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Thailand's lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:59

An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday. The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named "Marium" and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.


U.S. issues warrant to seize Iran oil tanker 'Grace 1' after Gibraltar judge orders its release

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:58

The U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant to seize an Iran oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, a day after a judge ordered the release of 'Grace 1.'


The Bogus Story That Launched a ‘Collusion’ Probe

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:30

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the fourth in a series of excerpts; the first can be read here, the second here, and the third here.The George Papadopoulos Origin Story has never added up. It has been portrayed as the Big Bang, the Magic Moment that started the FBI’s investigation of “collusion” -- a suspected election-theft conspiracy between Donald Trump’s campaign and Vladimir Putin’s regime. But if the young energy-sector analyst had actually emerged in early 2016 as the key to proving Trump–Russia espionage, you would think the FBI might have gotten around to interviewing him before January 27, 2017 — i.e., a week after President Trump had been inaugurated, and six months after the Bureau formally opened its “Crossfire Hurricane” probe.You would probably also think Papadopoulos, Suspect One in The Great Cyber Espionage Attack on Our Democracy, might have rated a tad more than the whopping 14-day jail sentence a federal judge eventually imposed on him. You might even suppose that he’d have been charged with some seditious felony involving clandestine operations against his own country, instead of . . . yes . . . fibbing to the FBI about the date of a meeting.That, however, does not scratch the surface. We are to believe that what led to the opening of the FBI’s Trump–Russia investigation, and what therefore is the plinth of the collusion narrative, is a breakfast meeting at a London hotel on April 26, 2016, between Papadopoulos and Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic we are supposed to take for a clandestine Russian agent. We are to take Papadopoulos’s word for it that Mifsud claimed Russia possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.” We are further to believe that “the professor” elaborated that, in order to help Donald Trump’s candidacy, the Kremlin would release these “emails of Clinton” at a time chosen to do maximum damage to the Democratic nominee’s campaign.The story is based on no credible evidence. If it were ever presented to a jury, it would be laughed out of court.The Papadopoulos “collusion” claims (without collusion charges) are alleged in the Mueller report, which essentially repeats the grandiose “Statement of the Offense” that the special counsel included with the comparatively minor false-statement charge to which Papadopoulos pled guilty. Carefully parsed, this narrative stops short of alleging that the Trump adviser actually collaborated with a Russian agent. Rather, it claims that Papadopoulos engaged in a lot of twaddle with Mifsud, who he had reason to suspect might be a Russian agent. The pair brainstormed endlessly about potential high-level Trump-campaign meetings with the Putin regime, including [insert heavy breathing here] between Trump and Putin themselves. Papadopoulos then exaggerated these meanderings in emails to Trump-campaign superiors he was hot to impress.It is virtually certain that Mifsud was not a Russian agent. Whether he was an asset for any intelligence service, we cannot say with certainty at this point. But we can say that he had close contacts of significance with British intelligence, and with other Western governments.As Lee Smith relates, Mifsud has also long been associated with Claire Smith, a prominent British diplomat who served for years on Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee, which answers directly to the prime minister. Ms. Smith was also a member of the United Kingdom’s Security Vetting Appeals Panel, which reviews denials of security clearances to government employees. During her career in the British foreign service, Smith worked with Mifsud at three different academic institutions: the London Academy of Diplomacy (which trained diplomats and government officials, some of them sponsored by the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council, or by their own governments), the University of Stirling, in Scotland, and Link Campus University in Rome, where Mifsud first met Papadopoulos. The campus is a well-known draw for diplomats and intelligence officials — the CIA holds conferences there, the FBI holds agent-training sessions there, and former U.S. intelligence officials teach there.In Rome on March 14, Papadopoulos met Joseph Mifsud. Twice Papadopoulos’s age, the Maltese professor gravitated to his fellow Link University lecturers and professors, who, as Lee Smith notes, “include senior Western diplomats and intelligence officials from a number of NATO countries, especially Italy and the United Kingdom.” Mifsud also taught at the University of Stirling and the London Academy of Diplomacy. That is to say, if Mifsud had actually been a Russian agent, he was situated to be one of the most successful in history.Not likely.Mifsud was a shameless self-promoter (at least until Russiagate notoriety sent him underground). He traveled frequently, including to Russia, where he participated in academic conferences and claimed acquaintance with regime officials — though how well he actually knows anyone of significance is unclear. In sum, Mifsud is the aging academic version of Papadopoulos. Thierry Pastor, a French political analyst who (with a Swiss-German lawyer named Stephan Roh) co-wrote a book about l’affaire Papadopoulos, made this observation about Mifsud’s brag that he knew Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov: “Yes, he met Lavrov. He met him once or twice in a large group. He knows Lavrov, but Lavrov doesn’t know Joseph. [Mifsud’s] contacts in Russia are with academics.”Nevertheless, the Trump–Russia narrative holds that Mifsud actually is a well-placed Russian agent who became interested in Papadopoulos upon discovering that he was a key (yup . . .) Trump adviser. According to this story, Mifsud introduced the younger man to a woman presented as Vladimir Putin’s niece. The professor also hooked Papadopoulos up with Ivan Timofeev, whom prosecutors pregnantly described as “the Russian MFA connection” (as in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Lavrov’s office) when they eventually charged Papadopoulos with making false statements. Timofeev and Papadopoulos had fevered discussions about setting up a Putin–Trump meeting in Russia. Finally, at their April 26 breakfast in London, Mifsud let slip that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton” — which, the narrative holds, must have been a reference to the DNC emails that Russian intelligence hacked and WikiLeaks disseminated during the Democratic party’s convention in July.The story is bogus through and through. There is no proof that Mifsud is a Russian agent — Mueller never alleged such a thing, either when Papadopoulos was charged or in the special counsel’s final report, which concluded that there was no Trump–Russia conspiracy. The woman in question was not Putin’s niece; she was eventually identified as Olga Polonskaya, the 32-year-old manager of a St. Petersburg wine company, who (the Mueller report suggests, based on a “Baby, thank you” email) may have been romantically involved with Mifsud. Timofeev is actually a young academic researcher who runs a Russian think tank, the Russian International Affairs Council. The RIAC has some sort of tie to the MFA, but no discernible connections to Russian intelligence. Like Mifsud, Timofeev is an academic; he was in an even less likely position to schedule a meeting for Putin than Papadopoulos was to do so for Trump. The hypothetical Putin–Trump summit was an inchoate idea that senior Trump officials shot down even as Papadopoulos and Timofeev were dreaming it up.What about those “emails of Clinton”? Other than the word of Papadopoulos, a convicted liar and palpably unreliable raconteur, there is no evidence — none — that Mifsud told him about emails. The professor never showed him any emails. And in his February 2017 FBI interview, Mifsud denied saying anything to Papadopoulos about Clinton-related emails in the possession of the Kremlin. Of course, Mifsud could be lying. But there is no evidence that he would have been in a position to know the inner workings of Russian intelligence operations.It is not enough to say that Mueller never charged Mifsud with lying to the FBI. In Mueller’s report, when prosecutors have evidence that Mifsud gave inaccurate information, they say so. For example, they allege that Mifsud “falsely” recounted the last time he had seen Papadopoulos. But Mueller never alleges that Mifsud’s denial of knowledge about Russia’s possession of emails is false. And if we learned anything from Mueller’s investigation, it is that he knows how to make a false-statements case.In any event, Mifsud’s supposed comment about Clinton’s emails obviously made little impression on Papadopoulos. The day after he met the professor, Papadopoulos sent two emails to high-ranking Trump-campaign officials about his meeting with Mifsud. In neither did he mention emails. Papadopoulos instead focused on the possibility — far-fetched, but apparently real to Papadopoulos — that Mifsud could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. Prior to being interviewed by the FBI in January 2017, Papadopoulos never reported anything about Russia’s having emails — neither to his Trump-campaign superiors, to whom he was constantly reporting on his conversations with Mifsud, nor to Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat whose conversation with Papadopoulos was the proximate cause for the formal opening of the FBI probe.It was only when he was interviewed by the FBI in late January 2017, nine months after his conversation with Mifsud, that Papadopoulos is alleged to have claimed that Mifsud said the Russians had “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.” There is no known recording of this FBI interview, so there is no way of knowing whether (a) Papadopoulos volunteered this claim that Mifsud mentioned emails or (b) the email claim was suggested to Papadopoulos by his interrogators’ questions. We have no way of knowing if Papadopoulos is telling the truth (and therefore hid the possibility of damaging Clinton emails from his Trump-campaign superiors for no fathomable reason) or if he was telling the FBI agents what he thought they wanted to hear (which is what he often did when reporting to the Trump campaign).Is the Mifsud–Papadopoulos connection a case of Western intelligence agencies entrapping the Trump campaign by first using an “asset” (Mifsud) to plant a damning “Russia helping Trump” story with Papadopoulos, and later using another “asset” (Stefan Halper) to try to get Papadopoulos to repeat that story so that “collusion” could be proved?At this point, we don’t know. Here is what we do know: The United States government has never charged Joseph Mifsud. It has never accused him of being an agent of Russia. It took no steps to arrest him despite opportunities to do so. In fact, the FBI interviewed Mifsud and, when he denied Papadopoulos’s claim that he had told the young Trump adviser that Russia had Hillary emails, the Bureau let him go. Special Counsel Mueller never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was a false statement.That’s a pretty a curious way to treat the “Russian agent” who was the rationale for the incumbent administration’s use of foreign counterintelligence powers to investigate the presidential campaign of its political opposition, no?


'A new Hawaiian Renaissance': how a telescope protest became a movement

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 01:30

Demonstrators opposed to the building of a telescope on Mauna Kea, the state’s highest peak, have forged a communityThe actor Jason Momoa exchanges a traditional greeting with an elder while visiting protesters last month. Photograph: Hollyn Johnson/APOn Hawaii’s Big Island, a protest against a $1.4bn observatory on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians, is entering a second month. In that time, the protest site has swelled from a few hundred to several thousands, attracted celebrity visitors, and built a community of Native Hawaiians who see it as a pivotal moment.The protest site sits at an elevation of 6,632ft, where the cold wind whips across hardened lava fields. But amid this inhospitable environment, weeks of demonstration have given rise to a sense of permanence.The site stretches across a two-lane highway, where trucks flying a Native Hawaiian flag and the upside-down state flag line both sides of the road. A “Kūpuna tent”, where the elders of the community gather, is strategically placed to block an access road up the mountain in order to stop construction vehicles from reaching the summit.New arrivals are encouraged to sign in at an orientation station. There is a tented cafeteria providing free meals, and a community-run medic station, daycare and school. Along the barren roadside, tropical flowers have been casually stuck in traffic cones. People pound taro, a Hawaiian crop, in the traditional way on wooden boards to make poi, a local dish.The protest stems from controversy over the fate of Mauna Kea, the tallest peak in Hawaii and the proposed site of an enormous observatory known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The summit, 13,796ft above sea level, is said to be an ideal location to look into deep space. TMT is expected to capture images ‘that look back to the beginning of the universe. Protesters, who call themselves kia‘i, or “protectors”, argue the construction will further desecrate Mauna Kea, which is already home to about a dozen telescopes.The sun sets behind telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Photograph: Caleb Jones/APKealoha Pisciotta, one of the protest leaders and a spokesperson for Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, a Native Hawaiian group, says the movement is “pushing back on corporate culture” through Hawaiian concepts of “Kapu Aloha”, which emphasizes compassionate responses, especially towards opponents, and “Aloha ʻĀina”, a saying that translates to “love of the land”.“We are just joining the world’s indigenous movements,” Pisciotta says. “We need Kapu Aloha ... to bring back the balance from the insanity and destruction of our earth.”Pisciotta said that the protesters were showing the world a way “to really live differently” while protecting the land.“For Native Hawaiians, there is a question of our right to self-determination as defined by international law, but I think it’s so much bigger than that,” said Pisciotta. “It’s about us learning to live and be interdependent.” Why are the protests happening?Protesters continue their vigil, on 19 July. Photograph: Bruce Asato/APHawaiians consider Mauna Kea sacred for numerous reasons. The mountain is known as the home to Wākea, the sky god, who partnered with Papahānaumoku, the earth goddess. Protesters hope to protect and help restore the native ecosystem on Mauna Kea.But the protests are also part of a legacy for Native Hawaiians that goes back to 1893, when the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown. Hawaiians lost their land as well as their culture, as the latter was suppressed through law and religion. It wasn’t until the 1970s, during a period of cultural flourishing known as the Hawaiian Renaissance, that the Hawaiian language was allowed to be spoken in school and that the hula was revived.The period was defined by its own resistance movement, as activists focused on stopping the US military from using Kahoʻolawe, one of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, as a target for bombing practice. After more than a decade of peaceful protests and occupations of the island, the US government ended the live-fire training in the 1990s.Some see the latest protest action as a new Hawaiian Renaissance. Days are punctuated by the blowing of the conch shell to announce ceremonies that include chanting, hula, and hoʻokupu (offerings). Several celebrities with Hawaii ties have travelled here to participate, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Momoa, and Jack Johnson.Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, right, watches a performance during a visit to the ninth day of protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope, on 23 July. Photograph: Jamm Aquino/AP“The atmosphere here is incredible. We’re all here protecting our ʻāina [land]”, said Kamuela Park, a protester at the site. He added that it had been “awesome to see people from all spectrums coming here in support”.Peaceful demonstrators have faced one major confrontation with police. Three days into the protest, 38 kūpuna (revered elders) were arrested for blocking the road that leads to the construction site. That same day, Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, signed an emergency proclamation giving law enforcement more control over the area and allowed them to bring in National Guard troops. Images of the elderly being arrested quickly spread, garnering sympathy for the movement and attracting more people to the site. What comes next?Demonstrators block a road at the base of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, on 15 July. Photograph: Caleb Jones/APNegotiations between government officials and protesters have slowed since the arrests. On 30 July, the governor rescinded his emergency proclamation. He also extended the window during which construction could begin from 60 days to two years, meaning the protesters would theoretically need to block the road until September 2021.“I want to assure everyone that we are committed. Our law enforcement officers will remain at the site to ensure the safety of all of those involved,” said Ige at a press conference. “We continue to seek and find a peaceful solution to move this project forward.”While tensions may have eased, protesters have said they will stay until they stop TMT from being built. Demonstrators proved their endurance in early August as many of them stayed at the protest site while two consecutive storms passed by the islands.Pisciotta, who used to work at the Mauna Kea observatories as a telescope systems specialist, says the movement has been especially “huge” for young people.“Some of the elders, they lived through the time it was prohibited to speak the language,” she says. Now younger Hawaiians grow up speaking it in school and with strong cultural affiliations. Hawaiian youth who are camping out are helping to organize donations, teaching some of the courses at the community-led school, and spreading the word on social media.“In our philosophy, the land and the people are one,” said Pisciotta, about Aloha ʻĀina. “So it was a rallying point for the renaissance and now this is a kind of new renaissance.”


Judge rules against reinstating police officer after fight

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 01:30

A judge has vacated an arbitrator's ruling that ordered the Seattle Police Department to reinstate an officer who was fired for punching a drunk, handcuffed woman after she kicked him during a 2014 incident captured on patrol car video, the Seattle Times reports . King County Superior Court Judge John McHale found in a ruling released late Friday that the arbitrator's Nov. 30 decision to order the city to reduce Officer Adley Shepherd's firing to a 15-day suspension and put him back on the job amounted to discipline so lenient it "violates the explicit, dominant and well-defined public policy against the use of excessive force in policing," the newspaper says. Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes praised McHale's ruling.


Argentina detains businessman at center of Mexican corruption scandal

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:40

Argentine authorities and Interpol detained on Friday a businessman who was at the center of a Mexican corruption scandal in 2004 that hurt the reputation of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who at the time was Mexico City's mayor and is now the nation's president. The detained Argentine businessman Carlos Ahumada was filmed in 2004 giving bundles of money to Lopez Obrador's main ally in the City Council, Rene Bejarano. Support for Lopez Obrador at the time was battered by the graft scandal.


Google employees call for tech giant to not work with ICE, Customs and Border Protection

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:01

Reaction from National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd and former acting ICE director Tom Homan.


The man who stole a firetruck during the Camp Fire was just sentenced to probation

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 22:37

Nine months after he was arrested in Butte County on charges of stealing a firetruck during the Camp Fire, Robert Christopher DePalma, 60, of Concow, was sentenced to three years of felony probation and ordered to pay $6,180 in victim restitution, officials said.


China flexes muscle near Hong Kong amid more weekend rallies

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:54

Members of China's paramilitary People's Armed Police marched and practiced crowd control tactics at a sports complex in Shenzhen across from Hong Kong in what some interpreted as a threat against pro-democracy protesters in the semi-autonomous territory. A stadium security guard said "it wasn't clear" when the paramilitary police would leave the grounds.


Obama told Biden advisers not to let the former Veep ‘damage his legacy’ in his 2020 presidential run

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:51

Obama is reportedly concerned that Biden is relying on advisers who are "too old and out of touch with the current political climate,"


Priest who appeared in The Exorcist accused of 'grooming and sexually abusing' student at Jesuit school

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:15

A priest who appeared in The Exorcist has been accused of allegedly grooming and sexually abusing a student at the Jesuit high school where he taught.William O’Malley, who plays Father Dyer in the 1973 horror film, is one of several people named in a lawsuit filed as part of the Child Victims Act, which enables New Yorkers who were allegedly abused as children to file civil cases with no time or age limit for one year.According to court papers obtained by The Independent, O’Malley allegedly “used his position as a priest” to “groom and to sexually abuse” a student at McQuaid Jesuit High School. The plaintiff, who has remained anonymous, was approximately 17 years old when the alleged abuse occurred, the lawsuit claims.It also alleges that O’Malley, now 87, sexually abused the student “multiple times” from approximately 1985 to 1986.The Diocese of Rochester and McQuaid Jesuit High School are both named among several defendants in the suit. O’Malley’s name appears among numerous others in the complaint.McQuaid told The Independent in a statement that it expects to receive claims as the Child Victims Act goes into effect."It is our sincere hope that this will be a time of healing for our brothers," the school said in a statement, although it declined to comment on specific claims.One of the lawyers listed on the lawsuit confirmed that the priest named in the complaint was the same as the one whose name appears in the credits of the horror film.He appeared in the news in 2012 after reportedly being dismissed from his teaching role at Fordham Prep, another Jesuit school, for his “abrasive” teaching style, the New York Post reported at the time.Hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed in New York courts after the one-year window set by the Child Victims Act opened on Wednesday.


Cal Fire said Tubbs Fire wasn’t caused by PG&E. Victims win the right to sue utility anyway

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:00

Victims of the deadly Tubbs Fire in 2017 won the right to pursue lawsuits against PG&E; Corp. on Friday in spite of state investigators’ declaration that the utility wasn’t to blame for the fire.


Kazakhstan court frees anti-Beijing activist

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 19:24

A rights activist in Kazakhstan who faced seven years imprisonment over his outspoken opposition to neighbouring China was unexpectedly freed Friday as public and international pressure over his case mounted. Serikjan Bilash, whose activism in defence of Muslim and Turkic minorities in Xinjiang earned him global media attention, told AFP he struck a plea bargain with the court that allowed him freedom but will end his activism. "I had to end my activism against China.


Scaramucci on Trump: 'Very clear that it’s impossible for him to win'

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:47

In a no-holds-barred interview with Vanity Fair, Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci said Trump will likely drop out of the presidential race by March 2020.


Pensacola man used his massage parlor as a front for a human trafficking ring, DOJ says

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:09

A Pensacola business owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he operated a human trafficking ring out of Asian massage parlors across three states, a press release says.


'Explosive' situation on migrant rescue boat in limbo off Italy

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:05

The captain of a Spanish charity ship carrying 134 rescued migrants warned Friday of an "explosive" situation on board the vessel anchored within swimming distance of Italy's Lampedusa island but forbidden to approach. Italy has evacuated a handful of people from the Open Arms ship for medical treatment but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refuses to allow the vessel to dock despite other European countries agreeing to take in the people on board. The captain of the ship operated by Proactiva Open Arms, Marc Reig, said the migrants, rescued after leaving chaos-stricken Libya, were "broken psychologically".


Arrests precede major demonstrations in Portland, Oregon

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 17:50

Authorities arrested the leader of a right-wing group on the eve of a rally that's expected to draw people from around the U.S. to Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, prompting Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson to urge his followers to "show up one hundred-fold" in response. Self-described anti-fascists have vowed to confront the right-wing groups at the downtown rally and the arrests of Gibson and five other right-wing supporters appeared to be intended to send a signal from police to organizers to remain peaceful or stay away. In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him and other right-wing members but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally.


Claims: Migrant children molested in US-funded foster care

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 17:49

This story is part of an ongoing joint investigation between The Associated Press and the PBS series FRONTLINE on the treatment of migrant children, which includes an upcoming film. The boy, now 8, went into a U.S.-funded foster home for migrant children in New York. The foster care programs are aimed at providing migrant children with care while authorities work to connect them with parents, relatives or other sponsors.


Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Partnered with Vicious Anti-Semites to Plan Their Trip to Israel

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 17:04

To the extent that I care at all about Israel blocking entry to two U.S. congresswomen who partner with anti-Semites who seek its destruction, I agree with critics who argue that Bibi Netanyahu should not appear to bow to Donald Trump’s tweeted demands and that blocking Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel handed them a short-term propaganda victory. But that’s not the most important part of the story.The most important element of the story is the fact that two American congresswomen shunned a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel to go on an independent trip to Israel sponsored by vicious anti-Semites. Another important element of the story is that, as of today, the mainstream media have whitewashed Omar and Tlaib’s vile associations.Writing yesterday, the Washington Post said that “Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank was planned by Miftah, a nonprofit organization headed by Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.” The New York Times described it as an organization “headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker.” In its editorial, the New York Times editorial board identified it as a group “that promotes ‘global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities.’”This is a whitewash. Thanks to a Twitter thread from the Washington Examiner’s Seth Mandel -- who pointed to multiple additional sources -- I started looking at the articles and views published on the Miftah website, and it was like peeling an onion of evil. There was layer upon layer of vile anti-Semitism.First, the group actually published blood libel, posting an article that accused “the Jews [of using] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.” When pro-Israel bloggers condemned the article, Miftah first claimed that the attacks against the piece were part of a “smear campaign” and minimized the reference to blood libel as merely “briefly addressed.”It was just a light sprinkling of blood libel. Move along, nothing to see here.The organization later issued a more complete apology, but we’ve barely gotten started with this vile group. It’s also published an American neo-Nazi treatise called “Who Rules America: The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken” (archived here).As Vox’s Jane Coaston explained, “the original source was National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi group founded in 2005 in Charlottesville by members of the National Alliance.” The National Alliance “was for a time the best financed and best organized white nationalist group in America.” And to give you a sense of its ideology, here are two paragraphs from the treatise:> The Jew-controlled entertainment media have taken the lead in persuading a whole generation that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable way of life; that there is nothing at all wrong with White women dating or marrying Black men, or with White men marrying Asian women; that all races are inherently equal in ability and character -- except that the character of the White race is suspect because of a history of oppressing other races; and that any effort by Whites at racial self-preservation is reprehensible.> > We must oppose the further spreading of this poison among our people, and we must break the power of those who are spreading it. It would be intolerable for such power to be in the hands of any alien minority, with values and interests different from our own. But to permit the Jews, with their 3,000-year history of nation-wrecking, from ancient Egypt to Russia, to hold such power over us is tantamount to race suicide. Indeed, the fact that so many White Americans today are so filled with a sense of racial guilt and self-hatred that they actively seek the death of their own race is a deliberate consequence of Jewish media control.I look forward to hearing apologists argue that these statements are merely critiques of “Israeli policies.”But that’s not all, not by a long shot. The group celebrates terrorists, including an evil woman who helped murder 13 Israeli children. In an article titled “Let Us Honor Our Own,” a Miftah contributor describes Dalal Al Mughrabi as “a Palestinian fighter who was killed during a military operation against Israel in 1978” and as one of the Palestinian people’s “national heroes.”The so-called “military operation” is more widely known as the “Coastal Road Massacre,” a bus hijacking that resulted in the deaths of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.Al Mughrabi is hardly the only terrorist Miftah celebrates. It described female suicide bomber Wafa Idrees as the “the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause.” It singles out for recognition Hanadi Jaradat, a woman who blew herself up in a restaurant, killing 21 people (including four children).The founder of Miftah herself, Ms. Ashrawi, excused jihadist violence by telling an interviewer that “you cannot somehow adopt the language of either the international community or the occupier by describing anybody who resists as terrorist.”And of course Miftah published an article asking whether Israel was a proper homeland for the Jewish people:> Under the heading "Is Israel the Only Possible Homeland for Jews?", this article questioning the appropriateness of Israel as the location of a Jewish homeland was posted by Miftah, one of the sponsors of the proposed Tlaib/Omar visit to Israel:https://t.co/KX1PwrZGy1 pic.twitter.com/eMPOfhopYQ> > -- Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) August 16, 2019I can keep going, but the evidence above should be sufficient to establish the truth. It would and should be a national scandal if GOP congressmen intended to partner with white nationalists during a visit overseas. It should be a national scandal that members of the American government intended to partner with vicious anti-Semites on their own propaganda tour.After its thunderous denunciations of Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump, will pundits, editorial boards, and reporters take a look at the scandal hiding in plain sight? Will they hold Tlaib and Omar accountable for their vile associations? Now is a good time to demonstrate their commitment to reporting on the full context of international disputes and exposing one of the world’s oldest hatreds. We shall see how they respond.


GPS monitoring violates some sex offenders’ rights, NC Supreme Court rules

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 16:42

Sex offenders have rights, too, and in some cases the state has been violating those rights, the NC Supreme Court ruled on Friday.


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