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Earlier, the Federal Network Agency (BNA), declined Nord Stream 2 AG’s request to waive the EU’s Gas Directive on unbundling, network access and cost regulation for the section of the Baltic Sea pipelines off the German coast.
BMA LLC, the Puerto Rican company that two weeks ago filed a lawsuit again Ripple, has accused the BitMEX derivatives exchange of orchestrating the largest financial crime in American history.
The little-known firm, formerly known as Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement and controlled by Pavel Pogodin, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Saturday, alleging that HDR Global Trading, the parent company of BitMEX, perpetrated a vast racketeering conspiracy designed to reap billions in illegal profit.
This plot featured wire fraud, money laundering, unlicensed money transmission, interstate transport of stolen property and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, BMA alleges.
In a statement, an HDR spokesperson said the company was aware of the complaint, “which is clearly rehashed from information culled from the internet,” and that it would be defending itself “vigorously against this spurious claim.”
“BMA has recently emerged as a serial filer of claims against companies operating in the cryptocurrency space, and is widely recognised for operating just like a patent troll,” the statement added. “We will deal with this complaint through a normal litigation process and are entirely confident the court will see the claim for what it is.”
BitMEX’s failure to secure a money transmitter licence and its ties to U.S. customers means it processed $3 billion in illicit finances each day, BMA alleges, “which is the record volume for such unlawful activity in the entire history of the monetary regulation in the United States.”
BMA also alleges BitMEX manipulated the cryptocurrency markets by artificially boosting the price of bitcoin. The exchange allegedly traded against customers, tied its futures indices to illiquid spot market exchanges that it would then manipulate and capitalized on its schemes with staged “technical glitches” that prevented customers from exiting their positions.
Plaintiff fired shots over BitMEX’s 100x leverage trading options and said founder Arthur Hayes was “cryptocurrency’s P.T. Barnum.”
“Describing trading on cryptocurrency as ‘the entertainment business,’ [Hayes] has embraced a role as showman and promoter for the ‘degenerate gamblers he solicits, and encourages speculative trading by flaunting his lavish lifestyle and making bold predictions designed to elicit responses and move the market in a way that is profitable for BitMEX,” BMA claimed in the suit.
BMA and Pogodin have gone after cryptocurrency headliners before. In November BMA targeted FTX on accusations of price manipulation before voluntarily dismissing its case just over a month later.
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J. E. Dyer wrote a piece at Liberty Unyielding and discussed the recent actions related to spying, leaking and unmasking of the Trump campaign and administration. There is speculation that the firm that corrupt John Brennan was the CEO of, before working as CIA Head for Obama, was somehow connected to the leaks and illegal data sharing going on with the Obama administration. Dyer writes:
The NSC staff isn’t the only physical place it [spying] was done. The notorious dust-up at the FBI’s Washington Field Office in March 2016 is a strong data point indicating that the FBI was involved in it, with contractors – people who weren’t government employees – being able to view USPI material. The unauthorized viewing by contractors was a major issue, exposed to the public in Judge Rosemary Collyer’s orders after the FISA court review was released in 2017.
There are other opinions on this, but I believe there is a strong argument that there were two agencies involved in that particular case: the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The exposed contractors were very likely to be individuals from the same company who worked government contracts that that company held with both agencies.
The company is the one John Brennan was president of from 2005 to 2009: The Analysis Corporation. A major reason this hypothesis resonates is that the TAC contract with both agencies is for database maintenance and analysis. (The contracts are still active. They were very long ones, obtained in 2008 and 2009, running into hundreds of millions of dollars.)
The other major reason is that in 2012, Brennan set up the close collaboration of the FBI and NCTC on precisely the data we’re concerned about – USPI – when he was Obama’s counterterrorism czar.
But, again, the NSC staff as the nexus for Obamagate is the key to divining the architecture of what was essentially a syndicate enterprise. The NSC staff has desks and computers manned by most of the major agencies of the U.S. government. A CIA representative working there is “CIA,” in every meaningful sense, but is available for activities that can only be performed from the physical location of the White House complex. The same is true for the DOJ, FBI, State, Treasury, and so forth. Then there are the employees of the Executive Office of the President itself, the core of the NSC staff.
The sheer number of persons said to be on Grenell’s list informs us that the “black book” of this enterprise has been pried out and assembled, computer keystroke by computer keystroke.
CNN reported in 2008 that the Analysis Corporation was busted for improperly looking at passports of presidential candidates:
The CEO of a company [John Brennan] whose employee is accused of improperly looking at the passport files of presidential candidates is a consultant to the Barack Obama campaign, a source said Saturday.
John O. Brennan, president and CEO of the Analysis Corp., advises the Illinois Democrat on foreign policy and intelligence issues, the source said.
The former pharmaceutical executive tapped by President Trump to lead the federal effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine owns stock options worth more than $10 million in a company receiving funding from that same program, Stat News reports. Until his appointment, Dr. Moncef Slaoui was on the board of the company, Moderna, one of the leading companies in the race for a vaccine and the first to enter a vaccine into clinical trials.
Slaoui’s ownership of 156,000 Moderna stock options, disclosed in required federal financial filings, sparked concerns about a conflict of interest. Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren called Slaoui out over the matter on Twitter: “It is a huge conflict of interest for the White House’s new vaccine czar to own $10 million of stock in a company receiving government funding to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Slaoui should divest immediately.”
The company’s shares skyrocketed last month after news broke of the $483 million in federal funding to work on a coronavirus vaccine.
Slaoui could not immediately be reached for comment on the matter.
The former GlaxoSmithKline executive echoed Trump’s rosy projections about the timeline for a vaccine while speaking alongside the president in the Rose Garden on Friday to unveil “Operation Warp Speed,” the White House’s plan to research and manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020.
“Mr. President, I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine,” he said to applause. “These data make me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar offered a different timeframe a short time later, estimating that the vaccine would be ready by January 2021.
Vaccine experts and other members of the White House’s coronavirus task force, meanwhile, have repeatedly warned that it would take a minimum of a year to a year and a half to develop a safe and effective vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has sought to tamper expectations about a quick vaccine since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and although he stood alongside Trump for the announcement of “Operation Warp Speed” on Friday, he was not given time to speak.
Operation Warp Speed—touted by Trump as “a massive scientific industrial and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project”—relies on heavy participation from a host of pharmaceutical companies, several of which are receiving federal funding for their research like Moderna. Slaoui is joined in the project by Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general who will serve as the chief operating officer.
There is no known cure for COVID-19, which is contagious in the extreme, and medical interventions against it like intubation and ventilation are often severe. Public health experts say the greatest hope for returning society to normal is a vaccine that establishes immunity and boxes out the virus.
Trump has faced criticism for minimizing these concerns in public calls to reopen businesses and resume pre-pandemic life, and at one point on Friday he reiterated his belief that the virus will simply “go away,” regardless of whether or not vaccine research comes to fruition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects that 100,000 Americans will die of the virus by June.
Neither Trump nor Slaoui said the vaccine would be made available for free. Trump attempted to offer assurances on the topic of price, saying “The last thing anybody’s looking for is profit.”
But when asked directly if the vaccine would be offered to the public free of charge, he was non-committal, saying only: “We’re looking at that, actually.”
On November 16, 2019, NBC News reported that former Obama Attorney General, Eric Holder, was hired by Microsoft to audit an Israeli company regarding its compliance with Microsoft policies:
Microsoft has hired former United States Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an audit of facial recognition company AnyVision to determine whether it complies with Microsoft’s ethical principles on how the biometric surveillance technology should be used.
Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, invested in AnyVision as part of a $74 million Series A funding round in June. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft stipulated that AnyVision should comply with its six ethical principles to guide its facial recognition work: fairness, transparency, accountability, nondiscrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance.
The last principle states, “We will advocate for safeguards for people’s democratic freedoms in law enforcement surveillance scenarios and will not deploy facial recognition technology in scenarios that we believe will put these freedoms at risk.”
AnyVision, headquartered in Israel, sells an “advanced tactical surveillance” software system, Better Tomorrow. It lets customers identify individuals and objects in any live camera feed, such as a security camera or smartphone, and then track targets as they move between different feeds.
NBC News reported in October that according to five sources familiar with the matter, AnyVision’s technology has powered a secret military surveillance project that has monitored Palestinians in the West Bank. The project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel’s top defense price [prize] in 2018 for preventing “hundreds of terror attacks” using “large amounts of data.”
On March 31 it was reported that Holder’s audit of AnyVision was over and the company received a clean audit result confirming there was no indication AnyVision had violated Microsoft’s facial recognition pledge. Regardless, Microsoft divested of its investment in the firm at that time:
Covington & Burling has completed its audit of the Israeli facial recognition specialist AnyVision. The audit was carried out at the request of Microsoft in an effort to determine whether or not AnyVision’s technology was being used in a mass surveillance scheme of Palestinians in the West Bank, as had been alleged in a series of media reports in late 2019.
Microsoft was a minority investor in AnyVision, and had asked the company to sign the Microsoft Global Finance Portfolio Company Pledge on Facial Recognition before that deal was finalized. A mass surveillance program would represent a breach of that pledge. Microsoft has consistently advocated for oversight and the ethical use of facial recognition, and has previously refused to sell the technology to law enforcement agencies and to government organizations that plan to use it for purposes of mass surveillance.
The AnyVision audit was carried out by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. His team did not find evidence to support the allegations about a mass surveillance program in the West Bank, and concluded that AnyVision had not violated its facial recognition pledge. However, AnyVision did acknowledge that its technology has been deployed at border checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel.
However, we have obtained information that this was not the case – Holder’s team had obtained information that supported the allegations about a mass surveillance program in the West Bank and therefore AnyVision had violated its facial recognition pledge.
On November 20th, 2019, an individual from Microsoft emailed an individual with AnyVision and stated that Microsoft had sent HB [Hebron system – screenshots below] to the C&B [Covington Law firm] reviewer. The emailer went on to state that “Legal instructed us to deny any surveillance activity and high FDRs. [False Detection Rates] They also told us to delete all of the content from our systems.”:
Here are screenshots below showing AnyVision was targeting certain individuals:
Eric Holder’s Covington team was provided information from Microsoft that showed that AnyVision was surveiling individuals in the West Bank. AnyVision also denied any FDR’s. Instead of reporting this as a breach to the Microsoft agreement for facial recognition, Holder’s team decided to claim they had no evidence of wrongdoing. It appears this was not the case.
A new and alarming report by the New York Times that US government experts expect daily Covid-19 infections and deaths to skyrocket over the next month as America reopens has been challenged by the White House as unfounded.
New coronavirus infections are projected to reach 200,000 a day by June 1, from about 25,000 currently, and daily deaths are expected to go from 1,750 now to 3,000 or so, according to the document made public by the Times on Monday.
Described as “an internal document” obtained by the paper, the 19-slide PowerPoint presentation is attributed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and bears the seals of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (DHS).
The projections “confirm the primary fear of public health experts” that reopening America would take it back to the situation in mid-March where “patients were dying on gurneys in hospital hallways as the healthcare system grew overloaded,” said the New York Times report.
To give voice to these unnamed experts, the Times quoted Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, from an interview to CBS on Sunday.
“While mitigation didn’t fail, I think it’s fair to say that it didn’t work as well as we expected,” Gottlieb said. He resigned in March 2019 to rejoin the private sector, where he currently sits on the board of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, among other things.
White House spokesman Judd Deere challenged the paper’s reporting, however, saying that the presentation it is based on “is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting.”
“This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed,” Deere tweeted, arguing that the White House guidelines for lifting the lockdowns are a “scientific driven approach that the top health and infectious disease experts in the federal government agreed with.”
This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the task force or gone through interagency vetting. This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the Coronavirus Task Force or data that the task force has analyzed. #COVID19https://t.co/mTK0724Mzp
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) May 4, 2020
As of Monday, some 1.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and over 68,000 have died. Meanwhile, more than 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits as much of the country has been ordered to shelter at home.
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