Venezuela Denounces US Seizure of Embassy as Violation of Vienna Convention

Venezuela Denounces US Seizure of Embassy as Violation of Vienna Convention By Jessica Corbett (CD) — Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron on Thursday urged the Trump administration not to hand over the country’s embassy in Washington, D.C. to leaders of an attempted coup after U.S. law enforcement forcibly removed peace activists who have lived there for since last month as guests of President Nicolás Maduro’s government. “We denounce these arrests, as the people inside were there with our permission, and we consider it a violation of the Vienna Conventions,” Ron said in statement. Four…

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“Alexa, Stop Spying on My Kids”: Amazon’s Echo Dot Violates Child Privacy Law

“Alexa, Stop Spying on My Kids”: Amazon’s Echo Dot Violates Child Privacy Law By Jessica Corbett A coalition of consumer and public health groups demanded Thursday that federal regulators investigate and sanction Amazon for its Echo Dot Kids Edition, arguing that the device illegally collects and retains children’s personal data. The brightly colored, always-on listening device “will play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more—all with younger ears in mind,” according to Amazon. “The included one year of FreeTime Unlimited gives your kids access to thousands of hours of…

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Trump Administration Imposes Visa Ban on ICC Staff Probing US War Crimes

Trump Administration Imposes Visa Ban on ICC Staff Probing US War Crimes By Jessica Corbett Human rights defenders expressed outrage on Friday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that the Trump administration is revoking or denying visas for any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies for potential war crimes. The move, Pompeo confirmed to reporters Friday morning, is a direct response to ongoing efforts by the ICC to probe allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity tied to the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan.…

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Facebook Censors News Outlets Critical of US Foreign Policy and Corporate Media

Facebook Censors News Outlets Critical of US Foreign Policy and Corporate Media By Jessica Corbett (CD) — Journalists and advocates of press freedoms are once more directing outrage and criticism at Facebook for selectively censoring pages on its platform and refusing to explain the reason behind a decision that appears to many as a clear double standard applied to outlets critical of U.S. foreign policy and corporate interests. Facebook is under fire for shuttering four pages managed by the Berlin-based news and media company Maffick, after CNN reporters asked the social media giant about…

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Netanyahu: Israel and Arab Nations Meeting to Advance “Common Interests of War With Iran”

Netanyahu: Israel and Arab Nations Meeting to Advance “Common Interests of War With Iran” By Jessica Corbett (CD) — A deleted tweet from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignited fresh fears about his position on Iran, after his official Twitter account provided an English translation of his remarks to reporters on Wednesday while attending an American-led summit about the Middle East hosted in Warsaw, Poland. The initial tweet, translated from Hebrew, had the prime minister saying: “What is important about this meeting, and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that…

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Pompeo: US Military Obligated to “Take Down” the Iranians in Venezuela

Pompeo: US Military Obligated to “Take Down” the Iranians in Venezuela By Jessica Corbett (CD) — As a U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro continues,U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Wednesday that Hezbollah “has active cells” in Venezuela—a claim that was immediately scrutinized and compared with the second Bush administration’s lies to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Hezbollah, a political and militant Shi’ite Muslim group based in Lebanon, has been on the U.S. State Department’s “Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” list since 1997. In the interview with Fox Business, Pompeo, who previously served…

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“Breathtaking and Terrifying”: UN Partners With CIA-Funded Palantir

“Breathtaking and Terrifying”: UN Partners With CIA-Funded Palantir By Jessica Corbett (CD) — The CIA-funded California software firm Palantir Technologies and the World Food Program (WFP) have announced a five-year $45 million partnership that data privacy and human rights advocates are describing as “breathtaking and terrifying” as well as “horribly irresponsible and potentially incredibly harmful.” The partnership, according to a joint statement released Tuesday, builds on a pilot project that allowed the United Nations agency to analyze aid decisions using a Palantir application that pulls together data on nutritional values, sourcing locations, delivery times, and food costs.…

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Bolton Threatens to Send Venezuela’s Maduro to Guantánamo Bay Prison

Bolton Threatens to Send Venezuela’s Maduro to Guantánamo Bay Prison By Jessica Corbett (CD) — National Security Adviser John Bolton—the neoconservative who’s played a key role in the Trump administration’s effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government—suggested on Friday that President Nicolás Maduro could find himself locked away in the U.S. military prison at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba if he does not soon step aside. Bolton—who has repeatedly threatened U.S. military action to force out Maduro—made the threat in a “crazy” radio interview (mp3) with right-wing commentator Hugh Hewitt about President Donald Trump’s broader policy toward Venezuela, including…

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Anti-Pipeline Activists Hit With Felony Charges Under New Anti-Protest Law

Anti-Pipeline Activists Hit With Felony Charges Under New Anti-Protest Law By Jessica Corbett (CD) — Three kayaktivists who oppose construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline—the tail end of Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline—are reportedly the first people to be charged with felonies under a new Louisiana law that, like a model bill crafted by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), criminalizes peaceful protests of fossil fuel projects. The collective of activists fighting against the pipeline—who have created the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) floating resistance camp—said on Twitter Thursday that three kayakers were “abducted” by the pipeline company’s…

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