04/1/20

Zoom Bombing, Don’t Be Fooled

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

So, there are several online conference video chat platforms now being used while businesses continue to operate even while doing the stay-at-home thing. We are aware, of course, of the common Skype platform, Uber Conference and gaining huge popularity is Zoom.

Warning to the healthcare industry: Since the United States has launched full telehealth platforms, all parties involved in the session(s) should watch carefully the platform(s) for cyber weirdness. All the same warnings and watchful eyes should be applied to the military across the spectrum as forces are working from remote locations as well.

How to Record Zoom Meeting on PC, iPhone

In recent days, I have seen reports of Zoom conference/meeting events getting bombed by rogue players. Every nation while struggling to overcome the pandemic, governments and companies are quite vulnerable to breaches of cybersecurity due to limited employee resources. What better time for bad actors (read China) to attack?

Zoom has also seen a sharp increase in usage, but the attention the teleconferencing solution is receiving continues to be decidedly mixed. TechCrunch reports that researcher Patrick Wardle has found two local security flaws in Zoom’s macOS client.

***

While Zoom has certainly drawn investors’ eyes in a good way, it’s also attracted the ministrations of white hat researchers, cybercriminals, the plaintiffs’ bar, and state attorneys general. The platform’s encryption isn’t really end-to-end, the Intercept reports. Instead, it uses familiar transport encryption, which gives Zoom itself the potential to access its users’ traffic. The FBI’s Boston Field Office has issued a detailed warning about the ways in which criminals (conventional criminals out for gain, sleazy hacktivists, and skids out for the lulz) have been able to meddle with Zoom sessions. Check Point describes the ways in which criminals have registered domains that include the name “zoom;” these domains are of course up to no good at all. Zoom was also discovered to have been sharing analytic data with Facebook, a practice Zoom halted after it came to public attention, but not in time to forestall a class action suit under California’s Unfair Competition Law, Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and Consumer Privacy Act. And the New York Times reports that all of this news has prompted New York State’s Attorney General to ask Zoom for an explanation of its privacy and security policies.

So, as I was researching for this piece, I received an email from a distant buddy that read in part…

The government has sought the assistance of outside software experts to move online meetings. In one particular instance, my email buddy noted the following:

I have a Zoom warning. We had a Council meeting this afternoon and it had to end immediately. Fortunately, the Council was 99% finished with the meeting. The reason for ending the meeting is because we were Zoom Bombed (yup this is really the name for it). A participant joined the meeting late and his name was Mr. Off. His first name was Jack and he had a middle name “Me”. You can imaging the video. It was horrible. There were three hosts of the meeting that could control participants. The hosts could not see this participant so they didn’t think anything was wrong. Clearly, the hack knows how to enter a meeting without the controlling hosts knowing what is going on. I saw it and ordered the meeting end immediately. The Chair couldn’t see it and was wondering what to heck was wrong with me. It took about 5 more long seconds for me to yell at people to leave the meeting. We all jumped back on the meeting in five minutes and Mr. Off joined the meeting again.

I will add that only half the participants actually saw the act. We also caught it in time to not have it go live on cable or YouTube. Another participant actually viewed video of three other participants that no one else could see and were likely ready to Bomb the meeting.

In the future, we will use passwords for participants. This is unfortunate for the public because they wont be able to join the Zoom part of the meeting. They will still be able to watch it live on local cable and YouTube. We will set up an email and telephone for public comment if the agenda item requires public comment.

I highly recommend you use passwords for future meetings.

Seems we have a new kind of cyber terrorism going on here… espionage at a silent/covert level. Perhaps we can get some kind of press release from the NSA or something.

04/1/20

The Reason for the WH and Dr. Birx’s Chilling New Probability Report

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: We all seem to guess this except for Jim Acosta/CNN and the others at MSNBC. The media continues to blame the Trump White House for the slow response to address COVID-19, while Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci explained what they did not know very early on. Now we know.

Now some real questions and new policies towards China must be considered. We can start with the $1.8 B in U.S. debt that China holds. The next is challenging American telecommunications companies to squelch China’s advances of 5G. Then there is the next phase of the U.S. trade agreement with China. Add in the mission to stop China’s power agenda across the globe as it is clear, China is fine with killing people and economies across the world.

China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.

The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret and declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.

The report was received by the White House last week, one of the officials said. The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.

Communications staff at the White House and the Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

While China eventually imposed a strict lockdown beyond those of less autocratic nations, there has been considerable skepticism of China’s reported numbers, both outside and within the country. The Chinese government has repeatedly revised its methodology for counting cases, for weeks excluding people without symptoms entirely, and only on Tuesday added more than 1,500 asymptomatic cases to its total.

Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.

Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on its response to the outbreak, said Tuesday that China’s public reporting influenced assumptions elsewhere in the world about the nature of the virus.

Coronavirus: Doctor at hospital in China's Hubei province ...

“The medical community made — interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” she said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”

China is not the only country with suspect public reporting. Western officials have pointed to Iran, Russia, Indonesia and especially North Korea, which has not reported a single case of the disease, as probable under-counts. Others including Saudi Arabia and Egypt may also be playing down their numbers.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has publicly urged China and other nations to be transparent about their outbreaks. He has repeatedly accused China of covering up the extent of the problem and being slow to share information, especially in the weeks after the virus first emerged, and blocking offers of help from American experts.

“This data set matters,” he said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. The development of medical therapies and public-health measures to combat the virus “so that we can save lives depends on the ability to have confidence and information about what has actually transpired,” he said.

“I would urge every nation: Do your best to collect the data. Do your best to share that information,” he said. “We’re doing that.”

The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.

Map of sampling sites in the Hubei Province of China. Red ...

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 outbreak containment strategies in China based on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) appear to be effective. Quantitative research is still needed however to assess the efficacy of different candidate NPIs and their timings to guide ongoing and future responses to epidemics of this emerging disease across the World. Methods: We built a travel network-based susceptible-exposed-infectious-removed (SEIR) model to simulate the outbreak across cities in mainland China. We used epidemiological parameters estimated for the early stage of outbreak in Wuhan to parameterise the transmission before NPIs were implemented. To quantify the relative effect of various NPIs, daily changes of delay from illness onset to the first reported case in each county were used as a proxy for the improvement of case identification and isolation across the outbreak. Historical and near-real time human movement data, obtained from Baidu location-based service, were used to derive the intensity of travel restrictions and contact reductions across China. The model and outputs were validated using daily reported case numbers, with a series of sensitivity analyses conducted. Results: We estimated that there were a total of 114,325 COVID-19 cases (interquartile range [IQR] 76,776 – 164,576) in mainland China as of February 29, 2020, and these were highly correlated (p<0.001, R2=0.86) with reported incidence. Without NPIs, the number of COVID-19 cases would likely have shown a 67-fold increase (IQR: 44 – 94), with the effectiveness of different interventions varying. The early detection and isolation of cases was estimated to prevent more infections than travel restrictions and contact reductions, but integrated NPIs would achieve the strongest and most rapid effect. If NPIs could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier in China, cases could have been reduced by 66%, 86%, and 95%, respectively, together with significantly reducing the number of affected areas. However, if NPIs were conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks later, the number of cases could have shown a 3-fold, 7-fold, and 18-fold increase across China, respectively. Results also suggest that the social distancing intervention should be continued for the next few months in China to prevent case numbers increasing again after travel restrictions were lifted on February 17, 2020. Conclusion: The NPIs deployed in China appear to be effectively containing the COVID-19 outbreak, but the efficacy of the different interventions varied, with the early case detection and contact reduction being the most effective. Moreover, deploying the NPIs early is also important to prevent further spread. Early and integrated NPI strategies should be prepared, adopted and adjusted to minimize health, social and economic impacts in affected regions around the World.

03/31/20

Rogue Nations Competing with the X-37B

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

America’s four greatest adversaries are investing in systems that can take out satellites on orbit, including funding laser systems, nuclear power, and satellites that shadow American space vehicles.

Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are each researching counter-space capabilities — kinetic or non-kinetic ways to taking out systems in space — according to the annual Global Counter-space Capabilities report, released by the Secure World Foundation.

Defense News was given an exclusive preview of the report, which will available later today and was edited by Brian Weeden and Victoria Samson.

For the first time, the report includes data on the space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities of countries — that is, the ability of nations to track what is moving in various orbits. Japan and India are two nations investing heavily in that area, according to the report, while Iran appears to lag behind.

“This is important because you can’t protect [against] what you can’t see,” said Samson, the organization’s Washington office director. “This doesn’t mean that developing an SSA capability is an indication of an offensive counter-space program, as there are many reasons why you would want that capability. But it is needed if you want to go offensive.”

She also highlighted the fact that in the last year, four of the countries with counter-space investments — India, Japan, France, and the U.S. — have launched new military organizations specifically to deal with space-related issues, including a focus, at least in part, on counter-space efforts. In addition, the NATO alliance declared space an “operational domain” in December.

The vast majority of counter-space capabilities continue to reside with Russia, China, and the United States, but other nations are funding programs as well. France, India, Japan, Iran, and North Korea are all known to be at least investing some money in counter-space efforts, whether through ballistic missile programs or non-kinetic means such as cyberattacks.

The most prominent counter-space example of the last year came from India, which in March controversially launched a missile at one of its satellites, blowing it up and spewing shrapnel around low-earth orbit.

So is a counter-space arms race underway? The authors say no, at least in the context of the nuclear arms race where each country is trying to match the other capability for capability.

Instead, “this is about developing a range of offensive and defensive capabilities to go after an opponent’s space assets while protecting your own,” said Weeden, the organization’s director of program planning. “And I think that’s unfortunately inevitable because more and more countries are using space for military purposes. That drives increased interest in how to counter those uses.”

Added Samson, “it now seems that if you want to be considered a major space power, it’s not enough to have your own satellites, or the ability to launch them, or even the ability to launch other country’s satellites. You want your own counter-space capability.”

The big three

When Pentagon and White House officials talked about the need for a Space Force last year, leaders emphasized a growing threat in space.

“For all their posturing about who’s ‘weaponizing’ space, the big three are all working on a lot of the same technologies and doing a lot of the same things,” particularly rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) where satellites can maneuver near another nation’s system, said Weeden.

The big three, in this case, are China, Russian and the United States.

China has run multiple maneuvers with its space-based systems that may be RPO-related, but it’s hard to know whether those capabilities are being developed for counter-space use as opposed to intelligence gathering, the report said.

When it comes to Chinese capabilities, Weeden said to focus on the ground-based anti-satellite weaponry — perhaps not a surprise, given China declared itself a player in counter-space technology by destroying one of its own satellites in 2007.

Beijing is investing in at least one, and perhaps as many as three, kinetic anti-satellite capabilities, “either as dedicated counter-space systems or as mid-course missile defense systems that could provide counter-space capabilities,” according to the report.

“It was robustly tested and appears to be operationally deployed,” Weeden said of those capabilities. “As long as the U.S. still relies on small numbers of very expensive satellites in LEO, I think it will prove to be a significant deterrent.”

While China often becomes the focus of public comments from Defense officials, Weeden said to keep an eye on Moscow, as he was “a bit shocked by the breadth of Russian counter-space programs. For all the concern and hype in the U.S. about China, Russia seems to be putting the most into counter-space.”

Those efforts include the Nudol, a ground-launched ballistic missile designed to be capable of intercepting targets in low-earth orbit; three different programs focused on RPO capabilities; the rebirth of a 1980s era program involving a large laser, to either dazzle or damage a satellite, carried about an IL-76MD-90A transport aircraft; a newly-discovered program called Ekipazh, which involves a nuclear reactor to power a large payload of on-orbit jammers; and what Weeden describes as a “massive” upgrade to SSA capabilities.

“All of that spells a very potent, more operationally-integrated, and more battle-tested package than what I’m seeing in China,” he warned. He added that he believes the public focus on China to be “part of the broader narrative the Trump administration is trying to push with China being the long-term threat they want to focus on. It also helps sell the narrative they’re trying to push on human spaceflight and exploration as well.”

As for the United States, the military has focused more on SSA and defensive counter-space capabilities, a trend Weeden says is due to America being the most reliant on space of the three countries, and hence must “protect its capabilities if it hopes to win a future conflict against Russia or China.” America’s SSA capabilities, in particular, remain well ahead of the rest of the world.

Which isn’t to say the U.S. is skipping out on counter-space investments either. America has a number of options for electronic warfare in space, including proven capabilities to jam enemy receivers within an area of operations; assets with RPO capabilities; and operational midcourse missile defense interceptors that have been demonstrated against low orbit satellites. In addition, there are plans to invest in prototyping directed energy capabilities for space.

One capability to keep an eye on is the X-37B, a spaceplane program that has made five trips into orbit and back to earth. In total, the spacecrafts have spent 2,865 days on orbit cumulatively over its five missions, with its last trip consisting of 780 days in space — more than two years.

The Air Force has been secretive about X-37B missions, often talking broadly about it conducting experiments in space; analysts have long believed that the mission set has at least something to do with counter-space capabilities. That belief was only strengthened by what happened during its last trip during which researchers believe it was used to launch a trio of small CubeSats that were not registered in international tracking databases.

“The secret deployment of multiple small satellites raises additional questions about the mission of the X-37B. It suggests that the X-37B may have a mission to serve as a covert satellite deployment platform. The secrecy surrounding both the X-37B and the deployment may indicate they are part of a covert intelligence program, but it may also indicate the testing of offensive technologies or capabilities,” the authors wrote in the report. “The failure to even catalog the deployed satellites, something that is done even for classified U.S. military and intelligence satellites, calls into question the trustworthiness of the public SSA data provided by the U.S. military.”

And that creates potential diplomatic issues, at a time that the need for open discussions about space capabilities across nations should be growing, warned Samson.

“The Russians and Chinese have always pointed at the secrecy surrounding the X-37B program as evidence of malevolent intentions by the United States,” she said. “The fact that the U.S. released objects from the X-37B and didn’t register them feeds absolutely into that narrative and causes ripple effects that harm other multilateral discussions on space security and stability.”

03/31/20

Google Sent Users 40,000 Warnings

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer questions: Did other tech companies do the same and if so, how many? What does Congress know and where are they with a real cyber policy?

Google’s threat analysis group, which counters targeted and government-backed hacking against the company and its users, sent account holders almost 40,000 warnings in 2019, with government officials, journalists, dissidents, and geopolitical rivals being the most targeted, team members said on Thursday.

The number of warnings declined almost 25 percent from 2018, in part because of new protections designed to curb cyberattacks on Google properties. Attackers have responded by reducing the frequency of their hack attempts and with being more deliberate. The group saw an increase in phishing attacks that impersonated news outlets and journalists. In many of these cases, attackers sought to spread disinformation by attempting to seed false stories with other reporters. Other times, attackers sent several benign messages in hopes of building a rapport with a journalist or foreign policy expert. The attackers, who most frequently came from Iran and North Korea, would later follow up with an email that included a malicious attachment.

Color-coded Mercator projection of the world.

“Government-backed attackers regularly target foreign policy experts for their research, access to the organizations they work with, and connections to fellow researchers or policymakers for subsequent attacks,” Toni Gidwani, a security engineering manager in the threat analysis group, wrote in a post.

Top targets

Countries with residents that collectively received more than 1,000 warnings included the United States, India, Pakistan, Japan, and South Korea. Thursday’s post came eight months after Microsoft said it had warned 10,000 customers of nation-sponsored attacks over the 12 previous months. The software maker said it saw “extensive” activity from five specific groups sponsored by Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Thursday’s post also tracked targeted attacks carried out by Sandworm, believed to be an attack group working on behalf of the Russian Federation. Sandworm has been responsible for some of the world’s most severe attacks, including hacks on Ukrainian power facilities that left the country without electricity in 2015 and 2016NATO and the governments of Ukraine and Poland in 2014, and according to Wired journalist Andy Greenberg, the NotPetya malware that created worldwide outages, some that lasted weeks.

The following graph shows Sandworm’s targeting of various industries and countries from 2017 to 2019. While the targeting of most of the industries or countries was sporadic, Ukraine was on the receiving end of attacks throughout the entire three-year period:

Sandworm’s targeting efforts (mostly by sector) over the last three years.
Enlarge / Sandworm’s targeting efforts (mostly by sector) over the last three years.
Google

Tracking zero-days

In 2019, the Google group discovered zero-day vulnerabilities affecting Android, iOS, Windows, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. A single attack group was responsible for exploiting five of the unpatched security flaws. The attacks were used against Google, Google account holders, and users of other platforms.

“Finding this many zeroday exploits from the same actor in a relatively short time frame is rare,” Gidwani wrote.

The exploits came from legitimate websites that had been hacked, links to malicious websites, and attachments embedded in spear-phishing emails. Most of the targets were in North Korea or were against individuals working on North Korea-related issues.

The group’s policy is to privately inform developers of the affected software and give them seven days to release a fix or publish an advisory. If the companies don’t meet that deadline, Google releases its own advisory.

One observation that Google users should note: of all the phishing attacks the company has seen in the past few years, none has resulted in a takeover of accounts protected by the account protection program, which among other things makes multifactor authentication mandatory. Once people have two physical security keys from Yubi or another manufacturer, enrolling in the program takes less than five minutes.

03/31/20

FBI Abuse Of FISA Much Worse Per New Report

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

FBI problems with FISA warrants extend beyond Russia case, DOJ watchdog warns

The Justice Department’s chief watchdog issued an extraordinary warning Tuesday that the FBI is failing to follow its own rules when pursuing surveillance warrants in sensitive intelligence and terrorism cases, confirming that problems first exposed in the Russia collusion probe extend to other cases.

Among the problems cited was a failure by agents to substantiate allegations submitted to courts, similar to the missteps the FBI made in failing to ensure allegations in the Steele dossier back in 2016 were verified before securing a FISA warrant targeting the Trump campaign and former adviser Carter Page.

The report found that investigators:

  • could not review original Woods Files for four of the 29 selected FISA applications because the FBI has not been able to locate them and, in 3 of these instances, did not know if they ever existed;
  • identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts in all of the 25 applications we reviewed;
  • identified deficiencies in documentary support and application accuracy;
  • interviewed FBI officials who indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and National Security Division oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee who played a key role in exposing FISA abuses during the Russia probe, said Horowitz’s memo shows the problems first exposed with the faulty Carter Page warrant were “just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Not a single application from the past five years reviewed by the inspector general was up to snuff. That’s alarming and unacceptable,” Grassley said.

“The FBI has an important job to protect our national security, but it does not have carte blanche to routinely erode the liberties of Americans without proper justification. Oversight mechanisms like the Woods Procedures exist for a reason, and if the FBI wants to restore its reputation among the American people, it had better start taking them seriously,” he added.

Sally Moyer not ‘Agent 5’ in IG report on FBI

The final report just issued in .pdf is found here.

Additionally, NR has this summary in part:

Horowitz’s office said in a report released Tuesday that of the 29 applications — all of which involved U.S. citizens – that were pulled from “8 FBI field offices of varying sizes,” the FBI could not find Woods Files for four of the applications, while the other 25 all had “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.”

“While our review of these issues and follow-up with case agents is still ongoing—and we have not made materiality judgments for these or other errors or concerns we identified—at this time we have identified an average of about 20 issues per application reviewed, with a high of approximately 65 issues in one application and less than 5 issues in another application,” the report reveals.

The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in the Woods File when applying for a surveillance warrant.

“FBI and NSD officials we interviewed indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy, to include identifying the need for enhancements to training and improvements in the process, or increased accountability measures,” the report states.

The OIG concludes by recommending that the FBI “systematically and regularly examine the results of past and future accuracy reviews to identify patterns or trends in identified errors” relating to the Woods Procedure, as well as double-checking “that Woods Files exist for every FISA application submitted to the FISC in all pending investigations.”

In a letter acknowledging the audit, FBI Associate Deputy Director Paul Abbate said that the issues “will be addressed” by the Bureau’s already-issued correctives after the Carter Page review, and added that “the FBI fully accepts the two recommendations.”

McCabe admitted in January that the FBI has an “inherent weakness in the process” of obtaining FISA warrants.

03/26/20

Nicolás Maduro, 14 Other Officials Charged with Narco-Terrorism, Corruption

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Venezuelan Officials Say President Nicolás Maduro Is ...

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Nicolás Maduro Moros and 14 Current and Former Venezuelan Officials Charged with Narco-Terrorism, Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Criminal Charges
Maduro and Other High Ranking Venezuelan Officials Allegedly Partnered With the FARC to Use Cocaine as a Weapon to “Flood” the United States

Former President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moros, Venezuela’s vice president for the economy, Venezuela’s Minister of Defense, and Venezuela’s Chief Supreme Court Justice are among those charged in New York City; Washington, DC; and Miami, along with current and former Venezuelan government officials as well as two Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) leaders, announced U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman of the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa D. Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“The Venezuelan regime, once led by Nicolás Maduro Moros, remains plagued by criminality and corruption,” said Attorney General Barr. “For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities. Today’s announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government – a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government. The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the U.S. banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes.”

“Today we announce criminal charges against Nicolás Maduro Moros for running, together with his top lieutenants, a narco-terrorism partnership with the FARC for the past 20 years,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “The scope and magnitude of the drug trafficking alleged was made possible only because Maduro and others corrupted the institutions of Venezuela and provided political and military protection for the rampant narco-terrorism crimes described in our charges. As alleged, Maduro and the other defendants expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine in order to undermine the health and wellbeing of our nation. Maduro very deliberately deployed cocaine as a weapon. While Maduro and other cartel members held lofty titles in Venezuela’s political and military leadership, the conduct described in the Indictment wasn’t statecraft or service to the Venezuelan people. As alleged, the defendants betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuelan institutions to line their pockets with drug money.”

“Over the last decade, corrupt Venezuelan government officials have systematically looted Venezuela of billions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan. “Far too often, these corrupt officials and their co-conspirators have used South Florida banks and real estate to conceal and perpetuate their illegal activity. As the recent charges show, Venezuelan corruption and money laundering in South Florida extends to even the highest levels of Venezuela’s judicial system. In the last couple of years, the US Attorney’s Office in South Florida and its federal law enforcement partners have united to bring dozens of criminal charges against high-level regime officials and co-conspirators resulting in seizures of approximately $450 million dollars.”

“These indictments expose the devastating systemic corruption at the highest levels of Nicolas Maduro’s regime,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “These officials repeatedly and knowingly betrayed the people of Venezuela, conspiring, for personal gain, with drug traffickers and designated foreign terrorist organizations like the FARC. Today’s actions send a clear message to corrupt officials everywhere that no one is above the law or beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to protect the American people from ruthless drug traffickers – no matter who they are or where they live.”

“The collaborative nature of this investigation is representative of the ongoing work HSI and international law enforcement agencies perform each day, often behind the scenes and unknown to the public, to make our communities safer and free from corruption,” said HSI’s Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa D. Erichs. “Today’s announcement highlights HSI’s global reach and commitment to aggressively identify, target and investigate individuals who violate U.S. laws, exploit financial systems, and hide behind cryptocurrency to further their illicit criminal activity. Let this indictment be a reminder that no one is above the law – not even powerful political officials.”

A four-count superseding indictment unsealed today in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) charges Nicolás Maduro Moros, 57; Diosdado Cabello Rondón, 56, head of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly; Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios aka “El Pollo,” 59, former director of military intelligence; Clíver Antonio Alcalá Cordones, 58, former General in the Venezuelan armed forces; Luciano Marín Arango aka “Ivan Marquez,” 64, a member of the FARC’s Secretariat, which is the FARC’s highest leadership body; and Seuxis Paucis Hernández Solarte aka “Jesús Santrich,” 53, a member of the FARC’s Central High Command, which is the FARC’s second-highest leadership body. The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

The U.S. Department of State, through its Narcotics Rewards Program, is offering rewards of up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Maduro Moros, up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Cabello Rondón, Carvajal Barrios, and Alcalá Cordones, and up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Marín Arango.

Maduro Moros, Cabello Rondón, Carvajal Barrios, Alcalá Cordones, Marín Arango, and Hernández Solarte have each been charged with: (1) participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, which carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life in prison; (2) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life in prison; (3) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine-importation conspiracies, which carries a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life in prison; and (4) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine-importation conspiracies, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The potential mandatory minimum and maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

According to the allegations contained in the superseding indictment, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings:

Since at least 1999, Maduro Moros, Cabello Rondón, Carvajal Barrios and Alcalá Cordones, acted as leaders and managers of the Cártel de Los Soles, or “Cartel of the Suns.” The Cartel’s name refers to the sun insignias affixed to the uniforms of high-ranking Venezuelan military officials. Maduro Moros and the other charged Cartel members abused the Venezuelan people and corrupted the legitimate institutions of Venezuela—including parts of the military, intelligence apparatus, legislature, and the judiciary—to facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine into the United States. The Cártel de Los Soles sought to not only enrich its members and enhance their power, but also to “flood” the United States with cocaine and inflict the drug’s harmful and addictive effects on users in the United States.

Marín Arango and Hernández Solarte are leaders of the FARC. Beginning in approximately 1999, while the FARC was purporting to negotiate toward peace with the Colombian government, FARC leaders agreed with leaders of the Cártel de Los Soles to relocate some of the FARC’s operations to Venezuela under the protection of the Cartel. Thereafter, the FARC and the Cártel de Los Soles dispatched processed cocaine from Venezuela to the United States via transshipment points in the Caribbean and Central America, such as Honduras. By approximately 2004, the U.S. Department of State estimated that 250 or more tons of cocaine were transiting Venezuela per year. The maritime shipments were shipped north from Venezuela’s coastline using go-fast vessels, fishing boats, and container ships. Air shipments were often dispatched from clandestine airstrips, typically made of dirt or grass, concentrated in the Apure State. According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 75 unauthorized flights suspected of drug-trafficking activities entered Honduran airspace in 2010 alone, using what is known as the “air bridge” cocaine route between Venezuela and Honduras.

In his role as a leader of the Cártel de Los Soles, Maduro Moros negotiated multi-ton shipments of FARC-produced cocaine; directed that the Cártel de Los Soles provide military-grade weapons to the FARC; coordinated foreign affairs with Honduras and other countries to facilitate large-scale drug trafficking; and solicited assistance from FARC leadership in training an unsanctioned militia group that functioned, in essence, as an armed forces unit for the Cártel de Los Soles.

DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, New York Strike Force, and Miami Field Division conducted the investigation. This case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda L. Houle, Matthew J. Laroche, Jason A. Richman, and Kyle A. Wirshba are in charge of the prosecution.

* * *

An indictment unsealed today in the District of Columbia charges Vladimir Padrino Lopez, 56, Minister of Defense of Venezuela. The indictment alleges that from March 2014 until May 2019, Padrino Lopez conspired with others to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft registered in the United States.

Padrino Lopez, who holds the rank of General in the Venezuelan armed forces, held the authority for interdicting aircraft, many of which are registered in the United States, suspected of being used to traffic drugs from Venezuela to countries in Central America. On numerous occasions, Padrino Lopez ordered or authorized the Venezuelan military to force suspected trafficking aircraft to land or to shoot down the aircraft. However, Padrino Lopez allowed for other aircraft whose drug trafficking coordinators paid bribes to him to safely transit Venezuelan airspace.

On Sept. 25, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included Padrino Lopez on its Specially Designated Nationals List. Pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, this means that his assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from having financial transactions with him.

The DEA Orlando District Office led the investigation, which was supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program and the Criminal Division’s Office of Enforcement Operations. Acting Deputy Chief Charles Miracle and Trial Attorneys Michael Christin and Kirt Marsh of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case.

* * *

Maikel Jose Moreno Perez, 54, current Chief Justice of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, was charged via a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering in connection with the alleged corrupt receipt or intended receipt of tens of millions of dollars and bribes to illegally fix dozens of civil and criminal cases in Venezuela.

The complaint alleges, for example, that the defendant authorized a seizure and sale of a General Motors auto plant with an estimated value of $100 million in exchange for a personal percentage of the proceeds. Similarly, the complaint alleges that the defendant received bribes to authorize the dismissal of charges or release against Venezuelans, including one charged in a multibillion-dollar fraud scheme against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.

According to the criminal complaint, in or around October 2014, Moreno Perez told U.S. authorities in a visa application that he earned the equivalent of about $12,000 per year from his work in Venezuela. From 2012 to 2016, the defendant’s U.S. bank records show approximately $3 million in inflows to the defendant’s accounts, primarily from large round-dollar transfers from shell corporations with foreign bank accounts linked to Co-Conspirator 1, who is a former criminal defense attorney in Venezuela that currently controls a media company in Venezuela.

As set out in the criminal complaint, the defendant’s bank records allegedly show that from 2012 to 2016, the defendant spent approximately $3 million, primarily in the geographical area of South Florida. For example, bank records allegedly show that Moreno Perez spent about $1 million for a private aircraft and private pilot, more than $600,000 in credit or debit card purchases at stores primarily in South Florida (including tens of thousands of dollars at luxury stores in Bal Harbor, such as Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo), about $50,000 in payments to a luxury watch repair store in Aventura, and approximately $40,000 in payments to a Venezuelan beauty pageant director.

HSI’s Miami Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger of the Southern District of Florida is in charge of the prosecution.

* * *

A separate superseding indictment unsealed today in the Southern District of New York charges Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, 45, Venezuela’s vice president for the economy, Joselit Ramirez Camacho, 33, Venezuela’s superintendent of cryptocurrency (Sunacrip), and Samark Lopez Bello, 45, a Venezuelan businessman, with a series of crimes relating to efforts to evade sanctions imposed by OFAC against Maduro Moros, El Aissami Maddah, and Lopez Bello.

The indictment alleges that from February 2017 until March 2019, El Aissami Maddah and Ramirez Camacho worked with U.S. persons and U.S.-based entities to provide private flight services for the benefit of Maduro’s 2018 presidential campaign, in violation of OFAC’s sanctions targeting Maduro after he organized elections for the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly that Cabello Rondon now leads.

The U.S. Department of State, through its Narcotics Rewards Program, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of El Aissami Maddah.

HSI’s New York Field Office conducted the investigation. This case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sam Adelsberg and Amanda L. Houle are in charge of the prosecution.

* * *

Other individuals charged in separate indictments include:

Luis Motta Dominguez, 67, Former Minister of Energy, was charged in the Southern District of Florida for his alleged role in laundering the proceeds of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with his alleged receipt of bribes to award Corpoelec business to U.S.-based companies;

Nestor Reverol Torres, 55, former General Director of Venezuela’s La Oficina Nacional Antidrogas (ONA) and former commander of Venezuela’s National Guard and Edylberto Jose Molina Molina, 57, former Sub-Director of Venezuela’s ONA and currently Venezuela’s military attaché to Germany, were charged in the Eastern District of New York with participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy where they allegedly assisted narcotics traffickers in importing cocaine into the United States;
Vassyly Kotosky Villarroel Ramirez aka “Mauro” and “Angel,” 47, a former captain in the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional, was charged in a third superseding indictment in the Eastern District of New York with participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 1, 2009;

Rafael Antonio Villasana Fernandez, 48, a former officer in the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional, was charged in the Eastern District of New York with participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 1, 2009. According to court documents, Kotosky and Villasana allegedly used official government vehicles to transport more than seven metric tons of cocaine from the Colombian border to various airports and seaports in Venezuela for ultimate importation into the United States;

Nervis Gerardo Villalobos Cardenas, 52, former Vice Minister of Energy of Venezuela, was charged in a 20-count indictment in the Southern District of Texas with conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for his alleged role in an international money laundering scheme involving bribes paid by the owners of U.S.-based companies to Venezuelan government officials to corruptly secure energy contracts and payment priority on outstanding invoices; and Oscar Rafael Colmenarez Villalobos, 51, former Venezuelan Air Force Officer, charged in the District of Arizona with violations of the Arms Export Control Act. He allegedly conspired with others, including individuals associated with an aviation company in Arizona, to smuggle from the United States to Venezuela T-76 military aircraft engines used on OV-10 Bronco aircraft to individuals in Venezuela and allegedly made false and misleading statements on shipping and export control documents to conceal the prohibited activities and transactions from detection of the U.S. government.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

03/26/20

IBM’s Watson Leading the Super Computer Charge on COVID-19

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Most missed the Trump White House announcement that on March 11th, the leaders of several tech companies met with the Trump team to discuss ways that supercomputers can process and speed up solutions for eradicating COVID-19 with treatment discoveries. On tap for the meeting: Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, and Microsoft. The White House Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kratsios also enlisted the help of NASA, IBM, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the US Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Laboratory, The National Science Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and several others.

The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium will bring significant computing power, 16 systems with over 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, and 34,000 GPUs to help researchers understand COVID-19 potential treatments and cures. “These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling,” Dario Gil, director of IBM Research said in the announcement. “These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms.”

“Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic we have been working closely with governments in the US and worldwide to find all available options to put our technology and expertise to work to help organizations be resilient and adapt to the consequences of the pandemic, and to accelerate the process of discovery and enable the scientific and medical community to develop treatments and ultimately a cure,” Gil said.

Powerful supercomputer and training program, IBM’s Summit, previously enabled researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee to screen nearly 8,000 compounds to uncover, which are most likely to bind to the main “spike” of the coronavirus, making it unable to reproduce and infect other cells.

The organizations were able to recommend 77 promising small-molecule drug compounds that could be experimentally tested.  IBM will continue to work with different partners to evaluate proposals and provide access to supercomputing capacity to tackle to global pandemic.

“I am proud to be working with my IBM colleagues and the extended scientific community to help kick-start this effort. What began just two days ago with one conversation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has solidified quickly into an unprecedented effort that can make a real difference,” Gil stressed.

***

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (one member of the consortium) is using its supercomputers to look for compounds already on the market that might foil the virus.

Oak Ridge’s approach involves what’s called computational structure-based drug discovery. Basically, that means they use a computer to calculate how drugs might work against germs like viruses.

Why Hoarding Of Hydroxychloroquine Needs To Stop

“We could get these calculations done in one day on the supercomputer, whereas a normal computer, it would take a month,” says Jeremy Smith, director of the Center for Molecular biophysics at Oak Ridge.

To run the calculations, you need to know the physical properties of the proteins a virus makes — what they’re made of and what their shape is.

One key viral protein of the coronavirus is called the spike protein. Information about what it looks like came out in mid-January, so Smith asked people in his lab if they wanted to start looking through databases of existing drugs that would block it.

***

Summit, IBM’s supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI,” ran thousands of simulations to analyze which drug compounds might effectively stop the virus from infecting host cells.

The supercomputer identified 77 of them. It’s a promising step toward creating the most effective treatment.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory published their findings in the journal ChemRxiv.

Summit was built to solve the world’s problems

Summit was commissioned by the US Department of Energy in 2014 for the purpose it’s serving now — solving the world’s problems.

It’s got the power of 200 petaflops, which means it has the computing speed of 200 quadrillion calculations per second, aka: It’s 1 million times more powerful than the fastest laptop.Summit, the world&#39;s most powerful supercomputer, modeled how different drug compounds might prevent the coronavirus from spreading to other cells.

Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, modeled how different drug compounds might prevent the coronavirus from spreading to other cells.

At its station in Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Summit has identified patterns in cellular systems that precede Alzheimer’s, analyzed genes that contribute to traits like opioid addiction and predicted extreme weather based on climate simulations.

How Summit fights coronavirus

Viruses infect host cells by injecting them with a “spike” of genetic material. Summit’s job is to find drug compounds that could bind to that spike and potentially stop the spread.

Here’s a list of articles explaining the coronavirus pandemic

Oak Ridge researcher Micholas Smith created a model of the coronavirus spike based on research published in January. With Summit, he simulated how the atoms and particles in the viral protein would react to different compounds.

The supercomputer ran simulations of over 8,000 compounds that could bind to the spike protein of the virus, which could limit its ability to spread to host cells. Summit identified 77 of them and ranked them based on how likely they were to bind to the spike.

What’s next

The team will run the simulations on Summit again, using a more accurate model of the coronavirus’ spike that was published this month.Why these volunteers chose to participate in a coronavirus vaccine trial

More here.

Hat tip to the Trump White House

03/25/20

$2T Stimulus COVID Recovery Must Exclude Chinese Corps

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

So, Congress appears to have a deal for an estimated $2 trillion to backstop the economy, jobs and small to large domestic companies.

Waldorf Astoria, most expensive hotel in the world: in ...

Enter Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz:

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced legislation today to prevent any funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress, including coronavirus relief funds, from being distributed to businesses owned by the Chinese government. The “No CHINA (Chinese Handouts In National Assistance) Act” would ensure that American taxpayer dollars used in any COVID-19 funding package do not support the communist regime in China, or businesses owned by the Chinese government.

China’s inaction, distortion of data, and outright lies have exacerbated the global coronavirus epidemic, and helped fuel its rapid global spread. Under the “No CHINA Act,” companies owned by the Chinese government will not receive any American taxpayer dollars from Congressional aid packages.

“Every single American worker displaced by COVID19 should be fully compensated, before one nickel from our treasury goes to Chinese-owned corporations operating here in the United States. Full stop.

“The global coronavirus pandemic has been exacerbated by the Chinese government’s malicious misinformation and propaganda campaign against the United States and its citizens. Allowing American taxpayers’ money to go to companies owned by the Communist Chinese government is antithetical to our ‘America First’ agenda.

“I’m proud to introduce the “No CHINA Act” today, which prevents appropriated money, including coronavirus relief funds, from being disbursed to businesses owned by the Chinese government. Chinese corporations operating in America must not be eligible for the upcoming trillion-dollar bailout, now or ever,” Congressman Gaetz said. Click here for text of his proposed legislation.

This is an excellent matter to consider, while others in Congress are proposing legislation beyond condemnation and investigation into China’s virus activities that include reparations for the financial damage to the United States and even demanding that China forgive the U.S. debt held by China estimated at $1.8 trillion.

But, let’s look deeper into what the Communist Chinese Party/Beijing actually owns in the United States for context and what is owned by Chinese oligarchs. By the way, there is precedence for seizing real property. We did so with the real estate owned in the United States by Iran.

AMC Theaters to launch On Demand movie service – HD Report

AMC Theaters.

Smithfield Foods

Legendary Entertainment Group

Haier/ GE

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Strategic Hotels and Resorts (Ritz Carton/Four Seasons)

Riot Games

Ingram Micro (distributes everything from Apple’s iPhone to Cisco’s network equipment)

Motorola Lenovo

As of 2017, Chinese conglomerates in New York City receiving 46% of total Chinese investment, the San Francisco Bay Area getting 15%, Los Angeles 7%, Chicago 5% and Seattle 2% in real estate. New York City, the main recipient of Chinese investment into commercial real estate, was home to many of the largest deals of the year. Of the ten largest transactions in 2016, half were in Manhattan and 63% of those deals were in office buildings. More here.

*** Beyond the Hunter Biden and father/ presidential candidate Joe Biden deals with China, still being investigated…..

The American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker follows large Chinese investments, excluding bonds, around the world.

The leading recipient of these kinds of investments is the United States, which received over $180 billion from January 2005 through December 2019. Chinese investment in 2019, though, barely exceeded $3 billion. The US has passed legislation limiting Chinese access to not only technology but also personal data, so the 2017 spending level of $25 billion will be difficult to regain.

The deals described in the tracker are worth $100 million or more. More importantly, they are voluntary transactions that let Americans make their own choices. Chinese purchases benefit Americans who hold desirable assets—city property and large corporations but also individual family homes (not in the tracker). Chinese investment helps support a small number of American jobs.

Against that, China is not a friend. The US certainly should not ban Chinese investment, but, as Congress has directed, Chinese firms and individuals should not be permitted to buy advanced technology that could have military uses. Chinese firms that receive stolen intellectual property should be punished. Most Chinese firms have little familiarity with a competitive market under our rule of law, so their ability to obey the law is in doubt. In particular, Chinese firms cannot be trusted with Americans’ personal data. Within these guidelines, Chinese investment in the US can be positive for both countries.

03/24/20

Democrats Counter-Proposal for Covid Stimulus Spending

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The disgusting political pork, poison politics of the left are on full display. If for nothing else, we have learned another level of the nasty appropriations injected into crisis spending. This should never be overlooked or forgotten as we go to vote.

If you can stand to read the Democrats 1119 page fleecing of the taxpayer, click here.

If not, here is the Cliff note list which is hardly all of the items, but you get the idea:

  • $33,200,000 for NOAA to get new facilities for operations and research.
  • $100,000,000 for NASA and $100,000,000 for construction and compliance.
  • $278,000,000 to the IRS for taxpayer services.
  • $90,000,000 for yet another HIV program.
  • $36,000,000 for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
  • $7,000,000 for one, ONE Washington DC Charter School called Gallaudet University.
  • $23,000,000 handout to Howard University AND $647,000,000 endowment to Howard University.
  • $300,000,000 to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • $500,000,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • $1,000,000 for the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Doorkeeper of the Senate.
  • $300,000,000 for Migration and Refugee Assistance.
  • $22,000,000 for the Expansion of Use of Minority Banks and Minority Credit Unions.
  • $300,000,000 to Expand Emergency Food Assistance Programs.
  • $40,000,000 for a new division, the Oversight and Accountability Transparency Committee dedicated to coronavirus.
  • $35,000,000 for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
  • $300,000,000 to the National Endowment of the Arts.
  • $300,000,000 for the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Add in the following as noted by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas):

  • Removing all current debt of the US Postal Service.
  • Monies for more REQUIRED early voting, same-day voter registration AND registering to vote abilities via Internet registration.
  • Removing off the top $10,000 for every person holding a student loan.
  • Any U.S. corporation accepting Federal government assistance must have 1/3 of their board members chosen by their own employees.
  • Additional provisions for official time for union collective bargaining.
  • The full offset of airline emissions by 2025.
  • Each airline flight must report greenhouse gas statistics (carbon output) of individual flights.
  • Retirement benefits for community newspaper employees.
  • Any and all corporations accepting federal government assistance must pay all employees a minimum wage of $15/hr.
  • Permanent paid leave for all corporations receiving federal assistance.
  • Expansion of wind and solar tax credits.
  • Election Assistance Commission.

Now understand how the items referring to domestic corporations is actually a quid pro quo or rather extortion or rather nationalizing corporations in America.

Now this list, while being somewhat abbreviated, is not something just recently concocted by Democrats for this pending spending bill… consider these are items that have been sitting on the wish list for quite some time and these items are just like those that get injected into spending legislation all the time at the last minute when members of Congress get 30 minutes or less to read bills before they vote.

Pelosi’s $2.5 Trillion Virus Bill Delays Mortgage, Car Payments

For those in the many domestic industries affected by being shuttered due to governor decrees, remember the hold up in financial stability, jobs and loans sit squarely in the lap of the Democrats led completely by the master legislator… Speaker Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the presidency. Scary… no terrifying.

03/23/20

Hey CNN/MSNBC for 15 Years, it has Been China’s SARS-CoV

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

So, President Trump is right… how about media being real journalists for a change? Tell Hillary, CNN and the rest that Trump is hardly “racist” and “xenophobic.”

Let’s travel over to Basel, Switzerland shall we?

Primer: MDPI is the Molecular Diversity Preservation International/Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute founded in 1996 located in Basel. The organization is an open access repository of medical journals where each paper has citations from medical academics and experts. Health issues include various human health conditions such as obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and many, many others.

Image result for sar cov china

So, media, when it comes to China and SAR-CoV, review their summary. (BTW, it is full of citations)

1. Introduction

Fifteen years after the first highly pathogenic human coronavirus caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) outbreak, another severe acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) devastated livestock production by causing fatal diseases in pigs. Both outbreaks began in China and were caused by coronaviruses of bat origin [1,2]. This increased the urgency to study bat coronaviruses in China to understand their potential of causing another virus outbreak.

In this review, we collected information from past epidemiology studies on bat coronaviruses in China, including the virus species identified, their host species, and their geographical distributions. We also discuss the future prospects of bat coronaviruses cross-species transmission and spread in China.

2. Why Study Bat Coronaviruses in China?

2.1. Coronavirus Taxonomy

Coronaviruses (CoVs) belong to the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae and the order Nidovirales. CoVs have an enveloped, crown-like viral particle from which they were named after. The CoV genome is a positive-sense, single-strand RNA (+ssRNA), 27–32 kb in size, which is the second largest of all RNA virus genomes. Typically, two thirds of the genomic RNA encodes for two large overlapping polyproteins, ORF1a and ORF1b, that are processed into the viral polymerase (RdRp) and other nonstructural proteins involved in RNA synthesis or host response modulation. The other third of the genome encodes for four structural proteins (spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N)) and other accessory proteins. While the ORF1a/ORF1b and the four structural proteins are relatively consistent, the length of the CoV genome is largely dependent on the number and size of accessory proteins [3].

Compared with other RNA viruses, the expanded genome size of CoVs is believed to be associated with increased replication fidelity, after acquiring genes encoding RNA-processing enzymes [4]. Genome expansion further facilitates the acquisition of genes encoding accessory proteins that are beneficial for CoVs to adapt to a specific host [5]. As a result, genome changes caused by recombination, gene interchange, and gene insertion or deletion are common among CoVs. The CoV subfamily is expanding rapidly, due to the application of next generation sequencing which has increased the detection and identification of new CoV species. As a result, CoV taxonomy is constantly changing. According to the latest International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) classification, there are four genera (α-, β-, δ-, and γ-) consisting of thirty-eight unique species in the subfamily [6]. The number of species will continue to increase, as there are still many unclassified CoVs [7,8].

CoVs cause disease in a variety of domestic and wild animals as well as in humans, where α- and β-CoVs mainly infect mammals and γ- and δ-CoVs mainly infect birds (Table 1). Two highly pathogenic β-CoVs, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV have caused pandemics in humans since 2002 [1,9]. Originating in China and then spreading to other parts of the world, SARS-CoV infected around 8000 individuals with an overall mortality of 10% during the 2002–2003 pandemic [1]. Since its emergence in 2012 in the Middle East, MERS-CoV spread to 27 countries, resulting in 2249 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with an average mortality of 35.5% (until September 2018) [9]. Besides these two viruses, α-CoVs 229E and NL63 and β-CoVs OC43 and HKU1 can also cause respiratory diseases in humans [10]. Moreover, CoVs cause pandemic disease in domestic and wild animals (Table 1). SADS-CoV was recently identified as the etiological agent responsible for a large-scale outbreak of fatal disease in pigs in China that caused the death of more than 20,000 piglets [2]. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) that belong to α-CoV and porcine δ-CoV (PDCoV) are also important emerging and re-emerging viruses in pigs that pose significant economic threat to the swine industry [11]. In addition, avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV, γ-CoV) causes a highly contagious disease that affects poultry production worldwide [12]. Coronaviruses have also been associated with catarrhal gastroenteritis in mink (MCoV) and whale deaths (BWCoV-SW1) [13,14].

Read on here if you need to.

Wonder if candidate Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders will reveal this as truth in their ad attacks?