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Mon, 20 Nov 2017
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Snakes in Suits

Another powerful man in media, NY Times WH correspondent Glenn Thrush, facing sexual harassment claims from multiple women

© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush in the White House briefing room on February 24
Sexual harassment claims against yet another powerful man in media inspired New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush to post an impassioned note on his Facebook page in October, calling on his fellow journalists to stand by women entering the field.

In the post, which linked to an article about the latest accusations against political journalist Mark Halperin, Thrush wrote, "Young people who come into a newsroom deserve to be taught our trade, given our support and enlisted in our calling - not betrayed by little men who believe they are bigger than the mission."

It was a noble statement - but some Washington journalists I spoke to say it rings hollow, given Thrush's own behavior with young women in the industry.

"He kept saying he's an advocate for women and women journalists," a 23-year-old woman told me, recounting an incident with Thrush from this past June. "That's how he presented himself to me. He tried to make himself seem like an ally and a mentor."

She paused. "Kind of ironic now."

Comment: It's also worth noting that Wikileaks exposed Thrush as one of the reporters who ran his stories past the Clinton camp in the run-up to the 2016 election.


US Navy and NASA join the hunt for missing Argentine submarine which vanished 250 miles off the coast of Patagonia almost 3 days ago - UPDATES

The ARA San Juan (pictured in a file photo) last contacted the Argentine navy on Wednesday while 250 miles off the coast of Patagonia and has not been heard from since
The US Navy has deployed one of its high-tech surveillance aircraft to help find a missing Argentine attack submarine which went missing three days ago.

NASA has also sent a surveillance aircraft to the scene, diverting it from a mission studying Antarctic ice.

The ARA San Juan was last in contact with its base on Wednesday when it was almost 270 miles from the coast of Patagonia.

The US Navy diverted one of its P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to Bahia Blanca, Argentina to help with the search for the missing submarine.

Comment: Update (Nov. 19): Attempts sent on Saturday from San Juan submarine lasted between four and 36 seconds, says defence ministry.
Seven failed satellite calls were detected on Saturday that Argentina's defence ministry believes could be from submarine that went missing in the south Atlantic three days ago with 44 crew on board.

The attempts - which lasted between four and 36 seconds - "indicate that the crew is trying to re-establish contact" after communications were lost on Wednesday said the navy. The defence ministry said it was working on tracing the location of the calls with an unnamed US company that specialised in satellite communications.

It was not immediately clear what type of calls the ARA San Juan submarine might have tried to make but submarines that are stricken underwater can float a location beacon known as an emergency position indicator radio beacon (EPIRB) to the surface that can then emit emergency signals via satellite.

Offers for aid have been received also from South Africa and Brazil, as well as other South American nations.

Argentina's foreign minister, Jorge Faurie, tweeted. "I am deeply grateful to all the friendly nations who are collaborating in the humanitarian search we Argentinians are undertaking."

Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, has moved to the coastal city of Chapadmalal, near Mar del Plata, because of the situation.
Update (Nov. 20): The international search for the missing Argentinian submarine with 44 crew on board is continuing after a naval commander confirmed the vessel did surface to report an electrical malfunction.
The military sub surfaced Wednesday to report an electrical issue and was ordered to go back to its base, according to naval commander Gabriel Galeazzi. "The submarine surfaced and reported a malfunction, which is why its ground command ordered it to return to its naval base at Mar del Plata," Galeazzi told reporters on Monday.

The alarm was raised by the Argentinian navy on Friday after the vessel failed to make contact for 48 hours. The crew was returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the most southern tip of South America, when the German-built diesel-electric submarine lost contact.

Rescuers hoped that satellite calls detected over the weekend were from the missing crew, however a navy spokesman confirmed on Monday that the calls did not come from the vessel.

International air and sea search missions by Brazil, Britain, Chile and the US were hindered by bad weather conditions. Waves were up to six meters when the sub went missing, but rescuers are honing in on a 300km radius surrounding the last point of contact with the vessel.

While it's still unclear exactly what happened, a navy spokesperson said an electrical problem may have suddenly cut off the vessel's communications. One possible scenario is that the submarine's communications malfunctioned, but its navigation remains intact. However, such a theory has lost steam after the crew failed to dock as planned Sunday.


Ryan Seacrest denies sexual abuse allegations after former wardrobe stylist demands a "substantial amount of money to keep quiet"

As more and more allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct emerge in Hollywood, Ryan Seacrest today took the preemptive move of denying acting badly before an accusation went public.

"Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her," said the past and future American Idol host Friday. "If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry."

E! is investigating the allegations internally, the outlet says.

The anonymous accuser wanted a "substantial amount of money to keep quiet," a source close to the situation tells Deadline. Wary of the implications of guilt baked into acquiescing to such a financial demand, Seacrest refused and decided to go public, we hear.

Comment: With the amount of hysteria unleashed in the wake of the Weinstein exposes, it's rather unsurprising that sociopaths would make use of the situation for their own ends.

Sex, power, consent: Interpreting the "sexual assault" media frenzy
Behind the Headlines: Weinstein's Weinergate Goes Nuclear: Where is society at with #MeToo?


British singer Morrissey defends Spacey and Weinstein, blames victims for what happened, gets eviscerated on Twitter

© Getty Images
The British singer Morrissey defended both Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein in an interview this weekend, claiming their alleged victims knew "exactly" what was going on - and chose to "play along."

"Afterward, they feel embarrassed, or they do not like it," Morrissey said while speaking to the German news outlet Der Spiegel. "And then they turn it around and say: I was attacked, I was surprised, I was dragged into the room."

Spacey and Weinstein have each been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen men and women. The Hollywood heavyweights are scrambling to find supporters as more and more people come to the defense of their alleged victims.

Morrissey, however, is apparently in both men's corner - calling the claims against Spacey "ridiculous" and blasting the countless women who've come forward and publicly named Weinstein as their abuser.

"People know exactly what's going on," Morrissey reportedly said after being asked about the movie producer. "And they play along...But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it."


Victims of Bill Clinton's sexual assaults slam mainstream media coverage, praise Drudge and Breitbart for fair reporting

© Scott Olson/Getty
Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones
In an exclusive video interview recently recorded at the presidential suite of the historic Watergate Hotel, the victims of Bill Clinton's alleged sexual assaults - Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones - blasted the mainstream news media while praising Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report, as well as Breitbart News for fairly reporting on their stories.

The women recalled how Drudge on January 17, 1998 broke the story alleging Newsweek was sitting on a bombshell news item that White House intern Monica Lewinsky was having an affair with President Clinton.

Stated Broaddrick: "Drudge was my hero. Absolutely my hero during all of that time. I could go to Drudge and know what was going on or you could go to the mainstream media, which Drudge now is. I mean they blasted him. This man stood up for us. Matt Drudge is our hero." Willey and Jones expressed agreement.


Backlash as MPs vote 'that animals cannot feel pain or emotions' during Brexit debate

© Getty
EU bill: MPs voted against including animal sentience in the divorce bill
MPs have voted to reject the inclusion of a clause that states animals can feel emotion and pain into the EU withdrawal bill. The government faced backlash after voting to dismiss animal sentience from the Brexit bill last week.

Animal rights activists said the exclusion of the ruling, which was incorporated into EU law in 2009 via the Lisbon Treaty after years of campaigning, was "shocking".


Nebraska regulators approve Keystone XL pipeline, despite recent oil leak that dumped 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

© Global Look Press
Nebraska regulators approved the Keystone XL pipeline route through the state, despite a oil leak last week that dumped 210,000 gallons of oil on arable farmland in South Dakota.

With three votes in favor and two against, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) approved the pipeline route on Monday. The body was tasked with assessing whether the route was in the state's best interests, but could not consider the risk of spills since the project already had an environmental permit.

The NPSC has been reviewing the proposed 275-mile route of TransCanada Corp's crude oil pipeline since February.

Commissioner Crystal Rhoades, the body's sole Democrat, voted against the pipeline in part because it was not following the originally proposed route.

Comment: See also: Another major oil leak hits Keystone Pipeline, forcing its closure in S. Dakota

Arrow Up

Sexual assaults in the German military on the rise; defense minister encourages more openness in reporting

© Ina Fassbender / Reuters
Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of sex offenses officially reported in the German Army, with around 190 sex-related allegations this year alone, the Defense Ministry's data shows, as cited by local media.

By mid-November, there were 11 reported rapes in the Bundeswehr, compared with five rapes reported last year, the Bild am Sonntag tabloid said.

Through the end of September 2017, there were 187 reports of sexual misconduct, which ranged from unwanted touching to rape. There were nearly 60 cases less last year. The 2017 figures also reportedly included some cases from the previous years that remained unresolved.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the newspaper that an increase in the alleged assaults is "a positive sign that supervisors and teams more frequently report the incidents." She claimed that the military in fact wants an "atmosphere of openness."

On Wednesday, Der Spiegel reported that two female soldiers, aged 18 and 22, were raped at the Toderdorf barracks in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. The incident reportedly occurred following a party there.


France: Interior minister maintains ban on Muslim groups praying in the streets

© Benoit Tessier / Reuters
FILE PHOTO Muslims pray during Friday prayers in the street in front of the city hall of Clichy, near Paris.
The French authorities will prevent Muslims in a northern Paris suburb from praying in the streets, the interior minister says. Local worshippers have been protesting the recent closure of a convenient prayer room.

Gerard Collomb reiterated his opposition to prayers staged by the Union of Muslim Worship and Cultural Associations of Clichy-la-Garenne (UAMC) every Friday in the city center since March after a hall they had rented from the town was remodeled into a multimedia library under the new mayor. A dedicated worship center has been built since then, but local Muslims are unhappy about its location and size.

"They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying," Collomb told Questions Politics, while promising to find a mutually acceptable solution "in the next few weeks."

"Muslims must have a place of worship to pray," he stressed.

The bickering between the city administration and the local Muslim community has been going on since March, when police were called to expel the UAMC from the premises pursuant to a court order, reaffirmed by the Council of State in November of last year.

Comment: See also:
France closed 20 mosques and prayer halls since December for preaching radical Islam

Eye 1

'Living on a volcano': IOC-ban of 6 Russian skiers talk about life as 'pawns in political game'

© Alexander Vilf / Sputnik
Alexander Legkov
The Russian skiers stripped of their medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics over doping allegations and given a lifetime ban from the Games gave RT a defiant interview, insisting on their innocence as they face potential suspension from all competition.

"Foreign officials are trying to put pressure on our country," said Alexander Legkov, who was stripped of his 50km gold and 4x10km relay silver earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee. "The athletes are pawns in this game, and easiest to punish."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban of six skiers, which Russia has said it will appeal, was enacted on the basis of the report by former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Richard McLaren's investigation. It alleged that Russia's anti-doping lab regularly covered up positive tests, and that samples were systematically manipulated at Russia's home Games three years ago.

Comment: See also: US puppet agency WADA declares Russian anti-doping org 'non-compliant' - Russian sports minister calls decision 'politicized'