Connect with us

News

British Police Identify Russian Suspects In Nerve Agent Attack On Skripals

Published

on

British police have identified several Russians who they believe were behind the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the Press Association reported Thursday, citing a source close to the investigation.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.

Britain blamed Russia for the poisonings and identified the poison as Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.

After analyzing closed-circuit television, police think several Russians were involved in the attack on the Skripals, who spent weeks in the hospital before being spirited to a secret location, Press Association reported.

“Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack,” the unidentified source close to the investigation said, according to PA.

“They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian,” said the source, adding security camera images had been cross checked with records of people who entered the country.

A police spokesman declined to comment on the report.

After the attack on the Skripals, allies in Europe and the United States sided with Britain’s view of the attack and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

Russia retaliated by expelling Western diplomats. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

The motive for attacking Skripal, an aged Russian traitor who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using of an exotic nerve agent that has such overt links to Russia’s Soviet past.

A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died this month after coming across a small bottle containing Novichok near the city of Salisbury where the Skripals were struck down. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, is still in the hospital.

A British police officer was also injured by Novichok while attending to the Skripals in March.

This Content Is Republished From Voice Of America With Written Permission

Terrorism

Accused Domestic Terrorist Lt. Christopher Hasson Indicted On Charges, Plotted To Kill Top Democrats, Media Figures

Published

on

By

A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested Wednesday in Maryland and accused of plotting to kill top Democrats and members of the media was denied bail by a judge.

Lt. Christopher Hasson was denied bail by U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day after a federal prosecutor told the court that drug and gun charges brought against Hasson were “just the tip of the iceberg,” while characterizing the lieutenant as a “domestic terrorist,” according to The Associated Press.

The case was first uncovered by Seamus Hughes, a former Senate counterterrorism advisor who now works with the George Washington University Program on Extremism, which provides “analysis and policy solutions on radicalization, terrorism and extremism.” You can learn more about the GWUPoE and Hughes’ work here. Hughes, the program’s deputy director, has revealed details on several cases involving American extremism and terrorism, often finding the information in federal court documents before the media. Federal authoroties did not release a press release or statement on the case prior to Hughes’ tweets on February 20 about the arrest.

Day reportedly told prosecutors at the bail hearing Thursday that he would revisit his decision in 134 days if federal prosecutors do not bring more serious charges against Hasson by the deadline.

Prosecutors argued Thursday that Hasson “identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for ‘focused violence’ in order to establish a white homeland” in emails to a neo-Nazi leader, according to the AP. Hasson’s public defender insisted that his gun collection represented a “modest, at best” gun collection.

christopher hasson list

The public defender also argued that Hasson’s use of a government work computer to research terrorists such as Anders Breivik and compile a spreadsheet of Democrats including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not amount to threats or intent to harm anyone.

Others on the spreadsheet included CNN’s Chris Cuomo and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Hasson had also searched for revealing phrases on his computer, according to prosecutors, such as “do senators have [Secret Service] protection.”

“It is not a crime to think negative thoughts about people,” Julie Stelzig told the court, according to the AP.

Federal prosecutors said in court documents that Christopher Hasson was inspired in building his list by the writings of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, who wrote in his manifesto about the traitors he was targeting. According to prosecutors, the list is “consistent with the directions in the Breivik manifesto,” which divided targets into categories A, B or C:

This classification system is used to identify various individual cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors. The intention of the system is to easier identify priority targets and will also serve as the foundation for the future ‘Nuremberg trials’ once the European cultural conservatives reassert political and military control of any given country. Any category A, B or C traitor is an individual who has deliberately used his or her influence in a way which makes him or her indirectly or directly guilty of the charges specified in this document: 1-8. Many of these individuals will attempt to claim ‘ignorance’ of the crimes they are accused of

According to Breivik’s system, category A was the “most influential and high profile traitors,” including political leaders, media leaders and cultural leaders.

Hasson had searched for “most liberal senators,” “do senators have [secret service] protection,” and searched for Scarborough after seeing a headline in which the MSNBC host claimed Trump to be “the worst ever” president. He also looked up where the host’s show, “Morning Joe,” is filmed, along with his home, prosecutors said.

Previously an aircraft mechanic for the Marines, Hasson was arrested Wednesday with 15 guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition at his Silver Spring apartment.

“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” prosecutors said Wednesday upon his arrest. “He must be detained pending trial.” [The Hill / Heavy]

Read the detention memeorandum released earlier Thursday, after Hasson’s court hearing.

Continue Reading

Teachers' Strike

Oakland Teachers Go On Strike Over Classroom Conditions, Pay, and Other Issues

Published

on

By

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Teachers in Oakland, California, went on strike Thursday, part of a national wave of discontent by educators over classroom conditions, pay and other issues. Recent walkouts have taken place in West Virginia, Los Angeles and Denver.

The city’s 3,000 teachers want a 12-percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020 to compensate for what they say are the among the lowest salaries for public school teachers in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. They also want the district to hire more counselors to support students and more full-time nurses.

Kindergarten teacher Kaki Blackburn, 30, was among dozens picketing outside Manzanita Community School with signs saying “On strike For a Living Wage.”

Blackburn, who has 29 kids in her class, said her main concerns were class size and wages. She said her salary makes it impossible to afford an apartment on her own.

“There’s no way I’d be able to live here without a roommate,” she said. “This is not what I went to Brown University to get a master’s for.”

The union leader said the educators were forced to strike because administrators did not listen to their demands for two years.

“For two years we have been negotiating with the Oakland Unified School District to make our students a priority over outside consultants and central office administrators,” said Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown.

The district initially offered a 5 percent raise covering 2017 to 2020, saying it is squeezed by rising costs and a budget crisis.

In negotiations Wednesday aimed at averting a strike, the district increased its proposal to a 7 percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus. The offer went higher than the recommendation of an independent fact-finding report that suggested a compromise 6 percent retroactive raise.

But union officials rejected the offer.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said school administrators hope to get a counter proposal from the union when negotiations resume Friday.

“We haven’t heard any proposal since last May so we’re hoping they have something for us when we meet tomorrow,” Sasaki said.

Teachers have been working without a contract since 2017 and have said their salaries have not kept up with the cost of living.

A starting salary in the district is $46,500 a year and the average salary is $63,000, according to the union. In neighboring Berkeley, a starting teacher makes $51,000 a year and the average salary is $75,000, the union said.

The walkout affects 36,000 students at 86 schools.

The district said schools would remain open, staffed by non-union employees and substitute teachers. However, parents should not expect teaching as usual, it said.

Manzanita Principal Eyana Spencer said 14 of the school’s 450 students turned up for school Thursday and were placed in one classroom to play games.

Nearly 600 teachers left their jobs at Oakland public schools last year, according to the union, which has said the district cannot retain teachers or attract experienced new teachers.

The union has also called for the district to scrap plans to close as many as 24 schools that serve primarily African-American and Latino students. The union fears further students will be lost to charter schools that drain more than $57 million a year from the district.

Recent strikes across the nation have built on a wave of teacher activism that began last spring. Unions for West Virginia teachers, who staged a nine-day walkout last year, ended another two-day strike Wednesday. Last week, teachers in Denver ended a three-day walkout after reaching a tentative deal raising their wages.

Teachers in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, staged a six-day strike last month that ended when they settled on a 6-percent raise with promises of smaller class sizes and the addition of nurses and counselors.

Continue Reading

News

Trump Administration Wants California To Pay Back Billions For Bullet Train

Published

on

By

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Trump administration plans to cancel $929 million in U.S. money for California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project and wants the state to return an additional $2.5 billion it’s already spent.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announcement Tuesday came after threats from President Donald Trump to make California pay back the money awarded to build the train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The project has faced cost overruns and years of delays.

The Trump administration argues California hasn’t provided required matching dollars and can’t complete work by a 2022 deadline.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and California rail officials didn’t immediately comment.

Last week, Newsom said the rail project “as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long.” He wants to refocus on building a line in central California.

Continue Reading

Popular

Copyright © 2018 News This Second