About The Stranger

Each week (Sat. 12-2am) I stave off the evil and stale with the fresh and the weird on Mutiny Radio! (www.pcrcollective.org); the oddest topics, the most multifarious (that's multifaceted + nefarious) tunes, and newly-lacquered commentary on The Stranger in a Strange Land! Stay tuned for more adjectives! Follow The Stranger on Mixcloud

Marine Drill Instructor Who Tormented Muslim Recruits Sentenced To 10 Years

from November 11, 2017 at 09:00AM http://bit.ly/2AykEhi

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A Marine Corps drill instructor has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars after being convicted of tormenting and abusing young recruits, especially Muslim-Americans, including one who later killed himself.

A military jury also ordered Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran, to forfeit all pay, be demoted to private and given a dishonorable discharge.

Friday’s sentencing at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, came after Felix begged for forgiveness before the eight-member jury, which a day earlier convicted him of abusing more than a dozen trainees at the Marine boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Felix was convicted of dozens of criminal violations as the jury on Thursday found he taunted three Muslim recruits as “terrorists” or “ISIS” and ordered two of them to climb into an industrial clothes dryer, spinning one of them around in the scorching machine until he renounced his faith.

Defense attorney Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bridges declined a request to comment on the conviction and sentencing.

Felix was a central figure among a group of abusive drill instructors at Parris Island, the jury was told. After the March 2016 suicide at the base, a hazing investigation led to charges against Felix, five other drill instructors and the training battalion’s commanding officer. Eleven others faced lesser discipline.

Abusive drill instructors have long been stock characters in books and movies such as “Full Metal Jacket,” a 1987 film set during the Vietnam War. Yet the Felix trial shows that the Marines have since drawn clearer lines between what instructors can and cannot do, said Michael Hanzel, a former Navy attorney who attended the proceedings at Camp Lejeune.

“This generation now, there’s things that I think that we’re much more focused on … in this trial, it’s calling people names based on their religion and targeting people based on their religion,” said Hanzel, now a private attorney specializing in military law. “I don’t think anyone would say that was acceptable ever, but it probably was not prosecuted in the past the way it would be now.”

The charges against Felix included commanding recruits to choke each other; ordering them to drink chocolate milk and then training them until they vomited; and punching recruits in the face or kicking them to the ground.

“He wasn’t making Marines. He was breaking Marines,” prosecutor Lt. Col. John Norman told the jury on Wednesday. He called Felix a bully who heaped special abuse on three Muslim recruits because of their faith.

One of them, Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old Pakistani-American from Taylor, Michigan, hurled himself to his death after what the jury decided was mistreatment by Felix that included slapping Siddiqui and calling him a terrorist. Siddiqui’s family sued the Marine Corps last month for $100 million.

The government did not charge Felix with any crime directly related to Siddiqui’s death. The judge, Lt. Col. Michael Libretto, did not allow testimony about whether Felix’s actions were responsible for the recruit’s suicide.

Felix also was convicted of ordering Lance Cpl. Ameer Bourmeche into a dryer, which then was turned on as Felix demanded, “Are you still Muslim?” Bourmeche testified that he twice affirmed his faith and Felix and another drill instructor twice sent him for a bruising, scorching tumble inside the machine.

After a third spin, Bourmeche said, he feared for his life and renounced his religion. The drill instructors then let him out, he said.

Felix also was found guilty of ordering Bourmeche to simulate chopping off the head of a fellow Marine while reciting “God is great” in Arabic.

The jury decided Felix also ordered Rekan Hawez, a native of Iraqi Kurdistan, to climb into the dryer. The machine was never turned on.

Felix was also convicted of rousing nearly two dozen recruits from their sleep, ordering them to lie on the floor, and then walking on them along with two other drill instructors.
Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at http://bit.ly/2i8NvSR

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

BUSTED: Watch LA Cops Plant Drugs in Black Suspect’s Wallet—Unaware Their Body Cams Were On

from November 11, 2017 at 05:44AM http://bit.ly/2zAbfZp

Photo Credit: Screenshot / CBS-LA

An investigation into what is being captured on the body cams worn by Los Angeles police has turned up evidence of officers planting drugs in a suspect’s wallet while believing their cameras were off.

According to CBS-LA, Los Angeles police are now wearing the body cams, but police officials are withholding the videos from the public. However, the station was able to acquire video of one black man being arrested for a hit and run, with the video showing something quite different from what was documented in the official police report.

The report documents the arrest of Ronald Shields, 52, in April when he was taken into custody for a hit and run. According to the police report, LAPD officer Samuel Lee stated that cocaine was found in Shields’ front left pocket

But the body cam of a fellow officer showed one officer picking up the small packet from the ground and placing it in the suspect’s wallet — before making a show of discovering it multiple times for the camera.

According Shields’ attorney, Steve Levine, officer Lee seemed stunned when he was shown the video while on the witness stand, saying the officer, “Looked dumbstruck to me. Period. He had really no answer.”

According to an expert discussing how the body cams work, the officer may not have realized that the camera was running 30 seconds before he believed he activated it.

Confronted by CBS reporter David Goldstein, both officers involved in the bust refused to comments on the discrepancy between their reports and what was shown on-camera.

Watch the video below via CBS-LA:

Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/2kwQVCk

Puerto Rico Saw 117 Deaths Per Day In Two Weeks Following Hurricane Maria

from November 9, 2017 at 04:08AM http://bit.ly/2jjmXSg

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The pace of deaths quickened on Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria — well beyond the number of deaths officially attributed to the Category 4 storm.

Officials in the U.S. territory on Wednesday reported the island had an average of 82 deaths a day in the two weeks before Maria hit Sept. 20. The average increased to 117 deaths a day through the rest of the month, but the rate then fell below usual in October.

“The truth is, that’s not normal,” said Jose Lopez Rodriguez, a demographer with the island’s Demographic Register. “We saw a difference, and it was a significant difference.”

The territory’s government has said 55 people died during the hurricane or later as a direct result of the storm, which knocked out power across the island.

The overall daily death figures hint that the storm could have caused other, harder-to-detect fatalities as well, though officials at the government’s forensic institute said they did not have evidence to attribute them to Maria. They also rejected some media reports that suggested hundreds of people had died as a direct result of the hurricane.

“Those figures of 200, 400, 1,000 — no. Those deaths have not been reported to the institute,” said Edwin Crespo, director of the island’s Bureau of Forensic Science. “The institute has no reason to hide bodies.”

Crespo said death certificates sent to his agency involving natural deaths didn’t state whether a lack of power could have been a factor. “If the hospital or doctor didn’t make the connection,” he said, then paused before adding: “We weren’t there.”

Hector Pesquera, secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety, acknowledged that some deaths classified as natural possibly might have been linked to the hurricane.

“Yes, they could have occurred,” he said. “We cannot deny that categorically.”

Wanda Llovet, director of the Demographic Register, said a total of 2,838 deaths were reported for September, a 20 percent increase from the 2,366 deaths reported for the same month in 2016 and up from 2,242 in September 2015.

But, she said, the number of deaths last month totaled 2,119, which was down about 10 percent from 2,353 in October 2016 and 2,379 in October 2015.

Pesquera said the government does not plan to investigate whether any deaths should have been classified as having a link to the hurricane.

“Why would there be an investigation?” he asked, saying a doctor would not risk losing his license by signing an erroneous death certificate.

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

Trump’s Commerce Secretary Owns Stake in Russian Companies While He Oversees Potential Sanctions

from November 9, 2017 at 12:35AM http://bit.ly/2mjFeQa

This caricature of billionaire banker and Trump Sec. of Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross was adapted from a photo in the public domain from the US Senate via Wikimedia.
Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey / Flickr

The Paradise Papers revealed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is conducting business with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia. According to the leaked documents, Ross owns a stake through offshore entities in Navigator Holdings, a shipping firm that receives millions of dollars from a company owned by Putin’s close allies. On Monday, Ross told the BBC he had declared his interests earlier this year when he joined Trump’s administration and had done nothing wrong. “This Trump administration is responsible for imposing sanctions on various Russians, some of whom are involved in this company, Sibur,” responds our guest Jon Swaine of The Guardian. “That’s a pretty big conflict.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In some of the articles recently as a result of the Paradise Papers, there’s also a discussion of the current commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and his involvement in offshore money. Could you talk about that, as well?

JON SWAINE: Sure. So, what the documents, and some public filings that sort of we looked at in light of the documents, show is that Wilbur Ross has a stake in this shipping company named Navigator. Navigator does tens of millions of dollars a year business with a Russian gas company named Sibur. And one of the co-owners of that gas company is Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov. This hasn’t been noticed before, this wasn’t known before, that Wilbur Ross had actually retained this stake, even after joining the Trump administration. He is continuing to be involved in this business venture, which sees his shipping company ship gas for Putin’s son-in-law’s Russian gas country from Russia into Europe. And it’s a pretty—

AMY GOODMAN: And he’s still involved with this now—

JON SWAINE: He’s still involved in it. He’s retained his interests as he’s gone into government.

AMY GOODMAN: —as commerce secretary. Well, let’s go to Ross telling the BBC he had declared his interests earlier this year when he joined Trump’s administration, and has done nothing wrong.

COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR ROSS: I think the media has made a lot more out of it than it deserves. First of all, the company in question, Sibur, is a very major hydrocarbon company. Its commercial relationship with Navigator Holdings is simply that Navigator charters some vessels to them. There’s no interlocking of board. There’s no interlocking of shareholders. I had nothing to do with the negotiation of the deal. … The fact that it happens to be called a Russian company does not mean that there’s any evil in it.

AMY GOODMAN: So this is the current commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross. Your response to what he’s saying, Jon Swaine?

JON SWAINE: Our response would be, we’re not saying anything is evil involved in this. We’re just saying that it presents some problems. You know, this is the commerce secretary of the United States. He is responsible for various areas of trade and industry, and including shipping. And so, you know, quite apart from the Russia element, this is the commerce secretary of the United States carrying on in his own industrial business while being in government. He says he’s recused himself from that kind of area of business. But, you know, that still presents problems.

But also, this Trump administration is responsible for imposing sanctions on various Russians, some of whom are involved in this company, Sibur. Wilbur Ross is part of that administration. You know, that’s a pretty big conflict to be part of this team imposing these sanctions while doing business with people who are sanctioned.

AMY GOODMAN: When we come back, the seven Republican super-donors who keep money in tax havens. Jon Swaine is our guest, senior reporter with The Guardian. He’s part of that team that’s publishing stories on the Paradise Papers. Stay with us.


Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now!, a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,200 stations in North America. She is the co-author of The Silenced Majority, a New York Times best-seller.

Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/2kwQVCk

There Was a Terrorist Attack in a Colorado Walmart Last Week, and No One Is Talking About It

from November 8, 2017 at 09:03AM http://bit.ly/2AwSsvo

White supremacist violence seemingly doesn’t count in Trump’s America.

Scott Ostrem, a 47-year-old, white man, walked into a Walmart north of Denver on Nov. 1 and opened fire. Eyewitnesses described him as “nonchalantly” shooting shoppers with a handgun, killing three.

Police captured Ostrem alive the next day. They said they had “no possible motive for the shooting other than to say there was nothing to suggest it was related to terrorism.”

The incident meets the FBI definition of a mass killing: Three or more people who died in a public place. But sandwiched between a Halloween day attack that killed eight in Manhattan and the slaughter of 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the Walmart killings have faded into the background.

That’s a mistake. Ostrem’s rampage deserves far more attention because it represents the foremost terrorist threat in America today: White supremacist violence unleashed and encouraged by President Donald J. Trump.

Ostrem killed three Hispanic people, Pam MarquesVictor Vasquez, and Carlos Moreno, all parents. In the apartment complex where Ostrem lived, neighbors described him as “a bizarre, angry man who lived alone in an apartment with a stack of Bibles and virtually no furniture.” He was a “loner who would walk around carrying weapons” like a shotgun or bow and arrows.

When it came to relations with neighbors, Ostrem “was very racist towards Hispanics.” Another said he was “verbally abusive towards Hispanics.”

The local CBS affiliate reported Ostrem “often expressed dislike for Hispanics to their faces.” A Hispanic employee at the building said, “If he saw a Hispanic person, he would tell them to get out of his way.” One neighbor said Ostrem would say, “’This is America. You shouldn’t be here.”

That sentiment could have come right out of Donald Trump’s mouth.

Is there any doubt how Trump would have reacted if a Muslim carried around weapons, kept a stack of Korans in his apartment, verbally abused Christians, and then killed three people? Trump would have lit up Twitter, calling for “much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures,” decrying Democrats who let the “terrorist” slip across our borders, and condemning the “truly evil” people coming in because of broken immigration policies.

Compare this to the Manhattan attack. Two hours after it happened, before the name of the perpetrator was released, officials designated it an act of terrorism. That assessment was apparently based on nothing more than the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, yelling “God is great” in Arabic after he mowed down cyclists and pedestrians with a truck. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Saipov one of “these lone wolves who commit an act of terror,” linking him to ISIS. A day later, Saipov was hit with federal terrorism charges.

What officials said of Saipov — a lone wolf “consumed by hate and a twisted ideology” — applies as much to Scott Ostrem and the other white supremacists who have murdered at least nine people since Trump was elected.

The killers attack the same people Trump demonized during his campaign — Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants — and they are motivated by Trump’s words and ideology.

In February, U.S. Navy vet Adam Purinton confronted two Indian men in a bar in Kansas, asking if they were in the country legally, and yelled “Get out of my country,”before killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding two others. Purinton believed he had shot Iranians, another community scapegoated by Trump.

In May, Sean Urbanski, who liked “memes about Donald Trump, white supremacy, and the alt-right,” stabbed to death Richard Collins III, a black second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. The killing echoed a case in March when Army vet James Jackson stabbed to death Timothy Caughman. Jackson murdered the 66-year-old Black man because “The white race is being eroded. … No one cares about you. The Chinese don’t care about you, the Blacks don’t care about you.”

Also in May, Jeremy Christian stabbed to death Ricky John Best, father of four, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a recent college graduate, on a train in Portland, Oregon, after they defended two black women, one wearing a hijab, being threatened by Christian. Weeks earlier, Christian had attended a pro-Trump alt-right rally in Portland where he yelled “Die Muslims.”

Most notorious is the neo-Nazi murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in August during an orgy of violence by white supremacists. Days later Trump praised the extremists as “very fine people.”

Many other white supremacist attacks have garnered little attention because the plots were bustedpolice looked the other way, or people were injured, sometimes severely, but not killed.

Because Trump hits the mute button following white supremacist violence, news outlets chastise him for turning a blind eye. That misses the real story. A recent FBI-DHS report determined white supremacists were the most dangerous domestic extremists.

Rather than counter right-wing terrorism, Trump is enabling it by reducing scrutiny and cutting funds to help “right-wing extremists move away from radical ideas.” Additionally, he’s engaged in a bait-and-switch to divert attention from his brand of terrorism. His administration has fabricated threats such as “Black Identity Extremists,”and he warns MS-13 gangs have “literally taken over” U.S. towns and cities, a notion completely undermined by FBI data.

Trump also hypes “Islamist terrorism” like the San Bernardino couple who killed 14 people in 2015. He exploited those deaths to call for a Muslim ban despite the fact police “never established the motive.” Trump portrays Saipov and Omar Mateen of the Pulse nightclub slaughter as super-soldiers in a global jihad that can only be stopped by bans on Muslims, refugees, and various immigrants. But each one was simply “an aspiring violent criminal searching for a larger justification for the acts he’s desperate to commit.” They are blood brothers with white mass murderers like Stephen Paddock.

Trump’s complicity with right-wing terrorism goes further. He’s courted white supremacists and propagated their beliefs for years. A former DHS intelligence official says Trump empowers white supremacists because they see “an administration in place today that is supportive of their ideological agenda.”

Those storm clouds were brewing before Trump’s election. In October 2016 the FBI foiled a plot by a Kansas militia called “the Crusaders” to wipe out a Somali-American community in Garden City. They called the immigrants “cockroaches” and planned to perpetrate an Oklahoma City-style massacre, the 1995 bombing by right-wing militiamen that killed 168 people and stands as deadliest incident of domestic terrorism in modern U.S. history.

Sounding like Trump, the Kansas militiamen said the Somalis were “a threat to American society” and hoped a bloodbath would “wake up” a lot more people to “decide they want this country back.”

With a president who uses the Bully Pulpit as a recruiting tool for right-wing terrorism, it’s only a matter of time before some of his followers try a slaughter on this scale again. And no one can see we didn’t see it coming.


Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/2kwQVCk

Fox News Axes Dem Mega-Donor’s Impeachment Ad After Trump Tweets

from November 6, 2017 at 11:53AM http://bit.ly/2zvtakm

Tom Steyer wants President Trump to be impeached. Fox News decided to impeach his new ad instead.

On the same day that Fox News first ran an advertisement funded by Steyer, a Democratic mega-donor, President Donald Trump tweeted about Steyer, calling him “wacky” and “totally unhinged.”

Just four days later, the outlet stopped playing the advertisement. “Due to the strong negative reaction to their ad by our viewers, we could not in good conscience take their money,” Jack Abernethy, Fox News co-president, said in a statement obtained by TPM on Monday.

Steyer, through his attorneys, said he was not given an explanation for the cancellation of the advertisement.

Trump likely saw the ad for the first time when it aired on “Fox and Friends.” The early morning program is known as Trump’s favorite source of news, and Trump tweeted a thank you to “Fox and Friends” for its “really great job and show!” just minutes after the Steyer tweet.

While Fox claims the audience reaction is what sparked the removal of the advertisement, Steyer’s lawyer sent a letter to Abernethy, claiming Fox News is censoring a private citizen in order to appease the President.

“It is no coincidence that the cancellation of the advertisement, in the second week of its run, came on the heels of a tweet from President Trump, criticizing the spot and Mr. Steyer personally. The only plausible explanation seems to be that Fox News capitulated to political pressure from the Trump administration itself,” Steyer’s lawyer Brad Deutsch said in a letter to Abernethy on Nov. 3, which was obtained by The Washington Post. “President Trump has threatened retaliation against broadcasters who provide him with negative coverage and Fox News appears to have answered these threats with servility.”

In the video, Steyer outlines all of Trump’s “dangerous” moves as President thus far, and said that a Republican Congress “once impeached a President for far less.”

“Yet today people in Congress and his own administration know that this President is a clear and present danger who’s mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons, and they do nothing,” he said.

Read the letter Steyer’s lawyer sent Fox News below:

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

UK Regulator Finds Fox News’ Hannity, Carlson Breached Impartiality Standards

from November 6, 2017 at 10:46AM http://bit.ly/2zvD7hN

The British government’s communications regulator ruled on Monday that the Fox News programs anchored by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson breached the UK’s impartiality rules in segments that aired earlier this year.

The regulator, Ofcom, found that the segments did not provide adequate view points even as opinion programs and therefore broke “due impartiality” standards.

The ruling comes as the British government considers 21st Century Fox’s — the parent company of Fox News — bid to buy British outlet Sky News. Fox has faced significant scrutiny from British regulators after top officials at Fox resigned amid sexual harassment allegations and Fox News faced a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with members of the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murder DNC staffer.

In September, Ofcom found that “alleged behaviors” at 21st Century Fox were “concerning,” but said that their findings did not warrant additional review. Ofcom also reviewed programs like “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” due to complaints about the programs, but found that the shows did not have to meet a “due accuracy requirement” since they are not news programs. The British competition watchdog is now reviewing the proposed merger.

Fox News stopped airing its programs in the UK in August, but Ofcom said Monday that it reviewed outstanding complaints “to ensure there is a complete compliance record and to facilitate public understanding of the Code.”

The regulator found that Hannity’s January 31 segment on President Donald Trump’s travel ban “didn’t include a sufficiently wide range of views, and any alternative opinions put forward during the discussion were dismissed by the presenter.” Ofcom ruled that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” breached impartiality rules with a May 25 segment on the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England because a “discussion about the UK’s security policies did not include an adequate range of viewpoints.”

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

Wilbur Ross linked to company controlled by Putin family in mass leak of “Paradise Papers”

from November 5, 2017 at 02:36PM http://bit.ly/2zyWNRA

Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross (Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik)

A trove of documents leaked to the press, now dubbed the “Paradise Papers,” reveal that a member of Trump’s Cabinet has financial ties to Vladimir Putin’s immediate family.

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in the Trump administration, has an interest in a shipping company that does business with a Russian energy firm controlled by Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, the New York Times reported after delving through internal papers organized by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Ross apparently failed to disclose this interest when he went through the cabinet confirmation process.

The shipping company at issue, Navigator Holdings, earns millions of dollars a year shipping gas for the Russian energy company called Sibur, the Times reported. While Ross sold off some of his stake in the company when he joined the Trump administration, he kept an investment in Navigator, which saw its business with Sibur increase this past year, even though the U.S. has sought to punish Russia’s economy.

According to documents reviewed by the Times, Ross has over $2 million of investments in Navigator and stands to earn a higher share of the profits. Ross’ share of the company is held by a company in the Cayman Islands that is represented by the Appleby law firm.

Details of Ross’ holdings were revealed in a leak of more than 7 million internal documents of Appleby to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The documents, which comprised of emails, presentations and other electronic data, were shared with the ICIJ, the international journalism organization that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called for an investigation into Ross after Sunday’s news broke. Blumenthal said that Ross had failed to disclose his business interests with the Senate Commerce Committee.

Read more at: Salon.com http://bit.ly/2hkEKUJ

Alt-right Twitter darling Jenna Abrams turns out to be Russian bot

from November 5, 2017 at 01:39PM http://bit.ly/2hnqkmS

Twitter headquarters

(Credit: AP)

One of the most beloved Twitter personalities among Trump supporters was not even a real person, the Daily Beast reported this past week.

Congressional investigators discovered Jenna Abrams, who went by the username @Jenn_Abrams, was the creation of employees at the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg. The government-backed agency employs hundreds of trolls, tasked with disseminating content that would destabilise the U.S.

Like many Russian bots, Abrams spent most of her time online talking about the most divisive issues in America today. The account would opine on topics such as the Confederate Flag and the flaws of political correctness.

“To those people, who hate the Confederate flag. Did you know that the flag and the war wasn’t about slavery, it was all about money,” one tweet of Abrams read.

Abrams’ account was unique in that it had amassed over 70,000 followers during the 2016 presidential election. Her posts appeared in news stories across several media organizations, including the CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

She also had fans in the Trump campaign. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn followed Abrams, along with Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., who shared a tweet from the Russia-controlled account days before the election.

According to the Daily Beast, several Trump associates shared tweets that came from Russian trolls. Donald Trump Jr., Kellyanne Conway and Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign digital director, all retweeted fake Russian Twitter accounts in the run up to the election.

Clinton Watts, a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, has testified before Congress saying that there are several types of Russia troll accounts. Some are automated and are used to draw attention to a certain news story by sharing and liking the tweets, while others are manned by a real person who creates a unique personality for the account.

“The Russians have used social media-driven information campaigns to discredit the U.S. for years. Facebook and Twitter remain littered with pro-Russian, Western-looking accounts and supporting automated bots designed to undermine the credibility of the U.S. government,” Watts testified in March.

“I can tell you right now, today, ‘gray outlets,’ Soviet-pushing accounts, tweet at President Trump during high volumes, when they know he’s online, and they push conspiracy theories. So, if he is to click on one of those or cite one of those, it just proves Putin correct that we can use [this method] as a lever against the Americans,” Watts said.

Read more at: Salon.com http://bit.ly/2hkEKUJ

Danica Roem to Become First Transgender Lawmaker in Virginia

from November 7, 2017 at 05:09PM http://bit.ly/2ADAl7O

With 95 percent of the precincts counted, Democrat Danica Roem leads Republican Bob Marshall by nearly two thousand votes in a closely watched election for General Assembly. Roem is a transgender former journalist who focused her race on the terrible traffic in the district, while Marshall is a longtime extreme culture warrior who sponsored the states bathroom bill, banning transgender people from using the bathroom that applies to their gender identity.

Read The Intercept’s previous reporting on the race.

This story is developing…

TOP PHOTO: In this photo provided by her campaign, Danica Roem, a candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates, poses for a portrait.

The post Danica Roem to Become First Transgender Lawmaker in Virginia appeared first on The Intercept.

Read more at: The Intercept http://bit.ly/1QabwCe