A group of 33 Haitian citizens who recently apprehended for attempting to sail to the U.S. and illegally enter were deported Friday to face possible prosecution back home for drugs that were found aboard the boat they commandeered, according to the Coast Guard.
The Department of Homeland Security agency said Friday Coast Guard Cutter Spencer spotted a 25-foot-long motor boat in the water about 35 miles north of Tortuga, Haiti, early Monday. The Boston-based ship deployed a small crew to inspect the suspicious boat.
While on the way to the boat, the guardsmen noticed six softball-sized bundles floating in the water about 300 feet from the boat. The packages were seized and later tested positive for marijuana.
Once at the boat, the guardsmen found 27 adult Haitian men and six Haitian women, as well as three more packages of marijuana and one of amphetamines. The narcotics all tested positive.
All 33 migrants were taken into custody aboard the Coast Guard ship and given food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention, the agency said.
A Coast Guard spokeswoman in the Miami office said they have encountered several groups this size in recent months.
“The Coast Guard diligently patrols the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea to ensure the safety of life at sea and the security of the United States,” Lt. Cmdr. James Hodges, District 7 response officer, said in a statement. “Neither illegal migration nor drug smuggling will be tolerated, and the Coast Guard will continue to enforce federal laws while maintaining a strong presence out on the water.”
The drugs were seized and destroyed by the Coast Guard.
Americans are in danger of ignoring casual lies by President Trump, making him a bigger threat in a sense than Russian actors trying to interfere in U.S. elections, according to former FBI Director James Comey.
“I’m sure Russia is engaged in efforts to undermine all manner of American institutions, but the president of the United States tweets lies about those institutions nearly every day,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation event near San Francisco. “He does it so often that we’ve become numb to it. And there’s danger in that numbness.”
Trump fired Comey in May 2017 over what he later said was an effort to shut down a probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Since then, the president has regularly targeted Comey for criticism over Twitter.
“I wake up some mornings and the president’s tweeted I should be in jail. You know what I do? I laugh and I go, ‘Oh, there he goes again.’ I don’t follow him on Twitter, so I only see it if one of you retweets it. But I laugh. And that laughing is dangerous.”
Comey also disputed Attorney General William Barr’s claim that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t understand what the heck he’s talking about,” Comey said. “But when I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as ‘spying.’”
Buttigieg delivers a short and punchy stump speech, heavy on Democratic catechism — the sanctity of Medicare, support for universal healthcare and legalized abortion, fighting climate change, reining in corporate political influence — but one largely devoid of specifics, beyond eliminating the electoral college in favor of a popular vote for president.
LONDON (AP) — What is expected to be an epic legal and political battle over whether to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. began to take shape, with Britain’s opposition Labour Party urging the government Friday not to hand the WikiLeaks founder over to the Americans.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that the U.S. is prosecuting Assange because he exposed “evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Diane Abbott, Labour’s spokeswoman for domestic affairs, said the case is about the “embarrassment of the things he’s revealed about the American military and security services.”
On Thursday, British authorities dragged the 47-year-old Australian native from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had taken refuge for nearly seven years, and U.S. authorities announced charges against him of conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer.
The politicization of the case reflects the clashing views of Assange as either a heroic whistleblower standing up to the mighty United States or a willing stooge who helped the Russians boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by publishing emails that embarrassed his rival, Hillary Clinton.
The battle to fend off extradition could take years and involve several layers of appeal. Assange could also face a second extradition request if Sweden decides to pursue a rape case against him that was dropped in 2017, when he was holed up in the embassy, beyond the reach of the law.
His arrest became possible after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, complaining among other things that he was a messy and disruptive houseguest.
If found guilty of the U.S. charges, Assange could get five years in prison. His next court appearance was set for May 2 via a prison video link.
Extradition lawyer Ben Keith said the court will not assess the evidence against Assange to determine his guilt or innocence but will scrutinize whether the offense he is accused of in the U.S. would be a crime in Britain.
“The most likely outcome is that he will be extracted to the United States,” he said.
Britain is bound by law not to extradite a suspect to a country where he or she could face execution for the crime, but that’s not the case here.
Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, stressed when he revoked Assange’s asylum that he had received assurances from Britain that Assange would not be exposed to capital punishment.
If Sweden also makes an extradition request, it would be up to Britain’s Home Secretary to determine which would take priority. Typically the first request made — in this case, the U.S. one — would be acted on first, but officials have some leeway, Keith said.
If Assange loses in extradition court, he could appeal several times and ultimately try to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the UK government should not extradite Julian Assange to the US, where he faces a computer hacking charge.
The Wikileaks co-founder was arrested for a separate charge at Ecuador’s London embassy on Thursday, where he had been granted asylum since 2012.
Mr Corbyn said Assange should not be extradited “for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s leader expressed anger at how Assange had behaved.
Australian-born Assange, 47, sought refuge in the Knightsbridge embassy seven years ago, to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped. But Ecuador abruptly withdrew its asylum and invited the police to arrest Assange on Thursday.
After his dramatic arrest, he was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court and found guilty of a British charge of breaching bail. He spent Thursday night in custody and is facing up to 12 months in prison for that conviction.
The Met said it cost an estimated £13.2m to police Ecuador’s London embassy between June 2012 and October 2015, when the force withdrew the physical presence of officers.
The Swedish authorities are now considering whether to reopen an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault, which Assange denies.
The US government has also charged him with allegations of conspiracy to break into a computer, relating to a massive leak of classified US government documents. The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, and if he was convicted, he could face up to five years in jail.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “this is all about Wikileaks and all of that embarrassing information about the activities of the American military and security services that was made public”.
But she said Assange should also face the criminal justice system if the Swedish government charged him.
Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange into 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations – a necessary step in proceeding with the case – while he remained in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Assange battle ‘now political’
In a tweet, Mr Corbyn shared a video said to be of Pentagon footage – which had been released by Wikileaks – of a 2007 air strike which implicated US military in the killing of civilians and two journalists.
The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale said backing Assange is not without political risk and will not find universal favour among Labour MPs – but Mr Corbyn’s intervention “means the battle over Assange’s future will now be as much political as it is legal”.
The editor of Wikileaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, has expressed fears that the US could file more serious charges against Assange, and that if he was convicted he could be behind bars for “decades”.
Mr Hrafnsson added that Assange had been thrown “overboard” by Ecuador – and the country was “horrible” to treat him like that.
‘He was a problem’
Meanwhile in Ecuador, President Lenin Moreno criticised Assange, claiming that after spending seven years in the country’s embassy he had dismissed Ecuador by describing it as an insignificant country.
“We had treated him as a guest,” he said. “But not anymore.”
Ecuador’s ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, also previously said Assange had been “continually a problem” while he was living in the embassy.
Meanwhile, a man who is alleged to have links with Assange has been arrested while trying to leave Ecuador, the country’s officials said.
The man – who has been identified by supporters as a Swedish software developer called Ola Bini – had been trying to board a flight to Japan.
Assange is due to face a hearing over his possible extradition to the US on 2 May.
During a briefing at the White House following Assange’s arrest, US President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he stood by remarks that he made during his election campaign when he said he loved Wikileaks.
“I know nothing about Wikileaks,” said Mr Trump. “It’s not my thing.”
He added: “I’ve been seeing what happened with Assange and that will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who’s doing an excellent job.”
Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said they would be fighting the extradition request. She said it set a “dangerous precedent” where any journalist could face US charges for “publishing truthful information about the United States”.
She said she had visited Assange in the police cells where he thanked supporters and said: “I told you so.”
Assange had predicted that he would face extradition to the US if he left the embassy.
Meanwhile, Australia said it had received a request for consular assistance after Assange was taken from the embassy.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Assange will not get “special treatment” and will have to “make his way through whatever comes his way in terms of the justice system”.
The arrest was welcomed by the government on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons: “This goes to show that in the UK, no-one is above the law.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the arrest was the result of “years of careful diplomacy” and that it was “not acceptable” for someone to “escape facing justice”.
Assange set up Wikileaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.
The organisation hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website. She said she only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.
She was found guilty by a court martial in 2013 of charges including espionage. However, her jail sentence was later commuted.
Manning was recently jailed for refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks’ role in revealing the secret files.
JULIAN Assange’s dating profile from 2006 has been unearthed – where he branded himself a “pig-headed intellectual” and “87 per cent slut”.
The then 36-year-old created the profile on OkCupid in December, shortly after launching infamous WikiLeaks, the site that would land him fame and finally arrest.
Assange is now facing decades in prison after he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in a dramatic arrest in London last night.
He’s expected to face charges in the US after prosecutors filed for his extradition over the WikiLeaks scandal.
After seven years in hiding, this dramatic shift has unearthed a multitude of dirt on the hack’s life, the latest being his dating profile.
In it he writes: “WARNING: Want a regular, down to earth guy? Keep moving. I am not the droid you’re looking for. Save us both while you still can.
“Passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.
“Such a woman should [be] spirited and playful, of high intelligence, though not necessarily formally educated, have spunk, class & inner strength and be able to think strategically about the world and the people she cares about.”
LOOKING FOR LOVE
The unusual relationship request is accompanied by five photographs resembling Assange, the main one being a close-up smiling picture.
It’s captioned: “The author, facing the rising sun after an all puzzle contest.”
Confirming the validity of the profile, OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagan said: “This is real, as best we can tell.
“We have manual and automatic systems in place to prevent fraud. We can tell when a profile is created, from where — and we’re not going to say.
“If the profile is a ruse, then whoever did it went to elaborate lengths. And if someone faked this in 2006, that person has done an amazing job predicting the future.”
This is real, as best we can tell
The bizarre revelation was made on blog Frugal Brutal Beauty in 2010.
Assange goes under the name ‘Harry Harrison’, the pen name of an American author of science-fiction books whose protagonist, “Slippery Jim,” is a globetrotting con man.
‘Harry’ was extremely active during his first month on the site, according to Yagan, completing 42 personalty tests. Most members only complete one, if any.
Although his specific answers aren’t available, it is possible to see the results, which included:
- The Politics Test: Strong Democrat
- The Death Test: Dead at 83
- The Intellectual Sexiness Test: 85 intellectual sexiness!
- The Atheist Test: 75 per cent – The Ardent Atheist
- The EXTREMELY advanced MATH Test: 84 on the MathDorkOMeter
In addition, Harrison answered the site’s “match questions,” which show that he’s 27 per cent more arrogant, 12.3 per cent kinkier and 10.5 per cent “less capitalistic” than OkCupid’s seven million members.
Yagan admits Assange’s profile attracted “several” responses.
A hairy and dishevelled Assange spent 2,487 days holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid sex assault claims in Sweden claims.
He feared being sent to the States – where he was wanted over an alleged hacking conspiracy with whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
During that time his health has deteriorated as a result of a lack of sunlight, a Wikileaks source told the Mirror.
In court yesterday, the 47-year-old was blasted a “narcissist who can’t get beyond his own self interest” as he was found guilty of skipping bail in 2012 – relating to his time at the embassy.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
- Julian Assange found guilty of skipping bail in UK and could face a year in jail
- He was arrested after 2,487 days holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – costing taxpayers more than £10m
- Assange went into hiding in August 2012 to avoid facing extradition to Sweden over sex assault and rape allegations
- He is also wanted in US for on suspicion of espionage and publication of sensitive government documents
- Assange fears he could face death penalty if extradited to US over WikiLeaks scandal
- Ecuadorian President said Assange’s release dependent on not facing extradition to country with death penalty
- Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said “UK courts will decide” his future
- It’s been revealed Assange staged ‘dirty protests’ while in Ecuador’s embassy
Fury as Diane Abbott defends Assange saying, ‘It’s not about rape charges’
Revolting Assange faces DECADES in US prison after being dragged from embassy
THE SUN SAYS
You think our nation is humiliated now? Wait until MPs revoke Article 50
From Chelsea Manning to Macron’s emails, a decade of revelations by Wikileaks
Assange was arrested after ‘smearing POO on the walls of Ecuadorian Embassy’
He now faces a battle against extradition to the US where he was today charged over the Iraq War Logs.
Swedish lawyers want to reopen the sex allegations which first sent Assange into hiding – a move which has cost the British taxpayer more than £10m.
He will now learn his fate at Southwark Crown Court on May 2.
A top House Democrat said Friday the White House’s reported plan to get back at Democrats by transporting all released asylum seekers into sanctuary cities is proof the Trump administration’s approach to immigration policy is political and not about national security.
“The fact that this idea was even considered — not once but twice — serves as a reminder that the Trump Administration’s reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in a statement.
Thompson said the administration’s various immigration policy reforms “are all terrible.” The White House has introduced a travel ban of citizens from select countries primarily in the Middle East, and a “zero tolerance” initiative that led to families being separated at the border, and others.
“If the Administration wants to send a message to Democrats, let us send this message to the President: if your immigration policies are not fixing the problem but only cause chaos and focus on keeping people out, they will always fail. Playing politics with the country’s homeland security has been a mainstay of the Trump Administration since day one. The American people want it to end,” he said.
A Thursday report said White House officials asked officials at several federal agencies in November to look into turning over families who had illegally entered the country, and were seeking asylum, to be released in small and mid-size cities where local Democratic leaders had refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
“Sanctuary cities,” as they referred to, provide safety to immigrants who have committed additional crimes while in the U.S. by not honoring a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to detain a person for them after his legal proceedings for that crime have concluded.
The Trump administration has railed over the policy, saying it protects suspected and convicted criminals from being handed over to ICE in a safe environment and forces agents to go into the community to find wanted criminals.
Thousands of Twitter accounts known as “bots” targeted Bernie Sanders supporters to rally support for the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election after Sanders’ loss to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Researchers at Clemson University collaborated with the Washington Post on a report that found tens of thousands of tweets sent from bot accounts controlled by Russian agents drew parallels between the populist, working-class messages of the Trump campaign and that of Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.
“#BlackMenForBernie Leader Switches to Trump! I will Never Vote for Hillary, Welcome aboard the Trump Train,” said one tweet sent by a Russian bot. The account described itself as a “Southern., Conservative Pro God, Anti Racism” Twitter user from Texas.
Another Russian bot, called “Red Louisiana News,” tweeted: “Conscious Bernie Sanders supporters already moving towards the best candidate Trump! #Feel the Bern #Vote Trump 2016.”
In an effort to have Sanders’ supporters defect from Clinton’s Democratic Party, the bots also highlighted questionable tactics Sanders’ supporters claimed took place in order to rig the Democratic nomination process for Clinton.
“I think there is no question that Sanders was central to their strategy. He was clearly used as a mechanism to decrease voter turnout for Hillary Clinton,” said Darren Linvill, researcher and Clemson University associate professor of communications.
The analyzed tweets “give us a much clearer understanding of the tactics they were using. It was certainly a higher volume than people thought.”
Nearly 12% of voters who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary crossed party lines and voted for Trump in the general election, according to a post-election survey by NPR. The numbers are particularly stark in light of Trump’s upsets in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which clinched the election for him.
Last month, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees, briefing them of the “principal conclusions” in Mueller’s Russia investigation. The summary said the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Luke O’Neil advocated for waiters at restaurants to tamper with the food of Trump administration officials he dislikes.
The Globe quickly took down the column, “Keep Kirstjen Nielsen unemployed and eating Grubhub over her kitchen sink,” referring to the recently ousted Department of Homeland Security secretary.
“As for the waiters out there, I’m not saying you should tamper with anyone’s food, as that could get you into trouble,” O’Neil wrote. “You might lose your serving job. But you’d be serving America. And you won’t have any regrets years later.”
Republicans pounced on the piece with criticism, forcing the Globe to edit it multiple times before finally pulling it.
Herman Cain, one of President Trump’s two picks for the Federal Reserve Board, tweeted, “Who makes the editorial decisions at the Boston Globe?”
O’Neil hit back at the Globe Thursday for taking his piece down.
“Absolute brain genius move by the Globe to edit my story three times then take it down altogether and put up a note saying I’m not on staff instead of perhaps standing by a long time contributor and siding with labor instead of bad faith critics who would hate them no matter what,” O’Neil said on Twitter.
O’Neil added to the Washington Post “I will never write for them again.”