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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 171)

California’s Only Known Wild Gray Wolf Pack Welcomes 3 New Pups

Westlake Legal Group 5d4f2f06240000ff34937e43 California’s Only Known Wild Gray Wolf Pack Welcomes 3 New Pups

The only known wild gray wolf pack in California has grown by at least three adorable new members.

The pups were born to a mother in the Lassen Pack ― which lives in an area spanning Lassen and Plumas counties ― in April, according to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife report cited by multiple news outlets this week. The three small canines were also spotted on a trail camera in mid-June.

With the three new pups, the estimated total number of the small pack is up to seven. However, the report also suggested that it’s possible there are more, noting that “a minimum of three pups have been detected.”

“This pack has been on the landscape in California since 2016,” Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Kent Laudon told The Mercury News. “They had their first litter in 2017. Generally you would expect pups every year, so long as the adults stay healthy. They are acting like regular wolves.”

Ranchers and farmers eradicated wolves in California in the 1920s. However, there’s been some known wolf presence in the state since 2011, when a radio-collared wolf from Oregon crossed state lines, according to the News. Members of the Lassen Pack are believed to have descended from that wolf, which is known as OR-7.

Today, known wild gray wolves in California include the Lassen Pack and three apparent lone wolves, according to the report.

A previously known pack, dubbed the Shasta Pack, had been periodically spotted in the state beginning in 2014. However, there’s been no sign of that group of wolves since 2016.

Conservationists see the slowly blossoming wolf population as a good thing.

“Having wolves return to California is one of the most significant environmental developments in conservation in this state,” Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity told local news outlet KQED.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism

RINKEBY, Sweden — Johnny Castillo, a Peruvian-born neighborhood watchman in this district of Stockholm, still puzzles over the strange events that two years ago turned the central square of this predominantly immigrant community into a symbol of multiculturalism run amok.

First came a now-infamous comment by President Trump, suggesting that Sweden’s history of welcoming refugees was at the root of a violent attack in Rinkeby the previous evening, even though nothing had actually happened.

“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden!” Mr. Trump told supporters at a rally on Feb. 18, 2017. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

The president’s source: Fox News, which had excerpted a short film promoting a dystopian view of Sweden as a victim of its asylum policies, with immigrant neighborhoods crime-ridden “no-go zones.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group sweden_still-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism United States Trump, Donald J Sweden Democrats Stormfront.org Stockholm (Sweden) Sputnik (Russian News Agency) Spencer, Richard B (1978- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Rumors and Misinformation RT (TV Network) Putin, Vladimir V Propaganda project veritas Orban, Viktor Neo Nazi Groups Muslims and Islam Mercer, Rebekah A (1973- ) Law and Justice (Poland) Immigration and Emigration Fringe Groups and Movements European Union Dugin, Alexander (1962- ) Conservative Political Action Conference Bolton, John R Asylum, Right of americans for prosperity Alternative for Germany

CreditCreditFox News

But two days later, as Swedish officials were heaping bemused derision on Mr. Trump, something did in fact happen in Rinkeby: Several dozen masked men attacked police officers making a drug arrest, throwing rocks and setting cars ablaze.

And it was right around that time, according to Mr. Castillo and four other witnesses, that Russian television crews showed up, offering to pay immigrant youths “to make trouble” in front of the cameras.

“They wanted to show that President Trump is right about Sweden,” Mr. Castillo said, “that people coming to Europe are terrorists and want to disturb society.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_118448180_7c861b53-bfc9-4911-87d4-5d692abb58a9-articleLarge The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism United States Trump, Donald J Sweden Democrats Stormfront.org Stockholm (Sweden) Sputnik (Russian News Agency) Spencer, Richard B (1978- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Rumors and Misinformation RT (TV Network) Putin, Vladimir V Propaganda project veritas Orban, Viktor Neo Nazi Groups Muslims and Islam Mercer, Rebekah A (1973- ) Law and Justice (Poland) Immigration and Emigration Fringe Groups and Movements European Union Dugin, Alexander (1962- ) Conservative Political Action Conference Bolton, John R Asylum, Right of americans for prosperity Alternative for Germany

Firefighters on the scene of a riot in Rinkeby where several cars were lit on fire.CreditTt News Agency/Reuters

That nativist rhetoric — that immigrants are invading the homeland — has gained ever-greater traction, and political acceptance, across the West amid dislocations wrought by vast waves of migration from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In its most extreme form, it is echoed in the online manifesto of the man accused of gunning down 22 people last weekend in El Paso.

In the nationalists’ message-making, Sweden has become a prime cautionary tale, dripping with schadenfreude. What is even more striking is how many people in Sweden — progressive, egalitarian, welcoming Sweden — seem to be warming to the nationalists’ view: that immigration has brought crime, chaos and a fraying of the cherished social safety net, not to mention a withering away of national culture and tradition.

Fueled by an immigration backlash — Sweden has accepted more refugees per capita than any other European country — right-wing populism has taken hold, reflected most prominently in the steady ascent of a political party with neo-Nazi roots, the Sweden Democrats. In elections last year, they captured nearly 18 percent of the vote.

To dig beneath the surface of what is happening in Sweden, though, is to uncover the workings of an international disinformation machine, devoted to the cultivation, provocation and amplication of far-right, anti-immigrant passions and political forces. Indeed, that machine, most influentially rooted in Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia and the American far right, underscores a fundamental irony of this political moment: the globalization of nationalism.

The central target of these manipulations from abroad — and the chief instrument of the Swedish nationalists’ success — is the country’s increasingly popular, and virulently anti-immigrant, digital echo chamber.

A New York Times examination of its content, personnel and traffic patterns illustrates how foreign state and nonstate actors have helped to give viral momentum to a clutch of Swedish far-right web sites.

Russian and Western entities that traffic in disinformation, including an Islamaphobic think tank whose former chairman is now Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, have been crucial linkers to the Swedish sites, helping to spread their message to susceptible Swedes.

At least six Swedish sites have received financial backing through advertising revenue from a Russian- and Ukrainian-owned auto-parts business based in Berlin, whose online sales network oddly contains buried digital links to a range of far-right and other socially divisive content.

Writers and editors for the Swedish sites have been befriended by the Kremlin. And in one strange Rube Goldbergian chain of events, a frequent German contributor to one Swedish site has been implicated in the financing of a bombing in Ukraine, in a suspected Russian false-flag operation.

The distorted view of Sweden pumped out by this disinformation machine has been used, in turn, by anti-immigrant parties in Britain, Germany, Italy and elsewhere to stir xenophobia and gin up votes, according to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based nonprofit that tracks the online spread of far-right extremism.

“I’d put Sweden up there with the anti-Soros campaign,” said Chloe Colliver, a researcher for the institute, referring to anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros, the billionaire benefactor of liberal causes. “It’s become an enduring centerpiece of the far-right conversation.”

Mattias Karlsson, the Sweden Democrats’ international secretary and chief ideologist, likes to tell the story of how he became a soldier in what he has described as the “existential battle for our culture’s and our nation’s survival.”

It was the mid-1990s and Mr. Karlsson, now 41, was attending high school in the southern city of Vaxjo. Sweden was accepting a record number of refugees from the Balkan War and other conflicts. In Vaxjo and elsewhere, young immigrant men began joining brawling “kicker” gangs, radicalizing Mr. Karlsson and drawing him toward the local skinhead scene.

He took to wearing a leather jacket with a Swedish flag on the back and was soon introduced to Mats Nilsson, a Swedish National Socialist leader who gave him a copy of “Mein Kampf.” They began to debate: Mr. Nilsson argued that the goal should be ethnic purity — the preservation of “Swedish DNA.” Mr. Karlsson countered that the focus should be on preserving national culture and identity. That, he said, was when Mr. Nilsson conferred on him an epithet of insufficient commitment to the cause — “meatball patriot,” meaning that “I thought that every African or Arab can come to this country as long as they assimilate and eat meatballs.”

It is an account that offers the most benign explanation for an odious association. Whatever the case, in 1999, he joined the Sweden Democrats, a party undeniably rooted in Sweden’s neo-Nazi movement. Indeed, scholars of the far right say that is what sets it apart from most anti-immigration parties in Europe and makes its rise from marginalized to mainstream so remarkable.

Mattias Karlsson, the international secretary of Sweden Democrats, a far-right party that captured nearly 18 percent in elections last year.CreditLoulou d’Aki for The New York Times

The party was founded in 1988 by several Nazi ideologues, including a former member of the Waffen SS. Early on, it sought international alliances with the likes of the White Aryan Resistance, a white supremacist group founded by a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Some Sweden Democrats wore Nazi uniforms to party functions. Its platform included the forced repatriation of all immigrants since 1970.

That was not, however, a winning formula in a country where social democrats have dominated every election for more than a century.

While attending university, Mr. Karlsson had met Jimmie Akesson, who took over the Sweden Democrats’ youth party in 2000 and became party leader in 2005. Mr. Akesson was outspoken in his belief that Muslim refugees posed “the biggest foreign threat to Sweden since the Second World War.” But to make that case effectively, he and Mr. Karlsson agreed, they needed to remake the party’s image.

“We needed to really address our past,” Mr. Karlsson said.

They purged neo-Nazis who had been exposed by the press. They announced a “zero tolerance” policy toward extreme xenophobia and racism, emphasized their youthful leadership and urged members to dress presentably. And while immigration remained at the center of their platform, they moderated the way they talked about it.

No longer was the issue framed in terms of keeping certain ethnic groups out, or deporting those already in. Rather it was about how unassimilated migrants were eviscerating not just the nation’s cultural identity but also the social-welfare heart of the Swedish state.

Under the grand, egalitarian idea of the “folkhemmet,” or people’s home, in which the country is a family and its citizens take care of one another, Swedes pay among the world’s highest effective tax rates, in return for benefits like child care, health care, free college education and assistance when they grow old.

The safety net has come under strain for a host of economic and demographic reasons, many of which predate the latest refugee flood. But in the Sweden Democrats’ telling, the blame lies squarely at the feet of the foreigners, many of whom lag far behind native Swedes in education and economic accomplishment. One party advertisement depicted a white woman trying to collect benefits while being pursued by niqab-wearing immigrants pushing strollers.

To what extent the party’s makeover is just window dressing is an open question.

The doubts were highlighted in what became known as “the Iron Pipe Scandal” in 2012. Leaked video showed two Sweden Democrat MPs and the party’s candidate for attorney general hurling racist slurs at a comedian of Kurdish descent, then threatening a drunken witness with iron pipes.

Under Mr. Akesson and Mr. Karlsson, the party has hosted the American white nationalist Richard Spencer. High-ranking party officials have bounced between Sweden and Hungary, ruled by the authoritarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Mr. Karlsson himself has come under fire for calling out an extremist site as neo-fascist while using an alias to recommend posts as “worth reading” to party members.

“There’s a public face and the face they wear behind closed doors,” said Daniel Poohl, who heads Expo, a Stockholm-based foundation that tracks far-right extremism.

Still, even detractors admit that strategy has worked. In 2010, the Sweden Democrats captured 5.7 percent of the vote, enough for the party, and Mr. Karlsson, to enter Parliament for the first time. That share has steadily increased along with the growing population of refugees. (Today, roughly 20 percent of Sweden’s population is foreign born.)

At its peak in 2015, Sweden accepted 163,000 asylum-seekers, mostly from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. Though border controls and tighter rules have eased that flow, Ardalan Shekarabi, the country’s public administration minister, acknowledged that his government had been slow to act.

A Somali family walking home from Rinkeby Square. More than 91 percent of Rinkeby’s roughly 16,400 residents are immigrants and their children.CreditLoulou d’Aki for The New York Times

Mr. Shekarabi, an immigrant from Iran, said the sheer number of refugees had overwhelmed the government’s efforts to integrate them.

“I absolutely don’t think that the majority of Swedes have racist or xenophobic views, but they had questions about this migration policy and the other parties didn’t have any answers,” he said. “Which is one of the reasons why Sweden Democrats had a case.”

As the 2018 elections approached, Swedish counterintelligence was on high alert for foreign interference. Russia, the hulking neighbor to the east, was seen as the main threat. After the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 American election, Sweden had reason to fear it could be next.

“Russia’s goal is to weaken Western countries by polarizing the debate,” said Daniel Stenling, the Swedish Security Service’s counterintelligence chief. “For the last five years, we have seen more and more aggressive intelligence work against our nation.”

But as it turned out, there was no hacking and dumping of internal campaign documents, as in the United States. Nor was there an overt effort to swing the election to the Sweden Democrats, perhaps because the party, in keeping with Swedish popular opinion, has become more critical of the Kremlin than some of its far-right European counterparts.

Instead, security officials say, the foreign influence campaign took a different, more subtle form: helping nurture Sweden’s rapidly evolving far-right digital ecosystem.

For years, the Sweden Democrats had struggled to make their case to the public. Many mainstream media outlets declined their ads. The party even had difficulty getting the postal service to deliver its mailers. So it built a network of closed Facebook pages whose reach would ultimately exceed that of any other party.

But to thrive in the viral sense, that network required fresh, alluring content. It drew on a clutch of relatively new websites whose popularity was exploding.

Members of the Sweden Democrats helped create two of them: Samhallsnytt (News in Society) and Nyheter Idag (News Today). By the 2018 election year, they, along with a site called Fria Tider (Free Times), were among Sweden’s 10 most shared news sites.

A number of news sites with anti-immigrant messages helped propel Sweden Democrats to popularity.

These sites each reached one-tenth of all Swedish internet users a week and, according to an Oxford University study, accounted for 85 percent of the election-related “junk news” — deemed deliberately distorted or misleading — shared online. There were other sites, too, all injecting anti-immigrant and Islamophobic messaging into the Swedish political bloodstream.

“Immigration Behind Shortage of Drinking Water in Northern Stockholm,” read one recent headline. “Refugee Minor Raped Host Family’s Daughter; Thought It Was Legal,” read another. “Performed Female Genital Mutilation on Her Children — Given Asylum in Sweden,” read a third.

Russia’s hand in all of this is largely hidden from view. But fingerprints abound.

For instance, one writer for Samhallsnytt, who previously worked for the Sweden Democrats, was recently declined parliamentary press accreditation after the security police determined he had been in contact with Russian intelligence.

Fria Tider is considered not only one of the most extreme sites, but also among the most Kremlin-friendly. It frequently swaps material with the Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik. The site is linked, via domain ownership records, to Granskning Sverige, called the Swedish “troll factory” for its efforts to entrap and embarrass mainstream journalists. Among its frequent targets: journalists who write negatively about Russia.

“We’ve had death threats, spam attacks, emails — this year has been totally crazy,” said Eva Burman, the editor of Eskilstuna-Kuriren, a newspaper that found itself in the cross hairs after criticizing the Russian annexation of Crimea and investigating Granskning Sverige itself.

At the magazine Nya Tider, the editor, Vavra Suk, has traveled to Moscow as an election observer and to Syria, where he produced Kremlin-friendly accounts of the civil war. Nya Tider has published work by Alexander Dugin, an ultranationalist Russian philosopher who has been called “Putin’s Rasputin”; Mr. Suk’s writings for Mr. Dugin’s think tank include one titled “Donald Trump Can Make Europe Great Again.”

Nya Tider’s contributors include Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor of Zuerst!, a German far-right newspaper. Mr. Ochsenreiter — who has appeared regularly on RT, the Kremlin propaganda channel — worked until recently for Markus Frohnmaier, a member of the German Bundestag representing the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Documents leaked to a consortium of European media outlets — documents that Mr. Frohnmaier has called fake — have suggested that Moscow aided his election campaign in order to have an “absolutely controlled MP.”

Mr. Ochsenreiter, for his part, has been implicated in Polish court in the financing of a 2018 firebombing attack on a Hungarian cultural center in Ukraine. The plot, according to testimony from a Polish extremist charged with carrying it out, was designed to pin responsibility on Ukrainian nationalists and stoke ethnic tensions, to Russia’s benefit. Mr. Ochsenreiter has not been charged in Poland, but prosecutors in Berlin said they had begun a preliminary investigation. He has denied involvement.

Mr. Suk declined to comment.

Then there is Nyheter Idag. Its founder, Chang Frick — a former Sweden Democrat official who takes a maverick’s glee in his defiance of orthodoxy — readily admits to being a paid contributor to RT. At a pizza shop near his home one afternoon, he pointedly noted that his girlfriend was Russian and, with a flourish, pulled out a wad of rubles from a recent trip.

“Here is my real boss! It’s Putin!” he laughed.

But Mr. Frick, the son of a Swedish Roma and a Polish Jew, said Nyheter Idag answered to no one, neither the Sweden Democrats nor the Kremlin, though he added that his relentless reporting about the problems posed by immigrants dovetailed with both their agendas.

“People can see what’s happening in the streets,” he said, adding, “I’ve been accused of being a racist — I’m being ‘paid by the Sweden Democrats,’ I’m ‘a spy for Russia.’ That just tells me I’m kicking where it hurts.”

Still, he said he had reason to believe that “there is a little bit of collusion between Russia and some Swedish right-wing media.” One of his early scoops involved exposing the drinking and womanizing shenanigans of a Sweden Democrat member of Parliament who had been invited to Moscow. During that reporting trip, he said, he was invited to serve as an independent observer in Russia’s presidential election and to meet Mr. Putin.

He declined the invitation.

There is another curious Russian common denominator: Six of Sweden’s alt-right sites have drawn advertising revenue from a network of online auto-parts stores based in Germany and owned by four businessmen from Russia and Ukraine, three of whom have adopted German-sounding surnames.

The ads were first noticed by the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, which discovered that while they appeared to be for a variety of outlets, all traced back to the same Berlin address and were owned by a parent company, Autodoc GmbH.

The Times found that the company had also placed ads on anti-Semitic and other extremist sites in Germany, Hungary, Austria and elsewhere in Europe.

Which raised a question: Was the auto-parts dealer simply trying to drum up business, or was it also trying to support the far-right cause?

Rikard Lindholm, co-founder of a data-driven marketing firm who has worked with Swedish authorities to combat disinformation, dug deeper into the Autodoc network.

Hidden beneath the user-friendly interface of some of the earliest Autodoc sites lay what Mr. Lindholm, an expert in the forensic analysis of online traffic, described as “icebergs” of blog-like content completely unrelated to auto parts, translated into a variety of languages. A visitor to one of the car-parts sites could not simply access this content from the home page; instead, one had to know and type in the full URL.

“It’s like they have a back door and it’s open and you can have a look around, but to do that you have to know that the door is there,” Mr. Lindholm said.

Much of the content was not political. But there were links to posts about a range of divisive social issues, some of them translated into other languages. One hidden link — about female genital mutilation in Muslim countries — had been translated from English to Polish before being posted. Yet another post, from a site called AnsweringIslam.net, concluded, “Islam hates you.”

Thomas Casper, a spokesman for Autodoc, said the company had no “interest at all in supporting alt-right media,” and added, “We vehemently oppose racism and far-right principles.”

He said the company’s digital advertising team worked with third parties to place ads on “trusted websites with substantial traffic.” Autodoc, he said, had instituted controls to try to ensure that it no longer advertised on far-right sites.

Autodocs has advertised on far-right sites in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe, including this Hungarian site which has a section devoted to Holocaust denialism.

As for the icebergs, after receiving The Times’s inquiry, the company removed what Mr. Casper called the “obviously dubious and outdated content.” It had originally been placed there, he said, to improve search engine optimization.

But Mr. Lindholm said that made no sense. “By linking to irrelevant content, it actually hurts their business because Google frowns on that,” he said.

Another way to look inside the explosive growth of Sweden’s alt-right outlets is to see who is linking to them. The more links, especially from well-trafficked outlets, the more likely Google is to rank the sites as authoritative. That, in turn, means that Swedes are more likely to see them when they search for, say, immigration and crime.

The Times analyzed more than 12 million available links from over 18,000 domains to four prominent far-right sites — Nyheter Idag, Samhallsnytt, Fria Tider and Nya Tider. The data was culled by Mr. Lindholm from two search engine optimization tools and represents a snapshot of all known links through July 2.

As expected, given the relative paucity of Swedish speakers worldwide, most of the links came from Swedish-language sites.

But the analysis turned up a surprising number of links from well-trafficked foreign-language sites — which suggests that the Swedish sites’ rapid growth has been driven to a significant degree from abroad.

“It has the makings, the characteristics, of an operation whose purpose or goal is to help these sites become relevant by getting them to be seen as widely as possible,” Mr. Lindholm said.

Over all, more than one in five links were from non-Swedish language sites. English-language sites, along with Norwegian ones, linked the most, nearly a million times. But other European-language far-right sites — Russian but also Czech, Danish, German, Finnish and Polish — were also frequent linkers.

The Times identified 356 domains that linked to all four Swedish sites.

Many are well known in American far-right circles. Among them is the Gatestone Institute, a think tank whose site regularly stokes fears about Muslims in the United States and Europe. Its chairman until last year was John R. Bolton, now Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and its funders have included Rebekah Mercer, a prominent wealthy Trump supporter.

Other domains that linked to all four Swedish sites included Stormfront, one of the oldest and largest American white supremacist sites; Voice of Europe, a Kremlin-friendly right-wing site; a Russian-language blog called Sweden4Rus.nu; and FreieWelt.net, a site supportive of the AfD in Germany.

This loosely knit global network does not just help increase readership in Sweden; researchers have tracked how Russian state outlets like RT and Sputnik, along with Western platforms like Infowars and Breitbart, have picked up and amplified Swedish immigration-related stories to galvanize xenophobia among their audiences.

Bjorn Palmertz, a disinformation specialist at the Swedish Defense University, said this “information laundry” had resulted in globally viral stories like the one about the Swedish town that allowed a mosque to issue calls to prayer while denying a church’s application to ring its bells — never mind that the church had not applied.

“Sweden is portrayed either as a heaven or a hell,” said Annika Rembe, Sweden’s consul general in New York. “But conservative value-based politicians in Hungary, Poland, the United States and elsewhere would use Sweden as an example of a failed state: If you follow this path, your society will look like Sweden’s.”

The auditorium at Rinkebyskolan, a middle school across the street from Rinkeby’s town square, filled rapidly. Women wearing hijabs and burqas spilled in, taking their seats on the left. Men sat to the right. From the speakers came the voice of an imam reading from the Quran.

Developed as part of a 1960s-era government initiative to build a million affordable dwellings, Rinkeby was originally home to a mix of Swedes and laborers from southern Europe. Over time it became known as Sweden’s “Village of the World,” with people from more than 100 countries living in drab, low-slung apartment blocks. Today, more than 91 percent of Rinkeby’s roughly 16,400 residents are immigrants and their children.

Westlake Legal Group rinkeby-720 The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism United States Trump, Donald J Sweden Democrats Stormfront.org Stockholm (Sweden) Sputnik (Russian News Agency) Spencer, Richard B (1978- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Rumors and Misinformation RT (TV Network) Putin, Vladimir V Propaganda project veritas Orban, Viktor Neo Nazi Groups Muslims and Islam Mercer, Rebekah A (1973- ) Law and Justice (Poland) Immigration and Emigration Fringe Groups and Movements European Union Dugin, Alexander (1962- ) Conservative Political Action Conference Bolton, John R Asylum, Right of americans for prosperity Alternative for Germany

Lilla Vartan

Hasselby-Vallingby

Riddarfjarden

Westlake Legal Group rinkeby-300 The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism United States Trump, Donald J Sweden Democrats Stormfront.org Stockholm (Sweden) Sputnik (Russian News Agency) Spencer, Richard B (1978- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Rumors and Misinformation RT (TV Network) Putin, Vladimir V Propaganda project veritas Orban, Viktor Neo Nazi Groups Muslims and Islam Mercer, Rebekah A (1973- ) Law and Justice (Poland) Immigration and Emigration Fringe Groups and Movements European Union Dugin, Alexander (1962- ) Conservative Political Action Conference Bolton, John R Asylum, Right of americans for prosperity Alternative for Germany

Lilla Vartan

By Jason Kao

At a long table in front of the auditorium sat Niclas Andersson, a towering man who serves as Rinkeby’s police chief. Once prayers concluded, the audience began peppering him with questions.

Some worried about drug trafficking inside the apartment complexes, others about the prevalence of guns. Could the police install more cameras?

To be sure, Mr. Andersson said in an interview afterward, there were problems in Rinkeby, his posting for 18 years. But it is hardly the hellscape that nationalists bent on painting Sweden as a failed state hold it out to be.

Many newcomers still struggle to get a foothold in the job market, so unemployment is relatively high, at 8.8 percent. And in the larger Rinkeby-Kista borough, there were 825 reported episodes of violent crime last year, a rate 36 percent higher per capita than Stockholm as a whole.

But Mr. Andersson does not recognize the Rinkeby portrayed in the movie — directed by a filmmaker who has shot political ads for Republicans in Congress — that led Mr. Trump to make his “last night in Sweden” remarks. Rinkeby is not a no-go zone, Mr. Andersson said, an assertion supported by the film’s chief cameraman, who has acknowledged that officers who seemed to suggest otherwise had been edited out of context.

In fact, the number of police officers in Rinkeby has more than quadrupled since 2015. Assaults and robberies are down, Mr. Andersson said. Fatal shootings are down, too — of 11 in Stockholm last year, one was in Rinkeby. Nationally, the violent crime rate is one-fifth that of the United States.

“It was a heavily slanted picture,” Mr. Andersson said. “You zero in on a couple of incidents, then use that to describe the whole area.”

By the time Mr. Trump zeroed in on Rinkeby, “the government was tackling the problems,” said Amela Mahovic, a local reporter for Swedish public television. When the actual clash broke out soon after, she said, community elders spread the word to local youths: “You need to stop this.”

But soon, they said, they found that outside forces wanted the world to see a different picture.

Guleed Mohamed, then a researcher for public television, said he had spoken to a reporting team from Russia and Ukraine in Rinkeby Square that week and had tried to ask about Russia.

“They changed the subject to how multiculturalism doesn’t work,” he recalled. “And then they quickly connected that to the clash — ‘I want to talk about the riot. Don’t you think this is connected to the influx of migrants?’”

Hani Al Saleh, a Syrian who came to Sweden as a teenager, was working as a guard in Rinkeby. Tall and muscular with a sculpted beard, Mr. Saleh is known as “Amo,” or uncle, by the local youth. He said three young immigrants he knew told him that Russian journalists had tried to bribe them with 400 kronor (about $43) apiece.

Hani Al Saleh, a guard in Rinkeby known as Amo, or uncle, by local youth, throwing his niece up in the air.CreditLoulou d’Aki for The New York Times

“Boys, do you want to do some action in front of the camera?” they said the Russian journalists asked them.

Mr. Saleh later took a Danish journalist to meet two of the young men. After searching online, they recognized the logo of the Russian state-owned news channel NTV, along with the Russians who had made the offer.

The journalist contacted NTV, which denied the whole thing. But besides Mr. Castillo, the night watchman, The Times found other witnesses who backed up Mr. Saleh’s account.

Elvir Kazinic and Mustafa Zatara said they were in the square a couple of days after the clash when they overheard another group of young men talking about Russian journalists and a 400 krona bribe to fight.

“To stoop to that level and offer kids money,” said Mr. Kazinic, a Bosnian émigré who serves on Rinkeby’s district council, “that is low.”

Mr. Zatara, a poet, knows well the consequences of stirring up anti-immigrant racism. His father, Hasan Zatara, a Palestinian, came to Sweden in 1969, earned a high school diploma and opened a convenience store.

Standing behind the cash register on a January afternoon 27 years ago, he became the final victim of John Ausonius, a serial shooter who terrorized immigrant communities, killing one person and wounding 10 others. Hasan Zatara was paralyzed.

Mr. Ausonius later said he was inspired by the anti-immigrant party of the day, New Democracy.

“When my father was shot in 1992, we had New Democracy,” Mustafa Zatara said. “Today we have the Sweden Democrats. Then, they wore bomber jackets and boots. Today, they wear bow ties and suits. It’s normalized now in the Swedish political corridor.”

After the commotion in Rinkeby died down, Russian news agencies kept calling the police, fruitlessly asking permission to ride with officers patrolling the district.

“This went on week in and week out,” said Varg Gyllander, the department’s press officer.

Last September, right after the Swedish elections, the requests abruptly stopped.

The Sweden Democrats had their best showing yet. Their nearly 18 percent share of the vote hamstrung Swedish politics, with the mainstream parties unable to form a government for more than four months.

The Social Democrats finally formed a shaky coalition that excluded the Sweden Democrats. But it came at a price: some prominent center-right politicians are now expressing a willingness to work with the Sweden Democrats, portending a new political alignment.

In February, the Sweden Democrats’ Mr. Karlsson strode into a Washington-area hotel where leaders of the American and European right were gathering for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. As he settled in at the lobby bar, straightening his navy three-piece suit, he was clearly very much at home.

At the conference — where political boot-camp training mixed with speeches by luminaries like Mr. Trump and the British populist leader Nigel Farage — Mr. Karlsson hoped to learn about the infrastructure of the American conservative movement, particularly its funding and use of the media and think tanks to broaden its appeal. But in a measure of how nationalism and conservatism have merged in Mr. Trump’s Washington, many of the Americans with whom he wanted to network were just as eager to network with him.

Mr. Karlsson had flown in from Colorado, where he had given a speech at the Steamboat Institute, a conservative think tank. That morning, Tobias Andersson, 23, the Sweden Democrats’ youngest member of Parliament and a contributor to Breitbart, had spoken to Americans for Tax Reform, a bastion of tax-cut orthodoxy.

Now, they found themselves encircled by admirers like Matthew Hurtt, the director for external relationships at Americans for Prosperity, part of the billionaire Koch brothers’ political operation, and Matthew Tyrmand, a board member of Project Veritas, a conservative group that uses undercover filming to sting its targets.

Mr. Tyrmand, who is also an adviser to a senator from Poland’s anti-immigration ruling Law and Justice party, was particularly eager. “You are taking your country back!” he exclaimed.

Mr. Karlsson smiled.

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Jim Daly: ‘The Hunt’ cancelation is welcome news – murdering political opponents isn’t entertaining or funny

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071537000001_6071538159001-vs Jim Daly: ‘The Hunt’ cancelation is welcome news – murdering political opponents isn’t entertaining or funny Jim Daly fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/opinion fnc d1044172-6ddd-5386-b065-055375d7b7d9 article

Responding to overwhelming criticism, Universal Pictures announced Saturday it has canceled the planned September release of the film “The Hunt” about liberals hunting conservative “Deplorables” who fit the description of supporters of President Trump.

In a statement, a Universal Pictures spokesperson said “the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film … we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

The cancelation is a victory for common sense and decency. The film – called “a satirical social thriller” by the studio – sounded thoroughly disgusting.

‘THE HUNT’ CANCELED BY UNIVERSAL FOLLOWING SIGNIFICANT BACKLASH

There is nothing funny about murdering innocent people. It shouldn’t have taken the tragic mass murders in Ohio and Texas last weekend to make that obvious fact even more obvious.

“The Hunt” was supposed to satirize the ongoing culture war between liberal elites and Deplorables – the insulting term Hillary Clinton coined for some supporters of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A lot of the buzz surrounding the movie stems from a violent and bloody two-and-a-half-minute trailer that was released several days ago.

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Understandably, initial reaction to the trailer centered on the horrific callousness and immorality of hunting and killing people for their ideologically conservative beliefs. It’s quite jarring to see.

The trailer seemed to be tapping into the same sort of anger and sense of disenfranchisement that many believe led to Trump’s populist rise.

There is nothing funny about murdering innocent people. It shouldn’t have taken the tragic mass murders in Ohio and Texas last weekend to make that obvious fact even more obvious.

Imagine the protests if the film had taken a different tack and portrayed Trump supporters hunting down supporters of one of the Democratic presidential candidates. The protests would have been justified.

Since “The Hunt” was supposed to be a satirical piece, allow me to offer a response in a similar vein, although I believe mine is actually rooted in truth.

From my perspective, liberals have been – metaphorically speaking – “hunting” religious conservatives for years. They have been attempting to deconstruct our traditional values, as well as seeking to tear down all the institutions that so many of us hold dear. These include the strength and vibrancy of our faith communities, the integrity of the family, the sanctity of life and fidelity to the United States Constitution.

For nearly a century, liberals have attempted to strike down these foundational principles. Just five days before he was first elected president, Barack Obama announced that he was committed to “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Almost 11 years later, Obama’s bold and sweeping vision has been actualized. Traditions thousands of years old have been turned upside down, including the definition of marriage and the recognition of two distinct genders, to name just two sweeping cultural changes of the last decade.

I realize we live in a pluralistic society and we must always treat one another with dignity and respect. But we live in a world where the cultural elites think you’re a bigot if you disagree with them on same-sex marriage, if you believe that gender is a matter of biology and not preference, and if you oppose explicit lessons about human sexuality for very young students.

If you believe children should have the right to read the Bible and pray during their free time in school you’re considered a narrow-minded religious fanatic who hates anyone who disagrees with you.

I have lots of liberal friends, and I don’t actually believe those on the left want to kill those of us on the right, or vice versa. But I do believe many on the so-called “tolerant” left want to see many of our most deeply cherished values – often rooted in our belief in God and the Bible – hunted down and gutted, their bones buried and forgotten.

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In the end, those of us with a religious, conservative worldview welcome a civil, respectful and spirited debate with those on the other side, believing that our principles and values will lead to a flourishing and more prosperous world.

The cancelation of the release of “The Hunt” is a step in the right direction. We must all live and work with those we disagree with and try to understand their point of view. Letting our disagreements escalate into violent attacks on one another is neither acceptable nor entertaining.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071537000001_6071538159001-vs Jim Daly: ‘The Hunt’ cancelation is welcome news – murdering political opponents isn’t entertaining or funny Jim Daly fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/opinion fnc d1044172-6ddd-5386-b065-055375d7b7d9 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071537000001_6071538159001-vs Jim Daly: ‘The Hunt’ cancelation is welcome news – murdering political opponents isn’t entertaining or funny Jim Daly fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/opinion fnc d1044172-6ddd-5386-b065-055375d7b7d9 article

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Kamala Harris: Trump Was ‘Tweeting Out The Ammunition’ For El Paso Shooter

Westlake Legal Group 5d4f24353b0000a912daecd8 Kamala Harris: Trump Was ‘Tweeting Out The Ammunition’ For El Paso Shooter

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) delivered a powerful condemnation of President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric on Saturday, again linking it to last week’s El Paso, Texas, shooting in which a gunman targeted Mexicans, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more.

“People say to me, ‘Did Donald Trump cause those folks to be killed?’ Well, no, of course he didn’t pull the trigger, but he’s certainly been tweeting out the ammunition,” the 2020 hopeful said at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety in Des Moines, Iowa.

Trump’s rhetoric has been widely condemned by Democratic candidates after it was reported the the shooter allegedly posted a white supremacist manifesto on 8chan, an online haven for extremists, minutes before carrying out his attack at a Walmart on August 3.

The four-page xenophobic screed warned of “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” decried “race-mixing” and called the shooting a defense against “ethnic replacement.”

Harris told the audience at the gun control event that it is high time that Trump ― who has in recent weeks used Twitter to attack a handful of lawmakers of color ― use his platform responsibly.

“We need a president of the United States who … understands that one of her greatest powers is to use the microphone in a way that is about not beating people down, but lifting people up,” she said.

Harris went on to call Trump’s remarks following the El Paso shooting “empty gestures,” arguing that he threw away an opportunity to seriously address gun violence and use his party’s dominance in the Senate to pass much needed reform.

“I say put your money where your mouth is for all these people,” she said, demanding an end to the “thoughts and prayers” offered by politicians after mass shootings and instead calling upon them to “act on it.”

In the wake of the shooting ― which was followed hours later by another massacre in downtown Dayton, Ohio, where a gunman killed nine people ― Trump proposed on Twitter that lawmakers consider “marrying” background check legislation with immigration reform, prompting backlash from Democrats who swiftly rejected the idea.

On Monday, he urged the nation in a televised statement to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” though he made no mention of his role in encouraging those ideologies to proliferate.

Trump tweeted Friday that “serious discussions” were occurring in Congress on “meaningful Background Checks,” but did not detail what that might entail. At the same time, he reassured the National Rifle Association that its views would be “fully represented and respected.”

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San Francisco saw 150 percent spike in fentanyl-related deaths last year, report says

Westlake Legal Group AP19218855603716 San Francisco saw 150 percent spike in fentanyl-related deaths last year, report says Louis Casiano fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-francisco fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/health fnc article 42156fcc-8679-5264-a53d-fab8d3acd8dc

The number of deaths from fentanyl overdoses in San Francisco jumped by nearly 150 percent last year, according to a report by the city’s public health department made public this week.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 89 deaths in the city were attributed to fentanyl overdoses, up from 37 deaths in 2017. By comparison, 70 people died from prescription opioid overdoses and 60 deaths were attributed to heroin overdoses.

COUNTERFEIT PILLS LINKED TO FOUR SAN DIEGO-AREA DEATHS IN 24-HOUR SPAN

A preliminary report released in June attributed 57 deaths to fentanyl overdoses, but health officials told the Chronicle they had expected that figure to increase as the city medical examiner determined the cause of more deaths.

The city has experienced an uptick in fentanyl-related deaths since 2008, when five deaths were reported. In 2010, six deaths were attributed to the drug, which killed 22 people in 2016.

“It’s not a huge surprise to see this, although it’s certainly disappointing and sad to have lost this many lives in the city,” Dr. Phillip Coffin, the director of substance use research for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, told the Chronicle.“Unfortunately, there is no locality that can withstand the introduction of fentanyl without some increase in mortality.”

In its legal form, fentanyl is used to treat patients recovering from surgery. However, the synthetic drug is often mixed with other drugs like heroin and cocaine in powder form for those looking to get high, KTVU reported in June.

“In San Francisco, that’s how fentanyl came to us. In counterfeit pills at first a few years ago. At this point it is its own drug supply,” Kristen Marshall from the Drug Overdose Prevention & Education Project told the station.

TRUMP DRUG CZAR TOUTS PROGRESS AGAINST OPIOID CRISIS AFTER REPORT 76 BILLION PILLS FLOODED US

Fentanyl is a highly addictive opiate that is 100 times more potent than other prescription opioids like morphine, according to the paper.

“It has taken over heroin as the number one choice for opioid,” Dr. Chris Colwell, chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, told the station.

Coffin said fentanyl has “become more and more prevalent as the opioid that people are using in San Francisco” and “is a riskier opioid compared to prescription opioids.”

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A Drug Enforcement Administration report said drug companies shipped billions of painkillers across America without proper oversight for several years, exacerbating the opioid crisis.

The report said 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were shipped to mostly rural and working-class communities in the Appalachian region, which has become the epicenter of the crisis.

Westlake Legal Group AP19218855603716 San Francisco saw 150 percent spike in fentanyl-related deaths last year, report says Louis Casiano fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-francisco fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/health fnc article 42156fcc-8679-5264-a53d-fab8d3acd8dc   Westlake Legal Group AP19218855603716 San Francisco saw 150 percent spike in fentanyl-related deaths last year, report says Louis Casiano fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-francisco fox-news/topic/opioid-crisis fox news fnc/health fnc article 42156fcc-8679-5264-a53d-fab8d3acd8dc

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At Least 62 Dead After Fuel Tanker Explodes In Tanzania

Westlake Legal Group ap_19222446942857-09a78ea082f9bdf9ecff7b7cf438310b52123816-s1100-c15 At Least 62 Dead After Fuel Tanker Explodes In Tanzania

A damaged tanker truck exploded in Tanzania on Saturday as people were trying to siphon fuel out of it, killing at least 62. AP hide caption

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AP

Westlake Legal Group  At Least 62 Dead After Fuel Tanker Explodes In Tanzania

A damaged tanker truck exploded in Tanzania on Saturday as people were trying to siphon fuel out of it, killing at least 62.

AP

A fuel tanker in Tanzania exploded on Saturday, killing at least 62 people and injuring 70 more, The Associated Press reported.

The tanker truck flipped over in Morogoro, roughly 115 miles from the economic hub of Dar es Salaam. Video from before the explosion shows a large crowd gathered around the damaged tanker, collecting spilled fuel in yellow jerrycans.

In one video on social media, a police officer is seen helping a man from the flames as the sounds of another explosion can be heard in the background. Photos from after the accident show piles of charred motorbikes and burned bodies.

A regional commissioner told the local Azam TV that many people suffered severe burns, the AP reported.

Accidents like these are are not uncommon across the continent, NPR’s East Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta reported.

A similar incident last month left more than 45 dead in Nigeria. In 2016, at least 73 people were killed when a truck carrying fuel exploded in Mozambique. In 2010, more than 200 were killed in Democratic Republic of Congo when a fuel tanker overturned.

“Fuel tankers have an accident and people looking for a little bit of money try to scoop up whatever fuel they can salvage,” Peralta said.

“There is limited awareness about the danger of explosions of damaged fuel tankers” Henry Bantu, a road safety expert who runs the Tanzania-based Safe Speed Foundation, told the AP.

“Local leaders need to do more to educate people on the risks,” he said.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli sent his condolences to the families of those who died in the accident.

The Tanzanian news outlet The Citizen reported that the president also expressed his sadness over the tendency of some people to “scramble for properties” when motor accidents occur.

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Prosecutors Say Jeffrey Epstein Sex Trafficking Investigation Not Over

Westlake Legal Group 5d4f19ff240000ff34937e3e Prosecutors Say Jeffrey Epstein Sex Trafficking Investigation Not Over

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will continue investigating the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide Saturday morning, they said in a statement.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman urged anyone who may be a victim in the case or may have information to contact the FBI.

“Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court,” Berman said. He continued:

“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.”

Epstein pleaded not guilty to two counts involving sex trafficking after his arrest early last month, and since then, prosecutors say, dozens more accusers have come forward. A judge refused to release him from the Manhattan Correctional Center on bail, citing prosecutors’ concerns that he would be both a flight risk and a danger to the community.

While the criminal charges against Epstein cannot proceed, accusers may pursue civil litigation against his estate. Any potential conspirators could also be charged.

Questions have swirled around Epstein’s potential enablers ― well-connected friends and others close to him who may have known that he sexually abused young girls but did not intervene. The multimillionaire financier is known to have socialized with wealthy businessmen, heads of state including former President Bill Clinton, world-renowned scientists and celebrities including Naomi Campbell and Donald Trump, back when he was a real estate tycoon.

Just one day before he was found dead, an appellate court unsealed more than 2,000 documents in a defamation case between Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre and longtime Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell. A review of the records by HuffPost revealed upsetting details about what could amount to an elite, international sex trafficking ring of underaged girls. The suit was settled in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.

The New York charges came around a decade after prosecutors in Florida, led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, granted Epstein an extraordinarily lax plea deal on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Investigations into Epstein’s death are ongoing by officials at the FBI and the New York Medical Examiner’s Office.

Epstein had been on suicide watch following a July 23 incident that left him lying semiconscious on the floor of his cell with marks around his neck; it was being treated as a possible attack or suicide attempt. 

The financier was taken off suicide watch, however, at some point prior to his death, according to The Associated Press. The Justice Department declined to provide further information about Epstein’s detention.

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Ted Williams tells powerful Epstein associates: ‘You’re really not off the hook’

Westlake Legal Group Ted-Williams-Jeffrey-Epstein-FOX-AP Ted Williams tells powerful Epstein associates: 'You're really not off the hook' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article aedb299c-cd11-55c6-b798-a4a72ac79ca5

More witnesses could come forward and inform on associates of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein now that the financier is dead, Fox News contributor Ted Williams said during a Saturday appearance on “America’s News HQ.”

“I would say to these powerful people: You’re really not off the hook because it [Epstein’s death] may now have freed a lot of the witnesses who would not have come forward because they may have been intimidated by Epstein,” said Williams, a former homicide detective turned criminal defense attorney.

“Now that he’s dead, these people may very well come out of the woodwork and talk a lot about these powerful people and them taking these young girls to bed,” Williams added.

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On Saturday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the investigation into Epstein’s alleged conduct would continue and urged “anyone who feels they may be a victim” to come forward.

WILLIAM BARR ‘APPALLED’ BY JEFFREY EPSTEIN DEATH, SAYS QUESTIONS ‘MUST BE ANSWERED’

Although more witnesses could come forward, Williams said it was “sad” that Epstein had taken everything that he knew about his associates to the grave. After Epstein was indicted last month on sex trafficking charges, both President Trump and former President Bill Clinton came under scrutiny for their relationship with the multimillionaire.

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On Saturday, the Justice Department announced it would pursue an investigation into the Epstein’s. Williams urged the Federal Bureau of Prisons to act quickly in order to help quell the spread of what he called “conspiracy theories” surrounding Epstein’s death.

“I can unequivocally tell you that there are going to be some heads rolling over this one,” Williams said, noting Epstein’s previous suspected suicide attempt.

Westlake Legal Group Ted-Williams-Jeffrey-Epstein-FOX-AP Ted Williams tells powerful Epstein associates: 'You're really not off the hook' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article aedb299c-cd11-55c6-b798-a4a72ac79ca5   Westlake Legal Group Ted-Williams-Jeffrey-Epstein-FOX-AP Ted Williams tells powerful Epstein associates: 'You're really not off the hook' Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article aedb299c-cd11-55c6-b798-a4a72ac79ca5

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Disney World’s mosquitoes: 4 weird ways the theme park allegedly manages pesky insects

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030007504001_6030001551001-vs Disney World's mosquitoes: 4 weird ways the theme park allegedly manages pesky insects Reader's Digest Meghan Jones fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/walt-disney-world-orlando fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 5cf4c6f1-c31f-50f4-a4e3-d0012cb4b660

While you’re strolling around Disney World on a hot day, debating which ride to check out next and munching the delicious foods you must try there, chances are you’re not swatting away mosquitoes. You might take it for granted — as it seems to be that there are no pesky blood-sucking bugs in the Most Magical Place on Earth.

But then when you start to think more about it, it gets perplexing. Disney World is in Florida, after all, a hot state filled with swampland. In fact, the area where the park is used to be nothing but swampland! So how is Disney World reportedly so mosquito-free?

Well, there’s no miraculous Disney-magic method that completely eliminates all bugs. Some bugs do still make it into the park because no technique can be 100 percent effective. But, by combining a few different methods of pest control, Disney can create a mostly pest-free park in the middle of swamp country. And most of the park’s pest control methods allegedly trace back to one man.

Walt Disney meets Joe Potter

If you’ve taken the ferry from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom, you may have noticed the name “General Joe Potter” on one of the boats. MIT graduate and engineering expert Major General William “Joe” Potter met Walt Disney during the 1964 World’s Fair. Potter had previously served as governor of the Panama Canal Zone, an area ravaged by malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

According to Christoper Lucas, author of “Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney,” this was where Potter developed his extensive knowledge of pest control as one of the engineers fighting to control the swarms. As Potter and Disney talked at the World’s Fair, the former mentioned his background in controlling mosquitoes.

Disney “hired him on the spot” and put him in charge of keeping mosquitoes out of the expansive theme park he was planning on building in central Florida, Lucas says.

Flowing water

Disney’s methods aren’t to kill bugs but to prevent bugs from being in the park at all. So their methods target the larvae instead—they make the park a non-ideal environment for mosquitoes to live or lay their eggs. One of the ways they allegedly accomplish this is by making sure the park has no standing water—mosquitoes are attracted to still water and it’s an ideal environment for them to lay eggs.

“You [need to] get rid of their breeding ground, which is standing water,” Lucas explains.

But, as you can imagine, swamps are filled with standing water. So, when Potter got to work on construction for Disney World, he immediately set about building drainage ditches to remove all of the water, converting the swampy land to buildable land. And those ditches—nicknamed “Joe’s ditches”—are still used today, to keep all of the water in Disney parks constantly moving.

“The guests usually don’t notice it…but the water is constantly flowing,” Lucas says. “Whenever you walk by a body of water, there’s usually a fountain in the middle of it, or they’re doing something to keep it flowing.”

Whenever Disney prepares to build a new property, such as one of these best Disney resorts for a perfect family vacation, they buy a lot more land than the property itself requires, so that they can build drainage ditches to allow them to keep the water moving.

Architecture

Disney’s buildings, too, are designed to prevent standing water from collecting. “All of the buildings are built so that water flows right off of [them],” Lucas explains. “With all the rainstorms, if water got caught on the buildings…it would form a pool, and then mosquitoes would hatch their eggs and you’d have thousands of mosquitoes.”

So Disney World buildings have a certain shape that doesn’t allow water to collect. It’s something that guests would never notice but is very effective.

“They made every building there curved, or designed in a way so there’d be no place for the water to catch and sit there,” Lucas says. “The architecture is really appealing to the eye, but it also serves a purpose: It makes it less conducive to mosquitoes.”

See if you can spot this architecture style on your next trip to the parks to visit these things debuting in Disney in 2019.

Landscaping

Even the plants in and around the Disney World property are chosen with the intention of eliminating standing water. Plants are chosen because they won’t allow water to puddle in them. Bodies of water are kept free of plants like water lilies that mosquito larvae can hide underneath.

“They also stock-fill those places with minnows, goldfish, and a type of fish called mosquito fish that eat the larvae,” Lucas explains.

Garlic extract spray

Right from the get-go, Walt Disney made it clear that he didn’t want nasty chemicals floating around his park.

“[He] did not want to ruin the environment at all, so they couldn’t use pesticides,” Lucas explains. “It’d be easy to just spray the whole thing, but he wanted it to be something natural.” So, instead of pesticides, the park uses an unusual insect repellent: liquid garlic. Mosquitoes notoriously can’t stand the smell of garlic, so Disney sprays an extract around the park.

“The amount that they use is so small that humans can’t smell it, but mosquitoes are very susceptible to it,” Lucas says. It’s certainly quite the operation, but Lucas acknowledges that none of it would have been possible without Potter.

“Without him, they might’ve built the place, but they’d have a problem today with mosquitoes,” he says. We’re sure glad he’s immortalized with a boat!

Check out more incredible behind-the-scenes Disney tips and facts with these secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.

This story originally appeared in Reader’s Digest.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030007504001_6030001551001-vs Disney World's mosquitoes: 4 weird ways the theme park allegedly manages pesky insects Reader's Digest Meghan Jones fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/walt-disney-world-orlando fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 5cf4c6f1-c31f-50f4-a4e3-d0012cb4b660   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6030007504001_6030001551001-vs Disney World's mosquitoes: 4 weird ways the theme park allegedly manages pesky insects Reader's Digest Meghan Jones fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/walt-disney-world-orlando fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fnc/travel fnc article 5cf4c6f1-c31f-50f4-a4e3-d0012cb4b660

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Jeffrey Epstein’s Accusers Angered by His Death

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157993011_85c45aea-aae2-47b5-9a92-51140e9c2349-facebookJumbo Jeffrey Epstein’s Accusers Angered by His Death Suicides and Suicide Attempts Sex Crimes Prisons and Prisoners Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Deaths (Fatalities) Child Abuse and Neglect

The suicide of Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday left his accusers around the country stunned and angered that they would never see him face a full reckoning for his exploits, after coming so close.

Mr. Epstein, a wealthy financier, was believed to have recruited dozens of girls and young women into his orbit, and many anticipated that new federal charges in Manhattan filed last month would lead to a public airing of allegations of sexual abuse that had been obscured for years.

But that chance ended abruptly Saturday, when Mr. Epstein, 66, was found lifeless in his cell at a Manhattan federal jail. Officials said he had hanged himself.

[Read more about Mr. Epstein’s suicide at a Manhattan federal jail.]

Several accusers, some speaking through lawyers, said they hoped that the authorities would continue their investigation, focusing on other people in Mr. Epstein’s circle who they said had helped recruit, train and coerce his victims.

Robbie Kaplan, an attorney representing an accuser who was a minor at the time of the conduct and was included in the federal indictment, said they “will continue to fight tirelessly on their behalf not only to seek justice, but also to ensure that all of the facts of his monstrous crimes become known to the world.”

That may happen. Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said Saturday the suicide was disturbing but his office would continue to investigate, noting that Mr. Epstein’s indictment included a conspiracy count.

“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you,” Mr. Berman said in a statement.

Mr. Epstein’s suicide came a day after a federal appeals court released a cache of previously sealed documents, including depositions that revealed disturbing details about Mr. Epstein’s conduct. One accuser, Virginia Giuffre, said in depositions that she had been kept as a “sex slave” with the assistance of Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s longtime confidante.

Ms. Maxwell, in another deposition in the case, called Ms. Giuffre’s accusations “an absolute lie.” Her lawyers could not be reached for comment on Saturday. A day earlier, their office had said they were out of the country and unavailable to comment.

David Boies, a New York attorney working with a number of women who say they were victimized by Mr. Epstein, including Ms. Giuffre, said his death was the end of just one chapter.

“Jeffrey Epstein did not act, and could not have done what he did, alone,” Mr. Boies said. “Justice demands that those who acted with him also be held accountable.”

His colleague, Sigrid McCawley, added, “The victims await the true justice they have sought and deserve.”

A range of accusers had previously worked with investigators who had been building a case against Mr. Epstein more than a decade ago.

He avoided federal charges from that case thanks to a plea agreement in 2008 that allowed him to admit to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor. He served 13 months in jail but was allowed to leave the jail for 12 hours a day, six days a week, to work at his office in Florida.

Mr. Epstein’s case resurged in recent months after a Miami Herald investigation last year further examined that plea agreement.

Mr. Epstein was arrested last month at Teterboro Airport and charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, renewing hope among his accusers that he would face overdue accountability.

Jennifer Araoz, who said she had been raped by Mr. Epstein after being recruited outside her Manhattan high school in 2001, said she was angry he would not have to face anyone in court.

“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people,” Ms. Araoz said in a statement.

The new documents and details emerging in the case have raised extensive questions about the scope of Mr. Epstein’s network — which appears to have spanned from New York to New Mexico to the Caribbean — the number of victimized girls, and the help he received from loyal companions.

Jack Scarola, a Florida attorney who represents additional women, said the victims regretted that they might not get answers and that the chance to hold Mr. Epstein responsible may have died with him.

“My primary reaction is that Jeffrey Epstein’s victims have been once again failed by the justice system and cheated out of an opportunity for justice,” he said.

Mr. Scarola said he was stunned that Mr. Epstein had not been on suicide watch, given both his high profile and that prison officials suspected he had attempted to kill himself last month. Mr. Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found injured in his cell on July 23, but he was taken off six days later, according to an official familiar with his detention.

Authorities did not immediately explain why he was taken off suicide watch. The F.B.I. said it was investigating, and Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement that a special inquiry would be opened into what had happened.

“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Mr. Barr said.

Spencer Kuvin, another attorney, said one of his clients was feeling some sense of closure that the person who had wronged her was gone forever. But she was also frustrated again that he would not answer for his crimes in court, Mr. Kuvin said.

“I think that she’s in shock,” Mr. Kuvin said.

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