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|The Early Edition: January 22, 2019|
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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani yesterday rowed back on the timeline he had suggested a day earlier regarding the completion of negotiations with Russian officials about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, describing his earlier comments as “hypothetical.” A day earlier, Giuliani had made comments to the New York Times and in a series of T.V. interviews, in which he quoted President Trump telling him the negotiations over the skyscraper continued through “the day I won,” Maggie Haberman reports at the New York Times.
“So anytime during that period they could’ve talked about it … but the President’s recollection of it is that the – the thing had petered out quite a bit,” Giuliani had said of the Trump Tower project Sunday, adding that “they sent a letter of intent in … they didn’t even know where to send it they knew so little about it … and then they abandoned the project … and that’s about as much as he can remember of it.” Pamela Brown, Marshall Cohen and Eli Watkins report at CNN.
Giuliani yesterday aimed to clarify the position, telling reporters “my recent statements about discussions during the 2016 campaign between Michael Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump about a potential Trump Moscow ‘project’ were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the president.” The president’s attorney added: “my comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions … the point is that the proposal was in the earliest stage and did not advance beyond a free non-binding letter of intent,” Quint Forgey reports at POLITICO.
Russian pop star Emin Agalarov said yesterday that he has been forced to cancel his tour of the U.S. and Canada “due to circumstances beyond [his] control.” Aglarov is said to have helped arrange the June 2016 Trump Tower meting that involved president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Russian government lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and is now seen as a figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference; Agalarov’s lawyer Scott Balber confirmed in a phone interview yesterday that the cancellation is “most definitely” linked to the Mueller probe, Anna Schecter and Keir Simmons report at NBC.
“I’m skeptical that we can flip a switch when the Mueller report is issued … what could the report contain that is any more damning or fantastical than the things already reported or bandied about?” Matt Lewis asks at The Daily Beast, arguing that nonetheless it is incumbent on Trump’s Department of Justice to release the report in full. “If Trump chooses to stonewall, it would be a big mistake,” Lewis comments.
Following Trump’s claim that he has been “FAR tougher” on Russia than other U.S. presidents, an explainer on five key ways in which Trump has been at odds with his own administration over Russia in the past year is provided by Noah Weiland at the New York Times.
RUSSIA: OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Russia has acknowledged the existence of a cruise missile system that has prompted Washington to say it will withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Force treaty (I.N.F.,) but has denied that the system violates the pact, U.S. officials and N.A.T.O. diplomats said yesterday. U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood earlier yesterday called on Moscow to destroy the missile at the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, describing the Russian weapon as a “potent and direct threat to Europe and Asia,” and adding “unfortunately, the U.S. increasingly finds that Russia cannot be trusted to comply with its arms control obligations and that its coercive and malign actions around the globe have increased tensions,” Reuters reports.
A Russian diplomat has commented that Moscow will not “yield to any ultimatums like to liquidate or to eliminate a missile that doesn’t fall within the range of the treaty protections,”Jessie Hellman reports at the Hill.
The European Union (E.U.) yesterday leveled sanctions on the two most senior officers in Russian military intelligence and identified the two agents accused by the U.K. of carrying out a chemical attack. The E.U. accused the head and deputy head of the G.R.U. intelligence agency – Igor Olegovich Kostyukov and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev – along with the two agents – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – of orchestrating the “possession, transport and use” of the novichok nerve agent used in the English town of Salisbury last March, in a failed attempt to assassinate former intelligence agent and defector Sergei Skripal. AFP reports.
“They are suspected groundlessly,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented in a conference call with reporters, rejecting the E.U.’s decision. “We have still not heard any evidence,” Peskov added, Reuters reports.
Detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan – accused of spying in Russia – was found in possession of classified material when he was arrested in Moscow, his state-appointed lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov told CNN today. Whelan was found on Dec. 28 with “evidence that constitutes state secrets” when he was detained, Zherebenkov told reporters ahead of a pretrial hearing in Moscow, adding that before his arrest, Whelan had been given a thumb drive which he believed contained vacation photographs; Whelan’s bail was denied at the hearing and he remain in Lefortovo detention center in Moscow until at least Feb. 28, Mary Ilyushina and Kara Fox report at CNN.
A car bombing targeting a joint U.S.-Kurdish patrol in Syria yesterday injured a number of fighters from the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force. Islamic State group (I.S.I.S.) claimed responsibility for the attack, which has come just five days after at least 15 people, including four U.S. citizens were killed in a suicide bombing carried out by the insurgent group in the town of Manbij, Vivian Yee and Rukmini Callimachi report at the New York Times.
Yesterday’s attack saw a suicide bomber drive a car laden with explosives into a convoy of U.S. troops and local fighters at a checkpoint in Hasakeh province, I.S.I.S. claimed in a statement carried by the group’s media arm Amaq. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) reported on its website there were no deaths or injuries in the suicide attack; however, U.K.-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attack killed five S.D.F. fighters and injured two U.S. soldiers, Raja Abdulrahim and Nazih Osseiran report at the Wall Street Journal.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 575 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria between Dec. 30 and Jan. 12. [Central Command]
The Taliban have launched a major attack on an Afghan military compound in central Maidan Wardak province, according to officials, with some putting the death toll at more than 100 people. Afghan authorities said the attack started yesterday morning, when a U.S.-made armored Humvee vehicle was driven into a compound at the campus of the National Directorate of Security (N.D.S.) and blown up, Kevin Rawlinson and Akhtar Mohammed Makoii report at the Guardian.
“We took about 65 bodies out of the rubble yesterday,” Deputy Head of the Wardak provincial council Mohammad Sardar Bakhyari announced, while a senior security official speaking on condition of anonymity gave an even higher toll of at least 70 killed. “It is a big loss,” Council Head Akhtar Mohammad Tahiri commented, adding “the N.D.S. forces are better trained and equipped than the Afghan police and army soldiers who have been dying in record numbers.” AFP reports.
The Taliban met U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar yesterday, the militant group announced, days after threatening to pull out of Afghan peace talks and just hours after the deadly attack in Wardak. “Talks between Taliban leaders and U.S. officials have started today in Qatar,” Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement, Reuters reports.
An Israeli soldier fatally shot a Palestinian man who tried to stab a fellow soldier in the occupied West Bank yesterday, according to the Israel Defense Force (I.D.F.). “The assailant arrived by vehicle from the city of Nablus, exited the vehicle and attempted to stab an I.D.F. soldier who was at a nearby check post … another soldier responded by firing towards the terrorist and neutralised him,” the I.D.F. said; the Palestinian health ministry confirmed the man was killed and there has been no further comment from Palestinian officials, Reuters reports.
A political alliance between Israel’s left wing and Arab parties could topple current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mikhael Manekin and Ameer Fakhoury explain at Foreign Policy.
The KOREAN PENINSULA
Diplomats from the two Koreas have held meetings with U.S. envoys in Sweden, amid efforts to set up a follow-up summit between U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Constructive talks have been held covering issues concerning developments on the Korean Peninsula, including confidence building, economic development and long-term engagement,” Sweden’s foreign ministry stated; Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom added that she hopes the current talks “will serve as a good preparation for an upcoming summit,” Al Jazeerareports.
Researchers have discovered a secret ballistic missile base in North Korea. The so-called Sino-ri Missile Operating Base may be one amongst up to 20 undisclosed missile sites in the country, according to the new report from Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense thinktank Center for Strategic and International Studies (C.S.I.S.,) Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee report at NBC.
According to the report – the base is likely not part of denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang as it is undeclared. The site reportedly serves as the headquarters for the Strategic Force’s Nodong missile brigade, Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.
U.S. intelligence officials have met with North Korean counterparts secretly for a decade,through a covert channel that facilitated communications during tense periods and helped lay the ground for Trump’s landmark Singapore summit with Kim last June. Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel provide an account of the revelations at the Wall Street Journal.
U.N. special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in the capital Sanaa on an unannounced visit yesterday to discuss the situation in and around the key coastal city of Hodeidah, where Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a cease-fire in December. Forces loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in exile and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels also agreed to a prisoner exchange last month that is yet to materialize, Ahmed Al-Haj reports at the AP.
An analysis of “how the rise of the far right threatens democracy worldwide” is provided by Pallavi Gogoi at NPR, with Hungary, Brazil, India and Turkey cited as examples.
|"Mike Flynn" - Google News: What happens if Putin wins? Michael McFaul on "the end of the liberal international order" - Salon|
What happens if Putin wins? Michael McFaul on "the end of the liberal international order" Salon
Salon speaks with Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia and a man that Vladimir Putin wants to interrogate.
"Mike Flynn" - Google News
|How social media platforms enable politicians to undermine democracy - Vox|
How social media platforms enable politicians to undermine democracy Vox
Social media, once seen as a profoundly democratic technology, is increasingly serving the needs of authoritarians and their allies.
|Could A Slew Of New Congressional Investigations Erode Trump’s Approval Rating? - FiveThirtyEight|
Could A Slew Of New Congressional Investigations Erode Trump’s Approval Rating? FiveThirtyEight
Investigation season is here. The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer, will testify publicly on Feb.
|Blumenthal On Giuliani Comments: 'Smacks Of' Dealings With 'Putin's Henchmen' - TPM|
Blumenthal On Giuliani Comments: 'Smacks Of' Dealings With 'Putin's Henchmen' TPM
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday morning that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's comments on ...
|Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a popular choice for president — even though she’s too young to serve|
A new poll finds that nearly three-quarters of Democrats would consider voting for the freshman congresswoman if they could.
|Doubletalk and delusion characterize Trump’s first two years - MarketWatch|
Doubletalk and delusion characterize Trump’s first two years MarketWatch
Gaslighting and doubletalk have come to define Donald Trump's presidency after two years.
|Twitter Gives Rudy Giuliani Hell For His Imagined Talk To St. Peter|
Giuliani says he'd have some explaining to do if "He Lied For Trump" were on his gravestone.
|Four arrested in international terror probe - Belfast Telegraph|
Four arrested in international terror probe Belfast Telegraph
Four people have been arrested in Dublin as part of an investigation into international terrorist financing.
|Dump Trump? Dispense With Pence? Hail Haley? - Election Central|
Dump Trump? Dispense With Pence? Hail Haley? Election Central
With all the Democrats and Republicans lining up to challenge Donald Trump in 2020, we may not have noticed all the subplots. For instance, what if the GOP ...
|Trump's Assault on the Rule of Law - The American Prospect|
Trump's Assault on the Rule of Law The American Prospect
The last time a president was this openly hostile to democratic norms, the nation rose in outrate. Will we do the same? PinItShare?InstapaperPocket Email Print.
|"Putin Trump" - Google News: Banker tied to Russia tried to meet with Trump transition team: report | TheHill - The Hill|
Banker tied to Russia tried to meet with Trump transition team: report | TheHill The Hill
An American businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle reportedly sought to meet with top officials on President Trump's transition ...
"Putin Trump" - Google News
|If Croatia joins the Eurozone, it would give Russia its greatest weapon in Europe | View - Euronews English|
If Croatia joins the Eurozone, it would give Russia its greatest weapon in Europe | View Euronews English
Croatia's adoption of the euro would be an unmitigated disaster, punishing a country whose judiciary suffers from entrenched corruption that is being exploited to ...
|Security Brief: The Mueller Scoop That Wasn’t; McGurk Speaks Out - Foreign Policy|
Security Brief: The Mueller Scoop That Wasn’t; McGurk Speaks OutForeign Policy
BuzzFeed is under scrutiny for reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is in possession of evidence that could be used in a possible impeachment of ...
|Fearing FBI arrest, Russian pop star who set up Trump Tower meeting cancels U.S. tour - The Province|
Fearing FBI arrest, Russian pop star who set up Trump Tower meeting cancels U.S. tour The Province
Emin Agalarov made light of his relationship with Trump in a music video in which scantily clad women cavort on a bed in a hotel suite with a Trump look-alike.
|Western Covert Action and Russian Active Measures|
Most Americans now realize the Kremlin has attempted to influence, interfere, and subvert our democratic system. Recent reports even suggest the Russian intelligence services may have also sought to suborn President Trump himself. This is obviously a critical national security threat and needs to be fought on many fronts. When not outright denying their activity, the Kremlin and its enablers justify their actions by claiming American covert and overt policy abroad is equally intrusive. “You do the same thing!” While it is useful to review and critique our actions — and acknowledge and repair mistakes — these accusations fail both historically and morally.
We have become accustomed to insults, threats and demeaning language aimed at both allies and enemies emanating from the White House. However, it wasn’t long ago that President Ronald Reagan shocked observers with his blunt rhetoric when he labeled the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” in a 1983 speech.
In contrast to President Donald Trump’s penchant for insults, Reagan’s comments were a calculated response to a particularly frustrating Soviet propaganda trick called “whataboutism.” Reagan’s ire was piqued by the Soviet attempt to assert moral equivalence between Soviet and U.S. policy. Reagan was reacting to the spread of Soviet narratives in the U.S. and Europe that the U.S. arms buildup implied belligerent intent rather than a response to Soviet actions. In is response to the ‘nuclear freeze’ proposal, Reagan warned his audience to avoid the temptation to “label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”
Whataboutism is a favorite tactic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which President Trump has also employed. It is a handy device to divert criticism and derail a discussion by asserting false comparison between two things that are otherwise dissimilar. When questioned about the Russian seizure of Ukrainian Crimea, Putin quickly asked about the U.S. annexation of Texas. Trump pivots from criticism with variations of “What about Hillary?”
Similarly, responses to the Russian assault on the 2016 U.S. presidential election often include hearty doses of whataboutism. Namely, how can the U.S. complain about Russian interference in elections when the U.S. routinely intrudes into the affairs of others? How can we condemn others for the same things we do? As a former CIA officer, I hear it all the time. Indeed, many believe that Putin’s willingness to attack our election in 2016 was due to his personal anger at Hillary Clinton who he believed was supporting opposition forces in Moscow during Russia’s 2012 election.
Any attempt to address this question should look back to the essence of Reagan’s words. It is not only specific acts and tactics that define us, but the intent of our actions. All soldiers kill. However, battle on behalf of humanity and democracy cannot be equated with those who kill in an effort to take away rights, imprison opponents and consolidate raw power.
Likewise, covert activities on behalf of democracy and western values cannot be compared to Russian aggression aimed at undermining those values. It is not covert activity that is inherently wrong. Instead, it matters who does it and why. The details matter.
General Michael Hayden described Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as the “most successful covert influence operation in history.”
I beg to differ.
An even more successful covert campaign was the secret effort by British intelligence to pull isolationist American into a European war to defeat Adolf Hitler’s Germany. We forget it now because of who did it and why. However, it was no less underhanded and manipulative than the Russian effort in 2016.
As the British and French soldiers were fleeing Nazi advances on the European continent in 1940, the British realized that they could not win the war alone and sought to use covert and illegal means to drag the U.S. into war. Run by William Stephenson, a British Intelligence officer codenamed Intrepid, the British Security Coordination office (BSC) was a massive covert operation run out of Rockefeller Center in New York. Stephenson ran a complex secret operation to influence U.S. citizens and policymakers. His tactics included black propaganda, news manipulation, and a variety of illegal activities — including dirty tricks and election manipulation. Among other covert activities, the BSC sought to destroy and silence powerful isolationist politicians in Congress, use media resources and political influence to portray isolationists as Nazis, manipulate public opinion polls (the top official at Gallup was an MI-6 officer), co-opt moviemakers, establish front organizations, forge material to frighten Americans that Hitler had designs on the western hemisphere, and intercept and analyze all U.S. mail and telegraph material destined for Europe and tap telephones. Stephenson even used recruited agents to create the U.S. wartime intelligence service (OSS) and have “their man” installed as director.
As explained in Thomas E. Mahl’s book, Desperate Deception: “In a time of great national crises and dwindling resources, covert operations were the tool that ultimately was responsible for saving England.”
While both England in 1940 and Russia in 2016 used covert means to manipulate U.S. opinion and policy, the two are not equivalent. It’s true, allies spy against allies. They manipulate situations to their benefit and seek insights. However, they do not look to destroy and undermine the basis of our democracy. While underhanded, Britain’s actions in 1940 amounted to a nudge among friends to do the right thing for the cause of pursuing freedom over despotism. Both the Soviet Union and England spied against the U.S. in WWII. One acted bravely to defend civilization from Nazi tyranny, the other cynically offered an alternative form of despotism, prison camps and raw aggression. One covert campaign changed the world for the better, the other for the worse. Such distinctions matter.
The moral high ground in international affairs is not defined by whether or not states defend themselves, or have militaries and intelligence services, but by what they stand for. Nor does the fact that democratic states make sometimes horrendous mistakes mean that they are no better than authoritarian and despotic regimes. Indeed, feeling their oats following a victory in WWII, early-Cold War administrations sometimes flexed their new-found covert authorities overseas in ways that seem ill-advised in retrospect. The fall-out from those activities hurt our legitimacy as the leader of the free world and led to necessary changes in way such policies would be conceived and approved in the future. Today the U.S. engages in covert action at the specific direction of the President and under robust congressional and legal oversight, all within a system that protects free media and engages in regular elections. Legitimate criticism of U.S. overreach comes from a desire to insure the country lives up to its ideals. Unlike in dictatorships, flawed democratic institutions can learn, atone, improve, and be held accountable.
In this sense, assigning equivalence between Russia’s information warfare and the covert activities of the U.S. plays directly into Putin’s hands. As Joel Harding commented recently in his blog, To Inform is to Influence, “In the United States we count our blessings in terms of our freedoms. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so on. I often ask, what freedoms do Russians have?”
Of course, judging absolute right and wrong in international affairs is seldom possible. However, it is possible to choose sides and understand that imperfect means are sometimes necessary to protect and promote the best alternative. Soldiers and spies engage in behavior that is only justified by the cause they represent. Both the soldier and the spy engage in behavior that would be unacceptable — and even reprehensible — if not done in direct service of a larger interest. It is therefore the moral cause for which those professionals serve which is what we should judge.
For this reason, many former national security practitioners have been critical of President Trump’s comments and actions. They realize it is precisely this moral cause and higher purpose that President Trump threatens with his dismissal of the liberal world order, attack on legal and ethical norms, and his embrace of tyrants. His behavior potentially damages our domestic political discourse and alienates our allies and friends. Perhaps more importantly, however, our military, diplomatic and intelligence professionals may find it much harder to justify their sacrifices if they sense America is changing it stripes, and no longer reflects noble intentions and a desire to do good in the world. As Trump continues to shred American institutions and values, he is also weakening our ability to act on its behalf. Those who vigorously defend America on the front lines do so because it is special, not only because we happen to live here.
Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at U.S. President Donald Trump during the welcoming ceremony prior to the G20 Summit’s Plenary Meeting on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
|NYPD Spy Drones Fly into Privacy Headwinds|
A squad of 14 New York Police Department drones will soon be soaring over the city’s skyline, with the ability to record people’s lives, even if that’s not their stated use. Some will be equipped with infrared cameras that have the ability to see through walls and record the privacy of bedrooms, although, again, NYPD says this isn’t the intent. Still, the technology isn’t just creepy (though it is creepy); if not monitored carefully, its deployment raises the specter of uses beyond those currently planned by the NYPD that could be illegal.
Warrantless infrared imaging crossed the line of legality for the Supreme Court nearly 30 years ago, when it held in Kyollo v. United States that such usage of these cameras violated the Fourth Amendment. This wasn’t the decision of the Court’s liberals either, it was Justice Antonin Scalia who wrote that our homes should be “held safe from prying government eyes.” The NYPD statementsays that it won’t engage in warrantless surveillance. And Chief of Department Terence Monahan has said, “Let me be clear: N.Y.P.D. drones will not be used for warrantless surveillance.” Instead, the drones are supposed to be for “monitoring giant crowds, investigating hazardous waste spills, handling hostage situations and reaching remote areas in crime scenes, among other tasks.”
New Yorkers are being asked to take the NYPD at its word, but many New Yorkers want a stronger guarantee. This is part of why advocates and activists are pushing for the Public Oversight of Technology Act (“POST Act”), a New York City Council bill that would require the NYPD to develop and publicize an “impact and use policy” for each piece of surveillance technology it purchases. The bill, which was reintroduced earlier this year, has been gaining support throughout 2018, pending a hearing by the Council’s Public Safety committee. The NYPD would have 180 days following enactment of the legislation to publicly post policies for existing tools. For future tools, they would be required to post public notice at least 90 days prior to deploying a new technology. Such steps would still allow the NYPD to buy the equipment it wants, but New Yorkers will better understand how their digital lives are being policedand how information that could be conducted incidentally to lawful surveillance is being protected. The POST Act also requires the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD to conduct an annual audit of NYPD compliance with the law.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the NYPD drone program is that we even know it’s happening at all. For years, advocates objected to the lack of civilian oversight of NYPD surveillance purchases. All too often, military-grade spy tools have been imported from battlefields abroad and used on American city streets, without any oversight by, or input from, the civilians we elect to local and state governments. These concerns about surveillance go far beyond drones, impacting almost every form of electronic communication.
For example, unlike the FBI and a growing list of police departments across the country, the NYPD has no public policy to explain how stingrays can be used, where they can be targeted, and what happens with the data from the thousands of bystanders who are caught up in their use. Many law enforcement boosters state that they won’t use their tools to the full extent of their technical capability, but without a systematic policy, again we’re only left with the NYPD’s promise.
These tools are powerful, and that power requires powerful oversight. Sadly, today the NYPD can spend millions of dollars insophisticated spy tools and military equipment right off the battlefield, without any oversight by elected lawmakers. This loophole in city law allows the NYPD to use money from private donations and federal grants without any disclosure to the City Council.
The NYPD response to the POST Act has been alarmist. NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller called the POST Act a “roadmap for terrorists.” But Miller and other POST Act opponents have never explained why the NYPD shouldn’t provide the exact same type of privacy and use policy that the FBI voluntarily provides for Stingrays. Far from being an extreme measure, the POST Act would be weaker than a number of other surveillance oversight bills in the country. Numerous municipalities, including Oakland, Seattle, and Cambridge, Mass., have enacted stronger versions of the bill that empowered civilians to be able to block the use of a proposed technology. By requiring privacy and use policies, the POST Act is only attempting to keep up with the national effort to limit the capacity for government surveillance abuse.
Thankfully, the bill is gaining momentum. Recently, the Black, Lantino/a, and Asian Caucus (BLAC) endorsed the POST Act. The BLAC’s endorsement of the POST Act highlights the inescapable reality that communities of color continue to bear the burden of NYPD policing.
The danger of mission creep in NYPD surveillance with its powerful new tools is most acute for Muslim and immigrant New Yorkers, who have faced the bulk of President Donald Trump’s nativist attacks. Trump’s campaign threat of a Muslim-American registry, and his ongoing efforts to target our must vulnerable neighbors for deportation, have made both of these communities even more fearful of data sharing between city officials and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Despite New York City’s promise of being a “sanctuary city,” the City’s much-lauded 2017 privacy protection legislation largely exempted the NYPD. Currently, nothing in city law bars the NYPD from sharing information with ICE or other federal officials. Thus, should widespread surveillance with these new tools beyond the purposes stated by the NYPD become a reality, these communities would be most at risk. The POST Act would help to ensure that the NYPD doesn’t become the eyes and ears of the Trump deportation machine and ensure that civilian oversight keeps pace with the advances in police technology.
IMAGE: A new DJI Mavic Zoom drone flies during a product launch event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
|The Daily 202: Davos is in decline as elites fail to tackle the globe’s biggest problems|
Trump, May, Macron and other heads of state are staying home to deal with domestic political crises.
|Fearing FBI arrest, Russian pop star who set up Trump Tower meeting cancels U.S. tour - Saskatoon StarPhoenix|
Fearing FBI arrest, Russian pop star who set up Trump Tower meeting cancels U.S. tour Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Emin Agalarov made light of his relationship with Trump in a music video in which scantily clad women cavort on a bed in a hotel suite with a Trump look-alike.
|Western Covert Action and Russian Active Measures - Just Security|
Western Covert Action and Russian Active Measures Just Security
Most Americans now realize the Kremlin has attempted to influence, interfere, and subvert our democratic system. Recent reports even suggest the.
|Here’s the thing about Rachel Maddow’s theory involving Donald Trump, the FBI, and the government shutdown|
Last night Rachel Maddow used her MSNBC show to do what she does best. She assembled the available evidence when it comes to Donald Trump’s endless government shutdown, and she came up with a premise that we simply haven’t been hearing elsewhere. She pointed out that FBI agents aren’t getting paid, and the longer it drags on, the more likely the agents are to run into the kind of financial trouble that could end their careers. Here’s the thing.
Over the past year-plus, Donald Trump has consistently and almost obsessively attacked the FBI in dishonest fashion. He illegally fired FBI Director James Comey. He targeted a hit list of top FBI officials by publicly spinning phony and/or exaggerated scandals about them. It was fairly clear that this was an attempt at preventing the FBI from exposing his crimes, or a belated attempt at getting revenge on the FBI, or both.
Maddow pointed out that Donald Trump’s government shutdown is now putting the entirety of the FBI at risk on a fundamental level. Agents and officials are required to have good credit ratings and financial histories, so they’re not ripe for blackmail. If the shutdown ruins large chunks of the FBI financially, it could cripple the bureau’s ability to function going forward. But two key points come to mind.
First, the FBI only handles investigations. When it comes to Donald Trump’s criminal scandals, the investigative phase is over. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is deep into the prosecution phase. even if Trump were able to wipe the FBI off the map at this late date, it would do nothing to save Trump from being taken down. So if the shutdown is about harming the FBI, it’s a mere matter of Trump trying to take the bureau down with him.
Second, it’s worth keeping in mind that Donald Trump had already committed himself to keeping the government open with no funding for his wall, before the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter threatened mutiny at the last moment. So if Trump is now keeping the government shut down in order to harm the FBI, it wasn’t his original plan, and is merely something he’s come up with along the way.
|Leaked tapes allege Russian oligarch planned arrest of escort claiming she had dirt on Trump - Fox News|
Leaked tapes allege Russian oligarch planned arrest of escort claiming she had dirt on Trump Fox News
A leaked audio tape allegedly reveals Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and his associated planned the arrest of a Belarusian model who says she has proof of ...
|Ex-President Obama's timidity hampered foreign policy - UPI News|
Ex-President Obama's timidity hampered foreign policy UPI News
Barack Obama could have been an exceptional president. He missed the chance because of his timidity, especially in the realm of foreign policy.
|Trying to understand Trump and Duterte loyalists - BusinessWorld Online|
Trying to understand Trump and Duterte loyalists BusinessWorld Online
I came upon an interesting article entitled, “A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump' Support,” which attempts to explain the reportedly near-fanatical loyalty ...
|The real Trump bombshell - Axios|
It's easy to lose sight of what truly matters in this Russia investigation. And, to be fair, only Robert Mueller truly knows. But lost in the buzz around the BuzzFeed story, was a bombshell floated by Trump’s own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
This possibility is a huge deal for four reasons:
Why this matters: Imagine there was no drip, drip, drip — and we learned in one fell swoop that an American presidential candidate was secretly negotiating a multibillion-dollar business deal with an enemy of the United States (and falsely denied it) while that nation was seeking to tip our election in his favor.
Be smart: It appears the Giuliani strategy includes, little by little, confirming troubling facts so that they won't seem as jarring when revealed in full by Mueller or others.
TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS NEWS REVIEW
Trump – from Huffington Post
|Trump – from Huffington Post from Michael_Novakhov (2 sites)|
|Donald Trump: Saudi-Funded Lobbyists Paid For 500 Nights At Trump D.C. Hotel Right After Election|
Some military veterans interviewed by The Washington Post said they felt like they’d been used twice — once for Saudi Arabia, and again to pay Trump.
–Trump Investigations News Review
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