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31

      

By B.N. Frank


Activist Post regularly reports about increasing opposition to the forced installation of 5G technology in American communities and around the world.  In February, the telecom industry provided U.S. congressional testimony that they have NO scientific evidence that 5G is biologically safe.  Many doctors and scientists insist that IT ISN’T (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  Illness has already been reported where 5G has been installed (see 1, 2, 3).


Thanks to Collective Evolution for another jam-packed article with 5G medical testimony, opposition, research, and good news from Devonshire and around the world.



New research also shows how the frequencies utilized in the 5G network are being tested and employed as crowd control weapons, which physically impact our biology. In a lecture from Dr. Ben-Ishai of the Department of Physics at Hebrew University, we can discover how these emissions actually interact with human skin and eyes to and negatively impact our health. Human sweat ducts act like a number of helical antennas when exposed to these wavelengths that are put out by the devices that employ 5G technology.


         



      

Dr. Devra Lee Davis,  founding director of the board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, founding director of the Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and President of the Environmental Health Trust stated:


If you are one of the millions who seek faster downloads of movies, games and virtual pornography, a solution is at hand, that is, if you do not mind volunteering your living body in a giant uncontrolled experiment on the human population. At this moment, residents of the Washington, DC region – like those of 100 Chinese cities – are about to be living within a vast experimental Millimeter wave network to which they have not consented – all courtesy of American taxpayers.


The good news is that steps are already being taken around the world to mitigate the rollout of 5G. Where I live, for example, doctors treating patients from over-exposure to wireless radiation joined scientists at Queen’s Park in Toronto who assembled in front of parliament to urge the Ontario Government to take steps to protect public health before the roll-out of 5G cell phone technology. In this public hearing, Dr. Anthony Miller, Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, and adviser to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said: 


Many scientists worldwide now believe that radiofrequency radiation should be elevated to a Class One human carcinogen, on the same list as Cigarettes, X-Rays, and Asbestos. (source)


Below is a statement made by  Céline Fremault, the Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for housing, quality of life, environment and energy, from an interview last Friday, with L’Echo:


I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not. The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.




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Ms. Fremault accurately identified that a 5G pilot project is not compatible with Belgian radiation safety standards (9 V/m, or 95 mW/m2 according to this online converter), and stated that she does not intend to make an exception. In the Building Biology guidelines, the threshold for extreme concern is 1 mW/m2.


The latest place making noise is in Devonshire, UK.  Many campaigners are protesting days after Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a £5 billion Government package to support the rollout of broadband, 5G and other high-speed networks aimed at reaching the hardest-to-reach 20 per cent of the country.


Apparently, according to the Daily Mail, the campaigners say residents are taking their message seriously and more than 1,600 have signed a petition for more safety research. As a result, town councillors have approved a moratorium. (source)







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Engineers, environmentalists, meteorologists, NASA, NOAA, U.S. Navy, security experts and other credible sources also insist that 5G is NOT SAFE for a variety of other reasons other than biological risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4).


For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:



5GCrisis
5GExposed
5G Information
The 5G Summit
Whatis5G.Info
Electricsense
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
Environmental Health Trust
My Street, My Choice
Physicians for Safe Technology
TelecomPowerGrab.org
The People’s Initiative
Wireless Information Network


Image credit: Pixabay


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32

      

By Aaron Kesel


On September 17th, a formal bar licensing hearing in New York was held for Steven Donziger, a lawyer who fought to clean up Chveron’s environmental oil disaster in Ecuador. Donziger ended up being targeted in collusion by a judge and the company in what Amazon Watch, a U.S.-based environmental entity has called, a “well-financed corporate retaliation SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) campaign in history.”


Amazon Watch reports:



“On September 17th, I (Paul Paz y Miño) testified on behalf of Donziger at a formal bar licensing hearing in New York, where for the first time witnesses were able to address the facts of Chevron’s fraud in bringing its retaliatory civil RICO (“racketeering”) case designed to try to undermine the legitimate $9.5 billion judgment won by Ecuadorian communities in 2011.”


“Several witnesses at the hearing explained how Chevron and its lawyers at the infamous Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher firm – led by Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor to Rudy Guiliani – engaged in unethical and illegal acts to target Donziger based largely on the testimony of a corrupt witness who was paid at least $2 million by the company and who later admitted to lying under oath. Many respected lawyers, authors, and activists also testified on Donziger’s behalf. Without exception, all described Donziger as a man dedicated to justice in Ecuador on behalf of Chevron’s victims, who was framed by Chevron and its corrupt witness Alberto Guerra, who claimed without any corroborating evidence that Donziger had approved a bribe to a judge,” Paul Paz y Miño, Amazon Watch’s Director of Outreach wrote.



         



      

Amazon Watch further provided a detailed recap of the Donziger saga:



In 2011, Chevron was found liable in Ecuador for the deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil waste into the Amazon between 1964 and 1992, decimating indigenous groups and provoking an outbreak of cancer that has killed hundreds if not thousands of people.
Four levels of courts in Ecuador – including its supreme and constitutional courts – imposed damages on Chevron of at least $9.5 billion; most of the pollution, including an estimated 1,000 unlined toxic waste pits, continue to poison soils, rivers, and groundwater.
Having definitively lost the case in Ecuador, Chevron abruptly removed all of its assets from the country and never paid a dime to the affected communities.
In the RICO case, Chevron bribed its star witness Alberto Guerra and used false evidence to try to criminalize human rights lawyer Steven Donziger and the Ecuadorian communities fighting for cleanup.
Donziger’s law license was suspended in New York based on the allegation that he was “an immediate threat to the public interest” due to his litigation against Chevron.
With U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan as an ally, Chevron has demanded Donziger surrender his computer and cell phone for inspection by the company so that it can sue or target anybody Donziger has been in touch with, or anyone supporting the campaign for justice in Ecuador.
Judge Kaplan has held Donziger in civil contempt, seized his passport, and fined him an exorbitant $200,000 per day for refusing to turn over his computer and phone while an appeal is pending.
Judge Kaplan himself then filed criminal contempt charges against Donziger and asked the federal prosecutor in New York to prosecute him; the prosecutor refused.
Judge Kaplan then appointed private lawyers from a corporate law firm and deputized them to act as “government prosecutors” to target Donziger. Pending trial, Donziger has been confined to home detention and required to wear an electronic monitoring device for the last two months.
Chevron has tried to undermine the very idea of corporate accountability with its unprecedented, unethical, and illegal attacks against Steven Donziger and those who stand up for a proper environmental cleanup in Ecuador.

Activist Post has been covering the story of Steven Donziger since earlier this year when this reporter first learned about the judicial abuses and abhorrent deplorable actions of NY District Court Justice Lewis Kaplan in favor of Chevron.


This author was first made aware of the Amazonian villagers’ suffering, and the plight of Steven Donziger, due to Laser Haas, who is the whistleblower in this reporter’s Wall Street fraud protected by federal corruption series. (Is Goldman Sachs’ New CEO, David Solomon, on a Sinking Ship?)


Judge Kaplan denied a jury for the Ecuadorian villagers’ case against the oil company while Kaplan had investments in the oil companies, which is a requisite for Judge Kaplan to be recused from the case. The Judge also flatly refused to allow the victims (who suffer illnesses from Texaco/Chevron toxic waste) he referred to as “plaintiffs” to produce evidence about massive environmental contamination caused by the oil giants.


Instead, Judge Kaplan threatened Donziger with massive fines for refusing to give his computer and cell phone to Chevron (which would violate the sacrosanct attorney-client privilege).


Kaplan has proven he is a lapdog for Chevron time and time again. In June, one single day after this writer’s first article was published, the judge escalated his abuse even further against Donziger by issuing a cruel and unusual punishment.


The tyrannical Kaplan ordered Donziger to face fines up to $200,000 per day and to seize his passport for each day that he fails to turn over attorney-client privileged information.


Chevron is already on public record claiming that Donziger doesn’t have enough money to satisfy the $800,000 judgment Justice Kaplan has egregiously awarded Chevron, on top of the now-ordered $200,000 a day fine.


When Donziger refused to do so, the out-of-bounds Judge Kaplan asked the Southern District of NY U.S. Attorney’s office to prosecute Donziger for contempt.


The SDNY U.S. Attorney office declined to prosecute Donziger and do the judge’s corrupt dirty work, Courthouse News reported.


In August, Activist Post last reported that Donziger faced house arrest after Judge Kaplan ordered a Special Prosecutor to indict Donziger, as well as yank his passport, punishing him even further.


Steven Donziger is now fighting to restore his right to practice law after his license was suspended last year without a hearing, an unhearable case. The case is based entirely on the retaliatory RICO suit and testimony by a bribed witness who admitted they lied, as Activist Post‘s Derrick Broze reported in 2015.


Kaplan has been working on behalf of Chevron, who claims that Donziger committed fraud, bribed a judge in Ecuador and ghost-wrote the Ecuadorian verdict. All statements that are proven to be completely false by both testimony and forensic evidence. However, because no U.S. court would consider that evidence, Judge Kaplan’s RICO verdict still stands. Even though his court order is still active and Donziger is being punished, the findings have been thoroughly discredited and even rejected by 17 appellate judges in Ecuador.


It is highly ironic that Donziger is being accused of fraud and bribery, since the sole witness Chevron utilized against him is an Ecuadorian Judge Alberto Guerra. Guerra was thrown off his bench for corruption, admitted to lying, and Chevron confessed the witness had been paid $2 million dollars, Alternet reported.


Kaplan also dismissed the fact that Guerra was being paid $12,000 a month by Chevron, as well as being supplied with a personal lawyer and a car under the company “witness-protection program.”




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The abuse of due process is unrelenting as Judge Kaplan continuously demonstrated bias in the Chevron case, according to U.S. Appellate Attorney Deepak Gupta (who represented Donziger).


Despite this, Chevron has claimed that Donziger is a “threat to the public interest” arguing his law license should be revoked. More like Donziger is a “threat to corporate interest,” as Pink Floyd Rock legendary musician Roger Waters has said.


He’s a huge help to the public interest, in my view. He presents something of a threat to corporate America, which is why he’s being demonized and vilified, which is why his license is being suspended.


Several other people have spoken out about what’s going on with Donziger and even testified at his hearing.



“In my work I’ve met a lot of people in pursuit of accountability, and Donziger is right up at the top of those. He has done an unbelievable job.” – Simon Taylor, founder of Global Witness


“All evidence to the contrary that Steven is a threat to the public.” – Public interest attorney Zoe Littlepage,


“He’s a completely honorable man representing people grievously harmed. What he and his family have gone through is unbelievable. He’s been attacked and demonized to distract the American courts and world public from the fact that Chevron committed a crime and owes the people of Ecuador for a cleanup.” – Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace.



There are many other people who have spoken out on behalf of the Amazonians and Steven Donziger; including NY Mayor Bill Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary, Karen Hinton, along with activist gumshoe reporter Greg Palast who stated Donziger was “one of the greatest American heroes alive.”




33

      

By Daniel Taylor


A September, 2019 report from the Carnegie Foundation found that Chinese artificial intelligence surveillance systems are rapidly overtaking the planet. Chinese companies (with Huawei leading) are dominating by supplying 63 countries with these systems, while the U.S. supplies only 32.


The report states,


China is a major driver of AI surveillance worldwide. Technology linked to Chinese companies—particularly Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE—supply AI surveillance  technology in sixty-three countries, thirty-six of which have signed onto China’s Belt and  Road Initiative (BRI).


The Chinese, of course, have strings attached to their systems. The report says that, “Chinese product pitches are often accompanied by soft loans to encourage governments to purchase their equipment.”


         



      

The United States follows China in supplying the world with AI surveillance systems. US-based company IBM supplies 11 countries, Palantir 9, and Cisco 6.


Using the new AI Global Surveillance (AIGS) Index, a map from the report shows the spread of AI surveillance around the world:


According to the report, AI is starting to “transform basic patterns of governance”:


…not only by providing governments with unprecedented capabilities to monitor their citizens and shape their choices but also by giving them new capacity to disrupt elections, elevate false information, and delegitimize democratic discourse across borders.


If Chinese AI systems continue to spread around the world, freedom will be absolutely crushed. Recent examples of Hollywood and corporations bowing to Chinese censors are a bad omen for the world. America needs to take a stand for freedom and fight for a culture that values liberty before it is too late.



This article was sourced from Old-Thinker News.


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34

      

By Michael Maharrey


Yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that bans police from using facial recognition and biometric scanners with body-worn cameras for the next three years. The law will not only help protect privacy in California, but it would also hinder one aspect of the federal surveillance state.


Assm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 1215 (AB1215) on Feb. 21. The new law prohibits a law enforcement agency or law enforcement official from installing, activating, or using any biometric surveillance system in connection with an officer camera or data collected by an officer camera.


Before the final Senate vote, that chamber amended the bill twice to make the provisions temporary. With the initial amendment, the law would have been automatically repealed on Jan. 1, 2027. A second amendment whittled that backed to 2023. So in effect, AB1215 institutes a 3-year ban on facial recognition combined with body-worn cameras.


         



      

On May 9, the Assembly approved the measure by a vote of 45-17. The Senate passed AB1215 by a 22-15 vote over heavy opposition from police around the state. On Sept. 12, the Assembly concurred with the Senate amendment by a 47-21 margin. Only three Republicans in both the Assembly and the Senate voted yes on AB1215. With Gov. Newsom’s signature, the new law goes into effect on Jan. 1.


“Without my bill, face recognition technology can subject law-abiding citizens to perpetual police line-ups, as their every movement is tracked without consent. Its use, if left unchecked, undermines public trust in government institutions and unduly intrudes on one’s constitutional right to privacy. AB 1215 is an important civil rights measure that will prevent exploitation of vulnerable communities,” Ting wrote in a statement on his website.


Passage of this bill takes an important step forward but much work remains. When the provisions of the law sunset in three years, things will return to the status quo – which will mean police using facial recognition on body-cam footage whenever they please with no restrictions or oversight. It’s imperative to continue pushing legislators to make these restrictions permanent.


Powerful police lobbies opposed passage of the bill. According to USA Today, no law enforcement agency in California currently uses facial recognition with their body-worn cameras, but police opposed the measure because “a valuable tool could be lost.” Detective Lou Turriaga, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League played the public safety card in opposing the bill.


“Facial recognition could be a valuable tool for us, helping identify felons or even abducted children, “he said. “I understand trying to seek a balance between civil liberties and law enforcement, but a wholesale ban doesn’t help us protect anybody. Why remove that tool from law enforcement? It just doesn’t make sense.”


California Police Chiefs Association also publicly opposed the measure.


IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS


A recent report revealed that the federal government has turned state drivers’ license photos into a giant facial recognition database, putting virtually every driver in America in a perpetual electronic police lineup. The revelations generated widespread outrage, but this story isn’t new. The federal government has been developing a massive, nationwide facial recognition system for years.




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The FBI rolled out a nationwide facial-recognition program in the fall of 2014, with the goal of building a giant biometric database with pictures provided by the states and corporate friends.


In 2016, the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law released “The Perpetual Lineup,” a massive report on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology in the U.S. You can read the complete report at perpetuallineup.org. The organization conducted a year-long investigation and collected more than 15,000 pages of documents through more than 100 public records requests. The report paints a disturbing picture of intense cooperation between the federal government, and state and local law enforcement to develop a massive facial recognition database.


“Face recognition is a powerful technology that requires strict oversight. But those controls, by and large, don’t exist today,” report co-author Clare Garvie said. “With only a few exceptions, there are no laws governing police use of the technology, no standards ensuring its accuracy, and no systems checking for bias. It’s a wild west.”


There are many technical and legal problems with facial recognition, including significant concerns about the accuracy of the technology, particularly when reading the facial features of minority populations. During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.


With facial recognition technology, police and other government officials have the capability to track individuals in real-time. These systems allow law enforcement agents to use video cameras and continually scan everybody who walks by. According to the report, several major police departments have expressed an interest in this type of real-time tracking. Documents revealed agencies in at least five major cities, including Los Angeles, either claimed to run real-time face recognition off of street cameras, bought technology with the capability, or expressed written interest in buying it.


In all likelihood, the federal government heavily involves itself in helping state and local agencies obtain this technology. The feds provide grant money to local law enforcement agencies for a vast array of surveillance gear, including ALPRs, stingray devices and drones. The federal government essentially encourages and funds a giant nationwide surveillance net and then taps into the information via fusion centers and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).




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Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”


Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.


In a nutshell, without state and local cooperation, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. Passage of AB1215 would eliminate one avenue for gathering facial recognition data. Simply put, data that doesn’t exist cannot be entered into federal databases.




Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE



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35

      

By Corynne McSherry


The European Union seems to fallen in love with the idea of requiring service providers to edit the Internet, with predictable consequences for speech. Until recently, there was reason to hope those consequences could be contained. For example, the EU’s highest court recently ruled that the EU’s Right to Be Forgotten does not require Google to delist search results globally, thus keeping the results available to users around the world, even if de-indexed from the site associated with a particular EU state.


But last week, in a case involving a defamation case in Austria, the same court held that the national courts of EU member states can order intermediaries not only to take down defamatory content across all of their services—i.e., globally—but also to take down identical or “equivalent” material.


Perhaps not surprisingly in this political moment, this case started with a thin-skinned politician. The head of the Austrian Greens Party, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, sued Facebook, demanding that the company take down a news article posted by a user and related online comments that called her a “lousy traitor,” a “corrupt oaf” and a member of a “fascist party.” An Austrian court found the comments defamatory, and ordered Facebook to both take down the comments throughout its services and block users from repeating them.


         



      

On appeal, the CJEU had to decide whether the Austrian court’s decision was consistent with EU intermediary law. Under EU law, intermediaries may be held liable for tortious content only if they have knowledge that the content is on their site, and cannot be required to affirmatively monitor for illegal activity. The CJEU found that because Facebook had knowledge of both the specific statements and other statements “equivalent” to them—and therefore would not have to make an independent assessment of illegality—the Austrian court’s order was consistent with EU law.


This is a terrible outcome.


First, the actual content in question is clearly lawful in many countries, including the United States. All of the statements found defamatory under Austrian law would be considered non-defamatory rhetorical hyperbole under U.S. law. Indeed, politicians and other public figures can be subject to more severe hyperbole than “corrupt oafs.” That’s one of the ways we hold them, and their egos, in check. Moreover, under U.S. law defamation is inherently contextual. The exact same words that may be capable of a defamatory meaning in one context, will not be in another. Thus, even if a court decides a specific phrase is defamatory and orders that the specific statement be removed, it cannot order the removal of future appearances of the same phrase. So it’s pretty disturbing that another country can decide otherwise, and as a practical matter prevent people who don’t even live there from speaking up or even receiving the information. That burden was not even mentioned by the CJEU.


Second, the court effectively concludes that the requirement to prevent similar language from appearing isn’t an affirmative monitoring obligation as long as the “monitoring” is done by filters. While it is likely true that Facebook can develop tools that recognize when someone says “Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek is a corrupt oaf,” it’s not at all clear that those tools could automatically recognize the functional equivalent. Once again, the robots won’t save us.


Third, this ruling sets a precedent that may not just apply to Facebook. A smaller company faced with a similar order would likely just drastically limit or eliminate user postings altogether. Thus, once again, the EU is helping ensure that today’s social media giants need not fear competition, because no one else will have the resources to comply with the growing web of speech regulations.






Coming on the heels of the new EU copyright directive, which also requires filtering, this ruling reinforces the EU’s growing role as Internet police—and its willingness to play that role without much regard for its impact on non-EU citizens.


There is one ray of hope in the opinion. The CJEU explains that any blocking order must take account of “the framework of the relevant international law.” One way to assess that would be to look to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.” The courts of member states should consider the impact of any order on free speech rights before issuing a global takedown order.


Facebook has indicated it will challenge the takedown order. There’s no further appeal option in the EU, but it might look to international courts or, following Google’s example when it received a global de-listing mandate from a Canadian court, challenge the order’s enforceability in the United States. Google won that challenge, and it’s likely Facebook would as well. But if so, that will still be small consolation to smaller platforms that cannot afford to litigate these issues in multiple countries.


For more on the issues in this case, check out this detailed analysis from Stanford’s Daphne Keller.





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This article was sourced from EFF.org


Corynne McSherry is the Legal Director at EFF, specializing in intellectual property, open access, and free speech issues. Her favorite cases involve defending online fair use, political expression, and the public domain against the assault of copyright maximalists.


Image credit: Banksy


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36

      

By Aaron Kesel


Amazon is on its way to becoming one of the U.S. military’s biggest security giants, with a pending $10bn JEDI cloud computing deal that the company could win, MIT Technology Review reported.


In August the Pentagon halted the controversial contract deal, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), an initiative to “aggressively accelerate the Department’s adoption of cloud architecture and services, with a focus on commercial solutions.”


The deal was stopped and is now under investigation by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to audit the process which caused complaints form other tech companies like Microsoft.  U.S. President Donald Trump has publicly criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the past and announced in July that he wanted a review of the contract, citing “tremendous complaints” from competing companies.


         



      

Further, the Office of the Inspector General is investigating possible conflicts of interest, the acquisition process and requirements, according to Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the watchdog office, Fed Scoop reported.


The office has “assembled a multidisciplinary team of auditors, investigators, and attorneys” to review “the DoD’s handling of the JEDI cloud acquisition, including the development of requirements and the request for proposal process,” Allen told Fed Scoop in an emailed statement. “In addition, we are investigating whether current or former DoD officials committed misconduct relating to the JEDI acquisition, such as whether any had any conflicts of interest related to their involvement in the acquisition process.”


Microsoft and Amazon are now the two finalists in the running for the contract, leaving many of the others in the dust due to their technological abilities and security outmatching the competition to build the U.S. military its first “war cloud” computing system. Both companies beat out Oracle and IBM who were eliminated at an earlier round of the contract competition.


This “war cloud” would eventually replace the military’s current internet structure, which sources indicate uses a software hard fork of the Navy created TOR (The Onion Router) network to communicate. The program aims to move about 80% of all Department of Defense (DoD) data into the cloud according to Federalist News Network.


If Amazon does receive the Pentagon’s lucrative $10 billion cloud computing development contract, the move would solidify the tech giant’s role in the development of national security technology for the military. Which should scare the living shit out of every one, considering Amazon’s recent move into helping local and federal law enforcement as well, with its Facial Rekognition and Ring technology — a perfect storm of privacy threats according to the EFF.


Already, Amazon’s Web Services division (AWS), which generated a massive $25 billion in revenue during 2018, provides an array of cloud computing services to the U.S. intelligence community. Existing AWS services allow for streamlined data transfer, automated compliance systems, and data-sharing platforms. Further, the same division of Amazon has a pre-existing $600 million dollar contract with the Central Intelligence Agency, (CIA) for its own cloud services.


“From day one, we’ve competed for JEDI on the breadth and depth of our services and their corresponding security and operational performance,” an AWS spokesperson told MIT Technology Review.


It is not known when the Defense Department will decide whether Amazon or Microsoft have won the JEDI contract. However, Oracle sued the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that Amazon executives and the Pentagon have conflicts of interest, and even stated that the company hired the man who worked on the research for the contract, former DOD official Deap Ubhi.


Ubhi left the department in 2017 to take a job at Amazon. In a court suit, Oracle alleged that while Ubhi worked on the preliminary research for the JEDI program in the late summer and fall of 2017, he was also engaged in a secret job negotiation with Amazon for months, complete with salary discussions, offers of signing bonuses, and lucrative stock options, The Intercept reported.


If that’s not enough, Ubhi apparently previously worked for Amazon, before his time in government. He then took a job working on the Defense Department initiative aimed at collaborating with Silicon Valley to modernize the Pentagon’s information technology systems. After working as part of a four-person team to help shape the Pentagon JEDI procurement process, he left the department and returned to Amazon in November 2017.


Defense One reported that a private investigative firm had been shopping around to Washington reporters a 100-plus-page dossier raising claims of corruption between Defense Department and private company officials in the competition for the JEDI cloud contract.


A federal judge tossed out a second challenge by Oracle alleging that the bidding process was rigged in Amazon’s favor earlier in August. However, Oracle recently appealed that decision again in late August stating:







The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle’s purported lack of standing. Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the Court in its opinion clearly found DoD did not satisfy these requirements. The opinion also acknowledges that the procurement suffers from many significant conflicts of interest. These conflicts violate the law and undermine the public trust. As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds.  Source: TechCrunch.



Oracle was disqualified from the JEDI bid earlier this year, after federal officials said the company didn’t meet the minimum technical requirements to continue.


IBM has also protested against JEDI, arguing that the “primary flaw” is that is locks the military into a single cloud provider for 10 years.


“No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock into it for a decade,” Sam Gordy, general manager of IBM U.S. Federal, wrote in a blog post. “JEDI turns its back on the preferences of Congress and the administration, is a bad use of taxpayer dollars, and was written with just one company in mind. America’s warfighters deserve better.”


Google, another Silicon Valley giant, has previously faced condemnation by 3,000-plus employees who protested its own decision to work with the U.S. military under Project Maven. Project Maven involved using artificial intelligence technology to analyze drone video footage that could potentially identify and kill human beings. You can listen to drone whistleblower Lisa Ling interviewed by Rico Brouwer of Potkaars discuss how Google created machine learning algorithms to help drones identify and track objects for the U.S. Department of Defense here.


Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, decided not to compete for the Pentagon contract last year, stating the project “may conflict with its corporate values.”




37

      

By Jessica Corbett


Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno announced late Monday that he had temporarily moved government operations out of the capital of Quito following days of nationwide protests led by unions and Indigenous groups against austerity measures unveiled last week, including the end of decades-old fuel subsidies.


The gas and diesel subsidies, which cost the government close to $1.4 billion per year, were scrapped as part of Moreno’s effort to honor a $4.2 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finalized earlier this year. Moreno’s moves to slash government spending have caused a spike in fuel prices and provoked six days of protests thus far, with a national strike planned for Wednesday.




         



      

Jaime Vargas, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nations in Ecuador (CONAIE), an umbrella organization for local Indigenous groups, said Monday that 20,000 protesters marching toward Quito would be in the capital for the strike.




Reuters noted Monday that “Indigenous-led protests brought down three presidents” before Moreno’s predecessor and one-time mentor, Rafael Correa, who now lives in self-imposed exile in Belgium. Correa, an outspoken critic of the current president’s political shift to the right on economic policy, tweeted Monday night that “Moreno is finished” and called for elections.


According to Reuters:



[In] a defiant national television address on Monday evening, after protesters reached Quito’s historic center, Moreno said he would not back down on the fuel price hike in the face of what he called a “destabilization plan” orchestrated by Correa and leftist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.


“They are behind this coup attempt, and they are using and instrumentalizing some Indigenous sectors,” Moreno said, flanked by military officials and Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner. He added that he had temporarily moved government operations to the southern city of Guayaquil, the financial capital.


“What has happened is not a manifestation of social discontent in protest of a government decision. The lootings, vandalism, and violence show there is an organized political motive to destabilize the government.”







Correa responded on Tuesday by denying the coup charges, for which Moreno did not provide any evidence. “They are such liars,” said Correa. “They say I am so powerful that with an iPhone from Brussels I could lead the protests.” Referring to the austerity measures, the former president added, “People couldn’t take it anymore, that’s the reality.”


Moreno has declared a two-month national emergency in response to the protests—some of which have turned violent.


“Images from Quito showed protesters hurling petrol bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalizing public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night,” reported The Guardian. “Rioters in Quito forced their way into the comptroller general’s office and vandalized the assembly building on Monday. It followed days of violence in which protesters burned military vehicles, destroyed dozens of rose farms, a dairy, and an oil production facility. The outnumbered security forces have been unable to prevent much of the destruction.”


Over the past six days of demonstrations, two dozen police officers have been injured and 570 protesters have been detained, according to Moreno’s government. Additionally, a man in the Andean province died after he was hit by a car and roadblocks in the area prevented an ambulance from reaching him.


About 50 police officers have been taken hostage in various locations,” BBC News reported Monday. Police have responded to protests with tear gas and armored vehicles.



CONAIE, on Saturday, declared a “state of exception in Indigenous territory of Ecuador before the brutality of military forces,” warning that “military and police who approach our territories will be held and subjected to Indigenous justice.”


Indigenous groups—who took the lead in the protests after a two-day strike by transport unions—promised to maintain pressure on the Moreno government in statements to the media this week.




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“We are fighting for everyone and we are fighting to foresee the rights we all have and we can’t allow this,” Luis Iguamba, leader of the Kayambi people from northern Ecuador, told BBC. “So, everyone, be on the lookout and keep up the fight. Let’s radicalize the strike.”


“Our message to the federal government is: This struggle isn’t only against the economic measures,” Nelson Erazo, leader of the Popular Front of workers and students, told Democracy Now! on Tuesday.


“It’s in defense of water, in defense of territories,” Erazo said. “It’s against the expansion of the oil industry in our country. It’s in defense of the natural environment. It’s in defense of the rights of workers, who are thirsty for justice and who are overshadowed by the national government and the Ministry of Labor.”


Moreno, who was elected in 2017, still has support from businesses and the military in Ecuador, but his public popularity has plummeted from 70 percent after his election to just 30 percent today. As thousands of Indigenous people poured into Quito on Monday, “they were applauded and embraced by residents of the capital, who gave them food and water,” according to Reuters.


“The president is hurting the people,” Guillermo Montano, a 58-year-old retired member of the armed forces in Quito, told the news agency. “The measures are a blow to the people. Stuff is getting more expensive, and wages are not rising.”



By Jessica Corbett / Creative Commons / Common Dreams / Report a typo


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38

      

By B.N. Frank


Being targeted by cybercriminals is no laughing matter – especially for health care facilities.  Non-payment of ransomware puts lives at immediate risk.


Thanks to Threatpost for providing details about recently targeted hospitals, as well as plans being discussed to reduce risks:



Ransomware overall continues to be a concern for governments worldwide: The U.S. Senate this week in fact approved new legislation aimed at helping government agencies and private-sector companies combat ransomware attacks. The legislation comes as local governments and schools continue to be hit by sophisticated – and in some cases coordinated – ransomware attacks.


The proposed law, the “DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act,” authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to invest in and develop “incident response teams” to help organizations battle ransomware attacks.  Part of that means that the DHS would create teams to protect state and local entities from cyber threats and restore infrastructure that has been affected by ransomware attacks.



         



      

For many years, security experts have been warning about the vulnerability of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.  IoT already has a 74% failure rate.  This hasn’t stopped the U.S. and other countries from forcing its installation (see 1, 2).  Cybercriminals must be pleased as punch.





Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives.



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39

      

By B.N. Frank


According to Land O’Lakes farmers interviewed for a recent 60 Minutes segment, their farm uses Ag Tech which includes facial recognition for their dairy cows that also wear Fitbits.


Teddy Bekele: So number one we use this thing called– computer vision or image recognition.


He’s talking about, I kid you not, facial recognition for cows.


Teddy Bekele: So the machine now is using the technology and we’re starting to see, “Okay, this cow is at ideal,” and as you can see I just recognized the cow. It says, “Is it ideal, is it over, or is it thin?” So those are the types of things we can–


Lesley Stahl: And this machine would look at each and every cow in the herd? 


         



      

Teddy Bekele: That’s right.


Candice White: We work very closely with a nutritionist…


Candice White and Amanda Condo don’t yet have that tool on their farm. But they can run the whole place from their smartphones.


Candice White: We have this dairy dashboard.


Lesley Stahl: Ok.


Candice White: You know, today, we’re milking 1,051 cows. 


And how do they keep track of them?


Candice White: If you see on their front leg, they have that little tag?


Lesley Stahl: Oh, yeah!


Candice White: That is their Fitbit.


Lesley Stahl: Oh my goodness, look at that.


Lesley Stahl: You are monitoring each cow separately.


MULTIPLE VOICES: Yes. Uh-huh (AFFIRM).


Lesley Stahl: And you can go out and say, “3079, right over here isn’t eating enough. Let’s–




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Candice White: Uh-huh (AFFIRM).


Lesley Stahl: –go over there and find out what’s wrong.”


MULTIPLE VOICES: Yeah. Uh-huh (AFFIRM).


Candice White: That will track her milk production also in the milking parlor.


Lesley Stahl: Everything.


Candice White: Yes.


Beth Ford: I think people have this old-school view of farming as slower than, less than, smaller than.


Lesley Stahl: Hayseed.


Beth Ford: Yeah. And they’re not. They’re very sophisticated businesspeople, they are very tech savvy. They have to be to withstand this kind of market pressure. 




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Regardless of how sophisticated and tech savvy these farmers are, they are forcing their cows to wear radiation-emitting devices that have been known to harm people who wear them.  Do you think they have any idea that wearing these Fitbits may be affecting their cows’ milk production and quality of life?






Unfortunately, Land O’Lakes isn’t the only company putting similar devices on cows.


Activist Post has reported MANY times about problems associated with Fitbits, Smart Watches, and other activity trackers.  They have been the subject of class action lawsuits and recalls due to privacy and security issues as well as adverse health effects on wearers (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).


So please don’t have a cow if you’re going to make her wear a Fitbit.



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40

      

By B.N. Frank


What’s not cool?  Tesla products catching fire.  Last month Activist Post reported about their solar panels catching fire.  Apparently, many of their cars have been catching fire too.  Thanks to Tyler Durden and Zero Hedge for covering the most recent one in Austria and including pictures:



It was just days ago that we reported that the NHTSA was opening an inquiry into the use of Tesla’s “Smart Summon” feature. Then, just hours ago we followed up by reporting that a petition had been filed with the NHTSA claiming that Tesla was using over the air software updates to cover up dangerous battery issues.


Today, we offer a stark reminder that just because the NHTSA has started to perk up its ears, doesn’t mean that Teslas haven’t stopped going up in flames all over the world. The most recent example comes from Austria, where after a Tesla was involved in an accident and caught fire, firefighters had to use a special container to transport the remains of the vehicle and the battery. 


         



      

According to a translated version of this ORF News story, a 57 year old driver lost control of his Tesla and crashed into a tree, after first hitting the guardrail. It was then that the vehicle caught fire.


The driver was lucky, as “people passing by the scene of the accident took the man out of the vehicle and called emergency services.”


In order to put out the fire, the street had to be closed and fire authorities had to bring in a container user to cool the vehicle. The container held 11,000 liters (11 tons) of water and was designed to eliminate the biggest risk in an EV accident which is the battery catching fire.


The Tesla battery is mounted on the underside of the vehicle and contains acids and chemicals that can easily escape during a fire, placing the firefighters in danger.


Here is the problem: according to the article, some 11,000 liters of water are needed to finally extinguish a burning Tesla but an average fire engine only carries around 2,000 liters of water.


Fire brigade spokesman Peter Hölzl warned that the car could still catch fire for up to three days after the initial fire. 


The container used is said to be suitable for all common electric vehicles. It measures 6.8 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 1.5 meters high, it is (obviously) waterproof and weighs three tons.




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We hope the NHTSA has a nice long hard look at these photos, as it has now become painfully obvious that the fire issue is very real and very dangerous for Tesla. We can only hope that the agency is acting with the expediency necessary to promptly address an issue that is putting lives at risk every day.



A YouTube search of Tesla car fires yields many links.







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As one reporter mentioned, many of these Tesla cars are on the road.  Maybe new owners should be provided with a free fire extinguisher before they drive off the lot.


Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives.


 



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41

      

By Tyler Durden


The FBI’s use of electronic surveillance tools violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans whose communications were swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.


The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching through a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal.


The ruling, made last year, was disclosed on Tuesday.



The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.


The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. –WSJ



         



      

According to the FISA court, tens of thousands of improper searches were conducted by the Bureau in 2017 and 2018. They were deemed improper in part due to the involvement of data relating to tens of thousands of emails or phone numbers. Moreover, the FBI was potentially using the intelligence information to vet personnel and cooperating sources. Per federal law, the database can only be searched by the FBI while seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.



In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed.


The Trump administration failed to make a persuasive argument that modifying the program to better protect the privacy of Americans would hinder the FBI’s ability to address national-security threats, wrote U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who serves on the FISA Court, in the partially redacted 167-page opinion released Tuesday. –WSJ



The court accordingly finds that the FBI’s querying procedures and minimization procedures are not consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” concluded Judge Boasberg.



This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


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42

      

By Stefan Gleason


We’re in uncharted territory. Never before have U.S. fiscal and monetary policy been leveraged so heavily to boost an economy that wasn’t even in recession.


Something will break – and it could be the value of U.S. currency. The Federal Reserve Note now faces devaluation pressures on multiple fronts.


With the federal government running a trillion-dollar budget deficit and an election year approaching, fiscal restraint is a dead letter in Washington, D.C. Politicians are fighting over who can promise to borrow and spend the most.


         



      

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is trying to talk the dollar down versus the currencies of China and other trading partners.


Even as Trump vents frustration at the Federal Reserve on a near daily basis for being too tight, the central bank is actually ramping up its monetary easing policies.


They may not call it “Quantitative Easing,” but in September Federal Reserve officials launched a massive new campaign of liquidity injections that will expand their balance sheet by hundreds of billions of dollars. This was all prompted by trouble in the overnight lending “repo” market, where a lack of liquidity caused interest rates to spike to multiples of the Fed funds rate.


The Fed embarrassingly lost control of its own benchmark rate, threatening the credibility of its central planning powers.


The Fed barely managed to avert a wider financial crisis with its emergency market operations. And it soon became clear that the initial liquidity injections into the repo market would be insufficient for the big banks that depend on it.


Hellicopter Money


Officials had to raise their maximum daily repo facility and extend the duration of their repo operations.


These “temporary” open market operations are starting to look more permanent.


According to Morgan Stanley strategist Kelcie Gerson, “We maintain that these temporary repo operations will not prove to be a sufficient long-term solution to the recent funding pressure. Ultimately, the Fed will need to increase the size of its balance sheet permanently.”




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The Fed’s brief attempt at balance sheet reduction earlier this year (Quantitative Tightening) saw the Fed’s assets trimmed by about $600 billion. Now it appears likely that the central bank will steadily add that $600 billion (and possibly more) back to its balance sheet by next year.


Fed policymakers may also be on course to take interest rates down to zero – or possibly even below zero. Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has said it’s only a matter of time before negative rates (i.e., a penalty tax on savings) arrive in the U.S.


An Ideal Environment for Gold and Silver

What this monetary madness all may be building toward (albeit inadvertently) is an ideal environment for precious metals.


Gold and silver markets broke out to multi-year highs this past summer. They have rallied this year in spite of the fact that the U.S. Dollar Index so far refuses to break down.


Gold and silver are looking strong in terms of all major fiat currencies. It makes sense given that central bankers around the world are all pursuing easy money policies of their own.


Still, it’s been largely a stealth rally in metals up to this point.




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Gold and silver aren’t garnering much attention in the financial media – perhaps because the U.S. stock market has also rallied.


Equities could potentially run up further as the Fed continues to ease. But if the recent hiccups in the repo market are a sign of bigger trouble to come in the financial system, then the Fed may be behind the curve and the stock market may be headed for some wild swings lower.


Although gold and silver can go up based on their own fundamentals regardless of how financial markets perform, public demand for physical bullion tends to go up during times of fear.


If ordinary investors and savers come to fear an accelerating loss of purchasing power in their dollar-denominated holdings, look out above!



Stefan Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC and in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Street, and Seeking Alpha.


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43

      

By Joe Wright


For a number of years now, I have been chronicling the ever-widening use of “The Constitution-Free Zone” by Border Patrol agents in the name of immigration enforcement.



 Papers Please: “Daily Citizenship Checks” on Buses Across Maine Highlight Constitution-Free Zone
 New York’s Constitution-Free Zone Leading to Warrantless Bus Searches and Detentions
 Greyhound Bus Under Fire As More Reports Of Immigration Searches and Detentions Surface
 Citizenship Checkpoints Start to Spread Across The Constitution-Free Zone

The label of “Constitution Free” was given by the ACLU to describe the area that extends 100 miles from the border around the entire United States and holds nearly 70% of the total U.S. population. It is still not understood by most people that while traveling in this zone, you have next to no rights … at least according to Customs and Border Protection agents.


         



      


It is disturbing enough that agents have been exposed for targeting people with foreign accents for interrogation, as well as engaging in a general dragnet of the population on many of the most popular travel lines.  However, a new report from Maine ups the ante even further, as it appears that Border Patrol has now implemented mobile biometrics devices to link up with databases in order to find immigration offenders during “citizenship checks.” My emphasis added:



On Sunday, border patrol agents arrested a man in Auburn during a check after he was reported to be “acting in an elusive manner and provided multiple names and dates of births to officers in order to avoid identification.”






Agents used a mobile biometric device, which uses fingerprints, facial recognition and voice recognition to identify the man as a Mexican national who entered the country illegally in 2010, and later found he had been ordered removed from the United States by a judge in 2016. A warrant for his deportation was issued in 2017, and he had allegedly been living under aliases across the country since.


Source: Press Herald



For anyone who supports this type of invasion, you also should be comfortable with the fact that this exact type of screening has directly trickled down to the U.S. from Afghanistan where it was used by the U.S. military to screen the public there for potential links to terrorism.







war zone mobile scanner
credit: Cross Match Technologies



Supporters of a military police state also should know that they are not immune, as the profiling that they also tend to support will not be used, but includes all of the presumed innocent as well.



Niezgoda said that during these checks, agents patrol an area and ask everyone they see for citizenship information.


“People assume they’re going to profile people, but they don’t,” he said. “They ask everyone.”





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It is slowly beginning to dawn on (reasonable) people that when you restrict the freedoms of certain groups, that arbitrary system of oppression eventually boomerangs back upon you. I cite world history as irrefutable evidence, because I think deep down we know how this show ends.


You can find more from Joe Wright at Activist Post, where this article first appeared.



H/T: MassPrivateI


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44

      

By Graham Smith


Colonial-era law has been imposed in Hong Kong causing the economic situation to degrade further, with empty ATMs and bank runs becoming a new norm. Protesters and non-protesters alike fear the martial law-like ERO (Emergency Regulations Ordinance) could eventually grind the city’s financial activity to an unprecedented halt.


Also Read: Protesters Wield Tools of Freedom as Hong Kong Imposes Dictatorship


Imposition of Martial Law

The ERO imposed as of October 4 is not viewed as martial law by the Hong Kong government, but chief executive Carrie Lam’s declaration that the city is “not in a state of emergency” seems outlandish given the circumstances. The Hong Kong Free Press asserts:


The ERO is a colonial-era law that gives the chief executive unlimited power in the event of an “emergency or public danger.” The ERO, introduced in 1922, has not been used since the 1967 leftist riots.


         



      

Ben Song, an activist from Dallas, Texas, attending protests in the city, told news.Bitcoin.com via text message that “The ERO invoked recently to create the Anti-Mask Ban was a major turning point. The system has been eliminated and people are responding en masse.”


Though the extradition bill that had originally sparked protests was announced as withdrawn on September 4, important core demands of protestors were still not met. For example, greater independent investigation of police was one of the five core demands, which Lam struck down, affirming that the current Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) was sufficient. Activist Joshua Wong summarized protestor’s frustrations with the incomplete address of grievances in a tweet claiming that “Carrie Lam’s repeated failure in understanding the situation has made this announcement completely out of touch.”




Bank Runs, Empty ATMs and Financial Chaos

Song affirmed to news.Bitcoin.com that “The economic state of the city is grim,” adding that “With everything shut down any economic activity is running at a snails pace.” Kyle Bass, Chief Investment Officer at Hayman Capital, echoes the assessment, tweeting on October 5 that under the ERO Carrie Lam basically has carte blanche to confiscate and freeze financial assets at will. Bass proclaimed: “The HK legal system is essentially gone.” Hong Kong dollar investments are said to be rapidly liquidating against the chaotic backdrop as well, with Song conveying to news.Bitcoin.com:







People are selling HKD investments like crazy. The HKD is fast approaching the 7.85 peg, after which the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will need to take action.



Economists in the city mention that likely recourse to combat this flight from the HKD will be elevated interest rates and a selling off of USD reserves, according to the Dallas activist. Song notes that “China is already facing a 2008 style debt crisis because it has incurred massive debts at all levels public and private to fund property developments that are worthless.”


Economic Turmoil in Hong Kong Escalates as Colonial-Era Law Is Imposed


Crypto Still Not Widely Utilized

As news.Bitcoin.com recently reported, although bitcoin has been purchased for notable premiums via HKD throughout the protests, crypto still doesn’t seem to be the refuge of choice for most Hong Kongers struggling under Lam’s antiquated regime. Song says that from his perspective “People do not really use bitcoin day to day, although there are bitcoin ATMs here. People still use cash and the money supply has not been noticeably constricted by bank runs.” The activist detailed further: “Bank runs and ATMs running out of money is mostly localized.” As for the top refuge currencies, Song stated that “Hong Kong is much more likely to flee into USD, AUD, and JPY.”


Localized or otherwise, the widespread occurrences signal the economic fear pervading the city which is now becoming almost palpable, even for spectators from afar. Images shared to Twitter by user @hsky8964 don’t paint a very reassuring picture. Also, smaller banks and local bank branches are often the first hit in of economic crises like this, so the localized clusters of intense panic make sense. Whatever the case, Song doesn’t see the problems ending anytime soon, noting:


The Hong Kong protests are here to stay and the repercussions will be global, with heavy effects on China’s economy and beyond.




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What are your thoughts on the economic situation in Hong Kong? Let us know in the comments section below.



This article was sourced from Bitcoin.com


Image credits: Shutterstock, John YE, fair use.


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By Avi Mizrahi


The banking sector continues to suffer drastic layoffs as the global economic outlook remains uncertain. The latest financial institution reported to be set for cutting a massive amount of workers is HSBC, which has already announced firing thousands of people just a few weeks ago.


HSBC to Cut High-Paying Jobs in Europe

London-headquartered multinational investment bank HSBC is planning to let go of up to 10,000 of its employees as a new cost-cutting measure, British media reported on Monday. The latest round of downsizing will target mostly high-paid roles and will be mainly focused on shrinking the bank’s operations in Europe.


This news comes just a few weeks after the investment bank announced the previous firing of up to 4,700 employees, about 2% of its global workforce. Those cuts were said to be focused on management roles and were in response to a bleak global outlook. They also coincided with the sudden and unexplained exit of HSBC’s former CEO.


         



      

“We’ve known for years that we need to do something about our cost base, the largest component of which is people – now we are finally grasping the nettle,” an unnamed HSBC insider told the Financial Times. “There’s some very hard modelling going on. We are asking why we have so many people in Europe when we’ve got double-digit returns in parts of Asia.”


A Global Banking Industry Contraction

The new restructuring plan at HSBC is being attributed to economic uncertainty due to Brexit as well as the trade war between the U.S. and China hurting global growth. However, it can not be delinked from the historically low interest rates around the world that make it difficult for banks to profit from their traditional loans businesses. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, investment banks have been hit with limiting regulations and major fines with regards to their trading practices.


As we recently reported, prior to the latest news from HSBC, banks have announced nearly 60,000 job cuts so far this year. The contraction in the banking sector is spread around the world but is most strongly felt in Europe. The top financial institutions by the number of job cuts are Banco Santander, Commerzbank, HSBC, Barclays, Alfa Bank, KBC, Societe Generale, Caixabank, and the National Bank of Greece, with Deutsche Bank leading the pack with 18,000 job cuts.


See: 177 Different Ways to Generate Extra Income




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What do you think about HSBC firing so many employees? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the world, from London to Hong-Kong.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Bitcoin.com.




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This article was sourced from Bitcoin.com


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