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Posted by Worldkrap on

In Face of Hack Attacks, US State Department to Set Up Cyber Bureau

The U.S. State Department plans to establish a bureau of cyberspace and digital policy in the face of a growing hacking problem, specifically a surge of ransomware attacks on U.S. infrastructure. 

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said a Senate-confirmed ambassador at large will lead the bureau. 

Hackers have struck numerous U.S. companies this year. 

One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline led to temporary fuel supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, sparking fears of disruptions to Midwest grain harvesting. 

Two weeks ago, the Treasury Department said suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year. It put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role fighting ransomware attacks. 


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‘Unite the Right’ Rally’s Planners Accused in Civil Trial

The violence at the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 shocked the nation, with people beaten to the ground, lighted torches thrown at counterdemonstrators and a self-proclaimed Hitler admirer ramming his car into a crowd, killing a woman and injuring dozens more. 

The driver of that car is serving life in prison for murder and hate crimes. Now, more than four years later, a civil trial will determine whether the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who organized the demonstrations should be held accountable, as well. 

Jury selection began Monday for the trial in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, which is expected to last a month. 

The lawsuit was funded by Integrity First for America, a nonprofit organization formed in response to the violence in Charlottesville with the goal of disarming the instigators of violence through litigation. 

It accuses some of the country’s most well-known white nationalists of orchestrating a “meticulously planned conspiracy” to commit violence against Blacks, Jewish people and others based on race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. A firestorm erupted after then-President Donald Trump failed to strongly denounce the white nationalists, saying there were “very fine people on both sides.” 

Hundreds of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville on August 11 and August 12, 2017, ostensibly to protest city plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

The nearly two dozen defendants include: Jason Kessler, the rally’s main organizer, who terms himself a “white civil rights” leader; Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” to describe a loosely connected band of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others; and Christopher Cantwell, a white supremacist who became known as the “crying Nazi” for posting a tearful video when a warrant was issued for his arrest on assault charges for using pepper spray against counterdemonstrators. 

The plaintiffs include four people who were hurt when James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. 

The case is built on a vast collection of chat room exchanges, social media postings and other communications in which the defendants use racial epithets and discuss plans for the demonstrations, including what weapons to bring.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are relying on a 150-year-old law passed after the Civil War to shield freed slaves from violence and protect their civil rights.

Commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, the law contains a rarely used provision that allows private citizens to sue other citizens for civil rights violations. To win a judgment, the plaintiffs must prove the defendants conspired to commit racially motivated violence and planned it in advance — and that the plaintiffs were injured as a result. 

“It’s the only case that really takes on the leadership and organization of the white supremacist movement,” said Karen Dunn, one of the lead attorneys in the lawsuit. 

The plaintiffs’ attorneys say they’ve amassed 5.3 terabytes of digital communications by the defendants, including many on the online platform Discord initially leaked by Unicorn Riot, a left-leaning media collective. 

The lawsuit alleges there were “countless exhortations to violence” on Discord, including one by a defendant who allegedly wrote, “I’m ready to crack skulls,” and another who wrote, “It’s going to get wild. Bring your boots.”

A third allegedly wrote, “There is rapidly approaching a time when in every white western city, corpses will be stacked in the streets as high as men can stack them.” 

But the white nationalists named as defendants claim talk of weapons and combat was meant only in the event they had to defend themselves from counterprotesters. They argue their communications are protected by the First Amendment. 

“You can say any nasty thing you want about any person or group you want and that is protected by the First Amendment. That is not me saying that, that’s the Supreme Court,” said W. Edward ReBrook IV, an attorney for Jeff Schoep, the former longtime leader of the neo-Nazi group the Nationalist Socialist Movement and one of the defendants. 

Spencer, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “a suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old,” joined fellow white nationalists at the University of Virginia on August 11. Participants carried tiki torches and marched to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” 

The plaintiffs allege the defendants and their co-conspirators surrounded counterprotesters, kicked and punched people and climbed atop the statue, yelling “Hail Spencer!” “Hail Victory!” Spencer told the crowd, “We own these streets!”

Spencer, who is representing himself at trial, told The Associated Press he did not help plan the event and took no part in any conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence. He said he is looking forward to telling his story to the jury, noting emotions still run high over the events in Charlottesville. 

“I feel also that people don’t have a sense of closure about Charlottesville, so in some way, they want to achieve a certain kind of purging a bad feeling. They want to engage in what is effectively scapegoating,” Spencer said. 

Elizabeth Sines, the lead plaintiff, said she’s still haunted by the violence she saw that weekend, including Fields plowing his car into the crowd. 

“It has changed who I am forever,” Sines said in a statement released by her attorneys. “The organizers of the Unite the Right rally robbed me of my ability to feel safe, feel secure, feel at ease — even in my own home.” 

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a judgment that the defendants violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. 


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German Court Sentences Islamic State Member to 10 Years in Prison

A German woman received a 10-year prison sentence Monday for allowing a young Yazidi girl, who was being kept as a slave in Iraq by the woman and her husband, to die of thirst in the hot sun.

German authorities said the 30-year-old convert to Islam, identified only as Jennifer W., was a member of Islamic State in Iraq.

The Higher Regional Court convicted the defendant on charges including membership in a terrorist organization abroad, aiding and abetting attempted murder, attempted war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

According to German news agency dpa, federal prosecutors accused Jennifer W. of letting the 5-year-old Yazidi girl die after the woman’s husband, an Islamic State fighter, chained the girl in a courtyard unprotected from the heat. Prosecutors said the defendant’s husband was punishing the girl for wetting her mattress.

Islamic State views the minority Yazidis as heretics. In 2014, IS fighters killed scores of Yazidi men in Iraq during an onslaught on the Yazidi town of Sinjar. IS also enslaved thousands of women and girls in acts that amounted to genocide, according to the United Nations. 

Judge Joachim Baier said the child was “defenseless and helplessly exposed to the situation,” adding that the defendant “had to reckon from the beginning that the child, who was tied up in the heat of the sun, was in danger of dying.” 

German media reported that the defendant, who is from Lohne in Lower Saxony, was raised as a Protestant but converted to Islam in 2013. She traveled to Iraq through Turkey and Syria in 2014 to join Islamic State, according to The Associated Press. 

According to prosecutors, Jennifer W. was a member of IS’s armed “morality police” in 2015 and patrolled public parks in Fallujah and Mosul for women who did not conform to the group’s strict dress and conduct codes, AP reported. 

The defendant was taken into custody in 2016 while trying to renew her identity papers at the German Embassy in Ankara, after which she was deported to Germany. 

Prior to her sentencing, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office demanded that she serve a life sentence, while the defense asked for a maximum of two years in prison.

Some information for this story comes from The Associated Press and Reuters. 


Posted by Ukrap on

Джонсон у розмові з Путіним підкреслив важливість суверенітету України

Джонсон і Путін провели телефонну бесіду перед проведенням 26-ї конференції країн-учасниць Рамкової конвенції ООН про зміну клімату, що відбудеться в Глазго 1-2 листопада

Posted by Ukrap on

Байден підписав наказ про нові правила в’їзду до США, пов’язані з COVID-19

Білий дім 25 жовтня підтвердив, що діти до 18 років звільняються від нових вимог щодо вакцинації, як і люди з деякими медичними проблемами

Posted by Ukrap on

Після погрози Ердогана вислати дипломатів 10 країн суперечка Туреччини і Заходу дещо послабла

США і кілька інших країн зробили заяви, в яких йдеться, що вони дотримуються конвенції ООН, яка вимагає від дипломатів не втручатися у внутрішні справи країни перебування

Posted by Worldkrap on

Facebook Whistleblower Presses Case with British Lawmakers 

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told British lawmakers Monday that the social media giant “unquestionably” amplifies online hate. 

In testimony to a parliamentary committee in London, the former Facebook employee echoed what she told U.S. senators earlier this month.

Haugen said the media giant fuels online hate and extremism and does not have any incentive to change its algorithm to promote less divisive content.

She argued that as a result, Facebook may end up sparking more violent unrest around the world.

Haugen said the algorithm Facebook has designed to promote more engagement among users “prioritizes and amplifies divisive and polarizing extreme content” as well as concentrates it. 

Facebook did not respond to Haugen’s testimony Monday. Earlier this month, Haugen addressed a Senate committee and said the company is harmful. Facebook rejected her accusations. 

“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Haugen’s testimony comes as a coalition of new organizations Monday began publishing stories on Facebook’s practices based on internal company documents that Haugen secretly copied and made public. 

Haugen is a former Facebook product manager who has turned whistleblower. 

Earlier this month when Haugen addressed U.S. lawmakers, she argued that a federal regulator was needed to oversee large internet companies like Facebook. 

British lawmakers are considering creating such a national regulator as part of a proposed online safety bill. The legislation also proposes fining companies like Facebook up to 10% of their global revenue for any violations of government policies. 

Representatives from Facebook and other social media companies are set to address British lawmakers on Thursday. 

Haugen is scheduled to meet with European Union policymakers in Brussels next month.

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters. 


Posted by Ukrap on

У Києві закінчився безморозний період – метеорологи

25 жовтня у Києві вперше цієї осені температура повітря знизилась до -0,5ºС