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ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won’t – The Times of Israel

Posted By on January 19, 2020

WASHINGTON The head of the Anti-Defamation League told House lawmakers Wednesday to craft legislation that would force social media giants to take neo-Nazis and others spewing anti-Semitic hatred off the platforms if the companies wont do so on their own.

In testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Jonathan Greenblatt said that the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was due, in part, to bigoted voices being amplified on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.

Its long overdue for the social media companies to step up and shut down the neo-Nazis on their platforms, Greenblatt told the legislators. Companies like Twitter and Facebook need to apply the same energy to protecting vulnerable users that they apply to protecting their corporate profits.

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If they wont answer the problem, he added, you probably need to.

Greenblatt encouraged passage of theOnline Safety Modernization Act, which would ramp up enforcement of and toughen the penalties for online harassment and cyber crimes.

He acknowledged that Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have recently implemented more regulations, but said they hadnt gone far enough to stamp out anti-Semitic vitriol on their platforms.

Over the last several years, concerns about anti-Semitism have intensified as the rate of anti-Semitic episodes have increased.

Recent data from the ADL shows that anti-Semitic incidents are soaring in the United States. In 2018 alone, there were 1,879 recorded anti-Semitic episodes, according to the Jewish civil-rights organization, 13 percent of which were carried out by white supremacists. That includes the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, which killed 11 people, the deadliest ever anti-Semitic attack on American soil.

Orthodox Union policy director Nathan Diament told the lawmakers that Jews in the US are afraid in a way we have never been before.

We are under threat of violence as we walk down a city street or enter our synagogues to pray, he said.

Jews were gunned down at prayer in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway and shopping for kosher groceries in Jersey City. Visibly identifiable Jews Orthodox Jews and Hasidic Jews have been assaulted on the streets of New York, Miami and elsewhere.

In opening remarks, Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee Chairman Max Rose, a New York Democrat, said extremists were being emboldened by social media content.

The government should be encouraging social media companies to prioritize the removal of terrorist contentincluding violent anti-Semitic contentin order to prevent online hate from turning into real-life violence, he said.

In the past, Greenblatt has called on the Silicon Valley social media behemoths to implement stricter rules to weed out anti-Semitic and other racist, hateful content.

The main remedy, he told the Times of Israel in December, was to kick users off who post anti-Semitic vitriol, which he said was tantamount to screaming anti-Jewish slurs at a coffee shop or a restaurant in which case, the managers would make you leave.

If you go to Facebook or YouTube or Twitter or any of these platforms, and you say terrible things about Jewish people, or Mexican people, or Muslim people, they should kick you out, he said. These are businesses. These are not free speech zones they are governed by the same laws as Starbucks and the salad place.

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ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won't - The Times of Israel

DC Fire Investigating After Photo Shows Recruits Using Hand Gesture – NBC4 Washington

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Washington, D.C.'s fire department says it is investigating after a photo circulating on social media shows recruits displaying a hand gesture that can be associated with white supremacy.

The hand sign seen in the photo is similar to the nonverbal expression for "OK."

D.C. Fire and EMS said it was made aware of the photo on Wednesday.

"The photograph includes those attached to Recruit Class 387 and their instructors. Recruit Class 387 graduated in April of 2019, and it is believed the picture was taken in March of 2019," the fire department said in a statement. "The Department has immediately initiated an internal review of the photograph, which may include interviews with everyone pictured in the photograph."

The Anti-Defamation League says on its website the "OK" hand gesture acquired a different significance in 2017 because of a hoax perpetuated on the online message board 4chan. The idea was to troll liberals by taking an innocent symbol and making them believe it was racist.

The hoax was so successful the symbol became a popular trolling tactic with right-leaning individuals and, ironically, some white supremacists, the ADL said.

In December, military officials determined that Army Cadets and Navy Midshipmen who flashed similar symbols were playing a juvenile game known as "the circle game" and were not making hand gestures that have become associated with white nationalists and other hate groups.

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DC Fire Investigating After Photo Shows Recruits Using Hand Gesture - NBC4 Washington

With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response | TheHill – The Hill

Posted By on January 19, 2020

After the recent rallies, the vigils, the press conferences condemning anti-Semitism- then what?

It is not enough to condemn the surge of hate crimes in America. Bigotry is an infection in the American bloodstream which a few doses of palliative rhetoric wont cure. Like any disease, it needs early detection and constant monitoring. And it requires a tough look at why in our current political climate it seems so contagious.

One of us is a Republican who played a key role in the election of President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The other was in the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives and opposed much of President Bushs agenda. Despite our profound political differences, we agree on this: we are heartened by the protests across the country, but more action must be taken. Bipartisan action.

The statistics are frightening. The Anti-Defamation Leagues Annual Audit in 2018 reported that there were 1879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.

ADL statistics from 2019 will prove equally as damning. There is no doubt that we are living in dangerous times.

The response by our political leaders needs to be aggressive and reflective at the same time.

Our political leaders correctly condemn the brutality, but criminals who are willing to murder and maim Jews arent dissuaded by a single televised press conference abhorring anti-Semitism. They thrive in the unrelenting drone of intolerance in social media and other platforms. They hear too many of our political leaders questioning the patriotism of their opponents. They see the door open a crack to intolerance and then storm in.

Members of both political parties must stop politicizing acts of extremism and vilification by the members of the other party. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have elements that engage in harmful and sometimes hateful language. We need to condemn Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWith surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Steve King challenger: 2020 Democrats have 'huge' opportunity to win over rural America Author sues NY Times after it calls him a 'white nationalist' MOREs (R-Iowa) rhetoric just as we must to rebuke the vitriolic commentary of Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Ayanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia MORE (D-Mich.), and anyone else eager to engage in anti-Semitic tropes. Political disagreements are natural. We live in a polarizing political climate. However, this is no excuse for opposing bigotry only when its spewed by the opposite party.

Second, we need to point out anti-Semitism, intentional or not, cloaked in the legitimacy of policy debate. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for example, singles-out Israel for human rights scrutiny while completely ignoring the brutal and systemic violations of fundamental rights by most other governments in the region. One can be either for human rights or against human rights. But when you choose only to apply a boycott to the Jewish state while accepting far worse crimes elsewhere, your motivations deserve debate.

Third, the Senate should pass bipartisan legislation already approved in the House to upgrade the role of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting anti-Semitism as an ambassador rank official. The current position does not have the power or authority of a presidentially appointed finding. Global anti-Semitism is surging and the response deserves a position of greater stature within the administration.

2020 may be one of the most vitriolic years in recent political memory. The rhetoric will be heated, but it must not enflame. We all have a responsibility to pursue discourse with demonizing. And our leaders must set the tone.

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelWith surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Pelosi and Schumer were right with the strategy to delay impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Deescalation: US-Iran conflict eases MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years and served as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is now the director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. You can find him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael. Fred Zeidman is co-chair and director of the Council for a Secure America and chairman emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

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With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response | TheHill - The Hill

Fire Chief To Probe Whether Hand Gesture In Photo Was Racist – mainepublic.org

Posted By on January 19, 2020

A Maine fire chief says he'll be investigating the intent behind a hand gesture associated with white power that a firefighter appeared to make in a recent photo.

The official Waterville Fire Department department photo featuring the entire crew was uploaded to the department's Facebook page Tuesday. The Bangor Daily News reached out to the department about the gesture made by one firefighter which the Anti-Defamation League said has been appropriated as a signal for white supremacy. The department has since removed the photo. Fire Chief Shawn Esler called the possibility of a department firefighter using a racist symbol "completely unacceptable."

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Fire Chief To Probe Whether Hand Gesture In Photo Was Racist - mainepublic.org

Taking in refugees has been part of Texas history since the Alamo [Opinion] – Houston Chronicle

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbotts decision last week to close our states doors to a small handful of refugees fleeing war, starvation and oppression is a tragic mistake at odds with Texas history and values. Turning away a few helpless men, women and children driven from their homelands and seeking a better life isnt necessary and it isnt who we are.

For the moment, Abbotts decree is on hold. On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked the Donald Trump Administrations executive order giving states a new veto power over where refugees can settle. But the judges order is preliminary and can be appealed, and the Supreme Court has given the administration an especially wide berth in immigration matters. Our governors rejection may well become permanent state policy. More than that, it has the moral force of a message to the entire world an expression of our identity from our highest state official.

The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of advocating for refugees. Founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds, ADL and other Jewish organizations tried in the 1930s to get the United States to admit more people fleeing Nazi persecution. Mostly we failed, and the vast majority of those locked out of the United States perished in the Holocaust.

But Texas history of welcoming desperate outsiders is even longer than ADLs. Visit the Alamo and youll see foreign flags representing the 26 Europeans who gave their lives for Texas independence. Several were Irishmen who escaped English subjugation.

After 1848, Texas became a haven for German and Czech refugees fleeing the repression that followed failed revolutions in Europe. In the 20th century, civil war in Mexico drove countless refugees to Texas, while the 1970s saw Vietnamese boat people traumatized and penniless risk their lives to escape communist tyranny and put down roots along the Gulf Coast. Today, the descendants of all these newcomers make us the diverse, dynamic place we love.

Have things changed so dramatically? As before, todays refugees hail from the most wretched places on earth. In 2019, the largest group came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a failed state tormented by decades of war and random militia violence, child soldiers and mass rape. The second largest group came from Myanmar, where the government has overseen a vicious genocide against an ethnic and religious minority, the Rohingya, driving hundreds of thousands into refugee camps in surrounding countries.

Texas would not have been overwhelmed by the new arrivals. President Trump has already sliced the total number of admissible refugees to 18,000 in 2020 far below annual quotas approved by recent administrations of both parties. Of these, Texas stood to welcome approximately 2,500, based on figures from 2018-19. With 28 million Texans, we cant shelter 2,500 refugees?

Refugees are the most vetted and scrutinized immigrants admitted to the United States. The Departments of Homeland Security and State check their backgrounds for anything suggesting a security risk in an exhaustive process that typically takes 18-24 months. In 2015, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder paused his states acceptance of Syrian refugees while state officials investigated the federal governments screening efforts. As he wrote last year in the Wall Street Journal: That experience proved to me that the U.S. has the most thorough refugee vetting system in the world.

Importantly, this distinguishes refugees from asylum seekers. People already here who file a claim for asylum havent undergone the same security checks and cant be fully assessed until their cases are heard. As for refugees, we already know their histories before they are approved and arrive.

Consequently, everyone else has politely declined the administrations new offer to reject refugees. Except Texas. Utahs Gov. Gary Herbert actually asked President Trump for permission to take more. They become productive employees and responsible citizens, he wrote, adding that compassion is simply embedded in our states culture. Is Texas less compassionate?

Herberts reference to productive employees hints that kindheartedness isnt the only reason to admit refugees. Thanks to federal funding and help from several organizations that provide social services, job placement and other assistance, most refugees become self-sufficient.

They have higher rates of employment than people born in the United States. Ten years after entry, refugees use the same or slightly lower levels of public assistance. In fact, a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that, from 2005 to 2014, refugees contributed $63 billion more in taxes than they received in benefits.

But the real tragedy of Abbotts decision has nothing to do with dollars and cents. Its that were betraying our oldest ideals. From the beginning, Americans have opened their arms to persecuted men and women from every corner of the world who wanted nothing more than to start a new life in peace, freedom and opportunity. Thats the American way and the Texas way, since 1836. We hope Abbott reconsiders his decision and brings Texas government back into line with Texas values.

Siegel, Vice-Chair ADL Southwest Civil Rights Committee, and Bresner, ADL Jean & Jerry Moore Southwest Civil Rights Counsel.

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Taking in refugees has been part of Texas history since the Alamo [Opinion] - Houston Chronicle

What to Know About the Virginia Gun Rally – The New York Times

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Thousands of activists from across the country are expected to descend on the Virginia State Capitol on Monday to rally against sweeping new gun control proposals supported by state Democrats.

But the rally in Richmond billed as a peaceful event to lobby lawmakers to defend Second Amendment rights has quickly set off fears of potential violence and chaos. Discussions about the rally have been lighting up online platforms frequented by anti-government militia groups and white supremacists for weeks, and various extremist groups have vowed to attend.

Tensions escalated this week when Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and temporarily banned weapons on Capitol grounds, citing credible threats of violence. The F.B.I. also announced the arrest of three suspected neo-Nazis who the authorities said had obtained weapons and discussed participating in the Richmond event, intensifying concerns.

Heres what you need to know about the rally and what to expect for Monday.

Virginia Democrats flipped the state House and Senate in November, wresting the General Assembly from Republican control in a state that was once the seat of the Confederacy.

Under Mr. Northam, a Democrat who survived a scandal over a racist photograph last year, state Democrats planned to make gun control a priority in the 2020 session. But the plan sparked a backlash in a state with a strong history of supporting gun rights.

After 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach last year, a special legislative session to consider gun control lasted just 90 minutes. In recent weeks, more than 100 municipalities have designated themselves sanctuaries for the Second Amendment. Though the measures are purely symbolic, lawmakers and sheriffs in those areas have said they will refuse to enforce new gun control laws.

The Virginia State Senate has approved three gun control bills that could be approved by the House of Delegates as early as next week.

The measures limit purchases of handguns to one each month; require that gun buyers submit to background checks; and allow local governments to ban guns in parks and public buildings. Mr. Northam has said he would sign each of the bills.

Democrats who won control of the General Assembly, in part for their support of imposing strict firearms restrictions, say more gun control legislation is on the way, including a red flag law that would permit officials to confiscate firearms from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others. They also say they want to ban assault-style weapons, but that effort has been delayed in both chambers.

The rally is being hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a prominent Second Amendment group that typically holds an annual Lobby Day to meet with lawmakers. The group is organizing charter buses, car pools and a sushi dinner the night before the rally in anticipation of what it is calling the most important Lobby Day Rally that we have ever had.

The groups president Philip Van Cleave, who refers to himself as an extremist, issued a statement saying that the rally was meant to be a peaceful protest about gun rights and nothing else.

In a state where hunting is a popular sport and gun ownership is common in rural areas, most in attendance are expected to be gun rights supporters. Still, the rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the Unite the Right rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

Experts on extremism believe the groups want to co-opt the rally in an effort to fuel a race war. For example, extremists are calling Mondays rally the boogaloo, which in the language of white supremacists is an event that will accelerate such a war.

It remains unclear who will actually arrive in Richmond, but its possible pre-emptive moves by the authorities could deter some who had vowed to attend.

The authorities on Thursday announced the arrests of three men linked to the Base, an extremist group being tracked by the F.B.I. The three men had obtained weapons and discussed participating in the Richmond rally and were charged with various federal crimes in Maryland, the authorities said.

On Friday, law enforcement announced the arrest of at least four other men also tied to the Base, in separate plots. In Georgia, three men, who are members of the group, were arrested and charged for a conspiracy to murder a married couple in Bartow County, the authorities said.

In Wisconsin, another member of the Base was arrested on charges of vandalizing a synagogue in Racine, Wis., according to court documents.

The Base is a white extremist, antigovernment group that aims to establish a white ethno-state.

The F.B.I. has grown increasingly concerned about the Base as it has worked to recruit more people. The group encourages the onset of anarchy, according to the Counter Extremism Project, an organization that tracks far-right extremists. Experts say that its founder, an American, appears to be living in Russia.

Former law enforcement officials say the Base and a similar group known as Atomwaffen have become priorities for the F.B.I.

In November, the F.B.I. arrested Richard Tobin, a young man in New Jersey, who was accused of recruiting on behalf of the Base and of supporting violence, including the killing of black people with a machete.

Mr. Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of Mondays rally, temporarily banning weapons, including firearms, from the grounds of the State Capitol in a move that the Virginia Citizens Defense League tried to fight in court.

The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the temporary ban.

In his declaration, Mr. Northam cited the eruption in Charlottesville three years ago as an example of what can happen when peaceful demonstrations are hijacked by those who come into the Commonwealth and do not value the importance of peaceful assembly. He added: We must take all precautions to prevent that from ever happening again.

The state of emergency is scheduled to begin Friday at 5 p.m. and extend through Tuesday.

Timothy Williams, Neil MacFarquhar and Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

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What to Know About the Virginia Gun Rally - The New York Times

Taking a stand against vile acts of bigotry – Boston Herald

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Like a metastasizing cancer, anti-Semitism has again shown its ugly head, spreading its ignorance-borne intolerance.

And its escalated from words to deeds, which has forced Jews everywhere to rethink every aspect of their daily lives.

After seeing to his daughter Avas bat mitzvah a few years ago, state Sen. Barry Finegold planned on doing the same for his younger daughter, Ella. However, this time, he had another important detail to consider: security.

Unfortunately, its become a fact of life for many in the Jewish community.

Locally, we just witnessed the latest example of this mindless, racist hatred.

That occurred on Saturday in Billerica, when a mother taking her son to a town-owned playground off Andover Road discovered a swastika sprayed on a container storing baseball equipment.

The woman, a member of the Jewish faith, contacted Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington on what steps to take.

She went to the police and then contacted other town leaders, who along with the Billerica Interfaith Association released a joint statement Tuesday condemning the racist graffiti and offering support to the Jewish community.

Members of the Jewish faith have been targets of hateful acts in the past. In March 2014, the town of Bedford tried to come to grips with a series of anti-Semitic incidents involving elementary schoolchildren, which included a game called Jail the Jews.

Recent attacks in New York and New Jersey have heightened security concerns at synagogues and other community gathering places.

In 2018, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in this country, the third-highest total since the organization began tracking incidents 40 years ago. Of that number, 265 occurred in synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools, according to the audit.

In Massachusetts, the number of reported hate crimes including crimes motivated by race, religion and ethnicity increased by almost 10% to a 10-year high in 2017. The ADL said 2018 was the second-highest year for anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts on record, ranking second only to 2017.

Thats why Sen. Finegold supports the Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides security enhancement funding from the state for nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack or hate crimes.

On Jan. 6, Gov. Charlie Baker held a ceremonial signing of sections of the supplemental budget for fiscal 2019, which boosts the programs available funding by $1 million.

Several area synagogues are considering applying for grants.

Congregation Agudat Achim in Leominster has already made efforts to increase security, according to President Scott Zibel. The grant program may allow the synagogue to be reimbursed for some of those costs, he said.

For Robin Frisch, president of Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley in Lowell, its heartening to see the state standing against hate.

But both Frisch and Zibel said its a challenge for Jewish faith organizations to prioritize safety while remaining open and welcoming to the community. Its something Congregation Shalom in North Chelmsford has been grappling with as well, said Rabbi Shoshana Perry.

Like Finegold, Perry said she never expected to see this level of anti-Semitism in the United States during her lifetime.

While we can allocate state funds to bolster security, we cant legislate ignorance and hate out of existence.

But we can all stand up and say it wont be tolerated.

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Taking a stand against vile acts of bigotry - Boston Herald

Man charged after allegedly threatening to take part in Toledo shooting on social media – WTOL

Posted By on January 19, 2020

TOLEDO, Ohio A Toledo man is behind bars after making a terrorist threat in the Toledo area.

According to Lucas County court documents, La Relle Antoine Mack posted a video to Facebook which showed him holding a gun.

He said he was planning to take a part in a shooting in the south Toledo area.

He was arrested Friday and booked into Lucas County Jail.

His first court appearance will be Saturday morning.

RELATED: Toledo woman charged with domestic terror plots, buying bomb-making materials

RELATED: Anti-Defamation League praises law enforcement for thwarting attack on Toledo Jewish community

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Man charged after allegedly threatening to take part in Toledo shooting on social media - WTOL

US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror – Yahoo Finance

Posted By on January 19, 2020

The US House Financial Services Committee has been discussing the use of Bitcoin in domestic terror financing, with some experts claiming it is now being used by neo-Nazi groups.

Jared Maples, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director, has said domestic terror groups are likely to ramp up their use of the cryptocurrency to fund their nefarious activities.

He was joined by Anti-Defamation League Senior Vice President George Selim and Congressional Research Service finance expert Rena Miller.

The trio predicted that with the rise of crypto awareness, it will become more widely used by white supremacists and other hate groups.

Infamous crypto sceptic Congressman Brad Sherman was in agreement, saying: If it works for Hamas, it will work for the Nazis too.

Maples likewise referenced Hamas and suggested domestic terrorists had taken a page out of its playbook in using Bitcoin for both secrecy and privacy.

He alleged there had been a $60,000 donation in BTC given to Andrew Anglin, publisher of far-right media outlet The Daily Stormer, following the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

When asked about how to counter terror groups, Maples said it was important to be mindful and to get the processes right.

Interestingly, it isnt just Bitcoin they are using to finance their attacks.

Recent reports suggest as many as 54 white supremacist groups are utilising Apples iTunes, earning roughly 70 cents for each song downloaded on the music platform.

Selim has recommended agencies pursue more rigorous prosecutions of domestic terror funding sources and utilise data from various fields such as finance, technology, civil rights, and civil liberties groups alongside studying new forms of money such as digital currencies.

Interested in reading more cryptocurrency and terror-related stories? Discover more about the UKs FCA becoming the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisor for businesses conducting cryptoasset activities.

The post US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror appeared first on Coin Rivet.

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US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror - Yahoo Finance

Where the top 7 Democratic candidates stand on Iran – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on January 19, 2020

The situation in Iran has changed drastically since Trump left the deal. So we went searching for the details of what the leading Democrats would do to contain the Iranian threat amid the new tensions brewing between Iran and the U.S.

Spoiler alert: Theres not a lot out there. But in no particular order, heres what the top seven candidates have to say. (Were adding Michael Bloomberg because his polling numbers would qualify him for the debates, but his self-funded campaign has him below the outside campaign contribution threshold.)

Bernie Sanders

As you know, the nuclear deal with Iran was worked on with a number of our allies, the Vermont senator said at the debate. We have got to undo what Trump did, bring that coalition together and make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

Sanders also sees rejoining the nuclear deal as a means of containing the escalating non-nuclear tensions.

Joe Biden

As he said in the debate, Biden believes the Iran deal was doing its job.

It was working. It was being held tightly, he said. There was no movement on the part of the Iranian government to get closer to a nuclear weapon.

If Tehran returns to compliance with the deal, President Biden would re-enter the agreement, using hard-nosed diplomacy and support from our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Irans other destabilizing activities, his website reads.

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg in the debate said he would rejoin the Iran deal as a means of keeping Iran from becoming nuclear and, like Sanders, suggested that the agreement would also stem escalating non-nuclear tensions.

By gutting the Iran nuclear deal one that, by the way, the Trump administration itself admitted was working, certified that it was preventing progress toward a nuclear Iran by gutting that, they have made the region more dangerous and set off the chain of events that we are now dealing with as it escalates even closer to the brink of outright war, he said.

This agreement was concluded not to do Iran a favor, but because it is in our national security interest just as a parallel policy of confronting Irans support for terrorism and abysmal human rights record reflects our values and security interests, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said.

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar during the debate said she would rejoin the deal, but also suggested that she wanted some improvements related to the expiration dates of some enrichment restrictions and on what the nuclear inspectors are allowed to do.

I think there are changes you can make to the agreement that are sunset, some changes to the inspections, but overall that is what we should do, she said.

We need a realistic long term strategy for Iran that will contain its aggressive actions and prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons, the Minnesota senator said, but did not add details.

Tom Steyer

During the debate, Steyer cast the Iran nuclear deal as having stemmed Irans nuclear ambitions and its adventurism.

What worked with President Obama was an alliance of our allies and us putting economic pressure on them for them to give up their military tactic, he said. That, to me, is called strategy.

Elizabeth Warren

We also need to address serious concerns about Irans policies beyond its nuclear program, including its ballistic missile program and support for destabilizing regional proxies, she said. The [Iran deal] made addressing these problems easier by taking the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran off the table.

Mike Bloomberg

In 2015, Bloomberg said he had deep reservations about the Iran deal, especially with its sunset provisions, and in an op-ed on Bloomberg News he accused President Obama of playing politics and smearing critics.

In Other News

Impeachment trial

A tale of two hearings

Watching the hearing was like seeing two movies simultaneously, one about the recent physical threats to Jews, and another about the nuances of how to confront Israel boycott movements.

Another two witnesses called by the committees Republican minority seemed to come prepared for a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

You talking to meatball?

How concerned is Bloomberg that hes missing the debates? Not so concerned, considering the photo mashup of his face and a meatball that his campaign posted during the debate on Tuesday.

Worth A Look

Tweet So Sweet

Stay In Touch

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Where the top 7 Democratic candidates stand on Iran - The Jerusalem Post


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