“There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is a dangerous activity.”—Hannah Arendt

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Voting machine company Smartmatic, which is suing Fox News and former President Donald Trump's top allies over their claims that the company's machines facilitated cheating in the 2020 US election, has been accused as uncharged co-conspirators in a bribery scheme in the Philippines.

According to court documents revealed by CNN, the Department of Justice has filed money laundering charges against former Filipino election administrator, Andres Bautista, who has been accused - along with unnamed Smartmatic executives - of illegal financial transactions.

The accusations levied against Smartmatic suggest attempts to funnel $4 million to Bautista, adding fuel to the allegations surrounding the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, and the lawsuits filed by Smartmatic against Fox News and former President Trump's allies.

The new allegations further complicate Smartmatic's defamation suits against various pro-Trump figures and media organizations, who have sought to underscore Smartmatic's ties to Venezuela and its involvement in foreign elections as defense in their ongoing legal battles.

Smartmatic has sued Fox News as part of a $2.7 billion lawsuit, in which they have demanded a full retraction and apology from the network.

According to Smartmatic spokeswoman Samira Saba, the Florida-based company "has never won a project through any illegal means," and that the claims in the Bautista case are "not related to Smartmatic election security or integrity."

Posted on: Sep 26 07:53

Speculation that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may leave the Democratic Party could turn President Joe Biden's 2024 nightmare reelection scenario into a reality.

Kennedy was asked by a voter at a town hall in North Charleston, South Carolina, this month whether he'd launch an independent bid for the White House. Although he has said he's determined to keep his ties to the party long associated with the Kennedy clan, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy didn't rule out anything.

"They're trying to make sure that I can't participate at all in the political process, and so I'm going to keep all my options open," Kennedy said of the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats worry that a third-party candidate in a general election will pull votes away from Biden, who is facing low approval ratings, and help elect the eventual Republican nominee in 2024. The same concerns were expressed after Cornel West announced he would run as a Green Party candidate. And now the fears are growing as Biden remains neck-and-neck with the leading GOP contender, former President Donald Trump, in hypothetical matchups.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:52

Burger King is facing calls for a boycott after the burger chain stopped advertising on Rumble over controversy involving Russell Brand.

On Friday, the News Movement reported that several big-dollar brands pulled advertisements from Rumble — including Burger King, HelloFresh, and Asos — because the company chose not to demonetize Brand, who is facing accusations of sexual assault.

The companies appeared to take action after the news outlet informed the companies that their ads were appearing on Brand's Rumble content.

"Burger King has paused all advertising on the channel while investigations into the allegations are ongoing," Burger King told the News Movement.

The decision to pull advertisements led to outrage on social media and demands for a Burger King boycott.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:51

Famed for the top-secret Manhattan Project, Los Alamos is set to play host to the most ambitious nuclear weapons effort since the end of WWII.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has apparently hired 3,300 workers over the past two years in its effort to produce plutonium cores — a key component of nuclear weapons, per the Associated Press.

The workforce at the Los Alamos lab has now exceeded 17,270. More than half of them commute to work from other locations in northern New Mexico. The small community of Los Alamos nearly doubles during the work week, when all of the lab's employees are there.

Though various advancements in technology have changed the way work is done within the walls of Los Alamos National Laboratory, there are fundamental elements that have remained the same since WWII, such as the secrecy and sense of national duty.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:51

Not all illegal aliens are entering the U.S. along the southern or northern border, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.  

Over the past year, “more than 200,000 people from four countries” used a direct-flight parole program to enter the United States illegally, says Todd Bensman, senior national security fellow at the Washington-based think tank devoted to researching immigration issues.  

Those 221,456 illegal aliens are from Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, Bensman writes in a report published Thursday.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA, Bensman says, he learned of the federal government’s “CBP One” mobile application parole program, which “permits inadmissible aliens to make an appointment to fly directly to airports in the interior of the United States, bypassing the border altogether.”  

Posted on: Sep 26 07:48

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is calling for the GOP to focus on winning some policies rather than squabbling over budget items.

During an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, Jordan noted that there’s less than a week until the government funding deadline. The House has only introduced four appropriations bills to establish the government’s budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. There are eight more that have yet to move forward.

The Ohio Republican also suggested possibly including something in a spending bill that may eliminate or reduce funding for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s operation.

“Well, there’s been, there’s been a fight over the number. What level we’re actually going to fund at? Look, I want to reduce spending too. I know what the debt problem is. But in a divided government, there’s been a number that’s agreed on to fund the government,” Jordan said.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:48

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has speculated that Michelle Obama will be the Democrat Party’s 2024 nominee.

Palin asserted that Joe Biden is “out.”

“Don’t be surprised. But I still say it’ll be Michelle O’ #2024Election. Biden’s out,” Palin wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The former governor was responding to a viral post sharing political author Greg Rubini’s theory that California Governor Gavin Newsom will be installed as the Democrat candidate.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:47

The British Ministry of Defense has admitted that hundreds of UK Army tanks and armored vehicles could contain asbestos, a potentially hazardous material banned in the UK. Some of those tanks have likely been sent to Ukraine.

Over 2,000 pieces of equipment, including Challenger 2 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and Bulldog personnel carriers, belonging to the British Armed Forces may have asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), according to the nation's Defense Ministry.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that are resistant to fire and corrosion. It is also an excellent thermal and electrical insulator. However, when asbestos materials become damaged, tiny fibers could get stuck in the lungs, leading to asbestosis – a scarring of the lung tissue – and mesothelioma, a type of cancer.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:31

As much as 25 percent of pharmacy chain Rite Aid's retail footprint could disappear in the coming days as one of the top 10 largest pharmacies in the United States negotiates with creditors over a chapter 11 bankruptcy plan that The Wall Street Journal says "would substantially shrink [Rite Aid's] operational footprint."

If all goes as requested by the company, Rite Aid will shutter between 400 and 500 of its U.S. locations. The company will also either sell or let creditors take over its remaining operations, though no final decision has yet been made.

The Philadelphia-based pharmacy chain currently faces more than $3.3 billion in debt and more than 1,000 federal lawsuits claiming it oversupplied the country with deadly opioid pharmaceuticals.

Rite Aid currently operates more than 2,330 stores in 17 states, which though it may sound like a lot, is substantially less than the footprints of rivals CVS Health and Walgreens.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:29

Several Bay Area health agencies in California announced last week that mandatory masking would return to hospitals and health care settings for the fall and winter months.

Contra Costa, Sonoma, Alameda, and San Mateo counties issued mask orders for health care staff in hospitals and other care facilities. The orders start on Nov. 1 and last until April 30, 2024, officials said, citing recent increases in COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory viruses that are typically commonplace during the colder months.

Each year we see that higher rates of influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses that can cause severe respiratory infections occur annually between late fall and spring,” Dr. Karen Smith, the Sonoma County interim health officer, said in a statement last week.

Contra Costa Health Services CEO Anna Roth told the county's board of supervisors last week that the mandate will be enacted, according to local media reports.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:25

The Biden administration on Monday announced a $2 billion loan for Poland that will go toward modernizing Warsaw’s military.

“Today, the United States is proud to announce the signing of a milestone $2 billion Foreign Military Financing (FMF) direct loan agreement to support Poland’s defense modernization,” the State Department said in a press release.

The State Department said the US would also provide $60 million in FMF funds to cover the cost of the loan. The press release described Warsaw as a “stalwart US ally” as Poland has become a major hub for arms shipments to Ukraine and spends more on its military than most European NATO members.

“In addition to its central support role in facilitating international assistance to neighboring Ukraine, Poland has demonstrated its ironclad commitment to strengthening regional security through its robust investments in defense spending,” the State Department said.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:24

In defiance of international norms and rules, U.S. officials are laying claim to the large oceanic area in the central Pacific Ocean that is home to the compact states.

Now that they are renewing the economic provisions of the compacts of free association with Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, U.S. officials are insisting that the compacts provide the United States with exclusive control over an area of the central Pacific Ocean that is comparable in size to the United States.

“We control essentially the northern half of the Pacific between Hawaii and Philippines,” U.S. special envoy Joseph Yun told Congress in July.

For decades, the United States has overseen compacts of free association with Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Under the compacts, the United States provides the three countries with economic assistance while it maintains powerful military controls over the islands and their waters.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:24

A senior US official told The Washington Post that the Biden administration is not pressuring Ukraine to hold elections, while some Western officials do want to see a wartime vote.

“We’re not pushing them to have an election,” the unnamed official said. The Post report said that the Biden administration was “sympathetic” to the logistical obstacles to holding a vote, which includes the fact that millions of Ukrainian refugees are in Europe.

The administration’s position runs counter to its rhetoric about the war, which it has framed as a battle for democracy. Ukraine’s constitution prohibits elections during martial law, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed an openness to holding elections if the West foots the bill.

Zelensky made the comments last month after receiving a visit from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). According to the Post, the senators pressed Zelensky on holding elections, an idea initially floated by Tiny Kox, a Dutch politician serving as the head of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:23

A report from 60 Minutes that aired Sunday detailed how US taxpayer dollars are not only funding weapons in Ukraine but are also subsidizing small businesses and paying first responders salaries, among other things.

While the bulk of US support for Ukraine has gone toward military aid, the US has also provided tens of billions of dollars in a form of assistance known as direct budgetary aid.

According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), budgetary aid “keeps basic government services like hospitals, schools, and utilities running, and it sustains support for emergency responders and firefighters.” According to the 60 Minutes report, the US aid pays for the salaries of all 57,000 of Ukraine’s first responders.

Webmaster addition: Meanwhile, here in the US, small business bankruptcies are going through the roof!

Posted on: Sep 26 07:22

Four American advanced fighter jets arrived in Romania and will begin conducting patrols over the Black Sea region, according to NATO. The deployment comes as Washington wages a proxy war against Moscow in Ukraine that has stretched into the Black Sea. 

Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White announced the arrival of F-16s on Friday. “I welcome the United States’ deployment of additional F-16 fighter jets to NATO’s air policing mission in Romania,” he said. “This sends a clear message that we will protect every ally. As Russia continues its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, we have seen a number of strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure very close to NATO territory. We remain vigilant and in close contact with Allies in the region.”

Last week, Romania extended a no-fly zone along its eastern border. Bucharest said the restriction extends to 20-30 kilometers inside Romanian territory. As the fighting in Ukraine has expanded into the country’s west, debris from battles has landed in Romanian territory. 

Posted on: Sep 26 07:21

Senator Robert Menendez denied the allegations levied against him by the Department of Justice. Last week, a grand jury indicted the powerful Senator on bribery charges. Investigators found hundreds of thousands of dollars said to be payments to access the Senator’s influence. 

Menendez, along with his wife, are accused of taking bribes to benefit three local businessmen and the Egyptian government. The indictment explains that the Senator used his position as the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ensure Cairo received billions in military aid from Washington and approvals to purchase weapons from American arms makers. 

Through Will Hana, Menendez is alleged to have passed a sensitive list of names to the Egyptian government. Additionally, he is charged with attempting to rig the justice system to benefit Juan Uribe and Fred Daibis. 

On Monday, Menendez denied the allegations. “The allegations leveled against me are just that, allegations,” the Senator said. On Friday, he stepped down as head of the Foreign Relations Committee but refused to resign from Congress. “I recognize that this will be the biggest fight yet.” Menendez continued, “Not only will I be exonerated, I will still be New Jersey’s senior senator.” 

Posted on: Sep 26 07:21

The United States government has failed to compensate the Iraqi victims of torture at Abu Ghraib and other US-run prisons in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said in a new report on Monday.

HRW said in its report that it reached out to the US Department of Defence in June, requesting information regarding compensation for torture survivors in Iraq. It received no response.

The George W Bush administration told US Congress that any Iraqis who suffered "grievous and brutal abuse cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces" would be eligible for compensation. However, that recompense never materalised, according to Monday's report.

"Twenty years on, Iraqis who were tortured by US personnel still have no clear path for filing a claim or receiving any kind of redress or recognition from the US government," Sarah Yager, HRW's Washington director, said in a statement.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:20

A powerful blast rocked the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region Monday evening as ethnic Armenians streamed out of the breakaway territory after the Azerbaijani military reclaimed full control of it in a lighting offensive last week.

The explosion at fuel storage facility near the regional capital of Stepanakert wounded more than 200 people, Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan said on X, formerly known as Twitter. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which happened as residents were lining up to get fuel for their cars in order to leave the region.

The majority of the victims were in “severe or extremely severe” condition, Stepanyan said, adding that the victims would need to be airlifted out of the region for medical treatment to save their lives. It was not immediately clear if there were any deaths.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:09

Israeli settlers are trying to intimidate international diplomats away from visiting Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank's 'Area C', a source in an international NGO working in the occupied West Bank, who asked not to be named, told The New Arab on Monday, 25 September.

The remarks came after a group of Israeli settlers attacked a European diplomatic delegation visiting a Bedouin community east of Ramallah last Thursday.

The delegation was visiting the Wadi Al-Siq Palestinian Bedouin community south of the town of Taybeh, east of Ramallah, overlooking the Jordan Valley in 'Area C', which is under direct Israeli military control.

The visit was organised by the West Bank Protection Consortium, a group of international NGOs assisting Palestinian communities in 'Area C'. Israeli settlers belonging to the far-right Israeli youth organisation Im Tirtzu' stormed the Bedouin village and interrupted the briefing offered to the diplomats.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:09

Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip are increasingly worried about the loss of calm in their region amid ongoing "violent" tensions along the eastern fence with Israel. 

Speaking to The New Arab, residents remarked how they still haven't overcome the trauma caused by Israel's wars on the territory, while others argued that they were "ready for any new military escalation" despite the cost. 

Over the past two weeks, the eastern borders between Gaza and Israel have witnessed increasingly violent tensions as hundreds of Palestinian demonstrat every day against the Israeli soldiers stationed there, who often respond to the protests with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. In response, young Palestinians often toss incendiary devices at Israeli soldiers and try to cut the military fence along the borders. 

Posted on: Sep 26 07:08

Palestinian protests on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, which have been ongoing since early this month, continued to escalate on 24 September as Tel Aviv maintains its closure of a number of crucial border crossings.

Six Palestinians protesting on the border were injured by Israeli gunfire and dozens suffocated as a result of tear gas on 24 September. 

The continued demonstrations on the border come as the Beit Hanoun border crossing has been shut for 11 days, preventing around 20,000 Palestinians from leaving Gaza for work in the occupied territories. 

Israel shut the crossing on 15 September, coinciding with the start of the Jewish New Year. That day, the Karam Abu Salem crossing, considered a lifeline for Palestinians, was also shut. 

Posted on: Sep 26 07:07

The Maldives have restored diplomatic relations with Iran, which the Indian Ocean islands broke off seven years ago in support of Saudi Arabia, the Iranian foreign ministry said Saturday.

The move, which came in a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, followed a Chinese-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March.

Shiite-dominated Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies following the deal announced in March. Earlier this month, the countries reopened their respective embassies and sent ambassadors, cementing their ties going forward.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:06

More than a million American military veterans are food insecure, according to a new study. And of those, several hundred thousand veterans are not enrolled or signing up for available food assistance from the federal government.

That’s according to a report from the Rand Corporation, released Thursday. The report, “Food Insecurity Among Veterans: Examining the Discrepancy Between Veteran Food Insecurity and Use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” looked at the gap between the overall number of veterans experiencing food insecurity or hunger and the smaller amount that take advantage of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Although 7.5& of all veterans — approximately 1.4 million people — experience food insecurity, only 4.9% are enrolled in or part of a household signed up for SNAP. 

Compared to non-veterans, that is a much higher rate. Although food insecurity is higher among non-veterans (10.4%), 8.6% of people experiencing that report living in a household signed up for SNAP benefits. 

“Low enrollment by food-insecure veterans could be the result of not meeting nutrition assistance eligibility requirements, perceived lack of eligibility, social stigma associated with SNAP participation, or negative messaging around nutrition assistance,” the report said.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:04

Libya’s chief prosecutor said Monday he ordered the detention of eight current and former officials pending his investigation into the collapse of two dams earlier this month, a disaster that sent a wall of water several meters high through the center of a coastal city and left thousands of people dead.

The two dams outside the city of Derna broke up on Sep. 11 after they were overwhelmed by Storm Daniel, which caused heavy rain across eastern Libya. The failure of the structures inundated as much as a quarter of the city, officials have said, destroying entire neighborhoods and sweeping people out to sea.

Government officials and aid agencies have given estimated death tolls ranging from more than 4,000 to over 11,000. The bodies of many of the people killed still are under rubble or in the Mediterranean, according to search teams.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:03

Outbreaks of dengue fever and acute watery diarrhoea have "killed hundreds" in war-torn Sudan, medics reported on Monday, warning of "catastrophic spreads" that could overwhelm the country's decimated health system.

In a statement, the Sudanese doctors' union warned that the health situation in the southeastern state of Gedaref, on the border with Ethiopia, "is deteriorating at a horrific rate", with thousands infected with dengue fever.

Although Gedaref has been spared the direct effects of the brutal war between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), it has nonetheless been impacted by mass displacement and other humanitarian crises.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:02

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the cartels have cut off electrical power in some towns, and forbidden government workers from coming in to the largely rural area to fix power lines.

He said the cartels were fighting for control of the drug smuggling routes that lead into southern Mexico from Central America. But the area around the town of Frontera Comalapa is also a valuable route for smuggling immigrants, thousands of who have clambered aboard trains to reach the U.S. border.

The Sinaloa cartel is fighting the Jalisco New Generation cartel for control of the area, located in a rural, mountainous area north of the border city of Tapachula.

Posted on: Sep 26 07:01

Adam Schiff is unapologetically touting his commitment to earmarks for local causes — like homelessness and drug treatment programs — as he seeks the Senate seat long held by Dianne Feinstein. The 12-term House Democrat and darling of the anti-Trump left is even calling out his closest rival in the race, Rep. Katie Porter, for her opposition to pork-barrel spending.

But Schiff has offered an incomplete and potentially misleading account of his record on earmarks. A close examination of that record reveals that he secured generous earmarks for corporate beneficiaries early in his career, including at times for recipients who were also major donors to his political campaigns.

Earmarks have emerged as an unlikely source of intense debate in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate primaries. Schiff’s sales pitch — that earmarks are essential to making Washington work for California — hearkens back to his early days in the House, before both parties raced to crack down on the practice. Porter said she views the spending items as a symbol of broken Washington and doesn’t file requests for them.

Posted on: Sep 26 06:59

Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev has announced the country’s government has approved the planned purchase of Stryker combat vehicles from the United States for about $1.37 billion. The move suggests Sofia’s declared plan to negotiate a lower price tag could be considered successful.

“When we make the first payments, the contract will go into force. From there, we are talking about deliveries starting in two years, and the contract being completed within three years,” Tagarev said during a Bulgarian military event on Sept. 22., as quoted in a ministry statement.

Posted on: Sep 26 06:58

The Philippine coastguard has removed a “floating barrier” installed by China in a disputed area in the South China Sea, calling it a “decisive action” in “upholding international law”.

Authorities carried out “a special operation” that was “in compliance” with the instructions given by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Philippine coastguard spokesperson Jay Tarriela posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday evening.

Posted on: Sep 26 06:57