Politics


Sexual harassment and assault rife at United Nations, staff claim

19th jan 2017

The United Nations has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in its offices around the world, with accusers ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity, the Guardian has been told.

Dozens of current and former UN employees described a culture of silence across the organisation and a flawed grievance system that is stacked against victims.

Of the employees interviewed, 15 said they had experienced or reported sexual harassment or assault within the past five years. The alleged offences ranged from verbal harassment to rape.

Seven of the women had formally reported what happened, a route that campaigners say is rarely pursued by victims for fear of losing their job, or in the belief that no action will be taken.

“If you report it, your career is pretty much over, especially if you’re a consultant,” said one consultant, who alleged she was harassed by her supervisor while working for the World Food Programme. “It’s like an unsaid thing.”

The UN conceded that under-reporting is a concern but said the organisation’s secretary general, António Guterres, has “prioritised addressing sexual harassment and upholding the zero tolerance policy”.

Employees working in more than 10 countries spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, partly because they are precluded from talking publicly by UN rules governing staff, partly for fear of retaliation.

Three women who reported sexual harassment or sexual assault, all from different offices, said they had since been forced out of their jobs or threatened with the termination of their contract in the past year. The alleged perpetrators, who include a senior UN official, remain in their posts.

One of the women, who alleges she was raped by a more senior UN staff member while working in a remote location, said: “There are no other options to get justice, and I have lost my job too.”

She said that despite medical evidence and witness testimonies, an internal investigation by the UN found insufficient evidence to support her allegation. Along with her job, she says she has lost her visa and has spent months in hospital due to stress and trauma. She fears she will face persecution if she returns to her home country.

In internal documents seen by the Guardian, two of the women cite concerns with the investigations. They claim that the UN’s investigation’s team, the office of internal oversight services (OIOS), failed to interview key witnesses. They also say that transcripts contain errors and information from inquiries has been leaked.

Alleged perpetrators have been allowed to remain in senior positions – with the power to influence proceedings – throughout investigations.

One woman allegedly assaulted while working for the UN says she was told by her agency’s ombudsman that there was nothing more he could do to help her pursue a complaint, because he was being threatened by senior UN staff. Seven other alleged victims who spoke to the Guardian were told by an ombudsman or colleague that they should not try to pursue a complaint.

Four current or recent UN employees, including some who did not pursue formal complaints, said they were not given adequate medical care or counselling. One woman who lost her job said she saw three separate gynaecologists in the 24 hours following an assault, because the first medical team provided by the UN lacked the expertise to deal with such cases. She said she did not receive crisis rape counselling until six weeks later.

“There is no justice”

“I was in a manic state. I was fluctuating between being very precise and knowing exactly what to do and severe traumatic episodes while crying loudly,” she said.

A lawyer in such cases, who was initially consulted by the woman, said the victim had “a significant amount of evidence” and that, to date, she had been let down by the UN system.

The UN has long been criticised over its failure to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeeping forces against local people, not least in Central African Republic and Haiti. Campaigners point to a culture of impunity in UN offices, with accusers routinely silenced.

In cases involving the exploitation of local people or occurring within the UN, complaints are difficult to pursue because of the organisation’s international nature. Many senior staff have diplomatic immunity, meaning they can avoid national courts.
The UN flag is raised at the opening ceremony of the UN Mission in Support of Justice in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Even if alleged perpetrators do not have immunity, incidents often take place in countries where the judicial system is dysfunctional.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/18/sexual-assault-and-harassment-rife-at-united-nations-staff-claim

Al Gore blames record U.S. cold on climate change — then meteorologist drops truth bomb on him

9th Jan 2018

Al Gore took to his Twitter account last week to blame the recent record cold snap on climate change. But he was sharply rebuked with facts by a famed meteorologist.

What did Gore say?

Gore tweeted the link to an article stating that bitter cold is exactly what should be expected from man-made climate change.

The article was written by Dr. Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University. Mann argues that heavy lake effect snows this year near the Great Lakes are a sign of global warming because the warming temperatures cause the lakes to stay warmer longer therefore producing more snow. He also argued that despite the recent cold snap, the U.S. has seen many more days of very above normal temperatures than very below normal temperatures over the past several years.

He also argued that despite the central and eastern U.S. being locked into an arctic cold pattern for more than a week, the western U.S. and much of the rest of the world has been warm. Mann also blamed last week’s major east coast snowstorm on warmer-than-normal ocean water.

These allegations, however, are more narrative and opinion rather than fact, according to meteorologist Joe Bastardi.

What did Bastardi say?

Bastardi challenged whether the recent cold has anything to do with climate change, saying cold in the 1980s was colder than this year’s recent cold snap and it was never connected to climate change or global warming.

Bastardi also questioned whether or not the upcoming thaw is connected to climate change.

After four tweets, Bastardi concluded by chiding Gore and other climate change alarmists about pursuing narrative over truth…

 

 

 

 

source/read more: http://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/01/07/al-gore-blames-record-u-s-cold-on-climate-change-then-meteorologist-drops-truth-bomb-on-him?

After Anal Rape, Left Wing Activist Felt ‘Guilt And Responsibility’ His Migrant Attacker Was Deported

6th Jan 2018

(original article April 2016)

A left wing activist has bared all to a Norwegian documentary crew about his rape at the hands of a Somalian migrant, and his despair at seeing the man deported.

An active member of the Norwegian Socialist Left Party (SV) who described himself as an ardent “feminist and anti-racist” explained the difficulty he experienced accepting that he had been anally raped by a male migrant. He said he didn’t blame the man for the attack, and regretted the fact he had been sent back to Somalia.

Describing the process of reconciling his personally held beliefs, young SV activist Karsten Nordal Hauken said the experience left him “feeling nothing”, reports Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.

Attacked as a young man, his rapist was convicted six months after the fact with DNA evidence removed from Mr. Hauken’s body at the time of his rape, and fingerprints taken from his bedroom. The Somalian male was later caught when he was found to be carrying a knife in public and his fingerprints were a match.

Although he protested his innocence and claimed he had been enjoying a consensual relationship with Mr. Hauken, the migrant was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. After the completion of his jail term, the man was deported back to Somalia, something which his victim greeted with mixed emotions.

Speaking to NRK ahead of a new documentary series about young people in Norway dealing with mental illness, Mr. Hauken said of the moment when he was told by telephone at work that his attacker was to be deported: “I was a bit taken by surprise by this message.

“But I remained calm enough to tell the manager that I had to go. The tears, they came the moment I sat in the car. I felt a relief and joy that he was going away forever. I felt that the Norwegian government took on the responsibility to exercise the ultimate revenge, like an angry father who confronts a child abuser.

“But I also got a strong sense of guilt and responsibility. I was the reason why he should not have to leave Norway, and heading for a very uncertain future in Somalia. He had already served his sentence in prison. Should he now be punished again? And this time much harder?”

Mr. Hauken found himself unable to blame his attacker, saying “he is not responsible for his actions”. Rather than the rapist being in charge of his own destiny, he said he was merely “a product of an unjust world. A product of an upbringing marked by war and deprivation”, and said that rather than the attack being sexually motivated, it was all about “exerting power” over him.

The attack had not in any way dulled his left-wing politics, either. Mr. Hauken said: “I stand rock solid in my opinion that people like him need our help. I want us to continue to help refugees with such a background… For I am a human being first, and not a Norwegian. No, I’m part of the world, and the world is unfortunately unfair”.

This is not the first example of leftist political activists allowing their close proximity to the migrant communities which they strive so hard to defend to cause them harm. Breitbart London reported last year on the near-fatal stabbing of an open borders, pro mass migration activist in Dresden.

Standing outside a pizza-parlour, the student was jumped and stabbed in the back by a gang of North Africans. He said that the event had left him feeling “very sad”, and he hoped it wouldn’t be used to demonise migrants.

Another young activist fallen victim to their own politics was one woman volunteering at a migrant camp on the French-Italian border. While the migrants living at the facility held a party, she was cornered in a shower-block and gang raped by a group of African males, her screams unheard over the music.

Concious that her attack could be used to damage the peaceful reputation of migrants, she decided to cover up her own rape.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/04/07/after-anal-rape-leftist-felt-despair-that-his-somalian-attacker-was-deported/

German police union chief slams NYE ‘safe zone’ for women

31 Dec 2017

The head of a German police union is criticizing the creation of a special safe zone for women at the annual New Year’s Eve party in front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Rainer Wendt of the DpolG union says establishing such an area sends a “devastating message” that women aren’t safe from assault outside of it.

In an interview with the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung daily, Wendt was quoted Saturday as saying the move appeared to ignore the “political dimension” in Germany, two years after hundreds of women reported being sexually assaulted or robbed during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne.

Organizers of the free, open-air event said the “Women’s Safety Area” was requested by Berlin police. Other security measures include concrete blocks to prevent vehicle attacks and bag searches at entrances.

 

 

source/read more; https://apnews.com/84215e6e5ceb49d794e7e775e87b8339?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP

Who Regulates Bitcoin Trading? No U.S. Agency Has Jurisdiction

26th dec 2017

Investors are frantically trying to learn everything they can about bitcoin—and so are regulators.

Furious trading in cryptocurrencies is testing many in the Trump administration who are eager to embrace financial innovation, after nearly a decade of tighter clamps on risk-taking put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency with closest oversight of bitcoin trading, began the year by launching an in-house lab to encourage advances in blockchain, the technology that underpins digital currencies. Yet the regulator recently sounded an alarm on bitcoin itself, noting most exchanges are completely unregulated while the cryptocurrency is prone to wild price swings and potential flash crashes.

The CFTC has labeled bitcoin a commodity, but as with other commodities, the agency mostly lacks jurisdiction over the primary market: It regulates corn futures contracts but not the buying and selling of corn itself, for instance. As a result, bitcoin exchanges don’t have to tell participants how they operate, such as whether they offer preferential access to certain traders.

“A lot of people, retail traders in particular, have gotten used to securities laws and commodities laws protecting them,” said Kipp Rogers, a former proprietary trader who is now a blogger and researcher. “And so they don’t just even know what to be on guard for.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission faces challenges similar to the CFTC’s. The SEC’s new chairman, Jay Clayton, wants retail investors to have better access to high-return investments, which bitcoin and many of its digital relatives provide.

But the SEC is cracking down on initial coin offerings, a fundraising vehicle that piggybacks off investors’ lust for bitcoin and in some cases violates core investor-protection laws.

“There is clearly demand for bitcoin investments, but the regulators are struggling with how to balance new tools for capital formation with the need for investor protections,” said Michael Liftik, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and previously a top aide to former SEC Chairman Mary Jo White.

 

source/read more:https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-regulates-bitcoin-trading-no-u-s-agency-has-jurisdiction-1514116800

The Ugly Truth About that Dying Polar Bear

12th Dec 2017

It’s sad. Very sad. You can see why it has gone viral and been all over the media from the Mail (“soul-crushing footage”) to CBC to the Washington Post (“we stood there crying”).

It’s the kind of sad thing you want to share it with your friends so they can wallow in the same pool of helpless misery you’re wallowing in.

For example, that bit where the emaciated bear reaches with his sad paw into that rusting trash can in search of something, anything, to eat. As you watch, you want so desperately to help him….

The footage was filmed on Baffin Island in Canada. Surely, if you or I had been there, we could have found something edible to push that stricken bear’s way: maybe a visiting delegation of performance poets, abstract artists and avant-garde musicians who arrived by antique sailing ship on a Rockefeller-Foundation-funded arts project to “raise awareness” of melting icecaps; or a group of Greenpeace activists(aren’t bears attracted by strong smells?) on a No To Arctic Drilling protest; or one of the plethora of explorers on another of those deep and meaningful eco-expeditions, sponsored by one of those big reinsurance companies whose business model largely depends on scaring potential clients into thinking global warming is a serious problem.

OK, perhaps I shouldn’t be so flippant. Watching a once-mighty beast in its death throes is never a pretty sight.

I’ll tell you what’s a lot uglier, though: the way that polar bear’s death has been completely misrepresented for political ends by the usual suspects in the climate alarmism lobby.

And I’ll tell you what’s uglier even than that: all the old people – not bears but actual humans – who’ve died equally miserable deaths in fuel poverty brought about by precisely the kind of environmentalist propagandizing we’ve seen in the cynical, manipulative promotion of this video.

The dying bear video was shot by wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen for an eco-activist organization called SeaLegacy.

Here is how SeaLegacy is exploiting its ursine tragedy porn.

Though it wasn’t possible for scientists to tell us exactly what was causing this bear to starve to death, we do know that he didn’t have any visible wounds and that he was not an old bear.

 What we do know for certain is that an increasing number of polar bears, and other polar species, are likely to die in this way as a result of our warming climate. As global temperatures rise, the amount of multi-year sea ice in the Arctic shrinks. Polar bears depend on that ice to travel large distances and to hunt for their food. Without sea ice this will become a common scene across the Arctic.

Let me translate: “We’ve no evidence whatsoever that this bear’s death had anything to do with climate change. But we’re still going to offer a few very heavy hints that that’s exactly what killed the bear. Then we can rely on a gullible media hungry for man-is-evil, global-warming-is-bad-m’kay, think-of-the-children sob stories to do all our dirty work for us…”

 

 

 

 

source/read more : http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/11/delingpole-ugly-truth-dying-polar-bear/

When emoji are the weapon of choice

6th Dec 2017

IT MAY seem vague and harmless but a growing number of people have been thrown in jail for their use of the emoji language.

In a recent workplace survey, more than half of the employees polled said they have used an emoji to communicate at work. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using them in office communications.

NEARLY everyone is familiar with emoji, those popular icons that appear in text messages, emails and social media platforms. Emoji are often used as lighthearted adjuncts to text, or to soften the blow of a message.

Emoji can be viewed as overly simplistic in some contexts. For example, government officials were questioned when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop conducted an interview using just emoji, and described Russian President Vladmir Putin using an angry face.

A 2017 study found that use of emoji in work emails reduced perceptions of competence.

But emoji can be taken very seriously in the context of the law. The use of emoji has challenged lawyers, judges, and lawmakers in several countries. In a legal context, emoji are increasingly recognised not as joke or ornament, but as a legitimate form of literacy.

Making a criminal threat via emoji

Perhaps the most troubling use of emoji has come through their use in interpersonal messages where it is unclear whether they modify or amplify a prima facie criminal threat.

In New Zealand, a judge considered the role of emoji in a Facebook message sent by a man to his ex-partner. The man wrote, “you’re going to get it” followed by an aeroplane emoji.

Concluding that the message and emoji generally conveyed that the defendant was “coming to get” his ex-partner, the judge sentenced the accused to 8 months jail on a charge of stalking.

In 2016, a court in France convicted a young man of threatening his ex-girlfriend through a text message sent by mobile phone. The court found that the inclusion of a gun emoji meant that the message amounted to a “death threat in the form of an image”. The court sentenced the defendant to six months’ imprisonment and imposed a €1,000 fine.
In Virginia in 2015 a high school student was charged with computer harassment and threatening school staff because of using weapon emoji in an Instagram post.

In Virginia in 2015 a high school student was charged with computer harassment and threatening school staff because of using weapon emoji in an Instagram post.Source:Supplied

The issue has also arisen in several cases in the US. In Virginia in 2015 a high school student was charged with computer harassment and threatening school staff. She had posted several messages to her Instagram account, combining text with emoji (a gun, a knife and a bomb).

The student claimed that she had never intended to make a threat and that the posts had been a joke.

In the same year, a 17-year-old in New York was charged with making a terrorist threat on his Facebook page after posting a policeman emoji, and three guns pointing towards it.

The prosecutor alleged that the message constituted a clear threat to police due to several factors:

• identification of a class of victim (police)

• repeated use of the gun emoji

• placement of the emoji weapons close to the emoji of the officer’s head

• the fact that other violent messages had been posted by the student earlier the same evening.

However, a grand jury failed to indict the defendant, at least in part due to concerns about whether the post really demonstrated criminal intent.

Liability in other threat cases has been more readily established. A high school student was convicted of making a criminal threat after she sent a series of tweets including a variety of emoji weapons.

Her claim that the tweets were meant to be a joke was unsuccessful.

Perhaps the high point of emoji liability occurred in a case in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The defendants, who had previously physically attacked the victim, sent him a message comprising only emoji: a fist, followed by a pointed finger, followed by an ambulance.
The message seemed pretty clear…

 

 

source/read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/social/how-the-law-responds-when-emoji-are-the-weapon-of-choice/news-story/04d9362f6bd5c27c61d6b5e1ab432798

Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

Twitter’s verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.

Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler.

The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the platform permanently.

Further changes are expected next week, when Twitter says it will implement more rules. Twitter declined to comment on the changes.

While liberals cheered the crackdown, conservatives worried that they’ll be punished next. Describing the crackdown, a Breitbart headline declared that “conservative figures” had been “purged.”

 

 

source/read more:http://thehill.com/policy/technology/360806-twitter-crackdown-sparks-free-speech-concerns

Once taboo, socialism finds comrades among US millennials

11th Nov 2017

While working as an electrician Lee Carter received a literal shock, through one hand and across the chest, that jolted him into politics and turned him on to what was a dirty word in America for nearly a century: socialism.

His struggle to obtain compensation for the workplace injury inspired him to run for office, and this week Carter ousted a top Republican incumbent to nab a spot in Virginia’s House of Delegates, becoming one of over a dozen unabashed socialists newly elected to US state and municipal seats one year after Donald Trump took the White House.

The 31-year-old former Marine is part of a growing cadre of Americans, particularly millennials, pledging their allegiance to the Democratic Socialists of America, the nation’s fastest growing leftist group that was originally founded in 1982 as a foothold for Marxists.

Riding the wave of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’s spirited White House bid against primary rival Hillary Clinton, the organization is helping propel socialism out of the shadows.

In the years prior to the Sanders campaign, the DSA’s number of card-carrying members hovered around 6,500 — and has nearly quintupled since 2016’s presidential race to more than 30,000.

Its median age has dropped from about 60 to 35, according to organizers, some of whom have playfully referred to the surge among youth as a “socialist baby boom.”

Dismayed by Trump’s rise to power Jacquelyn Smith in January joined the DSA, which has chapters in nearly every US state. And at just 22 years old, she managed Carter’s victorious campaign.

Organizing as a DSA member means “I am challenging the root of the problem and not the symptoms,” she told AFP, speaking at a recent convention of the organization’s local Washington branch.

“I focus a lot less on challenging Trump and a lot more on challenging why he got there in the first place,” she said, citing forces including economic inequality and white supremacist movements.

Today Smith said millennials — a generation that grew up during the 2008 financial crisis — are eager for socialism, to “embrace the ideology and really fight with it publicly.”

Under her management DSA members spent months canvassing for Carter in Virginia’s 50th district, about an hour’s drive west of the nation’s capital, knocking on more than 9,000 doors in the final four days.

Those grassroots efforts helped propel Carter, who ran as a socialist on the Democratic party

Despite their current momentum far-left groups like the DSA remain on the fringes of American politics, working within a two-party system that leaves little space for outsiders.

The political group is not a party, and has nowhere near the clout of sister movements elsewhere such as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in Britain, or Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

But socialism has not had a voice this loud in American politics for decades.

Though she would not yet classify the wave of leftist activism as a mass movement, politics professor Cathy Schneider of American University said the DSA’s growth is significant in that it indicates voters shocked by Trumpism are also increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic Party.

“There is a sector of American society who feel that the political parties do not address their concerns,” she said. “The Democratic Socialists have said we have an answer for that.”

Their current strategy does not necessarily include third-party politics; instead the DSA is fielding socialist candidates for elected office using whichever ballot line makes winning likely, generally that of the Democrats.

And though many members got involved in the aftermath of the Sanders campaign, organizers now say their goal is to build a movement not connected to any single politician but instead based on core issues like universal health care, public investment in education and housing and bolstering labor protections.

Schneider also noted that socialism’s “alarming reputation” appears to be fading, no small development in a country that lived through the Red Scare era of anti-communist propaganda.

“People no longer associate socialism with dictatorships in the USSR and China,” she said.

 

 

 

 

source:https://www.yahoo.com/news/once-taboo-socialism-finds-comrades-among-us-millennials-051949477.html