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Strange Disappearance of WikiLeaks Consultant in Norway

Norway: WikiLeaks tweeted about the “strange disappearance” of Arjen Kamphuis, a Dutch cybersecurity expert, saying he has been missing since August 20 when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo. He had a plane ticket bound for another city 435 miles away on August 22nd, but never used it. -GEG

WikiLeaks has raised concern after Arjen Kamphuis, an associate of founder Julian Assange, went missing in Norway. The cybersecurity expert was last seen in northern Norway on August 20.

The internet transparency entity WikiLeaks tweeted on Sunday about Arjen Kamphuis’ “strange disappearance,” saying he has been missing since August 20, when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo.

WikiLeaks said that Kamphuis, an associate of founder Julian Assange, had a ticket for a flight departing on August 22 from Trondheim, which is over 700 kilometers (435 miles) south of Bodo.

“The train between the two takes (approximately) 10 hours,” suggesting he disappeared either in Bodo, Trondheim or on the train, WikiLeaks said.

A website set up to gather information on the missing person says: “He is 47 years old, 1.78 meters tall and has a normal posture. He was usually dressed in black and carrying his black backpack. He is an avid hiker.”

There have reportedly been two unconfirmed possible sightings, one in Alesund, Norway, and the other in Ribe, Denmark.

Norwegian police on the case

Norwegian police started looking into the disappearance on Sunday.

Read full article here…




President Trump Removes $300-Million in Funding of UN Agency that Supports Palestinian Refugees

President Trump ended $300-million in annual support to the UN Relief and Works Agency that provides aid to Palestinians in Israel and Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. According to an article in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Israel helped create and promote that UN agency because it relieved the Israel of the financial burden of the refugees. Trump’s decision may restore that obligation to Israel. Palestinians are concerned the support will not be forthcoming and that this is a death sentence for them.  -GEG

Haaretz (Unwalled):

With Israel’s halfhearted blessing, the Trump administration has decided this week to end funding for the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a move that could prove catastrophic for millions of Palestinian refugees.

The decision, which ends a decades-long U.S. support of the agency, has been widely denounced as a joint effort by the United States and Israel to exert pressure on the Palestinian leadership to accept Trump’s “deal of the century.” Palestinians refer to it as a “death sentence” and downright blackmailing, “a flagrant assault” against the Palestinian people, and a collective punishment imposed on Palestinian refugees for political calculations.

By weakening UNRWA, both the Trump administration and the Israeli leadership seem to be under the perilous illusion that they could take the refugee question off the table. This is clearly a dangerous move, with far-reaching consequences for peace and stability in the region, especially in the vulnerable and poverty-stricken Gaza Strip, with its 1.3 million refugees.

The irony is that for many decades, Israel helped create, sustain and promote the UN agency.

By supporting the founding of UNRWA, the early Israeli establishment hoped that the agency would help integrate the refugees in their host countries, ultimately weakening their demands for return to their homes inside Israel. It also believed that creating a special UN agency devoted to Palestinian refugees was a necessary step to relieve Israel of the moral and financial burden of the refugee crisis, which Israel had created.

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The US Department of Education Reported 235 School Shootings in 2015-2016, But the Real Number Was 29


The US Department of Education says that schools reported an alarming 235 shootings during the 2015-2016 school year. National Public Radio attempted to make contact with every school to confirm the statistics and discovered that more than two-thirds of the incidents never happened. The DOE shrugged off the disclosure by saying that it merely relied on data provided to it by the schools, but the schools did not provide such data. [Does the word propaganda come to mind?] -GEG

This is one for the annals of fake news. A federal agency is blundering around with erroneous but inflammatory data on a major topic of national contention, it gets called out by a government-supported news outlet … and it does nothing about it. Our Corruption Chronicles blog peeks into the window of this fun house.

In an amusing story, a government-funded media outlet notorious for its liberal slant found that the overwhelming majority of school shootings listed in a federal report never occurred.

The embarrassing blunder involves Department of Education (DOE) figures stating that schools around the U.S. reported an alarming 235 shootings in one year.

National Public Radio (NPR) launched an investigation and actually contacted every one of the schools included in the DOE data, which was gathered by its Office for Civil Rights. The figures focus on the 2015-2016 school year and reveal that “nearly 240 schools…reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.”

Three months later, after every school was contacted by NPR, the stats changed drastically. More than two-thirds of the reported gun incidents never happened, according to the news outlet.

“We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports,” the article states. “In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.”

A program director at the nonprofit research organization that assisted NPR in analyzing the bogus government data is quoted in the piece saying: “When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful.”

Even though the DOE is the agency responsible for disseminating the erroneous information, in typical government fashion, it shrugged it off as no big deal. When asked for comment by reporters, the agency said it relies on school districts to provide accurate information. Evidently, the federal agency doesn’t bother checking data before publishing it as fact. In the meantime, the DOE has no plans to correct the errors. The article points out that the confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Dozens of school safety measures have been enacted nationwide on the heels of high-profile school shootings in Texas and Florida and public districts are allocating large sums to boost campus security.

Read full article here…