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|Mueller witness bragged about access to Clintons secured with illegal campaign cash, says Justice Department
An emissary for two Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the 2016 Clinton campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment.
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 2:38 PM
|Evidence tampering alleged in police chief firing case
A female Chicago police officer who was reportedly seen on video drinking with and kissing the now-fired police superintendent the night he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV has been accused of tampering with a cellphone investigators wanted to examine, a police department spokesman said Friday. Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officials noticed that the phone was damaged when the woman left then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson's security detail to join the evidence and recovered property unit, three days after the incident. According to the Chicago Tribune, which first reported the allegations about the phone, a sergeant in the unit that the officer was joining noticed that the SIM card was missing and filed a formal complaint against the officer.
POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2019 5:40 PM
|Six months of sacrifice: Hong Kong's protesters take stock
With Beijing taking a hard line, it has since broadened into a call to halt authoritarian China's attempts to erode freedoms in the city. Raymond Yeung, a liberal studies teacher at the elite Diocesan Girls' School, joined the movement early and was there on June 12 when a massive protest descended into violence. Protesters broke into the forecourt of the city's legislative building, throwing objects including metal bars at police.
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 10:45 PM
|19 unforgettable images from the Pearl Harbor attack 78 years ago
December 7, 1941 began as a perfect Sunday morning. These photos show the attack by Imperial Japan that changed history.
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 5:03 PM
|Russian spies used French Alps as 'base camp' for hits on Britain and other countries
Fifteen Russian spies, including those accused of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, used the French Alps as a “base camp” to conduct covert operations around Europe over a five-year period, according to reports. The revelations came as Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said there was “sufficient factual evidence” linking Moscow to the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in central Berlin. According to Le Monde, British, Swiss, French, and US intelligence have drawn up a list of 15 members of the 29155 unit of Russia's GRU military spy agency who all passed through France’s Haute-Savoie mountains close to the Swiss and Italian borders. They stayed between 2015 and late 2018, notably in the towns of Evian, Annemasse and Chamonix - the scene of a ski chase in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. They arrived from London, Moscow, Spain and often Geneva. The Le Monde report added five new names to those already published by online investigative outlets such as Bellingcat and The Insider. Their identities and movements were uncovered during a joint probe by allied counterespionage services in the wake of the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, said the paper. Britain and its allies accuse the Kremlin of seeking to assassinate Mr Skripal, a charge Russia vehemently denies. Those who stayed in the Haute-Savoie included Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - the cover names of the two GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack on Mr Skripal, along with Serguei Fedotov, the suspected mastermind. According to Le Monde, a fourth agent believed to be linked to the Skripal assassination attempt and who stayed in the Alps, Serguei Pavlov, was located in the UK by MI6 in 2017. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the Russian suspects in the Skripal poisoning, are among those alleged to have used the French Alps as a base Credit: Getty Images Europe Le Mondesaid the five new names cited, all aliases, are Alxandre Koulaguiine, Evgueni Larine, Tour Nouzirov, Naman Youssoupov and Guennadi Chvets. The unit was also active in areas such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine. Western intelligence services involved found no material or arms left behind by the agents during their stays in France, Le Monde said, but their presence was confirmed by where they ate, stayed and shopped. "The most likely hypothesis is to consider it (Haute-Savoie) as a rear base for all the clandestine operations carried out by unit 29155 in Europe," said a senior French intelligence official, quoted by Le Monde. The paper said that one theory is that by staying in the Alps, the agents hoped to shake off any suspicion before they carried out their missions, which could explain why they conducted no covert missions on French soil. On Wednesday, Angela Merkel’s government summoned the Russian ambassador and ordered two of the embassy staff to leave the country within seven days. The two diplomats concerned are believed to be Russian intelligence officers, according to local media reports. The German foreign ministry said they had been declared persona non grata in protest at Russia’s failure to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national shot dead in a Berlin park in August. The suspected killer was captured by police attempting to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the nearby river Spree. He was carrying a Russian passport which identified him as Vadim Sokolov, but German prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that they now believe that is a false identity. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both poisoned with Novichok, a banned chemical weapon, in Salisbury Credit: Social media/EAST2WEST NEWS Police findings indicate that it is “highly likely” the arrested man is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national previously wanted for the murder of a businessman in Moscow in 2013, prosecutors said. A senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) on Thursday described the case as a “return to the days of the Cold War”. “Counterintelligence and foreign reconnaissance against Russia must be significantly expanded,” Armin Schuster told Bild newspaper. “Germany must get its act together if a foreign state can order murder on German soil.”. France denies any “laxism” by its embassy in Moscow for handing him a 90-day emergency visa on July 29 on a fictitious address. He passed through Paris before travelling on to Berlin. British and French intelligence sources told Le Monde the assassination was “ordered by the pro-Kremlin Chechen regime of Ramzan Kadyrov with logistical help of the Russian state”. According to Le Monde, French intelligence suspects the Berlin assassination was leaked to the public for “political reasons” linked to President Emmanuel Macron's apparent rapprochement with Moscow. Last week, Mr Macron said: “Has the absence of dialogue with Russia made the European continent any safer? ... I don’t think so.” “France's desire to rebuild strategic ties with Moscow has clearly prompted reactions from states who prefer direct confrontation with Russia,” said one French intelligence source, who denied any French “complacency or naivity” towards Moscow. French surveillance of foreign Russian espionage was, the source told Le Monde, “no doubt higher than any other service in Europe”.
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 11:59 AM
|Virginia Commission Calls for Repeal of ‘Explicitly Racist’ and ‘Segregationist’ Laws
A Virginia state commission released a report Thursday calling for the official repeal of “deeply troubling” state laws still on the books that contain “explicitly racist language and segregationist policies.”The Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law published a lengthy report saying that the outdated laws should not “remain enshrined in law” despite no longer being in effect.“The commission believes that such vestiges of Virginia’s segregationist past should no longer have official status,” the report states. "The devastating long-term social, economic, and political impact of legalized segregation in Virginia continues to plague people of color today."While many of the laws the commission cited have been nullified by courts, such as the ban on interracial marriage in the “Act to Preserve Racial Integrity,” the commission warned that they could become relevant again with another court ruling.“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no child shall be required to enroll in or attend any school wherein both white and colored children are enrolled,” a 1956 law continues to read.Democratic governor Ralph Northam spearheaded the commission in June to identify state laws that “were intended to or could have the effect of promoting or enabling racial discrimination or inequity.” The governor said he would focus on promoting racial equality for the rest of his term after weathering a scandal earlier this year over a racist yearbook photo depicting one person in blackface and another in a KKK outfit.Northam pledged in a statement Thursday to repeal all racially discriminatory language in Virginia law.“If we are going to move forward as a Commonwealth, we must take an honest look at our past,” the governor said. “We know that racial discrimination is rooted in many of the laws that have governed our Commonwealth—today represents an important step towards building a more equal, just, and inclusive Virginia.”
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 4:11 PM
|Azerbaijan plants 650,000 trees to celebrate poet - but green activists grumble
Oil-rich Azerbaijan planted more than half a million trees on Friday to celebrate a 14th century poet, an initiative the government said would help tackle climate change but some environmental activists called "a waste of money". The Azeri ministry of ecology said 650,000 trees were being planted across the country to mark the 650th anniversary of the birth of Seyid Imadeddin Nesimi, whose work touched on the relation between man and nature. Countries from India to Malawi have launched large-scale tree-planting efforts, but scientists have warned that such initiatives are not a panacea against global warming.
POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2019 8:46 AM
|History Book Nightmare: Russia Could Have Nuked Away America's Submarine Fleet
By cutting off communications.
POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2019 12:30 AM
|Two school shootings a day apart: Wisconsin reckons with impact of armed guards
Shootings involving resource officers renew debate over the role of armed teachers or police in schools Shootings a day apart at two high schools in Wisconsin have shaken the state and sparked a renewed debate over how to combat violence in American schools.An Oshkosh police department resource officer shot a 16-year-old student Tuesday after the boy stabbed him in the officer’s office at Oshkosh West high school. A day earlier, a resource officer at Waukesha South high school helped clear students out of a classroom after a 17-year-old student pointed a pellet gun at another student’s head. Another police officer entered the room and shot the student.Neither of the students who were shot suffered life-threatening injuries. The Democratic governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, called the shootings “breathtaking and tragic”.“The trauma that happens because of this just ripples through the community,” Evers added. “It will take time for people to recover from this. Trauma is a significant issue. We have to be patient.”The debate about the role of armed teachers or police in schools has been a constant in the wake of school shootings across the country. But rarely have armed resource officers been able to prevent a shooting.An estimated 43% of public schools have armed officers on campus, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. The survey covered the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent year surveyed. That figure doesn’t include schools with armed private security guards or teachers and administrators who carry guns.The US Department of Justice has adopted best practices for resource officers from the National Association of School Resources. Those guidelines call for resource officers to serve as police officers as well as teachers and mentors.Nasro recommends such officers have three years of experience and says they should be willing to engage with students and have excellent communication skills. They should complete a school-based policing course before being assigned to the beat and complete an advanced school policing course Nasro provides within a year of completing the basic course. They also should complete biannual training on how lone officers should handle threats and assailants.No Wisconsin laws spell out any special requirements for resource officers or restrictions on their weapons. But the state department of justice has adopted best practices similar to Nasro’s recommendations, calling for officers to work with schools on the extent of their duties, the skills they need, and where school discipline ends and illegal conduct begins. The state guidelines also suggest officers receive training in child development, restraint policies and de-escalation strategies.It’s not clear what led to Tuesday’s stabbing at Oshkosh West high school, which has 1,700 students. The police chief, Dean Smith, said that the officer and the student got into an “altercation” in the officer’s office, the student stabbed the officer with an edged weapon – Smith declined to elaborate – and the officer opened fire with his 9mm pistol, hitting the student once. It’s unclear how many times the officer may have fired. Officials said the officer has 21 years of experience with the Oshkosh police department and has served as a school resource officer since 2017.At Waukesha South high school, 80 miles (130km) south of Oshkosh in suburban Milwaukee, a 17-year-old student apparently grew angry with another student and pointed a pellet gun at the other student. The school’s resource officer helped clear students from the classroom.Linda Ager told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Waukesha shooting happened in the classroom of her husband, Brett Hart, a special education teacher at Waukesha South. Ager said her husband restrained the student until the resource officer arrived.At some point, another officer entered the room and shot the student who refused to drop the weapon. Police said the boy pointed the gun at officers as they confronted him.Police said the student with the pellet gun underwent surgery and was in stable condition.“Today’s tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can save lives,” Vickie Cartwright, the Oshkosh superintendent, said at a news conference on Tuesday.As school shootings have become more frequent, gun rights advocates and gun control advocates have sparred over how best to respond to them. Supporters of gun restrictions have argued that putting more guns in schools does little to prevent shootings and just puts students at greater risk.Last year armed guards at three high-profile school shootings – Marshall county high school in Benton, Kentucky; Majory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe high school in Texas – were unable to stop those shootings. In Parkland, the school’s resource officer remained outside rather than enter the building to engage the shooter and try to stop it.But gun-rights advocates believe having more armed educators and law enforcement in schools will help stop a shooter from going on a rampage.“This confirms that action can, and should, be taken to mitigate harm and limit casualties when weapons are brought into school,” Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said on Tuesday.Evers, the Wisconsin governor, said he is committed to working with Republicans who control the legislature on increasing mental health funding for schools.Evers said on WTMJ-Radio that he thinks Republicans will work with him on that, even though they did not provide as much funding for mental health programs as Evers requested in the state budget approved this summer. Republicans also refused to take up a pair of gun safety bills earlier this year that Evers said were part of the solution to combating violence in schools.Evers, a former state superintendent of schools who worked as a principal, school superintendent and administrator before he was elected governor, said the issue is particularly striking for him, given his background and the fact that has three grown children and nine grandchildren. Two of his children attended the high school in Oshkosh where the shooting occurred.“Our kids need help,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see how this has amplified over time. The time is now to take it on.”
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 4:04 PM
|Rep. Devin Nunes files $435 million defamation lawsuit against CNN
Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, alleges that CNN published a "demonstrably false hit piece" on him.
POSTED DECEMBER 05, 2019 7:42 AM