How Obama inaction emboldened Putin aggression

As the U.S. struggles to come to grips with Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, a theme that has gone under the radar is how this is not the first time Russia has hacked into U.S.’ critical systems; How has Obama let Putin get away with it for so long?

It is a question incumbent President, Donald J. Trump, thinks his predeseccor spectacularly failed as deals with the fallout    amidst his own Russia scandal in which he is embroiled in, no matter his constant denials of any collusion with the country to meddle in the election he successfully won last year.  

But Russia’s cyber capabilities were paraded numerous times against the U.S., in particular a hacking of the State Department, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the White House in 2014 — an extraordinary escalation of the Soviet country’s boldness, without fear of repercussions by an administration anxious to retaliate.

China was perhaps, unsurprisingly, the chief cyber criminal at the start of Obama’s tenure as president, following China’s hacking into his campaign in 2008. This hacking was followed by a worldwide hack in Google, culminating in sensitive material being swept up in the intrusion.

 So, you can see why China was in 

Leon Panetta in 2012 warned Putin that any cyber attack would be considered an act of war. 

After seeing no real tangible push backs on their aggression, Putin and Russia were only emboldened. The next victim was U.S. ambassador to Russia, whose conversation with a Ukrainian politician was leaked in a transcript after their phone call was intercepted by Russian 

The hackers swept up Mr. Obama’s email correspondence in a breach that only accessed unclassified, but highly sensitive, information including schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.
Senior White House officials knew for months the scope of the intrusion by the Russian hackers — who are assumed to be working for  the Kremlin, but were extraordinarily tight-lipped on the hacking as they grappled with the scope of the attack.

The horrifying details of how Cosmo DiNardo lured, murdered and disposed of victims bodies with help from cousin 

Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz have been charged with the murder of four Pennsylvania men. In an affidavit, we now know what exactly happened:

JIMI PATRICK


On Wednesday, July 5, DiNardo picked up Jimi Patrick, 19, after agreeing to sell him four pounds of marijuana for $8000. DiNardo said he picked up Patrick from his home in Newton and drove him to his own property in Solebury. 

When they arrived at the property, DiNardo said Patrick only had $800, so instead of selling him the marijuana, DiNardo offered to sell Patrick a shotgun for that amount.

As they were walking to a remote part of the property, DiNardo fatally shot Patrick with a .22 caliber rifle, according to the affadavit.

DiNardo then drove a backhoe that was on the property to where a deceased Patrick lay, dug a hole no more than 6ft deep and buried him. Investigators found Patrick’s body in that grave late Thursday.

DEAN FINOCCHIARO


On Friday, July 7, DiNardo agreed to sell a quarter pound of marijuana to Dean Finocchiaro, 19, for about $700.  

DiNardo then, first picked up Sean Kratz, whom he described as his cousin, and drove to Finocchiaro’s home in Middletown. They agreed on the way to his house that they would rob Finocchiaro, according to the affadavit.

DiNardo stated he gave Kratz a .357 handgun, belonging to his mother. He proceeded to drive all three (DiNardo, Kratz and Finocchiaro) to the Solebury property where he had already killed and buried Patrick. 

After spending some time there, Kratz shot Finocchiaro in the head as they were leaving a barn on the site. DiNardo then took the gun and shot him a second time as he lay face down on the ground. 

He then proceeded to wrap Finocchiaro’s body in a blue tarp from the corn crib. The wrap got stuck on a nail, so DiNardo then used the backhoe to place his body in a metal tank.

DiNardo referred to this metal tank as a “pig roaster”, as it was burning.

 THOMAS MEO & MARK STURGIS


Also on Friday, July 7, DiNardo stated he met with Mark Sturgis, 22, and Thomas Meo, 21, at a church parking lot in Peddlers village, a short distance west of DiNardo’s property on Route 202, Lahaska, the court records say.

DiNardo told investigators he set up a marijuana deal with Meo. Meo and Sturgis followed DiNardo to his Solebury property in Meo’s Nissan Maxima before parking it at 2827 Aquetong Road.

Meo and Sturgis then got into DiNardo’s truck and rode with him to the adjacent Lower York Road property, where Kratz was waiting. 

After they arrived and got out of the vehicle, DiNardo said he ambushed Meo and Sturgis, shooting Meo in the back and then firing several times at a fleeing Sturgis. 

Meo collapsed and was on the floor screaming. DiNardo stood over with his .22 caliber rifle “and finishes him off”, according to Kratz.

DiNardo ran out of ammunition, and told investigators he then ran over Meo’s body with the backhoe, before using it to lift Meo’s and Sturgis’ bodies into the metal tank he had already placed Finocchiaro’s corpse. Accomplice Kratz said DiNardo “basically crushes him”, referring to Meo.

The following day DiNardo and Kratz returned to the property where DiNardo used a backhoe to dig a deep 12ft hole. He buried the tank containing the remains of the gentlemen he murdered. 

*Kratz disputes shooting Finocchiaro, instead says it was DiNardo who did. 

Australia ‘very keen’ on quick trade deal with UK

Australia is “very keen” on a free trade deal with the UK as soon as possible after the country has left the European Union, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday, just days after US President Donald Trump vowed to do a “powerful” trade deal with the UK “very, very quickly”.

At a joint news conference in London with Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr. Turnbull was asked how long it would take to secure a trade deal after Brexit.

“As soon as possible, if we move quickly,” he said. “Australians are fleet of foot, we don’t muck around … we will move as quickly as the UK is able to move.”

May also told the news conference that she wanted “the broadest possible consensus” for Brexit to make sure the deal she negotiates with the EU is the right one for Britain.


Ahead of the Downing Street talks, the Mrs. May and Mr. Turnbull visited Borough Market, the scene of June’s terror attack that resulted in the death of two Australians.

Visiting the scene of the atrocity, Mrs. May and Mr. Turnbull were briefed by police officers and met paramedics who rushed to the aid of victims and survivors. 

The UK and Australia have strong commercial, cultural and security links through the Commonwealth and the “five eyes” intelligence alliance.

Although the UK cannot negotiate trade deals with other countries until after Brexit, Australia is one of the countries with which Whitehall officials have set up a working party to look at the issues involved.

Australia’s keeness on a quick trade deal will come as a major scalp for Mrs. May after calls for her ouster amplified in previous days.  

Trump expects ‘very powerful’ trade deal with UK

US President Donald Trump has said he expects to reach a “very powerful” trade deal with Britain after it leaves the EU, marking a significant scoop for under-fire Prime Minister Theresa May to steer Brexit through a less rocky path.

Mr. Trump held a bilteral meeting with Mrs. May, aimed at boosting the UK’s trade position after it divorces from the European Union, a deal Mr. Trump hoped would be concluded “very, very quickly”.
Mr. Trump also hailed the “very special relationship” he had developed with May as the pair met for talks on the margins of the G20 as he emphasised the trade deal would be great for both countries.

However, it wasn’t clear that he was referring to a full free trade agreement as he said trade would be a big factor. The US president also said he had a “tremendous” meeting with Russia’s president Putin.

“There is no country that could possibly be closer than our countries,” Mr. Trump said. “We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal a very powerful deal, great for both countries and I think we will have that done very, very quickly.”

Mr. Trump added: “Prime Minister May and I have developed a very special relationship and I think trade will be a very big factor between our two countries.”

The US President’s comments are unlikely to signal any confirmed trade deal being announced soon, however it will come at a boost for Mrs. May as then-President Barack Obama said the UK would be at the “back of the queue” were they to leave the European Union.

Mr. Trump, though, has consistently pledged to put American interests before those of any ally countries and a UK-US deal remains a long way from being agreed.

Mr. Trump, who publicly clashed with London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the London Bridge terror attack, announced he will be visiting London, but asked when, he replied: “We’ll work that out.”

There were calls for Mrs. May to rescind the Queen’s invitation to Mr. Trump in January, and after not being mentioned in the Queen’s speech, it was thought Mr. Trump was not going to visit.


Mrs. May did not raise the US president’s comments about London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and in the formal bilateral did not raise Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, despite the issue causing tension between countries in drawing up the G20 communique.

However, the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mrs. May did not go into any specific detail of what a trade agreement might look like, he added, but “was talking in broad terms about the determination to get a good deal for both countries”. Other issues discussed included China’s overproduction of steel, the Syrian ceasefire agreed by Trump and Vladimir Putin and the Iran nuclear deal.

Heathrow on lockdown: passengers evacuated after fire alarm 

Heathrow airport is on lock as as passengers are evacuated from Terminal Four following a fire alarm.

Footage from the scene shows the mass confusion as passengers try to find out how to leave the terminal, but staff are unable to provide them with details.

People carrying hand luggage and suitcases can be seen milling through the building with no sense of urgency as they try to find out what is happening.

Harriet Constable, who is at the scene, tweeted images of huge crowds of people trying to flee the terminal but getting stuck at a queue at the front doors.

A spokesman for the airport says the incident is being looked into and they are aware of the evacuation, but could give no further details at this time.

The evacuation comes just a day after the airport, in west London saw its Terminal Three also cleared of passengers in a similar alert.

Teen jailed for life after admitting to plotting nail bomb attack at Elton John concert

A Hounslow teenager who plotted to carry out a nail bomb attack at Elton John’s Hyde Park concert on 9/11 anniversary was handed a life sentence Monday, underlining the scale of terror plots in the U.K. as the country struggles to cope with a number of terror attacks committed just this year.

Haroon Ali Syed, 19, admitted to planning to carry out a nail bomb attack at ‘packed places in London’ including Oxford Street, Buckingham Palace, and even the 50,000 crowd at the Rocket Man singer’s gig on the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers attack.

Mr. Syed was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum 16 years and six months term on Monday (July 3) at the Old Bailey, after he pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts, joining his brother in jail.

His older brother, Nadir, was convicted in 2015 of buying a 12-inch kitchen knife and plotting to behead a poppy seller. He was jailed for life in June last year and after his conviction he threatened to behead prison officers in Belmarsh jail.

Haroon Ali Syed’s older brother, Nadir, who was jailed in 2015.
 
The court heard Mr. Syed used encrypted messaging app ‘Threema’ in a bid to source machine guns, pistols, suicide vests and bombs to launch an attack in the UK on the scale of the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

In an attempt to accumulate enough money to carry out the attacks, Mr. Syed hoped to take out loans to pay for weapons, but was forced to look for cheaper options, including a home made bomb, when the requests were refused.

Desperation ensued, as handed over £150 to his online contact, ‘Abu Yusuf’, with instructions to get hold of an explosive with ‘lots of nails inside’. Abu Yusuf was an undercover Mi5 officer.

Mr. Syed’s home in Hounslow, west London, was raided on September 8 last year. Officers found his mobile phone on the top bunk in his bedroom and when asked for the password, Syed said: “Yeah, I.S.I.S. You like that?”

Mr. Syed admitted preparing an act of terror at the Old Bailey between Friday April 1 and Saturday September 9, 2016, under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Judge Michael Topolski QC slapped down a defence application to exclude the key evidence gathered through chats with Abu Yusuf from the upcoming trial prompting him to pleaded guilty to a charge of preparing an act of terror.

The charge states Syed was engaged in “research, planning and attempting to source materials to produce an improvised explosive device with a view committing acts against persons in the UK”.