Dr. Ron Paul said on the involvement of the CIA in the drug trade which was not a “Conspiracy Theory” but a fact when taking into consideration the Iran-Contra Scandal:

Drug trafficking is “a gold mine for people who want to raise money in the underground government in order to finance projects that they can’t get legitimately. It is very clear that the CIA has been very much involved with drug dealings,” Paul said. “The CIA was very much involved in the Iran-Contra scandals. I’m not making up the stories; we saw it on television. They were hauling down weapons and drugs back. And the CIA and government officials were closing their eyes, fighting a war that was technically illegal.”

The Taliban banned the production of opium in 2000. The War in Afghanistan was mainly about producing opium which did end up in the streets of Iran, Russia and China. According to a Pravda report in 2015 by William Edstrom titled ‘Heroin Dealer in Chief. Afghanistan, Source of 90% of The World’s Heroin’ stated the impact of Afghanistan’s opium production on neighboring countries:

Afghanistan, source of 90% of Earth’s heroin, ended 90% of Earth’s heroin problems when Taliban outlawed opium in 2000. The reason for War in Afghanistan was because Taliban outlawed opium growing which ended economic wars (opium wars) against Iran, Russia and China

The heroin epidemic is now affecting cities and towns across the U.S. Edstrom estimates that 165,000 American’s will die from the heroin epidemic in the next 10 years:

The War in Afghanistan began as an opium war against Iran, Russia and China, the tables are turning into an opium war against Americans on track to kill 165,000 Americans (2016-2026). Americans, 5% of Earth’s population, take 60% of painkillers on Earth

The death rate could go much higher considering the increasing level of poverty in the U.S. especially in the inner cities where the highest unemployment rates is among the 18-34 year olds. Many young adults will unfortunately turn to the drug trade whether they sell or use as hope fades for the lack of jobs or opportunities.

Fox News had a segment with Geraldo Rivera that shows how the U.S. government (in this case, the U.S. Marines) is involved in Afghanistan’s heroin production with Washington’s approval of course.


This article first appeared on PoliticalJunkieNewsMedia.com and was authored by Joe Bowman.

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For Years, The FBI Has Secretly Gathered Millions Of ‘Faceprints’ For Biometric Database

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 05:04 PM PDT

We Are Change

A representative of the FBI was grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the agency’s growing biometric database.

Article via Activist Post by Derrick Broze

On Wednesday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform questioned Kimberly Del Greco, Deputy Assistant Director at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, about why the bureau broke the law by failing to file a privacy impact statement acknowledging the collection of millions of Americans’ faces for the agency’s new biometric identification system.

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is made up of fingerprints, iris scans, faceprints, and other facial recognition data. The NGI organizes Americans’ biometric data into a single file that includes personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc.

The Committee reports that nearly half of all adult Americans’ photographs are in the database.

The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there are over 242 million adults living in the U.S. If the Committee’s numbers are correct, over 121 million adults are in the FBI’s database.

Other revelations include that 18 states have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FBI to share photos with the federal government, including from state departments of motor vehicles (DMV).

According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

“With NGI, the FBI will expand the number of uploaded photographs and provide investigators with ‘automated facial recognition search capability.’ The FBI intends to do this by eliminating restrictions on the number of submitted photographs (including photographs that are not accompanied by tenprint fingerprints) and allowing the submission of non-facial photographs (e.g. scars or tattoos).

The FBI also widely disseminates this NGI data. According to the FBI’s latest NGI fact sheet, 24,510 local, state, tribal, federal and international partners submitted queries to NGI in September 2016.”

Committee Chairman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R- Utah) scolded Ms. Del Greco for the FBI’s failures.

“The failure here is years after you were supposed to make it public,” Chaffetz stated. “You were using it in real world circumstances, you were actually using it and didn’t issue the statement.” Chaffetz also asked Del Greco whether the FBI had plans to gather faceprints via social media. “Are you collecting that information that is available on social media?,” the chairman demanded. “We do not have any other photos in our repository.”

Alvaro Bedoya, Executive Director, Center on Privacy and Technology Georgetown Law, questioned the FBI’s claim, stating that the bureau has access to driver’s license photos. “We have access to that data but we do not use it,” Del Greco answered. Jennifer Lynch, Senior Staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation also stated that the FBI has access to “civil photos” in the NGI database.

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) also questioned Del Greco regarding the FBI’s activities. “I think the issue goes beyond the First Amendment concerns that were expressed. . .and is broader,” Mitchell stated during the panel. “I don’t want to just protect someone if they’re in a political protest from being identified, the reality is we should protect everybody unless there is a valid documented criminal justice action.

Why should my photo. . .be subject because I get a driver’s license, to access?” Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) expressed similar fear regarding the possibility that the expectation of privacy is quickly fading. Duncan worried that Americans looking at the information, “would wonder if were ending up in a federal police state that’s gotten totally out of control, and has far too much power.”

Duncan is not far off. The databases include photos those of people who aren’t suspected of any criminal activity that come from driver’s license and passport and visa photos. Other issues with the FBI database include misidentifying females and blacks at a higher rate.

The FBI is currently facing a lawsuit from EPIC regarding the database. EPIC is asking a judge to force the FBI to release records about its plan to share the biometric data with the U.S. Department of Defense. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015, but the FBI has so far refused to release the 35 pages of responsive records.

EPIC and privacy advocates are concerned about the potential for cases of mistaken identity and abuse of the collected data. EPIC also argues “the FBI stated that ‘[i]ncreased collection and retention of personally identifiable information presents a correspondingly increased risk that the FBI will then be maintaining more information that might potentially be subject to loss or unauthorized use.”

In 2014, the EFF received documents from the FBI related to the NGI system. At the time the FBI estimated the facial recognition component of NGI would include as many as 52 million face images by 2015. The Committee’s hearing on Wednesday indicated that number was more than double as of 2017.

The danger of abuse from facial recognition programs is on the rise. Activist Post recently highlighted a new report from Georgetown Law University’s Center for Privacy and Technology that details how law enforcement is using facial recognition software without the knowledge or consent of the people. The report, “The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” examines several cases of misuse or abuse of facial recognition technology.

How can we protect our privacy in a world that is quickly becoming a digitally interconnected panopticon of audio recording devices, faceprint collection machines, and cameras from every direction? The answer is not simple. Most of us live our lives with these devices and use them for several hours each day. When we are staring into our phones to send text messages, the camera is potentially stealing our faceprint and sending it to your cell phone provider and/or law enforcement. We are giving away our privacy for convenience, luxury, and entertainment.

How can we stop the fast march to a total surveillance state?

Perhaps abandoning all technology and living off the land. Short of that, we need to take measures to encrypt our communication and practice a culture of security.


Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Image Credit: TheFreeThoughtProject.com

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Chicago Cop Who Murdered Teen And Covered It Up Has Been Indicted On 16 Charges

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 02:45 PM PDT

We Are Change

Article via The Anti-Media by Josie Wales

The former Chicago police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald has been charged with 16 additional counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

The new charges against former officer Jason Van Dyke were issued by a grand jury and unsealed Thursday by a special prosecutor, according to local media. Van Dyke also faces six counts of murder and one count of official misconduct. Special prosecutor John McMahon assured the court the new charges were not an attempt to correct what the defense has called errors in the initial charges. He gave no other explanation for the move.

On October 20, 2014, at approximately 10 pm, Officer Jason Van Dyke unloaded his service weapon into the teenage boy until he lay dead in the street. The autopsy report showed Van Dyke shot him in the scalp, neck, both sides of his chest, back, both arms, and his right hand and leg. Van Dyke claimed the boy tried to attack him and fellow officers on the scene — who corroborated the story — accusing McDonald of “aggravated assault.” One report even claimed Van Dyke was “injured by [the] offender.”

Hundreds of pages of police reports show Van Dyke and at least five other officers claimed McDonald was the aggressor. The records also showed dash cam footage was recovered from at least two police vehicles on the scene, one of them Van Dyke’s, and the recovered footage was “found to be consistent with the accounts of all the witnesses.

And all of it was a lie.

While video footage from five vehicles was downloaded for investigators within 24 hours of the shooting, the city fought to keep the recordings under wraps but was finally forced by a judge to make them public 13 months later. The video showed McDonald was not attacking anyone, but rather, walking away from police when Van Dyke opened fire six seconds after arriving on the scene, firing 16 bullets in 15 seconds.

The release of the footage sparked mass protests and led to an investigation of the Chicago police department by the U.S. Department of Justice, which exposed a blatantly corrupt and excessively violent police department.

The other officers involved in the coverup of McDonald’s murder have not yet been fired. That will be up to the Chicago police board, which is being asked to wait until after Van Dyke’s criminal trial before proceeding with hearings. Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General recommended 11 of the 15 officers involved in the coverup be terminated.


Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

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#MissingDCGirls Trend Sparks Social Media Outrage

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 02:11 PM PDT

We Are Change

There is a recent string of missing people reports in Washington D.C., and locals of the area are furious that these reports seem to be increasing. Crime reports on the official DC Metropolitan Police Department crime report page don’t give us any information on kidnappings, but their Twitter page seems to say otherwise.

In the past two days alone, there have been at least 8 missing people, as reported from the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s Twitter page.

The official Missing Kids website has surprisingly stayed silent on the matter. There have reportedly been 500 missing children in D.C. in 2017, at least 20 in the past week alone, according to the DC police twitter page. Also during the past week, 14 missing people have been found

None of the missing people are on the official site for locating missing children.

@llcoolj We need to apply public pressure and post these innocent faces everyday until all of them are found#MissingDCGirls@DCPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/dN64IIg6wd

— IamDaHuLKMC???? (@IamDaHuLKMC) March 24, 2017

Some of the children above have since been found by authorities, including Edwards, Paz, Coles, and White. The rest of the girls pictured above still seem to be missing, along with various others. The DC police Twitter page seems to keep followers up-to-date on the missing people.

Missing Person: Dayanna White,15, has been located. Thanks for your help! #MissingPersonLocated pic.twitter.com/j456pyt7XS

— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) March 22, 2017

According to a report by USA Today, police officials have been downplaying the fact that there are children missing, saying that the numbers have dropped from 200 a month to 190 a month, on average. Although summarized crime reports for 2014-2015 echo this claim, there were only 27 kidnapping arrests made during this time alone.

Regardless, these are people’s lives that we are dealing with here, and not pieces of data. We shouldn’t look at kidnappings from a statistical point of view, and should instead recognize that there are people’s lives at stake here.  In a time of increasing reports of international sex-trafficking, these kidnappings need to be solved, and not set aside.

What seems to be causing most of the controversy is that the majority of these missing people are either African American or Hispanic. Black lawmakers have recently called upon the FBI and Department of Justice for assistance in this matter, which illustrates lessening confidence in the local police department.

14 black girls go missing in 24 hrs & I have to rely on Black Twitter to get info cuz mainstream media’s too busy to care. #missingdcgirls

— Shalisa Hayes (@ShalisaHayes) March 24, 2017

It does seem that the DC Police Department is working to promote awareness of the missing people. However, if we are to find all of these missing people, it seems that we will need to take matters into our own hands. Share this message, and help us to find all of the missing DC children.

 

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German Mobile Game ‘Schulzzug’ Lets Players Run Over Trump And Putin

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 02:11 PM PDT

We Are Change

A new mobile German game “Schulzzug,” or Schulz train in English has been called “tasteless” for letting players run over U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The game originated from a popular hashtag used by supporters of Social Democrat (SPD) candidate for chancellor of Germany Martin Schulz.

In the game, you drive a train containing Angela Merkel’s chief rival for chancellor Schulz, running over his political foes.

Although Schulz and his party have nothing to do with the game and its copyright. The deplorable game was actually developed in the beginning of March 2017. Where The Social Democrats, hosted a “hackathon” event, Germany outlet Die Welt reported.

The game advertises as “brake-less fun,” and features Schulz driving down tracks, dodging obstacles, collecting coins and stars of the European Union flag. While making way to the chancellery, where he aims to end up in Germany’s September election.

Gamers are then encouraged to kill Trump and a shirtless Putin to collect bonus points, according to TheLocal.de.

The game also allows players to run over one of Schulz’s rivals but it’s not Chancellor Angela Merkel. It’s another woman Frauke Petry. Running to become Germany’s new chancellor, leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) party.

To add, what’s even more concerning is in the game Petry is pregnant according to IBTimes.

“Is this fake news, or is this really an SPD game? Whoever kills Trump and Petry with the Schulzzug wins bonus points?” AfD politician Beatrix von Storch tweeted.

Das ist Fakenews-oder gibt es das SPD-Spiel wirklich?Wer mit dem Schulzzug Trump u Petry tötet gewinnt Bonuspunkte? https://t.co/lB8BB5DSyI

— Beatrix von Storch (@Beatrix_vStorch) March 20, 2017

“Running over people in a game is not actually funny but tasteless,” tweeted Julia Klöckner a member of Christian Democratic Union (DCU).

Wenn der #Schulzzug die schwangere @FraukePetry überfährt, gibt‘s Bonuspunkte – und Beifall der @swr3-Redaktion!
?? https://t.co/HCkyMwM8RS pic.twitter.com/vcIFxQ5bN2

— AfD Kompakt (@AfDKompakt) March 21, 2017

Social Democrats have since asked the developers to review the game. The characters of Trump, Putin and Petry were removed following their request.

This follows calls made months back for the assassination of the current sitting U.S. President by Josef Joffe. Joffe is an editor, and publisher of the German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit.” Trump recently met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where he called their meeting “very good.” Later during the press conference, Trump joked with Merkel. Saying that he and her both, “have something in common, perhaps,” when it comes to his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration wiretapping them both.

[RELATED: German Newspaper Editor Calls For Assassination To End ‘Trump Catastrophe’]

[RELATED: ‘We Have Something in Common’: Trump Jokes With Merkel About Obama Wiretapping (VIDEO)]

 

 

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Humanitarian Emergency: 1.4 Million Children at Imminent Risk of Death

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 02:07 PM PDT

We Are Change

East Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought in the last sixty years which has caused famine and starvation in Somalia. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the lame stream media.

The last officially declared famine was in 2011 when more than a quarter of a million (250,000+) people died. Reports from the ground say there is no doubt that this famine will be worse.

This should be the biggest story in the world right now. pic.twitter.com/5jhlO2OqI4

— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) March 12, 2017

According to the UN’s office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the current crisis has affected 10 million people, led to 640 thousand malnourished children, killed nearly 29 thousand and placed half a million others at risk.

Where are people starving right now?

In late February a famine was declared in South Sudan and warnings of famine have also recently been issued for Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.

According to UNICEF, nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death.

Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, went to Somalia earlier this month and saw the suffering.

Just arrived in Somalia on emergency visit to focus on famine & cholera. People are dying. The world must act now to stop this.

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 7, 2017

Somalia

Failure of the Deyr rains and poor spring forecast threaten a repeat of the catastrophe of 2011. Drought conditions are threatening an already fragile population, battered by decades of conflict. Almost half the population, or 6.2 million people, are facing acute food insecurity and are in need of humanitarian assistance. Some 185,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year. This figure is expected to rise to 270,000 in the next few months.

Nigeria

Famine may have occurred in 2016 in Borno State and could be ongoing in areas that are inaccessible to aid workers. In the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobi, the number of children with severe acute malnutrition is expected to reach 450,000 this year. Late last year, Fews Net, the famine early warning system which monitors food insecurity, indicated that famine had likely occurred in some previously inaccessible areas of Borno states. It is likely ongoing in other areas which remain beyond humanitarian reach.

Yemen

7 to 10 million people urgently need food assistance in Yemen. Famine is possible in the worst-case scenario, amidst heavy conflict and the deteriorating macroeconomic atmosphere. Conflict has been raging for the past two years with 462,000 children currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition – a nearly 200 per cent increase since 2014.

South Sudan

A country reeling from conflict, poverty and insecurity with over 270,000 severely malnourished children. Famine has just recently been declared in parts of Unity State in the northern central part of the country. 20,000 children live in this area.

If nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis, the total number of food insecure people across the country is expected to rise from 4.9 million to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July.

Actionaid.org report that Ethiopia and Kenya are also in dire need.

Media Coverage

Media coverage of a disaster has proven to have a direct affect on donations. According to Caryl Stern, the president and chief executive officer of the U.S. fund for UNICEF:

“The overwhelming problem is that the American public is not seeing and feeling the urgency of this crisis”

You may remember the campaigns for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 tsunami in Japan. $228 million was collected for Haiti in the first five days after the earthquake. $100 million in donations was collected seven days after the tsunami in Japan.

To put the lack of funding into perspective; around $24 million has been donated to 20 of the top U.S. humanitarian groups working on the crisis to date.

The American military budget is ranked first place in the world; an unimaginable $597 billion.

Military first. World hunger…dead last. Our priorities are out of whack as global famine looms [WATCH] https://t.co/xj1THsHznm

— Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) March 24, 2017

As Lee Camp and Rodrigo Campos point out, the UN needs just $4.4B to end the crisis.

The @UN recently said about 20 million ppl face famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen.
Said it needs $4.4 bln now. https://t.co/a7obNKWI6Z

— Rodrigo Campos (@rodrigocampos) March 7, 2017

Food assistance needs in 2017 are unprecedented. Across 45 countries, some 70 million people will require emergency food assistance, 40% more than in 2015.

To save lives, governments and the international community must ramp up efforts to resolve conflict, ensure humanitarian access and make more resources available for emergency response.

The trouble with making direct donations to these countries is that the rich elite running the countries often intercept donations, and the NGOs pledged to help often pocket donations.

So what can you do? If you know an honest charity helping in the region, post in the comments below.

The post Humanitarian Emergency: 1.4 Million Children at Imminent Risk of Death appeared first on We Are Change.

Obamacare Lives! Major Setback for Trump Admin as Republicans Pull Replacement Bill

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 01:13 PM PDT

We Are Change

President Donald Trump has told House Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the HOP health care bill. In what is the biggest crisis of his young presidency, Mr Trump was told by Paul Ryan that the bill would not pass the House.

“We have given [Congress] every reason to fulfil the commitment they made to the American people,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman said on Friday. “Everything is out there. These members have to make a decision.”

“You can’t force people to vote,” he added. “At the end of the day this isn’t a dictatorship.”

The president had issued a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to rebel congressmen, earlier refusing to delay the voting on the bill in the House of Representatives on Friday.

Ryan rushed from the White House to Capitol Hill to tell Trump he did not have the votes to pass the measure. Ryan recommended to Trump that he should pull the bill.

Earlier today Mr Trump called the Washington Post to confirm he had pulled the bill. Trump refused to delay the voting on the bill in the House of Representatives on Friday even as it became clear he did not have the requisite support for it to pass.

Mr Trump told a Washington Post reporter, efforts on the healthcare bill would be “over for now” but he would come back to healthcare “some time this year.”

Paul Ryan spoke in a news conference that took please earlier today.

It was a huge setback for the president and instilled doubts about his ability to enact his wider agenda, not only on healthcare but other major promises like tax reform and infrastructure investment.

Ryan said:

“I wont sugar coat this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard.”

“We’re feeling those growing pains today. We came really close today. But we came up short.”

“I’m really proud of the bill that we produced. It would make a dramatic improvement in our healthcare system and provide relief for people hurting under Obama Care. And what’s probably most troubling is the worst is yet to come with Obama Care.”

“Obamacare is the law of the land. … We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

President Trump said, “The losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” who now “own Obamacare.”

Stay with We Are Change as the story develops!

The post Obamacare Lives! Major Setback for Trump Admin as Republicans Pull Replacement Bill appeared first on We Are Change.

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