Trump Foundation to Close Amid Lawsuit Accusing It of ‘Willful Self-Dealing’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Trump Foundation to Close Amid Lawsuit Accusing It of ‘Willful Self-Dealing’

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Image
Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

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The Donald J. Trump Foundation will close and give away all its remaining funds in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office, which had accused the Trump family of using the charity for self-dealing and political gain, the office announced on Tuesday.

The attorney general, Barbara Underwood, accused the foundation of “a shocking pattern of illegality” that was “willful and repeated” and included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” Ms. Underwood said.

The closure of the foundation is a milestone in the investigation. But the broader lawsuit, which also seeks millions in restitution and penalties and a bar on President Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of other New York charities, is proceeding.

What assets remain after penalties will be directed to charities that must be approved by the attorney general’s office, and the process will be subject to judicial supervision. Ms. Underwood and a lawyer for the foundation signed the stipulation agreeing to the dissolution.

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Ms. Underwood said. “We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”

Mr. Trump had said after the 2016 election that to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, he would dissolve the foundationfollowing revelations of its financial mismanagement. But the attorney general’s office blocked the president from doing so, amid concerns about the handling of the foundation’s documents and assets.

Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer for the foundation, characterized Ms. Underwood’s announcement as making a “misleading statement.”

“The foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election,” he said. “Unfortunately, the N.Y.A.G. sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7 million.

“The N.Y.A.G.’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter,” he added.

The investigation of the foundation was begun by Eric T. Schneiderman, the former attorney general, who was an antagonist of Mr. Trump before stepping down amid revelations of sexual misconduct this year.

Next month, the ongoing case will fall to the incoming attorney general, Letitia James, a vocal critic of Mr. Trump who said recentlythat she would “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”

Ms. Underwood’s office sued the Trump Foundation in June, charging it with “improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”

[Want to know more about the Trump Foundation? Read this explainer.]

Nonprofit foundations are supposed to be devoted to charitable activities, but the attorney general’s office, following a two-year investigation, accused the Trump Foundation of being used to win political favor and even purchase a $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump that was displayed at one of his golf clubs. The existence of the portrait was first reported by The Washington Post.

Mr. Trump was required to sign annual I.R.S. filings in which he attested that the foundation did not engage in political activity.

The lawsuit accused the foundation of virtually becoming an arm of the Trump campaign, with its campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, directing the foundation to make disbursements in Iowa only days before the state held its presidential nominating caucuses.

“Is there any way we can make some disbursements [from the proceeds of the fund-raiser] this week while in Iowa? Specifically on Saturday,” Mr. Lewandowski wrote to the foundation’s treasurer in an email disclosed in the lawsuit.

Such charities are also barred from advancing the self-interests of its executives over the charity’s mission, but the attorney general’s office said in a court filing this year that the foundation had entered into a number of “prohibited self-dealing transactions that directly benefited Mr. Trump or entities that he controlled.”

One of those was revealed by a note in Mr. Trump’s handwriting that said $100,000 of Trump Foundation money should be directed to another charity to settle a legal dispute between the Town of Palm Beach and Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The attorney general’s office is seeking for the Trump Foundation to pay $2.8 million in restitution, which is the amount raised for the foundation at an Iowa fund-raiser in 2016 that Mr. Trump held on the day that he avoided attending a debate with his Republican rivals. The foundation reported $1.7 million in assets in 2017 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Last month, a New York state judge ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, even as Mr. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump, as president, and that the statute of limitations had passed on some of the issues.

“I find I have jurisdiction over Mr. Trump,” Justice Saliann Scarpulla wrote in a 27-page ruling.

Mr. Futerfas had said in a statement then that “all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes” and that “we remain confident in the ultimate outcome of these proceedings.

“I won’t settle this case!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter in June, accusing “the sleazy New York Democrats” of targeting him.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…

55.8K people are talking about this

The foundation lawsuit follows years of scrutiny of President Trump’s charitable activities and adds to his extensive legal challenges, amid a continuing investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The Trump Foundation is hardly the first charity dissolved by the state — Mr. Schneiderman previously shut down a sham breast cancer charity, for example — but it is the first involving a sitting president of the United States.

Also, if the attorney general’s office is successful in barring Mr. Trump from serving on foundation boards for a decade, it would put him in the unusual position of not being able to serve on the board of his own post-presidential foundation, should it be set up in New York.

Danny Hakim contributed reporting.

Imelda Marcos convicted of graft, sentenced to prison

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Imelda Marcos convicted of graft, sentenced to prison

Marcos, 89, was sentenced for funneling $200 million to Swiss foundations.
Image: Imelda Marcos convicted of seven counts of graft

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos visits the gravesite of her late husband former strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes Cemetery on Nov. 1, 2018.Francis R. Malasig / EPA

By Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that she plans to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress.

The special anti-graft Sandiganbayan court sentenced Marcos, 89, to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor.

Neither Marcos nor anyone representing her attended Friday’s court hearing.

Marcos said in a statement that the decision was being studied by one of her lawyers who notified the Marcos family that he intends to appeal the decision. Anti-Marcos activists and human rights victims welcomed the conviction as long overdue.

The court disqualified Marcos from holding public office, but she can remain a member of the powerful House of Representatives while appealing the decision. Her congressional term will end next year but she has registered to run to replace her daughter as governor of northern Ilocos Norte province.

“I was jumping up and down in joy in disbelief,” said former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales, who was among many activists locked up after Imelda’s husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972.

Rosales said the decision was a huge setback to efforts by the Marcos family to revise history by denying many of the atrocities under the dictatorship, and urged Filipinos to fight all threats against democracy and civil liberties.

Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who was also jailed during the Marcos dictatorship, said it was up to voters in next year’s May 13 local elections, where Marcos is a candidate, if they want “somebody who has a bad name representing them, that’s your call.”

Imelda Marcos’ husband was ousted by an army-backed “people power” revolt in 1986. He died in self-exile in Hawaii in 1989 but his widow and children returned to the Philippines. Most have been elected to public offices in an impressive political comeback.

Government prosecutor Ryan Quilala told reporters that Marcos and her husband opened and managed Swiss foundations in violation of the Philippine Constitution, using aliases in a bid to hide stolen funds. The Marcoses have been accused of plundering the government’s coffers amid crushing poverty. They have denied any wrongdoing and have successfully fought many other corruption cases.

Imelda Marcos was acquitted Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took nearly three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors. She was once convicted of a graft case in 1993, but the Supreme Court later cleared her of any wrongdoing.

President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, said last year the Marcos family had indicated a willingness to return a still-unspecified amount of money and “a few gold bars” to help ease budget deficits. He indicated the family still denied that the assets had been stolen as alleged by political opponents.

Ferdinand Marcos had placed the Philippines under martial rule a year before his term was to expire. He padlocked Congress, ordered the arrest of political rivals and left-wing activists and ruled by decree. His family is said to have amassed an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion while he was in power.

A Hawaii court found Marcos liable for human rights violations and awarded $2 billion from his estate to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who filed a lawsuit against him for torture, incarceration, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.

Duterte has acknowledged that Imee Marcos, the couple’s daughter and a provincial governor, backed his presidential candidacy.

Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting

(CNN)Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.

Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.
Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.
To be clear, these sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.
Cohen privately testified last year to two Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. A source familiar with Cohen’s House testimony said he did not testify that Trump had advance knowledge. Cohen’s claims weren’t mentioned in separate reports issued by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen’s attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.
“He’s been lying all week, he’s been lying for years,” said Rudy Giuliani, the President’s attorney, to Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” on Thursday night.
He added, “I don’t see how he’s got any credibility.”
Giuliani also said Cohen is “the kind of witness that can really destroy your whole case” and called Cohen, who was a top Trump Organization attorney for a decade, a “pathological liar.”
“Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and Congressional investigations,” said Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr. “We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf.”
According to people who have discussed the matter with Cohen, he has expressed hope that this claim about the Trump Tower meeting will help him reach out to Mueller and possibly lessen his legal troubles. He’s under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan after Mueller referred Cohen’s case to them.
The June 2016 meeting was arranged after a publicist who knew Trump Jr. told him in emails — in no uncertain terms — that a senior Russian official “offered to provide the Trump campaign” with damaging information about Clinton, and that the outreach was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” At the time, the Russian operation to covertly boost Trump’s candidacy wasn’t publicly known. Trump. Jr. responded, “if it’s what you say, I love it,” and started to arrange the meeting.
At the meeting, Trump Jr. was joined by his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman at the time. There were four Russians in the room, including a lawyer with Kremlin ties, a businessman who worked for an oligarch and a lobbyist with old KGB connections.
After news of the meeting broke in July 2017, the Trump team offered misleading explanations and changed their story several times. But one claim stayed consistent: that Trump had no knowledge of the meeting beforehand, wasn’t told about it afterward and first learned about it one year later.
Those denials were repeatedly issued by Trump, his attorney Jay Sekulow, Trump Jr., Futerfas and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Those people denied that Trump had contemporaneous knowledge of the meeting on more than 15 occasions, according to CNN’s analysis.
Trump said on July 12, 2017, that he “only heard about it two or three days ago.” One week later, Trump repeated that he “didn’t know anything about the meeting” because “nobody told me” about it.
Around that same time, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sekulow to confirm Trump’s claims that he only recently learned about the controversial meeting. Sekulow’s response: “Yes, I swear.”
But perhaps the highest-stakes denial was given by Trump Jr. in his testimony last year to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“He wasn’t aware of it,” Trump Jr. told lawmakers, referring to his father’s knowledge of the meeting. “And, frankly, by the time anyone was aware of it, which was summer of this year, as I stated earlier, I wouldn’t have wanted to get him involved in it because it had nothing to do with him.”
Trump’s critics have long doubted these denials. They point to a series of phone calls Trump Jr. made to a blocked phone number before and after the meeting. They also note that two days before the meeting, Trump mysteriously announced plans to give a “major speech” about Clinton’s scandals. Trump Jr. says he didn’t get any dirt at the meeting — and the speech never happened.
Even Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and top Trump campaign official, said the meeting was “treasonous” and speculated that “the chance that Don Jr. did not walk these (Russians) up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.” Trump Jr. has denied Bannon’s allegation. Bannon’s comments, to author Michael Wolff for his book “Fire and Fury,” triggered the bitter public divorce between Bannon and Trump in early 2018.
Axios reported that Bannon does not have first-hand knowledge about whether Trump Jr. told his father, and Bannon later said his “treasonous” remark was directed at Manafort and not Trump Jr.
Update: This story has been updated with more comments by Rudy Giuliani.

Boys charged with murder after sandbag from overpass kills man

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Boys charged with murder after sandbag from overpass kills man

(CNN)Authorities in Toledo, Ohio, have charged four boys with murder after a sandbag they allegedly dropped from an interstate overpass killed a passenger in a car.

Authorities say three 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old threw sandbags and other objects onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 on December 19.

The incident occurred on Interstate 75 in downtown Toledo.

One of the bags crashed through the window of a car traveling below, hitting passenger Marquise Byrd on the head.
Byrd, a 22-year-old from Warren, Michigan, later died.
The boys, who have not been identified because they are minors, were arraigned Wednesday on charges of murder and vehicular vandalism. All four boys denied the charges against them, said Lori Olender, deputy chief of the juvenile division of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s office.
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Olender said a second car was damaged in the incident, so the teens each face two counts of vehicular vandalism. No one was injured in the second car, she said.
It’s not the first time teens have been charged with murder in such a case. In October, a Michigan judge denied bond for five teenagers accused of throwing a 6-pound rock off an overpass near Flint, killing Kenneth White Jr., 32.
Those teens face second-degree murder and other felony charges, and could be imprisoned for life. They have pleaded not guilty.

Google Is Tracking Peoples Location Even When You Turn That Service Off

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE VERGE’ NEWS)

(OPED: WHY IS THIS NOT CRIMINAL, AND WHY ARE THE GOOGLE EXECUTIVES NOT CHARGED WITH FELONIES FOR DOING THIS? I BELIEVE THAT SERIOUS PRISON TIME IS THE ONLY WAY TO STOP COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FROM VIOLATING THE CITIZENS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!)(trs)

Android phones gather your location data and send it to Google, even if you’ve turned off location services and don’t have a SIM card, Quartz reported today.

The term “location services” oftentimes refers to exact GPS data for app usage, such as Google Maps finding your best commute route, or Uber figuring out exactly where you’re standing to let drivers know your pickup point. Quartz’s report details a practice in which Google was able to track user locations by triangulating which cell towers were currently servicing a specific device.

Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of — even if their phones are factory reset.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge that all modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires mobile country codes and mobile network codes, so tower info called “Cell ID” codes were considered an “additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.” Google ultimately discarded the cell tower data and didn’t go through with the original plan.

A source familiar with the matter stated that Google added the cell tower data-collecting feature to improve its Firebase Cloud Messaging, where devices have to ping the server at regular intervals in order to receive messages promptly.

The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances. Through Google’s practices this year, an individual’s particular location within a quarter-mile radius or less could be determined with the addresses of multiple cell towers. This has particular security implications for individuals who wish to not be tracked, meaning that the safest way to avoid being tracked at all is probably to stick to burner phones. It could also create a bigger target for hackers looking to obtain personal information.

An update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month, according to Google. Google’s terms of service, at the time of publish, still vaguely state, “When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location” using “various technologies… including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell tower.” Google does offer details on how to control Google’s location access points, though after reading through the instructions, the company could admittedly do a better job of making this clearer and simpler for its general consumers.

Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MPP)

 

Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés

 Aug 28, 2017  


The Alaska Marijuana Control Board published proposed rules for cannabis cafés. Please take a look and consider submitting written comments in support.

It’s important for the board to hear that the public wants adults to be allowed to consume cannabis at regulated establishments.

Comments are due by October 27 at 4:30 p.m., and they may be submitted by email to [email protected], or by regular mail. For more information on making submissions, please see the state’s public notice, available online here. While comments are not due until late October, we strongly encourage you to submit them early so that board members have time to review and consider submissions.

Under the current proposal, the state would allow cannabis flowers to be purchased and consumed on-site by vaporization or smoking, one gram at a time. Concentrates would not be available. Cannabis edibles and food that does not contain cannabis could also be available. A newly proposed addition to the rules would ensure cannabis café workers are not exposed to marijuana smoke while on duty.

The status quo is unworkable for the state’s tourists, and adult residents should not be relegated to private homes when alcohol consumers can choose from a variety of bars and restaurants. It is also important to ensure renters — whose leases may prohibit cannabis consumption — are not shut out of the freedoms Alaskan homeowners enjoy.


2 responses to “Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés”

  1. I am a retired law enforcement officer and I can tell you from experience that laws prohibiting marijuana are a waste of time when it is such a benign substance. Smoking marijuana is not worse than drinking an alcoholic beverage and should be treated the same under the law. In fact, many people become violent when they ingest alcoholic beverages but I have never heard of anyone becoming violent by using marijuana. Officers time would be better served out on the street looking for real crime and dangerous criminals. I am a member of LEAP which is a group of officers and retired or former officers who believe these same things. Marijuana is used for medical purpose and for pleasure to relax just like alcohol is.

  2. I am a retired law enforcement officer and I can tell you from experience that laws prohibiting marijuana are a waste of time when it is such a benign substance. Smoking marijuana is not worse than drinking an alcoholic beverage and should be treated the same under the law. In fact, many people become violent when they ingest alcoholic beverages but I have never heard of anyone becoming violent by using marijuana. Officers time would be better served out on the street looking for real crime and dangerous criminals. I am a member of LEAP which is a group of officers and retired or former officers who believe these same things.

According To Jeff Sessions Beliefs: All Of His Possessions Must Now Be Seized By The Government

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS IS A FRAUD/HYPOCRITE AND HERE IS WHY

 

“In a directive issued last week, Sessions said he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime without ever formally charging them with one, let alone convicting them.” (Quote from Time.com)

 

This wish list of the U.S. Attorney General is straight out of the Communist playbook and that of a country which is ruled by a Dictator. When this type of government sponsored criminal activity is in place no one in the country safely owns anything. Not only would such ‘laws’ be an open ticket for the Federal government to take all of the money and possessions of anyone any Federal ‘police’ agency chose, even the state, county and local agencies could and would do the same. Only a fool or an idiot would believe that the different politicians and police agencies would not use this type of Un-Constitutional laws to punish people that they don’t like or to use to help their personal or departmental budget short falls. There are many examples already where police agencies stop out-of-state motorists because the officers like and want their vehicle and also confiscate any cash the people have on them using the excuse that it is possible drug money. If the people argue, to often after the officers search their vehicle some small baggy of drugs miraculously appear. It is sickening, but it is reality. I am not saying that all police personnel, D.A.’s and Judges are criminals because they are not, but way to many are and way to many innocent people have ended up in prison because of them.

 

So now, I would like to comment on a dirty politician who is now the top Cop here in America, his name is Jeff Sessions. For those of you who are paying any attention to this fraud/criminal and his actions I have an issue that has made this crook/hypocrite hundreds of thousands of dollars since he was nominated to be our Nations Attorney General. The man is using his position to crack down on anything he considers to be a crime and he has directed all of the nations D.A.’s to always go for maximum sentences on every case thus lengthening the sentences for everyone in the nation’s prison system. He is also pushing for more ‘Prisons for Profit’ instead of having the government running them. This has already been shown to be a system that tramples on the rights of the people and politicians have been know to have their hands in the till. So, why is Jeff Sessions pushing for more criminal activity in this ‘Prison for Profit’ sham? The answer is simple, he has thousands of shares in the two largest prison for profit companies in America. When Sessions was nominated for his current position the stock value of these two companies soared thus making Sessions hundreds of thousands of dollars. Isn’t this the same as insider trading on Wall Street? It is certainly enough to consider that he is a criminal thus all of his possessions should be seized by the Federal Government.

 

Come to think of it there are lots of issues that several members of the Trump Clan could also have all of their possessions seized for ‘possible’ criminal activity and you could easily add the Bush and Clinton families to this ‘possible’ criminal list. Just think of it, the Federal, State, County and City budget deficits could be wiped out simply by using this Sessions idea. But of course there is one issue, this type of program is mostly only used on the poor and middle class. If you think that I am just talking smoke and mirrors here just think about how the IRS has acted for many decades as well as other policing agencies. The IRS says you have broken the law so they step in and take all of your assets including taking all of your access to any money you have thus making it to where you can’t even hire a lawyer to defend yourself. What Jeff Sessions wants to do to the working class poor people is Un-Constitutional thus illegal in and by itself. To me it looks like the very first person to be punished by this law is Jeff Sessions himself. Shouldn’t the top Cop in America be forced to set the example?

 

 

 

 

Interpol is using AI to hunt down child predators online

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘ENGADGET’ NEWS AND REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Interpol is using AI to hunt down child predators online

The iCOP machine learning system looks for kiddie porn so the police don’t have to.

 
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REUTERS/Edgar Su

The FBI may have scored a big win with operation Playpen, which helped dismantle a ring of TOR-based pedophiles and prosecute its members (thanks, Rule 41), but that was just one battle in the ongoing war against the sexual exploitation of children. That fight is now a bit easier for European law enforcement, which as debuted a new machine learning AI system that hunts for child porn on P2P networks.

The system, known as iCOP (Identifying and Catching Originators in P2P Networks), works similarly to Microsoft’s Photo DNA, wherein images of child porn are tagged with a digital signature after being collected in the course of an investigation. These signatures are then shared as a global database for law enforcement. If the same images or videos resurface during other investigations, they’re automatically flagged. This saves law enforcement the stomach-turning drudgery of manually checking the images against the database. This saves time, manpower and accelerates investigations. What’s more, it automatically identifies new material (anything that doesn’t get flagged), which provides fresh leads on more recent crimes.

And given that, according to the UN, 16 percent of people who possess this sort of material have themselves abused children, reducing the amount of time between discovery and arrest can help save children from further exploitation. The iCOP system is designed for use on Gnutella and has been trained with tens of thousands of images ranging from adult porn and benign images of kids to the full-on sexual abuse of minors.

Interpol has already begun testing iCOP for its own use in the Lyon region of France. Once installed on the Interpol system and linked to other databases like Project Vic, iCOP returned false positives in less than 8 percent of images and in just over 4 percent of videos.

“It significantly reduces the overhead for investigators,” Awais Rashid, a professor at Lancaster University (which helped develop the system) told WIRED. “Instead of having to trawl through large numbers of images and videos to identify new child abuse material, investigators are provided with automated matches which are highly accurate. In practice, this means investigators having to look at a small number of images and videos rather than thousands.” Given its initial success with Interpol, the iCOP team hopes to expand the system out to TOR-obscured networks.

Chinese security official elected Interpol chief

 

Chinese security official elected Interpol chief

Story highlights

  • Meng Hongwei is first Chinese official to head Interpol
  • China seeking international cooperation in hunt for corrupt officials overseas

Hong Kong (CNN)A top Chinese security minister has been elected president of the international crime fighting and police cooperation organization Interpol.

Meng Hongwei, China’s vice minister for public security and a former head of Interpol China, took the post Thursday at the organization’s general assembly in Bali, Indonesia.
According to a statement from Interpol, he said he stood ready to do everything he could towards the cause of policing the world. “We currently face some of the most serious global public security challenges since World War Two,” said Mr Meng.
The move could bolster China’s efforts to repatriate fugitive officials but critics have voiced concern that Beijing could use the crime-fighting body to track down dissidents based overseas.
He is the first Chinese official to become Interpol president, according to Xinhua.
Interpol’s secretary-general is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day work of the organization, currently Jurgen Stock.
The election of a Chinese policeman to head the world’s largest law enforcement agency is highly concerning, said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International regional director for East Asia.
“(This is) someone who presides over a police force notorious for human rights abuses and is a tool for political enforcement of a one party system,” he told CNN.
Bequelin also pointed to previous incidents where China has sought to use Interpol red notices — which place people on global wanted lists — against political dissidents.
According to Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution, “it is strictly forbidden for the organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
One Chinese dissident placed on an Interpol red notice by China is Dolkun Isa, despite his being granted political asylum by Germany, according to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Isa is head of the World Uyghur Congress, which speaks on behalf of Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority living in China’s Xinjiang province.
Western governments have long refused to enforce the notice against Isa, but in 2016, he was denied a visa to visit India due to his status. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei justified this on the grounds that Isa is “wanted for violent terrorist activities.”

Foxhunt

As well as targeting dissidents, China has long pushed for international cooperation in seeking repatriation of corrupt officials who have fled overseas.
Operation Foxhunt has seen more than 2,000 “economic fugitives”, including 342 former officials, returned to China since 2014, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
“Western countries can’t become ‘safe havens’ for corrupt fugitives. No matter where they have escaped to, we will try every means to bring them back,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2014.
Bequelin said that “nobody is opposed to China exercising leadership roles in international organizations if it is done in a way that is in line with good practice.”
“But there are many areas where China’s own record is worrying in that respect and policing would definitely come at the top of this list,” he added.

China Catching Up With Nations Most Wanted Criminals

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

33 most wanted returned to China

CHINA has brought a third of its list of 100 most-wanted corruption suspects back to the country from overseas, its top anti-graft body said yesterday.

The list of suspects subject to an Interpol “red notice” — the closest thing to an international arrest warrant — was issued in 2014. Since then, 33 of them had been caught, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement.

Over the past two years, since setting up a team to chase graft suspects across the globe, the commission has returned to China 1,915 suspects from more than 70 countries, along with 7.47 billion yuan (US$1.12 billion), it said. It gave no other details.

China has been seeking more international cooperation to hunt down suspects who had fled overseas since the government began a drive against deep-rooted graft almost four years ago.

It has turned to persuasion to get suspects back from countries such as Canada and the United States, where many corrupt officials are believed to have gone.

G20 leaders who attended the recent summit in Hangzhou agreed on a document on cooperation with regard to suspects who had fled abroad.

An important principle in the document was appropriate measures against “safe havens.”

The commission’s Liu Jianchao, director of its international cooperation bureau, said the principles agreed in the document would “help overcome political and legal barriers to treaties on extradition and criminal judicial assistance.”

They will help establish a cooperation system involving law enforcers, prosecutors and diplomats, Liu said.

At an APEC meeting in Beijing in 2014, a declaration on fighting corruption described how extradition, judicial assistance and more flexible legal measures could be used to recover stolen money.

“Compared with that declaration, these principles will have more extensive influence,” said Cai Wei, the bureau’s deputy head.

Many G20 countries are popular destinations for corrupt Chinese officials and the measures should reduce the scope for criminals to hide out there and in the world at large, Cai added.

The document states that members will investigate, prosecute, and refuse entry to individuals sought by law enforcers in other G20 countries while helping one another recover stolen money.

There will be improvements to both public and private sector transparency.

G20 leaders also agreed to set up a research center in China to look at the issue of returning corrupt officials and their assets.

A communique said the center would “be operated in line with international norms.”

Cai said the center would help China’s global efforts to fight corruption. It would be based at Beijing Normal University and experts from other G20 countries would be invited to join and look at issues such as legal mechanisms for extradition.

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