International happenings in June


Editorial note: Schulte has been accused of owning child abuse images; however, the CIA has a strong incentive to falsely accuse him and frame up evidence.

A former CIA computer engineer has been indicted on charges he masterminded what appears to be the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency’s history.

Joshua Schulte, 29, was charged in a new grand jury indictment with providing WikiLeaks with a massive trove of U.S. government hacking tools that the online publisher posted in March 2017, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

Schulte was previously facing child pornography charges in federal court in New York, but the indictment broadens the case to accuse him of illegally gathering classified information, damaging CIA computers, lying to investigators and numerous other offenses.

In January, attorneys involved in the child porn case revealed in court that Schulte was the target of a major investigation into WikiLeaks’ release of a CIA collection known as “Vault 7.”

The Justice Department’s news release announcing Schulte’s indictment does not mention WikiLeaks by name, signaling that it has not been charged in the case. There was no mention of any other individuals being charged.

Attorneys for Schulte declined to comment.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/18/cia-wikileaks-secrets-classified-653264


On 13 June 2018, Scully was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of one count of human trafficking and five counts of rape by sexual assault of underage girls.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Scully


Israel’s deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers is “cruel and unlawful”, Amnesty International has said in a report calling for an end to the practice.

The study, published on Monday, says the African migrants are being sent to Rwanda and Uganda, which Israel has an agreement with.

It claims immigration officials routinely offer an ultimatum to asylum-seekers: to go back home, to leave voluntarily for Rwanda or Uganda, or to face indefinite detention in Israel.

One was allegedly told: “If you don’t leave…you will leave Israel in a coffin”.

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/israel-deportation-african-asylum-seekers-cruel-and-unlawful-amnesty-international-a8403501.html


Britain’s ‘worst ever’ child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED

SPECIAL SUNDAY MIRROR INVESTIGATION: Authorities failed to act over 40 years – despite repeated warnings to social workers – with up to 1,000 girls, some as young as 11, abused in Telford

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-worst-ever-child-grooming-12165527

 

 


The British government is “complicit in the violence” suffered by the Palestinians because it continues to support arms sales to Israel, a UK-based anti-poverty charity has said.

Over 120 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,800 injured by Israeli army fire since near-weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza border began on 30 March.

Britain abstained from a United Nations vote which condemned Israel’s “use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against the demonstrators.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/israel-war-crimes-palestine-uk-protests-war-on-want-a8401361.html


With the United Nations warning that millions of civilians could die from violence or starvation from the ongoing military siege of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, there is no other way to describe what is happening except as “genocide”.

The more than three-year war on Yemen waged by a Western-backed Saudi coalition has been arguably genocidal from the outset, with up to eight million people facing imminent starvation due to the years-long blockade on the Arabian country, as well as from indiscriminate air strikes.

But the latest offensive on the Red Sea city of Hodeida threatens to turn the world’s already worst humanitarian disaster into a mass extermination.

Hodeida is the entry point for 90 per cent of all food and medical aid into Yemen. If the city’s port stops functioning from the military offensive – as UN aid agencies are warning – then an entire country population of more than 20 million will, as a result, be on the brink of death.

The Saudi coalition which includes Emirati forces and foreign mercenaries as well as remnants from the previous regime (which the Western media mendaciously refer to as “government forces”) is fully backed by the US, Britain and France. This coalition says that by taking Hodeida it will hasten the defeat of Houthi rebels. But to use the cutting off of food and other vital aid to civilian populations as a weapon is a blatant war crime. It is absolutely inexcusable.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/06/18/western-media-whitewash-yemen-genocide.html


Commandos who conducted one of India’s most controversial military raids against a militant Sikh group were trained by Israeli Mossad agents, an Indian paper has reported.

Writing for India Today to mark the raid on one of the most sacred sites in the Sikh tradition, Prabhash K Dutta claims that the attack known as “Operation Blue Star” was conducted by Indian commandos trained by Israeli agents when India refused to have any diplomatic ties with Israel.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180606-israel-agents-trained-india-commandos-leading-sikh-temple-raid/

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Several US citizens have been evacuated from the US consulate in Guangzhou, China, after falling ill with various neurological symptoms from mysterious “sonic attacks” similar to incidents reported in Havana Cuba which left 20 State Department employees with serious injuries.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-06/americans-evacuate-us-consulate-china-after-debilitating-sonic-attacks

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http://resistir.info/livros/john_perkins_confessions_of_an_economic_hit_man.pdf

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The United States has been quietly funding and equipping elite paramilitary police units in El Salvador accused of extrajudicially murdering suspected gang members, according to a forthcoming United Nations report reviewed in advance by CNN.

Beginning with George W. Bush in 2003, successive US administrations have provided tens of millions of dollars in aid for Salvadoran military and police in support of the government’s “Mano Dura” (“Firm Hand”) security program, an aggressive campaign to combat out-of-control gang violence in a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates.

“Mano Dura” aid increased significantly during the Obama administration, which compared the effort to Plan Colombia, the decades-long anti-drug campaign in which billions of US aid dollars funded mafia-like army units that, along with allied paramilitary death squads, kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands of innocent civilians with impunity. As was the case with Plan Colombia, the new UN report will accuse Salvadoran security forces, in this case some of its elite police units, of “a pattern of behavior by security personnel amounting to extrajudicial executions” and a “cycle of impunity” in which such killings go unpunished.

One police unit, the Special Reaction Forces (FES), killed 43 suspected gang members during the first half of 2017, according to the UN report. While FES officers were executing suspects in the streets, the US government continued to fund and equip the unit. Washington’s total assistance increased from $67.9 million in 2016 to $72.7 million last year. The deportation of members of MS-13 – formed in Los Angeles by young Salvadoran refugees fleeing civil war in a homeland ruled by a US-backed military dictatorship – and other gangs has further exacerbated the crisis.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in San Salvador assured CNN that “the US government takes allegations of extrajudicial killings extremely seriously,” that it has “consistently expressed concerns” regarding human rights abuses and that it heavily vets units receiving aid. These assurances ring hollow to many Salvadorans who recall how the Ronald Reagan administration covered up horrific human rights violations in order to keep military aid flowing to the anti-communist military regime during the 1980s civil war.

https://original.antiwar.com/Brett_Wilkins/2018/06/05/the-salvador-option-the-us-is-once-again-supporting-death-squads-in-central-america/

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There are certain racist expressions that you’re not supposed to use, even in Israel. One of them is referring to Jews as a “race”. Even if you’re speaking favorably about Jews. But a rightwing lawmaker did that the other day.

“The whole Jewish race is the greatest human capital, and the smartest and the most understanding,” Miki Zohar said Wednesday. The member of Knesset for Likud was debating the Benjamin Netanyahu corruption scandals together with Haaretz journalist Dan Margalit, on the 103 FM radio station (owned by the centrist Maariv daily).

Here Miki Zohar went into unabashed race-supremacist talk about Jews. He literally referred to it as the Jewish race (not nation or people). The Hebrew term he used is “GEZA”. It’s the literal parallel of ‘race’ in English, no doubt there.

http://mondoweiss.net/2018/06/lawmaker-greatest-smartest/


Colorado- 49 Pedophiles Arrested in Nationwide Child Pornography Sting
Authorities in Colorado say that a stunning 49 pedophiles have now been apprehended by law enforcement agencies after a stunning 214 Investigations into a network of pedophilia that Detectives call a nationwide child pornography ring.

http://thegoldwater.com/news/28895-Colorado-49-Pedophiles-Arrested-in-Nationwide-Child-Pornography-Sting


The Court of Appeal has dismissed a challenge by a man accused of being the world’s biggest facilitator of child pornography aimed at halting his extradition to the United States.

Eric Eoin Marques is wanted by the American authorities on charges including conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography and advertising and distributing child pornography.

The FBI believes he is the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/man-accused-of-being-worlds-biggest-facilitator-of-child-porn-loses-bid-to-halt-extradition-to-us-37021974.html


Quote:

Israeli television recently aired a video of two Israeli soldiers filming themselves in the act of shooting a Palestinian protester at the Gaza boundary while cheering. Filming one’s own crimes against humanity – shooting Palestinians for sport – suggests a sense of security in never being held accountable.

Even more evidence of this impunity is apparent in Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by veteran Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court might want to consider this book Exhibit A if Israeli government and military officials are ever indicted for war crimes. It contains open admissions of guilt in plotting and executing extralegal assassinations in violation of international law.

“Since World War II, Israel has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world,” Bergman writes. In many cases, these so-called targeted killings over the last two decades also involved the deaths of nearly a thousand bystanders, according to Bergman’s calculations – those numbers, however, fail to include the tens of thousands killed in overt acts of war and collective punishment that mostly go unmentioned in this book.

That Israeli officials were willing to be quoted and identify others by name implies a certainty of never being held accountable in a court of law. Consider, for example, the instruction given by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Avi Dichter, at that time Shin Bet’s director, in reference to Hamas. Sharon, in an open admission of intent to commit genocide, stated: “Go for it. Kill them all.”

It was not just assassinations. Bergman writes, “‘state security’ was used to justify a large number of actions and operations that, in the visible world, would have been subject to criminal prosecution and long prison terms: constant surveillance of citizens because of their ethnic or political affiliations; interrogation methods that included prolonged detention without judicial sanction, and torture; perjury in the courts and concealment of the truth from counsel and judges.”

End quote.

https://www.sott.net/article/388385-Israels-secret-history-of-assassinations


The last month has been an unhappy time for daydreamers of a cashless nirvana. Following weeks of disruptive tech failures, payment outages, and escalating cyber fraud scams, much of it taking place in Britain, consumers have been reminded of one of the great benefits of physical cash: it is accepted just about everywhere and does not suddenly fail on you.

The findings of a new study by UK-based online payments company Paysafe, partly owned by US private equity giant Blackstone, confirm that consumers on both sides of the Atlantic continue to cling to physical lucre.

For its Lost in Transaction report, Paysafe surveyed over 5,000 consumers in the UK, Canada, the US, Germany, and Austria on their payment habits. One of its main findings is that 87% of consumers used cash to make purchases in the last month, while 83% visited ATMs, and 41% are not interested in even hearing about cash alternatives.

“Despite the apparent benefits of low-friction payment technologies, these findings suggest many consumers aren’t ready to lose visibility of the payment process,” says Paysafe Group Chief Marketing Officer Oscar Nieboer. “It’s clear that the benefits are not unilaterally agreed upon, with cultural and infrastructure trends at play, and it may be some time before adoption is widespread.”

Although consumers continue to cling to cash, they appear to be carrying less of it: 49% overall in the survey and 55% of U.S. respondents said they carry less cash now than they did a year ago. The average American consumer carries $42 today — that’s $8 less than in 2017. In the UK the average amount carried in 2017 was £33; that has now fallen to £21.

But that does not mean that the amount of cash in circulation is dwindling. On the contrary, according to this year’s G4S cash report, the world average ratio of currency vs GDP continues to rise, reaching 9.6% in 2018. “Currency in Circulation vs. GDP is increasing on all continents, indicating a consistent, growing demand for cash across the world,” says the report. South America has by far the highest cash dependency relative to its GDP, with an average ratio of over 16%.

The study also reveals that in 17 out of 24 advanced economies studied, cash represents more than 50% of all payment transactions. Data drawn from the ECB’s Diary Study shows that in Europe cash represents 79% of all transactions in volume and 54% in value.

That’s not to say that alternative payment methods — debit and credit cards and other forms of electronic payment — are not growing in use. In the UK contactless shopping is the most popular payment alternative, with 54% of consumers using it in the last month – compared to just 3% of US shoppers. It was largely thanks to this predilection for contactless cards, coupled with the reduced use of cash, that UK consumers were much more severely affected by the recent 12-hour outage of visa payment services in Western Europe.

Most consumers are still loath to use so-called “frictionless” payments — i.e. invisible transactions that take place ‘behind the scenes’ in apps — for in-store purchases. While 50% of respondents to the Paysafe survey said they had used a digital wallet such as Skrill or NETELLER for online purchases, just 9% of them currently use one for shopping in-store. Only 23% of consumers reported using frictionless payments in apps such as Uber, while 65% think voice-activated systems are not secure.

The two biggest concerns consumers have with mobile payments are privacy and fraud. “Closer examination of the reasons for this low and slow adoption of frictionless payments shows that, once again, fraud is the most widely mentioned barrier, cited by 50% of respondents,” the study said. “But data security is also a major concern, expressed by 48% of respondents.”

Given the number of recent scares, it’s a justifiable concern. Shoppers in Canada and the UK, two of the world’s most cashless economies, reported a rise in fraud in 2017, of 7% and 6% respectively. It’s a reminder that the more consumers come to rely on technological solutions in the payment sphere, the more exposed they become to the attentions of highly sophisticated cyber criminals.

In Mexico, a haven for the black market of stolen data, reports of data theft have mushroomed by 25% last year, yet the country’s government and banks are determined to plow ahead with plans to harvest — and store — the biometric data of all bank customers.

A recent survey from international law firm Osborne Clarke showed that 79% of the 2,000 people surveyed said they worry they would be sharing too much data if cash were entirely replaced by mobile payments. Respondents to the Paysafe survey also expressed concerns about being charged for things they didn’t buy (47%), losing control of their spending (31%), or making inadvertent purchases (28%).

The message is clear: for the moment, most consumers are unwilling to accept a wholly cashless economy. And their reservations may have grown in recent weeks, following the outage of Visa services in Europe, which left millions of customers across the region unable to make payments using their cards. In a statement, Visa said the problem was caused by a “hardware failure”, which hardly inspires confidence it could never happen again.

Until a cashless system can be created that is 100% safe from the threats posed by natural disasters, accidents, cyber criminals and basic human incompetence, consumers in most countries, including even less-cash economies like Sweden, the UK and Canada, would prefer to hold on to their grubby notes and coins. By Don Quijones.

 

https://wolfstreet.com/2018/06/16/consumers-stubbornly-cling-to-cash-after-multiple-it-fiascos-payment-systems-outages/


With the US increasingly willing to use the dollar, and SWIFT, as a strategic weapon against the country’s sovereign enemies (as Iran learned every 5 or so years), Russia and India are preparing to bypass US sanctions on Moscow by using the rupee and the ruble in bilateral trade involving military deals, the Economic Times reported.

Some $2 billion in weapons deals between India and Russia have been hit as a result of the recent US sanctions, as payments get stuck. The countries are seeking to bypass such monetary bottlenecks this by switching to settlements in domestic currencies and ditching the greenback.

Senior officials told ET that after several rounds of consultations, it has become clear that a rupee-rouble transfer, pegged to the exchange rate of an international currency, is the solution. A top official said that a foreign currency, such as the Singapore dollar, could be used as the benchmark and cont .

Until now, India signed defense contracts with Russia for which payments are made in US dollars. However, as US sanctions making this virtually impossible, contractual payments have been frozen since April.

The involuntary loss of India as a Russian customer has had significant effects on the Russian economy: the Asian country is one of the largest buyers of military equipment from Russia, having signed military contracts worth $65BN since the 1960s.

* * *

With current trade deals between the two countries estimated at around $12 billion, it is imperative for Russia to way to find a loophole to US sanctions. Furthermore, just like Turkey, India is ready to purchase Russia’s state of the art S400 air-defense system in a $5-billion deal. And just like in the case of Turkey – which overnight saw the US Senate block the sale of over over 100 F-35 juts to Erdogan precisely because of Ankara’s overtures to Moscow – the sale is being heavily opposed by the United States.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-19/russia-and-india-ditch-dollar-military-deals


Three members of a Bronx biker gang were arraigned in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday, charged with kidnapping and robbing a cryptocurrency multi-millionaire at gunpoint, authorities said.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-15/cryptocurrency-millionaire-kidnapped-biker-gang-robbed-gunpoint-18m

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