Tag Archives: WorldNews

Millions of calls to health helpline accidentally uploaded online

Takes a special kind of stupid or deft Russian agent…

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Arkivbild.

Lyssna: Millions of calls to health helpline accidentally uploaded to internet

Millions of calls to Sweden’s health helpline Vårdguiden 1177 have been uploaded to the internet on an open website.

Radio Sweden spoke to Lars Dobos, the reporter at magazine Computer Sweden, who was the first to break the story, after getting a tip-off.

He says, according to the health authority’s rules, the calls are supposed to be recorded but the IT company that had the contract to record them simply didn’t realise the server they were using was online. Some 2.7 million calls – about 170,000 hours – have ended up there since 2013.

There may be wider repercussions, with the minister for social security saying that the helpline’s image has been damaged; and the Stockholm county commissioner in charge of electronic health services tells news agency TT the county council are considering whether to report their IT subcontractor to the police. 

Loukas Christodoulou
loukas.christodoulou@sverigesradio.se

House Panel Probes Trump Advisers’ Push for Saudi Nuclear Deal

9-11 deja vu – give Saudi’s access to dirty bomb possibilities!?!

by Isaac Arnsdorf

The Trump administration has continued pursuing a proposed nuclear power deal with Saudi Arabia despite warnings from ethics lawyers and security experts, according to a congressional oversight committee.

The proposal gained traction in the early days of the administration because of then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and presidential confidant Tom Barrack, who had potential financial stakes in the plan, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said in initial findings released on Tuesday.

“Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy,” the oversight committee said in its report on Tuesday.

The committee’s report confirms details in a ProPublica article from November 2017 and cites another article from earlier this month.

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Stay up to date with email updates from WNYC and ProPublica about their ongoing investigations.

The White House premised its Middle East policy on bolstering ties with Saudi Arabia. But Trump’s unwavering support for Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has faced mounting bipartisan criticism amid the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the humanitarian crisis spawned by the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The administration’s early efforts threatened to make an end-run around U.S. laws governing the transfer of nuclear power technology, the oversight committee said. The U.S. tightly controls the technology because it can be diverted to build atomic bombs.

The administration has since taken steps to follow the legal process for sharing nuclear power with the Saudis. Just last week, Trump had a meeting with nuclear industry executives convened by one of the organizers of the Saudi proposal.

Should the U.S. and Saudi Arabia reach a deal, Congress would have 90 days to block it through a joint resolution.

The White House didn’t immediately answer a request for comment. Neither did the company that organized the Saudi proposal, IP3.

While Saudi Arabia has a legitimate goal of diversifying its economy away from oil, its leaders have also shown interest in keeping pace with Iran’s nuclear development. “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” the crown prince, who is known in Washington by his initials MbS, told “60 Minutes” last year.

Back in January 2017, a group of retired American generals, national security officials and energy industry executives wrote MbS a letter, released by the House committee, that proposed sharing nuclear power with Saudi Arabia. They called the project a “21st Century Marshall Plan for the Middle East,” in homage to the American aid program in Europe after World War II.

Tom Barrack speaks during the Republican National Convention in 2016.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

When the project’s organizers began lobbying the Trump administration, an unnamed senior administration official offered a different description of the plan, according to the committee’s report: “a scheme for these generals to make some money.”

The plan had two key allies: Flynn and Barrack.

Flynn was an adviser to the project from June 2016 to December 2016, according to his financial disclosure form. Once in the White House, Flynn directed an aide to lead the plan, according to whistleblower testimony summarized by the House committee. The aide, Derek Harvey, told staff that Flynn wanted them to include the plan in briefing materials for a call between President Trump and the Saudi king, according to the report. Officials responded that Harvey could not circumvent the legal requirements surrounding the transfer of nuclear technology, but Harvey insisted the decision had already been made during the transition, the report said.

The staff notified the National Security Council’s lawyers, who agreed that Flynn had a conflict of interest and told the staff to cease work on the project, according to the committee’s report. But Harvey continued to work on the project, and after Flynn was fired, the two spoke daily, the report said.

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and hiding his Turkish lobbying and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

A lawyer for Flynn did not immediately respond a request on Tuesday for comment; Harvey did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Barrack, a wealthy investor of Lebanese descent, became a backer of the Saudi nuclear plan because he was encouraging Trump to make a bold economic initiative in the Middle East. “They found an advocate in me in saying I was keen on trying to establish a realignment of U.S. business interests with the Gulf’s business interests,” he told ProPublica in November 2017. Barrack said he discussed joining the administration to lead this initiative but never committed to an official role.

Documents dated January 2017 and released by the House oversight committee on Tuesday suggest that Barrack had agreed to become a “special representative” leading the project across government agencies. The committee also released a memo, written by Barrack and dated March 2017, that proposed, “the president will appoint a special representative for the Trump Middle East Marshall Plan with the diplomatic rank of ambassador or special advisor the President.”

At the same time that Barrack was discussing taking charge of Trump’s Middle East outreach, he was looking for ways to make money off it. According to a February 2017 memo obtained by ProPublica and WNYC, Barrack’s company aimed to take advantage of its access to the White House to get a head start on infrastructure investment opportunities. The memo said the company had “a pipeline of potential projects” and contacts with “several of the key agencies that will direct those efforts.” No rivals, it said, “can currently match the relationships or resources that we possess.”

Almost a quarter of the $7 billion raised by Barrack’s company since Trump won the Republican nomination came from Saudi Arabia or its close ally the United Arab Emirates, The New York Times reported in June 2018, citing an unnamed executive.

One idea that Barrack considered, as he acknowledged in his interview with ProPublica, was investing in Westinghouse, the sole U.S. manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors, which filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2017. A March 2017 letter, released by the House oversight committee, from the organizers of the Saudi nuclear power plan to MbS referenced a “partnership to acquire Westinghouse.”

A Westinghouse spokeswoman declined to comment.

That same month, then-Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland told White House staff that Trump had told Barrack he could lead the Middle East Marshall Plan, the committee report said. McFarland noted Barrack’s leadership of the inauguration and longstanding business ties across the Middle East, according to the report, telling staff, “You should all be meeting with Tom.”

A few days later, Barrack had a conference call about the Saudi nuclear plan with Harvey while Rick Gates was in Harvey’s office, according to the report.

Gates was Trump’s deputy campaign manager and worked with Paul Manafort in Ukraine. He worked for Barrack on the inauguration and then joined his company. In February 2018, Gates pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators and began cooperating with Mueller.

Federal prosecutors have also begun a wide-ranging investigation of Trump’s inaugural committee.

A spokesman for Barrack said he will cooperate with the congressional investigation.

The House oversight committee, chaired by Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said it will seek additional documents from multiple agencies and private companies involved in the episode.

At last week’s White House meeting with nuclear executives, Saudi Arabia was discussed as a potential new market for reactors, according to Seth Grae, the CEO of nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge, who was present but said he is not involved in the Saudi proposal. Trump seemed supportive of the industry, Grae said, and the group will follow up with suggestions for how the government can help them. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and economic adviser Larry Kudlow were also present, Grae said.

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De Blasio On NYPD Ticketing Cyclists After Deadly Crashes: ‘We Need Cyclists To Obey The Law’

The Mayor also thinks killing walker and bikers is OK? De Blasio On NYPD Ticketing Cyclists After Deadly Crashes: 'We Need Cyclists To Obey The Law'

At a press conference to tout his administration’s commitment to safer streets on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the NYPD’s policy of ticketing cyclists in the vicinity of where a cyclist has been fatally struck by a driver. Specifically, on February 7th, when an NYPD officer allegedly knocked a cyclist off his bike during a ticketing blitz in Midtown, a block away from where Chaim Joseph was killed by a hit-and-run driver just a few days before. The mayor’s response: the law is the law. [ more › ]

Bernie Sanders changed American politics in 2016. He will do so again | Bhaskar Sunkara

Right/not – he convinced many to sit out the election or convinced many of them to vote for the Green candidate and we have Trump as president as a result. If the non-Democrat leads the ticket Trump will be re-elected

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Without Sanders’ campaign, we would never have had Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or mainstream support for Medicare-for-All

It’s official: Bernie Sanders announced today that he’s going to run for president and lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country. His decision comes not a moment too soon.

After all, if you think things are bad now, imagine if Bernie Sanders hadn’t run for president in 2016. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had swept the primaries that year, easily parrying Martin O’Malley’s feeble blows and a few charming Lincoln Chafee debate performances.

Trump would have still beaten Clinton, but his charlatan, rightwing populism would have been the only outlet for those angry at the status quo. More than anything else, dejection would reign among voters. The Democrats would have heightened their focus on winning over “respectable” anti-Trump Republicans in the suburbs, with depoliticized calls to “fix” Obamacare, find “realistic solutions” to climate change, and make higher education “accessible”.

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Corbyn tells exiles: you were elected to carry out Labour manifesto

Labour leader issues defiant message to seven MPs who left over Brexit and antisemitism

Jeremy Corbyn has issued a defiant message to the seven MPs who resigned from his party on Monday, reminding them they stood in the 2017 general election on Labour’s manifesto, and “were elected to carry out those policies”.

The Labour leader was speaking on Tuesday at the annual Make UK manufacturers’ conference, in his first public appearance since the breakaway MPs announced they would sit as independents in parliament.

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House investigates ‘White House plan’ to share nuclear technology with Saudis

9-11 was not enough, greedy fools want to give Saudi’s access to dirty bombs!

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Top Trump officials pushed plan to share technology despite objections, according to House oversight committee report

Top White House officials pushed a plan to share nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, despite objections from career national security staff, according to a new congressional report.

Related: A public holiday and gold-plated gun: Saudi crown prince feted on Asia tour

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MPs fear May could exploit Labour split to call early election

That’s what the leaving eight is all about!

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Despite the Tories’ plan for a 2022 vote, cross-party concern remains over a snap poll

Labour and Conservative parliamentarians are anxious that the new breakaway group formed by Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna has increased the chances of Theresa May calling an early election.

On the Labour side, MPs and peers were worried that the prime minister would be tempted to exploit a split in the opposition if more of their number defected to the new political group.

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Why Bernie Sanders’ radicalism can take out Trump | Nathan Robinson

Wrongo – if he leads party he would never join, he will again hand election to Trump because many Democrats needed to vote against Trump, will stay home

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When it comes to beating Trump, the Vermont senator is the person for the job. Nobody else comes close

Now that Bernie Sanders is officially in the 2020 presidential race, it’s time to face the obvious truth: not only can he beat Donald Trump, he is also a better candidate to do so than any of the other current Democratic contenders.

At a critical moment when the left needs to unify in order to end Trump’s reign of cruelty and ineptitude, Sanders is the person for the job. Nobody else comes close.

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Eighth Labour MP quits party to join breakaway Independent Group

Hope she is being paid well, she will never be a Labor MP or any MP again.

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Joan Ryan says party has become ‘infected with scourge of anti-Jewish racism’

Joan Ryan has become the eighth Labour MP to resign and join the breakaway Independent Group, claiming Jeremy Corbyn’s party has become “infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism”.

Ryan, the MP for Enfield North, said she had been a member for four decades – but could no longer remain as a Labour MP.

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