A Must See. “The Man Who Knew” FBI Agent John O’Neill
One of the Best September 11, 2001 Documentary’s
A Must See. “The Man Who Knew” FBI Agent John O’Neill
One of the Best September 11, 2001 Documentary’s
By EMMA R.
October 11, 2018
The ancient mythical Greek island of Lesbos is today better known as anchorage ground for human traffickers and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the boat traffic.
It is now reported that a large cross monument on the Greek Orthodox Christian island has been levelled to the ground. This after a group claiming to promote intercultural coexistence argued that the cross could be perceived as offensive to the predominantly Muslim boat migrants.
The cross monument was built on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the local coexistence group, however, the cross was offensive because many who have drowned, and many migrants on the island are not Christians.
The local newspaper on the island reports that the group has also received support from some aid organisations that expressed similar negative opinions about the cross-shaped memorial monument.
A letter was sent to the Island’s port minister and mayor, in which the coexistence group claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.
The letter stated that the initiators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.
And that was what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site.
The attack by the coexistence group on the monument and the demolition of it has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of the Island.
By Nick Kampouris
Oct 18, 2018
Leonidas Vorias, a 38 year-old volunteer firefighter and MMA champion, organized the process to rebuild the cross.
”I was frustrated when I saw these pictures,” said Vorias, speaking to the Proto Thema newspaper. “We are Orthodox Christians, the symbol of our religion is the cross and we cannot accept it being destroyed.”
The cross had originally been erected by a religious group in September. Its construction resulted in the reaction of a non-governmental organization known as “Movement for Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean,” which argued that it was inappropriate to turn a Christian symbol into “a tool of aspiring crusaders.”
The NGO also argued that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.
A week ago, the cross was found destroyed. Local police attempted to find those responsible for the vandalism, but with no results.
According to information published by Proto Thema, locals are staying in the area to guard the cross and prevent attempts to destroy it a second time.
Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help.
For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents unique legal issues that will define what the constitutional right to privacy means in the digital age.
To Adita Jha, Aadhaar was simply a hassle. The 30-year-old environmental consultant in Delhi waited in line three times to sit in front of a computer that photographed her face, captured her fingerprints and snapped images of her irises. Three times, the data failed to upload. The fourth attempt finally worked, and she has now been added to the 1.1 billion Indians already included in the program.
Ms. Jha had little choice but to keep at it. The government has made registration mandatory for hundreds of public services and many private ones, from taking school exams to opening bank accounts.
“You almost feel like life is going to stop without an Aadhaar,” Ms. Jha said.
Technology has given governments around the world new tools to monitor their citizens. In China, the government is rolling out ways to use facial recognition and big data to track people, aiming to inject itself further into everyday life. Many countries, including Britain, deploy closed-circuit cameras to monitor their populations.
But India’s program is in a league of its own, both in the mass collection of biometric data and in the attempt to link it to everything — traffic tickets, bank accounts, pensions, even meals for undernourished schoolchildren.
“No one has approached that scale and that ambition,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor and research director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who has studied biometric ID systems around the world. “It has been hailed, and justifiably so, as an extraordinary triumph to get everyone registered.”
Critics fear that the government will gain unprecedented insight into the lives of all Indians.
In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other champions of the program say that Aadhaar is India’s ticket to the future, a universal, easy-to-use ID that will reduce this country’s endemic corruption and help bring even the most illiterate into the digital age.
“It’s the equivalent of building interstate highways,” said Nandan Nilekani, the technology billionaire who was tapped by the government in 2009 to build the Aadhaar system. “If the government invested in building a digital public utility and that is made available as a platform, then you actually can create major innovations around that.”
The potential uses — from surveillance to managing government benefit programs — have drawn interest elsewhere. Sri Lanka is planning a similar system, and Britain, Russia and the Philippines are studying it, according to the Indian government.
Aadhaar, which means “foundation” in English, was initially intended as a difficult-to-forge ID to reduce fraud and improve the delivery of government welfare programs.
But Mr. Modi, who has promoted a “digital India” vision since his party took power in 2014, has vastly expanded its ambitions.
The poor must scan their fingerprints at the ration shop to get their government allocations of rice. Retirees must do the same to get their pensions. Middle-school students cannot enter the water department’s annual painting contest until they submit their identification.
In some cities, newborns cannot leave the hospital until their parents sign them up. Even leprosy patients, whose illness damages their fingers and eyes, have been told they must pass fingerprint or iris scans to get their benefits.
The Modi government has also ordered Indians to link their IDs to their cellphone and bank accounts. States have added their own twists, like using the data to map where people live. Some employers use the ID for background checks on job applicants.
“Aadhaar has added great strength to India’s development,” Mr. Modi said in a January speech to military cadets. Officials estimate that taxpayers have saved at least $9.4 billion from Aadhaar by weeding out “ghosts” and other improper beneficiaries of government services.
Opponents have filed at least 30 cases against the program in India’s Supreme Court. They argue that Aadhaar violates India’s Constitution — and, in particular, a unanimous court decision last year that declared for the first time that Indians had a fundamental right to privacy.
Rahul Narayan, one of the lawyers challenging the system, said the government was essentially building one giant database on its citizens. “There has been a sort of mission creep to it all along,” he said.
The court has been holding extensive hearings and is expected to make a ruling in the spring.
The government argues that the universal ID is vital in a country where hundreds of millions of people do not have widely accepted identification documents.
“The people themselves are the biggest beneficiaries,” said Ajay B. Pandey, the Minnesota-trained engineer who leads the Unique Identification Authority of India, the government agency that oversees the system. “This identity cannot be refused.”
Businesses are also using the technology to streamline transactions.
Banks once sent employees to the homes of account applicants to verify their addresses. Now, accounts can be opened online and finished with a fingerprint scan at a branch or other authorized outlet. Reliance Jio, a telecom provider, relies on an Aadhaar fingerprint scan to conduct the government-mandated ID check for purchases of cellphone SIM cards. That allows clerks to activate service immediately instead of forcing buyers to wait a day or two.
But the Aadhar system has also raised practical and legal issues.
Although the system’s core fingerprint, iris and face database appears to have remained secure, at least 210 government websites have leaked other personal data — such as name, birth date, address, parents’ names, bank account number and Aadhaar number — for millions of Indians. Some of that data is still available with a simple Google search.
As Aadhaar has become mandatory for government benefits, parts of rural India have struggled with the internet connections necessary to make Aadhaar work. After a lifetime of manual labor, many Indians also have no readable prints, making authentication difficult. One recent studyfound that 20 percent of the households in Jharkand state had failed to get their food rations under Aadhaar-based verification — five times the failure rate of ration cards.
“This is the population that is being passed off as ghosts and bogus by the government,” said Reetika Khera, an associate professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, who co-wrote the study.
Seeing these problems, some local governments have scaled back the use of Aadhaar for public benefits. In February, the government for the Delhi region announced that it would stop using Aadhaar to deliver food benefits.
Dr. Pandey said that some problems were inevitable but that his agency was trying to fix them. The government is patching security holes and recently added face recognition as an alternative to fingerprint or iris scans to make it easier to verify identities.
Fears that the Indian government could use Aadhaar to turn the country into a surveillance state, he said, are overblown. “There is no central authority that has all the information,” he said.
Before Aadhaar, he said, hundreds of millions of Indians could not easily prove who they were.
“If you are not able to prove your identity, you are disenfranchised,” he said. “You have no existence.”
Correction: April 11, 2018
A picture caption with an earlier version of this article misidentified which of the people shown was undergoing a security check. It was the man in the foreground, not the woman. The caption also misstated what was being scanned. It was the man’s irises, not his retinas.
Suhasini Raj contributed reporting.
Follow Vindu Goel on Twitter: @vindugoel.
The UR5e robot arm from Universal Robots is the first “cobot” to ring the NYSE bell, marking the rapid growth of collaborative robotics within the industrial automation market.
Carlos Gonzalez | Oct 22, 2018
This particular ceremony celebrated the five-year anniversary of ROBO Global, the first-ever robotics, automation, and AI index. Having launched in October 2013, it currently invests into more than 80 companies across the globe, including 12 subsectors ranging from manufacturing to healthcare.
Despite the sudden departure of Rethink Robotics, which was one of the leaders in the cobot market, the cobot industry remains the fastest-growing sector of the industrial automation market. By 2025, the cobot market is expected to grow 34% in sales, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
The UR5e was used to ring the bell with the help of a gripper from Robotiq.
Universal Robots was the first to sell a commercially viable cobot in 2008. It still leads the market with more than 60% global share, and recently sold its 25,000th cobot. “We have long admired UR as a pioneer and global leader in the collaborative robotics market,” said Travis Briggs, CEO of ROBO Global U.S. “Since acquiring UR in 2015, Teradyne has been a key growth driver in the ROBO Global Index. We are thrilled that Teradyne generously agreed to join the ROBO Global team for this one-of-a-kind NYSE bell ringing.”
Universal Robots was founded in 2005 by the company’s CTO Esben Østergaard and is the receipent of the Engelberger Award Winner. The company, which is part of Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, with subsidiaries and regional offices in the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Turkey, China, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Mexico.
Despite protests, the Brooklyn antifa witches’ hex on Brett Kavanaugh went on. Both vengeful hate and intense love filled the event.
10.21.18 6:16 PM ET
You could see the protesters gathering outside the Hex on Brett Kavanaugh from the edge of an industrial block in Brooklyn. They could be heard from even farther down the street.
The mainly Christian-identifying crowd condemned the group of antifa witches who made headlines this week for planning to conjure misfortune onto the new Supreme Court justice.
The hex was hosted by Catland, an occult shop that sells spiritual literature, healing crystals, tarot cards, burnable incense, and other occult accoutrements.
Outside of the storefront, supporters stood guard. A row of people clad in antifa black bandannas and red pins kept a close eye on ticketed guests, ushering them into the small business by the handful.
Those waiting outside were subjected to spontaneous sermons from protesters and requests for interviews from unaccredited press such as a Russian newscast and Infowars.
The Monday before the hex, Catland’s co-owner Dakota Bracciale told The Daily Beast that the shop had been getting death threats for planning the hex. “People are calling threatening to blow up the shop, saying ‘Just wait until the 20th, because we’re going to show up and you’re not going to see us coming,’” they said.
They described having to “sit down” with the NYPD the week before the hex to plan security. “As a queer, trans, disabled person who goes by they/them, I’m this SJW snowflake. I don’t want to sit down with cops,” Bracciale said. “The Christian right is making strange bedfellows right now.”
The night of the hex, the atmosphere was tense, but not threatening. One woman handed out mini-Bibles. A black and yellow sign read, “Jesus is God alone.”
When another man burst out into spontaneous “Hallelujahs,” a hexer retorted, “Hall-e-boo-yeah.”
Luis Winfield was among the protesters, telling The Daily Beast that he would spend the night “praying for (hexers) to realize they’re wrong.”
“I agree with them in terms of rapists aren’t good, but hatred isn’t going to change people,” he said. “God changes people.”
As a group of black women attempted to walk down the crowded sidewalk, one yelled, “There’s too many white people!”
Even inside the tranquil, candlelit backroom of Catland, where the hex took place, guests could still hear impassioned yelling and gospel singing coming from the streets. “The sermon comes free,” Bracciale joked of an unseen woman’s condemnation. “It’s a double feature.”
As Bracciale set up the hex, which began forty-five minutes late due to the fracas, a few attendees began soft chanting to drum out the sound. Others called 311 to file noise complaints. When one man who had ceaselessly screamed about the witches’ “souls” abruptly shut up, someone joked, “I hope he busted a vocal cord.”
Bracciale made three effigies resembling Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and “Fuckface (Mitch) McConnell” as the focal point of rage during the rituals, but hex-goers were invited up by section to write down the names of their own abusers to bolster the spell.
Above the table that held the effigies and “dick candles” stabbed with needles, a chalk board read, “Lavetur in Nobis Sanguis Tyrannis,” which translates as “To bathe in the blood of tyrants.”
Not all guests were practicing witches, or even considered themselves spiritual. For many, the hex served as an outlet for fury.
Attendee Tracey Freeman has been to Catland a few times, but doesn’t actively practice witchcraft. “I thought this would be a cool act of solidarity,” she said. “It’s healing for people who have experienced all different types of trauma to be in that space and be with other people with those experiences to discuss the power and love that emanates from people in spite of a world that’s against you.”
“Yes, there’s a nuts and bolts magical spell that happens in the room,” Bracciale explained. “But it’s just as potent of a ritual as it is an act of catharsis where people can recognize trauma and process through it.”
That’s why they opened the evening by encouraging all to hold a long, meditative “Om” chant. “You don’t have to believe it or have a spiritual path,” Bracciale instructed. “Say it as a rallying cry.”
So, with Christian rock blasting from the sidewalk, guests began the ceremony.
First, everyone read Psalm 109, which features devastatingly harsh lines of cursing. “If you want to curse a bitch, the Bible has some tips,” Bracciale joked of the passage, which includes lines like “Let his posterity be cut off” and makes reference to “blotting out” the scorned’s future generations.
Bracciale titled the second half of the ritual, “The Right of the Scorned One.” According to the organizer, “It is about the understanding and embracing of rage as a vital tool for survival, and not something that needs to be dampened down and buried.”
Rather than viewing anger as messy or immature, Bracciale wanted hexers to “understand the emotion as an ally.”
As Bracciale spewed out a burning soliloquy against abusers, the crowd became animated. People shouted, yipped, stomped on the ground in a scene that could have been straight out of a revivalist meeting—with about 200 percent more f-bombs.
Separated by just one thin wall, the beliefs of both hexers and protesters may have been different, but the expressive passion was equal. Catland owners recognize this.
“If you think about it, the right wing has church,” Bracciale said. “They have this infrastructure to go to during these tumultuous times, a sanctuary where they can find fellowship and camaraderie. But the left doesn’t have that. I think we’re really being tested right now, and there have to be these meetings where we’re there for each other.”
This was most evident during the hex’s final moments, “Words of Affirmation.” Though attendees were not sitting in the round (chairs were stuffed in sections to make as much room as possible), a sort of talking circle prevailed.
First, everyone was instructed to close their eyes—but it wasn’t mandatory. “If you don’t feel comfortable closing your eyes, you probably have a good reason for thinking that,” Bracciale dryly said.
First, the room was silent—except for the the persistent protesting coming from outside. Slowly, people began to share stories of abuse, marginalization, or anger.
One person said, “My pronouns are not fucking preferred.”
More often than not, harrowing stories of assault were followed by “…and no one believed me.” The room that had been filled with such unbridled rage minutes earlier became only empathetic.
Though the safeness of the space was marred by the spectacle of getting in, and the constant shuttering of media photographer’s cameras, a community prevailed. Hexers hoped that ensuing events would bring far less fanfare so that next time, they can focus their full attention on tapping into a network of survivors.
Catland witches have not yet begun to hex; two more are planned for 2018. Half of the $10 admission charge goes to local and national charities; on Oct. 20 selected organizations were Planned Parenthood and the Ali Forney Center, which supports New York’s homeless LGBTQ youth.
Right before sending attendees back into the chilly October night, Bracciale asked, “How do you find trauma friends?” They weren’t sure of the answer, but hoped that relationships could be forged through the evening’s fellowship.
Then, as they leaned on a stack of chairs that ever-so-slightly resembled a pulpit, Bracciale led the group in a few rounds of deep breathing. The sound of many grounding inhales were muddled with quiet, tearful sniffles.
OCTOBER 21, 2018 AT 8:02AM
A shocking racial hate crime has killed a man who lived his life trying to help others, but the details in the case mean there will be no riots, and you probably won’t hear his name mentioned on the national news.
A 55-year-old journalist and volunteer first responder was attacked from behind before being dragged into a parking lot in New Jersey. Then, his assailant stole the man’s car and used it to drive over the victim’s head, leaving him gravely injured.
The assault occurred in May, but the victim remained on life support until his death on Thursday. To make the horrific attack even worse, authorities believe the journalist was targeted and ultimately killed because of his skin color.
Why isn’t this the top story on every cable news channel? Because the victim is Jerry Wolkowitz, and he was apparently attacked by a black man based on racial hatred.
“Jerry Wolkowitz, a longtime EMT and journalist, has died nearly six months after a brutal, allegedly racially motivated beating,” reported the Asbury Park Press, a news outlet that also published much of the freelance reporter’s photographs over the years.
“Wolkowitz, described as an ‘innocent soul’ by younger medics he took under his wing, was walking near his Harding Road apartment on the morning of May 1 when authorities believe 26-year-old Jamil S. Hubbard of Sayreville beat him and dragged him into a parking lot,” the newspaper continued.
After police tracked down and arrested Hubbard, a repeat criminal who openly admitted to running over the older man because of race.
“(Hubbard) explained that he chose him because he was a white man,” revealed prosecutor Keri-Leigh Schaefer during a court hearing.
“The allegations are of a horrific crime,” Judge James J. McGann said during the hearing. “The defendant, according to police, approached a total stranger and started beating him.”
The victim’s family reached out to the community for help, and shared its love for the victim on a GoFundMe page set up to soften the burden of when Wolkowitz was still on life support.
“Jerry is a reporter, a writer, a first aid volunteer, a dedicated worker, a wonderful friend, and a devoted family man with a loving fiance,” the page explained.
“He is kind-hearted and highly devoted to his family and friends. He … has a great sense of humor, and is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need,” the family’s heartfelt message continued.
It’s almost certain that if the roles were reversed in this horrendous racially-motivated crime, there would be protests and national news coverage.
But not for Jerry Wolkowitz. As of Saturday evening, a Google search of the victim’s name on CNN.com showed literally zero results.