'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Accused ex-Barclays chief quits Rio Tinto board

Yahoo – AFP, June 21, 2017

Former Barclays chief executive John Varley has been charged with "conspiracy
 to commit fraud" over emergency fundraising from Qatar during the financial
crisis (AFP Photo/Shaun CURRY)

Sydney (AFP) - Former Barclays chief executive John Varley quit as a director of mining giant Rio Tinto on Wednesday after being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in Britain.

He was among four senior executives from the bank charged on Tuesday by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) following a five-year investigation over emergency fundraising worth billions of dollars from Qatar during the financial crisis.

The Anglo-Australian miner's chairman Jan du Plessis said he had the "highest regard" for Varley, who has been on the Rio board since 2011.

"I am very grateful for John’s outstanding contribution over the five or so years he has been on the board," he said.

"The board holds him in the highest regard and will miss his valuable insight. Personally, I am not only losing a senior independent director, but a close colleague, whose wisdom and support I am going to miss tremendously."

His resignation as a non-executive director and chair of the company's remuneration committee will take immediate effect.

Britain's SFO said the charges he faces relate to Barclays "capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd, which took place in June and October 2008".

It added that they also involve a US$3-billion loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008.

Barclays has said it was "considering its position", with the defendants due to appear before London's Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 3.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Outrage as Trump targets London mayor over attacks

Yahoo – AFP, Brian KNOWLTON, June 4, 2017

Donald Trump poured scorn on London Mayor Sadiq Khan's attempt to reassure
 the public after three assailants smashed a van into pedestrians on London
Bridge then attacked revelers with knives (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at London's mayor Sadiq Khan, accusing him of downplaying the threat of terrorism a day after knife-wielding men mowed down and stabbed revelers in the British capital.

London's mayor swiftly shot down the US president's remarks, made in a series of overnight tweets, as critics accused Trump of exploiting a terror attack for political gain -- and not for the first time.

A spokesman said Khan "has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet."

Trump poured scorn on Khan's attempt to reassure the public after three assailants smashed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge then attacked revelers with knives.

"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'" the US president said in one tweet.

Trump said the attack showed it was time to "stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people," after tweeting the night before -- as the scenes of panic in London were still unfolding -- that it underscored the need for his contested "travel ban" on several Muslim-majority nations.

Khan, in an interview with BBC just hours after the attack, had said, "My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this."

Responding Sunday to Trump's criticism, a Khan spokesman issued a pointed statement saying that the mayor -- busy coordinating a response to the attack even while reassuring Londoners and visitors -- had "more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks."

The acting US ambassador to Britain, Lew Lukens, threw his support behind Khan in a series of tweets which also praised the "extraordinary" response from Londoners and emergency services.

"I commend the strong leadership of the @MayorofLondon as he leads the city forward after this heinous attack," he said, quoted on the US embassy's Twitter account.

'Nasty & unbecoming'

The attack in central London came just weeks after a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester left 22 dead, and it recalled an attack in March when a man drove a car into pedestrians near the seat of Parliament, killing five.

It was not the first time Trump has been accused of using a terror attack to make a political point, and with Londoners still in shock Sunday, the president's tweets drew angry responses on both sides of the Atlantic.

David Lammy, a Labor Party member of Parliament, tweeted: "Cheap nasty & unbecoming of a national leader. Sort of thing that makes me want to quit politics on a day like this. Evil everywhere we look."

In the United States, former vice president Al Gore told CNN that "I don't think that a major terrorist attack like this is the time to criticize a mayor who is trying to organize his city's response to this attack."

Regarding Trump's plug for his contested travel ban -- which has been blocked by the courts -- Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, tweeted, "We need to be outraged when the president exploits a terrible violent crime to push his discriminatory and illegal policy."

Last June, after the deadly shooting attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trump had tweeted: "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!"

That tweet drew angry rebukes from critics saying that the immediate aftermath of an attack that left 49 people dead was not a time for a president to be "basking in congratulations."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Many Dutch MEPs are ‘vague’ about what they do with their expenses

DutchNews, May 31, 2017

MPS from the VVD, the anti-EU PVV and the orthodox Christian SGP have declined to participate in research to find out what MEPs do with their monthly tax-free €4,300 expenses allowance, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday. 

The EU forks out nearly €40m a year to fund the allowances of the 751 MEPs but last month, the European parliament again voted not to publish details about expenses claims, despite growing calls for more transparency. 

The research was carried out by an alliance of EU journalists called TheMepsProject. NOS was part of the investigating team. 

Ostensibly, the allowance enables MEPs to maintain an office back home and employ staff, but the investigation reveals that only 491 of the 751 MEPs actually maintain an office in their constituencies. 

Four of the 26 Dutch MEPs said they maintained an office in the Netherlands as well as in Brussels. Most others said they worked from home as their offices in Brussels were so close by. 


Members of the anti-EU PVV and orthodox Protestant SGP parties declined to answer the investigators’ survey, NOS said. VVD MPs did not take part, but the party did say its members follow the EU rules and that the allowance is treated as a lump sum which does not require receipts.

Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International has long called on MEPs to come clean about their spending. 

‘Most MEPs refuse to show what they are doing with the taxpayers cash they are given,’ director Anne Scheltema Beduin told NOS radio. ‘This clearly damages trust in European institutions.’ 

Related Article:

British PM boycotts TV debate as election looms

Yahoo – AFP, Alice RITCHIE, May 31, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May was hoping to secure a Conservative
landslide in the snap election on June 8 (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

London (AFP) - British Prime Minister Theresa May boycotted a primetime television debate Wednesday, just days before the June 8 general election, prompting accusations of a floundering campaign as polls slashed her ruling Conservative party's lead.

The pound wobbled overnight after a shock projection forecast that May -- who had been on course for a landslide just a few weeks ago -- could actually lose her majority in the House of Commons after next week's vote.

May called the election three years early in a bid to strengthen her hand going into Brexit talks, which are due to begin on June 19.

Although the YouGov model has a wide margin of error, and was met with some scepticism in Westminster, it adds to polls showing the opposition Labour party gaining ground.

May refused from the start to take part in any head-to-head debate, and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had said he would not take part without her.

But he changed his mind just hours before the live BBC hustings on Wednesday -- and said May was treating voters with "contempt" by failing to join him.

Her decision to send senior minister Amber Rudd was "another sign of Theresa May's weakness, not strength", Corbyn said.

Tim Farron, leader of the smaller Liberal Democrats, told voters: "You're not worth Theresa May's time. Don't give her yours."

But May had earlier told a campaign rally that "debates where the politicians are squabbling among themselves doesn't do anything for the process of electioneering".

"It's actually about getting out and about, meeting voters and hearing directly from voters," the prime minister said.

The debate itself was a boisterous affair, covering Brexit, the economy, public services, climate change, immigration and security -- a major issue after the Manchester attack last week.

Corbyn and Farron were joined by the leaders of the Green party, the UK Independence Party and Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru and the deputy leader of the Scottish National Party.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has gradually nibbled away at the 
Conservative lead in the polls (AFP Photo/Justin TALLIS)

Polls tightening

The Conservatives enjoyed a 20-point lead at the start of the campaign but this has now fallen into single figures.

"The movement in the polls over this campaign is bigger than in any election I've covered since 1945," veteran poll watcher David Butler said on Twitter.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper's rolling average of the last eight polls put the Conservatives on 44 percent, Labour on 36 percent, the centrist Liberal Democrats on eight percent and the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) on five percent.

But a shock projection in The Times newspaper forecast that the Conservatives could lose their majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

Using new constituency-by-constituency modelling, the projection by pollsters YouGov said the party could lose 20 seats to end up with 310.

However, under the model -- based on 50,000 interviews over one week -- the Conservatives could get anywhere between 274 and 345 seats, meaning they could also increase their majority.

May said "the only poll that matters is the one that's going to take place on June 8", and insisted that only she had the plan to take Britain through Brexit.

'Liar, liar'

In the televised debate, Rudd accused Corbyn of having drawn up a "fantasy wishlist" manifesto paid for with a magic "money tree", and noting that most of his MPs backed a failed coup against him last year.

The Labour leader hit back by accusing the government of offering five more years of austerity "to fund tax handouts for the wealthy few".

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson mocked May's claim to offer "strong and stable" leadership, saying: "Weak and wobbly is where we are."

A protest song branding May a liar was heading for the top of the charts on Wednesday -- despite the BBC refusing to play it for fear of breaching electoral rules.

"Liar, Liar GE2017" by seven-piece band Captain Ska was released last Friday and currently stands at number three, according to the Official Charts company.

Friday, May 26, 2017

AFP Graphic showing US President Donald Trump's famous handshakes with world leaders

Related Article:

Pressure piles on Trump with son-in-law under FBI scrutiny

Yahoo – AFP, Jim Mannion, May 26, 2017

White House special advisor Jared Kushner has accompanied President
Donald Trump, his father-in-law, on his first trip abroad to the Middle East
and Europe (AFP Photo/Thomas COEX)

Washington (AFP) - Donald Trump's son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, has been caught in the spotlight of an FBI probe into Russian meddling, US media reported, heaping more pressure Friday on the embattled US president.

The latest bombshell ensures that Trump will be thrust right back into the Russia scandal upon his return to Washington this weekend, after making his international debut with a tour of the Middle East and Europe.

Besides the Kushner development, which strikes at Trump's core by drawing his family into the crisis, the White House also faces a cascade of other worries in the coming week.

Fired former FBI director James Comey has promised to testify at an as yet unscheduled open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee, sometime after Monday's Memorial Day holiday.

And the White House staff itself could be facing upheaval. CBS News reported that Trump is expected to consider plans for a shakeup of his communications operation on his return from Europe.

Kushner at center stage

But Kushner, the polished 36-year-old who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, is likely to take center stage in the coming days.

Reserved in public, he was on prominent view during Trump's first presidential trip, as befits a trusted behind-the-scenes adviser involved in everything from Middle East peace to an initiative to streamline the US bureaucracy.

The Washington Post reported that investigators are focusing on meetings he held in December with Moscow's ambassador to Washington and the head of a Russian bank that has been under US sanctions since 2014.

"Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings," his lawyer Jamie Gorelick said in a statement.

"He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."

The Post and other media were careful to note that their sources did not say Kushner was a "target" of the investigation, nor that he was accused of any wrongdoing.

If he were a "target," it would suggest Kushner was a main suspect of the investigation.

The Post reported last week that the Russia investigation had been extended to a top White House official as a "significant person of interest."

Kushner is the only person currently in the White House known to be under investigation.

Former US national security advisory Michael Flynn is a key figure of interest in 
several probes into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election (AFP

Russia contacts

At least four other former campaign aides or advisers have been reported to be under FBI scrutiny as well -- former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, sometime Trump adviser Roger Stone, and ex-campaign adviser Carter Page.

The FBI investigation is now being overseen by Robert Mueller, a respected former FBI director who was given broad powers to pursue the case as a special counsel after Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9.

The key question before the FBI is whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in its effort to tilt the 2016 US election in the Republican's favor, which included a damaging hack of Democratic campaign emails.

Trump has denied any collusion, calling the probe "the greatest witch hunt" in American political history.

Former CIA director John Brennan revealed this week that intelligence chiefs had been looking into suspicious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials since mid-2016.

The Senate and House Intelligence Committees also are investigating, but not with an eye to bringing criminal charges.

In early December, after Trump had won the elections, Kushner and Flynn met in New York with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Kushner also met that month with Sergei Gorkov, chairman of VneshEconomBank, a state bank under US sanctions since July 2014.

Both those meetings have since been publicly acknowledged by the White House, but Kushner initially failed to declare them on forms submitted to obtain a security clearance.

His lawyer later said it was a mistake, telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he would amend the forms.

In Trump's house

But those links place Kushner uncomfortably close to Flynn, who was fired in January for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his subsequent conversations with Kislyak.

"The FBI's Russia investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house," the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. "Kushner's security clearance should be suspended until the FBI's findings are complete."

David Axelrod, former president Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist, said the focus on Kushner was not a surprise.

"Not just because he had contacts with Russians, but because he was such an integral part of both the campaign and the post campaign period," he told CNN. "Jared Kushner was central to the operations of that campaign."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Britain 'furious' over US leaks on Manchester attack

Yahoo – AFP, May 25, 2017

"The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of
 information in order to protect operational integrity... the element of surprise,"
 said Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd (AFP Photo/Justin TALLIS)

London (AFP) - "Furious" British officials scolded their US counterparts on Wednesday following repeated leaks of shared material about the investigation into the deadly Manchester terror attack.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd roasted the US Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence branches after the bomber's identity and details of the probe leaked out to US media before British officials felt ready to disclose them.

But shortly after the interior minister complained, The New York Times newspaper again scooped British authorities and other media by publishing photographs from the scene of remnants of the bomb.

The pictures were apparently taken by police investigators and, according to British government ministry sources, leaked by US counterparts they had been shared with.

"We are furious. This is completely unacceptable," a government ministry source said.

"These images leaked from inside the US system will be distressing for victims, their families and the wider public.

"The issue is being raised at every relevant level by the British authorities with their US counterparts."

The row -- which goes to the heart of the close intelligence-sharing relationship between the two allies -- provides an awkward backdrop to Prime Minister Theresa May's meeting with US President Donald Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.

'It is irritating'

Rudd revealed the frustration going on inside the probe to find the suspected network behind bomber Salman Abedi.

"The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity... the element of surprise," Rudd told BBC radio.

"So it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again."

Asked if the US authorities had compromised the investigation, she said: "I wouldn't go that far.

People pause in front of candles and messages set up in front of floral 
tributes in Manchester on May 23, 2017, in solidarity with those killed and
injured in the May 22 terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the 
Manchester Arena (AFP Photo/Ben STANSALL)

"But I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn't happen again."

But the National Counter Terrorism Policing body said the investigation was being "undermined".

“We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world," a spokesman said.

"These relationships enable us to collaborate and share privileged and sensitive information.

“When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families.

"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorised disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter-terrorism investigation.”

Bomber identity leaked

Twenty-two people, including several children, were killed on Monday when a bomb went off at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, northwest England.

British-born Abedi was identified as the suspected suicide bomber responsible. His name first surfaced in US media reports Tuesday, based on briefings given to US officials by their counterparts in London.

Earlier, US media, also quoting US security sources, identified the assailant as a suicide bomber, well before British authorities confirmed that publicly.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan confirmed that Rudd, who spoke with DHS Secretary John Kelly by phone Wednesday, had raised the matter.

"They communicated to DHS as well as other US government agencies their concern over leaks about their investigation into the incident in Manchester -- information that's gotten into the press and public through US sources when the UK was leading the investigation and wants to protect the information," Lapan said.

"They've asked all of us to better protect the information that we have so as not to impede their investigation. We'll do whatever we can to honour that."

DHS and intelligence agencies contacted by AFP would not comment on whether they were the ones who leaked the information.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Assange claims victory after Sweden drops rape probe

Yahoo – AFP, May 19, 2017

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of
Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017 (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

London (AFP) - Julian Assange claimed victory Friday after Swedish prosecutors dropped a seven-year rape allegation against the WikiLeaks founder, but insisted the "proper war" over his future was only just beginning.

Assange gave a clenched fist salute as he stepped into the daylight on the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, where he has been holed up since 2012.

But the 45-year-old Australian said the road was "far from over" and declined to reveal whether he would leave the embassy after five years cooped up inside.

British police would arrest him immediately for breaching earlier bail conditions if he left the embassy, while US authorities have warned they regard WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service".

"Today is an important victory," Assange told reporters and a small band of supporters crowded around the tiny balcony, after emerging wearing a black shirt and jacket.

"But it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge. In prison, under house arrest and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight.

"That is not something that I can forgive. It is not something that I can forget."

Uncertain future

Earlier in Stockholm, Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecutions, said the rape investigation had been dropped because there was "no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future".

"It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence," she said.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange raises his fist prior to addressing the media on
 the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017 (AFP Photo/
Justin TALLIS)

Despite the probe in Sweden being dropped, Assange would still face arrest if he set foot outside the embassy, a flat located just behind the plush Harrods emporium.

Assange jumped British bail by entering the embassy and claiming asylum, saying he feared he would eventually be extradited to the United States.

US justice authorities have never confirmed that they have Assange under investigation or are seeking his extradition.

But US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that "we will seek to put some people in jail", when asked if arresting Assange was a "priority" for Washington.

US prosecutors have been drafting a memo that looks at charges against Assange and WikiLeaks members that possibly include conspiracy, theft of government property and violations of the Espionage Act, according to The Washington Post.

US President Donald Trump's administration has put heat on WikiLeaks after it embarrassed the Central Intelligence Agency in March by releasing files and computer code from the spy agency's top-secret hacking operations.

"While today was an important victory and an important vindication, the road is far from over. The war, the proper war is just commencing," Assange said.

He said his lawyers were in touch with the British authorities and hoped to begin a dialogue about the "best way forward".

And the former computer hacker said that despite the "extremely threatening remarks" emanating from Washington, he was "always ready to engage with the Department of Justice".

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy 
of Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017 (AFP Photo/Adrian DENNIS)

The department said Friday it had no comment "at this point" on Assange.

Asked if London would now support a request to extradite Assange to the United States, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We look at extradition requests on a case-by-case basis."

Assange's Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelsson, said his client plans to move to Ecuador because "it's the only nation where he is safe".

Decision a 'scandal'

In Sweden, Assange's accuser was left stunned by the prosecutors' decision.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts," her lawyer, Elisabeth Fritz, told AFP in an email.

"My client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change (her mind) that Assange exposed her to rape," she said.

The accusation against Assange dates from August 2010 when the alleged victim, who says she met him at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm a few days earlier, filed a complaint.

She accused him of having sex with her -- as she slept -- without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

Assange always denied the allegations, which he feared would lead to him being extradited to the United States and facing trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents in 2010, which brought WikiLeaks to prominence.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media holding a printed report
of the judgement of the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on his case
 from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in central London on February 5,
2016 (AFP Photo/Niklas Halle'n)

Related Articles:

Former executives of SNS Bank jailed for corruption, fraud

DutchNews, May 19, 2017

Photo: Depositphotos.com 

A former executive at financial services group SNS has been jailed after judges found him guilty of bribery and other offences. Tom der K, 68, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, of which four were suspended plus two years probation. 

The Utrecht district court found him guilty of forgery, money laundering and bribery at the troubled property arm of the fomer banking and insurance group SNS Reaal. The public prosecutor had asked for a sentence of 27 months. 

Tom der K’s private company Aquarius Consultancy was fined   €20,000 fine and ordered to pay back another €347,101 in bribes. A co-defendant of Tom der K.’s, the 58-year-old accountant Eric van den C, was given 180 hours of community service by the court. 

The public prosecutor had investigated the pair for embezzling SNA’s property arm SNS Property Finance between 2009 and 2013. They embezzled €830,000 from the SNS subsidiary – the present Propertize – via fake and inflated invoices. 

The court reduced the size of the proven bribes to €377,101. The court also set aside the €50,000 fine the public prosecutor had requested.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chelsea Manning prepares for freedom, as a woman

Yahoo – AFP, Sébastien BLANC, May 16, 2017

Chelsea Manning's release follows a last-minute commutation of her sentence by
president Barack Obama in the waning days of his administration (AFP Photo/HO)

Washington (AFP) - After seven years behind bars, Chelsea Manning will walk out of the security gates of the Fort Leavenworth military prison Wednesday, finally able to complete her transition as a free, openly transgender woman.

When she first arrived at the military barracks, the petite Manning was a male soldier -- then known as Bradley -- who stunned the world by releasing a huge trove of more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents via WikiLeaks.

Her release follows a last-minute commutation of her sentence by president Barack Obama in the waning days of his administration.

Without Obama's parting gift, Manning would have remained behind bars until 2045, after a 35-year sentence.

Her supporters worried she would not be able to survive the long sentence.

Manning, now 29, made two suicide attempts last year alone, along with a hunger strike to denounce the disciplinary measures to which she was subjected.

But the devastating cycle of depression, desperate measures and stays in solitary confinement is now over for Manning, who now turns a new page.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world," she wrote last week.

"Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.

"Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts."

Her defense team is intent on protecting the Oklahoma native. Manning had a difficult childhood. After her parents' divorce, Manning moved with her mother to Wales, where she repressed her sexuality and was mocked for her effeminate ways.

Chelsea Manning arrived at Fort Leavenworth military as the male soldier 
Bradley (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG)

Quiet release

The military is therefore keen on keeping her release low-key. No press conference is planned in Arkansas.

"To ensure the privacy and security of Inmate Manning, no further information concerning the release will be provided," US Army spokesman Dave Foster said in a statement.

Manning, of whom few photographs are publicly available, could find refuge at the home of an aunt in the Washington region.

She will rely on a solid network of volunteers ready to help her.

Virtually unknown at the time of her arrest, Manning today is a well-known figure around the world.

Labeled a traitor by President Donald Trump, she has gained the support of major celebrities like R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe and British designer Vivienne Westwood.

For tens of thousands of Americans who petitioned the White House, she is a courageous rights activist.

Supporters say Manning was handed an unfair sentence for embarrassing US diplomatic circles and revealing civilian deaths caused by US bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She wasn't able to flee abroad like Edward Snowden, who in 2013 released documents showing that the NSA was sweeping up US citizens' communications metadata.

Trans icon

Manning has also surreptitiously become an icon for transgender activists.

"The first thing Chelsea always says when we talk about her freedom is that she wants to give back to the trans community -- to fight for the many trans people, largely trans women of color, held in custody; to continue to connect with trans young people; to share our victories and our struggles," said Chase Strangio.

"She has an unrelenting sense of compassion and justice despite all that she has faced," added Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is himself transgender.

Manning will celebrate her 30th birthday in December. Perhaps by then she will have gained an appearance she finds desirable, after prison authorities refused to allow her to grow her hair beyond the detention center's two-inch (five-centimeter) limit.

Through her lawyers, however, she was able to start hormonal treatment in prison to begin transitioning toward her female identity. This transition is certain to speed up outside a prison environment Manning said denied her "right to exist."

While Manning's sentence was commuted, her conviction remains intact. Manning has appealed.

She is also still employed by the army, and retains its insurance coverage.

"Inmate Manning will remain on excess leave while the court-martial conviction is under appellate review. PVT Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review," said Foster, the Army spokesman.

"In an active duty status, although in an unpaid status, Manning is eligible for direct care at medical treatment facilities" along with other work benefits, he added.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rabobank stops financing Christian organisation Noorse Broeders: NRC

DutchNews, May 12, 2017

Rabobank’s headquarters in Utrecht.
Photo: Depositphotos.com
Rabobank is stopping funding companies, foundations and directors related to the controversial Noorse Broeders, known internationally as the Brunstad Christian Church, reports NRC

The paper reports that the bank is discontinuing its relationship with the Christian ‘community of faith’, also known as the CGN, on the basis of papers it has obtained. This kind of action is also used against criminal organisations and terror suspects, it notes. 

Last year, the NRC published reports of suspected tax evasion, fraud, child labour and violations of working time legislation by the Noorse Broeders. It claimed the organisation’s leaders were channelling money from its 40,000 international followers – including 2,000 in the Netherlands – into tax havens for personal benefit. 

The organisation’s members in the Netherlands include senior figures in ministries and tax authorities, and one prominent member, Alfonso Boekhoudt, was appointed governor of Aruba by the government last year, reports the NRC. 

Rabobank reportedly researched the organisation and found tax rules were being broken. The bank told NRC that it never makes statements ‘about individual client relationships.’ 

CGN told the NRC in a statement: ‘We know that Rabobank wants to talk to us. Rabobank has confirmed that a conversation does not mean that it is breaking its relationship with CGN.’