8th March 2017
8th March 2017
24th Feb 2017
Those who don’t like Donald Trump and the current Republican administration are mobilizing in all sorts of ways. They’re speaking up in town halls and calling their representatives. They’re organizing protests and demonstrations. And, for the magically-inclined, they’re casting spells.
Starting at midnight on Friday, witches around the country are calling for a mass spell to be cast on Donald Trump every night of a waning crescent moon until he’s driven from office.
The spell was publicized by Michael M. Hughes, who told ELLE.com that it was tweaked from multiple spells he saw going around private witchcraft groups. He published it on Extra News Feed because he felt “it would be very welcome to a lot of people.” It quickly spread, with events being formed around the country and support on social media.
Hughes explained that he chose a binding spell because “we’re not wishing harm on anyone, we’re just trying to stop the harm they’re doing. It’s not the equivalent of punching a Nazi in the face, it’s the equivalent of tying him up and taking his bullhorn away.”
The ritual itself is pretty standard magic working, binding Trump from doing harm to others and to himself, rather than asking any forces to do harm to him. There are objects to represent the elements and to represent Trump himself. The tarot card of the Tower represents ambitions built on lies, which are struck down by a lightning flash of truth. For those who believe in witchcraft, it looks to be an effective spell.
However, even for those who don’t, the ritual can have meaning. Witches have gathered to create spells for social justice before, whether it was to hex convicted rapist Brock Turner or exorcise the Pentagon. “My feeling was people were feeling so helpless in the face of all this,” said Hughes, who sees the ritual, as much as anything, as a self-exorcism. “So many of us are overwhelmed by this guy’s face, this energy―it’s ever present and beating a lot of us down. I see this as a way of people reclaiming their own power…it’s not just that we can stop him, but we can expunge him from ourselves.”
Hughes also says that all are welcome, even those highly skeptical of magic. “The real intention is just to get the energy focused at the same time, as many people as possible,” he says. People can participate in their own religious rituals, or even perform this as a joke or an art project. “No matter how you approach it, it’s still great to be part of it.” Plus, we’re sure you have some candles lying around.
13th Feb 2017
If you attend a protest in Washington, D.C., nowadays, better plan on leaving your cellphone at home. That is, unless you want police to confiscate it, mine it for incriminating information and then gather even more data from their BFF — Facebook.
At least one person arrested during protests on Inauguration Day got an email from Facebook’s Law Enforcement Response Team alerting them that investigators wanted access to their data. Another received a Facebook data subpoena.
The email was basically a countdown to when Facebook inevitably handed that data over to D.C. police. That is, unless the respondent figured out how to file an objection within a 10-day window.
When over 230 people were arrested in D.C. during protests against Donald Trump last month, many of those rounded up were not part of the protests. Cops swept up medics, legal observers, and six journalists from Voactiv, RT America and others.
All of their phones were confiscated and retained.
Everyone arrested now faces felony charges and up to 10 years in prison. In the Bay Area, where we love a good protest, it’s very rare that arrested protesters get prosecuted. So it’s odd to think that protesters would have their social media scrutinized after an arrest. Though, like in most cities across America, it’s extremely common for investigators to search the social media of suspects in other crimes if they believe that the suspect posted something related (like photos of a beating). SFPD even has an officer devoted to following social media — most heavily, Snapchat and Instagram, as those are apparently where you find the best crime stuff.
Oakland Police and supporting agencies like California Highway Patrol have been very transparent about monitoring Twitter to determine protest movement and plans. And we’ve been pretty vocal about pushing back. It only makes sense that we’d resist any form of surveillance, seeing that we’re ground zero around here for ethically challenged startups that invade our privacy. Fighting the surveillance state has become part of our DNA. But a wide-ranging Facebook subpoena for felony protest prosecution isn’t something we’ve seen the likes of.
The subpoena issued to Facebook (this one by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on January 27, 2017 and signed off on by a D.C. Metropolitan Police Detective) obtained by press this week is chilling. It targeted another inauguration arrestee, and requests subscriber information from Facebook that includes all names, all addresses (home, business, emails), phone records, session details (IP, ports, etc), device identification info, payment information, and more.
CityLab explained, “The redacted blocks on the second page shield columns of phone numbers, which are connected to other arrestees for whom the district attorney and police are seeking information.”
The list of phone numbers may indicate that police have gained access to someone’s phone and are building a case with what they found. A screenshot provided to CityLab indicates police began mining information from the confiscated devices right after the arrests.
On one hand, that could’ve been automated pinging by Gmail to Google’s servers. Or, it could’ve been something darker. When phones are taken as evidence, they’re supposed to be secured in a signal-blocking Faraday bag to prevent remote wipes. Fred Jennings, a cybercrime defense attorney at the firm Tor Ekeland in New York, told press: “If it had been secured properly and placed in the bag to safeguard it, there’d be no way for it to ping the server.”
For some of us, this sets off a different set of alarms. It’s scary enough that police are arresting journalists and mining our phones for all the terrifyingly detailed data Facebook seems all too happy to give up. But authorities with questionable intent are also collecting our contacts, and pose a very real risk for our protected sources.
Some of this could be solved by ditching our devices in favor of carrying on-the-scene burner phones. But this presents a new host of complications and problems, even for the well-intentioned protester or march participant. For one, it’s a hassle for most people. It also defeats the purpose of using your Twitter or Facebook account. More than ever, it’s vital that our voices are heard through media we share from our phones. Things like immigration-ban protests and the state-level denial of chaos at the airports can’t be dismissed when the realities are documented through our established Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Keeping a record of what authorities do to us, and being able to send a signal flare for help to our networks, makes them being used against us a much bigger problem than just saying “leave your phone at home” or “don’t talk about the protest online.”
It’s not a stretch to lay blame at Facebook’s feet for taking data we don’t necessarily want to give it, and for its well-established collaboration with police against its users. It’s a bigger stretch to suggest that the agreement between Facebook and its users is any kind of informed consent.
It’s interesting that this news comes up the same week that 333,000 people signed a petition demanding Facebook improve its corporate citizenship, with 1,500 of the signees being company shareholders. That document led to a proposal to remove Mark Zuckerberg from the board.
This, it said, was necessary at a time when Facebook “faces increasing criticism regarding its perceived role in the promotion of misleading news; censorship, hate speech and alleged inconsistencies in the application of Facebook’s community-standards guidelines and content policies; targeting of ad views based on race; collaboration with law enforcement and other government agencies; and calls for public accountability regarding the human-rights impacts of Facebook’s practices.”
It’s that collaboration with law enforcement and human-rights accountability we’ll be hearing more about as the D.C. arrest cases unfold. It’s not a new story, just an old one with a twist: Facebook got called out just before the US presidential election for colluding with authorities against its users’ human rights, specifically US police departments. A coalition of 70 human-rights groups, including the ACLU, wrote a public letter to Facebook condemning the company’s zeal in doing police bidding around the world.
Facebook, of course, just wants us to live our lives so it can keep collecting data we don’t even know we’re creating. Recording and storing our location, connections, contacts, experiences, our secrets and our history.
It’s transforming our memories into a malevolent, atavistic shadow that someday may be used against us in a court of law.
13th Feb 2016
President Donald Trump’s White House staff may be longing for the random acts of vandalism committed against the early George W. Bush team by the Clinton White House staff in 2001, including taking the Ws off many White House computer keyboards.
Instead, today, a subversive alt-government is emerging, in line with the alt-left’s growing resistance to use any means necessary to slow, stop and obstruct Trump’s agenda, from inside the government, to make America ungovernable.
Christian Adams, a lawyer and the author of “Injustice,” has witnessed ideological battles inside the Department of Justice. In this exclusive video interview, he condemns the intolerant left wing, with its violence, fire, riots and “totalitarian tendencies,” daring to label others as fascists or nazis.
He says it’s a tactic used to scare and conjure up horrors against their enemies. Adams says that use of such labels, is an Orwellian corruption of the language, showing how far the left has sunk in its hatred of America.
The “civil service has been radicalized and is an instrument of the institutional left,” he says, mentioning immigration, open borders, green energy, labor policy for unions and more. He says, with the power and protections of civil service employment, these bureaucrats are poised to impose their own ideological will through the administrative state, despite Trump’s victory at the ballot box.
As for the ideologically-hostile bureaucrats left in place from the Obama administration, Adams says “there are not enough Donald Trumps in the administration.”
He chides the initial Trump teams for not taking bolder action after Jan. 20. Awaiting the Senate confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sally Yates, the first acting attorney general who voiced objection to an early presidential action before she was fired two hours later, should not have been left in that position, he says. No other Republican though, he says, would have had the courage to fire Yates so summarily either.
In this exclusive interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation, Adams warns, “There’s a lot more Sally Yates in the Justice Department just waiting to sabotage the next policy initiative of the President or the attorney general.”
If Trump doesn’t take on the alt-government, he will face four years of escalating sabotage, Adams says.
His recommendations to Trump include removing or transferring large numbers of the federal Senior Executive Service (SES) managers. Additionally, a large reduction in force of federal employees could help, he thinks, but that takes more courage by the Congress.
For context, radio host and author Dennis Prager has deemed what is happening against our new president as a new American civil war. These alt-government tactics, joined with escalating anti-Trump street protests, boycotts, orchestrated congressional obstructionism and slow downs by Democrats surpasses protests of yesteryears.
Previous resistance efforts were designed to irritate and draw attention to a cause. Yet, since election day, the array of third-world revolutionary tactics unfolding throughout the culture, Congress, the media, along with the mass manipulation and name calling is designed to overturn the voters’ choice, and punish and destroy the opposition.
Faceless bureaucrats are maliciously leaking confidential information against President Trump already. Classes are forming to train federal workers on acts of civil disobedience.
Adams mentions the new portal, SecureDrop by the Washington Post, to encourage leaks for whistleblowers. In addition, the ethics offices are often ideologically driven, holding Republicans to higher standards than the last administration, he adds.
A recent report showed 95 percent of federal employee political donations went against Trump.
8th Feb 2017
A majority of Europeans want a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, a poll has revealed.
An average of 55 per cent of people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries.
The Chatham House study, conducted before US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigration to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries, found majorities in all but two of the ten states opposed immigration from mainly Muslim countries.
Only 20 per cent disagreed, while 25 per cent said they did not know.
A ban was supported by 71 per cent of people in Poland, 65 per cent in Austria, 53 per cent in Germany and 51 per cent in Italy.
In the UK, 47 per cent supported a ban.
In no country did more than 32 per cent disagree with a ban.
Of those surveyed, opposition to Muslim immigration was especially intense among older people, while those under 30 were less opposed.
There was also a contrast between those with secondary level qualifications, of which 59 per cent opposed Muslim immigration, and degree holders, of which less than half supported halting immigration.
A Pew survey of 10 European countries in 2016 found majorities in five countries had an unfavourable view of Muslims living in their country.
Of those, 72 per cent of Hungarians had a negative view of Muslims, followed by 69 per cent of Italians, 66 per cent of Poles, 65 per cent of Greeks and 50 per cent of Spaniards.
In the UK, only 28 per cent said they had an unfavourable view of Muslims, while in Germany and France 29 per cent said the same.
8th Feb 2016
Queensland’s privacy commissioner is reviewing new ‘big brother’ surveillance technology being used to record video and audio of members of the public in the Moreton Bay area.
Yesterday, the Moreton Bay Regional Council announced it had deployed about 330 new devices in public spaces, with plans to install dozens more.
Mayor Allan Sutherland said it would help boost community safety.
“Moreton Bay Region now has the ability to not only see what’s going on, but to be able to hear what’s going on,” he said.
“We don’t listen on a daily basis; as requested if the police come along and say: ‘Can we have the footage?’
“Unless you’ve got anything to hide, you haven’t got anything to worry about.”
The devices record and store data for several weeks.
Queensland’s privacy commissioner Phil Green said he was enquiring to see if the use of the technology breached privacy laws.
“I’m still in the fact-finding mode — I obviously don’t act rashly, I’m trying to look into this and have a rational good public debate on the issue,” he said.
“If the public aren’t happy with this sort of development, then the State Government can enact laws, but I think the laws already possibly stop this sort of thing happening.”
He said the private sector could soon follow suit, unless privacy laws were clarified.
“Do the public want it? Because if councils do it, then the universities do it, and the hospitals do it,” Mr Green said.
“If it’s one council doing it, then it could be all the councils doing it across Australia, so we do need to look at it carefully.”
Mr Green said his office was only informed last week.
“I understand my office did receive a draft press release about it, but very scant on details and of course that’s probably not the best way of going about launching something about this when it involves a fair investment,” Mr Green said.
Councillor Sutherland was unable to comment on the development, but in a statement a spokesperson said the council had not breached any laws.
“Council provided a copy of its proposed media release and advisory signage to staff from the Office of the Information Commissioner,” the statement said.
“Council is satisfied its use of the CCTV footage and audio is consistent with its obligations under the Information Privacy Act.”
In the last budget, council announced $801,000 would be spent on upgrading surveillance cameras across public areas.
Some of the new cameras have been deployed in locations including Centenary Lakes Park in Caboolture, Burpengary Sports Precinct, and Bee Gees Way at Redcliffe.
Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the public should be concerned.
“It seems that not only big brother is watching but in the guise of the Moreton Bay council, he’s also listening,” Mr Potts said.
“I can understand why people in a public place may have no expectation of privacy, but their ordinary conversations about their friends, about their families, about their work and just the ordinary social chit-chat, should always remain completely sacrosanct.
“If the Mayor was fair dinkum in his argument that only those people who have something to hide would object to being listened to by the Moreton Bay Regional Council, perhaps he could volunteer to be listened to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, by his constituents before he understand the value of privacy.”
4th Feb 2017
Hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of sexually exploited children and adult victims were rescued across California during a statewide operation to combat human trafficking, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday.
More than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, including the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, participated in the third annual “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” enforcement operation, according to a sheriff’s news release.
The statewide operation took place over the three-day period between last Thursday and Saturday.
In total, 474 arrests were made, including 142 males on solicitation charges, and 36 males on suspicion of pimping, according to figures provided by the Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, 28 commercially and sexually exploited children and 27 adult victims were rescued.
“You are worthy of more. And we will work tirelessly with our partners … to provide you services and help you rebuild your life,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, addressing the victims during a news conference on Tuesday.
The minors who were recovered during the operation were being cared for by various children and family services agencies across the state, according to sheriff’s officials. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and the Saving Innocence organization were coordinating efforts to help victims in L.A. County.
“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers,” the release stated.
“Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state!”
4th Feb 2017
In the 12 days since Donald Trump took the oath of office, a steady stream of social media posts have called for the new president’s assassination.
The posts are pretty basic and many are jokes or sarcastic or hyperbolic — but there are a lot of them. In a Dataminr search of Twitter posts since Inauguration Day containing the phrase “assassinate Trump” more than 12,000 tweets came up.
The U.S. Secret Service, however, or even Twitter and Facebook themselves, doesn’t seem to be jumping onto many of these posts. When we asked several users about their recent “assassinate Trump” posts, all of them said they hadn’t been contacted by anyone about their post and they all remain up.
But there have been reports of agents knocking on the doors of social media users. A Kentucky woman who tweeted, “If someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump,” is currently being investigated by the Secret Service, according to the Associated Press.
An Ohio man tweeted several messages about killing Trump on election night, according to NBC News. The Secret Service questioned him the next day and he was charged with making threats to the then president-elect.
“It’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about.”
Former U.S. Secret Service special agent Tim Franklin, who is now a criminology and criminal justice professor of counterterrorism and cybercrimes at Arizona State University, said in a phone call Tuesday that “it’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about.”
That’s why one-off posts and people with no record of threatening messages tend to get passed over. He said the Secret Service is looking out for trends and consistent behavior, like the person who repeats their intent to kill the president over time. If someone has made threats in the past they are more likely to get investigated when they post another “Kill Trump” post.
“They’re not going to to beat down the door of everybody who makes a negative Twitter comment,” Franklin said, which may be a relief to anyone who tweeted an off-hand and not entirely serious death wish for the new president.
But for users who use certain language and specific details about the president, his location and how the assassination will happen, the Secret Service will likely take notice.
The U.S. Secret Service could not be reached for official comment about how they handle social media posts threatening to assassinate the sitting president.
On the platform side, Facebook and Twitter have policies in place to take down threatening posts. As Twitter said in an email statement, “The Twitter Rules prohibit threats of violence, and we will suspend accounts violating that policy.” Facebook similarly said under their “credible threats policy” they remove posts showing intent to kill the president.
Yet thousands of posts that use the words “kill” and “assassinate” remain up — most of them targeting the president no less. The platforms can’t seem to keep up with the influx of death threats and don’t seem to be upholding their own policies as strictly as they would like.
Back when Trump was a presidential candidate, the Secret Service was full-on monitoring and investigating threats against him and Hillary Clinton. Now that Trump is president, his office is even more protected; threats against him and his vice president Mike Pence can result in fines or imprisonment for up to five years.
Franklin, the former Secret Service agent, said because Trump heavily uses social media to talk about controversial executive actions and ideas, he is being targeted on Twitter more than Barack Obama or George W. Bush were during their presidencies, at least in these first days. But that’s not to say Obama and Bush didn’t get their fair share of online hate.
Franklin says for law enforcement it’s not about the person or politics of the president, but about protecting the office. “We focus on the protection aspect and let others worry about politics,” he said.
Nevertheless, as Franklin notes, “It’s an American right to be able to express those opinions.” But maybe slow down on those violent rallying cries, and certainly don’t let your rhetoric cross over into talk about inflicting bodily harm, killing or even kidnapping — there’s a line, and if you cross it, be ready for a knock at your door.
2nd Feb 2017
A man who claimed his mom died abroad after she was denied entry to the United States under President Trump’s travel ban has lied about the details surrounding her death, according to a mosque leader close to the family.
Mike Hager told a news station WJBK on Tuesday that his sick mother died in Iraq on Saturday after being barred from entering the U.S., but Imam Husham Al-Hussainy denied the story, claiming the woman died five days before the ban was enacted.
Trump has denied admission to citizens from seven majority Muslim countries, including Iraq, for 90 days, while Syrians are banned indefinitely.
Hager, who lives in Michigan, said that he was able to enter the country because he has American citizenship, but that his mother and other family members were refused.
Hager had previously contacted Al-Hussainy, who leads the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn. He told the Imam that his mom was suffering from kidney disease, and he planned a trip to Iraq to see her.
“The 22nd of January, his mom died,” Al-Hussainy said. “She did die but that was a couple weeks ago – before the ban.”
Al-Hussainy spoke out about the woman’s death after questions were raised about Hager’s claims.
“Since I lost my mom, [I’ve] been on heavy medication – I can’t even sleep. I did not make anything up,” Hager wrote in a text to WJBK.