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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on Trial for Judicial Ethics After Denying Same Sex Marriage

For the second time in 13 years, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, the contentious Deep South jurist who urged probate judges across the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, stood trial Wednesday on charges of violating the canons of judicial ethics.

If found guilty, he could be ousted from the bench for a second time.

Shortly after sunrise, scores of evangelical Christians bowed their heads in prayer and pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building before a special ethics panel assembled for the one-day trial.

Many stood and applauded as Moore strode into the courtroom he had presided over for years, beaming confidently and wearing a dark business suit rather than his traditional judicial robe.

On the witness stand, Moore, a fervent 69-year-old Baptist who was dubbed the “Ayatollah of Alabama” by one civil rights group, called the scrutiny of his ethical conduct “ridiculous.”

“I would not defy a federal court order,” Moore testified before a panel of seven men and two women. “I ruled in accordance with the law.”

It is not the first time Moore has faced sanction. In 2003, he was ousted from office after repeatedly refusing to obey a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

“We are here 13 years later because the chief justice learned nothing from that first removal,” prosecutor John Carroll argued on behalf of the Judicial Inquiry Commission. “He continues to defy the law … without repentance and without remorse.”

This time, Moore faces six charges stemming from a controversial order he sent Alabama probate judges in January, instructing them that they had a “ministerial duty” not to issue any marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing such unions.

Moore’s position this time is a little different than it was in 2003, when he openly admitted he was flouting a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument.

In the case of same-sex marriage, Moore maintains he did not instruct judges to defy the federal courts. Rather, he merely issued a “status report” to clear up confusion among probate judges, instructing them that the effect of the federal ruling on existing cases was still awaiting a decision by the Alabama Supreme Court.

“You don’t have a defiant chief justice before you, I respectfully submit,” said Mat Staver, Moore’s lead counsel, who is a founder of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel and also represented Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore’s stance marks something of a last-ditch stand in the ongoing battle between the state and federal judiciary over same-sex marriage. In January 2015, a federal judge ruled that same-sex couples had a right to wed in Alabama. But two months later, the state Supreme Court declared that Alabama’s marriage laws, which ban such unions, were constitutional and ordered probate judges to enforce them. In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in its landmark Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Moore has argued, does not extend to Alabama but applies only to Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. His stance contradicts the rulings of federal district and appellate courts with jurisdiction over Alabama.

After Obergefell, U.S. District Judge Callie V. Granade ruled that it was binding on the state. In October, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Alabama, said Obergefell “held that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional” and “abrogated” existing orders.

Prosecutors contend that Moore — who once referred to homosexuality as “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God” — was on a mission to defy the Supreme Court decision.

Last year, Moore wrote a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley, urging the state to join him in standing up to the “judicial tyranny” of federal courts ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

In a public viewing room two floors below the courtroom, Moore’s supporters began to jeer and heckle as prosecutor R. Ashby Pate delivered closing arguments, laying out his case for how Moore violated multiple canons of judicial ethics and used “every tool at his disposal to defy the federal courts.”

“This is not the act of an impartial judge,” Pate said. “It’s the act by a judge with an agenda who wants to see a very specific outcome, and who thinks and acts like he does not have to follow the law.”

Moore’s order was incomplete and misleading, Pate added, in that it neglected to mention that the U.S. Supreme Court held that all states were bound by its decisions. That question, he said, was settled in 1958 when Arkansas defied the federal Brown vs. Board of Education ruling to desegregate schools.

“That was 60 years ago and the chief justice is somehow suggesting this is somehow an unsettled question,” Pate said.

“The game of constitutional chicken is over,” he added.

Moore, a West Point graduate who fought in Vietnam and once worked as a cattle rancher in the Australian outback, has long been a folk hero to evangelical conservatives. When campaigning for reelection as Alabama’s chief justice in 2012, he was open about his views on same-sex marriage, telling a tea party rally that gay marriage would be “the ultimate destruction of our country because it destroys the very foundation upon which this nation is based.”

Many speculate that Moore, who cannot run for chief justice again because of age restrictions, may use this latest controversy to begin a new campaign for governor or attorney general.

“Nothing plays better in Alabama than giving a finger or thumbing a nose to the feds,” cartoonist J.D. Crowe wrote on www.Al.com.

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Military-Style Raid Ends Native Prayer Against Dakota Pipeline

  • North Dakota authorities using heavy handed tactics on Water Protectors.
    North Dakota authorities using heavy handed tactics on Water Protectors. | Photo: Facebook / Sacred Stone Camp, Rob Wilson Photography
Up to 21 people were arrested during a peaceful prayer service.

North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.

“ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer,” wrote the Sacred Stone Camp, in a Facebook post.

Officers with military-style armored vehicles and shotguns threatened the protesters, who call themselves “water protectors” for defending the Missouri River from imminent pollution, reported Unicorn Riot. Up to 21 were arrested, the channel reported.

Witnesses filmed the crackdown but said their access their Facebook was blocked. One participant, Thomas H. Joseph II, posted a chilling video narrating the mobilization and his getaway. Helicopters are heard as he says that tear gas is being dropped, and an officer loads his gun as protesters, some on horseback, chant, “We have no guns.”

In the video, Joseph said that “one guy’s about ready to blast us” but later added that no fires were shot.

“We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave,” he later wrote in a Facebook post. “No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.”

Police and private security personnel have been more aggressively cracking down on actions against the pipeline since the governor declared a state of emergency. The state is currently investigating an incident in which contracted private security film Frost Kennels unleashed dogs during a nonviolent direct action, ending with six bitten, including a pregnant woman and a child, according to organizers at the action.

 Alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot previously accused Facebook of censoring its livestream of police repression, saying they received a popup security alert when they tried to post the video.

“We will not let them stop our mission to amplify the voices of people who might otherwise go unheard, and broadcast the stories that might otherwise go untold,“ they told RT.

The pipeline, expected to transport over half a million barrels of oil a day through four states, has united over 300 tribes in resistance. Several lawsuits are pending against the company, which has retaliated with restraining orders. The White House halted construction on federal land, which makes up three percent of the pipeline’s path, but has not issued any other statement against the pipeline—motivating Facebook users to demand a response after Wednesday’s crackdown.

President Barack Obama met with tribal representatives on Monday but only made an indirect reference to the historic native gathering: “I know that many of you have come together across tribes and across the country to support the community at Standing Rock,“ he said. “And together, you’re making your voices heard.“

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Judge Scolds Obama, Congress for Allowing Children to Face Deportation Without Lawyers

In an unusual call to action directed at members of Congress and the White House, a federal appeals judge in California on Tuesday urged the other two branches to address the “crisis” of thousands of children and teenagers facing deportation proceedings without a lawyer.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a case brought on behalf of minors ages 3 to 17 facing deportation, who claim a right to a government-funded lawyer. Judge M. Margaret McKeown, writing for the three-judge panel, said that the plaintiffs failed to follow the proper procedures for bringing the case.

But McKeown wrote a separate, concurring opinion saying that although a court would likely someday decide the right-to-counsel issue, the legislative and executive branches could do more in the meantime to make sure that minors in immigration cases have access to a lawyer. “The problem demands action now,” she wrote.

“While I do not take a position on the merits of the children’s constitutional and statutory claims, I write to underscore that the executive and Congress have the power to address this crisis without judicial intervention,” McKeown wrote. “What is missing here? Money and resolve—political solutions that fall outside the purview of the courts.”

Programs that currently provide money and resources for lawyers to represent minors in removal proceedings are “laudable,” McKeown wrote, but “a drop in the bucket in relation to the magnitude of the problem,” leaving tens of thousands of children to go through immigration proceedings unrepresented.

Ahilan Arulanantham, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, argued for the plaintiffs. He said in a statement that “the Ninth Circuit today held that the courthouse doors are effectively closed to thousands of children whose only opportunity to seek appointed counsel in their immigration proceedings is through this case.”

Given McKeown’s recognition of the “moral imperative at stake,” Arulanantham said, the White House should “exercise its power to cease its unjust practice of requiring children to represent themselves in immigration court.”

Charles Roth of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, who filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs, said in an interview that he was disappointed with the decision and frustrated with McKeown’s concurrence.

“We found it very unfortunate that the court would both acknowledge the problems of sending these children in to face removal proceedings … and yet insist on this procedure that will effectively deprive these children of the ability to make these important legal arguments,” Roth said.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, which disputed that children facing deportation have a right to counsel and argued that the Ninth Circuit lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, was not immediately available for comment.

In order to raise the right-to-counsel issue, minors facing deportation had to bring it up before the immigration judge and go through an administrative review process before taking their case to a federal appeals court, McKeown wrote. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides the “exclusive” means for reviewing decisions about the appointment of attorneys in immigration cases, the judge said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that it would be too difficult for children to understand what they needed to do to raise a right-to-counsel argument. McKeown responded to those concerns by citing a case in which a 14-year-old boy did raise the issue through the proper channels; his case eventually settled. The judge wrote that a parent, court observer or even the government could alert the court that a minor was invoking a right to counsel.

“We recognize that a class remedy arguably might be more efficient than requiring each applicant to file a [petition for review],” McKeown wrote, “but that is not a ground for ignoring the jurisdictional statute.”

Judges Milan Smith Jr. and Andrew Kleinfeld joined the main opinion, and Smith joined McKeown’s concurring opinion. Kleinfeld wrote his own one-paragraph concurring opinion, saying that he agreed that access to counsel was a problem, but that because the solution was a “highly controversial political matter, I think our own advocacy of some particular reform measure is unnecessary, and the matter is better left to the political process.”

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Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.

“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

ACLU affiliates around the country have done a lot of cases defending the right to record in public places, but this case (press release,complaint) is particularly striking. IACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, made a statement about how the incident came about:

Our client is a guy who is very concerned with privacy, and who protests DUI checkpoints around the capital region here in Hartford, Connecticut. He feels they’re both unconstitutional and a waste of money. He has done public records investigations, for example, and recently found that for every two man hours put into a check point, it yields just one minor traffic citation—almost always for defective equipment. He was well known to the police, who also knew that he is a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist.

So Michael was out on Sept. 11, 2015 in West Hartford. He shows up, has a big sign that says “cops ahead, remain silent.” It’s handwritten—this is not threatening stuff. He stood on a small triangular traffic island. He was standing there for an hour, hour and a half without any problems. Then, the state police officers who were working the checkpoint come over to Michael, and the first thing they do is slap the camera out of his hand so it hits the ground. He thinks it’s broken.

It was really brazen. There’s another video showing that the first thing the state trooper does is walk up and with his open hand slap the camera down to the ground. He doesn’t even say anything like “put that down,” or “please lower your camera.” He just slaps it to the ground. Then he interacts with Michael as if nothing happened, as if, “I’m just allowed to do that, and I don’t even have to tell you why I just broke your camera.” It’s an amazing level of hostility.

The troopers search Michael, and theatrically announce that he has a gun—which they knew he had, and which he was carrying legally under Connecticut’s open carry law. So they take his gun, and they go run his pistol permit. As they’re doing that, Michael picks the camera up off the pavement—it’s a nice SLR that can also record video. He picks it up and tries to turn it on as one of the cops walks back over, and that’s where the video starts. The cop announces that “taking my picture is illegal.” Michael debates with him a little because he’s very knowledgeable about the law and the First Amendment, and the end result is that the trooper snatches the camera, walks away, and puts it on top of the cruiser, without realizing that it is working and is recording video.

This is the point at which the troopers’ accidental self-surveillance begins. Barrett continues:

So we get the three troopers at the cruiser talking about what to do. Michael’s permit comes back as valid, they say “oh crap,” and one of the troopers says “we gotta punch a number on this guy,” which means open an investigation in the police database. And he says “we really gotta cover our asses.” And then they have a very long discussion about what to charge Michael with—none of which appear to have any basis in fact. This plays out over eight minutes. They talk about “we could do this, we could do this, we could do this….”

In Connecticut, police officers have clear requirements under the law to intervene and stop or prevent constitutional violations when they see them. But at no time did any of the three officers pipe up and say, “why don’t we just give him his camera back and let him go.”

In the end they decide on two criminal infractions: “reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian,” and “creating a public disturbance.” They have a chilling discussion on how to support the public disturbance charge, and the top-level supervisor explains to the other two, “what we say is that multiple motorists stopped to complain about a guy waving a gun around, but none of them wanted to stop and make a statement.” In other words, what sounds like a fairy tale.

The tickets they gave him started a criminal prosecution in the Connecticut superior court. Eventually the state dismissed first one then the other count, though it took a whole year for him to disentangle himself from the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, Michael filed a complaint with the state police. They claimed they couldn’t do their internal investigation without interviewing Michael. They kept calling Michael directly—and they did that even though there were criminal charges pending and Michael had a criminal defense lawyer. His lawyer kept calling them and saying “don’t you ever call my client again, you have to talk to me.” But they continued to try and get Michael to come in and be interviewed without his lawyer, claiming that they couldn’t do the investigation unless Michael gave a statement. It was unbelievable—this is an interaction that was recorded from start to finish on high-quality digital video. A year later there has been zero movement on the internal affairs investigation as far as anyone knows, which just shows that police and prosecutors in Connecticut should not be in charge of policing themselves.

As a result of the police’s clear inability to police themselves, the only avenue left for Picard and the ACLU of Connecticut is a lawsuit. That lawsuit is based on three claims, as Barrett laid out for me:

The first claim is the violation of Michael’s right to record—the efforts to prevent Michael from recording what was happening. That includes the fact that they swatted his camera and attempted to break it, and took it away, and they also tried to block him from taking photos of the license plates on the police cruiser using his cell phone after his camera was taken.

The second count is a Fourth Amendment claim: the seizure of Michael’s camera without probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime, or a warrant for its seizure. The police cannot grab people’s property and confiscate it on a whim.

The third is a First Amendment retaliation claim. Whether it was because he was carrying a sign criticizing the police, because he was recording the police, because they just didn’t like him, or all of the above, it really appears from the evidence that they completely manufactured criminal charges against Michael.

If Michael had been just jotting down license plate numbers with a pen and pad and the troopers had taken it, or slapped the pen out of his hand saying “you’re not allowed to write down our license plate numbers,” everyone would recognize how ridiculous the situation was. And if the defendants had been any other kind of state or local employee—if they had been a road crew, and Michael had wanted to film them paving, and they had forced him to stop recording, their actions wouldn’t get any serious consideration by a court. Nothing about the defendants here being police makes their actions any more defensible. All Michael was doing was recording state employees doing their jobs on a public street.

The really interesting thing about this case is not just that the state troopers were so openly hostile to being recorded, or to anyone seeing what they were up to, but also that they appear to have had a very frank discussion inside the cruiser about how to punish somebody who was protesting them.

It’s surprising that we are still regularly hearing about incidents in which police are not respecting the constitutional right to record in public. But to hear police officers casually discussing the fabrication of criminal charges to retaliate against a protester is even more shocking. As Barrett put it to me, “It’s one of those things that on your darker days you may think happens all the time, but you never really thought there’d be a video recording of.”

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Another Day, Another Hashtag. White People, You Gotta Get to Work NOW – Awesomely Luvvie

Please read the remainder fo this wonderful article at this link: http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2016/09/white-people-anti-racism.html

 

 

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27 Senators Rebel Against Arming Saudi Arabia, Obama and GOP Keep Pushing Sales

A SENATE RESOLUTION opposing a $1.15 billion arms transfer to Saudi Arabia garnered support from 27 senators on Wednesday, a sign of growing unease about the increasing number of civilians being killed with U.S. weapons in Yemen. A procedural vote to table the resolution passed 71-27.

The Obama administration announced the transfer last month, the same day the Saudi Arabian coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the besieged Yemeni capital. In the following week, the Saudi-led forces would go on to bomb a children’s school, the home of the school’s principal, a Doctors Without Borders hospital, and the bridge used to carry humanitarian aid into the capital.

Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, four months after Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen overran the capitol, Sanaa, and deposed the Saudi-backed ruler, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

In addition to providing Saudi Arabia with intelligence and flying refueling missions for its air force, the United States has enabled the bombing campaign by supplying $20 billion in weapons over the past 18 months. In total, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion in weapons to the Saudi kingdom – more than any other president.

After the White House failed to respond to a letter from 60 members of Congress requesting that the transfer be delayed, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a resolution condemning the arms sale. Paul and Murphy said they had planned to pursue binding legislation if their resolution was successful.

“It’s time for the United States to press ‘pause’ on our arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” Murphy said. “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaking in support of the resolution, said the “very fact that we are voting on it today sends a very important message to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that we are watching your actions closely, and that the United States is not going to turn a blind eye to the indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children.”

The Republican leadership strongly opposed the bill, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Whip John Cornyn, Armed Services Chairman John McCain and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker speaking against. Republicans claimed that the Houthi insurgency is an Iranian proxy, blamed President Obama’s foreign policy for emboldening Iran, and argued that the war is justified.

“Let’s be clear about what the arms sale is all about. It’s about giving a nation that’s under attack by Iranian-sponsored militia the arms it needs to defend its people and its territory,” McCain said. “Make no mistake, this aggression is fueled by the Iranians.”

The Saudi government frequently describes the Houthis as an Iranian proxy in order to justify their bombing campaign. Numerous U.S. diplomats and experts on Yemen, however, have argued that Iranian support for the Houthis is very limited, and that the war in Yemen is a civil war, not a proxy war.

Coalition airstrikes are responsible for the majority of the 10,000 people killed in the conflict, and according to data collected by the Yemen Data Project, nearly a third of all Saudi air raids have hit civilian targets, including markets, factories, mosques, schools, or hospitals.

Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, praised the vote of the dissenting senators. “Today, for the first time since the war in Yemen began, 27 senators voiced the first cries of dissent against our government’s unconditional and unlimited support for the Saudi-led coalition,” Offenheiser said in a statement. “Concern in Congress regarding the situation in Yemen and the US’s heartless and disjointed approach to it will only grow stronger.”

The measure still may have a chance in the House, where Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., has introduced a companion resolution. In June, the House almost passed a measure banning the transfer of internationally banned cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, but the amendment was defeated 204-216.

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(Video) Child Labor 40,000 Strong Working for Apple, Dell and Volkswagon in the Congo

A recent Amnesty International report sounded the alarm on a “blood mineral” mined by Congolese children as young as seven and used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries found in laptops, smartphones, and even electric cars.

The mineral is cobalt, and more than half of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, including at least 20 percent which is mined by so-called “artisanal miners” in the southern part of the country. The report, titled “This Is What We Die For,” explains the conditions these miners work in:

“These artisanal miners, referred to as ‘creuseurs’ in the DRC, mine by hand using the most basic tools to dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground. Artisanal miners include children as young as seven who scavenge for rocks containing cobalt in the discarded by-products of industrial mines, and who wash and sort the ore before it is sold.”

Most of the cobalt is resold to corporations by Congo Dongfang Mining International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s Huayou Cobalt Company Ltd. From there, Amnesty was able to trace the cobalt to products linked to “some of the world’s largest and best-known consumer electronics companies.”[“including Apple Inc., Dell, HP Inc. (formerly Hewlett-Packard Company), Huawei, Lenovo (Motorola), LG, Microsoft Corporation, Samsung, Sony and Vodafone, as well as vehicle manufacturers like Daimler AG, Volkswagen and Chinese firm BYD.”]

Overall, there are about 110,000 to 150,000 creuseurs in Congo, including thousands of children. Exact figures are hard to come by, but UNICEF suggests that there are about 40,000 children working as miners in the country, most of them tasked with producing cobalt for just $1 or $2 a day.

Amnesty interviewed 17 children who worked in five different mines. They described being beaten, or seeing other children being beaten, by security guards. They also said those guards, who are hired by the mining companies, demanded money from them. And, without recourse against exploitative practices, they’re frequently taken advantage of by traders.

Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world, has suffered for more than a century with colonialism and exploitation driven by consumer and industry demands on other continents.

Even before Europe scrambled for control in Africa, one royal had already set his sights on the difficult-to-reach area of Congo. In 1876, King Leopold II of Belgium organized a conference, where participants discussed ways to stop the West African slave trade, get medical aid to Africa, and coordinate map-making efforts.

But the conference and the supposedly “benevolent” committee he agreed to head were nothing more than smokescreens for the king’s ambitions of building a railway that could carry goods out of the heart of Africa.

With the king — not the Belgian government — as owner and ruler, people were forced to extract country’s immense wealth, including rubber, which was exported to fuel the industrial boom of 19th- and early 20th-century Europe and America.

Under the guise of “bringing civilization to the Africans,” Marty Jezer, writing for the Brattleboro Reformer, explained the brutal lengths Leopold took:

“This army forcibly conscripted African youth to fill its ranks. It then went from village to village taking the women hostage and forcing the men to go deep into the jungle to tap the indigenous rubber trees. Those who resisted were mowed down by machine-gun fire. Many were beheaded or had their hands cut off.”

With women held hostage and men working in forced labor to maximize the rubber harvest, no one was tending to crops. Starvation took hold, and disease crept in.

Between 1880 and 1920, the country lost 8 to 10 million people, or half of its population, as a result of Leopold’s “rubber terror.”

International outrage finally erupted in 1908, at which point the Belgian government took control from Leopold. But, as Jezer noted:

“Belgium extracted rubber, ivory, diamonds, and uranium from the Congo and gave back nothing: no schools, no hospitals, no infrastructure, except that which facilitated the export of resources. The uranium used to make the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from mines in the Congo.”

Congo threw off the shackles of colonialism in 1960. The next several years saw a quick succession of leaders, and by 1971, a corrupt one-party government under Joseph Mobutu took over, renaming the country Zaire. Mobutu, a staunch anti-communist, won the support of several U.S. administrations.

Since Mobutu was forced to flee in 1997, a civil war has raged and the country has been devastated by an AIDS epidemic.

And this is where Congo finds itself today: Despite some reforms and democratic elections, it’s in relatively the same place it was more than 100 years ago under a corrupt, rubber-hungry king whose brutality knew no limits. Both now and then, the rush was for rubber, cobalt, diamonds, copper — basically, whatever Congo has that the world wants, no matter the human cost.

Chinese, American and European companies are exploiting child and adult laborers to feed the tech cravings of the people around the world who find themselves in a position to indulge their hunger for gadgets. These Congolese child laborers will probably never own a smartphone with a rechargeable battery, but without their toil for meager wages in dangerous conditions, it’s hard to say whether you or I could.

 

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Money in Politics: Wikileaks Releases More DNC Emails Revealing Government Positions for Sale to Highest Bidder

(ANTIMEDIAEarly Tuesday afternoon, interim chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile, issued a statement indicating the Democratic Party was bracing for a new batch of email leaks to be released. About an hour later, Wikileaks delivered,tweeting a link to a 670 MB file, along with instructions for downloading. In her statement, Brazile warned of potential malware risks in accessing the documents and outright blamed Donald Trump and “Russian agents,” despite the fact the hacker has not yet been identified by law enforcement officials.

The DNC is bracing itself for the release of more documents

It’s understandable the DNC would ramp up fear surrounding cyber security and hurl blame at Donald Trump and the Russian government, but they’re going to need something bigger than that to distract from the content of these emails. Included in the documents is a letter that directly addressed how to handle donors who submitted “pay-to-play letters” to ensure their donations were put into the “operating amount.”

Also in the leak was a detailed list of over 100,000 donations dating back to 2008, including some high-profile donors who received international ambassadorships from President Barack Obama in return for their pledges to both the DNC and Obama’s Organizing for Action nonprofit.

Matthew Barzun took the number one spot, donating more than $3.5 million. In return, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011, worked as President Obama’s National Finance Chair during his 2012 reelection campaign, and is currently U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Just under him is Julius Genachowski, who was appointed chair of the FCC for his generous donation of just under $3.5 million. Tony West paid a little over a million dollars to be appointed the Associate Attorney General on March 9, 2012, the very same day his money is recorded in DNC’s ledger. Who knew the government could be so efficient?

Essentially, Obama and the DNC sold government positions off to the highest bidder while Hillary sat as Secretary of State, but for some reason, CNN reported that “There appear to be no damaging emails in this batch.

What?

Just last night, Hillary posted a video to social media breaking down the meaning of “pay-to-play,” throwing Donald Trump under the bus for shady politics and trying to get out of an investigation. Is that a joke? More than half of Americans think Hillary Clinton is a criminal, a fact that seems to escape her completely. Thus far, Clinton has done a pretty good job of staying sheltered from any consequences of her actions, and there is no indication that is about to change anytime soon.


This article (New WikiLeaks DNC Dump Reveals Government Positions for Sale to Highest Bidder) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Josie Wales and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

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In Historic Move, California Expands Overtime to Farmworkers

Farmworkers in the nation’s largest agricultural state will be entitled to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers under a law that California Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he had signed.

The new law, which will be phased in beginning in 2019, is the first of its kind in the nation to end the 80-year-old practice of applying separate labor rules to agricultural laborers.

In the state where Cesar Chavez successfully rallied farmworkers to demand union rights and more dignified working conditions, the legislation, AB1066, will gradually lower the number of hours that ranch hands and people who tend crops must work before accruing additional compensation.

Farmworkers will be entitled to time-and-a-half pay after eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week, up from 10 hours a day or 60 a week. The new rules will take full effect in 2022 for most businesses and in 2025 for farms with 25 or fewer employees.

“The hundreds of thousands of men and women who work in California’s fields, dairies and ranches feed the world and anchor our economy,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, the bill’s author, said in a statement. “They will finally be treated equally under the law.”

The measure passed after a strong push by the politically powerful United Farm Workers. Farming groups warned it will cause severe hardships for one of California’s largest industries.

Farm work, marked by crushing workloads during specific periods, has long been exempted from some of the labor standards enacted by the federal government beginning in the 1930s, including overtime pay.

Beginning in the 1960s, Chavez brought laborers together and formed the United Farm Workers in California’s Central Valley, making California the epicenter of their struggle. He used the rallying cry “si se puede,” or “yes we can,” and became a celebrated civil rights leader, particularly among Latinos.

Brown, a Democrat, signed the historic bill granting farmworkers the right to unionize when he was governor in 1975. He has declined to comment on the overtime legislation all year and declined again Monday through spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman.

California was the first state to give farmworkers collective bargaining rights, workers compensation and unemployment service. The state also requires that employers provide rest breaks and access to water and shade.

However, farmworkers were again exempted when the state guaranteed overtime pay after eight hours in a day, not just 40 hours in a week, in 1999.

Opponents argued the seasonal nature of farm labor, with long hours crucial to sow and harvest during specific weather and growing periods, does not lend itself to overtime.

They said the legislation would raise costs for farmers and make it more difficult for them to compete with rivals in other states and countries.

The obligation to care for animals “doesn’t always adhere to an eight-hour day, 40-hour work week,” said Justin Oldfield, vice president of government relations for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Producers can’t afford to pay workers overtime for 60-hour weeks and stay competitive, he said.

They are likely to hire more employees rather than pay overtime, he said, resulting in a pay cut for existing employees.

Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, called the new law “a slap in the face” that will deprive farmworkers of needed income. “Sometimes, the best intentions can have the worst consequences,” Mathis said.

Brown also announced Monday that he had signed SB1015 by Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, permanently extending what had been a temporary 2013 law requiring employers to pay domestic workers such as nannies, caregivers and housekeepers time-and-a-half if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week.

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TRUMP ORGANIZATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY: THE TIES THAT BIND A NIGHTMARE

If Donald Trump is elected president, will he and his family permanently sever all connections to the Trump Organization, a sprawling business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world? Or will Trump instead choose to be the most conflicted president in American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States?

Throughout this campaign, the Trump Organization, which pumps potentially hundreds of millions of dollars into the Trump family’s bank accounts each year, has been largely ignored. As a private enterprise, its businesses, partners and investors are hidden from public view, even though they are the very people who could be enriched by—or will further enrich—Trump and his family if he wins the presidency.

A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.
The Trump Organization is not like the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the charitable enterprise that has been the subject of intense scrutiny about possible conflicts for the Democratic presidential nominee. There are allegations that Hillary Clinton bestowed benefits on contributors to the foundation in some sort of “pay to play” scandal when she was secretary of state, but that makes no sense because there was no “pay.” Money contributed to the foundation was publicly disclosed and went to charitable efforts, such as fighting neglected tropical diseases that infect as many as a billion people. The financials audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global independent accounting company, and the foundation’s tax filings show that about 90 percent of the money it raised went to its charitable programs. (Trump surrogates have falsely claimed that it was only 10 percent and that the rest was used as a Clinton “slush fund.”) No member of the Clinton family received any cash from the foundation, nor did it finance any political campaigns. In fact, like the Clintons, almost the entire board of directors works for free.On the other hand, the Trump family rakes in untold millions of dollars from the Trump Organization every year. Much of that comes from deals with international financiers and developers, many of whom have been tied to controversial and even illegal activities. None of Trump’s overseas contractual business relationships examined by Newsweek were revealed in his campaign’s financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, nor was the amount paid to him by his foreign partners. (The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for the names of all foreign entities in partnership or contractually tied to the Trump Organization.) Trump’s financial filings also indicate he is a shareholder or beneficiary of several overseas entities, including Excel Venture LLC in the French West Indies and Caribusiness Investments SRL, based in the Dominican Republic, one of the world’s tax havens.

Trump’s business conflicts with America’s national security interests cannot be resolved so long as he or any member of his family maintains a financial interest in the Trump Organization during a Trump administration, or even if they leave open the possibility of returning to the company later. The Trump Organization cannot be placed into a blind trust, an arrangement used by many politicians to prevent them from knowing their financial interests; the Trump family is already aware of who their overseas partners are and could easily learn about any new ones.Many foreign governments retain close ties to and even control of companies in their country, including several that already are partnered with the Trump Organization. Any government wanting to seek future influence with President Trump could do so by arranging for a partnership with the Trump Organization, feeding money directly to the family or simply stashing it away inside the company for their use once Trump is out of the White House. This is why, without a permanent departure of the entire Trump family from their company, the prospect of legal bribery by overseas powers seeking to influence American foreign policy, either through existing or future partnerships, will remain a reality throughout a Trump presidency.Moreover, the identity of every partner cannot be discovered if Trump reverses course and decided to release his taxes. The partnerships are struck with some of the more than 500 entities disclosed in Trump’s financial disclosure forms; each of those entities has its own records that would have to be revealed for a full accounting of all of Trump’s foreign entanglements to be made public.The problem of overseas conflicts emerges from the nature of Trump’s business in recent years. Much of the public believes Trump is a hugely successful developer, a television personality and a failed casino operator. But his primary business deals for almost a decade have been a quite different endeavor. The GOP nominee is essentially a licensor who leverages his celebrity into streams of cash from partners from all over the world. The business model for Trump’s company started to change around 2007, after he became the star of NBC’s The Apprentice, which boosted his national and international fame. Rather than constructing Trump’s own hotels, office towers and other buildings, much of his business involved striking deals with overseas developers who pay his company for the right to slap his name on their buildings. (The last building constructed by Trump with his name on it is the Trump-SoHo hotel and condominium project, completed in 2007.)In public statements, Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. have celebrated their company’s international branding business and announced their intentions to expand it. “The opportunities for growth are endless, and I look forward to building upon the tremendous success we have enjoyed,” Donald Trump Jr. said in 2013. Trump Jr. has cited prospects in Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Thailand, Argentina and other countries.

The idea of selling the Trump brand name to overseas developers emerged as a small piece of the company’s business in the late 1990s. At that time, two executives from Daewoo Engineering and Construction met with Trump at his Manhattan offices to propose paying him for the right to use his name on a new complex under development, according to former executives from the South Korean company. Daewoo had already worked with the Trump Organization to build the Trump World Tower, which is close to the Manhattan headquarters of the United Nations. The former Daewoo executives said Trump was at first skeptical, but in 1999 construction began on the South Korean version of Trump World, six condominium properties in Seoul and two neighboring cities. According to the two former executives, the Trump Organization received an annual fee of approximately $8 million a year.Shortly after the deal was signed, the parent company of Daewoo Engineering and Construction, the Daewoo Group, collapsed into bankruptcy amid allegations of what proved to be a $43 billion accounting fraud. The chairman of the Daewoo Group, Kim Woo Choong, fled to North Korea; he returned in 2005, was arrested and convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to 10 years in prison. According to the two former Daewoo executives, a reorganization of Daewoo after its bankruptcy required revisions in the Trump contract, but the Trump Organization still remains allied with Daewoo Engineering and Construction.This relationship puts Trump’s foreign policies in conflict with his financial interests. Earlier this year, he said South Korea should plan to shoulder its own military defense rather than relying on the United States, including the development of nuclear weapons. (He later denied making that statement, which was video-recorded.) One of the primary South Korean companies involved in nuclear energy, a key component in weapons development, is Trump’s partner—Daewoo Engineering and Construction. It would potentially get an economic windfall if the United States adopted policies advocated by Trump.In India, the conflicts between the interests of the Trump Organization and American foreign policy are starker. Trump signed an agreement in 2011 with an Indian property developer called Rohan Lifescapes that wanted to construct a 65-story building with his name on it. Leading the talks for Rohan was Kalpesh Mehta, a director of the company who would later become the exclusive representative of Trump’s businesses in India. However, government regulatory hurdles soon impeded the project. According to a former Trump official who spoke on condition of anonymity, Donald Trump Jr. flew to India to plead with Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra, a state in Western India, asking that he remove the hurdles, but the powerful politician refused to make an exception for the Trump Organization. It would be extremely difficult for a foreign politician to make that call if he were speaking to the son of the president of the United States.The Mumbai deal with Rohan fell apart in 2013, but a new branding deal (Trump Tower Mumbai) was struck with the Lodha Group, a major Indian developer. By that time, Trump had an Indian project underway in the city of Pune with a large developer called Panchshil Realty that agreed to pay millions for use of the Trump brand on two 22-floor towers. His new partner, Atul Chordia of Panchshil, appeared awed in public statements about his association with the famous Trump name and feted Trump with a special dinner attended by actors, industrialists, socialites and even a former Miss Universe.Last month, scandal erupted over the development, called Trump Towers Pune, after the state government and local police started looking into discrepancies in the land records suggesting that the land on which the building was constructed may not have been legally obtained by Panchshil. The Indian company says no rules or laws were broken, but if government officials conclude otherwise, the project’s future will be in jeopardy—and create a problem that Indian politicians eager to please an American president might have to resolve.Through the Pune deal, the Trump Organization has developed close ties to India’s Nationalist Congress Party—a centrist political organization that stands for democratic secularism and is led by Sharad Pawar, an ally of the Chordia family that owns Panchshil—but that would be of little help in this investigation. Political power in India rests largely with the Indian National Congress, a nationalist party that has controlled the central government for almost 50 years. (However, Trump is very popular with the Hindu Sena, a far-right radical nationalist group that sees his anti-Muslim stance as a sign he would take an aggressive stand against Pakistan. When Trump turned 70 in June, members of that organization threw a birthday party for the man they called “the savior of humanity.”)

Even as Trump was on the campaign trail, the Trump Organization struck another deal in India that drew the Republican nominee closer to another political group there. In April, the company inked an agreement with Ireo, a private real estate equity business based in the Indian city of Gurgaon. The company, which has more than 500 investors in the fund that will be paying the Trump Organization, is headed by Madhukar Tulsi, a prominent real estate executive in India. In 2010, Tulsi’s home and the offices of Ireo were raided as part of a sweeping corruption inquiry related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. According to one Indian business executive, government investigators believed that Ireo had close ties with a prominent Indian politician—Sudhanashu Mittal, then the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s second largest political party—who was suspected in playing a role in rerouting money earned from Commonwealth Games contracts through tax havens into Ireo’s real estate projects. A senior official with Ireo, Tulsi is a relative of Mittal’s. No charges were ever brought in the case, but the investigation did reveal the close political ties between a prominent Indian political party and a company that is now a Trump partner.No doubt, few Indian political groups hoping to establish close ties to a possible future American president could have missed the recent statements from the Trump family that its company wanted to do more deals in their country. As the Republican National Convention was about to get underway in July, the Trump Organization declared it was planning a massive expansion in the South Asian country. “We are very bullish on India and plan to build a pan-India development footprint for Trump-branded residential and office projects,’’ Donald Trump Jr. told the Hindustan Times. “We have a very aggressive pipeline in the north and east, and look forward to the announcement of several exciting new projects in the months ahead.”That is a chilling example of the many looming conflicts of interest in a Trump presidency. If he plays tough with India, will the government assume it has to clear the way for projects in that “aggressive pipeline” and kill the investigations involving Trump’s Pune partners? And if Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America’s strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardize his profits from Trump Towers Pune?Branding Wars in the Middle EastTrump already has financial conflicts in much of the Islamic world, a problem made worse by his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his impulsive decisions during this campaign. One of his most troubling entanglements is in Turkey. In 2008, the Trump Organization struck a branding deal with the Dogan Group, named for its owners, one of the most politically influential families in Turkey. Trump and Dogan first agreed that the Turkish company would pay a fee to put the Trump name on two towers in Istanbul.When the complex opened in 2012, Trump attended the ribbon-cutting and declared his interest in more collaborations with Turkish businesses and in making significant investments there. In a sign of the political clout of the Dogan family, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Trump and even presided over the opening ceremonies for the Trump-branded property.However, the Dogans have fallen out of favor, and once again, a Trump partner is caught up in allegations of criminal and unethical activity. In March, an Istanbul court indicted Aydin Dogan, owner and head of the Dogan Group, on charges he engaged in a fuel-smuggling scheme. Dogan has proclaimed his innocence; prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of more than 24 years.According to an Arab financier with strong ties to Turkish political leaders, government connections with the Dogan family grew even more strained in May, when a consortium of news reporters released what are known as the Panama Papers, which exposed corporations, politicians and other individuals worldwide who evaded taxes through offshore accounts. One of the names revealed was that of Vuslat Dogan Sabanci, a member of Dogan Holding’s board.With the Dogans now politically radioactive, Erdogan struck at the family’s business partner, Trump, for his anti-Muslim rhetoric. In June, Erdogan called for the Trump name to be removed from the complex in Istanbul and said presiding over its dedication had been a mistake.This is no minor skirmish: American-Turkish relations are one of the most important national security issues for the United States. Turkey is among the few Muslim countries allied with America in the fight against the Islamic State militant group; it carries even greater importance because it is a Sunni-majority nation aiding the U.S. military against the Sunni extremists. Turkey has allowed the U.S. Air Force to use a base as a major staging area for bombing and surveillance missions against ISIS. A Trump presidency, according to the Arab financier in direct contact with senior Turkish officials, would place that cooperation at risk, particularly since Erdogan, who is said to despise Trump, has grasped more power following a thwarted coup d’état in July.

In other words, Trump would be in direct financial and political conflict with Turkey from the moment he was sworn into office. Once again, all his dealings with Turkey would be suspect: Would Trump act in the interests of the United States or his wallet? When faced with the prospect of losing the millions of dollars that flow into the Trump Organization each year from that Istanbul property, what position would President Trump take on the important issues involving Turkish-American relations, including that country’s role in the fight against ISIS?Another conundrum: Turkey is at war with the Kurds, America’s allies in the fight against ISIS in Syria. Kurdish insurgent groups are in armed conflict with Turkey, demanding an independent Kurdistan. If Turkey cuts off the Trump Organization’s cash flow from Istanbul, will Trump, who has shown many times how petty and impulsive he can be, allow that to influence how the U.S. juggles the interests of these two critical allies?Similar disturbing problems exist with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), another Muslim nation that is an important American ally. Trump has pursued business opportunities in the oil-rich nation for years, with mixed success. His first venture was in 2005, when the Trump Organization struck a branding deal with a top Emirates developer called Nakheel LLC, backed by Dubai’s royal family, that planned to build a tulip-shaped hotel on a man-made island designed to look like a palm tree.In 2008, a bribery and corruption probe was launched involving the company’s multibillion-dollar Dubai Waterfront project. Two Nakheel executives were charged with fraud and cleared, but Nakheel’s financial condition deteriorated amid a collapse in real estate prices; the Trump project was delayed and then canceled.So, in 2013, the Trump Organization struck another branding deal, this time with Nakheel’s archrival, Damac Properties, a division of the Damac Group, that wanted the Trump name on a planned 18-hole PGA Championship golf course. The deal was negotiated by Hussain Ali Sajwani, chairman of Damac, who had engaged in controversial land deals with senior government officials in the UAE. He met personally with Trump about the project, and their relationship grew, ultimately leading to Damac working with the Trump Organization on two branded golf courses and a collection of villas in Dubai. According to the former executive with the Trump Organization, Trump has said he personally invested in some of the Dubai projects.In this case, even the possibility of a Trump presidency has created chaos for the Trump Organization. On December 7, when Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims being allowed into the United States, the reaction in the UAE was instantaneous: There were calls to boycott the Damac-Trump properties. Damac put out a statement essentially saying its deal with the Trump Organization had nothing to do with Donald Trump personally, a claim that fooled no one. On December 10, Damac removed Trump’s image and name from its properties. Two days later, the name went back up, setting off an even louder outcry. Damac’s share price dropped 15 percent amid the controversy, and it was forced to guarantee rental returns for some of its luxury properties bearing the Trump name.Other UAE businesses with connections to Trump are also shunning the brand. The Dubai-based Landmark Group, one of the Middle East’s largest retail companies, said it was pulling products with Trump’s name off of its shelves.With Middle Eastern business partners and American allies turning on him, Trump lashed out. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal—the billionaire who aided Trump during his corporate bankruptcies in the 1990s by purchasing his yacht, which provided him with desperately needed cash—sent out a tweet amid the outcry in Dubai, calling the Republican candidate a “disgrace.” (Alwaleed is a prodigious tweeter and Twitter’s second largest shareholder.) Trump responded with an attack on the prince—a member of the ruling Saudi royal family—with a childish tweet, saying, “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016.”Once again, Trump’s personal and financial interests are in conflict with critical national security issues for the United States. During the Bush administration, Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, and Washington reached a bilateral agreement to improve international standards for nuclear nonproliferation. Cooperation is particularly important for the United States because Iran—whose potential development of nuclear weapons has been a significant security issue, leading to an international agreement designed to place controls on its nuclear energy efforts—is one of the UAE’s largest trading partners, and Dubai has been a transit point for sensitive technology bound for Iran.Given Trump’s name-calling when faced with a critical tweet from a member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia, an important ally, how would he react as president if his company’s business in the UAE collapsed? Would his decisions in the White House be based on what is best for America or on what would keep the cash from Dubai flowing to him and his family?

A Strongman’s Best FriendSome of the most disturbing international dealings by the Trump Organization involved Trump’s attempts to woo Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi. The United States had labeled Qaddafi as a sponsor of terrorism for decades; President Ronald Reagan even launched a military attack on him in 1986 after the National Security Agency intercepted a communications that showed Qaddafi was behind the bombing of a German discotheque that killed two Americans. He was also linked to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people, in 1988.But for the Trump Organization, Qaddafi was not a murdering terrorist; he was a prospect who might bring the company financing and the opportunity to build a resort on the Mediterranean coast of Libya. According to an Arab financier and a former businessman from the North African country, Trump made entreaties to Qaddafi and other members of his government, beginning in 2008, in which he sought deals that would bring cash to the Trump Organization from a sovereign wealth fund called the Libyan Investment Authority. The following year, Trump offered to lease his estate in Westchester County, New York, to Qaddafi; he took Qaddafi’s money but, after local protests, forbade him from staying at his property. (Trump kept the cash.) “I made a lot of money with Qaddafi,’’ Trump said recently about the Westchester escapade. “He paid me a fortune.”Another business relationship that could raise concerns about conflicts involves Azerbaijan, a country the State Department said in an official report was infused with “corruption and predatory behavior by politically connected elites.” According to Trump’s financial filings, the Republican nominee is the president of two entities called OT Marks Baku LLC and DT Marks Baku Manaaina Member Corp. Those were established as part of deals the Trump Organization made last year for a real estate project in the country’s capital. The partner in the deal is Garant Holding, which is controlled by Anar Mammadov, the son of the country’s transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov. According to American diplomatic cables made public in 2010, the United States possessed information that led diplomats to believe Ziya Mammadov laundered money for the Iranian military. No formal charges have been brought against either Mammadov.Once again, however, this exposes potential conflicts between Trump’s business connections and national security. While the development is currently on hold, it has not been canceled, meaning that Anar Mammadov could soon be paying millions of dollars to Trump. If American intelligence concludes, or has already concluded, that his business partner’s father has been aiding Iran by laundering money for the military, will Trump’s foreign policy decisions on Iran and Azerbaijan be based on the national security of the United States or the financial security of Donald Trump?

An Oligarch in D.C.The Trump Organization also has dealings in Russia and Ukraine, and officials with the company have repeatedly stated they want to develop projects there. The company is connected to a controversial Russian figure, Vladimir Potanin, a billionaire with interests in mining, metals, banking and real estate. He was a host of the Russian version of The Apprentice (called Candidate), and Trump, through the Trump Organization, served as the show’s executive producer. Potanin is deeply tied to the Russian government and obtained much of his wealth in the 1990s through what was called the loans-for-shares program, part of an effort by Moscow to privatize state properties through auction. Those sales were rigged: Insiders with political connections were the biggest beneficiaries.CLOSEHoping to start its branding business in Russia, the Trump Organization registered the Trump name in 2008 as a trademark for projects in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. It also launched negotiations with a development company called the Mos City Group, but no deal was reached. The former Trump executive said that talks fell apart over the fees the Trump Organization wanted to charge: 25 percent of the planned project’s cost. However, the executive said, the Trump Organization has maintained close relations with Pavel Fuks, head of the Mos City Group. Fuks is one of the most politically prominent oligarchs in Russia, with significant interests in real estate and the country’s financial industry, including the Pushkino bank and Sovcombank.The Trump Organization has also shown interest in Ukraine. In 2006, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump met with Viktor Tkachuk, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, and Andriy Zaika, head of the Ukrainian Construction Consortium. The potential financial conflicts here for a President Trump are enormous. Moreover, Trump’s primary partner for his lucrative business in Canada, a well-respected Russo-Canadian billionaire named Alex Shnaider, is also a major investor in Russia and Ukraine, meaning American policies benefiting those countries could enrich an important business connection for the Trump Organization.Meanwhile, Trump has raised concerns in the United States among national security experts for his consistent and effusive praise for Vladimir Putin, the Russian ruler who also now controls much of Ukraine. With its founder in the White House, the Trump Organization would have an extraordinary entrée into those countries. If the company sold its brand in Russia while Trump was in the White House, the world could be faced with the astonishing site of hotels and office complexes going up in downtown Moscow with the name of the American president emblazoned in gold atop the buildings.The dealings of the Trump Organization reach into so many countries that it is impossible to detail all the conflicts they present in a single issue of this magazine, but a Newsweek examination of the company has also found deep connections in China, Brazil, Bulgaria, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany and other countries.Never before has an American candidate for president had so many financial ties with American allies and enemies, and never before has a business posed such a threat to the United States. If Donald Trump wins this election and his company is not immediately shut down or forever severed from the Trump family, the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.