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The pattern is increasingly clear: As investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to and possible collusion with Russia have intensified, so too have efforts by the president and his staff to quash those probes or put pressure on US officials to publicly deny the validity of the swirling allegations.

For his part, President Donald Trump has long insisted there is nothing to the investigations: “The entire thing has been a witch hunt,” he said during a recent press conference at the White House. “There’s no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign—but I can only speak for myself—and the Russians. Zero.”

But behind the scenes, Trump and his team appear to have worked assiduously to get FBI investigators to either stop their digging, or to lean on congressional and intelligence officials to get them to back Trump by saying there is nothing there. Here are the US officials who have reportedly been the subject of White House pressure:

Daniel Coats and Admiral Michael Rogers: The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump asked each of these two top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia. Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, refused to comply with the requests, which they believed were inappropriate, according to the Post. In congressional testimony Tuesday, Coats declined to discuss whether the president leaned on him.

James Comey: As the New York Times reported in mid-May, Trump asked the FBI director during an Oval Office meeting in February to shut down the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to a contemporaneous memo Comey wrote. Trump fired Comey on May 9, giving conflicting reasons for his action. Trump has since denied that he asked Comey to stop his investigation of Flynn, responding to a question at a news conference by cutting off the reporter and saying only, “No, no—next question.”

Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Devin Nunes:  In February, the Post reported that the White House asked senior members of Congress to contact news organizations to try to counter news stories about the growing Russia scandal, including Burr and Nunes—the two Republican chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees investigating Trump. A spokesman for Nunes confirmed that he spoke to reporters and delivered the requested message. In an interview, Burr acknowledged that he had conversations about Russia-related news reports with the White House and engaged with news organizations to dispute articles by the New York Times and CNN that alleged repeated contact between Trump campaign members and Russian intelligence operatives. Nunes later stepped down from the House investigation, after revelations about him working closely with the White House to instead focus attention on alleged surveillance activities by the Obama administration.

Andrew McCabe: Also in February, according to the Guardian, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, asked the FBI to deny media reports that campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russians during the election. Priebus’ reported discussion with McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director—who took over as acting director after Comey was fired—prompted sharp criticism from Democrats, who said Priebus violated policies intended to insulate FBI investigations from politics.

These are the examples known so far, but other instances of White House pressure or meddling in the investigations may well come to light: As the Post also reported this week with its scoop on Coats and Rogers, Trump White House officials “sounded out” with other “top intelligence officials” the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop the investigation into Flynn.

Source: Mother Jones

(ANTIMEDIA) It’s no secret that Google already monitors its users’ online shopping activity, but now it will follow them out of their homes and keep a close eye on every interaction they make. The tech giant announced a new system to track users’ in-store credit card purchases Tuesday in a statement published on the company’s official blog.

Google rolled out the new tool at Google Marketing Next, an annual event geared toward advertisers where the company unveils its newest innovations in marketing. “Store sales management” works by pulling data from Google’s third-party partnerships, which capture approximately 70% of credit card transactions in the United States. The system then streamlines user information in order to generate reports automatically sent to merchants who opt in. The reports will measure the effectiveness of online advertisements by matching in-store transactions back to Google ads.

According to the Associated Press:

Google says its computers rely primarily on log-in information, such as email addresses, to identify the people clicking on ads. It then matches that data with other identifying information compiled by merchants and the issuers of credit and debit cards to figure out when digital ads contribute to an offline purchase.”

This is ultimately an upgraded version of Google’s “store visits measurement,” which was rolled out in 2014 and updated in March 2017. This tool utilizes deep learning technology to analyze vast amounts of user data, including email addresses, ad clicks, browser and location history, and user surveys.

Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, told the Associated Press that “the privacy implications of this are pretty massive, so Google needs to tread very carefully.”

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

Source: Anti Media Feed

(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) In the aftermath of the gruesome Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people Monday evening, the British government rushed to the rescue, deploying soldiers into the streets of the U.K. in the name of guaranteeing security.

But as the country’s government purports to protect its citizens, it has already proven its incompetence many times over — and it let the terrorists win long before this week. According to a report published Thursday by the Telegraph, British authorities had the suicide bomber, Abed Salman Abedi, in their grasp five times before he blew himself up at a concert Monday evening.

Sources suggest that authorities were informed of the danger posed by Abedi on at least five separate occasions in the five years prior to the attack on Monday night,” the outlet reported, also adding that “authorities were also aware that Abedi’s father was linked to a well-known militant Islamist group in Libya, which is proscribed in Britain. Abedi also had links to several British-based jihadis with Isil connections.”

People who knew Abedi had called the government’s anti-terrorism hotline to report concerns about his radicalism.

They had been worried that ‘he was supporting terrorism’ and had expressed the view that ‘being a suicide bomber was ok,’ a source told the BBC,” as noted by the Telegraph. Further, a community leader “said that Abedi was reported two years ago ‘because he thought he was involved in extremism and terrorism.’”

Despite all the clear signs Abedi posed a threat, the British government failed to prevent him from planning and executing the attack (this is also a common theme with U.S. intelligence agencies, which have shrugged off legitimate threats only to have suspects go on to commit attacks). This is the same government now claiming to hold British citizens’ safety in the highest regard.

The U.K. government’s failures are even more glaring considering the British government has one of the most extensive surveillance systems in the world. The country has one surveillance camera for every eleven people. It has sweeping mass spying capabilities. Last year, Parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act, a sweeping anti-privacy bill that, as the Guardian reported, “legalise[d] a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.”

After its passage, whistleblower Edward Snowden remarked that “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”

This bill legalized spying powers the government had already been using, largely in tandem with the United States government’s surveillance apparatus. Lawmakers passed the bill without making any substantial concessions to privacy advocates, thanks in part to widespread fears of terror attacks.

Upon the Investigatory Powers Act’s passage, Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, said:

The UK now has a surveillance law that is more suited to a dictatorship than a democracy. The state has unprecedented powers to monitor and analyse UK citizens’ communications regardless of whether we are suspected of any criminal activity.”

And still, the government failed to stop Abedi. As Ron Paul’s Liberty Report observed after the Manchester bombing, “All individuals in the UK gave up their liberty for security, and as Ben Franklin warned, they ended up with neither.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who advocated the passage of the bill when she was Home Secretary, has made grandiose statements about the barbarism of the terror attack but has taken no responsibility for her government’s failure to adequately use the invasive, rights-violating tools at its disposal to ‘do its job.’

Instead, May is implying that further U.K. and N.A.T.O. intervention in Syria is a solution to preventing more attacks on British soil. Unsurprisingly, absent from her condemnations of the terror attack were any acknowledgments that the U.K. has armed and empowered the oppressive Saudi Arabian regime, which exports radical Islam and almost certainly funds ISIS, the terror group increasingly implicated in Monday’s carnage.

Her advocacy of further intervention is indisputably the worst possible course of action considering Abedi’s sister, Jomana Abedi, disclosed to the Wall Street Journal that Abedi was specifically resentful toward Western airstrikes in Syria. “I think he saw children – Muslim children – dying everywhere, and wanted revenge,” she said. If she’s correct, he can be added to the growing list of terrorists who have cited Western intervention in the Middle East as the main driver in their radicalization. The Orlando shooter, Boston bombers, and Charlie Hebdo shooters all decried Western wars in the region.

Further, the British government also participated in the 2011 ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, where Abedi visited just weeks prior to inflicting the attack. Libya became a hotbed of terrorist activity after Western governments ousted Middle Eastern the dictator from power and to this day hosts a broad range of terror groups from ISIS to al-Qaeda. The West has also spent vast resources arming al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, further bolstering the proliferation of terrorism.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that no matter one’s perspective on why Abedi committed the attack, the evidence suggests the British government has failed in its responsibility to protect its citizenry. As it attempts to seize even more power and encroach even further on individuals’ civil liberties, it appears more of the same tactics will only encourage further attacks.

Opinion / Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

Source: Anti Media Feed

Update 12:50am ET Friday, May 26, 2016: The race has been called for Republican Greg Gianforte.

On Thursday voters in Montana went to the polls in a special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who left Congress in March. (See below for the results, beginning at 7 p.m. PT.) The race was marred by a fishing-hole dispute, a concert at a nudist resort, and, in the waning hours of the campaign, a misdemeanor assault by the Republican front-runner, Greg Gianforte, who “body slammed” a reporter. No one ever called Montana politics boring.

The race has major national implications: Although Republicans consistently carry the state at the presidential level, Democrats have won statewide races for senator and governor in Montana in recent years—and this contest offers the party’s most serious opportunity yet to chip away at the Republican majority in Congress and show that with the right candidate and message, it can compete and win in Trump Country. Gianforte, a businessman, has consistently led in the polls against Democrat Rob Quist, a country music singer.

After Gianforte narrowly lost his bid for governor last fall (largely on the basis of a decade-old lawsuit over fishing access), he kept a low profile during his comeback bid and sought to win election by avoiding taking a position on the most contentious issue in Washington: the Republican health care bill, which would leave an additional 23 million Americans without health insurance by 2026. Quist, an unabashed economic populist, campaigned aggressively on a single-payer platform and ran ads about his own preexisting condition (a botched gallbladder operation). Gianforte stalled for the final 21 days of the race, insisting first that he would wait to pass judgment until after a new Congressional Budget Office score had been released, and then after the CBO report was released, body-slamming the first reporter who asked his position. Win or lose, he’s due back in Bozeman in June for a court date.

Follow along with the results here, via Decision Desk:

Source: Mother Jones

(MEE)  A US strike targeting Islamic State fighters in a Mosul building in Iraq in March killed at least 105 civilians when the blast caused IS weapons to explode, a US general said on Thursday.

“The secondary explosion triggered a rapid failure of the structure which killed the two ISIS snipers, 101 civilians sheltered in the bottom floors of the structure and four civilians in the neighboring structure to the west,” US Air Force Brigadier General Matt Isler said of the March 17 incident.

“An additional 36 civilians who are believed to be connected to the structure remain unaccounted for.”

The United States has previously acknowledged that it “probably” had a role in the civilian deaths, but it has always said this was unintentional.

According to Isler, Iraqi counterterrorism service (CTS) troops had been moving into the al-Jadida neighborhood in west Mosul on the morning of March 17 when they came under fire from IS snipers hiding on the second story of a large structure, part of which was residential.

CTS and coalition forces did not know civilians were in the building, Isler said, and ultimately a strike was called in.

The precision-guided bomb selected – a GBU-38 – was set up to cause only localized damage to the building, but it ignited a large amount of explosive material which IS fighters had previously placed inside.

“Post-blast analysis detected residues common to explosives used by ISIS, but not consistent with the explosive content of a GBU-38 munition,” Central Command said in a statement.

“Our condolences go out to all those that were affected,” said Major General Joe Martin.

“The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The best way to protect civilians is to defeat ISIS.”

Later on Thursday, a monitor said US-led coalition air strikes killed at least 35 civilians in an eastern Syrian town held by the Islamic State group.

Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that most of the dead were relatives of IS fighters and included Syrians and Moroccans.

By MEE and agencies / Republished with permission / Middle East Eye / Report a typo

Source: Anti Media Feed

Did President Trump just shove aside an unnamed NATO leader to be front stage? Is this the first step in making America great again? So many questions, and one video to view.

President Trump is in Brussels, Belgium today, participating in the NATO unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall memorials.
Fortunately – for editors of websites that focus on the intersection of media and politics – he is making news agin, most notably his chiding of fellow NATO leaders for funding of collective defense.
Source: Live Leak

LL Community:
Help get this vile excuse of a human prosecuted for her sick actions.

She thought it would be fun to put her pet turtle in the microwave.

If she goes unpunished, maybe next time she’ll think she can get away with cooking a live baby.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION
https://www.change.org/p/boston-police-commissioner-william-b-evans-arrest-a-young-woman-for-animal-cruelty?source_location=minibar

19,097/25,000 signatures
Only 5,903 signatures needed
Source: Live Leak