Author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

‘Anonymous’ author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

USA TODAY

The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

From ‘Anonymous’:Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book’s author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president’s fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don’t, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump’s promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?

The book says that Trump “on more than one occasion” discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

“Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first,” the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Pathway of impeachment:How it works, where we are

“Anonymous” depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry:Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas “go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies.”

On the president’s actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was “barely believable to anyone around him.”

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

The author’s agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn’t take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

  • Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, “a midnight self-massacre,” intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump’s questionable and even corrupt behavior. “The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
  • If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump’s removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.
  • Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. “To Donald Trump, these are unlimited ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards on a Monopoly board.”
  • Trump was “particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t done more to harass the Clintons.” The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump’s 2016 opponent. “You’d be a hero,” the president told him.

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner

William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, admitted in a closed-door hearing before Congress today that he had been acting under the impression that there was indeed a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This is bad news for Trump, and even worse for the Senate Republicans who will undoubtedly be forced to take a side when the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings move to the Senate for a trial.

Taylor’s opening statement, obtained by the Washington Post, confirms that the U.S. planned to withhold military and financial aid from Ukraine if the country didn’t assist the U.S. in its investigations into 2016 election interference. This might not be great diplomacy, but it isn’t illegal — the investigation into election interference is a legitimate government operation which, due to its nature, is somewhat dependent on foreign cooperation.

Forcing Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival, however, is another matter entirely, and one that lies at the center of Taylor’s testimony. At question here is a conversation Taylor had in September with Gordon Sondland, the United States’ envoy to the European Union. “As I said on the phone,” Taylor said in September, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

To which Sondland replied: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”

Taylor’s message was originally interpreted as a reaction to media reports that the U.S. was unnecessarily withholding military aid from Ukraine. But in his opening statement before Congress, Taylor confirmed that his message was not merely a reaction to the media, but a condemnation of a coordinated effort by Trump, Sondland, and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

“I said on Sept. 9 in a message to [Sondland] that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the U.S. would be ‘crazy,’” Taylor said in his testimony, “I believed that then, and I still believe that.”

Taylor then lays out the timeline of Trump’s interactions with Zelensky and the “highly irregular” channel of U.S. policy making in Ukraine that included then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Giuliani. This “irregular” channel actively worked against U.S. interests and in favor of Trump’s personal interests, Taylor said.

“By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma [the Ukrainian oil company that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, worked for] and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,” Taylor said in his testimony. “It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani.”

Taylor soon after realized that the hold placed on security assistance to Ukraine by the Office of Management and Budget ran counter to the State and Defense Departments’ recommendation that the U.S. assist Ukraine in its battle against Russia, and that it had more to do with Sondland’s demand that Ukraine commit to an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings with Burisma than it did with the U.S.’s investigation into election meddling.

Taylor’s testimony is both clarifying and damning for the Trump allies and Senate Republicans who have insisted there was no quid pro quo. Ukrainian officials might not have been aware that foreign aid was being withheld, but the U.S. government certainly was aware. And if it wasn’t clear before, it is now clear that Trump had a personal agenda and used Sondland and Giuliani to further it.

Impeachment will move forward, which means the Senate will eventually need to decide whether Trump was guilty of foreign malfeasance. Taylor’s testimony just made it that much harder to rule in his favor. His congressional allies will continue to stand by him, especially if House Democrats continue to treat impeachment like a campaign promise they need to fulfill.

But there will be other Trump-skeptical senators wary of the president’s blatant abuse of power who might just drift to the pro-impeachment side. Republicans control the Senate 53-47. It takes 67 votes to convict. Taylor’s testimony might just tip the scales.

Brazil: Lava Jato fears other sentences will be overturned, including Lula’s

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Lava Jato fears other sentences will be overturned, including Lula’s conviction

The unpublished decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the sentence of former judge Sergio Moro who condemned former Petrobras president Aldemir Bendine caused panic to prosecutors of Operation Lava Jato. They say they view the measure with “immense concern” and fear that other convictions of the Operation, including Lula’s conviction, could also be overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.

(Photo: Felipe L. Gonçalves / Brasil247 | STF)

247 – The unpublished decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the sentence of former judge Sergio Moro who condemned former Petrobras president Aldemir Bendine caused panic to prosecutors of Operation Lava Jato. 

They say they view the measure with ‘grave concern’ and fear that other unjust condemnations made under the Operation would also be overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.  

In a report by journalist Felipe Bächtold , Folha de S.Paulo reports that the Lava Jato task force in Parana issued a statement saying “immense concern” with the decision of the Supreme Court. 

In the note, prosecutors state that precedent paves the way for overturning most convictions already issued in the operation. 

 The decision of the Second Class of the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of former Petrobras President Aldemir Bendine was based on the argument that the defenses presented their final allegations within the same time frame, without distinguishing between whistle blowers and accused. “If the understanding is applied in the other cases of the Lava Jato operation, it could nullify practically all convictions, with the consequent prescription of several crimes and release of arrested defendants,” says the text released by prosecutors in Paraná.  

For now, the ruling of the Second Class holds only for Bendine’s sentence.   

Setting the same deadlines for whistle blowers and whistle blowers was a constant throughout the Lava Jato.  

In another case in Curitiba that already had a sentence in the lower court, that of the Atibaia (SP) site frequented by former President Lula, the presentation of the final allegations also occurred in this way, which has now been questioned.  

In November of last year, Judge Gabriela Hardt set a “ten days for the defenses” to present these demonstrations, without distinguishing between whistle blowers and whistle blowers.  

The former president’s defense said he had seen similarities between Bendine’s case and Lula’s.

In ‘New India’, noose tightening on corruption, nepotism: PM Modi in France

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

In ‘New India’, noose tightening on corruption, nepotism: PM Modi in France

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora in Paris during his visit to France on Friday amidst chants of “Modi hai to Mumkin hai” at the UNESCO headquarters.

INDIA Updated: Aug 23, 2019 17:21 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Indian community in France at UNESCO HQ in Paris,France, Friday, Aug 23, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Indian community in France at UNESCO HQ in Paris,France, Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ @MEAIndia)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was the strength of 1.25 billion Indians that had powered the big decisions taken by his government in the first 75-days of re-election amidst chants of “Modi hai to Mumkin hai” during his address to the Indian diaspora at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Friday..

He listed criminalizing the practice of “Triple Talaq” and indirectly referred to removal of the “temporary” provision of Article 370 that had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir along with several other welfare schemes among the “big” decisions taken by his government.

“Triple Talaq, was an inhuman practice, we have ended the practice that hung like a sword over hundreds of thousands of Muslim women for years,” he said, adding that his government had set some goals for the country that were considered “impossible to achieve earlier”. He listed the “record number of new bank accounts” and the beneficiaries under PM’s Central health scheme as some important milestones.

“We have showed red card to several evil social practices in the last five years,” he said and added “In new India, the way in which action is being taken against corruption, nepotism, loot of people’s money, terrorism, this has never happened before.”

Watch | Modi’s Paris diplomacy: Macron fully backs India’s stand on Kashmir issue 

Modi’s Paris diplomacy: Macron fully backs India’s stand on Kashmir issue
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed media with French president Emanuel Macron on the first day of his three-nation tour. He spoke about Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s diplomatic campaign against India.
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“There was no place for temporary in India,” he said in a veiled reference to his government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “It took us 70-years to remove temporary,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, the mandate given to him in 2019 elections was “not just to run India but to create a new India”, adding that the country had seen “several positive developments in the last five-years during which the youth, women, farmers and the poor were put at the center of government’s programmers.” He also said that several studies had confirmed rapid eradication of poverty in India.

The Prime Minister, who is on day long visit to France, said India-France ties were beyond friendship. There was no single platform in the world where the two countries had not worked together. So, I devote this day to India-France relations,” he said.

He said India and France partnership could be summed up by combining words “IN” (for India) with “FRA” (for France) to create “INFRA”. INFRA, he said, represented the joint efforts between the two nations in the field of “Solar Infra”, “Technical Infra” and “Space Infra” among others.

Also read | We met goals once considered unachievable: PM to Indians in France

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 15:14 IST

Lula: my greatest pleasure would be to get out of here and Moro and Dallagnol in

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Lula: my greatest pleasure would be to get out of here and Moro in, he and Dallagnol

In his historic interview on TV 247, former President Lula spoke about Lava Jato, the destruction of the Amazon, Jair Bolsonaro’s lack of decorum, and the role of the United States in the 2016 coup. “I don’t want to leave here with half guilt. I want to go out with 100% of my innocence. I’m not a pigeon, put them on the anklet. My greatest pleasure would be to get out of here and Moro come in. He and Dallagnol, “he said.

(Photo: Felipe Gonçalves / TV 247)

247 – The interview given by former President Lula to journalists Mauro Lopes, Paulo Moreira Leite and Pepe Escobar, from TV 247, was full of important messages about what is going on in Brazil and in the world. Lula expressed outrage at his political prisoner status for more than 500 days, but made it clear that he sleeps peacefully, unlike his tormentors. “Moro has insomnia because he knows he lied. And now he’s playing the clown,” he said, before he even knew that Deltan Dallgnol, demoralized by Vaza Jato, has only been able to sleep on drugs.

Lula sent a direct message to the Federal Supreme Court, which until now has remained cowering before the evident procedural fraud, already denounced by the greatest jurists and intellectuals of Brazil and the world. “I’m tired of calling Moro and Dallagnol liars. I’m hoping someone will have the dignity to read my case and judge on the record,” he said.  “I don’t want to leave here with half the blame. I want to leave with 100% of my innocence. I’m not a pigeon, put them on the anklet. My greatest pleasure would be to get out of here and Moro come in. He and Dallagnol.” full recognition of your innocence.

Regarding the Amazon, Lula made clear the responsibility of the voters of Jair Bolsonaro. “Bolsonaro says that those who are setting fire to the Amazon are the NGOs. Who is setting fire is his business owner,” he said. “Someone needed to take the Bolsonaro by the ear and say, ‘Listen here, kid, be polite.’ We need peace. A president doesn’t have to think about anything other than the welfare of his people,” Lula said. “These people have to understand that they were not elected to be owners of the country. They were elected to govern. Do not destroy the country. They cannot leave delivering Brazil.

The role of the United States

Lula also warned that his lawyers will seek access to documents demonstrating that he is the victim of a US-led international conspiracy that has arrested him and made room for the destruction of democracy in Brazil and the rise of neo-fascism. “We are filing requests from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting information from the US Department of Justice about US interference in my case,” he said.

(U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ANTI-JUSTICE SHOULD BE THEIR NAME FOR NO JUSTICE IS FOUND WITHIN THEIR TRUMPIAN MAFIA WAYS!)(oldpoet56)

Brazil: Dilma: after 500 days of Lula’s illegal arrest, neo-fascism devastates Brazil

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Dilma: after 500 days of Lula’s illegal arrest, neo-fascism devastates Brazil

“Now the evil is done. Brazil is being devastated by a neo-fascist government in politics and neoliberal in the economy, headed by an eschatological and intolerant president. Having caught their biases, the judge and prosecutors who have colluded to convict Lula, destroying the economy and trampling justice deny the undeniable. They deny the undeniable, “says former president Dilma Rousseff, who was deposed by the 2016 coup, about Lula’s political arrest.

(Photo: Dilma Rousseff)

By Dilma Rousseff – A poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller, which inspired Bertold Brecht and Eduardo Alves da Costa, became a symbol of criticism of indifference to Nazism. In historical moments when values ​​are at stake, indifference becomes dramatic and leads to chaos. Thanks to Germany from the 1930s, worth today. 

“When the Nazis took the communists, I shut up 
because, after all, I was not a communist. 
When they arrested the Social Democrats, I shut up 
because, after all, I was not a Social Democrat. 
When they took the trade unionists, I didn’t protest, 
because, after all, I wasn’t a trade unionist. 
When they took the Jews, I did not protest, 
because, after all, I was not a Jew. 
When they took me, there was no one to protest. “

The arrest of Lula completes on Tuesday (20) 500 days of illegality and offense to the democratic rule of law. It represents disrespect for constitutional guarantees, due process of law, presumption of innocence and human rights. It is a threat. If Lula is arrested illegally, anyone can be. It all started when I was overthrown by the 2016 coup without committing a crime.

Here is the inaugural act of a process of destruction of democracy. And that was really it. 
Except for the progressives and Democrats, in the face of the coup and the arrest of Lula, when an injustice against an innocent was warned, many people stopped reacting. His only transgression is to be the greatest popular leader in the history of Brazil. Now, after the revelations of the website The Intercept, everyone knows that Lula was the victim of a plot to destroy his reputation and steal his freedom.

The judge who convicted him was the one who tapped a phone call between me and the former president and leaked the audio to TV Globo. Serious crime, target of only mild reprimand. And that was really it.

The same judge who convicted Lula validated a plea that was plucked under duress by a businessman who had previously said the former president was innocent. Plucked out of intimidation, such denunciation was the basis of the conviction. And the abuse prevailed.

To lend meaning to the sentence, the judge alleged that he condemned Lula for “undetermined acts”. Even the Lava Jet had confessed to having no evidence. But this judicial extravagance also prevailed. 
With Lula already imprisoned, this judge suspended his own vacation to coerce the Federal Police to violate the judge’s decision to release him. And, as in previous situations, the abuse has not been corrected.

In 2018, the week of the second round, the judge leaked an accusation rejected by the prosecutors, ensuring the victory of the far right. And the justice did not take any action.

After the election, the judge was asked to become president-elect’s minister thanks to his illegal interference. And that was really it. 

Now the evil is done. Brazil is being devastated by a neo-fascist government in politics and neoliberal in the economy, headed by an eschatological and intolerant president. Having caught their bias, the judge and the prosecutors who came together in collusion to convict Lula, destroy the economy and trample justice deny the undeniable. They belie the undeniable.

The result is shameful: an innocent is in prison and an unprepared neo-fascist is in power. 
There will only be justice with the annulment of the trial and the acquittal of Lula. 

#LulaLivre is a moral imperative, a civilizing requirement, an act of justice that the judiciary cannot deny to an innocent. Especially when the innocent is the only one who can pacify the country. Free to promote understanding, Lula will lead Brazil to unite social forces, without exclusion, on a front for democracy, sovereignty and the rights of the people. Such a front will seek the way out of the institutional, political and economic crisis in which Brazil was thrown by the 2016 coup, the arrest of Lula and the election of Bolsonaro.

#LulaLivre is a cry of hope for us to cease to be a war – torn country, contaminated by hatred and governed by insensitivity to again become a viable nation, socially just and generous with his people. #LulaLivre means peace and democracy for Brazil.

Prosecutor also attempted to intimidate Alexandre de Moraes to vote for arrest at second instance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWSPAPER 247)

 

Prosecutor also attempted to intimidate Alexandre de Moraes to vote for arrest at second instance

The new chapter of Vaza Jato also reveals Deltan Dallagnol’s action in articulating street movements to pressure Teori Zavascki’s nominee Minister Alexandre de Moraes to vote for the arrest in the second instance – which, in fact, happened

(Photo: Marcelo Camargo – Brazil Agency)

247. Following the death of Teori Zavascki, Michel Temer appointed Alexandre de Moraes, then Minister of Justice, for the vacancy of Zavascki in the Supreme. “A year later, the minister became the target of an onslaught of movements coordinated by Dallagnol after the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region confirmed, in January, the condemnation of former President Lula in the Guarujá triplex process,” reveal the new Vaza Jato’s messages, in the report by Rafael Neves and Rafael Mora Martins.

“Amid speculation about the probable arrest of the petista, circulated the information that the Supreme was studying to allow the sentence to be served only after the conviction was ratified Superior Court, the third instance. Attention then turned to Moraes, the only in the STF that had not yet cast a vote on the matter “, points out the text. Check out one of the dialogues below:

Three days after Lula’s sentence was confirmed, Dallagnol raised his concern to prosecutor Thaméa Danelon:

January 27, 2018 – Private Chat

Deltan Dallagnol – 20:41:03 – Tamis, as for the provisional execution, we have to make it more expensive for Alexandre de Moraes to change position

Thaméa Danelon – 20:41:26 – Of course

Danelon – 20:41:31 – What do you suggest?

Danelon – 20:41:49 – I saw that you replied a tt of a citizen.

Danelon – 20:41:54 – I will reply

Dallagnol – 20:43:56 – We have to gather information that in the past supported execution after trial of the SECOND degree and move the movements to hit it a lot.

Dallagnol – 20:44:09 – Letting face change

Danelon – 20:44:16 – Okay. I can move on to the moves.

Danelon – 20:44:31 – To Come to the Street and the Streets

Dallagnol – 20:44:33 – Show that change benefits Aécio and PSDbistas of the party to which he is linked

Danelon – 20:44:43 – Great

Danelon – 20:44:58 – I remember that he was in favor of the second instance.

Dallagnol – 20:45:00 – That will probably lose forum this year

Danelon – 20:45:06 – But I don’t remember how he stated that

“Whether because of the pressure or not, it is certain that a few days later, on February 6, Alexandre de Moraes did what Dallagnol, Danelon and Vem Pra Rua wanted: he voted in favor of the execution of federal deputy João Rodrigues, of the Santa Catarina PSD, which had a federal court conviction upheld in the second instance, “reporters report.

Brazil: Focus of political struggle should be the defense of sovereignty, says Lula

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Focus of political struggle should be the defense of sovereignty, says Lula

“Raduan has synthesized very well what the president wants to be the watchword of all Brazilian Democrats: to fight with every possible means to defend national sovereignty, whether material, pre-salt, Embraer or humanistic. ”Said writer Fernando Morais, while reporting his meeting and writer Raduan Nassar with former president

Squid
Lula (Photo: Ricardo Stuckert)

By Henrique Nunes from PT News Agency

It must be acknowledged that an encounter between a biographer, a writer, and a popular leader held in political prison for a crime he never committed was unlikely to happen by chance. It must also be admitted that only someone of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ‘s greatness would motivate the visit of leading names in national culture such as biographer Fernando Morais and writer Raduan Nassar .

Both had already met the former president in the unfair prison, but separately. On Thursday (8), however, they joined the Federal Police headquarters with an even greater mission: to deliver to Lula the letter of representatives of the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD) in defense of their immediate release and for the restoration of Brazilian democracy . .

With the literary verve that consecrated him, Morais philosophizes about the task received from the judges and judges who sign the document – written before the intimidating attempt to transfer Lulafrom Curitiba to São Paulo . “Lula was very touched by the letter. Nietzsche and Paulo Coelho said that there are no coincidences. Not by chance this letter was delivered by me and Raduan the next day of a new violence against Lula (…) We fulfill with great honor and joy the task that you ( juristsand judges ) gave us ”, explains the biographer, whose next The book will be precisely about Lula’s two political prisons in 1980 and the current one.

Known for his concise frank speech, Raduan went straight to the point: “I found the president extraordinarily determined to fight for Brazil’s sovereignty. Free squid ASAP! Lula is a politically arrested president and this is unbearable for all of us. ”

The struggle for national sovereignty, by the way, is one of Lula’s most avid wishes and has the unconditional support of Fernando Morais . “Raduan has synthesized very well what the president wants to be the watchword of all Brazilian Democrats: to fight with every possible means to defend national sovereignty, whether material, pre-salt , Embraer or humanistic. ”Reiterates the writer, for whom the support of jurists is the most perfect“ translation to Brazil of which there are judges and judges ”.

Why won’t the Senate protect American elections?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)
(Moscow Mitch The Trumpian Bitch?) oped: oldpoet56)

Why won’t the Senate protect American elections?

Darrell M. West and Raj Karan Gambhir

Editor’s Note:This post is part of “Cybersecurity and Election Interference,” a Brookings series that explores digital threats to American democracy, cybersecurity risks in elections, and ways to mitigate possible problems.

Cybersecurity & Election InterferenceThe United States is at risk of serious foreign intervention and disinformation in the 2020 elections. When asked during his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee whether Russia could interfere in the 2020 elections, Robert Mueller responded that they are “doing it as we sit here.” The very next day, the Senate Intelligence Committee reported that “the Russians had attempted to intrude in all 50 states” during the 2016 election. A blog post by Brookings Institution Fellow Margaret Taylor furthermore shows that our European allies have experienced similar Russian activities over the last few years in their national elections, the Brexit campaign, and European Union parliamentary races. Even as the scope of Russian intent and ability becomes increasingly clear, Senate Republicans have done nothing to address this problem.

It is not as if there aren’t good ideas to protect American elections. Four major pieces of election security legislation have been introduced over the last two years: the Secure Elections Act (introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)); Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)); Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act (Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)); and Securing America’s Federal Elections Act (introduced by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA19)).

As noted below, the bills demonstrate relative bipartisan agreement over several key remedies. A number of members have proposed providing additional funding for the Election Assistance Commission, sharing election security expertise with the states, providing paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems, sanctioning financial institutions that support foreign interference, authorizing retaliatory actions against any nation interfering in American elections, and requiring intelligence agencies to determine whether any foreign agents interfered in American elections. A version of these ideas already has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on a 225 to 184 vote, but has been repeatedly blocked from a Senate vote by Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY). Calling the bill “highly partisan,” McConnell blocked a unanimous consent vote on the bill just hours after Mueller’s testimony.

This Senate inaction brings to mind Albert Einstein’s infamous definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior but expecting a different outcome. With no beefing up of election defenses and high odds of continuing foreign interference, 2020 will likely see the same problems of 2016: campaigns that sow discontent and play on societal divisions, active efforts to undermine electoral legitimacy, and widespread public doubts following the campaign about the integrity of the election process itself. Americans will wake up on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 wondering how the U.S. electoral process again fell prey to foreign interference and why political leaders failed to defend our vital democratic processes.

Providing additional funding for the Election Assistance Commission

In looking across the proposed bills, there are a number of promising ideas designed to secure U.S. elections. One of them advanced in the Secure Elections Act is the creation of an Election Assistance Commission grant program that provides funding for states and localities to secure electoral processes and upgrade equipment. The idea is that since elections largely are administered at the state and local level, additional funding for those entities would enable them to update their equipment, install the latest cyber-security protections, and make sure that vital infrastructure is protected during the election.

Sharing election security expertise

Several of the proposed bills give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a major role in advising the states, offering them technical expertise, and being proactive in dealing with possible cyber-threats. Since this department works to counter terrorism and maintain vital infrastructure, the department has expertise to evaluate hardware and software for cyber-security risks. Armed with that information, it could provide help to state and local agencies charged with administering the upcoming elections.

Providing paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems with an audit trail

A number of local jurisdictions have moved to electronic voting machines in recent years, although in most cases, this equipment is not connected to the internet in order to minimize opportunities for hacking. However, there still could be software bugs that distort the vote or systematically under-count certain areas. Given that possibility, it is important to have paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems and the possibility of conducting an audit if any irregularities are spotted. That way, voters can feel confident their votes will be counted and there are mechanisms to evaluate the vote in case anything is contested.

Sanctioning financial institutions that support foreign interference

The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act establishes financial sanctions that could be applied against countries, financial institutions, or individuals that “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Putin.” The idea is that Russians could be discouraged from malicious behavior if they think there will be serious consequences.

Authors

In addition, the bill “would give prosecutors additional authorities to pursue federal charges for the hacking of voting systems and create a National Fusion Center to respond to hybrid threats of disinformation and other emerging threats from Russia”. There are provisions that specifically would impose sanctions for “Russian interference in democratic processes.”

Authorize retaliatory actions against any nation interfering in American elections

The Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act would allow the President to impose sanctions against any country identified as a threat. Among the actions that could invite retaliation “include a foreign government or agent purchasing political advertisements to influence an election” or “using social media to spread false information, hacking and releasing or modifying election- or campaign-related information or hindering access to elections infrastructure, such as websites for polling places.”

Requiring intelligence agency leaders to determine whether any foreign agents interfered in American elections

The DETER Act would mandate that the director of national intelligence determine within 30 days of the national election whether “the government of a foreign country, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of that government, knowingly engaged in interference in the election.” Under threat of sanction, foreign agents specifically would not be allowed to “spread significant amounts of false information to Americans. They also cannot hack, leak or modify election and campaign infrastructure, including voter registration databases and campaign emails.”

Why the Senate inaction in the face of a clear foreign danger?

A number of arguments have been made to justify the votes of those who opposed the House bill or are supporting Senate inaction. One is a state’s rights argument suggesting that the federal government should not have a major role in electoral security given the country’s history of state and local control of balloting. While it certainly is important to maintain state and local control of elections, providing federal assistance to upgrade voting machines does not violate existing legal or constitution provisions. There is a long history of the federal government paying for voting equipment and offering technical assistance. Many states lack funding for voting machines and the federal government often has funded upgrades and improvements. There is ample precedent for national authorities to protect vital infrastructure in the face of foreign threats.

Another rationale concerns the financial cost of electoral security. The idea is at a time when America is running a trillion-dollar budget deficit, it should avoid unnecessary expenditures. Rather, lawmakers should focus on vital priorities and critical infrastructure. Yet electoral security should fall within each of those principles. Having secure elections is essential to democracy. There is no excuse for not spending several hundred million dollars (a very small portion of the overall federal budget) on meaningful steps to protect American elections. Democracy is too important to be risked for a relatively small amount of money.

Short of these criticisms, it is hard to see any justified reason not to enact some type of electoral security measures. As is clear to all who study American elections and have heeded the warnings of our European allies, the intelligence community, and the Special Counsel—the Russian threat is real. Given these dire circumstances, it is difficult to fathom why Senate leadership is refusing to allow a vote on such important legislation, and therefore risking the integrity of the democratic process. Americans should demand Senate action to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference.

India: 36 calls from family for help to the police for protection, now they are dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Before car crash, Unnao rape survivor’s family sent 36 SOS messages in 15 months

Family members claim they approached the police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but were forced to finally write to the Chief Justice of India on July 12, demanding action ‘against people who were threatening the victim’s family.”

INDIA Updated: Aug 01, 2019 09:45 IST

Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar

Hindustan Times, Lucknow
On Sunday, the Unnao rape survivor , her family and lawyer were travelling in a car which was hit by an overspeeding truck in Raebareli, killing two members and leaving the survivor and the advocate critically injured.
On Sunday, the Unnao rape survivor , her family and lawyer were travelling in a car which was hit by an overspeeding truck in Raebareli, killing two members and leaving the survivor and the advocate critically injured. (PTI file photo)

Over the past year, family members of the 19-year-old rape survivor from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, wrote letters to top government officials, politicians and police officers seeking protection and help.

A majority of these missives — 36 since April 2018– were pleas for protection against four-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping the teenager. But the family says that most of the letters elicited no response from any of the authorities addressed.

“No one helped us. Police turned down our requests to take action against the MLA’s henchmen who had been harassing and threatening us,” said the woman’s maternal uncle.

Family members claim they approached the police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but were forced to finally write to the Chief Justice of India on July 12, demanding action ‘against people who were threatening the victim’s family.”

Also read: What Unnao rape survivor has been through since June 2017

Watch | CJI to take up Unnao rape survivor’s letter on threats; CBI books accused MLA

CJI to take up Unnao rape survivor’s letter on threats; CBI books accused MLA
The Supreme Court took cognizance of a letter written by Unnao rape survivor alleging threat to her life. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that he would take up the letter on Thursday.
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In August 2018, the family wrote to the CBI, which was probing the rape case, saying they were getting threats from Sengar’s associates. After receiving the letter, the CBI shifted Senger from Unnao jail to Sitapur jail.

In a letter to then principal secretary (home) of Uttar Pradesh Arvind Kumar on July 12 , the victim’s mother said the family was receiving threats from a man called as Manoj Singh, who is Sengar’s brother.

Also read: From village chief to MLA, Unnao rape accused Sengar’s clout grew quickly

“Manoj with one Kannu Singh and two other unidentified men drove down to my house and said that they have fixed the judge and arranged for release of Kuldeep Singh,” she wrote.

In another letter to the director general police (DGP) OP Singh on July 11, the mother claimed a threat by Haripal Singh, husband of Sashi Singh, one of the accused in the rape case. Sashi Singh is currently lodged in Unnao district jail.

Madhaw Prasad Verma, the Unnao superintendent of police, acknowledged that ”several” letters were written to the SP’s office by the family. “Most of the letter was about threat for which security was already provided to the victim. Officers here tell me that the security details of the victim were alerted on many occasions in response to these letters.”

Also read: Unnao rape survivor is critical but stable, continues to battle for life

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 23:51 IST