Wednesday, November 21, 2018

DOJ Gets Names In OSC Russian Election Interference Investigation


Welcome to Michigan.


Butina, 29, was indicted on July 17 on a conspiracy charge and for acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia. She is accused of attempting to infiltrate conservative political groups, including the National Rifle Association, at the direction of Alexander Torshin, the deputy chief of Russia’s central bank.

(RELATED: Russian National Linked To NRA Is Charged With Acting As Russian Agent)

Butina, who attended American University, was a gun rights activist who co-founded The Right to Bear Arms, a pro-gun group in Russia.

Butina and her boyfriend, a conservative political operative named Paul Erickson, had extensive contact with top NRA officials. Erickson also made several attempts in May 2016 to arrange meetings between members of the Trump campaign and Torshin.

Torshin appeared at an event on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville in May 2016. He did not meet with Donald Trump at the event, but did briefly greet Donald Trump Jr.

Prosecutors have accused Butina of operating covertly. They have claimed to have evidence that Butina met with Russian operatives in the U.S.

In a complaint filed against Butina on July 18, U.S. attorney Jessie Liu accused Butina of offering sex in exchange for access to a special interest organization. Butina’s lawyers said text messages showed that Butina was joking with a friend in Russia who had repaired her car.

Liu acknowledged the mistake in a court filing submitted on Aug. 24.

“Even granting that the government’s understanding of this particular text conversation was mistaken, other communications and materials in the government’s possession (and produced to the defense) call into doubt the defendant’s claim that her relationship with U.S. Person 1 is a sufficiently strong tie to ensure her appearance in court to face the charges against her if she is released.”

U.S. Person 1 is believed to be Erickson.

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Kavanaugh Is Referred To SCOTUS For Ethics Investigation - Is Ken Starr In Those Filings?

It is such a shame we do not know the scope of the judicial ethics complaints.

I bet there is more than just quarter bounce in those filings.

I wonder what Ken Starr is doing right about now....

Chief Justice Roberts Requests Tenth Circuit To Investigate Kavanaugh Ethics Questions

These complaints were initially received by the U.S. Court of Appeals prior to Kavanaugh’s seating on the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Merrick Garland — whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Senate Republicans—recused himself from the matter. The complaints were then passed to Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, whom President George H.W. Bush nominated to the bench.

Judge Henderson dismissed some of the complaints made against Judge Kavanaugh as frivolous. But she concluded that more than a dozen complaints were substantive enough to warrant investigation by an impartial panel and that they should not be handled by Judge Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit. She referred them to Chief Justice Roberts, who has now referred them to the 10th Circuit.

The Legal Basis Of The Ethics Complaints
The complaints were not made without legal basis. More than 2,400 law professors have determined that Kavanaugh has “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court.”

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens also stated that Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated bias and is “not fit for the Supreme Court.” Former Justice Stevens, in remarks to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla, declared that Kavanaugh’s statements on September 27 revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court’s work. “They suggest that he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”

Wall Street Journal, about “a few things [he] should not have said” in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, though without giving specifics.

Now, Chief Justice Roberts has requested Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, the chief circuit judge of the Denver-based Tenth Circuit, to review the complaints against Kavanaugh and "any pending or new complaints related to the same subject matter." Judge Tymkovich has the option of handling the complaints himself, dismissing them or appointing a special committee to examine them.

Unlike the allegations of Justice Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct and excessive drinking as a teenager, there is no question here about the facts as to what happened, since they occurred on national television. At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Kavanaugh’s behavior was startlingly non-judicial in nature. From the outset in his prepared statement, he was angry and confrontational in manner. He was aggrieved and complaining about the situation in which he found himself. He was impolite and challenged the integrity of the Senate questioners and portrayed the hearing in the starkest partisan terms.

Kavanaugh made no apparent effort to bring a lifetime of professional expertise and perspective to bear on the difficult issues under consideration. Instead, he was dismissive of the inquiry and was careless on matters of fact that had been asserted by other potential witnesses on the subject under discussion. He made obfuscating responses to questions about the meaning of words. He made no apparent effort to hold emotions in check and shouted at U.S. Senators and accused them of wrongdoing. He repeatedly sought to shift the attention and blame to others for what was taking place. He resisted further legal inquiry into the issues under discussion. He approached the inquiry with an attitude of entitlement and self-pity. His conduct was remarkably unprofessional.

Although Kavanaugh’s behavior was the very opposite of what one hopes for and expects in a judge, it succeeded in its immediate intent of winning the applause of President Trump and his Republican supporters. Yet his performance, which has been accurately satirized on Saturday Night Live, appalled the rest of the country and raised strictly legal questions about his temperament to sit as a judge on any federal court, let alone the Supreme Court.

Next Steps
The situation is unique in that never before has a Supreme Court appointee joined the court at a time when a fellow judge has concluded that misconduct claims against that appointee warrant review and when a former Supreme Court Justice has concluded that the appointee’s behavior was disqualifying.
Technically, Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims. But if complaints against a sitting Justice are not dealt with in an impartial apolitical manner, then there will be an asterisk against Judge Tymkovich and Justice Kavanaugh for the remainder of their terms, and indeed the U.S. Supreme Court itself.

There is therefore a risk that Mitch McConnell's seeming accomplishment of a “rock-solid Republican majority on the Supreme Court for a generation” may yet turn out to be something of a Pyrrhic victory.

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Mississippi Catholic Churches Next Up In Trafficking Tiny Humans - DHS Raid Diocese Of Jackson

This sounds like one of those Catholics In Action (CIA) operatives.

Why did Homeland Security raid Catholic Diocese of Jackson? It starts with a priest.

The Office of Homeland Security raided the Catholic Diocese of Jackson office investigating accusations a Starkville priest obtained money by lying about having cancer when in fact he was HIV positive and was sent to a Canadian sexual addiction facility for priests.

An affidavit by Homeland Security Special Agent William Childers was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. The search of the Jackson Diocese apparently took place Nov. 7.

The affidavit says Homeland Security Investigations have developed probable cause to believe the Rev. Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Starkville, knowingly devised schemes of obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretense, through the use of wire communications.
The affidavit refers to Lenin Vargas-Gutierrez as Father Vargas after the initial introduction. A native of Mexico, he was ordained a priest in the Jackson diocese in 2006.

Childers' affidavit said the diocese had knowledge of Vargas' felony and concealed it by not making it immediately known.

The Diocese of Jackson issued the following statement Monday:

"Earlier this week the government began an investigation of the financial administration of St. Joseph in Starkville. St. Joseph Parish and the Diocese of Jackson are cooperating with the investigation. Pending the resolution of the investigation, Father Lenin Vargas will not engage in any public ministry and has been removed from all pastoral and financial administration.

"After receiving complaints, Bishop Joseph Kopacz ordered an internal accounting audit of the Starkville Parish’s finances.  After Bishop Kopacz’ staff conducted the audit, the Diocese placed fiscal constraints on Father Vargas’ spending and found that he was violating diocesan policy concerning soliciting charitable donations and demanded that he stop these activities and conduct no further charitable fundraising without first informing the diocese of these planned activities. Federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPPA, prohibits our discussion of Father Vargas’ medical condition — not only when we first learned of it, but also throughout the time period mentioned in the affidavit. In fact, HIPPA law continues to bind us today in that we can neither admit nor deny anything related to Rev. Vargas’ medical condition."

In Vargas' absence, the diocese saidthe Rev. Jeffrey Waldrep, pastor of Annunciation in Columbus, will serve as administrator, and the Rev. Rusty Vincent will be responsible for all pastoral ministry at St. Joseph and at Corpus Christi in Macon.

"The continued spiritual and financial well being of St. Joseph Parish and Corpus Christi is of the utmost importance, and we will continue to aid you both in sound fiscal management of all of your resources. Let us pray with trust that the Lord Jesus will shepherd us through this difficult time of upheaval and uncertainty," the diocese said.

The affidavit said agents met with five confidential informants with years of experience with the diocese in August or September.

Affidavit highlights of confidential informants' statements

  • Confidential informant No. 1 reported that in late 2014 Vargas went to the Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center for breathing trouble. Vargas stayed in the hospital for several days.
After Vargas was discharged, he invited the confidential informant to dinner and told him he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer — Walden Storm's macroglobulinemia lymphoma.
Vargas told the informant that the Diocese of Jackson was sending him to Canada for treatment because the Canadian hospital was one of the few hospitals that dealt with the type of rare cancer.
The informants said Vargas announced from the pulpit numerous times to St. Joe parishioners that he had cancer.

In April and May of 2015, an announcement appeared in the church bulletin, providing an address of Vargas for those parishioners who wished to send him mail. The address listed was the address of Southdawn Institute, "founded to address the need of religious and clergy around addictions and mental health issues."

A GoFundMe account was established for Vargas' benefit to cover medical expenses. Also, an informant said Vargas raised money for his alleged cancer from private donations as well.

Agents confirmed the GoFundMe account and that 57 people donated $9,210.

The GoFundMe narrative said that while Vargas has medical insurance, the costs associated with his cancer were high and that bills continued to be significant, and that donated funds would be deposited into the account. Three confidential informants told Homeland Security agents that the Diocese of Jackson's medical coverage for priests is very good and effectively covers everything, and that Vargas' medical expenses were covered.

The narrative contained a disclaimer that the Diocese of Jackson wasn't responsible for this campaign.
  • Confidential informant No. 2 told agents he learned from a reliable source that Vargas didn't have cancer and was in fact diagnosed with HIV in 2014. The informant said the information was forwarded to Bishop Joseph Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson in 2015.
Information provided by the informant was corroborated by agents who subpoenaed Vargas' medical records from Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center. The doctor ordered a HIV test. On Sept. 28, 2014, Vargas checked out of the hospital without seeing his doctor.

On July 16, 2016, Vargas went to Oktibbeha County Hospital Medical Associates for right knee pain and reported he had HIV. He reported on two other occasions that he was HIV positive, according to the court affidavit.

The cover-up allegation

In April 2015, Vargas left St. Joseph and went to Canada for treatment, informing parishioners during Mass that he was going for cancer treatment.

One of the informants said Vargas actually went to Southdown Institute of Toronto, Canada, which among other things, is a sexual addiction facility for priests.

In March 2015, the Diocese of Jackson furthered Vargas' cancer story by sending out email to priests in the diocese. Two informants said they believe the diocese was aware of Vargas' diagnosis when he was sent to Canada.

"The Diocesan email stated that Vargas would be leaving for extensive treatment in the near future, and that he would be gone for a few months. What the email failed to state was that Vargas was not going away for cancer treatment. As a result, Vargas continued to raise money for his supposed cancer treatment. Your affiant (Agent Childers) believes the email was sent in order to perpetuate the cancer story, to hide Vargas' HIV condition and protect the Diocese of Jackson  from negative publicity," the affidavit said.

In addition to the GoFundMe account money, St. Joseph parishioners and others donated more than $33,000 to Vargas and most of the money was spent on personal expenses. Two informants said that as of this year, Vargas was still claiming he had cancer.

Additionally, Vargas was raising money for an orphanage in Mexico, but authorities said he never provided any letter or correspondence from a Mexican orphanage and never provided receipts. 
Vargas is also alleged to have solicited money for a chapel in Mexico.

Informants said Vargas spent excessively, especially by standards for priests.

According to the affidavit, in October 2017, Bishop Kopacz and Vicar General Kevin Slattery were informed by concerned clergy that Vargas was raising significant amounts of money from parishioners for cancer treatment and unverified charitable causes. The bishop and Slattery were told that Vargas was making numerous trips to Mexico and that money was missing from the parish coffers.

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DOJ: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Delivers Remarks at the Interpol 87th General Assembly

I shall assume this long winded speech is in reference to the trafficking of tiny humans.

Dubai United Arab Emirates ~ Sunday, November 18, 2018

It is a privilege to join you at this 87th INTERPOL General Assembly.  I am grateful to the United Arab Emirates for hosting our conference. Thank you President Kim Jong Yang for your exceptional leadership and for providing stability to INTERPOL.  

Our theme this year is innovation.  Many digital innovations affect law enforcement, from the rise of cybercrime, to the increasing importance of electronic evidence, to encryption and the dark net. 
In addressing these innovations, we must respect the primary value that is constant in our work: the rule of law.  Law provides the framework for civilized people to conduct their lives.  At its best, law reflects moral choices; principled decisions that promote the best interests of society, and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. 
 The term “rule of law” describes the government’s obligation to follow neutral principles and fair processes. The ideal dates at least to the time of Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote, “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the law.”
The rule of law is indispensable to a thriving and vibrant society.  It shields citizens from government overreach.  It allows businesses to invest with confidence.  It gives innovators protection for their discoveries.  It keeps people safe from dangerous criminals.  And it allows us to resolve differences peacefully through reason and logic.
When we follow the rule of law, it does not always yield the outcome that we prefer. In fact, one indicator that we are following the law is when we respect a result although we do not agree with it. We respect it because it is required by an objective analysis of the facts and a rational application of the rules.
The rule of law is not simply about words written on paper.  The culture of a society and the character of the people who enforce the law determine whether the rule of law endures.
Since we met last year in Beijing, the news media has reported several prominent challenges to the rule of law, including the lawless attacks on Sergei and Yulia Skirpal and Jamal Khashoggi.  Last month, international attention focused on INTERPOL, as a result of the disappearance of President Meng Hongwei.  Such events give rise to questions about whether our member countries abide by shared principles.  In evaluating our actions at this General Assembly, observers may ask whether our votes reflect the values that we profess. We must stand for the rule of law.  
INTERPOL exists to promote international police coordination and discourage departures from the law. We represent diverse forms of government. But if we serve with integrity, each of us functions as a trustee for our fellow citizens.
When our successors look back on how we dealt with the issues of our era, they will ask whether we honored our fiduciary duties.
First, did we develop the knowledge to understand our challenges?
Second, did we inculcate the wisdom to solve them?
Third, did we demonstrate the courage to defend our principles?
Fourth, did we maintain the resolve to achieve our goals?
I traveled here to speak about INTERPOL’s role in responding to the major innovation of our lives: the rise of a cyber-connected world. 
The Internet holds immeasurable promise as a repository of ideas, and as a forum for speech and commerce.  It connects citizens across cultures and countries.  It is accessible to the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.  It creates efficiencies and innovations that immensely improve our lives.
But like every innovation that offers opportunities for good, the Internet also can be exploited by wrongdoers. Today, there is a growing divergence between the Internet as it is, and the Internet as it could be.
Malicious actors use the Internet for evil ends.  Cyber criminals employ modern technologies to damage information systems, steal data, commit fraud, violate privacy, attack critical infrastructure, and sexually exploit children. They also launch misleading schemes to influence people’s opinions, seeking to foment division and disrupt democratic processes.
The Internet enables attacks on businesses, government agencies, and individual citizens that cause damage costing billions of dollars.  And new technologies allow criminals to conceal themselves, which frustrates law enforcement’s efforts to keep honest citizens safe. 
We must acknowledge the divergence between the Internet in theory and the Internet in practice. Closing that gap will ensure the viability of an open Internet governed by the rule of law.
Enforcing the law on the Internet requires rapid and accurate detection of criminal activity; cooperation among law enforcers from different nations; prosecution of accused criminals in judicial systems that provide due process of law; and just punishment of guilty offenders.  It means not tolerating virtual online locations where crime is unchallenged.  It means not condoning physical safe havens for cyber criminals.
Detecting, disrupting, deterring, and prosecuting malicious cyber activity are among our highest law enforcement priorities in the United States.  The cyber threats we face are varied and evolving, and our resolve to keep our people safe must extend to every corner of the Internet.
My office recently issued a comprehensive report about our work to combat cybercrime.  It describes the global challenges posed by cyber-enabled crime.  It explains how hostile cyber actors damage computer systems, steal data, engage in cyber fraud, violate personal privacy, infiltrate critical infrastructure, and pursue malign foreign influence operations.  The report also details our efforts to detect and disrupt those threats, and our commitment to inform citizens about the dangers.
The perceived anonymity of the Internet attracts many criminals, including terrorists and those trafficking in child pornography, illicit weapons, illegal and deadly drugs, murder-for-hire, malware, and stolen identities.  The barriers to entry are low.  Criminal opportunities are on offer for anyone with an Internet browser and an inclination to break the law.  
Yet our police agencies repeatedly demonstrate that with the support of international partners, we can find and dismantle malign internet operations.  We identify anonymous users who commit illegal activity, seize their infrastructure and proceeds, and pursue criminal charges against them.  Criminals operating on the dark web should be on notice that our investigative tools allow us to expose them.
We must not allow cybercriminals to hide behind cryptocurrencies.  Virtual currencies have some legitimate uses.  But bad actors are using them to fund crimes and to hide illicit proceeds.  For example, Bitcoin was the exclusive method of payment for the WannaCry ransomware attack that spread around the globe, causing billions of dollars in losses. 
In addition, fraudsters use the lure of coin offerings and the promise of new currencies to bilk unsuspecting investors, promote scams, and engage in market manipulation.  The challenges of regulating, seizing, and tracing virtual currencies demand a multinational response.  We must work together to make clear that the rule of law can reach the entire blockchain.
To that end, last year, prosecutors in the United States announced the indictment of Alexander Vinnick and the virtual currency exchange he allegedly operated. That exchange received more than $4 billion of virtual currency. It was designed without any means to control money laundering, so predictably it served as a hub for international criminals seeking to hide and launder ill-gotten gains. 
We filed criminal charges and assessed a $110 million civil penalty against the exchange for willfully violating our anti-money laundering laws, as well as a $12 million penalty against Vinnick.
To prevent virtual currency from being abused by criminals, terrorist financiers, or sanctions evaders, all of us must implement policies that mitigate the risks posed by the new technology.  My country includes virtual currencies in our anti-money laundering regulations.  And the Financial Action Task Force urges all nations to make clear that global anti-money laundering standards apply to virtual currency products and service providers. We must guard against abuses of digital currency.
We also need to protect against abuses of encrypted communications.  Encryption can be useful in the fight against cybercrime.  Encrypting data makes it more safe and secure.  But the proliferation of warrant-proof encryption also poses a challenge to effective law enforcement. 
Encryption technologies designed to be impervious to legal process impede our ability to access investigative data.  In September, the chief law enforcement officials of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand joined together to issue a “Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption.”
While acknowledging the benefits of encryption, they called for urgent, sustained attention and informed discussion about the increasing difficulty law enforcement agencies face in accessing evidence of criminal conduct.
We will continue to work closely with technology companies to establish responsible practices that consider both privacy concerns and public safety imperatives.
On the Internet, data is decentralized, information flows across continents, and online activities are dispersed across global networks. Cybercrime knows no borders.  As a result, international cooperation is indispensable.  INTERPOL is central to that cooperation.
We must ensure that appropriate criminal laws are enforced.  Each of us must do our part to bring malicious actors to justice.  We rely on international partners to locate, arrest, and extradite cybercriminals so that they may be held accountable.  Cybercriminals should find no safe haven, either on the dark web or within national borders.
In the United States, we continue to faithfully discharge our responsibility to extradite fugitives. In the last five years, we extradited 95 Americans, honoring inquiries whenever the requesting state presents sufficient evidence of criminality.
For example, last year the United States sent Shawn Gregory Towner to Ireland.  Towner was arrested in Ireland in 2006 after authorities found him watching images of child sexual abuse on his laptop in Dublin, but he fled to the United States after being released on bail.  My country located Towner and sent him to Ireland to stand trial. 
We process extraditions without regard to the nationality of the offender. 
But that cooperation must be reciprocated.
International cooperation was essential to our successful dismantlement of the Kelihos botnet, a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers.  Criminals used the network to harvest login credentials, distribute hundreds of millions of spam e-mails, and install ransomware and other malicious software. 
In 2017, prosecutors obtained judicial orders authorizing law enforcement to neutralize the botnet by seizing control of malicious domains and redirecting traffic to servers we controlled. 
Disabling the botnet was only part of the equation. The criminals responsible for creating and administering the botnet also should be held accountable. American prosecutors charged Peter Levashov of St. Petersburg, Russia for multiple offenses stemming from his control and operation of the Kelihos botnet.  Levashov is a cybercriminal who operated multiple botnets with impunity for nearly two decades. 
Spanish authorities arrested Levashov and extradited him to the United States. In September, Levashov was found guilty in a fair and public judicial proceeding.
Levashov’s extradition represented effective coordination with our foreign partners.  Unfortunately, not every case is a success story.  In some instances, nations shield their citizens from the rule of law with schemes that waste resources, cause needless delay, thwart investigative efforts, and undermine justice. 
Consider the prosecution of accused hacker Aleksey Belan.  Belan is a Russian national who was indicted in the United States for massive computer breaches on American companies.  After the United States issued an arrest warrant, Belan was reportedly arrested in 2013.  But he was permitted to return to Russia. 
A second indictment alleges that in 2014, after Belan returned to Russia, Russian intelligence agents recruited him to carry out one of the largest data breaches in history, stealing information from more than 500 million individual email accounts of people around the world. 
The rule of law suffers when cybercriminals are given safe havens.  The United States will continue to promote the rule of law by identifying, exposing, and seeking to extradite perpetrators who harm innocent people.  And we will continue to support legitimate investigations and prosecutions conducted by our INTERPOL partners. 
At the same time, we will expose schemes to manipulate the extradition process.  We will identify nations that routinely block the fair administration of justice and fail to act in good faith, with a sincere commitment to holding criminals accountable.
As cyber threats grow in scale and sophistication, we increasingly need to search throughout the world for evidence, witnesses, and defendants.  Our responses must be as innovative as the criminal activity. We depend on expeditious international cooperation and coordination in dismantling malicious criminal operations. 
Child exploitation cases provide a useful model for international coordination.  INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation image and video database uses image and video comparison software to identify and locate child sexual exploitation victims and their abusers.  The database has led to the arrest of nearly 6,300 offenders. Recently, it helped authorities rescue five victims in Spain.  That is a superb example of innovative law enforcement.
In my country, we play a leading role by identifying cases in which child exploitation materials are generated from or hosted in other countries.  Then we disseminate the information to the appropriate INTERPOL member countries. Our partners often request follow-up information to assist in their own investigations. Last year, almost nine million investigative leads were distributed through this program, resulting in many arrests and prosecutions. 
Children around the world are safer when our law enforcement agencies work together – quickly, and with methods like those pioneered by INTERPOL.
Finally, I am proud that the United States takes seriously our responsibility to help secure evidence that our international partners need for their investigations.  We receive thousands of requests for mutual legal assistance each year, and we do all that we can to comply.  We employ expert attorneys and staff dedicated to assisting with foreign requests for electronic evidence.  We devote additional resources when necessary to meet your needs.
We call upon each of you to do the same.  By devoting appropriate resources to international cooperation efforts, we can properly address the increasing threat of cybercrime.
My country recently enacted a new law to remove legal impediments to compliance with foreign court orders in cases that involve serious crimes.  The legislation demonstrates our commitment to the vision of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the primary treaty for harmonizing national interests and enhancing international cooperation against cybercrime.  Sixty-one nations have fully ratified the treaty, agreeing that national laws should include authority to compel providers to disclose data they control, even when it is held elsewhere. 
New cyber conventions are sometimes proposed that would limit the free flow of information between nations. But that would dangerously impede efforts to investigate cybercrime. It would protect criminals and allow cyber threats to proliferate and grow in scale and sophistication.  That is untenable in a world in which criminals using computers shielded by layers of anonymity can harm innocent victims in any one of our nations, anywhere in the world. Such limitations would be a step backward, not an innovative law enforcement approach.
No nation should exempt itself from just and reasonable law enforcement cooperation. No nation will be more prosperous, more secure, or more respected because it supports cybercriminals. 
My fellow delegates, there is a parable about three stonecutters asked to describe what they are doing.  They answer in varying ways. The first stonecutter focuses on how the job benefits him. He says, “I am earning a living.” The second man narrowly describes his personal task: “I am cutting stone.” The third man has a very different perspective. Instead of focusing solely on his work, he explains what it means to others: “I am helping these stonecutters build a shrine.”
Similarly, each of us helps to construct a legacy. INTERPOL delegates should always support leaders and policies that promote international police coordination and preserve the rule of law – in practice, and not just in theory. We must uphold the rule of law, so it will be there for us when we need it.
When our successors speak of our time here, give them reason to say that we understood the challenges; we found the solutions; we defended our principles, and we stayed the course to support liberty and justice for all. 
I am honored to work with you in advancing the INTERPOL mission and making the world safer and more prosperous for all law-abiding citizens. Shukran.  Thank you very much.

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A Few Reasons Why Arizona Averages 500 Legally Kidnapped Kids A Month

Did you ever wonder why so many children are Legally Kidnapped by Child Protective Services?

Well, wonder no more!

Arizona is going to be our example for the final phase in the Month of Trafficking Tiny Humans - Adoption.

See, when an anonymous individual calls the CPS Hotline, the intake worker fills out a form and takes it to a judge to sign the removal order.

Mind you, I did not say anything about being charged, facing the unknown accuser, or anything else relevantly close to due process because that is called ex-parte, meaning you are not invited to the proceeding.

Yes, that is correct, the courts hold a petite trial, meaning the only people in the court room are the judge, the CPS worker and probably the clerk, that is if the orders are not rubber stamped like they do in Michigan, but I digress because we are dealing with Arizona.

If a state is snatching this many kids, something tells me the state is not doing a very good job when it comes to quality of life and its elected officials probably do not care because the money to be made off these poor tiny humans funds their political campaigns.

Arizona Computer Glitches Bust Child Human Trafficking & Fraud

Oh, and I forgot.


Happy National Adoption Month!

Child welfare officials took 1,900 kids in 4 months, but that's not the whole picture

Over the last four months, child-welfare workers removed more than 1,900 Arizona children from their family homes with a judge's OK, according to data obtained by The Arizona Republic.

But that doesn't give the full picture of child removals that lawmakers wanted when they adopted a new warrant process as a check on the Department of Child Safety's power to remove a child from her parents.

Most notably, the agency doesn't reveal how many Arizona children were taken without judicial approval, which the law allows in dire circumstances. That's because DCS isn't tracking emergency removals even though the intent of the new warrant law was to provide more transparency on what is arguably one of the most intrusive actions a government can take on its citizens.

The Republic obtained data from the Department of Child Safety on removals from July 1, when the new law took effect, to October 31.

Previously, child-welfare workers alone made the call to remove a child. But under the new law, DCS case investigators must file removal requests electronically to Maricopa County's initial appearance court, where a judge or commissioner decides whether to issue an order. The court operates 24/7 and handles requests from investigators in all 15 counties.

The data shows that 93 percent of the time requests for a court order to remove a child have been granted. That accounts for the 1,938 children who were removed between July 1 and Oct. 31.

Requests involving 50 children were denied, but it's unclear what DCS did in those cases since the investigator apparently thought the child needed to be immediately separated from his home.
DCS can't quantify how many children were removed from their homes due to "exigent circumstances," the only situation in which an exception to a court order is allowed.

"I wish it wasn't this difficult to get this kind of reporting when it has such a dire impact on families," said Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, an early advocate for court orders. She said she is working on legislation that would require regular reporting on the agency's removal process.

When should you call DCS if you think a child is in danger?
Arizona’s child-welfare agency says to call the child-abuse hotline if you reasonably believe that a child has been “abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned.”

Lawsuits, court decision propel action

The Arizona Legislature debated the need for a so-called warrant system for several years. A 2016 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that removing a child without court approval violates parents' constitutional rights was a key motivator. Ongoing lawsuits against DCS arguing that the state's practice of taking children without getting a warrant is unconstitutional further propelled action.

A bill requiring court approval passed in 2017, and earlier this year lawmakers defined the circumstances in which DCS could remove children without a court order. They outlined two narrow categories when this could happen:
  • When the situation is so urgent there is not time to file a request with the court
  • When there is probable cause that a child has been sexually or physically abused. 
But more than four months into the new process, DCS says it can't isolate cases where children have been removed due to emergency circumstances. At least, not without combing through more than 3,000 individual case files.

The agency every month reports the total number of children it removes.

From July to October, that totaled 3,175 removals. But that figure combines a variety of cases, DCS public-information officer Darren DaRonco said. Besides removals due to exigent circumstances, the number reflects cases in which parents voluntarily surrender their children; where the court (not DCS) generates the removal request; and where the child is also involved with the juvenile-justice system.

"It's not as easy as subtracting the numbers," DaRonco said.

What is easy is the reason DCS doesn't seek a court order: "There isn’t enough time to get in front of a judge before harm will come to a child," the agency said in a statement. This is one of the exceptions outlined in state law

Lawmakers want more details

Legislators said the reported numbers are helpful, but some want to see more detail.
Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, said a big issue in his district are complaints that DCS "arbitrarily" removes kids based more on socioeconomic status than any real danger.

"The transparency aspect is probably the most important aspect when you're removing children from their home," he said. "Historically, DCS has had issues with that."

Rep. John Allen was closely involved in the creation of the court-order law. He said the fact that DCS can show that 93 percent of its removal requests were approved is a key reason for the law.
"I want the public to understand we're making strides to make the system better," said Allen, R-Scottsdale.

What the numbers don't tell 

Attorney Suzanne Nicholls contends the statistics don't tell the whole story on child removals.
She said she's seen DCS cases where the children were removed from their home using "present danger" plans. These plans are part of the safety protocol DCS has been using since last year under a policy intended to keep families together in as many cases as possible.

One of the options is to send children to live with "a responsible adult in the family network" who can care for them for up to two weeks. This option, in her eyes, is a back-door way to remove a child without court approval.

The plain fact that a child is not living with one or both parents is evidence of a removal, she said.
"Right now, we have no idea how many children are out of their homes," she said.

When a removal is not a removal

DCS sees it differently.

It views present-danger plans as a way to improve a family situation before things deteriorate to the point case managers feel a court order is needed to remove the child. That can entail having the child live apart from the parent or parents, but the agency doesn't consider that a removal.

Nor, apparently, do some of the judges who have denied removal requests. Judges have turned down removal requests, saying they want the present-danger plan to expire (they last no longer than 14 days) before deciding on a removal.

Allen said he views temporary placements with a relative as a breather for parents to settle things down in their household. In his eyes, it's not a technical removal.

"It's not a direct intervention of the state," he added.

Lessons learned

DCS said it studied the cases where the court has denied removal requests and found that usually happens when the child has been left with a relative, ending the "impending danger" that is key to deciding if a removal is needed.

In other instances, denials happened because the DCS investigator did not include information on both parents.

So far, DCS said, the new law is meeting its expectations: It has provided a backstop on investigators' decisions to remove a child; it has helped protect parental rights; and it has saved children from the trauma of being unnecessarily removed from their parents.

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Michigan Child Sexual Branding Case Is Primed For SCOTUS

I do hope everyone understands that this case is going to go all the way to SCOTUS to enjoin with the other fast track of child welfare cases.

This Opinion and Order was based on the Necessary and Proper Clause:

The Necessary and Proper Clause Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution grants Congress the power [t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

In short, Congress never outlawed branding, oops, I mean genital mutilation of kids.

As a matter of fact, Congress never outlawed the trafficking of tiny humans.

And that, boys and girls is why we are going to SCOTUS.

Happy National Adoption Month: TRUMP v. NAACP Petition For Certiorari To SCOTUS On Trafficking Tiny Humans - DACA, DAPA

A trial is set for April 2019, mark your calendars and it is going to be down right, in your face, real, or it better be.B

Genital mutilation ban ruled unconstitutional; judge drops charges

Detroit — A federal judge Tuesday dismissed female genital mutilation charges against several doctors in the first criminal case of its kind nationwide, ruling the law is unconstitutional.

The opinion by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman comes two weeks after defense lawyers mounted the first challenge to a 22-year-old genital mutilation law that went unused until April 2017.

That's when Dr. Jumana Nagarwala of Northville was arrested and accused of heading a conspiracy that lasted 12 years, involved seven other people and led to mutilating the genitalia of nine girls as part of a religious procedure practiced by some members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a Muslim sect from India that has a small community in Metro Detroit.

Friedman delivered a significant, but not fatal, blow to a novel criminal prosecution because the judge left intact conspiracy and obstruction charges that could send Nagarwala and three others to federal prison for decades.

The case is being closely followed by members of the sect and international human-rights groups opposed to female genital mutilation and has raised awareness in the U.S. of a controversial procedure and prompted Michigan to enact new state laws criminalizing female genital mutilation.
Friedman removed four defendants from the case — including three mothers accused of subjecting their daughters to female genital mutilation — while concluding Congress had no authority to enact a law criminalizing female genital mutilation, known as FGM.

“There is nothing commercial or economic about FGM,” Friedman wrote in a 28-page opinion. (Female genital mutilation) is not part of a larger market and it has no demonstrated effect on interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature.”

A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman said officials are reviewing the judge's order and will soon decide whether to appeal.

“My honest reaction is ‘oh my God,’” Nagarwala’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, said Tuesday. “We are unbelievably happy. The impact is huge. It eliminates four defendants from the indictment, and it severely punctures major holes in the government’s case.”

Shannon, precious, you do understand this not something you should be celebrating, right?  The mothers were probably victims of this sexual ritual so I understand why they are released from the case. As for the other aspect, please, you have an ethical code of conduct to adhere, so I would not be gloating in front of the camera when talking about "puncturing major holes in the government's case".  I would strongly encourage you to brush up on the religious history of this practice because that is going to be the focus. Oh, and you will not be using that religious discrimination defense because it will just make your client look like it is running a sex cult for kids.  Got it? 

Women’s rights groups decried the judge’s opinion, calling it a setback for women and girls.
“It’s a giant step backward in the protection of women’s and girls’ rights,” said Shelby Quast, the Americas director of equality for the rights organization Equality Now. “Especially when there is a global movement to eliminate this practice.”

The case prompted a new law in Michigan criminalizing female genital mutilation.
In June 2017, Gov. Rick Snyder signed new laws that carried up to 15 years in prison for those convicted of mutilating female genitalia or transporting girls to other states for the procedure.
The judge's opinion angered state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“I’m angry that the federal judge dismissed this horrific case that affected upwards of a hundred girls who were brutally victimized and attacked against their will," Jones said in a statement. “This is why it was so important for Michigan to act. We set a precedent that female genital mutilation will not be tolerated here. ... I hope other states will follow suit.”

Twenty-three states do not have laws criminalizing female genital mutilation, Quast said.
“Parents are aware of where there are laws against it and where there are not,” she said. “And they will take advantage of that.”

During a hearing this month, Nagarwala lawyer Molly Sylvia Blythe said Congress lacked authority to enact a law criminalizing female genital mutilation in 1996. Congress lacked authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution because the procedure has nothing to do with interstate commerce, she said.

Prosecutors countered, arguing the crime does involve interstate commerce. Christian Levesque, a trial attorney with the Justice Department's Human Rights and Special Prosecutions section, noted the procedure involves parents using cellphones to arrange the procedure and transport children across state lines who undergo surgeries utilizing medical tools in state-licensed clinics.

The defense motion was the latest attempt to dismiss charges filed by federal prosecutors. In January, Friedman dismissed the most serious count against Nagarwala and co-defendant Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, a sex charge punishable by up to life in federal prison.

Prosecutors say prepubescent girls were cut at Attar's clinic in Livonia, which was managed by his wife, Dr. Farida Attar, who also is charged in the case.

A trial is set for April 2019.

"It is a victory for everyone when a court requires the government to adhere to the mandates of our Constitution," Fakhruddin Attar's lawyer, Mary Chartier, wrote in an email. "We’re thrilled with the court’s well-reasoned and thoughtful opinion. And we’re committed to fighting for as long as it takes to prove Dr. Attar is innocent."

Female genital mutilation is an internationally recognized violation of human rights.
Some members of the Dawoodi Bohra community who have spoken against the procedure say the surgery is performed to suppress female sexuality, reduce sexual pleasure and curb promiscuity, according to court records.

The procedure is most common in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, along with migrants from those regions, says the World Health Organization.

There are four major types of female genital mutilation, including a partial or total removal of the clitoris.

Prosecutors have alleged that two girls’ clitorises were completely removed, but the evidence is lacking for at least one girl, Smith said.

The judge’s opinion drops charges against three mothers. They are:
  • Farida Arif of Oakland County, who was charged with participating in the conspiracy and having her daughter undergo female genital mutilation.
  • Two mothers from Minnesota, Haseena Halfal and Zainab Hariyanawala, who were charged last year with female genital mutilation and conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation. The allegations involve their daughters, who were 7 at the time of the procedure.
The order Tuesday also dismissed charges against Tahera Shafiq, 49, of Farmington Hills. She was accused of participating in the procedure involving the Minnesota girls.

“She’s done, for the time being,” Shafiq’s lawyer, Jerome Sabbota, said. “It’s wonderful. She can go about her life. These are deeply religious people, and a lot of people don’t understand that.”

Nagarwala is still facing a 30-year conspiracy charge and an obstruction count that could send her and the Attars to prison for 20 years.

Fatema Dahodwala of West Bloomfield Township, a mother of one of the alleged victims, also is charged with obstruction. Prosecutors allege Dahodwala, Nagarwala and the Attars conspired to hinder the investigation.

Worldwide, an estimated 140 million women and girls have undergone the procedure, according to the World Health Organization. More than 3 million girls in Africa undergo the procedure each year.
The procedure has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996, and there are no medical benefits for girls and women, according to the World Health Organization.

Friedman heard arguments two months after prosecutors filed new charges in the case. The new charges brought to a total of nine girls from three states who prosecutors say underwent the illegal procedure at Attar's medical clinic in Livonia since 2015.

Locally, most members of the sect belong to the Anjuman-e-Najmi mosque in Farmington Hills.
The indictment filed in September refers to three girls prosecutors say underwent a procedure performed by Nagarwala at the Burhani Medical Clinic on Farmington Road in Livonia in 2015. The three girls are from Illinois and were born in 2007 and 2008.

The clinic was shuttered last year.

Farida Attar was accused in the indictment of giving one girl Valium that was ground up in liquid Tylenol.

Prosecutors say the girls — four from Michigan, two from Minnesota and three from Illinois — underwent female genital mutilation, but defense lawyers say the procedure performed on the girls was benign and not female genital mutilation. They accuse the government of overreaching.
The order Wednesday could prompt Congress to tweak the federal law, said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.

"Congress can solve this by going back and re-enacting the law," Henning said. “The problem is the law cannot be applied to conduct that happened before.”

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Happy Michigan Adoption Day 2018

Happy Michigan Adoption Day 2018

For online shopping of tiny humans in Michigan, make sure to visit the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.

Michigan Adoption Day

Every November, the Michigan Supreme Court encourages courts around the state to take time to celebrate Michigan Adoption Month and help make the dreams of thousands of children come true. Participating courts can choose to get involved on Michigan Adoption Day, or select their own day in November to finalize adoptions, hold parties for adoptive families, and educate the public about the adoption process.  The Michigan Supreme Court will hold their event on Monday, November 26, 2018. ​
Make sure you contact us with details on your court's events.  We'd love to post your photos to social media. 

Michigan Adoption Day typically takes place on or about the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing and in courts around the state. Michigan Adoption Day is cosponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, and the Child Welfare Services Division of the State Court Administrative Office.

Macomb County Adoption Day raises awareness of need to adopt foster children

Mark Pellecchia David Viviano  Matthew Switalski
Macomb County Adoption Supervisor Mark Pellecchia of the
 juvenile division, from left, state Supreme Court Justice David Viviano
and Circuit Court Judge Matthew Switalski, state purveyors of tiny humans,
outside the courtroom at Adoption Day ceremonies.
Two young children transformed from foster to parental care Tuesday during an adoption hearing made public to encourage people to consider adopting a child.
Genevieve Lukasiewicz of Southgate adopted a 5-year-old boy, Aedon, and a Macomb Township couple who did not want their name used adopted a 10-month-old baby girl, in a hearing presided by Judge Matthew Switalski of Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens.

The event was held on Michigan Adoption Day, on and around which adoptions are held throughout the state.
State Supreme Court Justice David Viviano, a former Macomb County judge who attended the ceremonial hearing, said the day promotes foster-care adoption.

“Adoption Day is to raise awareness and to really encourage people to open their hearts and home open to adoption … to give young people a safe and loving home to grow and mature,” Viviano said. “There’s a great need for adoption. We’re hoping more people will consider it, particularly as our young people in foster care start to age out. As they grow older their chance of adoption decrease. We want to people consider adoption at any age.”

Switalski, a family judge, said presiding over adoptions is a bright spot in his docket.
“It’s the best of the day at the court,” he said. “There is no conflict, no dispute to resolve, just happy people doing the Lord’s work providing a family for someone who didn’t get what the rest of us have. It’s a great day for everybody.”

There are currently 323 foster children available for adoption. In fiscal year 2018, 1,931 children were adopted from the Michigan foster care system, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is important for all children to have a loving home that they can call their own,” said HHS Director Nick Lyon. “While our priority is to safely reunify children in foster care with their parents, we rely on adoptive parents when it’s determined that a child cannot safely return to his or her home.”
Children in the foster care system become eligible for adoption following termination of parental rights due to abuse or neglect, HHS officials said. There were 13,710 children in the foster care system as of Sept. 30; the goal in most cases is family reunification, officials said.

Those who wish to adopt a foster child do not have to be a foster parent, although the two adoptions that took place Tuesday were by foster parents who had cared for the child for some time, said Macomb County Adoption Supervisor Mark Pellecchia.

People can adopt whether they’re single or married. They don’t have to be wealthy or own their own home but must have adequate financial resources to provide for a family, officials said.

Switalski, who is parent of three children, commended those who adopt.

“That’s the greatest gift on behalf of the community,” Switalski said. “It’s actually harder than having your own child. You don’t have them from Day One. You’re coming out of the bullpen replacing someone who was never there or didn’t do a good job. So you’re dealing with issues that a lot times the natural parents are not having to deal with. It’s takes a special person, a special commitment. We salute them. We are so grateful for them.”

Anyone interested in adopting from foster care can contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange at 800-589-6273. People also can learn more and view a photo of available children at

Other types of adoption include direct placement through a private agency, a relative or a foreign country.

For more information about adoption in Michigan, visit

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Adam Hollier Has A Fake Michigan Swearing In Ceremony In Highland Park

Adam Hollier being sworn into office as State Senator
by Judge Cynthia Stephens in front of an urban assault
military vehicle
Boy, oh boy, Adam really, really wants to be State Senator.

He is picking up the mantel of his former boss.

I hear Mike Duggan has great expectations for him.

Despite the fact that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers deferred certification of the 2018 Primary Election to the Michigan Secretary of State Board of Canvassers, who in turn has been silent, probably due to the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice Election Interference investigation is ongoing, with Grand Jury, for a few years now, Adam Hollier decided to have a fake swearing in ceremony in the City of Highland Park, by State Judge Cynthia Stephens, in front of a big military armored truck.

Talk about sending a message!

Now, what exactly is that message is left open to interpretation, but I am going with the same message his former boss dropped, the day of sentencing considering some of those same people who used their official capacities to write letters of sentencing recommendations attended the event.

For all the latest updates on the certification and recording of the Michigan 2018 election, I would strongly encourage you to check in with me, or PACER. because no one is talking about it but me, but hey, what do I know?

I know you can also check in with the Michigan Secretary of State Board of Canvassers to see when, or rather, what they are going to be doing with this election investigation.,4670,7-127-1633_41221---,00.html

I know someone should ask him about how he got his house(s).



Military urban assault vehicles, the latest fashion
must have for fake swearing in ceremonies

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