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Wed, 15 Jul 2020
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Hypocrites: Google vows to ban companies profiting from secretly spying on people

Google
© Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann
In an effort to combat the monitoring of people's activities without their knowledge, Google is changing its policies to prohibit the advertising of spyware products. The spy-happy tech giant evidently failed to grasp the irony...

In a published update, Google said its new policy includes any technology used for "intimate partner surveillance," including but not limited to spyware or malware that "can be used to monitor texts, phone calls, or browsing history."

Although Google doesn't explicitly say so, its focus is on stalkerware, which is purposely downloaded with the intention of secretly installing it onto another person's device. This then provides access to the victim's location, communications and photos, and details the websites they've visited.

Ambulance

Clinical psychologist: Julian Assange's 'torture has intensified' and must be stopped

Julian Assange
© Sputnik (screenshot)
The Lancet medical journal has published a second letter drafted by physicians from around the world demanding an end to the ongoing mistreatment of WikiLeaks publisher and founder Julian Assange.

Two hundred and sixteen medical professionals signed an article published in The Lancet medical journal demanding an end to the "ongoing torture and medical neglect" of award-wining WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who remains incarcerated in Britain's Belmarsh maximum-security prison.

Clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson, who co-authored the letter, explained to Sputnik why she and her colleagues felt it necessary to draft this latest version despite having already published a letter in February.

Sputnik: Why did you co-author this letter in The Lancet demanding an "end to the torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange"?

Comment: See also: Doctors for Assange warn he could be 'effectively tortured to death in prison'


Eye 2

Epstein's madam and partner-in-crime Ghislaine Maxwell seeks bail, citing coronavirus, and denies charges

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein
© Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein: the two seemed mutually dependent
Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls for him to sexually abuse and said she deserves bail, citing the risk she might contract the coronavirus in jail.

Maxwell, 58, filed her request in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, eight days after being arrested in New Hampshire, where authorities said she had been hiding at a sprawling property she bought while shielding her identity.

A spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment. Maxwell has been housed since Monday at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a Brooklyn jail.

She said her detention there put her at "significant risk" of contracting the coronavirus, after 55 inmates and staff had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 30.

Play

Body camera transcripts reveal new details about night of George Floyd's death

Thomas Lane.
© Hennepin County Jail.
Thomas Lane.
In an interview with BCA investigators, former Minneapolis Police officer Thomas Lane described arriving on scene at Cup Foods at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

"We got there and entered the building. Entered Cup Foods, the business," said Lane, during the interview. "There was a staff member there that said, 'They're still here.' He was holding the bill, and he goes, 'They gave me this. It's fake $20.' He pointed across the street, and they're like, 'He's in the car over there. Go get him before he drives off.' He started walking out, and I was like, 'Just head back in. We'll take care of it.' Me and Kueng walked across the street. There was a vehicle could see was occupied."

Lane describes approaching the vehicle and saw the people inside moving around. He said when he approached the driver, later identified as Floyd, he didn't see both hands. According to Lane, he asked Floyd to put both hands up.

Lane drew his gun.

"The concern was either that he was trying to stash something or he possibly had a gun," said Lane when questioned by investigators.

According to transcripts of both Lane and Keung's body cameras, Floyd asked the officers "What did I do." Lane and Keung repeatedly told him to put his hands up.

Comment: Chances are we won't see any more details made public, given this:


Arrow Down

Turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque will threaten Christian-Muslim trust, lower tourism, pit the West against Erdogan

Hagia Sophia
© Reuters/Murad Sezer
Hagia Sophia
It may win President Erdogan a few Islamist friends, but turning Istanbul's former Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque shows total disregard for a fragile religious balance and a key cultural destination.

Turkey's decision to convert the famed Hagia Sophia - the nation's most-visited tourist site - into a mosque has brought Islamist ideology to the doorstep of Europe in one chilling decree.

The former Orthodox Christian cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracted more than 3.7 million visitors last year. But those numbers will plummet from now on, as tourists steer clear of what will be an active mosque, with most preferring a little less controversy when looking to immerse the family in a foreign culture.

Not only will visitors from abroad be puzzled by the move, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push to annul the site's museum status has not gone down well in neighboring Athens, or even in the USA, for that matter, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised against going ahead with the ill-considered plan.

Lina Mendoni, Culture Minister for Greece, home to millions of Orthodox Church followers, lambasted Erdogan, telling the BBC, "It takes his country back six centuries." As one of two European Union (EU) members sharing a border with Turkey, Bulgaria being the other, Greece will be anxiously waiting for a similarly firm response from its fellow members in the bloc, but could be waiting a long time.

Comment: See also:


Camcorder

Former associate says Epstein and Maxwell filmed powerful people having sex with underage girls

Jeffrey Epstein i Ghislaine Maxwell, slikani 1995. godine
Paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his ex-lover Ghislaine Maxwell recorded videos of powerful people having sex with under-age girls, according to a former friend of the pair.

And the reformed jewel thief, who uses the pseudonym William Steel, claims the couple made him watch some to prove how they "owned" people.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the ex-criminal turned writer tells how he was shown footage involving two high-profile US politicians having sex with minors and two high society figures having a threesome with an under-age girl.

Steel — who is not being paid for this interview — also branded Maxwell, 58, who was arrested last week in connection with trafficking young girls, a wild "nymphomaniac" who would try "everything and anything in bed".

He says: "I was forced to watch their videos because they were trying to impress me.

"They wanted to convince me of their power and who they held in their grip.

"They boasted about 'owning' powerful people.

"Ghislaine was more into showing me those than Jeff.

"When you're in a situation like that, you have to pretend to be non-judgmental. But it was shocking.

Comment: Not exactly the most stellar source, but what he says matches up with what we know from other sources. It will be up to investigative authorities to see if "Steel" has any actual evidence that can be used against Maxwell. That's assuming the trial will be legit - and that's assuming there will be a trial.


Newspaper

Liberal media alarmed US propaganda arm Voice of America may 'become propaganda' (the wrong kind) under Trump nominee CEO

Voice of America headquarters in DC
© Wikipedia
Voice of America headquarters in Washington, DC
Mainstream media and Democrats are howling in protest that the new head of the US propaganda agency might make it a... propaganda agency. Also literally kill people by denying them visas, maybe, disgruntled employees say.

Ever since Michael Pack was confirmed by the Senate in early June to lead the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), there has been a steady drumbeat of alarmist stories about how this nominee of President Donald Trump was ruining everything. Vindictive employees purged by Pack went so far as to reveal the USAGM has served as a conduit to "pro-democracy protesters" in Hong Kong, thinking nothing of it.

A whole lot of maybes

The latest outrage is over what Pack "might" decide to do, with the New York Times and the Guardian citing anonymous sources and recently fired employees to paint a picture of potential death for journalists from Thailand, Cambodia or China if they lose their visas.

Wolf

SJWs run 'woke' dinner scam on wealthy whites: Grifters are only amplifying the racism they claim to fight

white guilt dinner
© Race 2 Dinner
Redefining racism as the Original Sin tainting all white people has spawned a parade of grifters. If 'anti-racist' literature isn't your thing, you can pay a pair of white-hating women to abuse you and your friends over dinner.

Former Democratic congressional candidate Saira Rao and her 2018 campaign staffer Regina DiAngelo have found their niche extorting thousands of dollars from guilty white women in return for harassing them about their inborn racism over food and drinks in what sounds like a spinoff of the race-horror flick Get Out but is actually a much-hyped "anti-racist" consciousness-raising event called "Race 2 Dinner." Buoyed by universally positive coverage from a media establishment that can't get enough of sliming white women as malevolent Karens, R2D has blossomed over the past year from its initial word-of-mouth spread to taking corporate bookings.

Rao and DiAngelo make no secret of why they've chosen the dinner format as the ideal setting to lambaste their paler sisters. Because white women are "nice" and "polite," they wouldn't think of leaving the dinner table, no matter how uncomfortable they get, Rao explained in a recent podcast, pointing out that the kind of confrontational conversation that characterizes a typical R2D session might otherwise send these avatars of white fragility running out of a conference or a lecture hall.

Attention

Police RAID house of gun-toting St. Louis lawyer couple and confiscate their AR-15

McCloskey guns protestors home
© Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP
Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey confront protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's house in the Central West End of St. Louis. The figure on the right is holding a microphone.
Sources told 5 On Your Side police seized one of the weapons, the rifle, from the couple and they told police their attorney has the pistol seen in photos.

5 On Your Side has learned St. Louis police officers executed a search warrant Friday evening at the home of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Central West end couple who confronted protesters with weapons in June.

Sources told 5 On Your Side that police seized one of the weapons, the rifle, from the couple and they told police their attorney has the pistol seen in photos.

Comment: Twitter provided more background:




Light Saber

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitkrieg steps back: Farewell...for now

Mountain in Colorado
© Michael Krieger
Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it.
Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it.
Fate. How small a role you play in it.

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
For the past ten years, I've spent most of my waking hours learning how the systems we live under function and how wealth and power operate and consolidate in the U.S. as well as globally. I've learned a lot and I've shared a lot. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would.

I dedicated all that time and energy to writing and engaging on the big issues of our era for two main reasons. First, I felt there was a window of opportunity to turn the ship around and reform the system to avoid needless additional widespread suffering and upheaval, which to me was guaranteed given the destructive path to which our ruling class was obstinately committed. Second, my decade on Wall Street offered some valuable insight into the inner workings of financial feudalism and how it systematically and intentionally enriches certain small segments of the populace while enslaving the masses via perpetual colossal debt issuance coupled with reoccurring central bank bailouts for the creditor and financial asset speculator class. This wasn't widely appreciated when I first started writing about it, so it became a personal mission to inform as many people as possible.

For a decade straight, I wrote incessantly about oligarchy, empire, endless war, an erosion of civil liberties, Wall Street criminality, unaccountable central bank power and much more. I figured if enough people understood how real power functions we could rein in its perniciousness. Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I got it wrong, but I always put forth my best effort. I'm proud of the work I did and the overall mission, but the unfortunate truth is it didn't have the impact I had hoped for. Although I certainly helped and inspired people along the way, the macro situation we find ourselves in today is even more unstable and dangerous than it was a decade ago.