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TDB Top 5 International Stories: Friday 12th May 2017

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5: The Dakota Access Pipeline Is Already Leaking
4: Trump contradicts earlier claims on Comey sacking
3: Historian of Fascism: Why Trump Firing FBI Director Comey Amid Russia Probe is So Worrisome
1: Trump admits asking Comey if he was under investigation for ties to Russia

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5: The Dakota Access Pipeline Is Already Leaking

And the Standing Rock Sioux are worried.

Oil isn’t even flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline yet, but already there’s been a leak. The 1,100-mile pipeline, the subject of controversy and mass protests, will be fully operational June 1, according to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company that built it. But in April, a mechanical failure caused an 84-gallon oil spill northeast of Tulare, a tiny town in South Dakota.

The spill was entirely contained and is considered small. But for environmental groups and members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who have been fighting the pipeline since before construction began—and are still in court trying to shut it down—this spill is a harbinger of more to come and an ongoing threat to their drinking water supply.

“This is what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II. “The Dakota Access pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day, and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline.”

Vice News

4: Trump contradicts earlier claims on Comey sacking

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he always intended to fire FBI Director James Comey, contradicting earlier White House statements that he acted on the recommendation of top justice officials.

“I was going to fire him regardless of recommendations,” Trump told NBC in an interview, after days in which the White House has struggled to convince Congress members and the US public that the move was not politically motivated.

“I was going to fire Comey. My decision,” he added.

Trump called Comey a “showboat” and a “grandstander”, while also admitting that he had asked the FBI chief to tell him if he was under investigation.

The Republican president’s remarks drew instant criticism from Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Frankly, I’m offended at the president’s comments,” Warner told reporters. “This is a continuing pattern of disrespecting the men and women who serve in our intelligence community.”


3: Historian of Fascism: Why Trump Firing FBI Director Comey Amid Russia Probe is So Worrisome

As more details come to light about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, which reportedly came just days after he asked the Justice Department for more resources to expand the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, we speak with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University. Her recent piece for CNN is headlined “Trump at his most dangerous,” and she is currently working on a book entitled “Strongmen: From Mussolini to Trump.”
Democracy Now


IN EARLY DECEMBER 2016, Adam was doing what he’s always doing, somewhere between hobby and profession: looking for things that are on the internet that shouldn’t be. That week, he came across a server inside New York University’s famed Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, headed by the brilliant Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory. The server appeared to be an internet-connected backup drive. But instead of being filled with family photos and spreadsheets, this drive held confidential information on an advanced code-breaking machine that had never before been described in public. Dozens of documents spanning hundreds of pages detailed the project, a joint supercomputing initiative administered by NYU, the Department of Defense, and IBM. And they were available for the entire world to download.

The supercomputer described in the trove, “WindsorGreen,” was a system designed to excel at the sort of complex mathematics that underlies encryption, the technology that keeps data private, and almost certainly intended for use by the Defense Department’s signals intelligence wing, the National Security Agency. WindsorGreen was the successor to another password-cracking machine used by the NSA, “WindsorBlue,” which was also  documented in the material leaked from NYU and which had been previously described in the Norwegian press thanks to a document provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Both systems were intended for use by the Pentagon and a select few other Western governments, including Canada and Norway.

Adam, an American digital security researcher, requested that his real name not be published out of fear of losing his day job. Although he deals constantly with digital carelessness, Adam was nonetheless stunned by what NYU had made available to the world. “The fact that this software, these spec sheets, and all the manuals to go with it were sitting out in the open for anyone to copy is just simply mind blowing,” he said.

The Intercept 

1: Trump admits asking Comey if he was under investigation for ties to Russia

Donald Trump called the director of the FBI to ask for an update on a possible criminal investigation into his ties with Russia, the president revealed on Thursday.

In an interview with NBC News, Trump also flatly contradicted his own vice-president and spokesman by saying he decided to fire the director, James Comey, before receiving a recommendation from the deputy attorney general.

Trump recalled three conversations with Comey about the FBIinvestigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. First, he said, there was a dinner which was also about Comey’s future, raising the prospect that Trump could threaten his job.

“He wanted to stay on at the FBI,” Trump said, “and I said I’ll, you know, consider and see what happens … But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, ‘You are not under investigation.’’’

The Guardian 



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