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Like hacker group Shadow Brokers, who were responsible for showing the world the exploits and vulnerabilities designed by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations, WikiLeaks gave the world the Vault 7 documents.

The documents describe tools, methods and exploits that the CIA uses to hack into many systems, including Apple devices.

CIA Podium
Image Source: Times – The lectern stands empty as reporters await the arrival of the Director of Central Intelligence Agency for a press conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The information, released a few weeks ago, disclosed methods employed by the agency to compromise many devices, including Apple’s iPhone and MacBook devices.

The WikiLeaks’ section that describes exploits and methods related to the Apple products is titled Dark Matter. In a statement on the website Dark Matter consists of a project known as the Sonic Screwdriver – designed for remotely executing code while the Apple devices were switched on.

The leaked Vault 7 documents also highlighted many techniques where the devices can be hijacked at any time – from production line stages to the end product in the consumers’ hand – depending on the needs of the CIA.

Image Source: Screenshot – WikiLeaks describing their latest publications and exploits related to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Furthermore, the codes that were written by the agency’s special unit, the Embedded Development Branch, can infect Apple’s firmware. And in simple words, the problem cannot be removed, even if you reinstall Apple’s operating system.

The WikiLeaks website exposed how the agency can execute an attack from a bus-stick or any other medium, even if the firmware has the password enabled. This also means the read-only devices can be altered using their Sonic Screwdriver tool.

However, the documents state that the contamination is contained in the Apple’s Ethernet – Thunderbolt adapter.

Image Source: Google Image – Apple’s Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter demonstration on MacBook Air.

Currently, the information published by WikiLeaks consists of a few user manuals, such as Dark Sea Skies v1.0, IVVRR Checklist, Der Starke v1.4, Det Starke v1.4, Sonic Screwdriver, Sea Pea v2.0 and Triton v1.3.


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Moreover, in these documents exists a tool, Night Skies. Night Skies is a nightmare that allows the agency to hack, track, install and uninstall codes, get real-time updates, monitor the screen and more, on those fresh out of the factory iPhones.

File:IPhone7.jpg
Image Source: Google Image – iPhone 7, unboxed, set in Silver.

The tool also allows the agency to take documents from the device, such as personal details, the contacts from the phonebook, snoop text messages and view call logs.

However, what is more important is to realize that the agency is physically altering the phones, meaning it has a mole in Apple working for them. The agency might be only working on phones that are being shipped to specific targets so the agents working in the factory might only be installing the malicious code in those ordered by one of the targets on their list.

Image Source: Bloomberg – A view of a Pegatron campus, one of Apple’s factories.

Also in the leaks are documents describing a list of tools used by the agency to hack other Apple products, giving the agency the edge of controlling most Apple devices.

Just like Night Skies, Dark Sea Skies is also a code that is said to be installed in the firmware of MacBook Air. This naturally runs in the backend, allowing the agency to remotely take control over a targeted MacBook Air. WikiLeaks, which shows a document of Dark Sea Skies dating back as much as eight years, describes methods of installing the Dark Sea Skies in the MacBook Air.

.

Source: The Free Thought Project, WikiLeaks


This article (WikiLeaks: CIA Hacking into Factory Fresh iPhones, Other Apple Products) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.


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(ANTIWAR Op-Ed) The allegation – now accepted as incontrovertible fact by the “mainstream” media – that the Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee (and John Podesta’s emails) in an effort to help Donald Trump get elected recently suffered a blow from which it may not recover.

Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company hired by the DNC to determine who hacked their accounts: it took them a single day to determine the identity of the culprits – it was, they said, two groups of hackers which they named “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear,” affiliated respectively with the GRU, which is Russian military intelligence, and the FSB, the Russian security service.

How did they know this?

These alleged “hacker groups” are not associated with any known individuals in any way connected to Russian intelligence: instead, they are identified by the tools they use, the times they do their dirty work, the nature of the targets, and other characteristics based on the history of past intrusions.

Yet as Jeffrey Carr and other cyberwarfare experts have pointed out, this methodology is fatally flawed. “It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method,” writes Carr:

“Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong. Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).”

Likening attribution claims of hacking incidents by cybersecurity companies to intelligence assessments, Carr notes that, unlike government agencies such the CIA, these companies are never held to account for their misses:

“When it comes to cybersecurity estimates of attribution, no one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there’s no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.”

This lack of accountability may be changing, however, because Crowdstrike’s case for attributing the hacking of the DNC to the Russians is falling apart at the seams like a cheap sweater.

To begin with, Crowdstrike initially gauged its certainty as to the identity of the hackers with “medium confidence.” However, a later development, announced in late December and touted by the Washington Post, boosted this to “high confidence.” The reason for this newfound near-certainty was their discovery that “Fancy Bear” had also infected an application used by the Ukrainian military to target separatist artillery in the Ukrainian civil war. As the Post reported:

“While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.

“Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, ‘we have high confidence’ it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit ‘Fancy Bear.’”

Crowdstrike published an analysis that claimed a malware program supposedly unique to Fancy Bear, X-Agent, had infected a Ukrainian targeting application and, using GPS to geo-locate Ukrainian positions, had turned the application against the Ukrainians, resulting in huge losses:

“Between July and August 2014, Russian-backed forces launched some of the most-decisive attacks against Ukrainian forces, resulting in significant loss of life, weaponry and territory.

“Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the two years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine’s arsenal.”

Alperovitch told the PBS News Hour that “Ukraine’s artillery men were targeted by the same hackers, that we call Fancy Bear, that targeted DNC, but this time they were targeting cell phones to try to understand their location so that the Russian artillery forces can actually target them in the open battle. It was the same variant of the same malicious code that we had seen at the DNC.”

He told NBC News that this proved the DNC hacker “wasn’t a 400-pound guy in his bed,” as Trump had opined during the first presidential debate – it was the Russians.

The only problem with this analysis is that is isn’t true. It turns out that Crowdstrike’s estimate of Ukrainian losses was based on a blog post by a pro-Russian blogger eager to tout Ukrainian losses: the Ukrainians denied it. Furthermore, the hacking attribution was based on the hackers’ use of a malware program called X-Agent, supposedly unique to Fancy Bear. Since the target was the Ukrainian military, Crowdstrike extrapolated from this that the hackers were working for the Russians.

All somewhat plausible, except for two things: To begin with, as Jeffrey Carr pointed out in December, and now others are beginning to realize, X-Agent isn’t unique to Fancy Bear. Citing the findings of ESET, another cybersecurity company, he wrote:

“Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words  –  malware deployed is malware enjoyed!

“In fact, the source code for X-Agent, which was used in the DNC, Bundestag, and TV5Monde attacks, was obtained by ESET as part of their investigation!

“During our investigations, we were able to retrieve the complete Xagent source code for the Linux operating system….”

“If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.”

Secondly, the estimate Crowdstrike used to verify the Ukrainian losses was supposedly based on data from the respected International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). But now IISS is disavowing and debunking their claims:

“[T]he International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told [Voice of America] that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened….

“’The CrowdStrike report uses our data, but the inferences and analysis drawn from that data belong solely to the report’s authors,” the IISS said. “The inference they make that reductions in Ukrainian D-30 artillery holdings between 2013 and 2016 were primarily the result of combat losses is not a conclusion that we have ever suggested ourselves, nor one we believe to be accurate.’

“One of the IISS researchers who produced the data said that while the think tank had dramatically lowered its estimates of Ukrainian artillery assets and howitzers in 2013, it did so as part of a ‘reassessment” and reallocation of units to airborne forces.’

“’No, we have never attributed this reduction to combat losses,” the IISS researcher said, explaining that most of the reallocation occurred prior to the two-year period that CrowdStrike cites in its report.

“’The vast majority of the reduction actually occurs … before Crimea/Donbass,’ he added, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The definitive “evidence” cited by Alperovitch is now effectively debunked: indeed, it was debunked by Carr late last year, but that was ignored in the media’s rush to “prove” the Russians hacked the DNC in order to further Trump’s presidential ambitions. The exposure by the Voice of America of Crowdstrike’s falsification of Ukrainian battlefield losses – the supposedly solid “proof” of attributing the hack to the GRU – is the final nail in Crowdstrike’s coffin. They didn’t bother to verify their analysis of IISS’s data with IISS – they simply took as gospel the allegations of a pro-Russian blogger. They didn’t contact the Ukrainian military, either: instead, their confirmation bias dictated that they shaped the “facts” to fit their predetermined conclusion.

Now why do you suppose that is? Why were they married so early – after a single day – to the conclusion that it was the Russians who were behind the hacking of the DNC?

Crowdstrike founder Alperovitch is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, and head honcho of its “Cyber Statecraft Initiative” – of which his role in promoting the “Putin did it” scenario is a Exhibit A. James Carden, writing in The Nation, makes the trenchant point that “The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council – which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk – has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia.” Adam Johnson, writing on the FAIR blog, adds to our knowledge by noting that the Council’s budget is also supplemented by “a consortium of Western corporations (Qualcomm, Coca-Cola, The Blackstone Group), including weapons manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) and oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP).”

Johnson also notes that CrowdStrike currently has a $150,000 / year, no-bid contract with the FBI for “systems analysis.”

Nice work if you can get it.

This last little tidbit gives us some insight into what is perhaps the most curious aspect of the Russian-hackers-campaign-for-Trump story: the FBI’s complete dependence on Crowdstrike’s analysis. Amazingly, the FBI did no independent forensic work on the DNC servers before Crowdstrike got its hot little hands on them: indeed, the DNC denied the FBI access to the servers, and, as far as anyone knows, the FBI never examined them. BuzzFeed quotes an anonymous “intelligence official” as saying “Crowdstrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything they have concluded is not accurate.”

There is now.

Alperovitch is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and one wonders if our clueless – and technically challenged – Republican members of Congress will question him about the debunking of Crowdstrike’s rush to judgment. I tend to doubt it, since the Russia-did-it meme is now the Accepted Narrative and no dissent is permitted – to challenge it would make them “Putin apologists”! (Although maybe Trey Gowdy, the only GOPer on that panel who seems to have any brains, may surprise me.)

As I’ve been saying for months, there is no evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC: none, zilch, nada. Yet this false narrative is the entire basis of a campaign launched by the Democrats, hailed by the Trump-hating media, and fully endorsed by the FBI and the CIA, the purpose of which is to “prove” that Trump is “Putin’s puppet,” as Hillary Clinton put it. Now the investigative powers of the federal government are being deployed to confirm that the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Kremlin in an act the evidence for which is collapsing.

This whole affair is a vicious fraud. If there is any justice in this world – and there may not be – the perpetrators should be charged, tried, and jailed.

Opinion by  / Republished with permission / AntiWar.com / Report a typo

Source: Anti Media Feed

(ANTIMEDIA) The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Donald Trump’s approval rating has hit a new low of just 37 percent, matching numbers reported by Gallup and earning him the worst numbers for any president this early in a presidency since Gallup started polling 45 years ago. Just last week, a GenForward poll conducted at the University of Chicago showed only 22 percent of the 18-30-year-olds polled approve of Trump’s job performance, while 62 percent disapprove.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,056 voters nationwide between March 16-March 21 to gather what can only be seen as bad news for the new president. “Most alarming for President Donald Trump, the demographic underpinnings of his support, Republicans, white voters, especially men and those without a college degree, are starting to have doubts,” notes Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Republican approval of the president is down ten percent, now at 81, with 14 percent disapproving, compared to 91 percent approval and 5 percent disapproval two weeks ago. Disapproval among women is at 60 percent, with 31 percent approving. Among Democrats, 90 disapprove while a mere 6 percent approve. Sixty percent of white voters also disapprove of the president’s job performance while 31 percent approve. Independent voters shared the same ratings as white voters — 60% disapproval and 31% approval — and non-white voters expressed disapproval at a rate of 75 percent, with 16 percent approving of the job Trump is doing.

Also hitting new lows are American voters’ opinions of Trump’s personal qualities. When asked, 60 percent said they believe he’s dishonest, 66 percent said he is not level-headed, 55 percent do not believe he has good leadership skills, and 61 percent said he does not share their values.A whopping 73 percent of voters believe “President Trump and his Administration make statements without evidence to support them ‘very often’ or ‘somewhat often.’”

The poll shows a majority of Americans disapprove of the way Trump is handling the economy, foreign policy, terrorism, the federal budget, and immigration issues, and 70 percent of voters do not believe former President Obama had Trump Towers wiretapped during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump concluded an interview with Time magazine Wednesday by telling Time’s Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer, “Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know.”

He’s right. He is the president, but the numbers show he is, in fact, doing pretty badly. The worst, to be accurate.

Sad.

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

Source: Anti Media Feed


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By thefreethoughtproject

The founder of the transparency organization of WikiLeaks released a statement yesterday upon the release of over 500,000 diplomatic cables dating back to 1979, which succinctly reveals how the CIA was essentially responsible for creating the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

The timing of the release coincided with the sixth anniversary of WikiLeaks “Cablegate” release, which exposed the machinations of the underbelly of the U.S. empire. The latest release, known as the “Carter Cables,” adds 531,525 new diplomatic cables to the WikiLeaks’ already voluminous Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy (PLUSD).

In a statement released in concert with the release of the “Carter Cables,” Julian Assange mapped out how the events of 1979 began a series of events that have ultimately culminated in the rise of ISIS.

“If any year could be said to be the “year zero” of our modern era, 1979 is it,” said Assange.

Assange lays bare the reality that the roots of modern Islamist terrorism began through a joint venture by the CIA and Saudi Arabian government, to the tune of billions of dollars, to create a “Mujahideen” force to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan – which ultimately led to the creation of al-Qaeda.

Assange is not alone in his claims either. According to a poll by the Express, the overwhelming majority of people understand that US foreign policy created ISIS.

Assange goes on to note that the subsequent attacks of 9/11, and invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, directly led to the rise of ISIS.

READ MORE:  Senator Compares Cops to ISIS- Says He Would Only Own A Gun To Protect Himself From Police

“In the Middle East, the Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world.


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“The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan,” said Assange.

The narrative laid out by Assange exposes exactly how militant Islam was nurtured by the CIA and Saudi government as a mean of usurping the communist Afghani government, which had asked for Soviet assistance in combatting Islamic terrorism.

“The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The 1979 current of Islamification spread to Pakistan where the US embassy was burned to the ground and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed.

“The Iranian hostage crisis would go on to fatally undermine Jimmy Carter’s presidency and see the election of Ronald Reagan.

“The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS,” said Assange.

In addition to the rise of global militant Islam, the latest release also includes cables regarding the election of Margaret Thatcher as British Prime Minister. Three Mile Island nuclear incident is also covered as well as cables highlighting Henry Kissinger secretly working with David Rockefeller to find a place for the deposed Shah of Iran to hide.

READ MORE:  In the Wake of Terrorist Attacks on Disarmed France, U.S. Police Department Asks Citizens to Disarm

“In 1979 it seemed as if the blood would never stop,” noted Assange. “Dozens of countries saw assassinations, coups, revolts, bombings, political kidnappings and wars of liberation.”

With the release of the “Carter Cables,” WikiLeaks’ has now published a total of 3.3 million U.S. diplomatic cables. Staying true to their motto – WikiLeaks continues to open up governments.

Below is a video interview with Assange where he highlights an email from the Podesta leak, which exposed that the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are directly funding ISIS. In that email, sent on August 17, 2014, Hillary Clinton asked John Podesta to help put “pressure” on the Qatari and Saudi Arabian governments over their support of ISIS. State sponsorship of ISIS, by what is generally considered a close ally of the United States, is something that U.S. officials continue to refuse to acknowledge publicly.

Hillary Clinton’s email to Podesta reveals clearly the reality of the situation.

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” Clinton wrote in the email.


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at trueactivist.com

In replacement of cow’s milk, the London cafe will serve almond, oat and soy alternatives.

After learning about the horror(s) of factory farms and the reality that accompanies drinking commercial cow’s milk, owners of a cafe in London made the bold decision to ditch all beverages sourced from animals entirely.

The Field’s Beneath Cafe is located in Kentish Town, London, UK, and is ranked as one of the best coffee establishments in the city, according to the website LondonsBestCoffee.com. After watching a video called “Dairy Is Scary,” which was produced by activist Erin Janus, it was decided that the cafe just couldn’t support the dairy industry anymore.

In replacement of cow’s milk, the establishment will be introducing oat, almond and soy milk which can be just as tasty and creamy as the commonly consumed staple. A sign located on the cafe’s front door reads:

“LAST WEEK OF COW’S MILK

This is the last week we shall be buying, steaming and pouring cow’s milk into our espressos. We have the following alternatives:

OAT, ALMOND & SOY

OAT milk will be charged at the same price as cow’s milk, the others at 30p more as we’ve always done.


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For three days from Friday this poster will be replaced with one explaining why. If you’re not going to be here for it, search on YouTube for the following five minute video:

“DAIRY IS SCARY”

We didn’t think it was either.”

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The countdown begins… #veganism #activism #samething http://ift.tt/2mVdttX

Dikirim oleh The Fields Beneath pada 18 Maret 2017

The informative video (below) has been viewed over 1.6 million times and has convinced numerous individuals that it is unethical and unnecessary to consume cow’s milk – at least pasteurized milk which is sourced from inhumanely treated bovine. Watch it for yourself and decide if Field’s Beneath Cafe made the correct decision in opting to replace cow’s milk with healthier plant-based alternatives.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


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at trueactivist.com

The united activists were able to raise over $1 million in just 19 hours.

In the East African country of Somalia, a relentless drought has left more than 6.2 million people without enough food – if any at all – and water. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the country was at risk of its third famine in twenty-five years. The last one, which occurred in 2011, killed nearly 260,000 people.

This tumultuous reality is far off the radar for most people but recently received the attention it deserved when a number of celebrities collaborated to raise funds for those who are suffering. It all began when social media star Jérôme Jarre began looking into how he could transport supplies and resources to the African nation. Once he discovered that Turkish Airlines is the only airline that presently flies to Somalia, he started the hashtag trend #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia to plea for assistance on behalf of those who are affected by the “worst humanitarian crises since 1945.”

After posting a two-minute video outlining the concept, Hollywood star Ben Stiller jumped on board and made a similar 2-minute plea calling on Turkish Airlines to step up. Then, Colin Kapaernick and YouTube stars Juanpa Zurita and Casey Neistat followed suit.


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Once enough attention had been received, a representative from the airlines contacted the activists and stated that the company would provide a cargo flight with a 60-ton capacity for food and resources to Somalia within a few days. According to CNN, they would also allow food containers to be transported to the country on their commercial flights until the famine is resolved.

The celebs were in a tough spot, needing to raise awareness and enough money for 60 tons of food… But after starting a Love Army For Somalia GoFundMe campaign, they raised enough and surpassed their goal of $1 million. At the time of this reporting, the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $1.8 million with a new goal of $2 million. Because the donations are being processed by the Stiller Foundation, they are tax deductible.

 

To support Turkish Airlines, the men plan on purchasing the resources in Istanbul. As the initiative gains steam, they hope to start buying the food in Somalia to support the local economy. Connections have already been established to help at least 100 families of 6 people receive water from neighboring countries.

“We are not sure how much you will all be able to contribute, or how many difficulties are gonna rise as we execute our mission,” the group shared. “But we know our hearts united together are unstoppable, and if we keep using our hearts, we will keep making the right moves. And this movement will achieve its goal.”

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


This article (Celebs Use Social Media To Raise Over $1.8 Million For Starving Somalians) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com


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at trueactivist.com

The boys showed no remorse for the death they had caused.

A captive flamingo has been beaten to death by three children who visited a zoo in the Czech Republic last Friday. The boys, that were aged five, six and eight, attacked a flock of American flamingos by throwing rocks at them at Jihlava Zoo, located in the town in the Czech Republic’s south-central Vysocina Region. Elizabeth Kubikova, the zoo’s director, said on Sunday, “I was appalled by the brutal attack.” According to reports, the boys are believed to have climbed over a fence in order to reach the birds, before pelting rocks at them repeatedly. The young boys were also seen kicking two of the flamingos, which is when an electrician interrupted them and stopped the violent attack on the birds. Reports have since stated that one of the two attacked birds died, while the other one sustained serious injuries.

The dead bird was a survivor of the floods at the Prague Zoo back in 2002. He was a male and the father to eight babies. Although flamingos tend to live until they are around 30-40 years old, the attack meant that the flamingo’s life was ended very prematurely, when he was just 16 years old. After being caught, the three boys fled from the scene, although CCTV footage allowed police officers to locate them again. The zoo spokesperson, Martin Malac, told Czech media that the three boys expressed no regret whatsoever for what they had done to the animals.


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According to reports by local media in the Czech Republic, the boys refused to talk to municipal police, therefore the officers called in state police to deal with them. So far no clear motive for the attack has been reported. The police are currently investigating the incident, and there remains a possibility that the parents of the three boys will have to pay a fine for the damage that they caused at the zoo. The flamingo that lost his life due to the actions of the boys was valued at around 50,000 crowns, which is just under $2,000.

Richard Viduna, a zoo employee, has since asked for the public’s help in reporting any suspected cases of animal abuse. He told Czech media, “It would be helpful for us if the visitors would pay attention to acts such as these and report them.” This news has emerged during the same month that a number of wildlife tragedies have occurred in zoos, which have also resulted in the deaths of captive animals. Merely a few days before, a crocodile was stoned to death in a zoo in Tunisia, after visitors threw huge rocks and paving slabs at the animal’s head. The incident resulted in the crocodile suffering an internal hemorrhage which ended its life. Together with the flamingo death, there appeared to be no clear motive for the animal attack. Just a few days before this, a white rhino was brutally slaughtered by poachers who broke into a French zoo in order to saw off the horn from the rhino’s face in order to sell on the Asian market for huge profits.

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After a week of emergency meetings and last-minute attempts to unify their party, Republican leaders pulled their Obamacare repeal bill from the House floor Friday when it became clear they didn’t have enough support to pass.

The decision comes as a major defeat for President Donald Trump, who during the campaign bragged that Obamacare repeal would be “so easy.”

“Together we’re going to deliver real change that once again puts Americans first,” Trump said at an October rally in Florida. “That begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare…You’re going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost—and it’s going to be so easy.”

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Trump also argued on the campaign trail that electing a Republican-controlled Congress would allow him to quickly dismantle the health care law and pass other pieces of legislation. “With a Republican House and Senate, we will immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said at another event. “A Republican House and Senate can swiftly enact the other items in my contract immediately, including massive tax reduction.”

“We will [repeal and replace Obamacare], and we will do it very, very quickly,” Trump said during the final week of the campaign. “It is a catastrophe.”

Trump’s confidence in his ability to win the health care fight continued through the first few weeks of his presidency. On February 9, he bragged that when it came to repealing Obamacare, “Nobody can do that like me.”

By the end of February, Trump had changed his tune somewhat. “Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” the president said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

One person who certainly did know was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who successfully shepherded Obamacare through the House in 2010. On Thursday, she mocked Trump for trying to rush the repeal bill through the chamber, calling it a “Rookie’s error.”

“Clearly you are not ready,” Pelosi said.

Source: Mother Jones

In a stunning defeat to House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, Republicans on Friday pulled from the House floor their bill to repeal and replace the Obamacare, abruptly cancelling a vote that was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The GOP plan was originally scheduled for a vote on Thursday but was postponed amid doubts about whether it could pass. The vote was rescheduled for Friday, but apparently Republicans were still unable to cobble together enough support. Trump reportedly warned House Republicans that if they failed to pass the health care legislation, he was prepared to move on and keep Obamacare in place.

This is a breaking news post. We will update when more information becomes available.

Source: Mother Jones

On the same day the House was supposed to pass a bill dismantling Medicaid, Kansas Republicans took a big step toward expanding the program in their state.

In a voice vote Thursday morning, a committee in the Kansas Senate approved legislation that would enable the state to take advantage of an Obamacare provision offering Medicaid health insurance coverage to a wider group of poor people. The federal government would provide the vast majority of the funding.

Many deep-red states like Kansas have rejected Medicaid expansion based largely on their ideological objections to Obamacare. But as I reported earlier this week, a new bloc of moderate Republicans in the state—back by the health care industry and business community—have teamed up with Democrats to push Medicaid expansion. They point out that the state has given up, to date, nearly $2 billion in federal funds that could have helped both improve the health of the state’s low-income communities while also boosting its economy.

The Kansas House overwhelming passed Medicaid expansion earlier this year. The full state Senate is expected to vote on the issue Monday, according to KCUR. But they would likely need to cobble together a veto-proof majority, since Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has vocally opposed to adopting the program. In fact, Brownback released a letter Thursday, signed with seven other Republican governors, asking Congress to pass the repeal of Obamacare, which would eventually end funding for new sign-ups in the Medicaid expansion and would prevent states such as Kansas signing up in the meantime.

It’s unclear if Congress will heed Brownback’s request. The GOP’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare was supposed to get a vote in the full House sometime Thursday, but with both conservatives and moderate Republicans balking, the vote was delayed. The Trump administration set a deadline for a Friday vote, saying the White House would otherwise abandon the effort. Congress is currently debating the measure, but vote counts from various news outlets suggest Republicans currently lack enough votes to pass the bill.

Read more about the fight for Medicaid expansion in Kansas here.

Source: Mother Jones