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NSA Deleted Surveillance Data it Pledged to Preserve 

The agency tells a federal judge that it is investigating and ‘sincerely regrets its failure.’

The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.

Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms. President Donald Trump signed that measure into law Friday.

Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.

However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

“The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data,” NSA’s deputy director of capabilities, identified publicly as “Elizabeth B.,” wrote in a declaration filed in October. “NSA senior management is fully aware of this failure, and the Agency is committed to taking swift action to respond to the loss of this data.”

In the update Thursday, another NSA official said the data were deleted during a broad, housecleaning effort aimed at making space for incoming information. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘There Are More Than Two Genders,’ Tortured Employee Forced To Say In Darkened Room At Google Headquarters

1984-google.jpg

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—In a darkened room labeled “101” deep within Google’s Mountain View headquarters, an outed conservative employee was forced to say there are more than two genders after a long period of torture.

The man was tortured for hours, arguing the objective reality of two genders, being told he was “mentally deranged” and suffering from “a defective worldview” before finally giving in.

“Do you remember writing in an email that there are only two genders?” he was asked while strapped to a table. “What if Google says there are three?”

“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two genders are two genders!” the man cried through tears as his torturer, a Google project lead, held up a picture of a man and a woman, according to surveillance footage.

“Sometimes. Sometimes there are two. Sometimes there are three. Sometimes there are any number of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane,” the project lead replied coldly before administering another round of electric shocks into the man’s brains. Read the rest of this entry »


Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: When Facebook’s Success Is Bad for Society 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with entrepreneurs and innovators at a round-table discussion in St. Louis on Nov. 9.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with entrepreneurs and innovators at a round-table discussion in St. Louis on Nov. 9. Photo: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Facebook’s chief has signaled he will do what it takes to curb the social network’s negative effects—but how far will he go?

reports: When scientists started linking cigarettes to cancer, the tobacco industry silenced them—only acknowledging the extent of the truth decades later, under legal duress.

Imagine if, instead, they had given these researchers license to publish papers, or even taken the information to heart and crippled their own moneymaking machines for the good of their addicted users.

No one has accused Facebook FB 1.37% of causing cancer, but Mark Zuckerberg now stands at a similar crossroads.

In the face of pressure brought by a growing roster of Facebook investors and former executives, many of whom have publicly stated that Facebook is both psychologically addictive and harmful to democracy, the Facebook founder and chief executive has pledged to “fix” Facebook by doing several things, including “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

Mr. Zuckerberg has also recently told investors he wants his company “to encourage meaningful social interactions,” adding that “time spent is not a goal by itself.”

Facebook researchers have acknowledged that while direct sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely scrolling through others’ updates makes people unhappy.

Facebook researchers have acknowledged that while direct sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely scrolling through others’ updates makes people unhappy. Photo: ISTOCK

So here’s the multibillion-dollar question: Is he willing to sacrifice revenue for the well-being of Facebook’s two-billion-plus users?

Mr. Zuckerberg has already said the company will hire so many content moderators to deal with fake news and Russian interference that it will hurt profit, but whether he will go further and change the basic fabric of Facebook’s algorithms in the name of users’ mental health, he has yet to say.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Clearly, Facebook, a company Mr. Zuckerberg started when he was in college, has changed so much that even its creator is playing catch-up to the reality of its globe-spanning power.

In June, he changed the company’s mission from “connecting” the world to bringing the world closer together. He said he used to think giving people a voice would make the world better on its own, “but our society is still divided. Now I believe we have a responsibility to do even more.”

In December, Facebook researchers surveyed the scientific literature and their own work and publicly acknowledged that while direct communication and sharing between individuals and small groups on Facebook can have positive effects, merely lurking and scrolling through others’ status updates makes people unhappy. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Heather Mac Donald: How Much More Delusional Can University Students Get? 

Heather Lynn Mac Donald (born 1956) is an American political commentator, essayist, attorney and journalist. She is described as a secular conservative. She has advocated positions on numerous subjects including victimization, philanthropy, immigration reform and crime prevention. She is a Thomas W. Smith Fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

In this clip, she talks about delusional university students who see a threat in anything even though they are the most privileged people. Until this victimhood complex stops, there can be no win for free speech.


NYT Plays Defense For Iranian Mullahs: Demonstrators ‘Ignored Calls For Calm,’ Defied ‘Moderate’ Iranian Leadership

ben.jpgBen Shapiro writes: On Monday, The New York Times ran the latest in a series of despicable pieces dedicated to making excuses for the tyrannical Islamist Iranian despotism. Here’s their tweet on the regime’s killing of dissidents:

Yes, it’s the fault of the demonstrators, who have somehow merely refused to heed the decent calls for calm from the Iranian mullahs. Oddly, The New York Times never has such words for Palestinian rioters who throw rocks at Israeli troops at the behest of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. When that happens, it’s Trump’s fault or the Jews’ fault. Somebody else’s fault, anyway.

But when it’s democracy-seeking Iranians, then they’re the problem.

The piece itself, by Thomas Erdbrink, is a disaster area. It contains lines like this one:

Despite Mr. Rouhani’s diplomatic language, it was clear the demonstrators would be given no leeway…Mr. Rouhani has urged demonstrators to avoid violence but defended their right to protest. He did so again on Monday on Twitter.

Rouhani is a tool of the regime, of course, and a radical Islamist to boot, as well as a Holocaust denier. But according to the Times, he’s a moderate:

This time, it is the failure of President Rouhani, a moderate, to deliver greater political changes and economic opportunity, despite the lifting of some of the sanctions against Iran as part of the nuclear deal. Young people are especially angry. The average age of those arrested is under 25, one official said.

The New York Times' editorial page is not exactly beloved by staffers, according to a New York Observer report. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

And the protests are about economics, not about the repressive regime. Of course, the regime has spent billions of dollars on terrorism abroad, including the maximization of its bloodshed in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. But it’s just that the Iranian government hasn’t redistributed the oil wealth enough. The Iranians probably just need Bernie Sanders or something. Read the rest of this entry »


Sohrab Ahmari: Iranians Shatter a New York Times Myth

The people haven’t closed ranks behind the regime.

“After years of cynicism, sneering or simply tuning out all things political,” wrote Erdbrink, “Iran’s urban middle classes have been swept up in a wave of nationalist fervor.” He went on: “Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted.”

nyt-newyorktimes-panic

Erdbrink’s argument echoed rhetoric from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Responding to October’s announcement of new U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Zarif tweeted: “Today, Iranians–boys, girls, men, women–are ALL IRGC.”

Or not.

Read the rest of this entry »


Josh Meyer Gets an Echo Chamber Beat-Down

President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Politico reporter is punished for raising the curtain on Obama’s Hezbollah policy.

Lee Smith reports: A week after Josh Meyer’s Politico expose, “The Secret Backstory Of How Obama Let Hezbollah Off the Hook,” former Obama officials are still berating Meyer for his 13,000-word article detailing how the Obama administration killed a nearly decade-long DEA effort to stem a global Hezbollah cocaine-smuggling-and-organized-crime ring to help secure its nuclear deal with Iran. “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” former Defense Department analyst David Asher explained in the article. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

Asher helped establish and oversee the project, codenamed Cassandra, that looked into Hezbollah’s wide-range of illicit activities across the globe, including weapons procurement, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Senior Obama officials, according to Asher, ignored the legal and financial instruments that he and others had provided to target a terrorist organization with American blood on its hands and was still plotting against the United States.

Obama Big brother

In response, a Twitter mob of mid-level bureaucrats and former intelligence officersorchestrated in the usual fashion attacked Asher in tandem with the media echo chamber used to sell the Iran Deal, with former political operatives from the Obama White House supplying the usual talking points to their hatchet-men. Meyer’s “on the record sources have undisclosed anti-Iran deal bias,” tweeted former Obama speechwriter Tommy Vietor, who has remade himself as a podcast host. Meyer’s “entire piece,” tweeted Obama lieutenant and former CIA officer Ned Price, “is based on pure speculation by these ‘1 or 2 sources’ w undisclosed anti-Iran deal bias.”

trump-iran

The catchphrase, “undisclosed anti-Iran deal bias,” is an extended replay version of the catchy slogans Team Obama used to market the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Opponents and critics of the nuclear deal were “warmongers” beholden to “donors” with “agendas” whose concerns were shaped by their loyalties not to America but rather to the Jewish state. Now, the echo chamber insisted, Meyer’s sources aren’t to be trusted because they were against the Iran deal, or have associated with think tanks that opposed the Iran Deal—which means that they are secret neocon slaves of Israel, of course. Read the rest of this entry »


BUSTED! YourNewsWire.com Propaganda: Did George Soros Suffer a ‘Massive Heart Attack’ on Christmas Eve?

Reports that the Hungarian-American billionaire experienced a life-threatening cardiac condition just before Christmas 2017 are fake news.

CLAIM

George Soros experienced a life-threatening cardiac condition just before Christmas 2017.

RATING

ORIGIN

On 25 December 2017, frequent offender YourNewsWire.com reported that Hungarian-American business magnate George Soros had suffered a heart attack in Hungary on Christmas Eve and underwent triple coronary artery bypass surgery soon afterward:

George Soros suffered a “massive heart attack” while inspecting a new faculty building at his private university in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday morning, according to Hungarian reports.

Soros had been complaining of “severe indigestion” and “foggy thinking” in the early hours of the day, according to reports, and began to feel unwell while meeting staff in the new faculty building, announcing that “the hand of God has seized me by the neck.”

Dismissing suggestions he was reacting badly to his traditional Christmas Eve lunchtime meal, Soros staggered outside in search of fresh air, before collapsing just outside the gymnasium of the Central European University.

The globalist billionaire, who recently donated $18 billion to international liberal causes, collapsed against a wall, before slumping to the ground where he was found “lying on his side, whimpering softly.”

“Quick-thinking actions” by “trained gymnasium staff” saved Soros’s life and “expert CPR” helped the 87-year-old billionaire survive and avoid brain damage, according to reports in Hungary’s liberal media.

After 15 minutes of CPR the paramedics arrived and took over. Soros was given the defibrillator three times and they managed to restart his heart and take him to a private residence where he where he underwent triple coronary artery bypass surgery.

This report is false. Read the rest of this entry »


Iran Deal & Project Cassandra: Iran Echo Chamber Smears Politico Reporter 

Josh Meyer is not an ideologue, not a partisan, not a quack.

Matthew Continetti writes: ;Nothing has been more tedious over the last year than the constant reminders that good journalism is “now more important than ever.” The implication, of course, is that solid, groundbreaking reporting was not as essential so long as a liberal Democrat was in power. I’ve long assumed that the factotums mouthing such clichés lack the self-awareness to understand the true import of their words. But maybe I’ve been wrong. Recent days brought evidence that, no, liberals really mean it: The only meaningful investigative work is that which reflects poorly on Republicans.

“Meyer points to congressional testimony from former Treasury official Katherine Bauer, who said last February, ‘These investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.'”

Earlier this week, for example, Politico Magazine published a story by Josh Meyer headlined “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” This epic and copiously sourced piece relates how, “in its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it [Hezbollah, not the Obama administration] was funneling cocaine into the United States.”

“President Obama, in other words, slow-walked counter-narcotics efforts for the inane ‘greater good’ of paying Iran billions to pretend to shut down its nuclear program for ten years. This is the very definition of ‘stupid stuff.'”

The law-enforcement program in question is called Project Cassandra, which for eight years “used wiretaps, undercover operations, and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.”

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

However, as investigators came closer to unraveling the globe-spanning conspiracy, “the Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force.” Linger over that last item for a second.

“Meyer is not an ideologue, not a partisan, not a quack. He worked for the Los Angeles Times, for NBC News, and for the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative before joining Politico as a senior investigative reporter. His Twitter feed contains plenty of criticisms of President Trump and congressional Republicans. And his story is solid.”

Meyer cites “dozens” of interviews and documents as evidence. He quotes a veteran U.S. intelligence operative — the sort of guy whose every utterance is anonymously paraded in the newspapers and magazines so long as it’s anti-Trump — who says, “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision.” And the reason for this systematic decision, presumably, was to make Hezbollah’s Iranian backers more willing to deal with the Obama administration on nukes.

“He explores different angles and gives his subjects fair comment. He’s produced a classic example of the good journalism that our betters tell us we need more than ever. Except our betters don’t like it, not one bit, because it reflects poorly on the most significant – yet dubious and controversial – achievement of Barack Obama’s second term.”

Meyer points to congressional testimony from former Treasury official Katherine Bauer, who said last February, “These investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.” President Obama, in other words, slow-walked counter-narcotics efforts for the inane “greater good” of paying Iran billions to pretend to shut down its nuclear program for ten years. This is the very definition of “stupid stuff.”

“‘Non-fact based anti-Iran Deal propaganda,’ sneers former deputy national security adviser and creative-writing expert Ben Rhodes.”

Meyer is not an ideologue, not a partisan, not a quack. He worked for the Los Angeles Times, for NBC News, and for the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative before joining Politico as a senior investigative reporter. His Twitter feed contains plenty of criticisms of President Trump and congressional Republicans. And his story is solid. He explores different angles and gives his subjects fair comment. He’s produced a classic example of the good journalism that our betters tell us we need more than ever. Read the rest of this entry »


Sessions Orders Dept of Justice to Review Obama Admin’s Hinky Hezbollah Pass

Project Cassandra leaders, who were working out of a DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, Obama Justice and Treasury Department officials delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

Alex Pappas reports: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is launching a review of a law enforcement initiative called Project Cassandra after an investigative report was published this week claiming the Obama administration gave a free pass to Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations to help ensure the Iran nuclear deal would stay on track.

The Justice Department said in a statement to Fox News that Sessions on Friday directed a review of prior Drug Enforcement Administration investigations “to evaluate allegations that certain matters were not properly prosecuted and to ensure all matters are appropriately handled.”

“While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans,” Sessions said in a written statement. “We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations.”

According to a bombshell exposé in Politico on Sunday, an elaborate campaign led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, known as Project Cassandra, targeted the Lebanese militant group’s criminal activities.

“We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations.”

– Attorney General Jeff Sessions

But when Project Cassandra leaders, who were working out of a DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, Obama Justice and Treasury Department officials delayed, hindered or rejected their requests, according to Politico. Read the rest of this entry »


A Deafening Media Silence on the Obama-Hezbollah Scandal

Now swap out “Trump” for “Obama” and “Russia” for “Iran” and imagine the eruption these revelations would generate. Because, by any conceivable journalistic standard, this scandal should’ve triggered widespread coverage and been plastered on front pages across the country. By any historic standard, the scandal should elicit outrage regarding the corrosion of governing norms from pundits and editorial boards.

Yet, as it turns out, there’s an exceptionally good chance most of your neighbors and colleagues haven’t heard anything about it.

Days after the news broke, in fact, neither NBC News, ABC News nor CBS News — whose shows can boast a collective 20 million viewers — had been able to find the time to relay the story to its sizeable audiences. Other than Fox News, cable news largely ignored the revelations, as well.

Most major newspapers, which have been sanctimoniously patting themselves on the back for the past year, couldn’t shoehorn into their pages a story about potential collusion between the former president and a terror-supporting state. Read the rest of this entry »


NYT Only Finds the FBI Texts Newsworthy in that Republicans are ‘Seizing’ On Them

The New York Times has already moved on to the ‘Republicans pounce’ portion of the news cycle.

Becket Adams writes: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is facing a brewing scandal involving hyper-partisan texts written by his former team members, and the New York Times has already moved on to the “Republicans pounce” portion of the news cycle.

Because that’s often the modus operandi for these sorts of things.

Peter Strzok, who specializes in Russian counterintelligence, was removed from Mueller’s team this July. The decision to take Strzok off the Russia investigation came after the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered he had sent and received dozens of anti-Trump texts between August 2015 and 2016 from Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom Strzok was having an affair. Page was also on Mueller’s team, but only briefly. She returned to the FBI before the special counsel was made aware of the texts.

There’s really no getting around it: The texts are extremely partisan.

“I can not believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president,” Page wrote in one note.

Strzok wrote in another note, “God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0.”

“And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page wrote in another text. “I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.” Read the rest of this entry »


Why IS That? The New York Times Keeps Whitewashing Communism’s Crimes 

Stalin-NYT

Its ‘Red Century’ series portrays communism as a noble cause.

 writes: The Trump administration marked this week’s 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution by declaring a National Day for the Victims of Communism. The New York Times marked the same anniversary in a different way: by running a series of articles extolling the virtues of communism.

The irony of the series’ title, “Red Century,” seems lost on the Times’s editors. The 20th century was “red” indeed — red with the blood of communism’s victims. The death toll of communism, cited in “The Black Book of Communism,” is simply staggering: In the USSR, nearly 20 million dead; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; Cambodia, 2 million; Eastern Europe, 1 million; Africa, 1.7 million; Afghanistan, 1.5 million; North Korea: 2 million (and counting). In all, Communist regimes killed some 100 million people — roughly four times the number killed by the Nazis — making communism the most murderous ideology in human history.

Never mind all that. University of Pennsylvania professor Kristen R. Ghodsee writes that Communists had better sex: “Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women . . . [who] had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.” She has tough words for Joseph Stalin because he “reversed much of the Soviet Union’s early progress in women’s rights — outlawing abortion and promoting the nuclear family.” Yes, that was Stalin’s crime. Not the purges, not the gulag, but promoting the nuclear family.

In “How Did Women Fare in China’s Communist Revolution?” Helen Gao recalls her grandmother “talking with joyous peasants from the newly collectivized countryside” and writes that “for all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.” Mao’s revolution killed tens of millions of Chinese — not counting the millions killed under China’s brutal “One Child” policy, which led to widespread female infanticide. Those Chinese girls never got a chance to dream at all.

In “Lenin’s Eco-Warriors,” Yale lecturer Fred Strebeigh writes that Lenin was “a longtime enthusiast for hiking and camping” who turned Russia into “a global pioneer in conservation.” He fails to mention that Lenin was also a mass murderer who executed more of his political opponents in the first four months of his rule than the czars had in the entire previous century. In one telegram, reproduced in “The Black Book of Communism,” Lenin orders the Cheka (a predecessor of the KGB) to “Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers.” (The telegram concludes with an eerie “P.S. Find tougher people.”) Maybe he was camping when he wrote it.

Berkeley professor Yuri Slezkine explains “How to Parent Like a Bolshevik,” noting that “At home, the children of the Bolsheviks read what they called the ‘treasures of world literature,’ with an emphasis on the Golden Ages analogous to their own” and that “Soviet readers were expected to learn from Dante, Shakespeare and Cervantes.” He does not say whether they were also expected to learn from Orwell. Read the rest of this entry »


GLOBAL PANIC: Like Y2K, the Net Neutrality Crisis is Way Overhyped

e3d2eb04-c6d3-4a5c-9edb-10911082b6cf.jpg

As the Federal Communications Commission nears a fateful decision on network neutrality, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Y2K all over again.

You may remember Dec. 31, 1999. That’s the last time the Internet was expected to die, because millions of computers were going to crash when their internal clocks failed to turn over to the year 2000. I sat in the Globe’s newsroom, waiting for the end. Nothing happened. It was quite a letdown.

Now here comes another “apocalypse.” On Dec 14, the FCC is expected to abandon the Obama administration’s policy on so-called Net neutrality, in which the government forces Internet providers to treat all data equally. Activists say it’s the end of the Internet as we know it, with giant Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T free to block or slow down access to key online services unless they’re paid extra to let the data flow.

But I’m betting hardly anything will change. Not the day after Dec. 14, the month after, or the year after.

An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.

I’m as subject to panic as the next guy, but I can’t see much reason to freak out over the supposed death of Net neutrality.

I’m on board with the principle that Internet carriers should not be allowed to block certain Internet services or deliberately slow them down to make them less accessible. Many activists go further and reject “paid prioritization,” or giving superior “fast lane” service to consumers willing to pay extra.

Serious breaches of Net neutrality are pretty hard to find. An activist group called Free Press published a “greatest hits” list of alleged violations. They found 12. Oops . . . make that 10. In two decades of widespread Internet use in America, they couldn’t find even a dozen significant violations, so Free Press padded the list with two cases from outside the United States. Even the remaining 10 are questionable cases that may have been driven by network security or traffic management disputes, rather than by efforts to stamp out rivals.

Still, the Net neutrality lobby, which includes massive users of Internet services such as Google and Netflix, wanted tougher regulatory protection. They got it in 2015, when the FCC decided to regulate the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Some called it a life preserver for Internet freedom; I call it regulatory overkill on a massive scale. Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a staunch supporter of the Title II approach, warned in 2015 that a portion of the plan “sounds like a recipe for overreach and confusion.” Read the rest of this entry »


Survey: One in Two U.S. Millennials Would Rather Live in a Socialist or Communist Country

Anti-aircraft missiles on parade as they are led past Lenin's Tomb en route to the saluting base in Red Square to celebrate the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Anti-aircraft missiles on parade as they are led past Lenin’s Tomb en route to the saluting base in Red Square to celebrate the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Getty.

This survery claims one in two U.S. millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.

Millennials: Communism Sounds Pretty Chill!

 writes:

… According to the latest survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit, one in two U.S. millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.

What’s more, 22% of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and a surprising number see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.”

Really, that’s what the numbers show.

“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the organization. “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”

But do they even know what it is?

The survey, which was conducted by research and data firm YouGov, found that millennials are the least knowledgable generation on the subject, with 71% failing to identify the proper definition of communism.

Smith explained that this “troubling turn” highlights pervasive historical illiteracy across the country and “the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.” Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share

Emily Ekins reports: The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58%

of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

[Full survey results and report found here.]

It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others.

 [Also see – Free Speech in the Good War]

On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

  • 51% of staunch liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.

Americans also can’t agree what speech is hateful, offensive, or simply a political opinion:

  • 59% of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder; only 17% of conservatives agree.
  • 39% of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist; only 17% of liberals agree.
  • 80% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported; only 36% of conservatives agree.
  • 87% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles, while 47% of conservatives agree.
  • 90% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47% of conservatives agree.

Americans Oppose Hate Speech Bans, But Say Hate Speech is Morally Unacceptable

Although Americans oppose (59%) outright bans on public hate speech, that doesn’t mean they think hate speech is acceptable. Read the rest of this entry »


Ted Cruz & Patrick Leahy slam Tim Cook for removing VPN apps from Chinese App Store

Chance Miller reports: Earlier this year, Apple was forced to remove several VPN apps from the App Store in China due to regulatory reasons. At the time, Tim Cook explained that he would rather not remove them, but was forced to comply.

Now, United States Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy are pressing Apple for more information…

In a letter sent to Tim Cook, Cruz and Leahy say Apple may be “enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the Internet,” noting that China has an “abysmal human rights record.”

Specifically, Cruz and Leahy pointed to Cook’s acceptance of the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award. While receiving the award, Cook remarked that Apple “enables people around the world to speak up.” The senators, however, argue that Apple’s removal of VPN apps in China do the exact opposite of that:

While Apple’s many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in China to evade the Great Firewall and access the Internet privately does not enable people in China to “speak up.” To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the Chinese governments, it inhibits free expression for users across China, particularly in light of the Cyberspace Administration of China’s new regulations targeting online anonymity.

The two senators also point to Apple’s past concessions to the Chinese government: removing the New York Times from the App Store and shutting down the iBooks Store and iTunes Movies.

Cook and Leahy outline a list of questions they want Cook to answer. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Senior Homepage Editor Reveals Biased Political Agenda at New York Times

Being a Journalist is Hard!

  • New York Times Senior Home Page Editor, Des Shoe, Admits Company Culture of Blatant Bias at NYT is “widely understood to be liberal-leaning…”
  • NYT Journalists: “if we write about him [Trump], and how insanely crazy he is…maybe people will read it and be like…we shouldn’t vote for him.”
  • Calls Trump an “oblivious idiot” and Pence “f***ing horrible” Because of Religious Views
  • Admits New York Times Report on “what the readers want”
  • “They call it the Trump bump” Says Shoe, Regarding the Influx of Subscribers Since Trump’s Presidency Began
  • Des Shoe: “The main objective is to grab subscribers. You do that any way that you can.”

(NEW YORK) – Project Veritas has released a video of the New York Times Homepage Editor Des Shoe, who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that the Times has a liberal bias and attacking President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. This is part three of their American Pravda NYT investigation.

When confronted with the notion that during the election, The Times‘ front page, for which she is responsible, was completely focused around Trump. She tells the undercover journalist that NYT reporters tried to influence the election with their reporting:

“I think one of the things that maybe journalists were thinking about is like…Oh, if we write about him, about how insanely crazy he is and how ludicrous his policies are, then maybe people will read it and be like, oh wow, we shouldn’t vote for him.”

She admits that the New York Times has a clearly defined liberal-leaning bias: “The New York Times is not…I mean, it’s widely understood to be liberal-leaning. But, American newspapers are not supposed to claim a bias, they’re supposed to be objective.”

“So the…ahh, but the New York Times is not left?” the Project Veritas journalist asked. Shoe clarified, “I’m not saying that they’re not. I’m saying it’s widely, widely understood to be left-leaning.”

A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office in New York

She also tells the undercover journalist that reporting objectively is simply too difficult for the Times: “Our main stories are supposed to be objective. It’s very difficult in this day and age to do that.”

Shoe blames the business model for the New York Times‘ lack of fact-based reporting:

“This is what I was trying to say is like the last couple years it’s changed for the bad…

“I think the business model itself is just… there’s so much panic about what to do that, you know, what else is a company supposed to do?

“That’s the conundrum…is that a business model, in this time is built on what the readers want.”

The New York Times senior homepage editor goes on to explain the positive effect of Trump’s victory: “Since the election, like you know…Speaking on, you know, for The New York Times, our subscriptions have sky-rocketed since…I mean, they call it the Trump bump.”

This sentiment was echoed by Nick Dudich, who was featured in American Pravda Part 1 and Part 2. He explains, “I mean honestly, Trump has driven us more business than anybody else. Anytime he says failing, we add a boost of subscribers.”

NYT-swearing

The New York Times responded to Part I in a statement, calling Dudich “a recent hire in a junior position.” Later, Executive Editor of the NYT Dean Baquet described Dudich as “a kid…who just started his career in journalism.” The same cannot be said for Ms. Shoe, a senior-level employee who has been with The Times since January of 2009.

Des Shoe claims that the New York Times has to chase clicks in the current media environment, “The Washington Post, people who have paywalls up…The main objective is to grab subscribers. You do that any way that you can.”

When told the New York Times seems more like a ‘click-paper’, Shoe replies:

“I mean, you’re not wrong. Like, I would love to be able to speak my mind completely about…If I ever leave the Times I’ll go back to you guys and tell you exactly what I think. But, I mean, there’s stuff like…And this is what I was trying to say is like the last couple years it’s changed for the bad.”

Shoe finally goes on to explain her personal biases against President Trump, “I feel like Trump is…is just a…is sort of an idiot in a lot of ways. Just an oblivious idiot.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CNN Ends Segment After Panelist Says Boobs

Justin Caruso reports: CNN’s Brooke Baldwin ended a segment Friday after a panelist expressed his love for the “First Amendment and boobs.”

“I’m a first amendment absolutist and believe in two things completely — the First Amendment and boobs,” Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis said.

Baldwin asked the panelist what he meant, not sure if he said “boobs” or “booze.”

“You don’t love boobs, too?”

“I’m not talking about that on television because it’s irrelevant to the topic. It shouldn’t be brought up here,” former ESPN editor Keith Reed responded. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ben Shapiro: Venezeula Collapses, the Left Pretends it’s Never Heard of That Place 


What’s Killing Journalism?

The state of the Fourth Estate—and who can save it.

Brittany Karford Rogers writes: If hashtags had been a thing, these would have been some #FakeNews whoppers.

The 32 BC Mark Antony takedown: it began with a fake-news campaign masterminded by Octavian, complete with Tweet-like proclamations on ancient coins.

The Simon of Trent humdinger: in 1475 a prince-bishop in Italy set off a story that local Jews murdered missing 2-year-old Simon—and used his blood for rituals. Fifteen Jews burned at the stake.

The Benjamin Franklin special edition: he concocted an entire 1782 newspaper, peddling a fake story about Native Americans scalping 700 men, women, children, and infants.

In short, fake news is old news.

For all the handwringing over fake news today, BYU journalism professor Joel J. Campbell’s (BA ’87) response is more “meh.” It’s another punch for a profession that’s been in the ring for the better part of a decade. Trust in news media is at an all-time low. Revenue models are upended. Reporters are exhausted. Readers are fragmented. And that’s just a short list of jabs.

Looming larger in Campbell’s eyes are analytics-driven newsrooms and disenfranchised readers, who, flooded with content, are living in information silos or, worse, opting out altogether.

So how does one make sense of the crowded, increasingly polarized news landscape? And what’s left of journalism as we knew it?

[Read the full text here, at BYU Magazine]

BYU faculty and alumni practitioners—their collective résumés spanning Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN, the Atlantic, and more—have some ideas.

Before you throw your hands up, consider the forces at play, take heart in journalists’ earnest self-searching, and look in the mirror—because the finger pointing goes all the way around.

It’s worth asking, “Is journalism still doing its job?” But as our panel of experts chimes, there’s an equally important question: “Do the citizens of this country have the will to save it?”

A Happy Accident

Journalism has a lofty goal—one epitomized by the career of R. John Hughes.

The emeritus BYU professor won the Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for his coverage of an attempted communist coup and its bloody aftermath in Indonesia. Over his career as a writer for and then editor of the Christian Science Monitor, he covered revolutions and interviewed world leaders.

“Journalism was almost like a religion to me, to get the story, and get it right, to help evince change,” Hughes says. “It’s a kind of love affair for most journalists, shining light in dark corners.”

Journalists call themselves the watchdogs, the truth seekers. The press is dubbed the Fourth Estate after all, the final check on all three branches of government. Democracy requires informed citizens; the press make up the informants. “Democracy Dies in Darkness” goes the new Washington Post tagline.

That’s the why of modern journalism.

The how—being objective, non-partisan—“is rather a new phenomenon in the history of news,” says Campbell.

It has always depended on who’s paying.

Wealthy traders and merchants underwrote the first news in the Americas, and it was all route intel. In the colonial period political parties footed the bill for most papers—party organs that were far more partisan and acrimonious than what we cry foul at today. It wasn’t until the penny-press era—the 1830s on—that a new funding model developed: scale up the circulation, then sell readers’ attention to advertisers. That advertising revenue could bring the cost of the paper down to something many could afford.

Writing to a mass audience, publishers began to recognize there was a market for real, honest news that could cross political divides and speak with a relatively neutral voice. This paved the way for professional journalism standards. And for most of the 20th century, it made newsrooms the information power brokers.

Then the internet smashed the model.

“For the last decade, we have seen a steady erosion of the advertising economy for newspapers,” says Campbell. That’s the nice way of saying it. Revenue streams have been gutted.

Department stores and auto malls, the go-to advertisers, cut back on ads, facing their own disruptions: e-commerce competition and recession. Craigslist happened to the classifieds. And reader eyeballs, once concentrated among a few media outlets, are now diverted to Facebook, YouTube, and that thing you just Googled—and the bulk of advertising has followed them.

[Read the full story here, at BYU Magazine]

As they say in the industry, the digital transition traded print dollars for digital dimes and, in turn, digital dimes for mobile pennies.

One thing is certain: it’s a fascinating time to study the news. Alum Seth C. Lewis (BA ’02) holds the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media at the University of Oregon and is a leading scholar on the digital transformation of journalism.

“We’ve gone from media monopoly to media disruption and ubiquity,” says Lewis. And in ubiquity, no one gets a sizable piece of the economic pie.

Lewis suggests that maybe the last century of advertising-based news subsidy—which fostered these objective, non-partisan notions—“was just a happy accident. Maybe instead we’re returning to other forms of funding and thinking about the news.”

 

Illustration by Dan Page

Casualties of the Internet

The internet is not the first technology to shake up the news industry. It happened after radio. It happened after TV.

This shakeup, however, may have taken more casualties.

News staffs have been decimated. The journalists who still have jobs are stretched thin—while the internet demands more of them than ever. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] China’s VPN Crackdown: How are Beijing Students Coping?

Beijing has been increasingly clamping down on use of VPNs in recent weeks. This has prompted concerns among various groups that it will stifle academic research and international trade.


[VIDEO] ‘City of Ghosts’ Tells the Story of Citizen Journalists Fighting ISIS Propaganda 

The new documentary “City of Ghosts” highlights the citizen journalists behind the website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently as they risk their lives to document the atrocities in ISIS-controlled Syria.

The website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) publishes firsthand accounts of the war crimes of ISIS in often horrific detail. City of Ghosts, a new documentary by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, tells the story of the citizen journalists who risk their lives to tell the world about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State.

“After ISIS took over the city there really was not any information going in or any information going out,” explains Heineman. “There were no western journalists there. They would be killed instantly. So this group really provided a service to the world to help understand the atrocities that were being committed in their hometown, which just happened to be the capital of the Islamic State.”

Heineman and RBSS Co-founder Abdalaziz “Aziz” Alhamza sat down with Reason to discuss how these citizen journalists are risking their lives to counter ISIS propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson: Surveillance State, July 2, 2017 


DOXMAGEDDON: CNN Blackmails Reddit Creator for Forbidden Trump-Wrestling GIF

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Bradford Richardson reports: CNN has come under fire for suggesting it will publish the identity of a private citizen if he behaves in a way that displeases the network.

Andrew Kaczynski, senior editor of CNN’s KFile, discovered the identity of the Reddit user who made a short video of President Trump tackling a man with CNN’s logo superimposed on his face to the ground.

CNN is withholding the man’s identity “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again,” Mr. Kaczynski wrote in an article published Tuesday night.

“CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” he continued.

The video, taken from a 2007 World Wrestling Entertainment show in which Mr. Trump made an appearance, caused a firestorm when it was posted to Twitter by the president Sunday morning… (read more)

Source: Washington Times

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 reports: If you too guessed the Redditor who had boasted he originated the CNN-bashing GIF used by President Donald Trump suddenly apologized for same because he found out CNN knew who he was — congratulations!

And, if you also guessed “HanA**holeSolo” has pleaded with CNN not to reveal his identity because he’s scared for his personal safety, and because it would embarrass him to be outed as the person behind the GIF and various anti-Semitic and racist Reddit rants  – go to the head of the class.

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CNN reported Tuesday night it has agreed not to reveal the guy’s name, but reserves the right to do so should he ever repeat his “ugly behavior on social media.”

“HanA**holeSolo” initially boasted he originated the GIF behind Trump’s tweet in which Trump is seen pounding on the head of a man whose face has been swapped for the CNN logo.

HAS first shared the GIF last Wednesday; CNN reports it could find no earlier instance of the GIF that subsequently was edited to add sound before being tweeted by Trump on Sunday.

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After Trump’s tweet, “HanA**holeSolo” took a victory lap, via Reddit:

“Holy s—!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my s—post but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!”

CNN reports its KFile identified the man, using information he had posted on Reddit and Facebook. On Monday, KFile reached out to the man by email and phone, but he did not respond. Read the rest of this entry »


Chicago ‘Dyke March’ Bans Jewish Pride Flags: ‘They Made People Feel Unsafe’ 

Dyke March organizers removed participants waving Jewish Pride flags because they were ‘triggering’.

The Chicago-based LGBTQ newspaper Windy City Times quoted a Dyke March collective member as saying the rainbow flag with the Star of David in the middle “made people feel unsafe,” and that the march was “pro-Palestinian” and “anti-Zionist.”

The Chicago Dyke March is billed as an “anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience,” according to its Twitter account.

Laurel Grauer, a member of the Jewish LGBTQ organization A Wider Bridge, told the Windy City Times “it was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.”

“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Blockstack: A New Internet That Brings Privacy & Property Rights to Cyberspace


[VIDEO] Growing Number of College Students ‘Think Freedom is Not a Big Deal’

Sociologist Frank Furedi on how to bring liberalism back to campus.

& l: “For the first time, a growing number of young people actually think freedom isn’t a big deal,” says sociologist Frank Furedi, who’s an emeritus professor at the University of Kent and author of the new book, What Happened to the University: a sociological exploration of its infantilisation.51K9-kRaEEL._SL250_

[Order Frank Furedi’s book What’s Happened To The University?: A sociological exploration of its infantilisation from Amazon.com]

The university was once a place where students valued free speech and risk taking, but today “a very illiberal ethos has become institutionalized,” says Furedi. “In many respects, it’s easier to speak about controversial subjects outside the university…It’s a historic role reversal.” Read the rest of this entry »


Incitement to Violence 

The Left has raised America’s political temperature to the boiling point.

Seth Barron writes: Democrats may be horrified by today’s attempted massacre of the GOP House baseball team by an avowed progressive, but their incendiary demands for “massive resistance” since November have been an open plea for the escalation of words into violent action. The daily repetition that President Trump is an illegitimate usurper who stole the election through collusion with foreign powers has been a hypnotic incantation in search of an Oswald: a siren call for an assassin.

We don’t have to look too hard to find extremist rhetoric from influential people whose appeals for violence are only partially veiled. In March, former attorney general Loretta Lynch made a brief video in which she called for people “who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back” to follow the example of freedom fighters of the past. “They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.” The Senate Democrats shared Lynch’s call for street action leading to bloody sacrifice on their Facebook page.

At the Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration, Angela Davis’s appeal for militancy was met with cheers. “Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations,” announced Davis, who in 1970 bought the shotgun used two days later to murder a judge. “Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out,” she concluded. At the same event, pop legend Madonna spoke about her fantasies of “blowing up the White House.”

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Liberals frequently complain that conservatives disseminate propaganda to their secretly racist supporters via “dog whistle” tactics, which send the desired message in coded language or gestures. The same liberals have dispensed with high-frequency whistles in favor of a simpler message: “Treason!” Following the now-debunked February 14 New York Times report that Trump’s campaign had been in direct contact with Russian agents before the election, a late-night host commented, “It’s funny because it’s treason.” Comedian Rosie O’Donnell led an anti-Trump rally outside the White House, declaring, “He is going down and so will all of his administration. The charge is treason.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Five Clichés Used to Attack Free Speech 

 


The Authoritarian Media

The New York Times has crossed a moral line, writes James Taranto.

Jan. 11, 2011, James Taranto wrote: After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: “In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .,” the paper counseled.

Here’s how the sentence continued: “. . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”

The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s editorial:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of “political violence” is, quite simply, a lie. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mark Steyn: Left Wants to Denormalize, Dehumanize Opponents 


[VIDEO] Journalists Challenge Censorship in Venezuela With ‘El Bus TV’

To fight state media censorship in Venezuela, journalists are using cardboard television screens to present news reports on city busses. “El Bus TV” is aimed at providing news to people who lack access to the internet or social media.


Obama Admin Did Not Publicly Disclose Iran Cyber-Attack During ‘Side-Deal’ Nuclear Negotiations 

Timing of hack occurred within days of the nuclear deal overcoming opposition in Congress.

writes: State Department officials determined that Iran hacked their emails and social media accounts during a particularly sensitive week for the nuclear deal in the fall of 2015, according to multiple sources familiar with the details of the cyber attack.

The attack took place within days of the deal overcoming opposition in Congress in late September that year. That same week, Iranian officials and negotiators for the United States and other world powers were beginning the process of hashing out a series of agreements allowing Tehran to meet previously determined implementation deadlines.

Critics regard these agreements as “secret side deals” and “loopholes” initially disclosed only to Congress.

Sources familiar with the details of the attack said it sent shockwaves through the State Department and the private-contractor community working on Iran-related issues.

[Read the full text here, at Washington Free Beacon]

It is unclear whether top officials at the State Department negotiating the Iran deal knew about the hack or if their personal or professional email accounts were compromised. Sources familiar with the attack believed top officials at State were deeply concerned about the hack and that those senior leaders did not have any of their email or social media accounts compromised in this particular incident.

Wendy Sherman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for several years during the Obama administration and was the lead U.S. negotiator of the nuclear deal with Iran, could not be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for Albright Stonebridge LLC, where Sherman now serves as a senior counselor, said Tuesday that Sherman is “unavailable at this time and cannot be reached for comment.”

Asked about the September 2015 cyber-attack, a State Department spokesman said, “For security reasons we cannot confirm whether any hacking incident took place.”

At least four State Department officials in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and a senior State Department adviser on digital media and cyber-security were involved in trying to contain the hack, according to an email dated September 24, 2015, and multiple interviews with sources familiar with the attack.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]

The Obama administration kept quiet about the cyber-attack and never publicly acknowledged concerns the attack created at State, related agencies, and within the private contractor community that supports their work.

Critics of the nuclear deal said the Obama administration did not publicly disclose the cyber-attack’s impact out of fear it could undermine support right after the pact had overcome political opposition and cleared a critical Congressional hurdle.

The hacking of email addresses belonging to the State Department officials and outside contractors began three days after the congressional review period for the deal ended Sept. 17, according to sources familiar with the details of the attack and the internal State Department email.

In the week leading up to that deadline, Senate Democrats blocked several attempts to pass a GOP-led resolution to disapprove of the nuclear deal. The resolution of disapproval needed 60 votes to pass but the most it garnered was 58.

[Read more here, at Washington Free Beacon]

President Trump, during his trip to the Middle East in late May, talked tough against Iran and its illicit ballistic missile program but has so far left the nuclear deal in place. A Trump State Department review of the deal is nearing completion, the Free Beaconrecently reported, and some senior Trump administration officials are pushing for the public release of the so-called “secret side deals.”

State Department alerts outside contractors of cyber-attack

State Department officials in the Office of Iranian Affairs on Sept. 24, 2015 sent an email to dozens of outside contractors. The email alerted the contractors that a cyber-attack had occurred and urged them not to open any email from a group of five State Department officials that did not come directly from their official state.gov accounts. Read the rest of this entry »


Theresa May Wants to End ‘Safe Spaces’ for Terrorists on the Internet. What Does That Even Mean? 

In the wake of the U.K.’s most recent terrorist attacks, its prime minister is talking tough on Internet regulation, but what she’s suggesting is impractical.

Tragically, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the U.K. in less than three months’ time. After the second, in Manchester, May and others said they would look into finding ways to compel tech companies to put cryptographic “back doors” into their services, so that law enforcement agencies could more easily access suspects’ user data.

May repeated her stance in broaders terms Sunday, following new attacks in London. “The Internet, and the big companies” are providing “safe spaces” for extremism, she said, and new regulations are needed to “regulate cyberspace.” She offered no specifics, but her party’s line, just days from the June 8 national election, is clear: a country that already grants its government some of the most sweeping digital surveillance powers of any democracy needs more and tougher laws to prevent terrorism (see “New U.K. Surveillance Law Will Have Worldwide Implications”).

The trouble is, this kind of talk ignores how the Internet and modern consumer technology works. As Cory Doctorow points out in a detailed look at how you would actually go about creating services with cryptographic holes, the practicalities of such a demand render it ludicrous bordering on impossible. Even if all of the necessary state-mandated technical steps were taken by purveyors of commercial software and devices—like Google or Apple, say—anyone who wanted to could easily skirt their restrictions by running open-source versions of the software, or unlocked phones.

That isn’t to say that May and the Conservatives’ general idea that the government should be able to probe user data as part of an investigation should be dismissed out of hand. The balancing act between national security and digital privacy has become one of the central themes of our digital lives (see “What If Apple Is Wrong?”). And while there are advocates aplenty on both sides, simple answers are hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] May Day Reality Check: Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?


NYT Op-Ed: Free Speech ‘Parameters’ Must Be Redrawn To Protect The ‘Marginalized’

Amber Randall reports: A New York Times op-ed argues for a new understanding of free speech that takes into account the experiences of the more marginalized in society.

Ulrich Baer, the author and a New York University professor, writes Monday in favor of students who protest talks on campuses from more conservative voices like political scientist Charles Murray and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. These students, unlike “liberal free-speech advocates,” understand that a more complex definition of free speech is needed, Baer argues.

Traveling throughout the United States of the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville pondered the question of just how funny Americans were before deeming us decidedly unfunny.

“Universities invited speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good,” Baer writes. Read the rest of this entry »


Howard Dean: The Constitution Does Not Protect Hate Speech

JONATHAN TURLEY

We have been discussing how the left has fallen out of love with free speech and how free speech is now being treated not as the defining right of liberty but the very threat to liberty.  Indeed, the most existential threats to free speech around the world are now coming from the left, which has embraced speech codes and the criminalization of speech with a passion.  There are exceptions like Bernie Sanders who recently declared that Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at Berkeley — a position that I obviously have shared on this blog.   However, that principled position was countered by the most common response of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean who declared that hate speech is not protected by the Constitution.  He is obviously wrong but his inclination — even eagerness — to limit free speech is now a mainstream idea among liberals who once were…

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Censorship: New York Times Unwilling to Say ‘Female Genital Mutilation’

NYT Tiptoes Around Feelings Of People Who Mutilate Little Girls.

Amber Randall reports: Worried the term “female genital mutilation” might sharpen the divide between those who oppose brutally cutting away a little girl’s genitalia to deprive her of sexual pleasure and those who practice the “rite,” one New York Times editor instead refers to the ritual as “genital cutting.”

“There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm,” NYT science and health editor Celia Dugger explained Friday. She also said the widely used term (FGM) is “culturally loaded” in the explanation, which came as a result of inquiries from The Daily Caller News Foundation regarding a reporter’s decision to use the term “cutting” in a recent story about a doctor in Michigan.

YAAN - FEB28 - Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about her autobiography. tb (Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images) By: Tony Bock Collection: Toronto Star

YAAN – FEB28 – Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about her autobiography. tb (Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images) By: Tony Bock. Collection: Toronto Star

The doctor was allegedly caught mutilating innocent little girls as young as six and charged with a felony. Performed in American culture and subject to American laws, female genital mutilation carries a sentence of up to five years.

Dugger said she made the decision to ditch “mutilation” for “cutting” after traveling to sub-Saharan Africa for an immigration story in 1996. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Bury The Truth With Us’: Honest Advertising from the New York Times

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