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Tue, 28 Sep 2021
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Eye 1

UK Met Police upgrades 'massively invasive' face recognition tech net, watchdog warns of 'public trust' cost

facial recognition
© Pixabay / Tumisu
Scotland Yard is set to expand its controversial facial recognition surveillance dragnet across London in a £3 million deal that allows the UK's largest police force to track suspects using older images from CCTV and social media.

Last month, the Mayor of London's office quietly signed off on the purchase of 'Retrospective Facial Recognition' (RFR) systems that processes existing images accessed by the Metropolitan Police from a variety of sources and matches them against the force's internal database.

Under the four-year agreement, Japanese tech firm NEC Corporation will supply the RFR systems - which will afford the Met Police "opportunities... not previously available to support the detection and matching of faces" and enable the force to "effectively exploit" investigative opportunities from the rapid growth of "image data sources".

Comment: Governments and the police have already abused the 'emergency' powers that they snatched at the beginning of the manufactured crisis, and there's every reason to believe that any new legislation, and technology of all kinds, will ultimately be used to further consolidate the dystopia that seems to be subsuming much of the planet. Lest we forget that in Britain the government has already made it law that its agencies are legally allowed to commit crime both at home, and abroad: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Perfidious Albion: If Russia is a Rogue State, What is the UK?

Red Flag

Antifa member charged with shooting anti-vaxxer in Washington

Benjamin Anthony Varela
© Twitter
Alleged Antifa member Benjamin Anthony Varela shot five times into a crowd of anti-vaxxers.
An Antifa member with a long history of posting far-left extremist content online has been arrested and charged with the shooting of an anti-vaxxer in Olympia, Wash.

Benjamin Anthony Varela, 36, of Olympia, was arrested on Thursday and charged with first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon.

On Sept. 4, a couple dozen Antifa from around the Pacific Northwest traveled to the Washington state Capitol building to try to shut down an anti-COVID vaccine mandate protest. The black-clad group was met by the rally's volunteer right-wing security, who included Proud Boys members. When the Antifa group ran to the Intercity Transit Station, one of their masked members turned around and fired five 9mm pistol rounds in the direction of the right-wing group, which was about 50 feet behind, according to security footage. Proud Boys member Tusitala Toese was injured in the shooting.

Varela, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, deleted most of his social media accounts before his arrest, but posts still available on Twitter show he corresponded back and forth with the Spokane and Olympia DSA chapters as well as Libcom.org, an anarchist-Communist website. Prior to deleting his Twitter account, his bio read, "professional anarchist, thug, and paid protester." His YouTube account, which is still online but doesn't have any videos available to the public, features a red and black Antifa flag as its profile image. According to the affidavit, Varela ran into an alley behind the Union Gospel Mission after the shooting and discarded his black uniform.

2 + 2 = 4

China's tutoring ban hits overseas teachers and cultural links - creates instant black market

classroom in Weinan
© Weinan Gov.
A classroom in Weinan, China.
Every morning, Sam Josti logged on from her US home to teach children halfway around the world, just one of thousands of foreign language tutors giving Chinese students a rare window into Western culture.

But tutors like Massachusetts-based Josti have taken a sharp financial hit after Beijing's harsh crackdown on extracurricular classes pulled down the blinds over the world outside for Chinese students.

Foreign language teaching firms had long tapped into a vast demand for English in China, where armies of parents are eager to get their kids ahead in a cut-throat education system in which a single exam can determine a life's trajectory.

That came to a crashing halt in August when Beijing announced education reforms that banned tutoring firms from hiring overseas teachers.

The rules — which also forced tutoring platforms to turn their businesses non-profit and barred some classes during weekends and holidays — are framed by Beijing as necessary to alleviate stress on overworked students and reduce education costs.

Critics say they are also cutting off Chinese children from outside influences, as an increasingly nationalistic Beijing moves to reassert socialist ideology in the country's classrooms.

"I understand wanting to take pressure off parents... but not why it's been so sudden and harsh," said 44-year-old Josti, a former elementary school teacher who switched to full-time online tutoring in 2017.

"We were bridging the gap between the two countries, and it seems to have stopped before we could finish it," she told AFP, fearing cultural exchange will now be lost.

"On a personal level, it's heartbreaking."


Political leaders who deny basic biology to appease trans activists are leading our children into a dangerous fantasy world

trans trangender rights protest
© Global Look Press/Keystone Press Agency/Joel Goodman
People take part in a Reclaim Pride march through Manchester City Centre , in opposition to the management of the city's 'official' Manchester Pride charity festival .
Sir Keir Starmer's assertion that it is wrong to say only women have a cervix is dangerous, particularly so in the message it sends to children. By ignoring biology, he is encouraging identity crises among young people.

It looks like the ideology of transgenderism has captured the British Labour Party. Without a hint of embarrassment, Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the party, has rejected the scientifically validated fact that states that there is a biological difference between a man and a woman.

Starmer declared on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that it is wrong to say "only women have a cervix," as one of Labour's MPs, Rosie Duffield, had pointed out.


China seeks to "reduce non-medical abortion"

obstetrics pregnant china
© Visual China Group/GettyKaamil Ahmed
A fitness class in Shijiazhuang obstetrics hospital. After years of limiting population growth, Beijing now wants families to have more children.
China's pledge to limit abortions puts women's bodies under the state's control just as the one-child policy did and could endanger the lives of women seeking abortions, rights groups have said.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that it would seek to reduce abortions for "non-medical reasons" - a move seen as being in line with its attempts to accelerate birthrates.

Government guidelines did not provide detail on what constitutes a non-medical abortion.

Comment: Abortion is clearly a nuanced issue, but surely wanting to help women avoid the ordeal is a positive goal?

It's telling that those parts of the world that want to protect the rights of children and families, are also those looking to reduce abortion, whilst in the West the same countries promoting transgender ideology to children and allowing them access to harmful hormone blockers are also those pushing for sinisterly late, late-term abortions, for any reason: And check out SOTT radio's: Objective: Health - Law or Flaw? Let's Talk About Abortion


'Liberal's hero' Liz Cheney corrects Lesley Stahl: Says waterboarding is 'not torture' in CBS interview

Liz Cheney
© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
US Representative Liz Cheney
These days one only needs to be against Donald Trump to win liberal hearts, it seems. Just ask Liz Cheney, who can be both a "hero" to the liberals while also favoring waterboarding, according to her recent 60 Minutes interview.

CBS News' Lesley Stahl caught up with the Wyoming representative to discuss her status as a Republican maverick earned after picking a public fight with former President Donald Trump.

Cheney's move cost her standing in the Republican party and may even cause her to lose her House seat. Trump has endorsed her opponent in next year's primary election in apparent retaliation - and whether the US establishment likes it or not, Trump's word has much sway with the Republican base.

The intra-party fight, along with a more personal moment, in which Cheney admitted she was "wrong" to oppose same-sex marriage even as her father Dick Cheney supported it in 2013, attracted the bulk of political attention on Twitter.

Comment: See also:

Snakes in Suits

Scholz: Voters want Germany's election winner SPD to seek coalition with Greens & FDP, not Merkel's bloc

© Wolfgang Kumm/dpa/AP
Olaf Scholz, finance minister and SPD candidate for chancellor
The Social Democrats' candidate for Germany's next chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said his party has received a mandate to form a government with the Greens and liberal FDP rather than with its old partner, Merkel's center-right bloc.

"The voters have very clearly spoken. They said who should form the next government," Scholz said on Monday.

They strengthened three parties - the Social Democrats, the Greens and FDP [Free Democratic Party]- and therefore that is the clear mandate that the citizens of this country have given. These three should form the next government.

Scholz, the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) candidate to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor, made his statement after the party came first in Sunday's vote with 25.7%, while its chief rival, the center-right CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union) alliance, showed the worst performance since 1949 with 24.1% of the vote. The parties had governed the country in a coalition before the election.


An American Horror Story

Swat team
© AP
Thomas Caldwell's wife awakened him in a panic at 5:30 a.m. on January 19. "The FBI is at the door and I'm not kidding," Sharon Caldwell told her husband.

Caldwell, 66, clad only in his underwear, went to see what was happening outside his Virginia farm. "There was a full SWAT team, armored vehicles with a battering ram, and people screaming at me," Caldwell told me during a lengthy phone interview on September 21. "People who looked like stormtroopers were pointing M4 weapons at me, covering me with red [laser] dots."

Agents demanded that Caldwell, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who suffers from debilitating service-related spinal injuries, come outside and lay down in the grass.
"Someone grabbed my legs and dragged me through the grass. They threw me face down on the hood of the car, kicked my legs apart, put a chain around my waist and put me in handcuffs."
Caldwell said he looked up to see Sharon, his wife of 22 years, dressed in her nightgown holding her hands up with a sock in either hand. She, too, was covered in red dots from the weapons aimed at her. Sharon, 61, begged to put on her socks before they forced her outside in the cold.

"I said a prayer, 'Father, please don't let them kill my wife,'" Caldwell said through sobs.

Shopping Bag

Costco limits purchases of toilet paper, paper towels and bottled water amid inflation, supply-chain issues

© Will West/Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images/KJN
Costco is implementing new consumer limitations on purchases of household essentials including toilet paper, paper towels, and Kirkland bottled water as the company has seen an increase in demand due to a surge in the delta variant and supply-chain complications.

Costco has been dealing with significant issues centered around supply-chain complications and inflation according to the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard A. Galanti. Galanti informed analysts of the issues during a conference call, transcribed by Alpha Street, regarding Costco's fourth-quarter earnings on September 23:
From a supply chain perspective, the factors pressuring supply chains and inflation include port delays, container shortages, COVID disruptions, shortages on various components, raw materials and ingredients, labor cost pressures and trucker and driver shortages — trucks and driver shortages. Domestically, anecdotally rather from a — even on a domestic side, various major brands are requesting longer lead times. Some cases difficulty in finding drivers and trucks on short notice. Lead times on ingredients and packaging have been extended in some cases.
After noting complications regarding supply chains and inflation, Galanti announced,
"Also we're putting some limitations on key items like bath tissues, roll towels, Kirkland Signature water, high demand related SKUs related to the uptick in the Delta related demand."

Comment: When retail giants limit purchases...the worst is just around the corner.

Light Saber

Cyber Ninjas on Arizona election: "Based on these factual findings, the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable."

cyber ninjas arizona audit maricopa
© Cyber Ninjas
On Friday September 24 CyberNinjas submitted to the AZ Senate a report (pdf) that read as follows:
"57,734 ballots with serious issues were identified in the audit. These issues include improper voter registration, improper votes, and discrepancies in the registration. This is a conservative estimate, as there were other identified problems that were not quantified nor included in that total, likely resulting in a much larger number of flawed ballots. Additional issues identified: backdated registrations, multiple voter registrations linked to the same voter affidavit, voters without records in a commercial database, and printing defects rendering thousands of ballots as suspicious.

"In the 2020 presidential election, the margin of victory was only 10,457 votes, a small fraction of the 57,734 ballots with known issues. Again, this is almost 6 times the margin of victory in the Presidential race and is multiples of the margin of victory in other races. Based on these factual findings, the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable." — Cyber Ninjas' submitted Maricopa 9/24 Report

Comment: Presentation of the report starts at 23:00: