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61

      

By B.N. Frank


The Telecom Industry has admitted there are no studies that show 5G wireless technology is safe.  Since 2017 200+ doctors and scientists have demanded a moratorium on installation due to research that proves it’s harmful.  Regardless, 5G promotion and installation has continued in the U.S. (See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) despite all of that as well as increasing American opposition.  Portland, Oregon city officials are now trying to stop it from being installed in their community.


Portland, Oregon city officials are setting up to run opposition to the installation of 5G networks around the city. The initiative is supported by Mayor Ted Wheeler and two commissioners, Amanda Fritz, and Chloe Eudaly. The city feels that 5G health risks are not well enough understood to warrant installations. Additionally, the federal government’s issues with telecommunications rules influenced the opposition movement.


Last week, Brussels adopted a 5G installation moratorium.  Earlier this week, Vaud, Switzerland did the same.


         



      




For more information on what you can do to stop harmful 4G and 5G small cell infrastructure from being installed throughout your community, visit the following websites:



Wireless Information Network
Americans for Responsible Technology
5GCrisis
5G Information
Environmental Health Trust
In Power Movement
Last Tree Laws
My Street, My Choice
Our Town Our Choice
Physicians for Safe Technology
Scientists for Wired Tech
TelecomPowerGrab.com
Whatis5G.Info
Zero5G

Image credit: Pixabay


   
62

      

By Janet Phelan


Julian Assange’s arrest in London today is only the most recent manifestation of a world wide attack on freedom of the press. Recent incidents in a growing number of countries have indicated a trend towards the dissolution of press freedoms in favor of the iron hand of the State.


A few of these incidents will be summarized below.


Press freedoms in Saudi Arabia are reported on the decline. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, apparently at the order of the Saudi Prince, is not an aberration in Saudi policy but an indication of a trend which has included beheadings and torture. Ironically, many of the arrests in Saudi Arabia have been done under a 2017 anti terrorism law. According to Freedom House, “State authorities have widely interpreted “terrorism” to encompass a variety of nonviolent political, social, and religious offenses. In addition, oversight and enforcement power for counterterrorism measures was transferred from the Ministry of Interior to the Public Prosecution and the Presidency of the State Security, two newly established bodies that report directly to the king.”


         



      

The rest of the Middle East has not fared much better. Freedom House lists a handful of countries as “Partly Free”—in terms of media freedom, including Lebanon, Kuwait, Tunisia and Israel. Freedom House has designated the following countries as having no freedom of the press—Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Egypt, Libya, UAE, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran and Syria.


Several of these countries had earned a “Partly Free” designation in 2012 and have since been downgraded to “Not Free.” It is also of interest that Israel received a designation of “Free” in 2012 and has since been downgraded to “Partly Free.”


Calling the condition of press freedom in Europe “dire,” a recent report from the Council of Europe stated that “Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War.” High on the list of concerns as to the threats to press freedom is “impunity,” defined as routinely protecting “ those responsible for violent crimes who deliberately target journalists for their work.” In other words, the hand of the State is seen working with impunity.


Of course, there are trouble spots in Europe, most notably Turkey and the Russian Federation. However, countries previously seen as carrying the banner of democracy are now falling under scrutiny for their attacks on the press. Case in point is France. In a 2017 report, Freedom House stated that “ in recent years, defamation cases, intrusive new security laws, and editorial pressure on journalists by owners have contributed to concerns about decreasing media freedom.” In addition, a law which would have bolstered journalists’ rights to protect their sources was struck down recently by the Constitutional Court.


A controversial law was also passed recently empowering French judges to order the immediate removal of fake news from internet sites during election campaigns. We can thank French President Macron for this. The problem, of course, is that what is false and what is true is a heavily loaded political hot potato. Giving this power of determination to the government is a recipe for censorship.






It should be noted that, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, France passed an “anti-terrorism” law which pretty much destroyed any semblance of privacy for anyone. The law, which was dubbed “The Big Brother Act,” allows for electronic surveillance in private homes for anyone suspected of terrorism.


While Germany is largely lauded for its protection of press freedoms, there is a darker side emerging in Germany as well. A 2016 report from Reporters without Borders stated that “A new anti-whistleblower provision penalizes the handling of leaked data without ensuring adequate protection for investigative journalists as well as their sources.”


A 2018 bill set in motion the surveillance of foreign journalists in Germany. In addition, a 2017 law, which appeared on the surface to govern hate speech and online disinformation has raised concerns that it will result in “chilling” social media activities.


And what about the US, which appears to be the next stop for Julian Assange? In 2018, Reporters without Borders gave the US a ranking of 45 in press freedom, behind most of Western Europe, including France and Germany. However, any US journalist worth her salt will tell you that journalists are entirely free in the US to write about and debate “vetted” issues. It is when we stray out of the pen and into unapproved territory that the repercussions will start to be felt.




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A few questions will serve to illuminate the breadth of the problem. Why is it that the press continues to behave as if our legal system is robust and healthy, even in the face of research indicating that at least two thirds of judges are on the take? Why is it that the US press is delicately averting its eyes to what is obviously a US military-corporate offensive biological weapons program? Why is the press silent about the fact that the US gives Israel billions of dollars in aid each year, earmarked for buying defensive weapons which do not work?


These are only three questions. I am sure there are many, many more. If our press lies, it lies through omission. Journalists today step over inconvenient facts as if they were plague ridden bodies. Like sheep, journalists gather around a vetted story and chew it to death. And indeed, if the situation of Julian Assange gives us any insight into the pitfalls confronting journalists today, it would be in terms of the danger of leaving the pen and striking out into the woods.


For this, we owe Assange a great debt. I personally owe Assange and WikiLeaks, for without the publication of the secret cables I would never have known that the US exported a biological weapons delivery system to other countries. The cables, at least the ones I have gone through so far, show definitively the exportation of a delivery system to Israel and to post-invasion Iraq and suggest the possibility that other countries also received this “gift of death.” If we are going to stop the slaughter of innocents, which so defined the twentieth century and has bled into the 21st, we will need to know everything those cables can teach us.


And if we are going to proceed into history as the leader of the free world, our leaders are going to have to cease and desist in efforts to intimidate, silence and criminalize reporters. Lies will only prop up a bully for so long. In order to reinstate our former greatness, we may, as a nation, have some unpleasant realities to accept. Killing or jailing the messenger is not an option.


Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012703457651


   
            


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63

      


By Aaron Kesel


It’s a sad day for journalism and press freedoms. International journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police and faces US extradition charges of “conspiracy with Chelsea Manning” related to acquiring and publishing evidence of US war crimes.


Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in violation of 2 UN rulings, following the withdrawal of his asylum status by the Ecuadorian government. As a result, activists are organizing to oppose extradition and to free Assange.




“The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested,” Wikileaks tweeted.


London’s Metropolitan Police on Thursday removed Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he’s been trapped for almost seven years, in violation of 2 UN rulings stating for him to be freed immediately.


WikiLeaks has consistently highlighted that its founder and former editor Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained 8+ years without charge by the UK Govt (6+ years within the Ecuador Embassy in London where he was granted asylum from U.S. threats) and 2 years house arrest.


RT affiliate Ruptly captured his arrest, as several UK police officers dragged him out of the embassy into a police van.


In the video, Julian Assange can be heard screaming, “The UK must resist this attempt by the Trump administration” as he was hauled into the van.




This follows rumors of Assange’s arrest after Ecuador falsely accused Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange of hacking him, despite taking away his rights to the internet and other forms of communication a year ago in March, making it impossible, AP reported.


WikiLeaks vehemently denied association to the publication of the INA Papers.


WikiLeaks in a statement called Moreno’s charges “completely bogus,” stating they reported on the accusations of corruption against the president only after Ecuador’s legislature had said he was being investigated.


“If President Moreno wants to illegally terminate a refugee publisher’s asylum to cover up an offshore corruption scandal, history will not be kind,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.


In the wake of allegations of corruption by the Moreno government, the President of Ecuador has decided to distract from his own scandal by blaming Assange for the leak. Consortium News reported Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s use of the scandal to deflect his own problems and move to evict Assange.


“Moreno has accused WikiLeaks of leaking documents allegedly implicating him and his family in a corruption scheme with a Panamanian investment firm, INA Investments Corp. WikiLeaks has denied being behind the leaks and no documents related to the scandal appear on its website. Moreno said the alleged leak by WikiLeaks is a breach in a “protocol” with Assange that allows him to remain in the London embassy in exchange for his public silence on all political matters. Assange has never agreed to the protocol. His social media accounts were shut down by Ecuador in March 2018.”


Moreno ironically somehow seems to have got Wikileaks and the CIA confused when he accused the journalism institution without evidence of intercepting phone calls and private conversations as well as “photos of my bedroom, what I eat, and how my wife and daughters and friends dance.”


All things possible that were revealed by the Vault 7 leaks and Edward Snowden’s own disclosures about spying.


Last week, Wikileaks reported on Twitter that an inside source told them that its founder and former editor in chief, Julian Assange is set to be expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London within “hours to days.”


“A high-level source within the Ecuadorian state has told WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest,” Wikileaks tweeted.


Yesterday, WikiLeaks held an emergency press conference, revealing riveting information that Assange had been spied on and that unknown suspects had tried to extort 3,000,000 million euro from the journalism organization for the destruction of the videos and pictures. Which included videos of private situations such as doctors visits and lawyers meetings, Reuters reported.




Less than 48 hours later Assange’s asylum status was revoked and he was removed by police.




It’s important to note, that Assange’s arrest has nothing to do with Robert Mueller’s investigation or Russia gate. WikiLeaks tweeted that its founder’s arrest is tied to an extradition request for “conspiracy with Chelsea Manning” for publishing Iraq War Logs, Cablegate, Afghan War Logs, precisely the persecution for  which he was granted asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention in 2012.”




Assange was arrested on behalf of the United States authorities for an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible with no date given.


Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson confirmed that he was arrested in connection with an extradition warrant and not just breach of defunct bail conditions in a tweet on Twitter.




Assange’s health conditions were made abundantly obvious when he was removed from the embassy you can see the deterioration in his face. Assange’s own mother Christine preached on Unity4J last year warning of her son’s deteriorating health.


In November of last year, Christine Assange used Unity4J to urge officials to allow access to medical attention for her son, and for the UK and Ecuador to end Assange’s illegal detainment that is heading into the 9th year (2 years of virtual house arrest, into 7th year confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy) without charge as determined by the UN.


For the past 6 years, soon to be 7 in the embassy, the UK government has refused Assange’s request for access to basic health needs: fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper medical and dental care according to Christine Assange and Julian Assange’s lawyer, Greg Barns.


“The slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London,” Christine expressed.


Assange’s doctor, Sean Love, has previously stated in an opinion piece that depriving him of medical care is “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Adding, “It is time for Australia to intervene.”


Other doctors who examined Assange, Sondra Crosby, an associate professor at Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, and Brock Chisholm, a clinical psychologist in London have stated much the same.


All three called on safe passage for Assange to a hospital in an article for the Guardian, they wrote:


While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare.


The above health concerns are coupled with surveillance technology that was a requirement for Assange to remain in the embassy, including signal jammers and all of the additional technology that is emitting various electromagnetic waves.




Assange’s doctors recently examined him in December of last year warning about the ongoing dangers to his health.


A lawyer for Assange stated last year he did not know the results of the medical tests, while further calling on Ecuador to produce documentation proving that the UK would not extradite Assange to any country where his life would be at risk. Most notably, an at-risk country would be the United States, which WikiLeaks noted just tortured a former CIA agent and suspected alleged WikiLeaks Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte by bolting him to the floor, video-monitoring and strip-searching him. Which, if we are being honest, if they got their hands on Assange, would probably do worse to the WikiLeaks founder for exposing numerous crimes by the U.S. government through various releases over the years.


While the mainstream press will push all types of falsehoods about Assange’s arrest here are the facts.


Allegations against Assange in Sweden have long been dropped, and he is facing only a minor infraction in the UK for failing to turn up to a court hearing, a police bail warrant. The warrant issued in question arose 12 days after Julian entered the Ecuador Embassy seeking asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty. So that warrant should never have been issued in the first place, as Asylum/international law overrides domestic (UK) law.


Instead, the Bail warrant should have been dropped after Sweden dropped its preliminary investigation and Julian wasn’t charged as the warrant was attached to the European Arrest Warrant on that case.


The U.S. has been on a relentless crusade against WikiLeaks since May 2010 and considers Julian Assange’s arrest a priority, while several politicians have threatened Assange’s life. It has been 8 years now since Assange was arrested and detained under one form or another, with 2 years of virtual house arrest, 6 years confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy and now he can add unjustified solitary confinement to the long laundry list.


The international non-profit whistleblowing organization has leaked at least 10 million classified documents to date from various governments including the United States. In 2016, the group published a number of documents and emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta that suggested the DNC deliberately tried to discredit presidential candidate Bernie Sanders over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.


As both the current and former administrations continue forward with an ongoing nine-year investigation into WikiLeaks since their 2010 leak of almost 100,000 State and Defense Department secret documents dubbed Cablegate pertaining to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither administration has been able to charge a single member of WikiLeaks with a criminal indictment.


In that case, only the alleged source of the leak was punished: former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who spent seven years in prison before former U.S. President Barack Obama commuted 28 years of her 35-year sentence on his way out of office, calling it “very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received” and that “it makes sense to commute and not pardon her sentence.”


Now, Chelsea Manning is back in prison in solitary confinement for refusing to testify against Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Despite, the Fifth Amendment stating that no person can be tried twice for the same crime.


The Fifth Amendment reads in part: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”. This is known as the Double Jeopardy Clause.


A justice DOJ press release states that Assange is being accused of a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.



“According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.


The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.


During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”


Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison,” the press releases reads.



However, as Edward Snowden tweeted, the charge is weak, not fresh and has been known for nearly a decade as the Obama DOJ refused to charge him stating it “endangered journalism.”




In October of last year, Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador was being pressured to end Assange’s asylum and citizenship so he can be arrested by British police and extradited to the U.S. to presumably face charges under the Espionage Act — the federal law often used to punish whistleblowers. This is due to the fact that under the Ecuadorian constitution extradition is forbidden.




Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted today that Moreno is the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history”.




In November, the U.S. accidentally revealed sealed charges it had against Assange, so it’s a far-fetched lie to state “Assange won’t be extradited to face the death penalty.” The truth is no one knows what the U.S. has planned for Assange if somehow they got their hands on him in a U.S. court. Who knows what the sentencing would be. What’s for certain is that they would surely try to make an example out of him.


The arrest comes after two UN officials criticized the U.S., Ecuador and the UK for potential human rights violations expressing worry for Julian Assange.


Both the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, and UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer have expressed alarm to the situation at hand as WikiLeaks’ journalist who worked on all current releases Stefania Maurizi tweeted.




While Cannataci planned to meet the Wikileaks founder on the 25th of April to investigate the situation himself.


Even the former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa is stating his country must protect Julian Assange as an Ecuadorian citizen. Which, Assange received Ecuadorian citizenship last year.




This also confirms earlier suspicions that Ecuador was trying to sell out Assange in a “deal” with the U.S. for debt relief loans, as WikiLeaks tweeted.




Many saw this coming as former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden noticed the interesting timing of a tweet by the Foreign Minister of Ecuador Jose Valencia, tweeting “about mechanisms for unilaterally revoking asylum claims.”




The Trump administration is threatening to step over a never-crossed line – applying the secret documents provision of the Espionage Act to journalistic practices, according to the EFF, which in 2017 condemned the threats of prosecution against WikiLeaks and Assange.


Former CIA, John Kiriakou explains what would happen if Assange was extradited to the U.S. and why he would never stand a chance in the rigged Washington courts. Which, Kirakou notes that no one has ever won an “Espionage Act case.”




Earlier this year, lawyers for Julian Assange filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to demand the Trump Administration unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Assange.


The Australian activist’s lawyers are further asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect Assange from U.S. extradition.


The request was a whopping 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.


Assange’s lead international coordinator lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, is requesting that the IACHR make an urgent intervention in favor of Assange and is calling for “international solidarity for this case in which the right to access and impart information freely is in jeopardy.”


“The revelation that the U.S. has initiated a prosecution against Assange has shocked the international community,” the legal submission states. The U.S. government “is required to provide information as to the criminal charges that are imputed to Assange in full,” it adds.


The application also alleges that U.S. prosecutors have begun approaching people in the U.S., Germany, and Iceland and pressed them to testify against Assange in return for immunity from prosecution.


Those approached, it is said, include people associated with WikiLeaks’ joint publications with other media about U.S. diplomacy, Guantánamo Bay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.




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It’s worth noting that this is corroborated by an article in Icelandic media interviewing the new Editor In Chief of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, who told the publication that Iceland authorities offered him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against Julian Assange, according to a translated article. However, translating articles can always be faulty, but Hrafnsson’s quote appears to state that he isn’t the person who was interrogated and offered immunity.


“I can confirm from the first hand that this has been done. No one has contacted me this way. However, I myself am investigating this issue and I know that data has been downloaded to a private company with secrecy, ”says Kristinn in a conversation with Fréttablaðið.


Assange’s lawyers say the Trump administration has pressured Ecuador to hand over Assange. In December, The New York Times reported that Ecuador’s new president, Lenín Moreno, tried to negotiate handing over Assange to the US. in exchange for “debt relief.”


In 2017, Moreno vowed to stop Assange from revealing further corruption about the United States for the duration of his stay at the embassy, stating he would “gag Assange from revealing further corruption about the U.S.”


Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno is scheduled to fly to Washington DC in 12 days time. Among official meetings, he is scheduled speak at the Inter-American Dialogue, 1155 15 Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC, Registration 4:30pm – 5:00pm, Wikileaks tweeted.


WikiLeaks as an organization has recently faced increased pressure from authorities. In 2017, the U.S. Senate considered a bill that would classify WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” bundled as part of the 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act. Presumably, that classification would authorize the use of force against WikiLeaks and presumably its supporters.


Then, in late December of 2017, the Head Legal Office in Madrid of former judge and WikiLeaks’ chief counsel, Baltasar Garzón, was raided by masked men dressed in all black and the security cameras were taped. Despite the break-in, nothing was taken and the operation was referred to as being “professionally done” by police.


Grassroot’s movement Unity4J will be holding an immediate vigil/round table discussion on the events that just unfolded involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at 12 p.m. EST today.




Protesters are encouraged to assemble immediately in front of the Westminster magistrates court, everyone is reminded to remain peaceful.








Meanwhile, activists affiliated with @codepink and @popresistance are set to hold an Emergency Rally outside the UK Embassy in Washington DC today.




For up-to-date accurate pertinent information on Julian Assange’s plight, see @Wikileaks, @AssangeMrs, and @Unity4J and — @AssangeLegal the editor of Justice 4 Assange.


Supporters are asked to donate to the numerous defenses for WikiLeaks by visiting this link or purchasing merchandise from the WikiLeaks Shop, which goes towards Assange and other WikiLeaks volunteers’ defenses and future releases.


Freedom of the press is under attack; first, it’s WikiLeaks, but overall this could set a monstrous precedent for journalists all over the world — ironically in a country that has a First Amendment designed to protect freedom of the press, as the ACLU has previously said.




In a twilight zone meets George Orwell’s 1984, it’s interesting to note the EU is trying to pass an Orwellian law disguised as a copyright initiative which would silence publications like WikiLeaks and stifle the free and open internet, as well as freedom of information with link taxes and an upload filter, as Activist Post reported.


All eyes are on the skies watching rendition planes leaving London.


If Assange is allowed to be extradited to the U.S. and charged under the Espionage Act, government corruption and criminality will no doubt rise due to journalists being afraid to report crimes in the media. So far, an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on behalf of Assange published by Defend WikiLeaks calling to close the Grand Jury investigation and drop any charges planned against any member of WikiLeaks has received 4,560 signatures of everyone from journalists, and academics, to activists in Assange’s defense.


Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, Facebook and Twitter.


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64

      

By Laura Vidal


On April 5, a group of around 20 Colombian activist collectives delivered a formal request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for it open a criminal investigation about the mass killings of social leaders in their country.


The collectives and their supporters delivered the letter in person at The Hague after marching for over a week from Paris, while stopping in different cities in France and Belgium along the way where they’ve staged rallies and performances.


The photo below is from the kick-off gathering in Paris:


65

      


By Truthstream Media


In this video, Aaron and Melissa Dykes of Truthstream Media dissect a disturbing TED Talk that makes the claim that conspiracy theories are dangerous and immoral because “most of us aren’t experts.”



Aaron & Melissa Dykes are the founders of TruthstreamMedia.com, Subscribe to them on YouTube, like onFacebook, follow on Twitter, support on Patreon.


Watch their mini-documentary Obsolete here and their full-length documentary THE MINDS OF MEN here.


   
66

      

By Tyler Durden


Amazon employs thousands of people to listen in on what people around the world are saying to their Alexa digital assistant, according to what is sure to be a Congressional hearing-inspiring report by Bloomberg, which cites seven people who have worked on the program.


While their job is to “help improve” NSAlexa – which powers the company’s line of Echo speakers – the team “listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices,” which are then transcribed, annotated and fed back into the software in order to try and improve Alexa’s understanding of human speech for more successful interactions. In other words, humans are effectively helping to train Amazon’s algorithm.


In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching. –Bloomberg


         



      

The listening team is comprised of part-time contractors and full-time Amazon employees based all over the world; including India, Romania, Boston and Costa Rica.


Listeners work nine-hour shifts, with each reviewing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift according to two employees from Amazon’s Bucharest office – located in the top three floors of the Romanian capital’s Globalworth building. The location “stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure” of the Pipera district and “bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.”


While much of the work is boring (one worker said his job was to mine for accumulated voice data for specific phrases such as “Taylor Swift” – letting the system know that the searcher was looking for the artist), reviewers are also listening on people’s most personal moments.


Occasionally the listeners pick up things Echo owners likely would rather stay private: a woman singing badly off key in the shower, say, or a child screaming for help. The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word—or come across an amusing recording. –Bloomberg


Occasionally Amazon listeners come across upsetting or possibly criminal recordings – such as two workers who say they listened in on what sounded like a sexual assault. 


According to the report, when things like this happen the workers will mention it in the internal chat room to “relieve stress.”


And while Amazon says that it has procedures to follow when workers hear distressing things, two of the Romania-based employees say they were told “it wasn’t Amazon’s job to interfere” when they requested guidance for such instances.






“We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously,” said an Amazon spokesman in a statement provided to Bloomberg.


“We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone,” the statement continues. “We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero tolerance policy for the abuse of our system. Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption and audits of our control environment to protect it.”


That said, Amazon does not mention the fact that humans are listening to recordings of some of the conversations picked up by Alexa. Instead, they have a generic disclaimer in their FAQ that says “We use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems.”


What Amazon Records


According to Amazon’s Alexa terms of use, the company collects and stores most of what you say to Alexa – including the geolocation of the product along with your voice instructions, reported CNBC’s Todd Haselton last November.


Your messages, communication requests (e.g., “Alexa, call Mom”), and related instructions are “Alexa interactions,” as described in the Alexa Terms of Use. Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions and related information in the cloud in order to respond to your requests (e.g., “Send a message to Mom”), to provide additional functionality (e.g., speech to text transcription and vice versa), and to improve our services. -Amazon Terms of Use


Last May, an Amazon Echo recorded a conversation between a husband and wife, then sent it to one of the husband’s phone contacts. Amazon claims that during the conversation someone used a word that sounded like “Alexa,” which caused the device to begin recording.




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“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa,’” said Amazon in a statement. “Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”


The wife, Danielle, however said that the Echo never requested her permission to send the audio. “At first, my husband was like, ‘No, you didn’t,’” Danielle told KIRO7. “And he’s like, ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘Oh gosh, you really did!’”


Can You Disable?


Alexa does allow people to stop sharing their voice recordings for the development of new features, while a screenshot reviewed by Bloomberg reveals that the recordings provided to Alexa’s listeners do not provide the full name or address of a user. It does, however, link the recording to an account number, the user’s first name, and the device’s serial number.


“You don’t necessarily think of another human listening to what you’re telling your smart speaker in the intimacy of your home,” said UMich professor Florian Schaub, who has researched privacy issues related to smart speakers. “I think we’ve been conditioned to the [assumption] that these machines are just doing magic machine learning. But the fact is there is still manual processing involved.


“Whether that’s a privacy concern or not depends on how cautious Amazon and other companies are in what type of information they have manually annotated, and how they present that information to someone,” added Schaub.



By Tyler Durden / Republished with permission / Zero Hedge


   
            


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67

      

By B.N. Frank


According to ArsTechnica.com, this operation was carefully designed and included multiple stages.  Audio, contacts, location, and more was stolen for years.  The article reads like an intricate suspense-thriller plot.  Smartphone owners may feel a little creeped out – even if they haven’t been arrested.


Unfortunately, even non-smartphone users are being subjected to involuntary surveillance through 5G, The Internet of Things (IoT), and utility “Smart” Meters (See 1, 2, 3). In fact, utility “Smart” Meter data was already granted to law enforcement officials for a criminal investigation.  Does that seem like violation of privacy to you?


Even worse – utility “Smart” Meter data collection has been proven to be inaccurate much of the time.  In fact, these meters have so many problems –including fires and explosions – that a documentary was produced about them called Take Back Your Power.


         



      

The Internet of Things (IoT) has a 74% failure rate so accuracy isn’t a guarantee with it either.


Even though some people may not mind giving up their privacy to use new technology, obviously this isn’t its only issue.







Image credit: Pixabay


   
68

      


By Arjun


April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and the first weekend in April is Alcohol Free Weekend. This is a campaign to inform and change social norms about drinking.


Every day hundreds of Americans die because of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and thousands more are admitted into hospitals, psychiatric facilities, or jails and prison. Alcohol places thousands more at risk for divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, and physical and emotional problems such as depression. Because it affects so many people, alcoholism is considered the number one public health problem in America – even surpassing cancer and heart disease, and is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.


Alcohol Awareness Month


Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM) is a national grassroots effort that was started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, and it quickly spread throughout the country. AAM highlights the need to support education, prevention and treatment for alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. It is an opportunity for families and communities, together, to educate themselves about the critical issues of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and reach out and educate their children on the reasons to stay alcohol free.


Alcoholism is a disease that affects children, families and communities across the nation. In fact, most people know someone who has been affected by this disease as over half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol problems. In this regard, alcoholism does not just affect the alcoholic but others around, and therefore it is also called a family disease.


Alcohol is a toxic and addictive drug. Each year there are well over 88,000 deaths because of alcohol, and according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there may be as many as 15.1 million individuals with an alcohol problem or alcoholism in the United States. Alcoholism was, is, and remains one of the most pervasive and tragic diseases affecting society.


Alcohol Free Weekend


Alcohol Free Weekend is a special opportunity for parents to teach about alcohol in their homes. For at least one weekend each year people are saying that America does not need to rely on alcohol for pleasure or pastime. This also gives parents opportunity to further reflect upon the dangers and consequences of drinking with their children.


Prevention is the Best Policy




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Although it is among the nation’s most deadly diseases, alcoholism is preventable. Each year AAM offers an opportunity to work in a unified effort to raise awareness about the negative consequences of drinking and to do something about it. It also asks families to look at the level of emotional pain that alcohol has caused in their lives and encourages adults to talk about alcoholism with spouses, children, and friends.


The best prevention is to help send the message to youth that one does not need to drink in order to enjoy leisure activities and have a fulfilling and healthy life. In fact, at least 34 percent of Americans do not drink at all.


Referral Information


AAM also encourages individuals with an alcohol problem to seek treatment. Help is only a telephone call away. If a person believes that he or she or a family member may have an alcohol problem or if one is hurting or in emotional pain because of alcohol, it is best to contact a local treatment agency or call the national referral helpline operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP.




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Sources:


https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics


https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/alcohol-use-facts-resources-fact-sheet.pdf


Arjun is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and a consciousness activist. He writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze.


   
            


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69

      

By Tony Cartalucci


Libya is back in the news, as fighting escalates around the capital, Tripoli.


Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar – a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi – turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention – turned “opposition” again against the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) seated in Tripoli – have most recently reached Tripoli’s airport.


The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change “success” include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.


And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine – the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued.


         



      

Battlefield Libya


In 2011, the North African nation of Libya was transformed from a prosperous, developing nation, into a divided, perpetual battlefield where local warlords backed by a milieu of opposing foreign sponsors and interests have vied for power since.


Libya’s current status as a failed, warring state is owed entirely to the US-led NATO intervention in 2011.


Predicated on lies promoted by Western-funded “human rights” organizations and fought under the pretext of R2P (responsibility to protect) – the US and its NATO allies dismembered Libya leading to predictable and perpetual chaos that has affected not only Libya itself, but North Africa, Southern Europe, and even the Middle East.


The war immediately triggered not only a wave of refugees fleeing the war itself, but the redirection of refugees from across Africa seeking shelter and work in Libya, across the Mediterranean and into Europe instead.


Militants fighting as proxies for the US-led war in 2011 would be armed and redeployed to Turkey where they entered Syria and played a key role in taking the cities of Idlib and Aleppo during the early stages of that US-led proxy war.


Currently, Libya is divided between the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar, and a mix of other forces operating across the country, holding various degrees of control over Libya’s other major cities, and equally varying degrees of loyalty to the UN-backed government, Haftar’s forces, or other factions.


Fighting around Tripoli has even allegedly prompted US military forces stationed in Libya to temporarily evacuate. CNBC in its article, “US pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital,” would report:



The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” a top military official said Sunday as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.


A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.



The presence of US forces in Libya might be news to some – and was certainly only a dream within the Pentagon until after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention finally toppled the Libyan government.


America’s foreign policy of arsonist-fireman has endowed it with a large and still growing military footprint in Africa – one it uses to project power and affect geopolitics well beyond the continent.


America’s Growing Footprint in Africa


The ongoing Libyan conflict – flush with weapons pouring in from foreign sponsors – has also fueled regional terrorism impacting neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, and Chad, as far west as Mali and Nigeria, and southeast as far as Kenya. The war has been a boon for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has used the resulting chaos as a pretext to expand Washington’s military footprint on the continent.






In a 2018 Intercept article titled, “U.S. Military Says it has a “Light Footprint” in Africa. These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases,” it was reported that:


According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years.


The article notes that much of AFRICOM’s expansion in Africa has occurred over the past decade.


While the pretext for US military expansion in Africa has been “counter-terrorism,” it is clear US military forces are there to protect US interests and project US power with “terrorism” a manufactured pretext to justify Washington’s militarization of the continent.


Much of the terrorism the US claims it is fighting was only possible in the first place through the flood of weapons, equipment, and support provided to militants by the US and its partners amid regime change operations targeting nations like Libya.


The US-led NATO war in Libya is a perfect example of the US deliberately arming terrorist organizations – including those listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department itself – overthrowing a nation, predictably destabilizing the entire region, and using the resulting instability as a pretext to massively expand America’s military footprint there.


The wider agenda at play is Washington’s desire to displace current Russian and Chinese interests on the continent, granting the US free reign.


Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change


As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would claim:





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Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace.


This “peace” includes 8 years of heavy fighting in Libya following NATO’s intervention there.


NATO’s Secretary General proclaims NATO’s mission as one to “prevent conflict and preserve peace,” yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day – but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.


Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in – yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.


The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.


As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the “fruits” of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.


What is most alarming of all is considering that the US-led intervention in Libya may not necessarily be a failure. It is only a failure if one believed the US truly sought a better future for the nation. However, if the fruits of perpetual chaos and an equally perpetual pretext for the US militarization of Africa were intentionally set out for from the beginning – then in many ways – Libya was a resounding success.


Depending on how the current fighting around Tripoli unfolds, whether or not a unified Libya emerges, and whose foreign military presence and economic interests are allowed to persist on Libyan soil thereafter – will help determine just how successful Washington’s true agenda in Libya – and in Africa – has been.


Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.


   
            


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70

      

By Catherine J. Frompovich


Oh my!  How the legal tables seemingly have turned.


According to the prestigious online publication “The Hill,” Attorney General William Barr delivered some rather unnerving news to Congress in the form of one sentence.


         



      

“The single-sentence Russia bombshell that Attorney General Barr delivered to Congress”https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/438136-the-single-sentence-russia-bombshell-that-attorney-general-barr-delivered


Though it didn’t happen on his watch, Barr told Congress he will investigate how the FBI came to conduct a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, starting in the summer of 2016.


Unfortunately, I could not embed within this article the video in the above Hill link.  Please access the link to view the video.


Oh my; has the “worm turned”?



Image credit: ZeroHedge


Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.


Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.


Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.


Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)


Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities ©2016 Catherine J Frompovich is now available


   
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