Abuse

A Jewish Reporter Got to Ask Trump a Question. It Didn’t Go Well.

Jake Turx, an Orthodox Jewish reporter for Ami Magazine, a weekly published in Brooklyn, began to ask President Trump a question regarding bomb threats at Jewish centers. Mr. Trump, apparently believing he was being accused of anti-Semitism, reprimanded the reporter.

Jake Turx is a newly minted White House correspondent for a publication that has never before had a seat in the White House press corps: Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly based in Brooklyn. He is a singular presence in the briefing room: a young Hasidic Jew with side curls tucked behind his ears and a skullcap embroidered with his Twitter handle.

Dear @PressSec @seanspicer,
Please call on me at the next press briefing. I’m the guy w/ the words “Jake Turx” on my kippa.
(RT this y’all!)

When President Trump called on him at a news conference on Thursday, saying he was looking for a “friendly reporter,” Mr. Turx was prepared. He had spent an hour crafting a question about a recent surge of anti-Semitism, with a preamble that he hoped would convey his supportive disposition toward Mr. Trump.

But the exchange did not go the way he expected. A few hours later, with the clip replaying on social media and Jewish groups issuing news releases, Mr. Turx, 30, was still reeling. He said in a telephone interview, “Regretfully, today was a day I wish we could have done over.”

His editor, Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, watched aghast from the magazine’s offices as his young correspondent received a tongue-lashing from the president: “It was a very disheartening moment for us, to watch him being berated.”

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The exchange began with Mr. Turx standing up from his third-row seat and gesturing slightly toward his fellow reporters:

“Despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren. You are their zayde,” which is Yiddish for “grandfather” and often a word of great affection.

At that Mr. Trump nodded slightly, and said, “thank you.”

“However,” Mr. Turx continued, “what we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——”

At that, Mr. Trump interrupted, saying it was “not a fair question.”

“Sit down,” the president commanded. “I understand the rest of your question.”

As Mr. Turx took his seat, Mr. Trump said, “So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person.”

Mr. Turx tried to interject, realizing how the encounter had turned. He said he had wanted to clarify that he in no way meant to accuse Mr. Trump of anti-Semitism but instead intended to ask what his administration could do to stop the anti-Semitic incidents.

But Mr. Trump would not let him speak again, saying, “Quiet, quiet, quiet.” As Mr. Turx shook his head with an incredulous look on his face, Mr. Trump accused him of having lied that his question would be straight and simple.

Mr. Trump said, “I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me. …”

He went on to say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, during his visit to the United States on Wednesday, had vouched for Mr. Trump as a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people and no anti-Semite.

Mr. Trump concluded that Mr. Turx should have relied on Mr. Netanyahu’s endorsement, “instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”

“Just shows you about the press, but that’s the way the press is,” Mr. Trump said.

At the news conference, Mr. Turx was referring to a rash of incidents that have shaken many American Jews since Mr. Trump was elected. On three separate days in January, Jewish synagogues, community centers and schools across the country received what seemed to be a coordinated wave of telephone bomb threats that led to evacuations and F.B.I. investigations. Other Jewish institutions have seen an uptick in vandalism and graffiti in the last few months.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Thursday that said, “It is mind-boggling why President Trump prefers to shout down a reporter or brush this off as a political distraction.”

David Harris, chief executive of the American Jewish Committee, said, “Respectfully, Mr. President, please use your bully pulpit not to bully reporters asking questions potentially affecting millions of fellow Americans, but rather to help solve a problem that, for many, is real and menacing.”

Surveys show that Mr. Trump was not the choice of the majority of American Jews, who tend to vote for Democrats and came out in force for Hillary Clinton. Many Jews have been critical of Mr. Trump for not more forcefully denouncing anti-Semites and racists like David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who endorsed Mr. Trump during the campaign. Many Jewish leaders are also wary of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s White House strategist, because of the close affinity between Breitbart News, which he once ran, and the white supremacists in the movement known as the alt-right.

But Mr. Trump was popular among many Orthodox Jews. They were reassured to see the Orthodox Jews in his family and attracted to his hawkish line on Israel, his support of vouchers for religious schools and his promise to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

Rechy Frankfurter and her husband, Rabbi Frankfurter, founded Ami Magazine more than six years ago to serve a conservative Jewish audience. It circulates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia and is one of several English-language news publications serving the ultra-Orthodox community. Ami Magazine comes out weekly and has three sister publications: one for women, one for teens and a cooking magazine called Whisk.

The magazine interviewed Mr. Trump before he declared he was running for president and did so again during the campaign.

“We didn’t do a political endorsement of him, but I really wanted the president to be elected, and I do want him to succeed,” said Rabbi Frankfurter, the editor in chief.

Mrs. Frankfurter, the magazine’s senior editor, said it was clear that Mr. Trump was not an anti-Semite and that Mr. Trump “must have misheard the question” from the magazine’s reporter. “The president is very sensitive to such an accusation, and we find the fact that he’s sensitive to it reassuring,” she said, because it means he understands how awful it is to be thought of as an anti-Semite.

Rabbi Frankfurter, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said, “Perhaps the president should speak out more vigorously than he has. He’s got a bully pulpit, and he should use it for good reasons.”

After the news conference, Mr. Turx, a pen name, said that he had had conversations on Thursday evening with White House staff members and that he and members of the Orthodox Jewish community were “extremely confident” that the White House would give “the proper help, guidance and collaboration” on anti-Semitism.

 

#Saudi #woman pictured not wearing #hijab faces calls for her to be #killed, Saudi’s are #TOSSERS!

One social media user said: ‘Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs’

saudi-woman.jpg

A woman in Saudi Arabia pictured without a hijab is facing calls for her to be killed.

Some social media users reacted with outrage after the emergence of the image taken in capital city Riyadh, with one man demanding: “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs”.

The photo was allegedly first posted by an account under the name of Malak Al Shehri, which has since been deleted, reports the International Business Times.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

A Saudi woman went out yesterday without an Abaya or a hijab in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and many Saudis are now demanding her execution.

An unnamed student who reposted the image told the website that Ms Al Shehri had announced she was going out to breakfast without either a hijab or abaya; a traditional Saudi body covering.

The student said she started receiving death threats after posting proof in response to followers who had asked to see a photo.

Saudi Arabia executes prince accused of killing man in brawl

“So many people retweeted it and what she did reached extremists, so she got threats,” the student said. “She deleted her tweets but they didn’t stop, so she deleted her account.”

A hashtag which translates into English as “we demand the imprisonment of the rebel Angel Al Shehri” subsequently went viral.

One user wrote “we propose blood”, while another demanded a “harsh punishment for the heinous situation”.

Despite the outrage, many more users in Saudi Arabia came out in support of the woman’s actions.

 

If You Change a Baby’s Diaper in Arizona, You Can Now Be Convicted of Child Molestation

thinkstockphotos587523840

This could be a crime in Arizona.

iStock/Thinkstock

The Arizona Supreme Court issued a stunning and horrifying decision on Tuesday, interpreting a state law to criminalize any contact between an adult and a child’s genitals. According to the court, the law’s sweep encompasses wholly innocent conduct, such as changing a diaper or bathing a baby. As the stinging dissent notes, “parents and other caregivers” in the state are now considered to be “child molesters or sex abusers under Arizona law.” Those convicted under the statute may be imprisoned for five years.

How did this happen? A combination of bad legislating and terrible judging. Start with the
legislature, which passed laws forbidding any person from “intentionally or knowingly … touching
… any part of the genitals, anus or female breast” of a child “under fifteen years of age.” Notice
something odd about that? Although the laws call such contact “child molestation” or “sexual
abuse,” the statutes themselves do not require the “touching” to be sexual in nature. (No other
state’s law excludes this element of improper sexual intent.) Indeed, read literally, the statutes
would seem to prohibit parents from changing their child’s diaper. And the measures forbid both
“direct and indirect touching,” meaning parents cannot even bathe their child without becoming
sexual abusers under the law.

 

Arizona’s Supreme Court had an opportunity to remedy this glaring problem. A man convicted under these laws urged the justices to limit the statutes’ scope by interpreting the “touching” element to require some sexual intent. But by a 3-2 vote, the court refused and declared that the law criminalized the completely innocent touching of a child. The majority declined to “rewrite the statutes to require the state to prove sexual motivation, when the statutes clearly contain no such requirement.” Moreover, the court held that the laws posed no due process problem, because those prosecuted under the statute could still assert “lack of sexual motivation” as an “affirmative defense” at trial—one the defendant himself must prove to the jury “by a preponderance of the evidence.” As to the risk that the law criminalizes typical parental tasks, the majority shrugs that “prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents” engaged in innocent conduct. (This “just trust the prosecutors” dodge doesn’t always work out so well in Arizona.)

In a searing dissent, two justices pointed out the most obvious flaw of this logic: It renders the laws unconstitutional. “No one thinks that the legislature really intended to criminalize every knowing or intentional act of touching a child in the prohibited areas,” the dissent explains. “Reading the statutes as doing so creates a constitutional vagueness problem, as it would mean both that people do not have fair notice of what is actually prohibited and that the laws do not adequately constrain prosecutorial discretion”—a requirement under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The majority responds that any potential vagueness problem is remedied by the fact that defendants can attempt to prove their innocent state of mind as an affirmative defense. Not so, the dissent retorts: By requiring the defendant to prove his innocence (instead of requiring the state to prove his guilt), Arizona has “shifted to the accused the burden of proving the absence of the very fact—sexual motivation—that distinguishes criminal from innocent conduct.” That, too, runs afoul of due processby “criminalizing a broad swath of indisputably innocent conduct but assigning to defendants the burden of proving their conduct was not criminally motivated.”

Bizarrely, the majority insists that if prosecutors did charge parents for changing their child’s diaper, they could argue that they were exercising “their fundamental, constitutional right to manage and care for their children.” This alleged defense is cold comfort. As Matt Brown notes at Mimesis Law, Arizona’s sentencing laws are so stringent—and state courts are “so unwilling to dismiss sex charges based on as-applied constitutional challenges” before trial and conviction—that innocent parents will “sit in prison for quite some time” before a higher court vacates their sentence on constitutional grounds.

Equally puzzling is the majority’s assertion that parents can still present their innocence as an “affirmative defense” in court. Even if this strategy works, the Arizona laws will still have arguably intruded upon their fundamental right to “care for their children” without state interference. After all, as the dissent notes, such a defense “does not mean that a crime has not occurred, but instead that the miscreant may avoid ‘culpability’ by persuading the factfinder that the ‘criminal conduct’ should be excused.” And this relief would likely only come after a lengthy, expensive, and reputation-tarnishing trial.

As Fordham law professor John Pfaff explains, the majority’s logic has one final defect: It utterly ignores the reality of plea bargaining, which is how more than 90 percent of criminal cases in America are resolved. Given the immense expense and hassle of a trial, many defendants are pressured into striking a deal with a prosecutor, trading a lighter sentence for an admission of guilt. Arizona prosecutors can now dangle the threat of a probable child molestation conviction to coerce any parent of a young child into taking a plea deal on unrelated charges. With the state Supreme Court’s help, Arizona’s child molestation laws have been weaponized into a tool for prosecutorial harassment, allowing the state to target any parent or caregiver—out of spite or malice, or simply to boost their conviction rates. This terrible decision has gutted constitutional rights and turned many of the state’s residents into unknowing criminals. Barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, due process has now been suspended for Arizona’s parents and caregivers.

Chinese farmers take over former white-owned farms in Zimbabwe to cash in on tobacco

Gho Feng gives thumbs up at tobacco farm
Gho Feng gives thumbs up at tobacco farm CREDIT: TSVANGIRAI MUKWAZHI 

Chinese farmers have taken over formerly white-owned farmsfor the first time, investing millions of pounds into tobacco production.

Farms that were badly managed for nearly 20 years, after Robert Mugabe’s mass seizure of white-owned land, are now being worked again in the hope of reaping a  potentially huge reward.

At least five farms have attracted Chinese investment in Mashonaland Central, a region to the north-west of Harare, that was traditionally one of the country’s best tobacco-producing areas.

Safe in the knowledge that Mr Mugabe’s policy of strengthening ties with China will offer a degree of protection, they have poured money into machinery and are taking advice from international experts.

China has become the largest investor in Zimbabwe, the economy of which is still reeling from the land seizures of 2000 and hyperinflation, has taken a nosedive once again.

Unemployment is running at about 90 per cent and the regime is so short of money that it cannot pay teachers or civil servants.

Chen Li Jun,left, sits on a motorcycle with a farm worker 
Chen Li Jun,left, sits on a motorcycle with a farm worker  CREDIT: TSVANGIRAI MUKWAZHI 

The dire economic conditions have prompted rare protests against Mr Mugabe’s regime by a coalition of  opposition parties.

Yesterday, a heavy police presence in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare stopped a planned mass demonstration, as activists claimed police used live ammunition to disperse small protests.

While Zimbabwe’s land reform process has empowered around 60,000 small-scale black tobacco farmers, who grow lower grades of tobacco, many of the bigger farms distributed among Mr Mugabe’s cronies have not fared so well.

Farms just north of Harare lie fallow amid broken fences, fields scorched by fires and scarce livestock. There are few surviving indigenous trees as many were felled by new farmers who could not afford coal to cure their tobacco.

A generation of evicted white farmers have moved abroad or live hand-to-mouth, waiting for promised compensation.

Tsitsi Chiasan attends to tobacco seedlings
Tsitsi Chiasan attends to tobacco seedlings CREDIT: TSVANGIRAI MUKWAZHI 

One farm worker in Mvurwi, about 60 miles north of Harare, said there were now plenty of jobs in the district after years of difficulties following the departure of the white landowners. “The Chinese are spending money,” he said.

Experts believe that the five Chinese-run farms will, despite their limited experience, grow and cure about 1,500 acres of tobacco this year. They said the new  infrastructure including equipment manufactured by US company, Valley Irrigation, must have cost at least £7 million.

Anti-Mugabe protesters clash with police in ZimbabwePlay!00:43

An insider in the tobacco industry said the Chinese company would be paying a hefty rental for the land they are now using to the “political” men who now own the farms.

“The Chinese will pay a percentage of the income from the tobacco as rent,” he said. “Some of that rental should be shared with the white farmers who left their homes with nothing and received no compensation from the  government, but they probably don’t know their old farms are now about to start making money again.”

Horrifying moment a taxi driver is surrounded by riot cops and beaten with truncheons

Horrifying moment a taxi driver is surrounded by riot cops and beaten with truncheons on the floor… during a protest about police brutality in Zimbabwe

  • Violent clashes between Zimbabwean police and protesters resulted in 30 arrests as a riot broke out in Harare
  • Demonstrators forced to lie down in dusty roads and battered by truncheons as police use tear gas and dogs
  • Protest over a number of issues including economic hardship, police brutality and Robert Mugabe’s government
  • A journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks before taking their uniforms to wear them
  • Many rioters were young men who make a living from by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses
  • The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

Violent clashes between Zimbabwean police and protesters resulted in 30 arrests as a riot broke out over economic hardship, police brutality and Robert Mugabe’s government.

Demonstrators were forced to lie down in the dusty roads as machine gun-wielding officers fired warning shots and rounded up civilians in Harare.

One taxi driver can be seen getting a savage beating from six riot cops, another man has his head stood on by an officer carrying a machine gun and bloodied protesters are pictured running from the mayhem.

As well as a number of economical and political issues affecting workers, the protest was ironically about police brutality in the country.

Savage:Taxi driver surrounded by six riot cops who kick him and beat him with truncheons as another demonstrator escapes the fracas

Savage:Taxi driver surrounded by six riot cops who kick him and beat him with truncheons as another demonstrator escapes the fracas

Down in the dirt: Four police officers in riot gear carrying guns as they force protesters to the ground in Harare

Down in the dirt: Four police officers in riot gear carrying guns as they force protesters to the ground in Harare

Blood on the streets: One protester is helped away from the riots while a child (far right) watches on in horror having been caught up in the action on the way to school 

Blood on the streets: One protester is helped away from the riots while a child (far right) watches on in horror having been caught up in the action on the way to school

Police fire tear gas and water cannons at protesters

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Smoking barrel: A Zimbabwean police officer fires a warning shot as the riot gathers pace in the capital

Smoking barrel: A Zimbabwean police officer fires a warning shot as the riot gathers pace in the capital

Brutal: A protester has his face shoved into the dirt by a machine gun-wielding police officers boot as one of his colleagues goes after another civilian with a truncheon

Brutal: A protester has his face shoved into the dirt by a machine gun-wielding police officers boot as one of his colleagues goes after another civilian with a truncheon

Police in Zimbabwe’s capital have fired tear gas, water cannons and warning shots during riots by minibus drivers and others protesting alleged police harassment.

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them.

The protesters blocked roads leading into the centre of the city on Monday, forcing many people to walk up to six miles (10km) to get to work.

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare's eastern suburbs

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare’s eastern suburbs

Rioters threw stones at police and vehicles, and some children on their way to school were caught up in the chaos.

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare’s eastern suburbs.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

Some police were seen firing live ammunition into the air to ward off the crowds. They also brought in police dogs.

The drivers’ grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes.

Police said they had reduced the number of roadblocks after complaints from parliamentarians, tourism operators and others.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them. A demonstrator, not involved in the attack, can be seen carrying two sticks

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them. A demonstrator, not involved in the attack, can be seen carrying two sticks

Burning issue: Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations

Burning issue: Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations

Thirty people were arrested for inciting the protests, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said.

“We have information and intelligence on the identities of some criminal elements who are behind the social unrest,” Ms Charamba said at a news conference.

Such acts of defiance and clashes with the police are rare in Zimbabwe, although the government deployed the army against 1998 riots over soaring food prices.

Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations.

Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent weeks.

On Friday, protesters burned a warehouse at Beitbridge, a busy border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa, over a Zimbabwean decision to ban a wide range of imports.

Seventeen people appeared in court on Sunday over the Beitbridge protests and were charged with public violence.

Separately, state hospital doctors and other government workers said they will strike over the government’s failure to pay their June salaries on time.

Down and out: Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent week

Down and out: Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent week

Hands up: A protester is surrounded by three riot police officers as he cowers against a wall

Hands up: A protester is surrounded by three riot police officers as he cowers against a wall

Nowhere to go: The drivers' grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes

Nowhere to go: The drivers’ grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes

Grounded: Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago

Grounded: Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago.

The financing dried up due to failure to repay debts as well as international sanctions imposed because of concerns over democratic rights.

Some recent political protests have been notable for their brazenness.

Police said they are looking for Lumumba William Matumanje, a former ruling party activist who used an obscenity to denigrate Mugabe while launching his own political party last week.

People have often been sent to jail for such conduct in Zimbabwe.

Last month, video footage showed an anti-government protester shouting in the lobby of an upmarket hotel in Harare and haranguing police until they move in and drag him away.

The video shows a protest by activists angry at Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s alleged 18-month stay in a 400 US dollars (£300) a night hotel suite in the capital.

Activist Sten Zvorwadza was charged with threats to commit malicious damage to property and was freed on 200 US dollars (£150) bail.

The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says.

Rock bottom: The majority of Zimbabwe's citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

Rock bottom: The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

Video: Zimbabwe police brutality exposed

In yet another horrific video that shows the brutality of Zimbabwean police, a woman is battered by a group of police officers while one of the cops – a senior officer – holds her child.

 

In the video- which has gone viral on social media – about a dozen truncheon-wielding officers stationed with a couple of service trucks are seen beating up unarmed civilians.

The video was captured from a police truck, apparently by another officer.

It is not clear where the video was captured as the country recently had several incidences of police confronting civilians and brutalising them during the various protests that took place.

 

US accuses Russia of harassing, intimidating diplomats

The United States has complained to Russia about a mounting campaign of harassment and intimidation of American diplomats and their families in Moscow, the State Department said.

Among those to raise objections, US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.

“Over the past two years, harassment and surveillance of our diplomatic personnel in Moscow by security personnel and traffic police have increased significantly,” she told reporters during a news conference.

US State Department says over the past two years, harassment and surveillance of American diplomatic personnel in Moscow by security personnel and traffic po...

US State Department says over the past two years, harassment and surveillance of American diplomatic personnel in Moscow by security personnel and traffic police have increased significantly ©Kirill Kudryavtsev (AFP/File)

She was commenting about a report by The Washington Post on Monday that described a series of actions by Russian security and intelligence services, including following diplomats and their family members, appearing at social functions uninvited and paying for negative media stories.

Some diplomats said intruders had broken into their homes at night to rearrange furniture, turn on lights and even defecate on a living room carpet, the newspaper reported, citing officials as saying Russian intelligence officers once broke into the US defense attache’s Moscow house and killed his dog.

“We see an increase and we take it seriously,” Trudeau said on Monday.

Moscow accuses the United States of harassing its own diplomats and says it takes reciprocal measures only in response.

“We have recently felt a significant increase in pressure on the Russian embassy and consulates general of our country in the United States,” Russia’s TASS news agency reported Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying last week.

Russian diplomats “regularly become the objects of provocations by the American secret services, face obstacles in making official contacts and other restrictions,” such as travel, she added.

Trudeau denied the accusation on Monday.

“Russia’s claims of harassment are without foundation,” she said.

State Department officials say Russian harassment has increased significantly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, which prompted Western sanctions against Moscow, The Washington Post reported.

Kerry spoke to Putin about the matter during a visit to Moscow after Washington stripped five Russian honorary consuls of their credentials in January in response to the harassment of its diplomats.

David Rockefeller Says Conspiracy About ‘One World Order’ Is True

David Rockefeller Says Conspiracy About ‘One World Order’ Is True

David Rockefeller is a part of American history and the only billionaire in the world who is over 100 years old. The richest oldest man on the planet is due to turn 101 in June.

He is part of a family dynasty whose name is associated with America and has become legend. His grandfather John D Rockefeller who died in 1937 was the founder of Standard Oil and the world’s richest individual.

The name Rockefeller has been associated with wealth, power, politics, finance, diplomacy, philanthropy, marijuana prohibition, aliens, UFO’s and conspiracy theories.

One such conspiracy theory is the creation of a ‘one world order’, according to which a group of ‘Elites’, including David, are milking the system for their own benefits and the benefit of their friends and fellow conspirators against the interest of the United States.

They have been accused of setting up institutions such as the ‘Trilateral Commission’ and the ‘Bilderberg Group’ among others to advance their interests nationally and globally.

Their aim is to create an international world order under a single umbrella, to deal with global issues, initiated and controlled by western countries.

Obviously such a hefty vision could be seen as a conspiracy, by the powerful and the well connected, to dominate and manipulate the weak and the fragmented people of the world.

David Rockefeller, the last former member of the unofficial royal family of America, has admitted in an article by The Independent, that if he is accused of such conspiracies to bring about a ‘one world order’, then he is proud and guilty as charged.

He says: “Some even believe [the Rockefellers] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterising my family and me as ‘internationalists’ conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I’m proud of it.”

Although the name ‘Rockefeller’ still retains its resonance, its influence is fading. Being a Rockefeller these days ain’t what it used to be.

THE INDEPENDENT REPORTS:

David, patriarch of that family and of a vanished Wasp establishment, celebrated his 100th birthday.

These days he is pretty low in the billionaires’ pecking order: 603rd according to Forbes magazine, the chronicler of such matters, with a fortune of “only” $3.2bn.

Even the family’s total wealth, much of it locked away in trusts, is put at a relatively modest $10bn – enough to buy fleets of yachts, private jets and a couple of mansions in Belgravia, but not a patch on his grandfather John D Rockefeller.

When he died in 1937, “Senior”, the founder of Standard Oil and a contender for the world’s richest ever individual, was reckoned to have assets equal to 1.5 per cent of US GDP, about $250bn today. Compared with that, Carlos Slim, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are distant also-rans.

From almost the moment of his birth, on 12 June 1915, in the embers of the Gilded Age, David was the favourite grandchild: the one, according to “Senior”, who was “most like myself”.

The others of John Rockefeller Jnr’s six children are now long gone. Winthrop, a former governor of Arkansas, died in 1973. Abigail, David’s only sister, died in 1976, followed by John in 1978, and by Nelson – his most famous sibling, governor of New York and Gerald Ford’s vice-president – in 1979.

Laurance Rockefeller, an airline magnate, survived until 2004. David is the last one left. And in his day, Nelson notwithstanding, he was probably the most influential of them all.

David Rockfeller flourished at the intersection of business, high finance and international diplomacy. He was never elected to any political office, but in his heyday, in the 1970s and 1980s, he seemed to know every politician who mattered on the planet.

Part of that went with the job of chairman of Chase Manhattan, which David sought to make a global bank. Part was due to merely being a Rockfeller.

“Having the name can be an advantage,” he once said. “I’m more apt to get through on the telephone to somebody.” Part perhaps also reflected his much-praised work in US wartime intelligence in Europe, between 1943 and 1945.

All of this made him a networker of epic proportions (his Rolodex, in that pre-smartphone age, read like a global Who’s Who); not surprisingly the journalist and former LBJ aide Bill Moyers once called him “the unelected but indisputable chairman of the American establishment”.

From the outset, too, David was a committed internationalist. To that end, in 1973 he set up the Trilateral Commission, featuring the West’s great and good, and soon found himself the butt of conspiracy theorists around the globe.

Today, there’s much hyperventilating about the secretiveness of the Bilderberg Group (another collection of worthies favoured by David). But that fuss is nothing compared with the suspicions once aroused by the Trilateral Commission.

For the right, it was a cabal operating as a global government; the left saw an unaccountable rich man’s club, promoting free markets to the exclusion of all else. Senior’s favourite grandson was accused of being the plotter in chief – and he positively revelled in the charges.

“Some even believe [the Rockefellers] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterising my family and me as ‘internationalists’ conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I’m proud of it.”

But the globetrotting chumminess had its downside. David Rockefeller, it was said, never met a dictator he disliked.

More specifically, he worked with his friend Henry Kissinger to persuade President Carter to allow another friend, the deposed Shah of Iran, into the US in 1979 to be treated for cancer.

The result was the Tehran embassy hostage-taking and a rupture with Iran that endures to this day.

Most fascinating perhaps is David’s relationship with the domineering Nelson. His elder sibling was tempestuous, ferociously ambitious and a compulsive womaniser. As a child, David was reserved and solitary, with an passion for collecting beetles.

As an adult, he was suave and non-confrontational, a man who loathed scenes above all else. Not surprisingly, the pair grew apart, especially after Nelson’s divorce and remarriage to his mistress Happy Murphy in 1963, a scandal that may have scuppered his presidential aspirations.

Gradually, starting even before Nelson’s death, David became the family head, his image further burnished by philanthropy: over his life, he is reckoned to have given away $900m, including $79m last year alone. In 2002, he became the first Rockfeller to write an autobiography, entitled, simply, Memoirs.

Ultimately, David Rockefeller is a reminder of how even the mightiest dynasties fade. Before the Kennedys, the Rockefellers were America’s unofficial royal family.

But the last Rockefeller to hold public office, David’s nephew Jay, retired last year from his Senate seat in West Virginia. The Kennedys are increasingly history, and, one day, the Bushes and Clintons will be as well.

The younger Rockefellers have gone their own way. Most have to make their own living; some have even changed their names. Being a Rockefeller ain’t what it used to be.

Their political relevance, however, persists. David, like Nelson, was a “Rockefeller Republican”, a well-born moderate endowed with a deep sense of noblesse oblige.

If the GOP is to recapture the White House in 2016, a dash of inclusive Rockefeller Republicanism is essential. And nothing, surely, would more delight the oldest billionaire on earth.

NO COPYRIGHT TROLLS, YOUR EVIDENCE ISN’T FLAWLESS

OPINION

If you get a letter through the post accusing you of Internet piracy, you must be guilty. That’s the message from most copyright trolls and infuriatingly, even some ‘neutral’ lawyers commenting on these cases. But while it might seem daunting, putting up a fight is not only the right thing to do, but can also cause claimants to back off.

xmastrollEarlier this month TF broke the news that Sky Broadband in the UK were sending letters out to some of their customers, warning them they’re about to be accused of downloading and sharing movies without permission.

When they arrive the threats will come from Golden Eye International (GEIL), the company behind the ‘Ben Dover’ porn brand that has already targeted hundreds of people with allegations of Internet piracy.

“It’s likely that Golden Eye International will contact you directly and may ask you to pay them compensation,” the ISP warned.

In fact, GEIL will definitely ask for money, largely based on their insistence that the evidence they hold is absolutely irrefutable. It’s the same tune they’ve been singing for years now, without ever venturing to back up their claims in court. Sadly, other legal professionals are happy to sing along with them.

“Don’t do anything illegal and you won’t get a letter,” intellectual property specialist Iain Connor told The Guardian last week.

“Golden Eye will only have gotten details of people that they can prove downloaded content and so whether the ‘invoice’ demand is reasonable will depend on how much they downloaded that infringed copyright material.”

Quite aside from the fact that none of these cases are about downloading copyrighted material (they’re about uploading), one has to presume that Connor isn’t personally familiar with details of these cases otherwise he would’ve declared that interest. Secondly, he is absolutely wrong.

Companies like GEIL sometimes get it wrong, the anti-piracy trackers they use get things wrong, and ISPs get things wrong too. An IP address is NOT a person but innocent parties have to go to huge lengths to prove that. IT worker Harri Salminen did just that and this week finally managed to publicly clear his family’s name.

It started two years ago when his wife – the Internet account payer – was accused by an anti-piracy outfit (unconnected to GEIL) of pirating on a massive scale.

“They claimed that thousands of music tracks had been illegally distributed from our Internet connection,” Salminen told local media.

“The letter came addressed to my wife and she became very anxious, since she didn’t understand what this was all about. According to the letter, the matter was going to the court and we were advised to make contact to agree on compensation.”

Sound familiar? Read on.

The Salminen family has two children so took time to ensure they hadn’t uploaded anything illegally. Harri Salminen, who works in the IT industry, established that they had not, so began to conduct his own investigation. Faced with similar “irrefutable” IP address-based evidence to that presented in all of these ‘troll’ cases, what could’ve possibly gone wrong?

Attached to the letter of claim was a page from Salminen’s ISP which detailed the name of his wife, the IP address from where the piracy took place, and a date of infringement. This kind of attachment is common in such cases and allows trolls to imply that their evidence is somehow endorsed by their target’s ISP.

Then Salminen struck gold. On the day that the alleged infringement took place the IT worker was operating from home while logged into his company’s computer systems. Knowing that his company keeps logs of the IP addresses accessing the system, Salminen knew he could prove which IP address he’d been using on the day.

“I looked into my employer’s system logs for IP-addresses over several weeks and I was able to show that our home connection’s IP address at the time of the alleged act was quite different from the IP address mentioned in the letter,” he explained.

So what caused Salminen’s household to be wrongly identified? Well, showing how things can go wrong at any point, it appears that there was some kind of screw-up between the anti-piracy company and Salminen’s ISP.

Instead of identifying the people who had the IP address at the time of the actual offense, the ISP looked up the people using the address when the inquiry came in.

“The person under employment of the ISP inputs a date, time, and IP-address to the system based on a court order,” anti-piracy group TTVK now explains.

“And of course, when a human is doing something, there is always a possibility for an error. But even one error is too much.”

Saliminen says that it was only his expertise in IT that saved him from having to battle it out in court, even though his family was entirely innocent. Sadly, those about to be accused by Golden Eye probably won’t have access to similar resources.

“We have only written to those account holders for whom we have evidence of copyright infringement,” Golden Eye’s Julian Becker said confidently last week.

Trouble is, Golden Eye only has an IP address and the name of the account holder. They have no evidence that person is the actual infringer, even presuming there hasn’t been a screw-up like the one detailed above.

“We have written to account holders accusing them of copyright infringement, even though it’s entirely possible they personally did nothing wrong and shouldn’t have to pay us a penny,” is perhaps what he should’ve said.

But that’s not only way too frank but a sure-fire way of punching a huge hole in GEIL’s bottom line. And for a troll like GEIL, that would be a disaster.