U.S. immigration raids that targeted 2,100 people snared 35: NY Times

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees watch from a window as activists hold the "Shutdown ICE" rally in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy

(Reuters) – A scant 35 people were taken into custody during a long-threatened U.S. series of raids that targeted more than 2,100 immigrants who had been ordered deported, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing federal figures.

President Donald Trump described the raids over the July 13 weekend, dubbed “Operation Border Resolve,” as “very successful” even though much of the activity was not visible to the public.

The raids, originally scheduled for June for a dozen major U.S. cities, were highly publicized, likely prompting many who believed they were targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to leave their homes or hide, the Times reported.

As word spread about the possible ICE raids, immigration rights groups circulated “know your rights” materials in immigrant communities and on social media while local activists advised people not to answer the door to agents without a warrant and not to talk or sign any documents without a lawyer present.

Trump signaled the impending enforcement in a June tweet, saying officials would soon “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”

Facing a re-election battle next year, Trump has wanted to show his supporters that he is delivering on campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration, a signature policy objective of his administration.

He has pushed Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in the region to act as buffer zones and take in asylum seekers who would otherwise go to the United States.

Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that he is now considering a “ban,” tariffs and remittance fees after Guatemala decided to not move forward with a safe-third-country agreement that would have required the Central American nation to take in more asylum seekers.

It was not immediately clear what policies he was referring to. The White House and the Guatemalan government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

White House reviews military plans against Iran: New York Times

FILE PHOTO: An F/A-18E Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Red Sea, May 10, 2019. Courtesy Dan Snow/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump’s administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the Times said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump’s top security aides on Thursday.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Pentagon declined to comment.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran.

Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control accord and has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in a show of force against what U.S. officials have said are threats to U.S. troops in the region.

Iran has said the U.S. is engaging in “psychological warfare,” called the U.S. military presence “a target” rather than a threat and said it will not allow its oil exports to be halted.

The Times said among those attending the Thursday meeting were Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.

Several plans were detailed, the Times said, and “the uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete.”

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech; Editing by Michael Perry)

Sarah Palin sues New York Times for defamation

FILE PHOTO - Sarah Palin speaks at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado, U.S., July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Riham Alkousaa

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has sued the New York Times for defamation because of an editorial that linked her rhetoric to a 2011 shooting that killed six people and seriously wounded a U.S. congresswoman.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday said the Times deliberately “acted with actual malice” toward Palin and that the editorial was “false and defamatory.” It claims the Times violated its policies and procedures.

Palin, the former Alaska governor was Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate in an unsuccessful 2008 campaign, is seeking in excess of $75,000 for compensatory, special and punitive damages.

On June 14 the Times published an editorial commenting on the mass shooting at a Virginia baseball field that injured four people, including Republican Representative Steve Scalise, saying the attack was probably evidence of how vicious American politics has become.

The editorial board then recalled a shooting in Arizona in 2011 that targeted U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people.

“Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,” the editorial said.

The newspaper issued a correction saying the editorial “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric” and the Giffords shooting. It also corrected its description of the map, saying it depicted electoral districts, not Giffords and individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath cross hairs.

The lawsuit called the corrections insufficient and said Palin wanted the Times to remove the article from the newspaper’s website, where it still appears with the amended correction.

“We will defend against any claim vigorously,” the Times said in a statement on Wednesday.

Theodore Boutrous, a Los Angeles lawyer and constitutional law expert, said Palin was unlikely to succeed because she is a public figure.

“The First Amendment protects newspapers and others in terms of speaking out and writing and expressing opinions on important and public issues and that’s what The New York Times was doing,” Boutrous said.

(Reporting By Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Bill Trott)

U.S. believes Russia deployed new missile in treaty violation: NYT

Russian military helicopters fly in formation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia has deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints by U.S. officials that it violates an arms control treaty banning ground-based U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified officials.

The newspaper said Russia had secretly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile that Moscow has been developing and testing for several years, despite U.S. complaints that it violated sections of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the New York Times story.

The U.S. State Department concluded in a July 2014 arms control report that “the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km (310 miles to 3,420 miles), or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”

Russia accused Washington of conducting “megaphone diplomacy” after the accusation was repeated by the State Department in 2015. Moscow also denied it had violated the INF treaty, which helped end the Cold War between the two countries.

The New York Times said the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama had attempted to persuade Moscow to correct the violation while the missile was still in the testing phase.

Instead, Russia has moved ahead with the SSC-8 missile, deploying it as an operational system, the report said.

Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile, the newspaper quoted administration officials as saying. One is located at Russia’s missile test site at Kapustin Yar in the country’s southeast.

The other cruise missile battalion has been located at an operational base elsewhere in Russia, the Times quoted one unidentified official as saying.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Susan Heavey and Grant McCool)

Russians suspected in hack of New York Times, other U.S. media

The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI and other U.S. security agencies are investigating cyber breaches targeting reporters at the New York Times and other U.S. news organizations that are thought to have been carried out by hackers working for Russian intelligence, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

“Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said,” CNN said.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The FBI declined to comment, and representatives for the U.S. Secret Service, which has a role in protecting the country from cyber crime, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The intrusions were detected in recent months, according to CNN. Citing the U.S. officials, it said the Times had hired private security investigators to work with national security officials in assessing the breach.

Representatives for the Times could not be immediately reached for comment.

News of the cyber attack comes amid a wave of similar attacks targeting major U.S. political parties that have surfaced in recent weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The Democratic National Committee, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the party’s congressional fundraising committee have all been affected.

Hackers have also targeted the computer systems of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Republican Party organizations, sources have told Reuters.

If confirmed, the breach at the Times would not be the first time foreign hackers infiltrated a news organization: media are frequently targeted in an order to glean insights into U.S. policies or to spy on journalists.

In 2013, a group of hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army also attacked Times and other media outlets. Chinese attackers also infiltrated the Times that year.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz, John Walcott and Mohammad Zargham in Washington, and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)

New York Times Accused Of Anti-Israel Bias

It’s almost like Hamas is choosing the coverage angles for the New York Times, say some critics.

The biggest newspaper in the country is being accused of anti-Israel bias in its coverage of the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and the Israel defense.

Hamas demanded journalists only post photos of civilians in Gaza and never show pictures of the terrorists launching their attacks or using civilians as human shields.  So far, the Times appears to be lining up with Hamas’ instructions by not showing any of the attacks on Israel or of the terrorists, their tunnels, weapons or using civilian locations to hide weapons and launch rockets.

A recent survey by the Weekly Standard showed that almost every photograph of Israelis involved tanks, soldiers or attack helicopters.  There was an intense focus on the Israeli Defense Forces responding to the terrorist offensive.

The pictures from Gaza?  The photo essay in today’s Times shows three Gaza civilians in various forms of distress, a smoke plume over Gaza and three of the IDF using tanks and helicopters.

There are no images of the rocket attacks on Israel nor the two terrorist incursions into Israeli territory through tunnels by Hamas terrorists.  It’s almost as if the New York Times does not want to provide truthful coverage of the situation that Israel’s actions are in defense of being attacked by a terrorist organization.

Some critics are saying that the New York Times is showing terrorist sympathies by not reporting the truth about Hamas which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

New York Times Allows Christian Bashing Ad

The New York Times is being accused of showing their anti-Christian bias by accepting an ad that bashes Christians on the Supreme Court while they have rejected ads that were critical of Islam.

In 2012, a group of anti-Muslim activists had tried to place an ad in the Times critical of Islam and its stances on non-Muslims and treatment of women.  The newspaper said they would not run the advertisement because they didn’t want to “inflame” Muslims with an ad critical of their faith.

Then Thursday, the virulent anti-Christian group Freedom From Religion Foundation was permitted to place an ad in the New York Times that personally disparaged the five justices on the Court who voted to uphold religious freedom by condemning them as “all being Roman Catholic.”

Matthew Balan, a news analyst for the Media Research Center, says while Times has every right to decide what ads to run in their newspaper, the fact they would allow a bigoted attack on Christians in an advertisement while denying an ad critical of Islam in any way shows their bias.

Catholic League statement Bill Donohue said that there were multiple examples of bigotry toward Catholics in the media following the ruling.  He cited the Boston Herald that headlined a story “Court’s Catholic Justices Attack Women’s Rights.”

Afghani President Reportedly Making Secret Deal With Terrorists

There may finally be an explanation why Afghani President Hamid Karzai has rejected all the recommendations from government officials to sign a new security deal with the United States and why he’s turned very anti-American in the last six months.

The New York Times reports that Karzai has been conducting secret talks with the Taliban to try and arrange a deal before he leaves office later this year.

Karzai has been refusing to sign a deal approved by tribal leaders that would leave some U.S. troops in the country past the end of 2014.  The troops would provide training to the Afghan army and help in counterterrorism efforts.

It’s likely those counterterrorism efforts are what Karzai wants to stop.

Karzai has reportedly been secretly working with the Taliban since November.  A spokesman for the president said that the talks are “very positive” and ongoing.

Karzai recently raised suspicious eyes from world leaders and observers after attempting to claim terrorist attacks by the Taliban were actually the work of the United States even after the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Independent Federal Review Calls For End of NSA Data Collection

The National Security Agency’s mass phone data collection program  is illegal and should be ended.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board released a report Thursday that concludes a four-month review into the NSA and its data collection process.  The report was leaked Wednesday to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The panel says that the NSA actions could violate constitutional protections of right of speech, freedom of association and privacy.

“The connections revealed by the extensive database of telephone records gathered under the program will necessarily include relationships established among individuals and groups for political, religious, and other expressive purposes,” the board said in their report. “Compelled disclosure to the government of information revealing these associations can have a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Defenders of the NSA expressed their dislike of the report saying that multiple federal judges had approved of the program and it wasn’t the board’s charge to decide on legal issues related to the NSA program.

New York Times Accused of Anti-Israel Bias

Pro-Israel groups are claiming an article printed in the New York Times shows an inherent anti-Israel bias in the newspaper’s reporting.

NYT Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren has been under fire from groups for an article that dismissed Palestinian rock throwers, saying their deadly assaults on Israelis soldiers and citizens as a “hobby” and “rite of passage”. The article prompted a response from the Israeli Defense Forces reporting facts not included in the Times article, such as six Israeli civilians injured in rock throwing incidents in July and previous incidents where women and children were killed by rock throwing at vehicles. Continue reading