Financial sources feeds
The conscientious judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy.
Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed. A campaign over his death was led by his former business partner, hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who wanted massive compensation for Russian assets allegedly swindled from their venture. The campaign led to the passing of the Magnitskiy Act in the United States, providing powers for sanctioning individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and also led to matching sanctions being developed by the EU.
However the European Court of Human Rights has found, in judging a case brought against Russia by the Magnitskiy family, that the very essence of this story is untrue.
They find that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged. The ECHR also found there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed a flight risk so he was rightfully detained. And most crucially of all, they find that there was credible evidence of tax fraud by Magnitskiy and action by the authorities “years” before he started to make counter-accusations of corruption against officials investigating his case.
This judgement utterly explodes the accepted narrative, and does it very succinctly:
The applicants argued that Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had not been based on a reasonable suspicion of a
crime and that the authorities had lacked impartiality as they had actually wanted to force him to
retract his allegations of corruption by State officials. The Government argued that there had been
ample evidence of tax evasion and that Mr Magnitskiy had been a flight risk.
The Court reiterated the general principles on arbitrary detention, which could arise if the
authorities had complied with the letter of the law but had acted with bad faith or deception. It
found no such elements in this case: the enquiry into alleged tax evasion which had led to
Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had begun long before he had complained of fraud by officials. The decision
to arrest him had only been made after investigators had learned that he had previously applied for
a UK visa, had booked tickets to Kyiv, and had not been residing at his registered address.
Furthermore, the evidence against him, including witness testimony, had been enough to satisfy an
objective observer that he might have committed the offence in question. The list of reasons given
by the domestic court to justify his subsequent detention had been specific and sufficiently detailed.
The Court thus rejected the applicants’ complaint about Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest and subsequent
detention as being manifestly ill-founded.
“Manifestly ill founded”.
The mainstream media ran reams of reporting about the Magnitskiy case at the time of the passing of the Magnitskiy Act. I am offering a bottle of Lagavulin to anybody who can find me an honest and fair MSM report of this judgement reflecting that the whole story was built on lies.
Magnitskiy did not uncover corruption then get arrested on false charges of tax evasion. He was arrested on credible charges of tax evasion, and subsequently started alleging corruption. That does not mean his accusations were unfounded. It does however cast his arrest in a very different light.
Where the Court did find in favour of Magnitskiy’s family is that he had been deprived of sufficient medical attention and subject to brutality while in jail. I have no doubt this is true. Conditions in Russian jails are a disgrace, as is the entire Russian criminal justice system. There are few fair trials and conviction rates remain well over 90% – the judges assume that if you are being prosecuted, the state wants you locked up, and they comply. This is one of many areas where the Putin era will be seen in retrospect as lacking in meaningful and needed domestic reform. Sadly what happened to Magnitskiy on remand was not special mistreatment. It is what happens in Russian prisons. The Court also found subsequent Magnitskiy’s conviction for tax evasion was unsafe, but only on the (excellent) grounds that it was wrong to convict him posthumously.
The first use of the Magnitsky Act was to sanction those subject to Browder’s vendetta in his attempts to regain control of vast fortunes in Russian assets. But you may be surprised to hear I do not object to the legislation, which in principle is a good thing – although the chances of Western governments bringing sanctions to bear on the worst human rights abusers are of course minimal. Do not expect it to be used against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Israel any time soon.
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Unlike his adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, Craig's blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate. Subscriptions to keep Craig's blog going are gratefully received.
New images have surfaced on social media earlier this week revealing China's supersonic spy drone rolling through the streets of Beijing during a rehearsal ahead of a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The rehearsal was conducted on Sunday and lasted through Monday morning. Observers across the city were able to take pictures of advanced weaponry and share them on social media platforms, domestically and internationally.
The photos sparked a firestorm of conversation on social media platforms, partly due to an unassembled supersonic DR-8 reconnaissance drone was spotted on the back of a military truck. The drone has never been seen before in public.
The South China Morning Post said the DR-8 would play a vital role if a shooting war breaks out with the US in the South China Sea or Western Pacific.
Rick Joe, a Chinese military analyst and author at The Diplomat, tweeted that the DR-8 has similar characteristics to a Lockheed D-21 supersonic drone that retired in the early 1970s.
The new high speed UAV seems similar to D-21 in some respects, but differences exist:— Rick Joe (@RickJoe_PLART) September 15, 2019
- big delta wing with ?winglets vs D-21 wing and fin config
- likely chin intake vs nose intake on D-21
- landing gear ?present, i.e. likely reusable rather than expendable like D-21 pic.twitter.com/Eo6sX7F3Zp
The DR-8 reconnaissance drone will allow China to coordinate strikes on US vessels with DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, and the DF-26 ballistic missiles.
Zhou Chenming, a Beijing-based military commentator, was cited by the Post as saying the DR-8 has a maximum speed of Mach 3.35 (2,570 mph).
Shanghai-based military commentator Shi Lao told the Post that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been testing the drone extensively, says it can easily reach Guam where a major US military installation resides.
"In fact, this UAV [the DR-8] entered into service a while ago," Shi said.
Another military observer on social media said the drone was "the biggest surprise so far."
The biggest surprise so far, hypersonic UAV. pic.twitter.com/JHxIJdhKFf— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 14, 2019
Also spotted in the rehearsal was China's hypersonic DF-17 missile, which can penetrate American missile defense networks through evasive maneuvering while traveling between Mach 5 (3,836 mph) and Mach 10 (7,672 mph).
Zhijun Cai, deputy director of the military parade leading group office, told local media that the weapons in the parade are all active and deployed with the PLA.
A previously undisclosed main battle tank of the PLA that entered service last year was also spotted.
"There will be some exciting new weaponry on show at the parade this year," Zhou said.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the celebrations in Tiananmen Square on October 1, which will showcase how China, the rising power of the world, is ready for a fight with the US.
Following a ban on virtually all semi-automatic firearms, New Zealanders face 5 years in jail if they refuse to hand them in.
A France 24 report on the government’s new buyback scheme showed a line of gun owners wilfully giving up their guns in response to the Christchurch massacre earlier this year.
This despite the fact that the shooter himself said in his own manifesto that provoking mass gunfiscation was one of his intended goals. Mission accomplished.
Since the buyback scheme began, 19,000 firearms have been handed in. Most of the guns seen being handed in looked like ordinary rifles, not AR-15s.
Pay Attention America!— Amy Mek (@AmyMek) September 17, 2019
Six months after Christchurch massacre, a farewell to firearms in New Zealand
If New Zealanders fail to turn in their banned weapons by Dec. 20, they could face 5yrs in prison.
This is gun confiscation and confiscation is what Democrats want in America! pic.twitter.com/CnYUonxMB5
Inspector Terry Van Dillen said he “accepted” that some people would be emotional giving up their guns due to them having been handed down by families for generations.
I’m sure any potential future mass shooters are gleefully handing in their firearms to police as I write this.
New Zealand’s gang members even publicly announced they would refuse to hand in any of the “banned” firearms.
Disarming responsible people and making them easier targets for actual criminals.
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By now, most people have accepted that climate change is real, and that it is happening. What we can't all agree on though, is what the main cause is. As Statista's Martin Armstrong notes, close to an absolute majority of the world's scientists are adamant that we as humans are the main factor behind the speed and extent to which our climate is changing.
When though, like YouGov, you ask the people what they think, the picture becomes a bit cloudier.
You will find more infographics at Statista
As this infographic shows, of the countries surveyed, India has the largest share of people that think human activity is mainly responsible for climate change (71 percent).
At the other end of the scale however, only 35 percent of respondents in Norway and Saudi Arabia believe we should take the lion's share of the responsibility. In Norway, the most widely held belief is that while human activity is partly responsible, there are other factors which should be taken into account (48 percent).
When it comes to outright climate change deniers, the survey suggests that the USA harbors the largest share. There, 6 percent say the climate is not changing, and 9 percent say it is changing but not at all due to humans.
The United States and Russia have quite the bumpy relationship. Talk of war between the two powerful countries isn’t anything new, and anyone who is paying attention knows that such a war would be devastating for much of the world.
Two recent research projects show just how bad things would be if the US and Russia unleashed their nuclear arsenals on each other.
A war between the US and Russia would cause a global nuclear winter.
Several months ago, researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research ran a simulation to see what a nuclear war between the US and Russia would do, and the findings were not pretty: Such a war would plunge the planet into a nuclear winter, with clouds of soot and smoke covering the planet. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, found that the nuclear detonations would inject about 147 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. That soot would then spread around the stratosphere, blanketing the Earth in darkness.
Not only would explosions, fires, and radiation exposure kill millions in targeted cities, but the resulting nuclear winter – which could last many years- would drastically alter the Earth’s climate. The growing season would be slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas, and death by famine would threaten nearly all of the Earth’s 7.7 billion people.
According to the model, the soot would not visibly clear for around seven years. Temperatures would drop by an average of 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit) across the globe, the researchers wrote, and it would take around three years for surface light to return to 40 percent of its pre-attack level.
More than 90 million immediate casualties would result.
Researchers at Princeton University created a simulation to see just how bad a nuclear war between the US and Russia would be for humanity, and the picture they paint is terrifying. The team used the Pentagon’s own plans (which were recently leaked) to “highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans,” a press release states.
The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years as the United States and Russia have abandoned long-standing nuclear arms control treaties, started to develop new kinds of nuclear weapons and expanded the circumstances in which they might use nuclear weapons. (source)
Researchers at Princeton’s Science and Global Security Lab created this video, which shows just how widespread the devastation from a nuclear war would be.
Does that simulation remind anyone else of the 1983 movie War Games? In that film, a young hacker accidentally accesses a US military supercomputer system called War Operation Plan Response (WOPR). Believing it is a video game, the hacker gets WOPR to run a nuclear war simulation – and the computer nearly starts World War III.
At the end of the movie, the computer tells Professor Falken, who is attempting to stop the WOPR from launching war, that nuclear war is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.”
How many nuclear weapons are there?
Nine countries together possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons. The US and Russia have the most (6185 and 6500, respectively).
According to ICAN, “The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.”
If all of the nuclear weapons in the world were detonated at once, what would happen? The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell attempts to demonstrate the aftermath in this video.
Is nuclear war between the US and Russia inevitable?
Such a war would be suicide for both countries, so why either would resort to such a thing baffles the mind. Earlier today, CNBC reported that Russia is conducting massive military drills with China, India, and Pakistan, in what experts say could be Moscow “sending a powerful message to the West.” Some sources report that tensions between the US and Russia are escalating to “new Cold War” levels. Others believe that the ousting of war hawk John Bolton might be a sign of the potential for a Russia-China-US alliance.
Earlier on Monday morning, we detailed how the embattled US drugmaker Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a long-anticipated move aimed at shielding the company and its owners, the Sackler family, from financial ruin as they shoulder the brunt of the blame for igniting the opioid crisis with their aggressive marketing tactics of OxyContin.
Now we're starting to hear additional reports, specifically in recent filings, that the bust of Purdue and other big pharmaceuticals, thanks to nearly 2,000 litigants, has resulted in at least five mutual-fund companies reporting their returns have been affected after they made risky bets in pharmaceutical companies with opioid-related businesses.
Nick Mazing, the research director at investment research platform Sentieo Inc., told The Wall Street Journal that the number of times companies had mentioned opioids in their annual shareholder reports is up 300% in last eight years.
Walmart Inc., which operates pharmacies across the country, was forced to start disclosing opioid-related litigation as a risk in early 2018, and insurance company The Travelers Companies, Inc. began to disclose opioid-related litigation earlier this year.
Mazing said 55 companies mentioned opioids in their annual shareholder reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a significant risk factor. This is up from 41 last year and 37 in 2017.
At a time when some 130 Americans are dying every day from opioid-related overdoses, drugmakers like Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt, and Endo International are being sued by thousands of municipalities across the country and even individual states.
Mutal funds are worried that their investments in these drugmakers could be severely impacted, as those companies are now paying hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, to settle with litigants. In some cases, like Purdue, these companies are filing for bankruptcy.
Miller Value Partners LLC said its Miller Opportunity Trust fund had lousy performance in the last six months, mainly because it had too much exposure to Endo and Teva, two companies that have been cited as significant contributors in the opioid crisis.
"We considered the prospective opioid liabilities but judged them manageable," Miller Value said in its semiannual report for the period ending June 30. "We didn't anticipate just how myopically focused the market would become on this point, which was our main error."
Ohio National Fund said it cut Teva from a foreign-stock portfolio because the shares have been in a bear market for more than one year after a settlement of an opioid-related lawsuit.
Penn Series Funds Inc., an affiliate of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., said the 91% crash in Teva's stock in the last 50 months has absolutely "decimated" the company's midcap value fund.
American Funds Insurance Series, which is affiliated with Capital Research & Management Co., and Franklin Templeton Investments were others who saw depressed returns thanks to their exposure to opioid-related pharmaceutical companies.
With President Trump’s long overdue firing of John Bolton on September 10th, a window into the battle between neocon zombies infesting the White House and Donald Trump was made visible once more. As much as people enjoy oversimplifying American politics- clumping all “right wing politicians” together as ideological war mongers, the reality as showcased again this week, is that things are more nuanced and that President Trump is not just another neocon.
To begin to appreciate this fight, it is useful to conduct a short survey of the 3 weeks of fanatical neocon maneuvers led by Bolton, Defense Secretary Esper, Sen. Marco Rubio, and VP Pence. These maneuvers were instigated by two “unforgivable sins” conducted by Trump when the latter: 1) stated his wish that Russia be re-introduced to the G7 on August 21 stating “I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent”, and 2) his defense of President Xi Jinping as “a great leader” who must resolve the Hong Kong chaos without American interference. These initiatives had to come undone at all costs.
Rubio, Esper, Pence and Bolton Push For War
First, neocon war hawk Marco Rubio ranted at length in the Washington Post calling for the US government to intervene into the Hong Kong mess which itself has been stirred up by American intelligence outfits like the CIA-affiliated National Endowment for Democracy.
In his September 3 editorial, Rubio stated “the administration should make clear that the United States can respond flexibly and robustly in Hong Kong” and called for the Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act co-sponsored by Rubio, Ben Cartin (Democrat), James Risch (Republican), and Robert Menendez (Democrat). The act, if passed would force the US government to fully support the Hong Kong color revolutionaries while sanctioning all
Chinese officials who “have undermined the city’s autonomy”.
Just before Rubio’s belligerent words went public, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper had already exclaimed publically that America had to confront China directly in support of US allies in the Asia-Pacific over territorial issues and containment of China’s growth. Esper shocked many Asian and western statesmen alike when he stated that there is a “coming shift” from “low intensity conflict… to high intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China”.
In this surreal relay race to Armageddon, Vice-President Mike Pence next took the baton during his September 2 speech in Warsaw, Poland alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda. It was here that Pence here took the opportunity to demonize Russia when he said “with its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world, now is the time for us to remain vigilant about the intentions and the actions taken by Russia.” Pence went further to state without any evidence that “Russian forces still illegally occupy large parts of Georgia and Ukraine.”
Pence was joined in Poland by ex-US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who ended his tour of four former Soviet nations begun a week earlier (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Poland). Beginning his tour on August 26 in Kiev, Bolton took the opportunity to attack Ukraine’s growing relationship with China which is on the verge of finalizing a deal to purchase the beleaguered Ukrainian aerospace giant Motor Sich. Ever since the Russian sanctions began, the Ukrainian company has lost over 40% of its markets with the Chinese providing the only chance for its salvation. Exhibiting his usual flare for hypocrisy, Bolton attacked China saying: “The Chinese are not afraid to use corruption – or to put it bluntly, bribes – to get the decisions they want”, calling for Ukraine to reject the deal.
The New Silk Road: A Nightmare for all Neocons
It is important to note that Ukraine signed an action plan to join the Chinese-led Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road already 18 months ago with recent plans to accelerate that cooperation. Ever since the BRI and Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union increasingly began merging into a unified program, western NATO-philes have realized that their years of hard work to de-rail a pro-Eurasian alliance in Ukraine could easily come undone.
Having made a mess of Ukraine, Bolton then headed to Belarus, and Moldova pushing an anti-Russian line, ending his trip in Poland where he solidified the location for the additional American 1000 troops to be added to the 4500 US troops already operating in the nation- many of whom operate America’s anti-Russian ABM system.
The ABM system which has been built up around Russia’s southern perimeter and which Poland plays a key role, is part of a larger agenda identified by the Russian government as “Full Spectrum Dominance” and seeks a unipolar nuclear first strike monopoly. Poland’s only hope to avoid being caught in the middle of a nuclear exchange between NATO and Russia is to break free of this program and accept China’s offers to join the BRI which experts have recently stated would make Poland “The Buckle of the Belt and Road”.
It was not lost on Bolton and Pence that Poland is also a key member of the 17+1 Central and Eastern European nations + China group which has deeply tied itself to the BRI while Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union- making their allegiance to the western technocracy more fragile than some would like to admit.
Breaking Free of the Self-Destructive Psychology of Empire
When objectively assessing the psychological state of the western oligarchy at this particular moment in history, it must be concluded that certain forces operating on behalf of the City of London and Wall Street would go to any length– not excluding nuclear war- in defense of their failing system. There is thus no solution to this dark chapter of the human experience unless:
The bankruptcy of the financial system now sitting atop a $800 trillion derivatives bubble is fully acknowledged such that a serious discussion centered on bankruptcy re-organization can finally occur.
That the neocons and other deep state operatives be flushed from power- following Bolton into the trash bin of history.
That the need for a new system premised upon cooperation and long term development is adopted post-haste. This new system would have to contain certain non-negotiable features such as nationally-guided capital controls to prevent speculative fluctuations of currencies and other vital resources, the separation of investment banking from normal commercial banking functions as was done under the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act (repealed in 1999 in the USA), and long term credit generation for major infrastructure projects.
The BRI as the Foundation for a New System
Russia, China and India are increasingly becoming the foundation for a new multipolar world order founded upon the respect for sovereign nations and improvement of conditions of life of the people driven by Putin’s Far East/Arctic vision and China’s New Silk Road which are winning over dozens of nations to a new paradigm of political economy.
For all of his problems, Donald Trump has maintained a generally consistent (albeit flawed) intention to re-build American industry and infrastructure after decades of post-industrial decay and combat the Deep State which has worked on overtime to overthrow his presidency. On top of this, he has seriously worked to keep the nation out of foreign entanglements while avoiding any new wars (a first for any president in over 50 years). Most importantly, he has attempted repeatedly to create positive relations with Russia and China.
Whether the neo-cons infesting the US administration successfully subvert this potential for a new paradigm which would be unstoppable under a Russia-China-India-USA alliance, or not remains an open question, but Trump’s firing of Bolton will hopefully represent a new purge of war mongering sociopaths while opening the door to a new foreign policy doctrine.
The global automotive industry has been nothing short of a full fledged wreck over the last 12 to 18 months, with major markets like China, Europe and the U.S. all slipping as overextended consumers struggle to find the means necessary to purchase vehicles - even with interest rates worldwide near all time lows.
And according to S&P, it's going to get far worse before it gets better.
S&P predicts that global light vehicle sales will fall by 2%-3% in 2019 and, to add insult to injury, there will be "no growth" throughout 2020 and 2021.
In a new research note out Tuesday, S&P says that sales in China will decline by 7%-9% this year and that U.S. sales will see a 3% decline. It also predicts a 2% drop for European sales for 2019.
The note's base case assumptions for 2020 and 2021 are 0% to 1% growth in global light vehicle sales. S&P also expects weakness in "all market regions except China, which may see a modest rebound, not before 2021".
S&P believes that manufacturers will grapple with margin erosion in the mass market segment and will struggle to pass through increased costs of connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving.
Days ago, we just noted that the world's biggest auto market, China, plunged deeper into recession, with the country's China Passenger Car Association releasing preliminary data for August that in no way indicates that the trend could be slowing.
The CPCA reported last week that sales of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles in August fell 9.9% to 1.59 million units.
It has been the industry's largest downturn in three decades. China has tried to roll out several stimulus measures to help the industry, including loosening car purchase restrictions, but they have done little to encourage consumption thus far.
Top Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motor Co. saw its first half profit lower by an astounding 59% and SAIC Motor Corp., China's biggest automaker, also cut its sales forecast recently and predicted its first annual sales decline in at least 14 years. Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. saw sales fall 19% in August.
U.S. auto sales have followed suit and are expected to continue to fall (formerly 2.2%, now 3%) in the back half of 2019. General Motors has found itself dealing with its first UAW strike in 12 years and now, the warning bells are also starting to be audible from Mexico. We noted this week that Mexico's total export volume for August was crushed 12.7%.
It marks a sharp drop for one of the biggest exporters of vehicles in the world, according to new data from FreightWaves. Companies like Ford, Honda, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, GM, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Audi all have manufacturing plants in Mexico.
In late June, a college student named Matty Roberts created a Facebook event called “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop Us All,” after watching a Netflix documentary about the secret military base.
For some unknown reason, the event went viral and quickly gathered millions of followers, who spent half of the summer making jokes and sharing memes about invading Area 51. Roberts never actually had any intentions of risking his life or freedom to enter the top-secret facility and was forced to clarify that the whole thing was just a joke after multiple warnings from various government agencies.
Still, having the captive audience of millions of people on an event page is an opportunity that would be foolish to pass up, so Roberts decided to plan a festival, called Alienstock, in a nearby town instead.
The event was scheduled to take place on September 20th—just a few days from now.
Roberts partnered with a number of other people and organizations to help make the event a success, including a nearby hotel, the Little A’Le’Inn.
Unfortunately, it seems that some of the organizers have had differing opinions on the details of the event and have now split and gone their separate ways.
Initially, the festival was scheduled to take place in Rachel, the town closest to Area 51, but there were some clear indications that the local community was less than happy about the idea. Most notably, a warning posted on Rachel’s town website said that the scene “could get ugly” if incoming curiosity seekers were to trespass on the property of local residents.
After these issues began to arise, the team had a difference of perspective about how to go about handling it. Roberts wanted to move the event to a safer location in Las Vegas, which has proper facilities for the 8,000 people expected to attend, while the owners of the Little A’Le’Inn wanted to keep the event at their location, insisting that they would be able to handle a large crowd.
A statement on the Alienstock website reads:
“Due to the lack of infrastructure, planning, and risk management, along with concerns raised for the safety of the expected 10,000+ attendees, we decided to transition Alienstock away from the Rachel festival towards a safer alternative. We are officially disconnecting from the Little A’LE’INN, Rachel NV, and AlienStock’s affiliation with them.
We will no longer offer our logo, social media, website or Matty Roberts likeness or scheduled appearance. In short, the relationship has ended permanently. AlienStock will be moving to a safe, clean secure area in Downtown Las Vegas as an alternative. We are not interested in, nor will we tolerate any involvement in a FYREFEST 2.0. We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”
Soon after, the notice on the homepage of Rachel’s website clarified that Alienstock had been moved to Las Vegas because it was not properly organized. The notice suggested that curiosity seekers should avoid Rachel entirely, however, other organizers are insisting that an event will still take place at the original location in Rachel. They also claim that local residents are happy to have the visitors.
In a statement sent to the Mind Unleashed, the team representing the Little A’Le’Inn said:
“Amidst false accusations and rumors, the residents of Rachel Nevada are excited to announce that Alienstock is, in fact, still happening at the Little A’Le’Inn on September 19 – 22nd. With thousands slated to attend and artists traveling in from all over the country, this is sure to be a once-in-this-universe experience.”
“Alienstock has been thoroughly planned, approved, and locally supported. All permits, permissions, and down-payments have been made and correctly filed,” the statement continued.
Earlier this week, two men were arrested near Area 51 while attempting to capture footage of the facility. The men were reportedly two Dutch YouTubers, who flew all the way from the Netherlands for the “Storm Area 51” gathering.
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A California lawmaker trying to weaken a landmark data privacy law is married to a top executive at Amazon's Ring home surveillance company, according to a review of state ethics documents conducted by Politico.
Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin's husband, Jon Irwin, is chief operating officer for Santa Monica-based Ring, Inc., a home security and video doorbell startup that Amazon acquired last year for about $1 billion, state ethics disclosures show.
Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California's groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1. -Politico
The California Consumer Privacy Act (AB 873) will give Californians the right to formally request that companies disclose personal data collected about them, ask them not to sell it, and instruct them to delete it. The legislation - the first of its kind in the country - will likely set the precedent for US data privacy alongside new EU regulations.
One of the proposals that Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) carried this year was blasted by consumer-privacy groups as an attempt to gut the law by exempting more kinds of data from the new requirements. In an early version of the bill, the lawmaker also proposed striking from the act a provision requiring companies to disclose or delete data associated with "households" upon request, a change likely to have eased the regulatory burden on smart-device companies like Ring. -Politico
"We can talk about this later," Jacqui Irwin told Politico - deflecting when asked about the potential conflict outside her office last week, adding "It's a little bit offensive there."
It should be noted that the third-term Assemblywoman has disclosed her husband's employment on her publicly available statements of economic interest, while the state's Fair Political Practices Commission told Politico that it had not received or investigated any conflict-of-interest complaints about Irwin.
Irwin, meanwhile, told Politico that questioning herr role in data-privacy legislation to be offensive in light of her professional background as the co-chair of a national cybersecurity task force.
In a statement sent to POLITICO, Irwin highlighted her background and stressed that her aim since the law was hastily passed last year has been to find "reasonable compromise."
"My role in the privacy debate in the Legislature is focused on bringing people together and solving the practical issues posed to us as policy makers and is independent of any job or role my husband may have," she said. "My education and professional background as a systems engineer provides me distinct qualifications in the Legislature to weigh in on matters related to technology." -Politico
That said, "Voting records show that Irwin has participated in matters that would appear to affect her spouse's firm or parent company," according to Politico, which notes that she "voted on the Assembly floor in favor of a proposal from Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) aimed at regulating Amazon's dealings with California vendors. (Amazon has dropped its opposition to the proposal.)," and was "one of just six lawmakers out of 80 to vote against the so-called Alexa bill by Republican Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) that would have prohibited smart speaker devices installed in homes, such as Amazon's Alexa, to retain or sell recorded conversations without a customer's consent, among other restrictions. Cunningham pulled that bill from a Senate committee and plans to move it again next year."
According to the report, Irwin has been a key player in negotiations over the California Consumer Privacy Act - arguing that certain types of data, such as store security-camera footage, is an example of information which would be too burdensome and risky for businesses to be required to include in consumer data-deletion requests.
The act currently has a broad definition of "personal information," which includes names, addresses, geolocation information, device IDs and biometric data. As Politico notes, "Privacy experts say that would include feeds from Ring's video doorbells, some of which are being shared with law enforcement — with consumer consent — in hundreds of communities nationwide."
"Unquestionably when you walk up to that Ring device, it’s capturing personal information," said Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Lee Tien. "This is why a company like Ring would be concerned about the obligations imposed on them by CCPA."
The act will undoubtedly raise costs and reduce revenues for major companies which collect, analyze and sell customer information for the purposes of targeted advertising. In fact, Amazon noted in a SEC filing earlier this year that "government regulation is evolving," and that certain changes could slow growth and increase costs.
In order to avoid this, trade groups representing tech companies - including Amazon - have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for proposed language, exemptions and tweaks to AB 873.
Besides being represented by TechNet and the Internet Association, Amazon alone spent $186,000 on lobbying the state Capitol in the first half of the year, state records show. The company listed AB 873 and AB 1395 among the bills it influenced.
"Look, if your spouse has a financial interest in a company and you are voting on or are proposing legislation that would affect that company, I think there is an enormously good argument to be made that it could be a conflict of interest under the Political Reform Act," said Loyola Law School ethics and campaign-finance expert, Jessica Levinson.
"It’s both sides that give me pause," she added, saying of Irwin and her husband: "It’s that she’s so seemingly aggressive on the issue in a way that would benefit his company, and he is so high up in the company."
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"We’re going to follow the facts wherever they lead, whether it’s across desks here or at any other bank or upwards into the financial institution,” Benczkowski said.
"The defendants and others allegedly engaged in a massive, multiyear scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts and defraud market participants," said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. "These charges should leave no doubt that the Department is committed to prosecuting those who undermine the investing public’s trust in the integrity of our commodities markets."
"Smith, Nowak, Jordan, and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in a complex scheme to trade precious metals in a way that negatively affected the natural balance of supply-and-demand," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office. "Not only did their alleged behavior affect the markets for precious metals, but also correlated markets and the clients of the bank they represented. For as long as we continue to see this type of illegal activity in the marketplace, we’ll remain dedicated to investigating and bringing to justice those who perpetrate these crimes."
"While at JPMorgan I was instructed by supervisors and more senior traders to trade in a certain fashion, namely to place orders that I intended to cancel before execution," said one former trader John Edmonds during an October 2018 hearing after pleading guilty to commodities fraud and conspiracy, BBG reports.
"I was instructed that if a client wished to sell futures I should simultaneously place both bids and offers with the intent of canceling the bids prior to execution," Edmonds said during his plea hearing.Edmonds said the purpose was to falsely transmit liquidity and price information in order to deceive other market participants about the supply and demand so they would trade against the orders that JPMorgan wanted to execute."We created market activity which artificially drove the sale price up and induced other market participants to purchase at an inflated price," he said. Edmonds entered into a cooperation agreement with the CFTC in July.
Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programmes being run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s secret communication headquarters, GCHQ.He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars”.Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.“An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.” -The Guardian
- Snowden secretly married his partner, Lindsay Mills, two years ago in a Russian courthouse. They met when he was 22 (14 years ago) on the internet site "Hot or Not," where he rated her a 10 out of 10 and she rated him a (generous) eight.
- He freely moves around Moscow, riding the metro, visiting art galleries or the ballet, and meeting with friends in cafes and restaurants.
- The 36-year-old lives in a two-bedroom flat on the outskirts of Moscow, and derives most of his income (until now) from speaking fees - mainly to students, civil rights activists and others abroad via video chat.
- Snowden is an "indoor cat by choice," who is "happiest sitting at his computer late into the night, communicating with campaigners and supporters."
- At a training school for spies, Snowden was nicknamed "the Count" after the Sesame Street character.
Meeting Edward Snwoden is pretty much exactly how children imagine the grand game of espionage is played.But then, on Monday, there he was, standing in our room on the first floor of the Hotel Metropol, as pale and boyish-looking as the was when the world first saw him in June 2013. For the last six years, he has been living in Russian exile. The U.S. has considered him to be an enemy of the state, right up there with Julian Assange, ever since he revealed, with the help of journalists, the full scope of the surveillance system operated by the National Security Agency (NSA). For quite some time, though, he remained silent about how he smuggled the secrets out of the country and what his personal motivations were. -Spiegel Online
(Reuters) - The Atlanta cyber attack has had a more serious impact on the city’s ability to deliver basic services than previously understood, a city official said at a public meeting on Wednesday, as she proposed an additional $9.5 million to help pay for recovery costs.
According to the company's latest Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering (AML) report, which provides an overview of the major cryptocurrency thefts, scams, and fraud worldwide, criminals and fraudsters netted approximately $4.26 billion for the first six months of the year. To put this in perspective, cryptocurrency thefts reached $1.2 billion in the first three months of 2019 and $1.7 billion for the entire 2018.
Beginning in the late 1970s, China reversed the Maoist economic development strategy and, by the early 1980s, had committed itself to a policy of being more open to the outside world and widening foreign economic relations and trade. The opening up policy led to the reorganization and decentralization of foreign trade institutions, the adoption of a legal framework to facilitate foreign economic relations and trade, direct foreign investment, the creation of special economic zones, the rapid expansion of foreign trade, the importation of foreign technology and management methods, involvement in international financial markets, and participation in international foreign economic organizations. These changes not only benefited the Chinese economy but also integrated China into the world economy. In 1979 Chinese trade totaled US$27.7 billion - 6 percent of China's GNP but only 0.7 percent of total world trade. In 1985 Chinese foreign trade rose to US$70.8 billion, representing 20 percent of China's GNP and 2 percent of total world trade and putting China sixteenth in world trade rankings.
In 2018, Asia was one of the leading regions in terms of growth of blockchain jobs, cryptocurrency usage, innovation, and general openness. Despite some early woes with China banning ICOs, China still produces nearly 70% of crypto mining activity. Headquartered in Singapore, BiKi.com is a global cryptocurrency exchange ranked Top 20 on CoinMarketCap. BiKi.com provides a digital assets platform for trading more than 150 cryptocurrencies and 220 trading pairs. Since its official opening in August 2018, BiKi.com is considered one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with an accumulated 1.5 million registered users, 130,000 daily active users, over 2000 community partners and 200,000 community members in under a year. BiKi’s competitive advantages include helping projects with marketing, influencers, brand awareness, and community growth in the Chinese markets and abroad. With a global approach, BiKi also helps Chinese companies go global and international companies penetrate Chinese markets.
China has around two million people policing public opinion online, according to a state media report that sheds light on the country's secretive internet surveillance operations. Dubbed "public opinion analysts," they work for the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda department, major Chinese news websites and commercial corporations, according to The Beijing News.
Clockwork-Jack Ma was forcibly removed from his position, stripped of his shareholdings (transferred to”five unnamed individuals”with the same address),and will likely be jailed or”disappeared”within the next year.This is how xi and wang treat any chinese that become too powerful https://twitter.com/pdchina/status/1171411752996810752 …
The program is presenting users with real-life situations (in a virtual world) where they need to make difficult decisions or challenging choices about certain aspects of their lives or their surroundings. The Virtual Rehab solution is used as a preventative tool from relapsing back into addiction (for example). Using real-life virtual simulation, users are subjected heads-on with their cravings. Leveraging cognitive behavior and exposure therapy, users are presented with stimuli (i.e. cues or triggers), such as an alcohol bottle or a drug syringe or similar stimuli, where a physician, a psychologist, or a therapist, can monitor the patients’ behavior and decision-making accordingly. Different from one-on-one or group therapy sessions, where a patient may not be comfortable sharing all his/her information since they are afraid of repercussions, the Virtual Rehab solution allows and forces a patient into making certain decisions and confronting their cravings accordingly. Therefore, what may not be realized within a traditional therapy session, can be observed and monitored as part of the virtual simulation. Using Virtual Rehab’s patented artificial intelligence solution, throughout the virtual simulation, and through the use of certain APIs, the solution gathers data relevant to the decisions being made by the user along with their actions and their reactions to the scenarios they are subjected to. In addition, the solution collects biometrics (heart rate, blood pressure, and biodermal activity) as well as eye-tracking activity, which are leveraged to detect the actual impact that the virtual simulation has on the patient.
Several former students at schools operated by Mr. Robinson, a former amateur boxer, said in interviews — some dating back to the 1990s — that he had physically harmed them while disciplining them, and that they remained psychologically damaged.
Stablecoins are a new type of cryptocurrency that often have their value pegged to another asset. These coins can be pegged to fiat currencies such as the United States dollar, other cryptocurrencies, precious metals or a combination of the three. Fiat seems to be the most popular option in the marketplace right now, meaning one unit of a stablecoin equals $1. Stablecoins are designed to tackle the inherent volatility seen in cryptocurrency prices. They are normally collateralized, meaning that the total number of stablecoins in circulation is backed by assets held in reserve. Put simply, if there are 500,000 USD-pegged coins in circulation, there should be at least $500,000 sitting in a bank. With bitcoin suffering abrupt crashes and sudden gains, advocates believe stablecoins help eliminate doubt about conversion rates — making cryptocurrencies more practical for buying goods and services. Examples of the best-known stablecoins include tether (USDT), trueUSD (TUSD), gemini dollar (GUSD), and USD coin by Circle and Coinbase (USDC). Demand for such coins has been growing. In December, Cointelegraph reported claims that four major stablecoins had clocked up $5 billion in on-chain transactions within just three months — enjoying a 1,032% surge in November compared with two months earlier.
Total outstanding U.S. consumer loans hit a record last year, driven by digital-first lending options. Financial technology, or fintech, companies now make up 38 percent of the personal loan market — up from just 5 percent five years ago, according to new data from TransUnion. “The rapid growth in consumer loans sits squarely on the shoulders of fintechs,” says Jason Laky, senior vice president and leader of TransUnion’s consumer lending line of business.
Brand power is the main reason most companies chose Salesforce.com over competitors with better and less expensive CRM solutions, and Silvina and I like to make TransparentBusiness similarly synonymous with the category of Business Transparency, globally. The value of some brands goes into tens of billions of dollars. We are far from getting into those numbers, needless to say, but we have already made important first steps in making TransparentBusiness brand valuable. Anyone who googles us will find many mentions of our company, in publications around the world. Quite a few executives already tell us, “yes, of course I’ve heard of TransparentBusiness”, which is a big difference from the days where we had to start every meeting by explaining who we are and what we do. As we are just in our second round of financing, we seek the most cost-effective ways to boost value of our brand. Our objective is to assure that every $100K invested into brand development would increase the brand value of TransparentBusiness by at least a million dollars. Most of this work falls on Silvina’s shoulders. As another step in this direction, Silvina gave an interview to EFE, the world’s forth largest wire service. The report was distributed by EFE this past Saturday and has already been published in a number of publications internationally, including Hoy, La Vanguardia, El Confidencial and El Diario. More placements are expected throughout this week.
Mr. Sack, 39 years old, is an economist who runs the markets group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The group runs the Fed's trading, making it the bridge between the marble corridors of the Federal Reserve in Washington and the bustling trading floors of Wall Street.The center of life in the markets group is a glass-enclosed conference room situated next to a small cluster of trading desks on the ninth floor of the New York Fed. It overflows with people for a daily 9:20 a.m. meeting run by Mr. Sack. A few stray pictures of Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, still hang on pillars nearby.The markets group grew enormously during the crisis, from about 225 employees to 400 people who monitor the markets for the Fed, manage its portfolio and run the many new trading programs it has started. The Fed holds more than 20,000 individual securities.
Williams, who during his San Francisco Fed days often mentioned his reluctance to pay too much attention to short-term swings in the markets, came under fire on July 18 after saying in a speech that central banks should act quickly “at the first sign of economic distress.”With the remarks coming just a day before Fed officials entered a quiet period prior to their July 30-31 policy meeting, traders immediately took his comments to mean a more-aggressive rate cut was in store. The New York Fed issued a rare clarification walking back his comments later that day, causing another sharp move in the opposite direction.
Potter, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from University of Wisconsin-Madison, started at the New York Fed in 1998. As head of the markets desk, he oversaw the end of the Fed’s massive bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, as well as the unwind that began in October 2017.Potter was also responsible for briefing policy makers on the state of financial markets at the Fed’s rate-setting meetings. He met with Powell about three weeks after he was relieved of his duties, according to the chairman’s calendar. A Fed spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the meeting or what was discussed.Dzina, a former Army officer, began his career at the Fed as a bank examiner in 1991 before working his way up the ranks. In addition to leading the financial services group, he also managed a key network central to the U.S. payments system called Fedwire. He’s been described in conversations with those who know him as a steady hand who projected confidence and a team-first attitude. His oft-repeated credo was, “Mission First, People Always.”
Williams told Potter of the decision over the phone while the latter was out of town and was scheduled to travel to Hong Kong for a speech on regulatory reform, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation, who aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Employees put questions to Williams at a town hall-style meeting in June, two weeks after the departures, expressing their frustration over the message Williams seemed to be sending, according to people familiar with the matter. Williams responded by talking about the need for a cohesive vision among the bank’s top executives, without elaborating on the specifics of the decision.
On Wednesday, the Fed reduced its benchmark interest rate for the first time in over a decade and signaled more cuts may be in store later this year. New York Fed staffers have also been charged with looking into a new repurchase-agreement facility to provide liquidity to the banking system as cash becomes increasingly scarce. No less important are efforts to modernize Fedwire, which suffered a rare outage this year.
"The magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the US," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.
"It takes a lot more pounds to buy an American property than it did a few years ago," said John Mike, an agent at RE/MAX Prestige Realty in Royal Palm Beach.
Just because something is ‘different’ doesn’t make it ‘better’ – just because something is not mainstream doesn’t make it ‘honest.’ We all here agree that mainstream investing sucks, but do we use the same rational methodology when evaluating alternatives? Crypto has proven this is not the case. Investors lost their minds and did all the things they have been told not to do over the years.
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In keeping with their spectacular reputation of violating privacy and rigging elections, Facebook has said that it removed "hundreds of accounts" from Facebook and Instagram that were used to influence elections in Africa, according to CNN. Only it wasn't Russia who was behind this latest intervention, but Israel.
- From CNBC June 2019:
- Passive investments control about 60% of the equity assets, while quantitative funds -- those relying on trend-following models instead of fundamental research -- now account for 20% of the market share, according to estimates from J.P. Morgan.
- Passive funds have attracted $39 billion of inflows so far this year, whereas active funds lost a whopping $90 billion in 2019, the bank said.
“This is a country that produced an atom bomb under the stress of wartime in three years from the day we decided to do it,” he told a congressional panel last year.“This is a country that can do anything we need to do that physics allows. We just need to get on with it.”