Beltway Insider: Biden/Cuba, Pegasus Spyware, Paul/Fauci Clash, COVID/Vaccine Totals, Weinstein, Bezos, Olympics

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President Biden issued a strong condemnation of Cuban leaders' recent crackdown of its citizens "in an effort to intimidate and threaten the Cuban people into silence" as they have taken to the streets to oppose communistic rule.

The President's job approval rating, according to the website fivethirtyeight.com, for the period ending July 25, 2021, increased by 1.2% to 52.4% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness increased by 0.2% percentage points to 42.7%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated weekly.


Beltway Insider: Biden/Merkel, Trump/CPAC, COVID/Vaccine Totals, Military Rape Culture, Nassar/FBI


Coronavirus Origins Hearings Erupt in Chaos

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Anthony Fauci spared again this week, which has escalated with the Senator requesting a criminal investigation by Attorney General Merrick Garland, into the statements of Fauci during the May 11 Congressional hearings over the origins of the coronavirus.

"At issue in Paul's criminal referral is Fauci's testimony before Congress on May 11, when he denied under oath that the NIH funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab. Paul pointed to NIH grants going to the EcoHealth Alliance, which then provided funding to the Wuhan lab that a Trump State Department fact sheet contended carried out secretive gain-of-function experiments and worked with China's military. At the time, Fauci told Paul: "The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,"' reported Yahoo.com.

Fauci, who has become the spokesperson during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, has increasingly come under scrutiny by the GOP for his handling, statements and dealing of the coronavirus during former President Trump's administration. Fauci has advised seven presidents, and several epidemics since his appointment in 1984.

This heated exchange also included a response by Fauci to Senator Rand Paul, "If anyone is lying here, senator, it is you," Fauci told Paul, adding, "This has been evaluated multiple times by qualified people to not fall under the gain-of-function definition. I have not lied before Congress,"" reported Yahoo.com.

Essentially, the practice of gain-of-function allows researchers to enhance the medical experiment for the purposes of determining or finding potential pathogens, transmission possibilities and range, born from the enhanced experimentation. "This research is intended to reveal targets to better predict emerging infectious diseases and to develop vaccines and therapeutics," according to Wikipedia.

Gain of Function research has become a focal point of the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

Pegasus Spyware: Coming to Smartphones Everywhere

Quietly making headlines around the world through an international investigative effort involving sixteen reputable news sources in various countries, including The Washington Post, is the discovery of Pegasus spyware.

Pegasus, a spyware tool that can be covertly installed on smartphones currently running I-phone and Android operating systems, which to the 728million I-phone users and 2.5billion Android users worldwide, the possibility of governments, any government, covertly installing this intelligence gathering system on any phone is very real.

Spying, like other intelligence gathering methods, have undergone a 21st overhaul. Modern technologies have paired traditional clandestine methodologies, carefully concealed photographers so stealth in their reconnaissance that even the most suspicious or those enmeshed in criminal activity and accustomed to the potential of investigatory measures are without knowledge, with 21st century spyware.

The trickle-down effect of Pegasus, an Israeli created software from NSO Group Technologies which enables remote surveillance, as with any covert spyware is the flip side of its intent. No matter the good planned, once the spyware was released, and in the case of Pegasus, sold to multiple nations including Saudi Arabia and India, ended up in the hands of Mexican cartels to track and kill journalists and others intent on exposing their activities, as well as the advent of the modernized Cold War.

"NSO — just one of several major players in this market — says it has 60 government agency clients in 40 countries. In every case, the company says, the targets are supposed to be terrorists and criminals, such as pedophiles, drug lords and human traffickers. The company says it specifically prohibits targeting law-abiding citizens, including government officials carrying out their ordinary business," The Washington Post reported.


World News: Macron Debates Mandatory Vaccine Law


National Security At Risk

The concept of Israeli developed software to gather sensitive covert information, specifically which threaten their nation-state, is not a surprise, as it is not a shocking revelation that any nation-state protects itself from homeland threats.

Zero Days, an Alex Gibney documentary, released in 2016, recounts the joint U.S. Israeli development of the Stuxnet software, which derailed the Iranian Nuclear program through the release of malware to "infiltrate and sabotage the Iranian nuclear centrifuges at Natanz," Gibney said.

"Based on years of in-depth research, carried out with the help and cooperation of more than 100 journalists, information security experts, senior personnel at the U.S. National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, and Israeli figures including Yuval Steinitz, the national infrastructure minister who is also responsible for the Atomic Energy Commission, and the former director of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and tells the surprising story of the Stuxnet computer virus, which, according to Gibney and his sources, was developed by Israel and the United States during 2007-2008 in order to thwart the Iranian nuclear enterprise," reported Harretz.com.

Pentagon's Dairy Get Personal, a 2003 Associated Press article details the advent of spyware put out for bid by the U.S. Government, which implanted in the wearer's person allows for real-time boots-on-the-ground surveillance. According to the article, the concept of implanted undetectable spyware became an issue for American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the project, for all intents and purposes, was shelved, according to the article.

The technology has been rumored to have fallen into the hands of those with anti-American sentiments, similar to Pegasus.

Spyware, Pegasus, and Dark Web Security Threats

Sixteen global journalistic sources, including The Washington Post and PBS Frontline from the United States, The Guardian from The United Kingdom, Radio France and Le Monde from France, Die Zeit and Suddeutsche, from Germany, Haaretz/TheMarker from Israel, Direkt36 and Daraj from Hungary, Aristegui, Noticias, Proceso, OCCRP, Knack, Le Soir and The Wire from India, all participated in Project Pegasus after an anonymous source delivered 50,000 phone numbers of global users, including presidents, prime ministers, and kings, to a Paris based expose magazine, Forbidden Stories, and Amnesty International, who disseminated the information broadly resulting in the formation of the international cooperative investigation.

Sitting French President Emmanuel Macron, who's cell phone number is on the released list indicting he was selected for surveillance by Israeli NSO technologies responded to the revelations.

"Emmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to ensure that the Israeli government is "properly investigating" allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Morocco's security services, reported The Guardian.com.

NSO has stated emphatically that they only sell to vetted government bodies.

The advent of agendas in spyware, outside the intended use, has become critical in the safety and security of individuals within governments, who have democracies at their core and where individuals may become engaged in gain-of-function testing for sinister purposes.

For the United States, who has confronted two very recent cyberattacks striking at the vulnerabilities of the American people, safeguarding the privacies of each citizen should be imperative and failsafe systems to guard against dissemination.

The notion that software of any kind can somehow reach outside the community of intended national security use and disrupt, derail, and destroy innocent lives as criminal enterprises, or those with Anti-American sentiments or loyalties through any means are able to secure the software or technology, is appalling to the common man.

To those whose allegiances to their country run deep and the financial gain of utilizing technology to steal the trade secrets of the creative or the corporation, and is prosecutable when nations are discovered to be the root cause, should carry penalties of treason.

Vaccine Totals

Bloomberg.com has built a vaccine tracker which can be seen here. "In the U.S., 341 million doses have been given so far. In the last week, an average of 548,914 doses per day were administered," Bloomberg.com reported.

Coronavirus Totals

While the infection rates of the coronavirus have continued to decline around the world. A new strain, a mutation, has created global concern for leaders around the world are determining the best direction for the protection of the population. The importance of maintaining personal protective practices is imperative to controlling the spread.

For the week ending July 25, 2021, coronavirus cases globally increased by 3,736,189 new confirmed cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases worldwide to 193,713,908 people with a total worldwide death toll of 4,152,212 deaths, a weekly death rate increase of 70,580. (Data from The New York Times).

COVID US Totals

Infections rates in the United States are also on the rise. For the week ending July 25, 2021, the total confirmed cases rose to 34,391,317 people with new confirmed cases increasing by 358,914 with a 7-day average of 51,273 cases per day and an increase of 19,986 confirmed cases over the previous week. The coronavirus has claimed 610,414 total deaths, adding 2,262 more deaths to the total of lives lost due to the coronavirus. (Data from The New York Times).

Cuba Crackdown

President Biden, in the strongest possible language, condemned the Cuban regime over the use of mass detention, incarcerations and holding members of the Cuban military responsible for these actions which seek to oppress the people of Cuban and silence the cause of democracy.

"My Administration is imposing new sanctions targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown—the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior driving the crackdown—to hold them accountable for their actions. This is just the beginning–the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people," President Biden said in a press release.

Bezos' Blue Origin Take Flight

Jeff Bezo aboard his Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft successfully tested the spacecraft and in the course of 11 minutes, as he and three others, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, 82, and Oliver Daemen, 18, successfully reached the sub-orbital Karman line, the 66.5-mile marker, which officially separates earth from space and managed to set three new records in space travel.


Perseverance Lands Safely on Mars


Bezos' who recently exited as Amazon's CEO, marked his "retirement" with his newest project "many in the space industry expect him to dedicate more of his time to his space venture, which has large ambitions but has lagged behind its competitors," reported The Washington Post.

Weinstein Extradited to Los Angeles

Convicted serial rapist Harvey Weinstein, who was once a king in Hollywood, was extradited this week to face criminal charges on several counts of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation involving five different women between 2004 and 2013.

"A spokesman for Mr. Weinstein, Juda Engelmayer, said that the authorities had picked the former producer up with little warning Tuesday morning from the Erie County prison where he was being held. He said he believed that Mr. Weinstein, who says he is in poor health and frequently uses a walker or a wheelchair, had probably been transported on a federal hospital plane," reported The New York Times.

Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics, which had been postponed in 2020 due the coronavirus pandemic, have begun, which the parade of nations, and clarity to the world of the importance of these games to unify nations and for a single moment, move beyond the loss, disappointment, and hardships of 2020.

For a Tunisian swimmer, Ahmed Hafnaoui, a never before heard of name in the men's 400-meter freestyle, the Tokyo Olympics will mark his entrance into the world's elite athletes. Swimming his own race, the sportscasters calling the heat between the heavily favored Australia's Jack McLoughlin and American Kieran Smith, were debating which would take the gold, until they saw the last 50 meters and an unknown in Lane 8.


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It was a surprise upset and what the Olympics are all about: Any athlete who qualifies, regardless of position, has an equal chance in the medal race at the sound of the starter's pistol, and for Ahmend Hafnaoui, one of 60 athletes from Tunisian, he took home the gold and redefined himself.

Australia's McLoughlin took the silver and America's Smith, the Bronze, and still the race was all about Ahmed Hafnaoui, an unknown from a nation in constant upheaval who pulled a miracle upset.

 

For more information on President Joe Biden www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: Various © Articles covered by Copyright protection

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