Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Andrew McCabe Oversaw Criminal Investigation Of Jeff Sessions

Andrew McCabe Oversaw Criminal Investigation Of Jeff Sessions
The attorney general was accused of lacking “candor” during congressional testimony.
By Sara Boboltz and Ryan J. Reilly

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe authorized an investigation into Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ alleged lack of candor during congressional testimony over his contacts with Russian operatives last year, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to HuffPost. 
ABC News first reported that Sessions had been under investigation, and that the attorney general was unaware of the probe when he fired McCabe for the FBI official’s own alleged lack of candor during an internal review of how the bureau and Justice Department handled investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gina Haspel - Trump's pick as CIA - first-ever female director

Gina Haspel, the newly nominated first-ever female director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is a career intelligence officer with more than 30 years' experience.
Controversially, she ran a prison in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda members were tortured by waterboarding in 2002.
The so-called black sites - secret overseas locations where the CIA carried out what it termed "enhanced interrogation" techniques - were closed by former US President Barack Obama.
Ms Haspel's appointment last year as deputy director of the CIA caused controversy.
Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office, told the New York Times he was "gravely concerned" about the appointment.

Trump Torpedoes Tillerson

President Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him.
Trump announced via Twitter that Pompeo will do "a fantastic job," and that Gina Haspel will become the new CIA director.

“I look forward to guiding the world’s finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the president’s foreign policy,” Pompeo said Tuesday in a statement released by the White House.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Trump asked Tillerson to step aside on Friday, but other reports say the secretary of state learned the news over Twitter. Tillerson thus cut his trip to Africa short to return to Washington. However, State Department spokesman Steve Goldstein said in a statement that Tillerson "did not speak to the President (prior to his firing) and is unaware of the reason."
"The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministers he has worked with throughout the world," Goldstein said.

Friday, February 16, 2018

'New Yorker' says handwritten note by former Playmate details affair with Trump for Over 9 Months

A former Playmate, who says she has been emboldened by the #MeToo movement and declining health, has confirmed to The New Yorker that she authored an eight-page, hand-written document about her alleged affair with Donald Trump that the magazine said was quietly buried by the National Enquirer after buying exclusive rights to it.

The deal, which netted Karen McDougal $82,500, has prevented her from discussing the alleged relationship with Trump.

McDougal, who was judged runner-up for "Playmate of the '90s," allegedly met Trump in 2006 at the Playboy mansion after Trump had been married to Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years.

She spoke to writer Ronan Farrow, who has written recently about sexual abuse in Hollywood, but was circumspect about details regarding Trump. She acknowledged, however, that she wrote the account of the alleged affair, which Farrow said he obtained from John Crawford, a friend of McDougal's.

The Wall Street Journal, four days before the 2016 presidential election, reported that American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid $150,000 for exclusive rights to McDougal’s story, which it never ran. Buying the rights to a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call “catch and kill.” 

David Pecker, CEO and chairman of A.M.I., has described Trump as a personal friend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tom Alaimo's 30 Lessons on Podcast Interviews

Go to the profile of Tom Alaimo

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Chloe Kim

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Let’s all salute the multi-talented Chloe Kim, who just won the halfpipe gold medal and got through all of her runs without stopping to take a selfie. Let’s marvel at her snowboarding skills and applaud her self-discipline. After all, her last run was just for show anyway. She had already won gold. She might have won it when she got off the plane.
Kim is 17 years old, which means if the other snowboarders want to win an Olympic gold medal, they have four years to take up another sport. She is the halfpipe’s Simone Biles. Like Biles, Kim is so much better than her fellow competitors that, even if you think a halfpipe is something you hide when your parents visit you in college, you can see how great she is. After she nailed her first run, scoring a 93.75, it was pretty clear that the only way anybody would beat her was to climb the scoreboard and cover up their own decimal point.

Maria Hinojosa - The Parsley Massacre of 1937 - NPR Radio

This months marks the 80th anniversary of the massacre of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, also known as the Parsley Massacre, under the dictator Rafael Trujillo. A conversation with Marlon Bishop for NPR. Click here to access the audio of the 1-hour podcast.

Maria Hinojosa

Host, Latino USA

For 25 years, Maria Hinojosa has helped tell America's untold stories and brought to light unsung heroes in America and abroad. In April 2010, Hinojosa launched The Futuro Media Group with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism that gives critical voice to the voiceless by harnessing the power of independent media to tell stories that are overlooked or under reported by traditional media.

As the anchor and executive producer of the long-running weekly NPR show Latino USA, and as anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk show Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One from WGBH/La Plaza, Hinojosa has informed millions of Americans about the fastest growing group in our country. Previously, a Senior Correspondent for NOW on PBS, and currently, a rotating anchor for Need to Know, Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—from the immigrant work camps in NOLA after Katrina, to teen girl victims of sexual harassment on the job, to Emmy Award-winning stories of the poor in Alabama.


Singh graduated from Syracuse University in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and Latin American studies. Prior to her tenure at NPR, she worked at WAER in Syracuse, then NPR member stations KPBX (Spokane), WMFE (Orlando), and Washington DC's WAMU, where she was a reporter and local show host. She joined NPR's Newscast Unit in 2000.
In addition to announcing news throughout the day, Singh's resume includes field reporting, and contributing to NPR's Latino USAPRIVoice of America and Gannett News Service.

The Parsley Massacre of 1937

In September of 1937, the massacre of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic commenced. Rafaél Trujillo ordered his military to exterminate the Haitian population in order to cleanse the Dominican population of “foreigners.”
Most of the massacre occurred next to the border at what is now known as Massacre River, and was most casualties occurred from October 7th-12th when the Dominican Republic and Haiti drafted a diplomatic agreement to work towards peaceful relations as well as an official investigation into the massacre. In the course of the month, it is estimated that 20,000 Haitians were killed although the exact number is not known.

Historical Background

The Parsley Massacre was the result of a tenuous relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti beginning at the birth of the nations. The tense relationship between Dominicans and Haitians has evolved from many different factors, some of the main ones are described below:
  • Haitians fight for independence: Dominicans did not support the Haitian fight for independence, as they thought it would sever connections with Europe.
  • Haitian occupation of DR:  from 1822 until 1844, the newly independent Haiti invaded Santo Domingo hoping to expand their control to the Dominican Republic. This time has been reported to be a brutal time when Dominican traditions, culture, and the use of Spanish were all suppressed. This reinforced the Dominicans belief that they were different than the Haitians, and created resentment against the Haitians. February 27th, 1844 is the Dominican Republic’s independence day, when they took back the city of Santo Domingo.
  • Collapse of sugar industry/reopening: Haiti was providing the vast amount of sugar for Europe. When they fought for independence, the sugar companies were all forced out and the sugar industry collapsed. The DR’s economy was more based in agriculture, but soon they took over the sugar industry. In the late 20th century, when the sugar industry began to boom again, the Dominican Republic was full of open jobs. No Dominican wanted the jobs because the wages were so low. In turn, Haitians were brought over for extremely cheap labor. The Dominicans began to resent the Haitian who they claimed were taking all the jobs. Trujillo’s justification was that they were hurting the Dominicans by taking jobs, and because of their inferior race.
  • Dominicans see themselves as European, Haitians as Africans:because the Dominicans saw themselves as part of the European domain, they believed that Africans were inferior due to the slave trade. Even though many Dominicans were of African decent, they lived in a society based on the European lifestyle.
To learn more about the tumultuous history between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, watch this documentary (source of information).

Classification of Genocide

While the Parsley Massacre was never declared to be a genocide, it fits the criteria that Raphael Lemkin stated in the Genocide Convention treaty:
Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as:
  • (a) Killing members of the group;
  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Haitians were systematically persecuted for the nationality, with the intent of exterminating their nationality within the Dominican borders. Fitting perfectly in the parameters of this definition, I have decided to classify the Parsley Massacre as an act of genocide. It was never globally called a genocide because Lemkin’s definition was not formally adopted until 1948, therefore the term was yet to exist.

We have a story now of a forgotten battle from 80 years ago, a massacre resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic in 1937. The two nations share an island in the Caribbean. Then-Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered soldiers to kill Haitians indiscriminately and then worked to keep it a secret. Marlon Bishop from the NPR program Latino USA visited both countries, where the aftershocks from this tragedy are still being felt.

Even before Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo carved it in blood, the 224-mile border dividing the island of Hispaniola between Haiti and the Dominican Republic was complicated. Tensions between the two countries stemmed back to a 19th century war. But in many ways, the border, which existed mostly on paper, was a notably seamless site: Children crossed back and forth freely to go to school on one side and home on the other. Sprawling cattle ranches spanned the divide, and Dominicans and Haitians mingled and intermarried frequently.

A Border Drawn in Blood

That ended on Oct. 2, 1937, when the Dominican military, under Trujillo's orders, began to execute Haitian families as well as Dominicans of Haitian descent. The killings, many of which took place in the border region, were mostly carried out by machete to help sell the regime's official account that the massacre was a spontaneous uprising of patriotic Dominican farmers against Haitian cattle thieves.

The killing lasted between five and eight days. Afterward, there was a moratorium on newspapers covering the massacre, and Trujillo refused to publicly admit his government's role or accept responsibility.

After the dictator was assassinated in 1961, researchers began to investigate what had been an off-limits subject, conducting interviews, digging through documents and putting together the pieces of what happened. Estimates of the number of dead still vary widely — from less than 1,000 to 30,000. Mass graves were never found.

Commonly known as the Parsley Massacre — Haitians and Dominicans pronounce the Spanish word perejil differently and, according to a popular though unconfirmed story, this was used as a litmus test of their origins — the killings are now acknowledged by Dominican society at large and taught in schools. But in many ways, the massacre remains a historical footnote, seen as an uncomfortable reminder of a brutal past.

Eighty years after the Parsley Massacre, survivors and descendants of those who lived through that time shared their stories with a team from NPR's Latino USA.

Still scared

Francisco Pierre, 90, was born to Haitian and Dominican parents in Loma de Cabrera, a Dominican town near the border with Haiti. He was 10 when a neighbor stopped by his house and called out, "Jump up and go across to Haiti right now, because they're killing people in the village."

Pierre remembers filling a calabash with rice, loading up the family donkey and fleeing with his grandmother toward Haiti. Along the way, they passed the corpses of those who didn't make it. He lives in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and has only returned once to the Dominican Republic — to visit a hospital when he was seriously ill. "I was scared of Dominicans," he says.

A 'Massacre River' to safety

The Massacre River — named not for the 1937 killings, but an earlier massacre — marks the border in the northwest of the Dominican Republic. Many Haitians fleeing Trujillo's army crossed this river to reach safety in 1937. These days, Haitian merchants buying agricultural products in the Dominican Republic cross the river daily to avoid customs officials.

Starting from scratch

"My father worked the land," recalls Germéne Julien (right), 83, born in the Dominican Republic. "He left behind a huge garden of yucca, rice and many other things." She was 3 years old when she fled with her parents and remembers they crossed the border in the afternoon. "Many members of my family were traveling from Montecristi and died on the journey," she says.

In Haiti, where she lives today in a simple, mud-walled house (left), they had to start from scratch. "If we had known this would have happened in advance, we could have brought over the things we lost," she says.

'I will fix this'

Across the street from this park in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, is the site of what used to be a government building where Trujillo, on a tour of the border area, is said to have told supporters about the massacre on Oct. 2, 1937. He claimed falsely that Haitian marauders were attacking Dominican farmers. According to a contemporary account, he said, "To the Dominicans who were complaining of the depredations by Haitians living among them thefts of cattle, provisions, fruits, etc., and were thus prevented from enjoying in peace the products of their labor, I have responded, 'I will fix this.' And we have already begun to remedy the situation."

'He hated us'

Under pressure from the United States, Mexico and Cuba, Trujillo paid an indemnity of $525,000 in 1938 (equivalent to about $9 million today) to the Haitian government, which used a portion of the money to set up colonies for refugees from the massacre. Survivor Gilbert Jean, 93, (left) lives in Dosmond, one of those colonies. He says his family was friendly with local officials, who warned them about the coming massacre so they could flee before the soldiers caught them. "Trujillo did it because he hated us, because he didn't want to see black people in his country. It was in his roots to be racist," he says.

Willy Azema, president of the Dosmond colony and a descendant of survivors, points (right) to a list of refugees and the land apportioned to them. "Our relatives came here with nothing but the clothes on their back," he says. He points out the poor housing and lack of a medical clinic and drinkable water in the colony. "Look around, we aren't living the way a human being should live, and it's the fault of the people who committed the massacre," he says.

A complicated history

The Dominican Republic has the peculiarity of celebrating its independence not from a colonial power, but from Haiti, which ruled the entire island of Hispaniola for 22 years in the early 19th century. But the Dominican Republic won independence a second time — in 1865, after the Dominican Restoration War, in which Haiti helped the Dominican Republic fight Spain. A monument near the border, in the Dominican town of Capotillo, celebrates the start of that war.

Encouraging dialogue

Regino Martinez, a Jesuit priest based in the Dominican border city of Dajabon, believes that dialogue about the 1937 massacre would help Dominican-Haitian relations — which remain tense today. He is involved in an annual commemoration of the massacre in Dajabon called Border of Lights, organized by a group of international scholars and activists, including many Dominicans and Haitian-Americans.

'Dominicans and Haitians fell in love then, just like today'

Paulina Recio, 84, keeps a portrait of her and her late husband in her living room in Restauración, Dominican Republic. Paulina is half-Dominican, half-Haitian. "Dominicans and Haitians fell in love then, just like today," she says. When she grew up in Restauración, she says, it was a completely Haitian town. "Dominicans didn't live here, it was Haitians."

Part of Trujillo's "Dominicanization" process after the massacre involved bringing new Dominican settlers and infrastructure to towns on the border. Another was replacing place names, which often were in French or Haitian Creole, to patriotic-sounding names in Spanish. A new province in the Dominican northwest was named Liberator.

A granddaughter makes amends

Nancy Betances' grandfather Rafael Enrique Betances was a Dominican military officer stationed in Loma de Cabrera during the massacre. "He had to participate and kill," she says. Now she tries to make amends by helping Haitian immigrants. More than 660,000 Haitians and their descendants live in the Dominican Republic, according to a U.N. census in 2012. Not everyone in town appreciates Betances' efforts. "People say that [my grandfather] defended the country," she says, "and that he'd be rolling over in his grave if he knew what I was doing."

A cross-border pastime

Playing dominoes is a passion shared by people on both sides of the border. In the Haitian border town of Ouanaminthe, residents relax with an afternoon game. Eighty years after the massacre, tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti remain high, in part because of the large numbers of Haitian immigrants who come to the Dominican Republic to work for low wages in fields like construction. One right-wing Dominican politician has suggested building a wall on the border to send a message to migrants. Yet in the border region itself, where Haitians and Dominicans interact in markets, schools and other places every day, people mostly get along well.

Marlon Bishop, a producer for NPR's Latino USA, traveled to the Dominican-Haitian border region with Dominican freelance photographer Tatiana Fernandez to find survivors of the Parsley Massacre and document their memories. A Latino USA radio special commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 1937 killings aired this week on NPR stations.

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