Category Archives: Crime

Special Apointee To Investigate Trump ties To Russia 

By: Joseph Tanfani, Noah Bierman and Brian Bennett Of L.A Times 

The Justice Department on Wednesday named a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, to take over the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russian agents and associates of President Trump.
The move heightened the legal and political stakes for the president and his young administration. It came after days of allegations against Trump raised new questions about whether administration officials could oversee an inquiry that has the president at its center.
“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that prosecution is warranted,” Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein said in announcing the appointment. “I have made no such determination.”
But, he said, a special counsel is necessary in order for the “American people to have full confidence in the outcome” of the investigation.
“The public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Rosenstein wrote.
The president, in a statement, reiterated his insistence that he is innocent of wrongdoing. 
“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” Trump said.
“I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation because Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recused himself, did not inform either the White House or Sessions about the decision until after he had signed the order appointing Mueller, according to a Justice Department spokesperson who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Is The NSA At fault For The WannaCry Ransom Ware?

By: Chris O’Brien 

A Microsoft executive sharply criticized a U.S. spy agency Sunday for its role in weaponizing a weakness in Windows and allowing it to be stolen by hackers and used to launch history’s largest ransomware attack.

“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.

He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.

Smith’s criticism comes as the virus continues to spread around the globe, despite the efforts of companies, governments and security experts. Europe’s leading police agency said Sunday that the computer virus had reached an “unprecedented level,” claiming 200,000 victims and spreading to at least 150 countries.

With employees returning to work Monday, there were fears that more infections will be discovered. And there were also reports that new variations of the virus were appearing.

In an interview with Britain’s ITV, Europol Director Rob Wainwright said a cross-border investigation would be necessary to track down the culprits.

“It is unlikely to be just be one person, I think,” he told ITV.

The fast-moving virus, which first hit Friday, exploits a vulnerability in the Windows operating system that had been discovered by the U.S. National Security Agency. That information was stolen by hackers and published online.
In his response, Smith highlighted the work Microsoft has done to improve the security of its products, long a target of criticism in the security community. He said the company now has 3,500 security engineers, many of whom now act as “first responders” in such cases.

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German Soldier Caught In Plotting False Flag Attempt 

By: The BBC

The man, a soldier, is accused of conspiring with another army officer who had falsely registered as a Syrian refugee, and a student.

The suspected right-wing extremists wanted to frame refugees for the attack, say prosecutors.

Their alleged targets included former German president Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

The affair has sparked a national debate about right-wing extremism in Germany’s armed forces.

On Sunday, inspections were ordered at every army barracks after Nazi-era memorabilia were found at two of them.

But last week German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen provoked anger after using the alleged plot to accuse the army of an attitude problem.

politician flanked by military peopleImage copyrightEPA

Image caption

Last week German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (C) toured the barracks in France where the two arrested men were stationed together

German authorities have made another arrest linked to an alleged plot to murder a senior public figure.

The man, a soldier, is accused of conspiring with another army officer who had falsely registered as a Syrian refugee, and a student.

The suspected right-wing extremists wanted to frame refugees for the attack, say prosecutors.

Their alleged targets included former German president Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

The affair has sparked a national debate about right-wing extremism in Germany’s armed forces.

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On Sunday, inspections were ordered at every army barracks after Nazi-era memorabilia were found at two of them.

But last week German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen provoked anger after using the alleged plot to accuse the army of an attitude problem.

Germany hate crime: Nearly 10 attacks a day on migrants in 2016

German defence minister von der Leyen under fire for criticising army

On Tuesday, German police detained 27-year-old “Maximilian T” in Kehl, across the Rhine river from the French city of Strasbourg.

“The accused is strongly suspected of planning a severe act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

‘Failed policy’

The man was stationed at a barracks in France, alongside another man who was arrested in April, 28-year-old “Franco A”.

He was arrested in April, after police discovered he had registered as a Syrian refugee at a shelter in central Germany in December 2015 and later officially requested political asylum in Bavaria.

A student, 24, named as “Mathias F” has also been arrested.

The three “planned an attack against a high-ranking politician or public figure who was supportive of what the accused saw as the failed immigration and refugee affairs policies”, prosecutors said.

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Trump Fires James Comey 

By: MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MATT APUZZO of The New York Times

President Trump has fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the White House said on Tuesday.

Mr. Comey was leading an investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday.

“It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Officials at the F.B.I. said they were not immediately aware of Mr. Comey’s dismissal, which Mr. Trump described as effective immediately.

In a separate letter released at the White House, Mr. Spicer said that the president informed the director that he has been “terminated and removed from office.”

Memos released by the White House show that Rod J. Rosenstein, the newly sworn-in deputy attorney general, that recommended Mr. Comey be fired over how he disclosed the investigation into Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Comey broke with longstanding tradition and policies by discussing the case and chastising the Democratic presidential nominee’s “careless” handling of classified information. Then, in the campaign’s final days, Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. was reopening the case, a move that earned him widespread criticism.

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Axon To Offer Frew Body Cameras For All Police In America 

By: Jessica Anderson of The Baltimore Sun

Taser International, the company that manufactures stun guns and body cameras, announced this week that it was launching a program to provide free body cameras to “every police officer in America.”

The company, now called Axon, said it will also provide supporting hardware, software, data storage, training, and support to police departments free of cost for one year.

It’s unclear how the offer will affect the Baltimore City and Baltimore County police departments, which have already signed multimillion-dollar contracts with the company to equip their officers with body cameras.

“We are continuing to explore those options with Axon,” said Baltimore Police spokesman Detective Jeremy Silbert.

An Axon spokesman said the deal is available to all departments, including those with existing contracts with competitors and current Axon customers that might want to upgrade to newer cameras.

“This will apply to any and all agencies that want to test and evaluate,” spokesman Steve Tuttle wrote in an email.
For existing customers, such as Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Tuttle wrote, “we are also offering current customers to get sufficient discounts that are the equivalent or better to get a free year of Evidence.com [digital evidence management solution]. We knew this offer was coming and we made appropriate accommodations.”
Baltimore signed an $11.6 million contract with Taser to equip 2,500 officers with body cameras by January 2018. The city chose Taser after a pilot program in which the city tested body cameras on 150 officers from Taser, Atlantic Tactical Inc. and Brekford Corp. Nine others companies submitted proposals.

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Chemical Attack In Syria Kills over 100

Compliments of ITV

A hundred people have been killed and 400 injured in an apparent chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Idlib in Syria.

The fumes caused many people to choke and pictures and video emerged showing people limping, struggling to breathe and even foaming at the mouth.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revised the death toll which they said was caused by a warplane releasing “toxic gas” in a residential area in the early hours of Tuesday.
They confirmed 11 children were among the dead and at least 160 were injured.
A short time later, a hospital in the town where doctors were treating the victims was bombed.
The entrance to the building was hit, bringing down rubble on top of medics who were earlier seen helping wash away chemical residue on patients.
Theresa May said she was “appalled” by the apparent chemical attack and called for an urgent investigation.

The Prime Minister, currently on a trade and security visit to the Middle East, said: “We condemn the use of chemical weapons in all circumstances. If proven [to be a chemical attack] it is further evidence of the barbarism of the Syrian regime.
“The UK has led international efforts to call to account the Syrian regime and Daesh and the use of chemical weapons.
“I am very clear there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria, and I call on all parties involved to ensure we have a transition away from Assad.
“We cannot allow this suffering to continue”.
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Major Brands Implicated in Destruction Of Natuaral Animal Habitats 

By: Laurel Sutherlin of Post

A Rainforest Action Network field investigation team has documented new evidence of large-scale, illegal rainforest destruction within habitat critical to the survival of the Sumatran elephant, tiger and orangutan. RAN’s research has uncovered supply chain connections that link the rogue palm oil company responsible for the deforestation to major global brands through their shared supplier, Wilmar. The companies implicated include PepsiCo, McDonalds, Nestle, Unilever and Procter and Gamble.

This forest clearance is taking place in direct breach of the Indonesian government moratorium on the clearance of rainforests for palm oil plantations announced last April, as well as the no-deforestation policies announced by palm oil giant Wilmar and other brands that commit the companies to eliminate conflict palm oil such as this from their products.

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US Diplomat Cought In Corruption Scandal With Chinese Spies 

By: Minnie Chan of The South China Morning Post

A US diplomat accused of taking tens of thousands of US dollars in cash and gifts from Chinese ­intelligence agents was charged on Wednesday with lying to ­investigators over the contacts.

The case was announced days before the first summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, in Florida next week.

Beijing has officially confirmed the visit and Chinese analysts said the prosecution was unlikely to affect the meeting.

The US Department of Justice said Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, knew that the two Chinese men she had regular contact with while working for the state department in China and other countries were from the Chinese security services and that the money they gave her was in exchange for US secrets. She took cash and an iPhone for herself, but most of the funds went to an unidentified man half her age with whom she lived in Beijing and Shanghai.

The Chinese agents paid for his fashion school tuition, home rental, a sewing machine, ­holidays, and other needs as ­requested by Claiborne, according to a complaint unveiled in the US ­federal district court in ­Washington.

“Candace Marie Claiborne is a state department employee who possesses a top secret security clearance and allegedly failed to report her contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits,” acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord said in a statement.

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Another Terrorist Attack Thwarted in Antwerp Belgium 

By: Gareth Davies of The Daily Mail

A French -Tunisian has been arrested after trying to drive a car loaded with liquid gas, assault rifles and knives into a crowd of shoppers in Antwerp in an attempted terror attack.

Belgian police, who confirmed the bomb squad had been sent to the area, said the car was being driven at high speed and that pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid being injured.

Authorities found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid in the car prompting officers who usually deal with extremist attacks to take over the case.

It comes just hours after three people were killed in London by a terrorist who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists outside the House of Commons before stabbing a policeman to death.

Belgian police arrested a man named as Mohamed R, 39, on Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd at high-speed in a shopping area in the port city of Antwerp at around 11am.

The suspect, who has not been confirmed as a Muslim but is named after the religion’s prophet and is said to be of North African descent, was wearing camouflage when he was arrested.

Belgian security forces found a rifle as well as bladed weapons in the car driven by the Frenchman who tried to ram a crowd in the main pedestrianised street in the port city, described by the French President Francois Hollande as an ‘attempted terrorist attack’.

The federal prosecutor’s office also said bomb disposal units were sent to the scene to examine the vehicle.

‘Different arms were found in the boot – bladed weapons, a riot gun (rifle) and a container of liquid that is still unidentified,’ the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

‘The suspect is Mohamed R, born on May 8, 1977, of French nationality and a resident of France,’ the statement said.

The driver sped off after Belgian soldiers, who have been deployed around the country to assist the counter-terrorism fight, tried to stop the car.

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Senate Has Decided Profit Is More Important Than Internet Privacy 

By: Caleb Chen Of Private Internet Access

The FCC online privacy rules currently require ISPs to get your affirmative consent before selling your personal, sensitive information to advertisers. Notably, the FCC didn’t go as far as to ban “pay-for-privacy” schemes that were being offered by some ISPs. Back in 2016, when the FCC passed sweeping net neutrality and online privacy rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms to follow, the FTC did release a statement titled: Net Neutrality and Privacy: Don’t Fear the Reclassification.

The Senators that proposed this resolution did so for a reason

If you’re wondering whether or not the Senators that proposed S.J.Res 34 received any money from ISPs or telecoms, the answer is a resounding yes. Vocativ has a nice infographic that shows which Senators have received donations from telecoms and ISPs, and even trade groups like the CTIA. In a recent filing with the FCC, the CTIA has been attempting to push the idea that web browsing history and app usage data are not sensitive information.

Despite widespread disapproval from constituents, S.J.Res 34 has passed the United States Senate with a vote of 50-48, with two absent votes. Earlier today, at 12:25 Eastern March 23, 2017, the US Senate voted on S.J.Res 34, and will use the Congressional Review Act to strip away broadband privacy protections that kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms from selling your internet history and app data usage to third parties. S.J.Res 34 was first introduced by 23 Republican Senators earlier this month and its blitz approval is a giant blow to privacy rights in the United States.

The resolution, which is now effectively half passed, will hand responsibility of broadband privacy regulation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and disallow the FCC from making any rules protecting Internet privacy ever again.

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