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Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government

Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government
Since 2016, dozens of American officials have come home from Cuba and China with unexplained brain trauma. Evidence shows it may be the work of another government using a weapon that leaves no trace
2019 Mar 17
Correspondent Scott Pelley

In 2016 and '17, 25 Americans, including CIA agents, who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Cuba suffered serious brain injuries causing impaired vision and memory loss among other persistent symptoms. Now, we've learned that at least 15 American officials in China suffered unexplained brain trauma soon after. The FBI is now investigating whether these Americans were attacked by a mysterious weapon that leaves no trace. Over many months we have been collecting evidence of what appears to be a hostile foreign government's plan to target americans serving abroad and their families.

60 Minutes Overtime: Is an invisible weapon targeting U.S. diplomats?

Mark Lenzi: For me it was November of 2017, when I started to feel lightheaded a lot. I was getting more headaches, my wife was getting headaches too.

Mark Lenzi is a State Department security officer who worked in the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. He says that he and his wife began to suffer after hearing strange sounds in their apartment.

Mark Lenzi: Picture holding a marble. Then, picture if you had like a six foot in diameter funnel, metal funnel. The sound that marble would make as it goes around and it progressively gets faster as it gets, goes down towards the hole at the end. It's a sound like I've never heard before.

Scott Pelley: Was this subtle? Like, "Did I hear that?"

Mark Lenzi: No. It was, it was actually somewhat loud. I heard it about three or four times. Always in the same spot. Always over my son's crib and always right before we would go to bed.

"This was a directed, standoff attack against my apartment."

Lenzi wears prescribed glasses because sensitivity to light is among his persistent symptoms.

Mark Lenzi: The symptoms were progressively getting worse with me. My headaches were getting worse. The most concerning symptom for me was memory loss, especially short-term memory loss.

Mark Lenzi believes he was targeted because of his work. He uses top secret equipment to analyze electronic threats to diplomatic missions.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:36 AM (2 replies)

ICE Has Detained a 72-Year-Old Grandfather With Alzheimer's for Nine Months

ICE Has Detained a 72-Year-Old Grandfather With Alzheimer’s for Nine Months
Noé de la Cruz, a grandfather of three, has been in immigrant detention since June 2018—and his family worries that his Alzheimer’s is going untreated.
Scott Bixby
03.18.19 4:43 AM ET

For nearly nine months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held a 72-year-old grandfather with Alzheimer’s disease in a Texas immigrant detention center. As Noé de la Cruz’s attorneys fight to win asylum status, his only daughter worries that he is forgetting his own grandchildren—and is in danger of losing his life if he is deported.

“When a person gets sick with this kind of disease, it’s a very different situation for that person, and their family, because they are not who they were anymore—they’re more like a child,” Sandra de la Cruz, Noé’s daughter, told The Daily Beast. If her father is deported to his native Mexico, Sandra said, she fears his condition may deteriorate even more quickly.

“He’s going to get lost, and we don’t have family over there who can take care of him,” Sandra said. Speaking through tears, Sandra recounted instances where her father called “three, five, ten times a day” from the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, asking the same questions over and over.

“He also says that he’s getting into fights, but when we go to see him, he doesn’t have bruises,” Sandra said. “We think that the fights are happening in his mind.”

Although his family has petitioned to have de la Cruz released into their care while his removal is adjudicated, ICE has refused, according to Tatiana Obando, de la Cruz’s attorney.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:07 AM (7 replies)

Feds Raided Trump Fundraiser's Office Looking for Ties to Foreign Nationals: Report


Feds Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office Looking for Ties to Foreign Nationals: Report
REUTERS/Leah Millis

A sealed search warrant issued by the Justice Department and obtained by ProPublica gives new details about a raid on the offices of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer. According to the warrant, the investigators were looking for records “related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates.” They were searching for any ties to China, Saudi Arabia, and a Miami Beach club promoter, ProPublica reports. The raid was first reported by The Washington Post last summer. The warrant suggests the government was much more aggressive with Broidy than previously known, “entering his office and removing records—just as it did with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen,” the news site says. Before becoming a Trump megadonor, Broidy pleaded guilty to his role in a New York state public corruption and bribery case. The previously sealed warrant suggest investigators are now focused on “conspiracy, money laundering, and violations of the law barring covert lobbying on behalf of foreign officials,” ProPublica writes, adding that agents were reportedly authorized to use Broidy’s hands or face to unlock any devices that required fingerprint or facial scans.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 08:03 AM (6 replies)

In 1958, a synagogue was bombed....

A synagogue, a mosque, a church.The hate and fear continue.


In 1958, a synagogue was bombed. An editor’s response won a Pulitzer — and his words ring eerily true today
October 29, 2018 Roy Peter Clark

On Oct. 14, 1958, racial terrorists bombed Atlanta’s largest Jewish synagogue. The next day, Ralph McGill, editor of The Atlanta Constitution, fired off an editorial that won him a Pulitzer Prize and holds up a mirror for our own times.


It is informative — and tragic — that the events and the issues described in the column have such currency. Even McGill’s discussion of Confederate symbols retains its resonance. Please read, learn and rededicate yourself to speaking truth to power.

A Church, A School
By Ralph McGill
Atlanta Constitution
Oct. 15, 1958

Dynamite in great quantity Sunday ripped a beautiful temple of worship in Atlanta. It followed hard on the heels of a like destruction of a handsome high school at Clinton, Tennessee.

The same rabid, mad-dog minds were, without question, behind both. They also are the source of previous bombings in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. The school house and the church are the targets of diseased, hate-filled minds.

Let us face the facts.

This is a harvest. It is the crop of things sown.

It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the parts of many Southern politicians. It will be grimly humorous if certain state attorneys general issue statements of regret. And it will be quite a job for some editors, columnists and commentators, who have been saying that our courts have no jurisdiction and that the people should refuse to accept their authority, now to deplore.

It is not possible to preach lawlessness and restrict it.

To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school.

But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gates to all those who wish to take law in their hands.

There will be, to be sure, the customary act of the careful drawing aside of skirts on the part of those in high places.

“How awful,” they will exclaim. “How terrible. Something must be done.”

But the record stands. The extremists of the citizens’ councils, the political leaders who in terms violent and inflammatory have repudiated their oaths and stood against due process of law have helped unloose this flood of hate and bombing.

This, too, is a harvest of those so-called Christian ministers who have chosen to preach hate instead of compassion. Let them now find pious words and raise their hands in deploring the bombing of a synagogue.

You do not preach and encourage hatred for the Negro and hope to restrict it to that field. It is an old, old story. It is one repeated over and over again in history. When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.

Hate and lawlessness by those who lead release the yellow rats and encourage the crazed and neurotic who print and distribute the hate pamphlets, who shrieked that Franklin Roosevelt was a Jew; who denounced the Supreme Court as being Communist and controlled by Jewish influences.

This series of bombings is the harvest, too, of something else.

One of those connected with the bombing telephoned a news service early Sunday morning to say the job would be done. It was to be committed, he said, by the Confederate Underground.

The Confederacy and the men who led it are revered by millions. Its leaders returned to the Union and urged that the future be committed to build a stronger America. This was particularly true of General Robert E. Lee. Time after time he urged his students at Washington University to forget the War Between the States and to help build a greater and stronger union.

But for too many years now we have seen the Confederate flag and the emotions of that great war become the property of men not fit to tie the shoes of those who fought for it. Some of these have been merely childish and immature. Others have perverted and commercialize the flag by making the Stars and Bars, and the Confederacy itself, a symbol of hate and bombings.

For a long time now it has been needful for all Americans to stand up and be counted on the side of law and the due process of law even when to do so goes against personal beliefs and emotions. It is late. But there is yet time.

Written in 1958, published again in 2018.

What can we learn?

Is there yet time?
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 07:41 AM (2 replies)

Schedules Show Light Working HUD Secretary

Nice work if you can get it.


Schedules Show Light Working HUD Secretary
March 18, 2019 at 6:25 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

NBC News: “Ben Carson’s daily schedule from 2017 shows a HUD secretary who held senior staff meetings once a week, lunched with the author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ and the founder of My Pillow, and left work before 2 p.m. on some Fridays to fly to his Florida mansion.”

“A list of appointments for a 31-week period shows that for about half of the Fridays Carson worked a traditional eight or nine-hour day. For five of the Fridays he was off or had no appointments. For five more Fridays he left before 2 p.m. to get to the airport to fly to South Florida, where he owns a house valued at $4.3 million. For the remaining six, he had no scheduled appointments past 3 p.m. In all, he made a dozen weekend trips to South Florida during the 31 weeks.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 07:04 AM (0 replies)

2020 Democrats Look to Build a Movement

Works for me!


2020 Democrats Look to Build a Movement
March 18, 2019 at 6:21 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

New York Times: “As the primary process kicks into full swing, some Democrats are bypassing the kind of experienced Washington ‘wiseguys’ who operated in the caldron of beltway politics — famous strategists like David Axelrod, James Carville and, more recently, Robby Mook. Instead, campaigns are increasingly filling senior positions with a new generation of activist-driven operatives, whose political formation took place in grass-roots movements.”

“The shift has resulted in greater staff diversity than in previous cycles, but it has also influenced strategy, according to campaign officials. New voices are joining with election-cycle veterans to bring fresh ideas and political strategies to the presidential stage.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 18, 2019, 06:57 AM (2 replies)

Irate GOP Senator Is Fighting Trump Over 'Embarrassing' Russia Documents

Posted on Sun, Mar 17th, 2019 by Leo Vidal
Irate GOP Senator Is Fighting Trump Over ’Embarrassing’ Russia Documents

One of the U.S. Senate’s most powerful Republicans is fuming mad at President Donald Trump.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has declared war against Trump’s White House according to a new report in POLITICO.

What’s riled up Grassley is the refusal by the Trump administration to turn over sensitive information related to Russia.

This morning’s article says that Grassley “is accusing the Trump administration of stonewalling him over a request for documents related to the Russia investigation,” so he is holding up the nomination of a key Trump appointee.

Then the article goes on to say:

“The Iowa Republican’s demand for Justice Department documents on its probe of possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow has left William Evanina’s nomination to head the National Counterintelligence and Security Center in limbo for the past year, frustrating the nation’s top intelligence leaders and even some fellow Senate Republicans.”

The POLITICO report notes that Grassley is seeking specific documents concerning to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, “who became a conduit between former British spy Christopher Steele and the FBI.”

In a statement submitted to the Congressional Record, Grassley wrote:

“The administration’s continued, ongoing, and blatant lack of cooperation has forced my hand.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 17, 2019, 05:19 PM (6 replies)

Chuck Todd Suggests America's Toxic Politics Is Obama's Fault: He Didn't 'Bring This Country Togethe

STFU, chuckie.


9:48am/Video @ link
Read time: 1 minute
Chuck Todd Suggests America's Toxic Politics Is Obama's Fault: He Didn't 'Bring This Country Together'
NBC News' weakest link continues to normalize the GOP's destruction of democratic norms and institutions by blaming President Barack Obama for the Republican Party's obstructionism.
By David

NBC host Chuck Todd suggested on Sunday that the U.S. is divided politically because former President Barack Obama failed to "bring this country together."

While speaking with Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Meet the Press, Todd asked the 2020 contender about healing the country's political divide.

"You aren't the first candidate to say, 'I'm going to bring this country together,'" Todd told O'Rourke. "The most recent Democratic president, a lot of people put their hope in him and thought he was the answer that was going to do that."

"Why do you think that didn't happen in Obama's eight years?" the NBC host queried, ignoring the unprecedented level of Republican obstructionism during his administration, beginning with Mitch McConnell stating openly his goal of making him a one-term president on the day of his inauguration.

"I know that President Obama worked incredibly hard to find common ground with Republicans," O'Rourke replied. "He was able to achieve a heck of a lot in those eight years."
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 17, 2019, 03:39 PM (39 replies)

Here's how Pete Buttigieg is setting himself apart from the Democratic presidential pack


Here’s how Pete Buttigieg is setting himself apart from the Democratic presidential pack
By John Gallagher ·
Sunday, March 17, 2019

When Pete Buttigieg announced that he was running for president, the general feeling was he was a minor candidate at best. At 37, he’s just two years older than the office requires, and thirty (even forty) years younger than some of his Democratic rivals. The only elected office he has held is mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which, with a population of 102,000, is hardly a metropolis.

And then there’s the gay thing. As an openly gay candidate, Buttigieg seemed easy to classify as a novelty. All in all, Buttigieg looked like he was destined to be a footnote in a crowded presidential field.

It’s not turning out that way. Not at all.

Buttigieg is proving to be a credible candidate simply by being himself. His appearance at a CNN Town Hall last week was a turning point. Buttigieg impressed the audience and pundits by his plainspokenness and command of facts, to say nothing of his ability to turn a phrase.


To be clear, Buttigieg has the kind of background that is tailor-made for a presidential candidate: Harvard, Rhodes scholar, veteran. He also has a big uphill battle. Most people don’t know who he is; he’s polling at one percent. He’s not the fundraising juggernaut that other candidates (including O’Rourke) are. The media’s love affair with him now can quickly turn, as the press decides the pendulum has swung too far in that direction.

Yet so far, Buttigieg’s candidacy has been more successful than anyone would have predicted. Seeing him arrayed on a stage crowded with first-tier candidates will further boost his credibility. Maybe Buttigieg doesn’t win the nomination for president, at least not this time around. But he’s definitely paved the way for a bigger presence in the Democratic party.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 17, 2019, 03:23 PM (11 replies)

Government withholds 84-year-old woman's social security, claims she owes for college

Government withholds 84-year-old woman's social security, claims she owes for college
Posted: Mar 15, 2019 01:15 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Mamie Walker is 84-years-old, has never attended college and depends on her monthly social security check of $1,498 to survive.

But for the past two months, the government has sent Mamie nothing, except a letter claiming she owes them $224,414.50.

A letter from the Treasury Department claims she has been referred to them for "collection action."

The letter explains up to 15 percent of each of her checks will be withheld to pay the debt. That was shocking enough, but no check came at all in February or March. She received another letter stating she won't receive another check until Sept. 2031.

"I'll probably be dead by then," Walker said. "I'm so scared. I don't sleep at night because I'm so scared next week ... my lights are going to be off."

Mamie says she not only never went to college, but she never learned to read or write because she had to go to work as a child to help support her family as a "field hand."


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 17, 2019, 08:10 AM (55 replies)
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