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CNBC EXCLUSIVE:DID SOME POLITICAL FIGURES HAVE SECRET SWISS ACCOUNTS? #ubs

CNBC EXCLUSIVE:DID SOME POLITICAL FIGURES HAVE SECRET SWISS ACCOUNTS? #ubs | News in english | Scoop.it

WHEN: MONDAY, JULY 23RD

WHERE: CNBC.COM

Did Some Political Figures Have Secret Swiss Accounts?

Posted By: Eamon Javers | CNBC Washington, DC Correspondent

CNBC.com

 

Mitt Romney isn’t the only American political figure to have had money in a Swiss Bank account.

A "handful" of politically connected Americans had secret, undisclosed accounts at the Swiss bank UBS , a source familiar with the accounts told CNBC.

The names of those people were turned over to the U.S. government as part of the bank’s massive tax evasion settlement, the source said. And while the Romney campaign has said Gov. Romney paid all appropriate taxes on his Swiss account, the other American political figures likely did not — the source explained that the accounts revealed by UBS to the U.S. government were "undisclosed," meaning that information about them was not previously transmitted to the IRS.

UBS, like other global banks, applies heightened scrutiny to the accounts of customers in various countries including the United States who qualify as "Politically Exposed Persons," or PEPs in banking jargon. A wide range of officials meet that definition, including people who are not current office holders or who are simply related to prominent political players.

The international effort to monitor PEP accounts stems from concern that the bank accounts of high ranking political figures could be conduits for corruption and bribery. Tracking PEPs is one way banks protect themselves from being dragged into money laundering investigations, generally through beefed up "know your customer" efforts and enhanced due diligence.

Although the term "PEP" is most often used in the context of rogue regimes and third world countries, where corruption can be endemic, international banks’ PEP compliance efforts also apply to any American official who may have an account overseas. That’s why the existence of American PEPs is a potentially explosive political issue — voters would likely demand to know why those accounts were set up overseas, and what the source is of the funds they contain.

A spokesman for UBS declined to disclose the names of the politically connected Americans who had accounts with the bank.

In a 2011 interview conducted at a federal prison in Pennsylvania, former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld told CNBC that he learned of a secret unit inside the bank that handled American political accounts. "There was a dedicated desk in Zurich for this," Birkenfeld said. "And we had people who staffed that. Because these people were so politically sensitive that they had to be ring fenced within the Swiss bank secrecy of Switzerland. There was an American PEP desk out of Zurich. I know that for a fact, because we had people who knew it existed, but it was so cloak and dagger. It was held in secrecy. Beyond secrecy."

Birkenfeld, who turned over information on 19,000 alleged tax cheats to U.S. authorities, is serving a 40-month prison sentence for his role in a tax scheme. CNBC has not previously aired his comments about American PEPs at UBS. Spokespeople for other banks with operations in Switzerland declined to say whether or not their PEP monitoring efforts included American PEPs.

A spokesman for HSBC told CNBC that the bank will not disclose whether it holds accounts for any American PEPs, citing client confidentiality. The spokesman explained that HSBC, which was cited by a U.S. Senate subcommittee in July for years of lax anti money-laundering efforts, applies the recommendations of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force as it monitors its PEP accounts. Those recommendations include bank’s "obtaining senior management approval for establishing (or continuing, for existing customers) such business relationships." And the guidelines suggest that banks "take reasonable measures to establish the source of wealth and source of funds" in any PEP account.

Asked whether the bank held accounts in Switzerland for any American PEPs, a spokesperson for Credit Suisse said simply, "we are not going to be able to provide any specific info about PEPs." She noted, however that Credit Suisse’s definition of a "PEP" included highly influential people in a given country who do not necessarily hold official public positions.

For its part, UBS says it defines as a PEP any person holding prominent political roles, such as presidents, prime ministers and high ranking national politicians. And the bank also includes high ranking officials in government, the judiciary, the military, national political parties, and top ranking managers of state run companies. Also included: people linked to prominent figures through family, personal or business connections.

According to the source, a handful of Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland qualified as PEPs, and would therefore have been monitored by the Swiss bank more closely. The source cautioned that there were not likely to have been famous politicians on the list turned over to the U.S. government. "It’s not by far as interesting as one might think," the source said.

The accounts of the American political figures were closed after UBS announced it would exit the so called "cross-border" business for U.S. customers in 2008, the source said. What happened to the money held in the accounts is unclear. "Usually when the bank closes a relationship, the client gets asked what the bank is supposed to do with the assets i.e.: transfer to another account, cash withdrawal, etc.," the source told CNBC in an email Monday. That suggests that the accounts could have been transferred back to the United States, or to another account elsewhere in the world.

UBS agreed to a $780 million settlement of tax evasion charges with the U.S. government in 2009, and agreed to turn over the names of some of the thousands of Americans who used their Swiss accounts to dodge U.S. taxes. Also in 2009, the IRS announced an amnesty program for Americans to disclose their offshore accounts and eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution. That effort has brought in billions of dollars in back taxes to the U.S. Treasury.

In January, the Romney campaign disclosed that a blind trust in his wife Ann Romney’s name placed $3 million in an account at UBS in 2003, but said that account had been closed in 2010.

In an email to CNBC, the Romney campaign said the account was "never part of the controversy between UBS and the IRS."

"The IRS amnesty program was for undisclosed accounts that did not pay taxes," the Romney campaign statement said. "This account was disclosed to the IRS and did pay taxes each year when due in a timely manner."

© 2012 CNBC.com

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/48291591/

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Open Letter to #Nestlé by @yasminemotarjemi #FoodSafety #Suisse #Justice #Swiss

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Juan Carlos Hernandez's insight:

join this FB page please :in order to support the fight for dignity and justice of Yasmine against Nestlé : https://www.facebook.com/justiceforyasmine

Open Letter by 
Yasmine Motarjemi , Former Corporate Food Safety Manager (2000-2010), Assistant Vice President
to
Mr Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Nestlé, S.A
55 Avenue Nestlé
CH-1800 Vevey

"Nyon, 4th Septembre 2010
Dear Mr Chairman,
I was your Corporate Food Safety Manager from 2000 to 2010. I write to you today for two reasons: 
first, to share with you my concerns regarding a culture and management practices in Nestlé, which 
undermine food safety; and, second, to inform you of my personal experiences while attempting to
improve the situation.
I long nourished the hope that you would be interested in meeting the person responsible for dealing 
with everyday problems of the Company in an area as important as the safety of Nestlé products. 
However, to my regret we have never had the opportunity to meet and discuss the food safety 
situation in the Company. As both corporate-level management of food safety and my professional 
status deteriorated to the point of being unacceptable, I was compelled to report my concerns to 
Management with the expectation that a fair evaluation of the situation would be undertaken. In 
the event, my efforts were in vain. 
Mr Chairman, I always found listening to your speeches a source of motivation and inspiration. 
Moreover, Nestlé Policies and Management Principles portray a model Company, with the most 
laudable corporate values. A glance at the Company building, offices and facilities is enough to make 
any outsider believe that this is an ideal working environment. 
However, after only a short time, I was profoundly disappointed at how people are managed, the 
discrepancies between your public statements and the private deeds of managers; between the 
Company’s policies and management principles and actual practices; and between the proclaimed 
values and the prevailing fear culture (including mobbing and intimidation) that managers nourished. 
I was particularly saddened by the growing realisation that Management was not only aware of this 
situation but that it was also fully accepted by the very people who should have been, in fact, the inhouse guardians of policy compliance.I failed to see the flawless execution of policy that you promoted in your speeches. Didn’t you state 
that the management of food quality and safety depends on the quality of management? What can 
be said about food safety management when the members of Management themselves do not 
respect Company policies and principles? 
If I dared challenge the Company’s food safety and human resource practices I can assure you that it 
was not out of disrespect. On the contrary, it was because of my loyalty to the Company, my 
colleagues and the consumers we served. It was also because for me the safety of our products and 
respect for our colleagues were non-negotiable values. Involving staff in building a better company 
unavoidably includes exposing shortcomings. But surely it is better to receive timely feedback from 
within than to be publicly embarrassed later by failures.
You have often expressed your commitment to food safety. Please allow me to share with you my 
own vision in this regard. Over and above the technical and scientific aspects, the foundation of 
good food safety management is an equitable system of people management that is based on 
professionalism, fairness, objectivity, open-mindedness, respect for staff and, most importantly, for 
their dignity. I regret to say that I failed to see this approach implemented at the Nestlé Head Office. 
My own situation is a case in point. 
On several occasions I reported – first to members of Management and then, in November 2009, to 
Mr Paul Bulcke – serious shortcomings in food safety management, the professional difficulties I 
faced, and the shameful treatment that I experienced in Nestlé. I hoped that I would be given the 
opportunity to provide a full and accurate account of events during the period 2005-2010. In 
response, my contract was terminated with no opportunity to provide details of my experience. 
Nevertheless, I am prepared to meet with you, at your convenience, to share my observations on 
practices in Nestlé and their eventual repercussions on Nestlé’s reputation and consumers. I would 
also hope to use this opportunity to identify an equitable solution for my personal difficult situation, another consequence of the past events in Nestlé" 
source : http://www.rts.ch/info/3989665.html/BINARY/Mr+CEO.pdf
more here (in french) http://www.rts.ch/info/economie/3988696-une-ex-responsable-de-la-securite-alimentaire-depose-plainte-contre-nestle.html
more again (in french) 
more (in german ) : http://www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/nestle-im-keim-erstickt

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Manifestantes exigen a #Nestlé que deje de embotellar el agua de #California - 4:22 #BoycottNestlé #environment


Manifestantes exigen a #Nestlé que deje de embotellar el agua de #California - 4:22 #BoycottNestlé #environment

La gran escasez de agua que afecta a California, EE.UU., ha empujado a cientos de ciudadanos a protestar frente a la planta de Nestlé para pedir que la multinacional deje de embotellar el preciado líquido en ese estado.

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video 12 mn : Inside War-Torn #Yemen: #Sanaa Under Attack | VICE News #ArabiaSaudi #WarCrimes #US backed

video 12 mn : Inside War-Torn #Yemen: #Sanaa Under Attack | VICE News #ArabiaSaudi #WarCrimes #US backed


With international media unable to enter the besieged capital, Yousef Mawry, a local journalist, recorded the devastation of his home city for VICE News.
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#MattTaibbi on Baltimore, Freddie Gray and How #US Legal System Covers Up #Police Violence - 10 mn

#MattTaibbi on Baltimore, Freddie Gray and How #US Legal System Covers Up #Police Violence - 10 mn


http://democracynow.org - New cellphone video sheds light on Freddie Gray’s fatal journey in a Baltimore police van. The footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows Gray lying motionless as several police officers shackle his ankles and load him into the vehicle. It appears to contradict earlier police claims that Gray was "irate" and "combative." One of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, reportedly threatened to use his Taser on the eyewitness who was filming. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, whose latest article for Rolling Stone is "Why Baltimore Blew Up." He writes, "Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals." ||| Visit http://democracynow.org to watch the full daily news program, read the transcript, or search our vast online archive. Livestream weekdays 8-9am ET. Follow Democracy Now! on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Google+ and Pinterest.

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#Suicide Rate for Black Children Doubles #USA - The New York Times

#Suicide Rate for Black Children Doubles #USA - The New York Times | News in english | Scoop.it

#Suicide Rate for Black Children Doubles #USA - The New York Times


Researchers were shocked to find that suicide rates among black children between ages 5 to 11 have almost doubled in 25 years, while the rate for white kids has plummeted. A new study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found for the first time a higher suicide rate for blacks than for whites. “I was shocked, I’ll be honest with you,” said Jeffrey Bridge, at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. “I looked at it and I thought, ‘Did we do the analysis correctly?’ I thought we had made a mistake.” The jump is thought to be related to violence and traumatic stress and early-onset puberty.

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#ElizabethWarren Pushes Back Against #TPP Fast Track - 6:12 - The Real News

#ElizabethWarren Pushes Back Against #TPP Fast Track - 6:12 - The Real News


As Senate debates "fast track" for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Senator Elizabeth Warren says the trade deals have failed workers.

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Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women #BlackLivesMatter

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women #BlackLivesMatter


http://democracynow.org - As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest. During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, "Police Brutality Against Black Women."

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250 #UK Celebs Accused of Child Sex Abuse #pedophilie

250 #UK Celebs Accused of Child Sex Abuse #pedophilie | News in english | Scoop.it


250 #UK Celebs Accused of Child Sex Abuse #pedophilie

British police forces will have to sort through 1,433 suspects in over 100,000 cases of child abuse—almost double the amount of accusations from just three years ago.

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#israel scraps scheme to ban Palestinians from buses #Palestine #Apartheid #Sanctions !!!!!

#israel scraps scheme to ban Palestinians from buses #Palestine #Apartheid #Sanctions !!!!! | News in english | Scoop.it

#israel scraps scheme to ban Palestinians from buses #Palestine #Apartheid #Sanctions !!!!!

Defence minister had approved programme to stop Palestinians working in Israel returning to West Bank on Israeli buses
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The #socialist revolt that America forgot: A #history lesson for Bernie Sanders #USA

The #socialist revolt that America forgot: A #history lesson for Bernie Sanders #USA | News in english | Scoop.it

The #socialist revolt that America forgot: A #history lesson for Bernie Sanders #USA


In 1978, the Left was fed up with Jimmy Carter and looking for an alternative. If only they had followed through.
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4 #US Companies Getting Rich Off Gulf Arab Conflict With #Iran - #business #war

4 #US Companies Getting Rich Off Gulf Arab Conflict With #Iran - #business #war | News in english | Scoop.it

4 #US Companies Getting Rich Off Gulf Arab Conflict With #Iran - #business #war

(...)

In recent years, the Gulf states, flush with oil wealth, have bought massive amounts of American weapons. Since 2010, Gulf Arab states have increased their armaments purchases by 70 percent. Leading the pack is Saudi Arabia, which in 2014 became the world’s largest importer of American-made weapons. One out of every seven dollars spent on weapons in the world comes from the Saudis, according to the IHS’ yearly Global Defence Trade Report.  The Obama administration has overseen the sale of over $64 billion in weapons and defense systems to Gulf nations.

In the past, weapons sales to Gulf Arab nations have been held up because of Israeli concerns over their “qualitative military edge,” the notion that Israel should maintain superior military capabilities over their Arab nations. But that reticence to sell weapons to states like Saudi Arabia has eased in recent years because Israel and the Gulf states share a common interest in boxing in Iran.

For the most part, arms sales are designed to beef up militaries in anticipation of any conflict with Iran. But in the past year, the Gulf states have flexed their muscles by joining the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, and by pounding Yemen with bombs, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe. The flow of arms sales is further militarizing a region already rife with bloody conflict stretching from Syria to Yemen. The result is human misery.(...)

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#Ukraine to Spend $200 Mln To Wall Off #Russia

#Ukraine to Spend $200 Mln To Wall Off #Russia | News in english | Scoop.it


#Ukraine to Spend $200 Mln To Wall Off #Russia

According to the project, more than 2,000 kilometers of the country’s actual border with Russia will be protected with anti-tank (anti-transport) trenches measuring four meters wide and two meters deep as well as 17-meter tall metal watchtowers, observation posts, alarms, retaliatory weaponry and...

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House defies Obama veto threat, approves $612B defense bill #USA

House defies Obama veto threat, approves $612B defense bill #USA | News in english | Scoop.it

House defies Obama veto threat, approves $612B defense bill #USA

Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday passed a $612 billion defense bill in a 269-151 vote.

All but eight Republicans voted in favor, along with 41 Democrats who went against Obama's veto threat and their party leaders, who whipped against it.

Obama has threatened to veto the bill over its circumvention of spending caps.

The bill keeps ceilings on defense spending in place under the 2011 budget deal that introduced sequestration spending limits, but would increase funding to the Pentagon's war fund.

The legislation authorizes roughly $523 billion in base Defense Department spending. Another $90 billion is included in the war fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

It includes $38 billion more for the war fund than had been requested by the White House. The extra spending is not offset by spending cuts or tax hikes.

The White House also opposes language in the bill meant to prevent the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, warned the budget problems present in the defense bill could lead to a government shutdown.

“All I am saying is we should start now instead of risking another government shutdown, risking another continuing resolution, and get a true budget agreement that actually addresses the Budget Control Act in its entirety, doesn't just find a sort of awkward workaround through the overseas contingency operations just to take care of defense,” Smith said.

He voted against the annual defense bill for the first time in his career.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted Democrats for opposing the measure.
 
"They did so without listing a single serious policy concern, letting politics come before national security," he said. "With all the threats our troops face and the sacrifices they make, Democrats’ opposition to this defense bill is in fact indefensible.”
 
The Senate is working on its own version of the Defense bill. It is unclear when the upper chamber will take up the $612 billion Senate bill, which is largely similar to the House legislation.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the defense bill shouldn't be held up due to a budgetary dispute.

“It is a very hard argument to make that we are going to oppose the bill that takes care of our men and women in the military because we want to try to pressure Congress and the president to reach an agreement on spending on other stuff,” Thornberry said.

The massive policy blueprint also encountered opposition from conservative Republicans over a provision that could have paved the way for children of illegal immigrants to one day serve in the armed forces.

The contested language would have established a "sense of" Congress appealing to the Pentagon to review allowing young illegal immigrants possessing work permits through the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to serve in the military.

But immigration hard-liners had threatened to vote against and scuttle the bill over what they described as a slippery slope toward letting illegal immigrants enlist.

The chamber approved an amendment by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) to eliminate the "sense of" Congress language in a 221-202 vote.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 maintains the current ban against transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. It also prohibits building facilities to house detainees held at Guantanamo on American soil.

Members rejected an amendment filed by Smith that would have provided a framework for closing the prison by the end of 2017 in a 174-249 vote. Thirteen Democrats joined with all but five Republicans to oppose the amendment.

The House did adopt a provision by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) that would stop the re-listing of the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list until 2021, unless the Interior Department determines that a conservation plan is not working. It passed 229-190.

Lawmakers also adopted a provision by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) to stop funding for the implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the U.S. and Russia because of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Lamborn’s amendment passed 235-182.

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#NormanFinkelstein : #US Might Support UN Resolution That Leaves #Palestine with a "Garbage Dump" - 13:20 #israel


#NormanFinkelstein : #US Might Support UN Resolution That Leaves #Palestine with a "Garbage Dump" - 13:20 #israel

On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Finkelstein says Netanyahu's slight of Obama was racist, but the U.S. will likely help sell a UN resolution that tries to corn...

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#RandPaul filibusters #NSA #surveillance in Congress for over 10 hrs - 3:09

#RandPaul filibusters #NSA #surveillance in Congress for over 10 hrs - 3:09


United States Senator Rand Paul vows to filibuster any attempt in Congress to extend the eavesdropping powers provided to the government through the US Patri...
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#Diplomatie: petits trollings entre "amis" 21.05.2015 - rts.ch - la 1ère - programmes - sonar 3:22

#Diplomatie: petits trollings entre "amis" 21.05.2015 - rts.ch - la 1ère - programmes - sonar 3:22 | News in english | Scoop.it

#Diplomatie: petits trollings entre "amis" 21.05.2015 - rts.ch - la 1ère - programmes - sonar 3:22


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#MattTaibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again) -15 mn #Facts #Mafia

#MattTaibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again) -15 mn #Facts #Mafia


http://democracynow.org -Five of the world’s top banks will pay over $5 billion in fines after pleading guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the $5 trillion FX spot market. UBS pleaded guilty for its role in manipulating the Libor benchmark interest rate. No individual bank employees were hit with criminal charges as part of the settlements. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine.

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Why Are Rates of #Suicide Soaring Across the Planet?

Why Are Rates of #Suicide Soaring Across the Planet? | News in english | Scoop.it


Why Are Rates of #Suicide Soaring Across the Planet?

The figures of both attempted suicides and committed suicides are increasing.

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Sgt. James Brown, 26, Survived Two Tours in #Iraq Only to Die Begging for His Life in Texas Jail - #BlackLivesMatter #USA

Sgt. James Brown, 26, Survived Two Tours in #Iraq Only to Die Begging for His Life in Texas Jail - #BlackLivesMatter #USA


http://democracynow.org - Newly released video has revealed the dying moments of an African-American active-duty soldier who checked himself into the El Paso, Texas, county jail for a two-day sentence for driving under the influence, and died while in custody in 2012. Authorities claimed Sgt. James Brown died due to a pre-existing medical condition, but shocking new video from inside the jail raises new questions about what happened. The video shows guards swarming on top of him as he repeatedly says he can’t breathe and appears not to resist. By the end of the video, he is shown naked, not blinking or responding, his breathing shallow. Attorneys say an ambulance was never called. Brown was eventually brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His family had long suspected foul play in his death but received little information from authorities. They’ve now filed a lawsuit against El Paso County saying his constitutional rights were violated. We are joined by Brown’s mother, Dinetta Scott.

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America’s Allies Want Their Own #NSA Alternatives #surveillance #Orwell

America’s Allies Want Their Own #NSA Alternatives #surveillance #Orwell | News in english | Scoop.it


America’s Allies Want Their Own #NSA Alternatives #surveillance #Orwell

Countries that for years have relied heavily on U.S. intelligence are quickly building up their own capabilities.

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La #France refuse d'incarcérer le généticien #LaurentSégalat, condamné en #Suisse pour meurtre #BananaRepublic 5 mn

La #France refuse d'incarcérer le généticien #LaurentSégalat, condamné en #Suisse pour meurtre #BananaRepublic 5 mn | News in english | Scoop.it

La #France refuse d'incarcérer le généticien #LaurentSégalat, condamné en #Suisse pour meurtre #BananaRepublic 5 mn

Laurent Ségalat, condamné en Suisse à 14 ans de prison pour le meurtre de sa belle-mère, ne sera pas incarcéré en France. Le Ministère de la Justice français a annoncé mardi à l'Office fédéral de la justice que Paris ne donne pas suite à la demande de délégation de l'exécution de la peine du généticien français.

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The Limits of Discourse : As Demonstrated by #SamHarris and #NoamChomsky

The Limits of Discourse : As Demonstrated by #SamHarris and #NoamChomsky | News in english | Scoop.it


The Limits of Discourse : As Demonstrated by #SamHarris and #NoamChomsky

For decades, Noam Chomsky has been one of the most prominent critics of U.S. foreign policy, and the further left one travels along the political spectrum, the more one feels his influence. Although I agree with much of what Chomsky has said about the misuses of state power, I have long maintained that his political views, where the threat of global jihadism is concerned, produce dangerous delusions. In response, I have been much criticized by those who believe that I haven’t given the great man his due.

Last week, I did my best to engineer a public conversation with Chomsky about the ethics of war, terrorism, state surveillance, and related topics. As readers of the following email exchange will discover, I failed. I’ve decided to publish this private correspondence, with Chomsky’s permission, as a cautionary tale. Clearly, he and I have drawn different lessons from what was, unfortunately, an unpleasant and fruitless encounter. I will let readers draw lessons of their own.

–SH


*  *  *

 

April 26, 2015

From: Sam Harris
To: Noam Chomsky


Noam —

I reached out to you indirectly through Lawrence Krauss and Johann Hari and was planning to leave it at that, but a reader has now sent me a copy of an email exchange in which you were quite dismissive of the prospect of having a “debate” with me. So I just wanted to clarify that, although I think we might disagree substantially about a few things, I am far more interested in exploring these disagreements, and clarifying any misunderstandings, than in having a conventional debate. 



If you’d rather not have a public conversation with me, that’s fine. I can only say that we have many, many readers in common who would like to see us attempt to find some common ground. The fact that you have called me “a religious fanatic” who “worships the religion of the state” makes me think that there are a few misconceptions I could clear up. And many readers insist that I am similarly off-the-mark where your views are concerned.

In any case, my offer stands, if you change your mind.



Best,

Sam

 

April 26, 2015

From: Noam Chomsky
To: Sam Harris


Perhaps I have some misconceptions about you.  Most of what I’ve read of yours is material that has been sent to me about my alleged views, which is completely false.  I don’t see any point in a public debate about misreadings.  If there are things you’d like to explore privately, fine.  But with sources.

 

April 26, 2015

From: Sam Harris
To: Noam Chomsky

Noam —

Thanks for getting back.

Before engaging on this topic, I’d like to encourage you to approach this exchange as though we were planning to publish it. As edifying as it might be to have you correct my misreading of you in private—it would be far better if you did this publicly. It’s not a matter of having a “debate about misreadings”; it’s a matter of allowing our readers to see that conversation on difficult and polarizing topics can occasionally fulfill its ostensible purpose. If I have misread you, and you can show me where I’ve gone wrong, I would want my readers to see my views change in real time. It would be far less desirable for me to simply report that you and I clarified a few things privately, and that I have now changed my mind about X, Y, and Z.

Beyond correcting our misreadings, I think we could have a very interesting conversation about the ethical issues surrounding war, terrorism, the surveillance state, and so forth. I’d be happy to do this entirely by email, or we could speak on the ph ....

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The #Amtrak disaster and America’s crumbling infrastructure - World Socialist Web Site

The #Amtrak disaster and America’s crumbling infrastructure - World Socialist Web Site | News in english | Scoop.it


The #Amtrak disaster and America’s crumbling infrastructure - World Socialist Web Site

Tuesday’s derailment of an Amtrak train on America’s busiest rail route has exposed before the whole world the dilapidated state of infrastructure in the United States.

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#NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to #NSA Contractors #lobbycracy

#NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to #NSA Contractors #lobbycracy | News in english | Scoop.it

#NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to #NSA Contractors #lobbycracy

The Intercept has identified several former government and military officials whose voices have shaped the public discourse around government spying and surveillance issues but whose financial ties to NSA contractors have received little attention. These pundits have played a key role in the public...

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Palestinian youths speak out on #occupation, #corruption - Al-Monitor #israel #Intifada #Palestine

Palestinian youths speak out on #occupation, #corruption - Al-Monitor #israel #Intifada #Palestine | News in english | Scoop.it

Palestinian youths speak out on #occupation, #corruption - Al-Monitor #israel #Intifada #Palestine


Palestinian university students express their despair over a life of humiliation at checkpoints and a lack of credible leadership at home, warning that many of their colleagues are already preparing for an uprising.
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#Texas Pregnant Woman Jailed, Forced To Give Birth In Solitary, Baby Dies In Cell #WichitaCounty #HumanRights #USA

#Texas  Pregnant Woman Jailed, Forced To Give Birth In Solitary, Baby Dies In Cell #WichitaCounty #HumanRights #USA | News in english | Scoop.it

#Texas  Pregnant Woman Jailed, Forced To Give Birth In Solitary, Baby Dies In Cell #WichitaCounty #HumanRights #USA


"When she began to display obvious signs of labor, left [her] unattended in a solitary cell while she was obviously in labor, failed to transport [her] to the hospital for safe delivery, which ultimately caused [her] to deliver her baby alone in the solitary cell, and resulted in [her]...
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