Ivermectin is an inhibitor of the COVID-19 causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro.•
A single treatment able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in virus at 48 h in cell culture.•
Ivermectin is FDA-approved for parasitic infections, and therefore has a potential for repurposing.•
Ivermectin is widely available, due to its inclusion on the WHO model list of essential medicines.
Although several clinical trials are now underway to test possible therapies, the worldwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely limited to monitoring/containment. We report here that Ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic previously shown to have broad-spectrum anti-viral activity in vitro, is an inhibitor of the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2), with a single addition to Vero-hSLAM cells 2 h post infection with SARS-CoV-2 able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in viral RNA at 48 h. Ivermectin therefore warrants further investigation for possible benefits in humans.
Ivermectin is an FDA-approved broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent (Gonzalez Canga et al., 2008) that in recent years we, along with other groups, have shown to have anti-viral activity against a broad range of viruses (Gotz et al., 2016; Lundberg et al., 2013; Tay et al., 2013; Wagstaff et al., 2012) in vitro. Originally identified as an inhibitor of interaction between the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) integrase protein (IN) and the importin (IMP) α/β1 heterodimer responsible for IN nuclear import (Wagstaff et al., 2011), Ivermectin has since been confirmed to inhibit IN nuclear import and HIV-1 replication (Wagstaff et al., 2012). Other actions of ivermectin have been reported (Mastrangelo et al., 2012), but ivermectin has been shown to inhibit nuclear import of host (eg. (Kosyna et al., 2015; van der Watt et al., 2016)) and viral proteins, including simian virus SV40 large tumour antigen (T-ag) and dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein 5 (Wagstaff et al., 2012, Wagstaff et al., 2011). Importantly, it has been demonstrated to limit infection by RNA viruses such as DENV 1-4 (Tay et al., 2013), West Nile Virus (Yang et al., 2020), Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) (Lundberg et al., 2013) and influenza (Gotz et al., 2016), with this broad spectrum activity believed to be due to the reliance by many different RNA viruses on IMPα/β1 during infection (Caly et al., 2012; Jans et al., 2019). Ivermectin has similarly been shown to be effective against the DNA virus pseudorabies virus (PRV) both in vitro and in vivo, with ivermectin treatment shown to increase survival in PRV-infected mice (Lv et al., 2018). Efficacy was not observed for ivermectin against Zika virus (ZIKV) in mice, but the authors acknowledged that study limitations justified re-evaluation of ivermectin’s anti-ZIKV activity (Ketkar et al., 2019). Finally, ivermectin was the focus of a phase III clinical trial in Thailand in 2014–2017, against DENV infection, in which a single daily oral dose was observed to be safe and resulted in a significant reduction in serum levels of viral NS1 protein, but no change in viremia or clinical benefit was observed (see below) (Yamasmith et al., 2018).
The causative agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is a single stranded positive sense RNA virus that is closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Studies on SARS-CoV proteins have revealed a potential role for IMPα/β1 during infection in signal-dependent nucleocytoplasmic shutting of the SARS-CoV Nucleocapsid protein (Rowland et al., 2005; Timani et al., 2005; Wulan et al., 2015), that may impact host cell division (Hiscox et al., 2001; Wurm et al., 2001). In addition, the SARS-CoV accessory protein ORF6 has been shown to antagonize the antiviral activity of the STAT1 transcription factor by sequestering IMPα/β1 on the rough ER/Golgi membrane (Frieman et al., 2007). Taken together, these reports suggested that ivermectin’s nuclear transport inhibitory activity may be effective against SARS-CoV-2.
To test the antiviral activity of ivermectin towards SARS-CoV-2, we infected Vero/hSLAM cells with SARS-CoV-2 isolate Australia/VIC01/2020 at an MOI of 0.1 for 2 h, followed by the addition of 5 μM ivermectin. Supernatant and cell pellets were harvested at days 0–3 and analysed by RT-PCR for the replication of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (Fig. 1A/B). At 24 h, there was a 93% reduction in viral RNA present in the supernatant (indicative of released virions) of samples treated with ivermectin compared to the vehicle DMSO. Similarly a 99.8% reduction in cell-associated viral RNA (indicative of unreleased and unpackaged virions) was observed with ivermectin treatment. By 48 h this effect increased to an ~5000-fold reduction of viral RNA in ivermectin-treated compared to control samples, indicating that ivermectin treatment resulted in the effective loss of essentially all viral material by 48 h. Consistent with this idea, no further reduction in viral RNA was observed at 72 h. As we have observed previously (Lundberg et al., 2013; Tay et al., 2013; Wagstaff et al., 2012), no toxicity of ivermectin was observed at any of the timepoints tested, in either the sample wells or in parallel tested drug alone samples.
“Durham that he was “not a subject or a target” of a criminal investigation”
Are we being herded in to Communism? Is the WAR won? Why are we still sitting here?
Former CIA Director John Brennan interviewed for 8 hours in Durham probe
Olivia Gazis 14 hrs ago
Former CIA Director John Brennan interviewed for 8 hours in Durham probe
Former CIA Director John Brennan was interviewed for eight hours on Friday by U.S. Attorney John Durham as part of Durham’s ongoing review of the origins of the investigation launched into Russia’s 2016 election interference, according to a statement released by Brennan’s spokesperson. Drew Angerer / Getty Images House Intelligence Cmte Holds Hearing On Russian Interference In U.S. Election
During the interview, which took place at CIA headquarters, Brennan was informed by Durham that he was “not a subject or a target” of a criminal investigation, and was being questioned as a “witness to events that are under review,” Nick Shapiro, who previously served as Brennan’s senior adviser, said.
“Brennan welcomed the opportunity to answer Mr. Durham’s questions related to a wide range of intelligence-related activities undertaken by CIA before the November 2016 presidential election as well as the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published in early January 2017,” Shapiro said. “Brennan provided details on the efforts made by the Intelligence Community to understand and disrupt the actions taken by Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” PlayCurrent Time 0:05/Duration 5:47Loaded: 6.18%Unmute0FullscreenLara Trump on Democrats’ ‘dark’ convention, previews the Republican National ConventionClick to expand
Durham, the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, was tasked over a year ago by Attorney General Bill Barr to lead an investigation of the FBI’s probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. As part of his inquiry, Durham is also known to be examining the intelligence community’s analytic assessments of Moscow’s intentions, including those made public in the 2017 document laying out the conclusions of several U.S. agencies.
This has sparked concern among current and former intelligence officials who say the process by which intelligence analysts arrive at their judgments should not be subject to a law enforcement standard.
The 2017 ICA was reviewed in the course of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and was examined in detail by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which, on a bipartisan basis, found it to be a “sound intelligence product.”
Shapiro said Brennan “questioned why the analytic tradecraft and the findings of the ICA are being scrutinized” during Friday’s interview, though he otherwise praised Durham and his team for their professionalism.
Durham, who previously served on multiple occasions as a special investigator for the Justice Department, has conducted much of his review out of the public eye – though a December statement he released contradicting a finding by the Justice Department’s inspector general raised questions about his impartiality.
Democrats have since expressed alarm that Durham’s work could be used by Barr to undermine the intelligence community’s work and the FBI’s investigation, which President Trump continues to criticize and dismiss as a “witch hunt.”
Mr. Trump and Brennan, who led the CIA during the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017, have also engaged in a public and intensely personal feud. The president has accused Brennan of unlawfully surveilling his campaign and sought in 2018 to revoke his security clearance. Brennan has been a vocal critic of Mr. Trump, accusing him of corruption and abuse of office.
Durham’s review has to date resulted in one criminal charge. Earlier this week, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to falsifying a document used to obtain surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. In recent congressional testimony, Barr did not rule out releasing more of Durham’s findings before the November election.
The question becomes when does a PRIVATE space become a public space. One could argue that it becomes a public space when there is a certain amount of the population on it. However, population of what? A country? The world? HOW would an individual be able to compete with an entity that is transnational and has more power than MOST lobbies in any country. They are beyond even a UTILITY. They are Corporate Communists. They have centralized resources and you pay for them to distribute them. And, by the way, THEY are subsidized by your TAX payer dollars.
They are Bracing themselves for Trump but nothing about Biden or Hillary contesting an election.
And who uses the term “kill switch?”
Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results
The world’s biggest social network is working out what steps to take should President Trump use its platform to dispute the vote.
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook spent years preparing to ward off any tampering on its site ahead of November’s presidential election. Now the social network is getting ready in case President Trump interferes once the vote is over.
Employees at the Silicon Valley company are laying out contingency plans and walking through postelection scenarios that include attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results, people with knowledge of Facebook’s plans said.
Facebook is preparing steps to take should Mr. Trump wrongly claim on the site that he won another four-year term, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Facebook is also working through how it might act if Mr. Trump tries to invalidate the results by declaring that the Postal Service lost mail-in ballots or that other groups meddled with the vote, the people said.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and some of his lieutenants have started holding daily meetings about minimizing how the platform can be used to dispute the election, the people said. They have discussed a “kill switch” to shut off political advertising after Election Day since the ads, which Facebook does not police for truthfulness, could be used to spread misinformation, the people said.
The preparations underscore how rising concerns over the integrity of the November election have reached social media companies, whose sites can be used to amplify lies, conspiracy theories and inflammatory messages. YouTube and Twitter have also discussed plans for action if the postelection period becomes complicated, according to disinformation and political researchers who have advised the firms.
The tech companies have spent the past few years working to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, when Russian operatives used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to inflame the American electorate with divisive messages. While the firms have since clamped down on foreign meddling, they are reckoning with a surge of domestic interference, such as from the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon and Mr. Trump himself.
In recent weeks, Mr. Trump, who uses social media as a megaphone, has sharpened his comments about the election. He has questioned the legitimacy of mail-in voting, suggested that people’s mail-in ballots would not be counted and avoided answering whether he would step down if he lost.
Alex Stamos, director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory and a former Facebook executive, said Facebook, Twitter and YouTube faced a singular situation where they “have to potentially treat the president as a bad actor” who could undermine the democratic process.
“We don’t have experience with that in the United States,” Mr. Stamos added.
Facebook may be in an especially difficult position because Mr. Zuckerberg has said the social network stands for free speech. Unlike Twitter, which has flagged Mr. Trump’s tweets for being factually inaccurate and glorifying violence, Facebook has said that politicians’ posts are newsworthy and that the public has the right to see them. Taking any action on posts from Mr. Trump or his campaign after the vote could open Facebook up to accusations of censorship and anticonservative bias.
In an interview with The New York Times this month, Mr. Zuckerberg said of the election that people should be “ready for the fact that there’s a high likelihood that it takes days or weeks to count this — and there’s nothing wrong or illegitimate about that.”
A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on its postelection strategy. “We continue to plan for a range of scenarios to make sure we are prepared for the upcoming election,” he said.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said, “President Trump will continue to work to ensure the security and integrity of our elections.”
Google, which owns YouTube, confirmed that it was holding conversations on postelection strategy but declined to elaborate. Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s vice president of public policy, said the company was evolving its policies to “better identify, understand and mitigate threats to the public conversation, both before or after an election.”
Facebook had initially focused on the run-up to the election — the period when, in 2016, most of the Russian meddling took place on its site. The company mapped out almost 80 scenarios, many of which looked at what might go wrong on its platform before Americans voted, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.
Facebook examined what it would do, for instance, if hackers backed by a nation-state leaked documents online, or if a nation-state unleashed a widespread disinformation campaign at the last minute to dissuade Americans from going to the polls, one employee said.
To bolster the effort, Facebook invited those in government, think tanks and academia to participate and conduct exercises around the hypothetical election situations.
An idea that came up during one exercise — that Facebook label posts from state media so users know they are reading government-sponsored content — was put into effect in June, said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, who joined the session.
“We can see that their policy decisions are being affected by these exercises,” he said.
But Facebook was less decisive on other issues. If a post suggested that mail-in voting was broken, or encouraged people to send in multiple copies of their mail-in ballots, the company would not remove the messages if they were framed as a suggestion or a question, one person who advised the company said. Under Facebook’s rules, it takes down only voting-related posts that are statements with obviously false and misleading information.
In recent months, Facebook turned more to postelection planning. That shift accelerated this month when Mr. Trump said more on the issue, two Facebook employees said.
“Nobody knows what’s happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots, I guess,” he said.
The next day, Mr. Trump broadened his attack, falsely stating that mail-in ballots lead to more voter fraud nationwide. “Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters,” he said. “They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases.”
Mr. Trump’s comments alarmed Facebook employees who work on protecting its site in the U.S. election. On the group’s internal chat channels, many wondered whether Mr. Trump would launch even more attacks against mail-in voting, one employee who saw the messages said. Some asked whether the president was violating Facebook’s rules against disenfranchising voters.
Those questions were ultimately sent to Mr. Zuckerberg, as well as top executives including Joel Kaplan, the global head of public policy, the employee said.
In a staff meeting later that week, Mr. Zuckerberg told employees that if political figures or commentators tried declaring victory in an election early, Facebook would consider adding a label to their posts explaining that the results were not final. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. Zuckerberg said the company was “in unprecedented territory with the president saying some of the things that he’s saying that I find quite troubling.” The meeting was reported earlier by BuzzFeed News.
Since then, executives have discussed the “kill switch” for political advertising, according to two employees, which would turn off political ads after Nov. 3 if the election’s outcome was not immediately clear or if Mr. Trump disputed the results.
The discussions remain fluid, and it is unclear if Facebook will follow through with the plan, three people close to the talks said.
In a call with reporters this month, Facebook executives said they had removed more than 110,000 pieces of content between March and July that violated the company’s election-related policies. They also said there was a lot about the election that they didn’t know.
“In this fast-changing environment, we are always sort of ‘red teaming’ and working with partners to understand what are the next risks?” said Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity at Facebook. “What are the different kinds of things that may go wrong?”
Twitter removes President Donald Trump’s post touting a false ‘cure’ for COVID-19
David JacksonUSA TODAY0:181:46https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.402.1_en.html#goog_770376405
WASHINGTON – In another battle between Twitter and the Trump administration, the social media company has taken action against President Donald Trump and his son for posts that promoted bogus cures for COVID-19.
Twitter removed a post that Trump had retweeted in which a doctor proclaims, without evidence, that “there is a cure” for the coronavirus.
Trump passed up the chance to criticize the social media giant, telling reporters at a White House news conference he did not know why Twitter and other companies removed the video in question.
“Maybe they had a good reason, maybe they didn’t,” he said.
Trump also defended the doctor who claimed there was a coronavorus cure (and has said that alien DNA is being used in medical treatments). “I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” he said.
Twitteralso restricted the account of Donald Trump, Jr., after removing a post in which doctors touted the alleged benefits of “hydroxychloroquine” in fighting the coronavirus. The president’s son was blocked from tweeting for 12 hours.
Protesting the decisions by Twitter, Trump Jr. spokesman Andrew Surabian said that “Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.”
Twitter, which has fact checked previous Trump tweets, said it was following its own rules prohibiting the dissemination of bad information about the virus that has claimed nearly 150,000 American lives.
The president’s re-tweet “was in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” Twitter said in statement.
As for the president’s son, Twitter sent a notice saying “we’ve temporarily limited some of your account features” for violating the policy on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
Most of the disputes revolve around efforts by Trump and allies to tout hydroxychloroquine, despite testimony from medical experts – including members of Trump’s own staff – that the anti-malaria drug is not effective in stopping the coronavirus.
There is no known cure for the coronavirus, as scientists across the globe scramble to develop a vaccine.
Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine in a series of retweets late Monday. They included the retweet of a post attacking Anthony Fauci, a key member of the coronavirus task force, for dismissing the value of drug.
In an interview Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Fauci said he agreed with the FDA’s assessment of hydroxychloroquine and added that “I have not been misleading the public under any circumstances.”
During the White House news conference, Trump defended his support of the drug hydroxychloroquine, noting he took it for a period of time earlier this year. “I happen to think it works in the early stages,” Trump said. “It’s safe – I had no problems … It didn’t get me.”
Twitter removed a Trump retweet of a post featuring a Houston doctor named Stella Immanuel.
The Daily Beast reported that Immanuel has also said that face masks aren’t necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and has also made claims “about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams.”
In defending the video, Trump said it included several doctors talking about hydroxychloroquine, and “I think they’re very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it and she’s had tremendous success with it.”
Also that month, Trump signed an executive order asking federal regulators to review laws that protect websites from legal liability, a move that in theory would make it easier for people to sue companies like Twitter.
Facebook and Twitter restrict Trump accounts over ‘harmful’ virus claim
6 August 2020
Facebook and Twitter have penalised Donald Trump and his campaign for posts in which the president claimed children were “almost immune” to coronavirus.
Facebook deleted the post – a clip from an interview Mr Trump gave to Fox News – saying it contained “harmful Covid misinformation”.
Twitter followed by saying it had frozen a Trump campaign account until a tweet of the same clip was removed.
US public health advice makes clear children have no immunity to Covid-19.
What did Facebook and Twitter say?
A Facebook spokesperson said on Wednesday evening: “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation.”
It was the first time the social giant had taken action to remove content posted by the president based on its coronavirus-misinformation policy, but not the first time it has penalised Mr Trump over content on his page.
Later on Wednesday, Twitter said it had frozen the @TeamTrump account because it posted the same interview excerpt, which President Trump’s account shared.
A Twitter spokesman said the @TeamTrump tweet “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation”.
“The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.”
It later appeared to have been deleted.
Twitter last month temporarily suspended Mr Trump’s son, Donald Jr, for sharing a clip it said promoted “misinformation” about coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine.
But in March, Twitter said a tweet by entrepreneur Elon Musk suggesting children are “essentially immune” to coronavirus did not break its rules.
“So few, they’ve got stronger, hard to believe, I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this.
“And they don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem.”
Mr Trump, who is running for re-election in November, also said of coronavirus: “This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away.”
How dangerous is coronavirus for children?
Children can catch and transmit the virus, but they run an extremely low risk of becoming ill from it.
Adults – and particularly older adults – are far more likely to be seriously ill and die from complications.
The largest study done so far, involving more than 55,000 hospital patients, found that only 0.8% were under the age of 19.
Half of all the people with confirmed coronavirus who were admitted to critical care units in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were 60 or older as of 31 July, according to a research charity.
A recent US study of coronavirus cases among 7,780 children from 26 countries found almost one in five patients had no symptoms. Another one in five developed lesions on their lungs during the infection.
In June, Facebook said it had removed adverts for President Trump’s re-election campaign that featured a symbol used in Nazi Germany.
The company said the offending ad contained an inverted red triangle similar to that used by the Nazis to label opponents such as communists.
Mr Trump’s campaign team said the far-left activist group antifa uses the symbol and it was a reference to them.
The ads, which were posted on the site on pages belonging to President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, were online for about 24 hours and had received hundreds of thousands of views before they were taken down.
Are US schools reopening amid pandemic?
Hundreds of school districts around the country have scrapped plans to reopen as coronavirus infections have spiked in a number of US states.
Some 20 of the nation’s largest 25 school districts have announced they will start remotely.
Among the schools that are not reopening is one attended by the president’s son, Barron Trump, in suburban Maryland.
St Andrew’s Episcopal School said in a letter to parents it would opt instead for virtual learning to protect the health of students, families and staff.
Last week Georgia’s largest school district, Gwinnett County, returned to school campuses to start planning for autumn reopening.
A day later, 260 employees had been told to stay away from their schools because they tested positive for coronavirus, or had been exposed to someone else who had the infection.
One of the first school districts in the nation to reopen, near Indianapolis, Indiana, had a student test positive on the first day.
The child’s parents had sent him to campus, knowing that his test result was pending, schools officials said.
Other students who had come within 6ft of the patient for more than 15 minutes were sent home to self-isolate for 14 days.
#Whistleblower#PortlandProtest Breaking: According to this @DHSgov internal email, obtained @CBSNews, former Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence & Analysis Brian Murphy wrote colleagues on July 25th that the Portland violence was not “opportunistic” but “organized” citing
Muriel Bowser said “WE – painted the mural” – WE – She IS acknowledging that she is a part of BLM – she is saying that she is part of an International organized terror coordinated syndicate. The FBI describes this in what they call TOC’s see below.
BLM is a SELF described INTERNATIONAL syndicate – they are TRANSNATIONAL
She is involved in an international terror org
The below is from the FBI regarding what constitutes Transnational organized crime
Transnational Organized Crime
The FBI is dedicated to eliminating transnational organized crime groups that pose the greatest threat to the national and economic security of the United States. The Bureau has found that even if key individuals in an organization are removed, the depth and financial strength of the organization often allow it to continue, so the FBI targets entire organizations responsible for a variety of criminal activities. The Bureau draws upon the experience, training, and proficiency of its agents; its partnerships within the intelligence and law enforcement communities; and its worldwide presence, using sustained, coordinated investigations and the criminal and civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Transnational organized crime (TOC) groups are self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate, wholly or in part, by illegal means and irrespective of geography. They constantly seek to obtain power, influence, and monetary gains. There is no single structure under which TOC groups function—they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks, and cells, and may evolve into other structures. These groups are typically insular and protect their activities through corruption, violence, international commerce, complex communication mechanisms, and an organizational structure exploiting national boundaries.
With few exceptions, TOC groups’ primary goal is economic gain and they will employ an array of lawful and illicit schemes to generate profit. Crimes such as drug trafficking, migrant smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, firearms trafficking, illegal gambling, extortion, counterfeit goods, wildlife and cultural property smuggling, and cyber crime are keystones within TOC enterprises. The vast sums of money involved can compromise legitimate economies and have a direct impact on governments through the corruption of public officials.
TOC groups may encompass both the Eastern and Western hemispheres and include persons with ethnic or cultural ties to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. These groups, however, are able to target victims and execute their schemes from anywhere in the world; thus, the extent of their presence within a particular area does not necessarily reflect the degree of the threat they pose.
With the increase of technology available around the world, TOC groups are more commonly incorporating cyber techniques into their illicit activities, either committing cyber crimes themselves or using cyber tools to facilitate other unlawful acts. Phishing, Internet auction fraud, and advanced fee fraud schemes allow criminals to target the United States without being present in the country. Technology also enables TOC groups to engage in traditional criminal activity, such as illegal gambling, but with a greater reach through use of the Internet and off-shore servers, thus expanding their global impact.
TOC poses a significant and growing threat to national and international security with dire implications for public safety, public health, democratic institutions, and economic stability across the globe. It jeopardizes our border security, endangers our health through human trafficking and counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and seeks to corrupt officials domestically and abroad. These threats also include criminal penetration of global energy and strategic material markets that are vital to national security interests, and logistical and other support to terrorists and foreign intelligence services.
Countering Transnational Organized Crime
To combat the ongoing threat posed by these groups, the FBI has a long-established—yet constantly evolving—transnational organized crime program dedicated to eliminating the criminal enterprises that pose the greatest threat to America. Dismantling and disrupting major international and national organized criminal enterprises is a longstanding area of Bureau expertise. The goal of the FBI is to bring down entire organizations, not just arrest select individuals.
The Bureau uses the RICO Act to expand criminal accountability for a number of “predicate offenses,” and to expand a single offense across multiple members of a criminal enterprise. Unlike typical investigations, which target a single criminal act, this multi-pronged approach allows the FBI to disrupt or dismantle the entire enterprise.
The FBI also employs a multifaceted approach to target TOC groups in an attempt to strategically remove their access to illegal proceeds, disable systems in place to accomplish their goals, and capture their members who often reside in safe haven countries.
Due to the transnational nature of these criminal enterprises, the FBI leverages political and law enforcement relationships domestically and abroad to combat the influence and reach of these organized crime groups. The Bureau deploys subject matter experts to international locations to develop strategies to address TOC matters impacting the region, as well as to identify targets of mutual interest.
The FBI also participates in selecting TOC groups to appear on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Top International Criminal Organizations Target (TICOT) List, and contributes to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) efforts to pursue criminal enterprises. Further, to pool resources and leverage technical and investigative expertise, the Bureau participates in many Organized Crime Task Forces consisting of state and local law enforcement partners in the U.S.
Glossary of Terms
The FBI defines a criminal enterprise as a group of individuals with an identified hierarchy, or comparable structure, engaged in significant criminal activity.
These organizations often engage in multiple criminal activities and have extensive supporting networks. The terms Organized Crime and Criminal Enterprise are similar and often used synonymously. However, various federal criminal statutes specifically define the elements of an enterprise that need to be proven in order to convict individuals or groups of individuals under those statutes.
The RICO statute, or Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1961(4), defines an enterprise as “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.”
The Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute, or Title 21 of the United States Code, Section 848(c)(2), defines a criminal enterprise as any group of six or more people, where one of the six occupies a position of organizer, a supervisory position, or any other position of management with respect to the other five, and which generates substantial income or resources, and is engaged in a continuing series of violations of subchapters I and II of Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code.
Transnational Organized Crime
Those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, and monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and/or violence, or while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms.
Significant Racketeering Activity
The FBI defines significant racketeering activities as those predicate criminal acts that are chargeable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. These are found in Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1961 (1) and include the following federal crimes:
Embezzlement of Union Funds
Obstruction of Justice
Murder for Hire
Sexual Exploitation of Children
Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods
Theft from Interstate Shipment
Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property
And the following state crimes:
Transnational Crime Threats and Programs
African Transnational Organized Crime Groups
African TOC groups have developed quickly since the 1980s due to the globalization of the world’s economies and the great advances in communications technology. Easier international travel, expanded world trade, and financial transactions that cross national borders have enabled them to branch out of local and regional crime to target international victims and develop criminal networks within more prosperous countries and regions. The political, social, and economic conditions in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia have helped some enterprises expand globally.
African criminal enterprises have been identified in several major metropolitan areas in the U.S., but are most prevalent in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, Newark, New York, and Washington, D.C. Nigerian criminal enterprises are the most significant of these groups and operate in more than 80 countries of the world, including the United States. They are among the most aggressive and expansionist international criminal groups and are primarily engaged in drug trafficking and financial frauds.
The most profitable activity of the Nigerian groups is drug trafficking—delivering heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia into Europe and the U.S., and cocaine from South America into Europe and South Africa. The associated money laundering has helped establish Nigerian criminal enterprises worldwide. Nigerian groups are also infamous for committing financial frauds globally. These schemes are diverse, targeting individuals, businesses, and government offices. Examples of these activities include insurance fraud involving auto accidents; healthcare billing scams; life insurance schemes; bank, check, and credit card fraud; advance-fee schemes, known as 4-1-9 letters; and document fraud to develop false identities. The advent of the Internet and e-mail has made their crimes more profitable and prevalent.
One such prevalent crime is Business E-mail Compromise (BEC), a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers or regularly performing wire transfer payments. The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or by computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfer of funds. Most victims report using checks as a common method of payment. The fraudsters will use the method most commonly associated with their victim’s normal business practice. Read more about Business E-mail Compromise.
Besides using the standard Enterprise Theory of Investigation (ETI) and RICO investigative tools, the FBI participates in different working groups and initiatives to combat African organized crime on an international level.
Balkan Transnational Organized Crime Groups
Balkan TOC groups are politically and financially motivated groups influenced by, associated with, or originating from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania. These organized crime groups cause significant financial harm to the United States each year.
Unlike traditional organized crime groups, Balkan groups do not appear to operate under a traditional hierarchy, but rather around ethnic associations and friendship ties. They also appear to be more agile, organic, and project-based. Balkan TOC groups are adept at adopting new technologies, thus increasing their ability to expand their criminal market base through cyber-enabled fraud. These groups engage in a myriad of criminal activity including passport fraud, access device fraud, identify theft, healthcare fraud, real estate fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, human smuggling, prostitution, and extortion.
Organized crime in the Balkans has its roots in the traditional clan structures. In these largely rural countries, people organized into clans with large familial ties for protection and mutual assistance. Starting in the 15th century, clan relationships operated under the kanun, or code, which values loyalty and besa, or secrecy. Each clan established itself in specific territories and controlled all activities in that territory. Protection of activities and interests often led to violence between the clans. The elements inherent in the structure of the clans provided the perfect backbone for what is considered modern-day Balkan organized crime.
Many years of communist rule led to black market activities in the Balkans, but the impact of these activities was limited to the region. When communism collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it led to the expansion of Balkan organized crime activities. Criminal markets once closed to Balkan groups suddenly opened, and this led to the creation of an international network. Within the Balkans, organized crime groups infiltrated the new democratic institutions, further expanding their profit opportunities.
Middle Eastern Transnational Organized Crime Groups
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has taken a new look at the various criminal threats originating in the Middle East and from Middle Eastern communities in the United States. The Bureau, and law enforcement in general, recognize that Middle Eastern criminal groups often have no direct nexus to terror. Rather, these groups frequently have the same goals as any traditional organized crime ring—to make money through illegal activities.
Criminal groups with associations to the Middle East have been active in the U.S. since at least the 1970s, particularly in areas with significant Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian populations. These organizations are typically loosely organized theft or financial fraud rings formed along familial or tribal lines, and include criminals from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. They typically use small storefronts as bases for criminal operations.
Middle Eastern transnational criminal organizations typically engage in automobile theft, financial fraud, money laundering, interstate transportation of stolen property, smuggling, drug trafficking, document fraud, health care fraud, identity fraud, cigarette smuggling, trademark counterfeiting and sales of counterfeit goods, and the theft and redistribution of infant formula. These enterprises rely on extensive networks of international criminal associates and can be highly sophisticated in their criminal operations. Middle Eastern criminal organizations often engage in joint criminal ventures with one another and across ethnic lines when there is potential profit.
Besides the standard ETI, OCDETF, and RICO investigative tools, the FBI participates in different working groups and initiatives to combat Middle Eastern TOC groups on an international level.
Asian Transnational Organized Crime Groups
Asian TOC groups have been operating in the United States since the early 1900s. The first of these groups evolved from Chinese tongs—social organizations formed by early Chinese-American immigrants. A century later, the criminalized tongs have been joined by similar organizations with ties to East and Southeast Asia.
Members of the most dominant Asian criminal enterprises affecting the U.S. have ties—either directly or culturally—to China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. However, other enterprises are emerging as threats, including groups from the South Pacific island nations. These enterprises rely on extensive networks of national and international criminal associates that are fluid and extremely mobile. They adapt easily to the changes around them, have multilingual abilities, can be highly sophisticated in their criminal operations, and have extensive financial capabilities. Some enterprises have commercialized their criminal activities and can be considered business firms of various sizes, from small family-run operations to large corporations.
Asian criminal enterprises have prospered thanks largely to the globalization of the world economies and to communications technology and international travel. Generous immigration policies have provided many members the ability to enter and live undetected on every populated continent in the world today. And there are two categories of Asian criminal enterprises: Traditional criminal enterprises include the Chinese triads (or underground societies) based in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, as well as the Japanese Yakuza or Boryokudan; and non-traditional criminal enterprises include groups such as Chinese criminally-influenced tongs, triad affiliates, and other ethnic Asian street gangs found in several countries with sizable Asian communities.
Asian criminal enterprises conduct traditional racketeering activities normally associated with organized crime—extortion, murder, kidnapping, illegal gambling, prostitution, and loansharking. They also smuggle aliens; traffic heroin and methamphetamine; commit financial frauds; steal autos and computer chips; counterfeit computer and clothing products; and engage in money laundering.
There are several trends among Asian criminal enterprises. First, it is more common to see criminal groups cooperate across ethnic and racial heritage lines. Second, some gangs and criminal enterprises have begun to structure their groups in a hierarchical fashion to be more competitive, and the criminal activities they engage in have become globalized. Finally, more of these criminal enterprises are engaging in white-collar crimes and are co-mingling their illegal activities with legitimate business ventures.
In the U.S., Asian criminal enterprises have been identified in more than 50 metropolitan areas. They are more prevalent in Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Besides the standard ETI, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and RICO investigative tools, the FBI participates in different working groups and initiatives to combat Asian organized crime on an international level.
Eurasian Transnational Organized Crime Groups
Eurasian TOC groups are politically and financially motivated organized crime groups influenced by, associated with, or originating from the former Soviet Union or Central Europe. These criminal groups continue to thrive outside their borders in numerous countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that Eurasian TOC groups have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to U.S. businesses, investors, and taxpayers.
Evidence and studies suggest Eurasian TOC groups no longer conform to the typical hierarchal structure of traditional organized crime groups, but instead are divided into supporting networks, or cells, each having a different function or responsibility while sharing a common overarching goal. This framework allows cells to operate independently, limiting their contact with members of the entire organization, thus protecting high level organized crime figures.
Eurasian TOC groups often engage in a myriad of criminal activity including healthcare fraud, securities and investment fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, extortion, auto theft, interstate transportation of stolen property, robbery, attempted murder, and murder.
The roots of Eurasian organized crime in the United States lie with the Vory V Zakone, or “thieves in law.” These are career criminals who banded together for support and profit in the Soviet prison system. During the Soviet period, their leaders, or “shop managers,” were illicitly paid a 30 percent margin to acquire scarce consumer goods and divert raw materials and finished goods from production lines for the benefit of Nomenklatura, or the educated elite, and criminals.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, members allied themselves with corrupt public officials to acquire the control of industries and resources that were being privatized. This gave the syndicate a one-time infusion of wealth and supplied the infrastructure for continuing cash flows and opportunities to launder criminal proceeds. In February 1993, Boris Yeltsin, the first elected president of the Federation of Russian States, said, “Organized crime has become the No. 1 threat to Russia’s strategic interests and to national security…Corrupted structures on the highest level have no interest in reform.”
Organized crime members first emerged in the West in the 1970s when Soviet Refuseniks were allowed to emigrate to Europe, Israel, and the United States. Among the Refuseniks were criminals who sought to exploit their new-found freedoms. These criminals helped the major criminal groups expand to the West when the Soviet Union collapsed and the people of the region were able to move about freely.
These groups based in the former Soviet Union have also defrauded newly formed governments of billions of dollars, as industries and resources formerly owned by the government have been privatized. They profit through tax-evasion schemes and using corrupt officials to embezzle government funds. Their activity threatens to destabilize the emerging political institutions and economies of the former Soviet Union, where nuclear weapons remain deployed. The potential political and national security implications of this destabilization cannot be ignored.
A suspect is arrested during a massive takedown of the Mafia in New York City and other East Coast cities in 2011.
Italian Organized Crime/Mafia
Since their appearance in the 1800s, Italian organized crime groups, broadly known as the Italian Mafia, have infiltrated the social and economic fabric of Italy and have become transnational in nature. Within Italy, there are four active groups: Cosa Nostra (Sicilian Mafia), Camorra, ’Ndrangheta, and Sacra Corona Unita. They are also known to collaborate with other international organized crime groups from all over the world to carry out their criminal activities.
In the United States, La Cosa Nostra originated with Cosa Nostra, and there are several Mafia groups operating in the United States under the La Cosa Nostra name. The FBI estimates the group has more than 3,000 members and associates scattered mostly throughout major cities in the Northeast, Midwest, California, and the South. Their largest presence centers around New York, southern New Jersey, and Philadelphia. The major threats to American society posed by these groups are drug trafficking—heroin, in particular—and money laundering. They also are involved in illegal gambling, political corruption, extortion, kidnapping, fraud, counterfeiting, murders, bombings, weapons trafficking, and the infiltration of legitimate businesses.
A Long History
These enterprises evolved over the course of 3,000 years during numerous periods of invasion and exploitation by numerous conquering armies in Italy. Over the millennia, Sicilians became more clannish and began to rely on familial ties for safety, protection, justice, and survival. An underground secret society formed initially as resistance fighters against the invaders and to exact frontier vigilante justice against oppression.
In Sicily, the word Mafia tends to mean “manly.” A member was known as a “man of honor,” respected and admired because he protected his family and friends and kept silent even unto death. Sicilians weren’t concerned if the group profited from its actions because it came at the expense of the oppressive authorities. These secret societies eventually grew into the Sicilian Mafia, and changed from a group of honorable Sicilian men to an organized criminal group in the 1920s.
La Cosa Nostra
La Cosa Nostra evolved from the Sicilian Mafia and is one of the foremost organized criminal threats to American society. Translated into English it means “this thing of ours.” It is a nationwide alliance of criminals—linked by blood ties or through conspiracy—dedicated to pursuing crime and protecting its members. It also is called the Mafia, a term used to describe other organized crime groups.
The LCN, as it is known by the FBI, consists of different “families” or groups that are generally arranged geographically and engaged in significant and organized racketeering activity. It is involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities: murder, extortion, drug trafficking, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, prostitution, pornography, tax-fraud schemes, and stock manipulation schemes.
The LCN is most active in the New York metropolitan area, parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and New England. The major LCN families include the five New York-based families—Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Luchese; the Newark-based DeCavalcante family; the New England LCN; the Philadelphia LCN; and the Chicago Outfit. They have members in other major cities and are involved in international crimes. Although the LCN has its roots in Italian organized crime, it has been a separate organization for many years. Today it cooperates in various criminal activities with different criminal groups that are headquartered in Italy.
LCN and Labor Racketeering
Labor racketeering is the domination, manipulation, and control of a labor movement in order to affect related businesses and industries. FBI investigations over the years have clearly demonstrated that labor racketeering costs the American public millions of dollars each year through increased labor costs that are eventually passed on to consumers. This crime has become one of the LCN’s fundamental sources of profit, national power, and influence. In addition to the LCN, the FBI has seen an increase in labor racketeering activities by other TOC groups.
Labor unions provide a rich source for organized criminal groups to exploit: their pension, welfare, and health funds. There are approximately 75,000 union locals in the U.S., and many of them maintain their own benefit funds. Labor racketeers attempt to control health, welfare, and pension plans by offering “sweetheart” contracts, peaceful labor relations, and relaxed work rules to companies, or by rigging union elections. Labor law violations occur primarily in large cities with both a strong industrial base and strong labor unions, like New York, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia. These cities also have a large presence of organized crime figures.
The FBI works closely with the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General and with the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in investigating violations of labor law. We also have several investigative techniques to root out labor law violations, including electronic surveillance, undercover operations, confidential sources, and victim interviews. Additionally, numerous criminal and civil statutes are at our disposal, primarily through the RICO statute.
The civil provisions of the RICO statute, especially the consent decrees, have proven to be very powerful weapons against labor racketeering. They are often more productive because they attack the entire corrupt entity instead of imprisoning individuals, who can easily be replaced with other organized crime members or associates. Consent decrees are most effective when there is long-term, systemic corruption at virtually every level of a labor union by criminal organizations. A civil RICO complaint and subsequent consent decree can restore democracy to a corrupt union by imposing civil remedies designed to eliminate such corruption and deter its re-emergence.
Since the early 1900s, Cosa Nostra has evolved into an international organized crime group. Some experts estimate it is the second largest organization in Italy. Based in Sicily, this group specializes in heroin trafficking, political corruption, and military arms trafficking—and also is known to engage in arson, frauds, counterfeiting, and other racketeering crimes.
The Sicilian Mafia is infamous for its aggressive assaults on Italian law enforcement officials. In Sicily the term “excellent cadaver” is used to distinguish the assassination of prominent government officials from the common criminals and ordinary citizens killed by the Mafia. High-ranking victims include police commissioners, mayors, judges, police colonels and generals, and Parliament members.
’Ndrangheta (Calabrian Mafia)
The word “’Ndrangheta” comes from Greek, meaning courage or loyalty. The ’Ndrangheta formed in the 1860s when a group of Sicilians was banished from the island by the Italian government. They settled in Calabria and formed small criminal groups.
’Ndrangheta has many cells, which are loosely connected family groups based on blood relationships and marriages. They specialize in kidnapping and political corruption, but also engage in drug trafficking, murder, bombings, counterfeiting, gambling, frauds, thefts, labor racketeering, loansharking, and alien smuggling.
Camorra (Neapolitan Mafia)
The Camorra first appeared in the mid-1800s in Naples, Italy, as a prison gang—the word “Camorra” means gang. Once released, members formed clans in cities and eventually grew into the largest of the Italian organized crime groups.
The Camorra made a fortune in reconstruction after an earthquake ravaged the Campania region in 1980. Now it specializes in cigarette smuggling and receives payoffs from other criminal groups for any cigarette traffic through Italy. The Camorra is also involved in money laundering, extortion, alien smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, and counterfeiting.
Sacra Corona Unita
Law enforcement became aware of the Sacra Corona Unita—translated to “United Sacred Crown”—in the late 1980s. Like other groups, it started as a prison gang. As its members were released, they settled in the Puglia region of Italy and continued to grow and form links with other Mafia groups.
The Sacra Corona Unita specializes in smuggling cigarettes, drugs, arms, and people. It is also involved in money laundering, extortion, and political corruption. The organization collects payoffs from other criminal groups for landing rights on the southeast coast of Italy, a natural gateway for smuggling to and from post-Communist countries like Croatia, Albania, and the former Yugoslavia.
Western Hemisphere Organized Crime
The FBI remains focused on efforts to counter transnational criminal threats originating from the western hemisphere—in particular, in three critical areas of criminal activity known as the source zone (where the activity originates), the transit zone (the areas through which the activity passes), and the retail zone (the activity’s ultimate destination).
Source zone countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia account for all the coca harvested in the world, while Mexico is the largest producer of heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the western hemisphere. The paramount crime issue in the source zone is the production of illicit narcotics, followed by money laundering, alien smuggling, illegal weapons trafficking, and human trafficking. The transnational criminal organizations enriched and empowered by these activities are responsible for much of the violence in this zone.
The transit zone is comprised of Mexico and Central American countries, primarily Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. The various Central American gangs and other regional groups are involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and the trafficking of firearms. Due to escalating Mexican law enforcement attention against transnational criminal organizations in that country, Central American drug flow has increased dramatically in the last decade. The resulting displacement of criminal activity and attendant violence from Mexico to other countries in this zone underscores the need for coordinated regional strategies to address transnational criminal activities, so that one country’s success does not negatively impact another’s. Also, the islands of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, can be considered points of concern for similar reasons.
The retail zone comprises the United States and Canada. The U.S. provides the largest drug consumption market in the western hemisphere while Canada serves two roles—as both a destination and transit country for illicit activities including drug smuggling and global alien smuggling.
To combat the activities of Mexican, Central American, and South American transnational criminal organizations—including illicit finance and money laundering activities and the flow of illegal drugs—the FBI works side-by-side with its numerous domestic and international partners to infiltrate, disrupt, and dismantle these groups by targeting their leadership and using sensitive investigative and intelligence techniques in long-term, proactive investigations.
International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center
On May 29, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the creation of the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2), which marshals the resources and information of nine U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as federal prosecutors, to collectively combat the threats posed by international criminal organizations to domestic safety and security. The IOC-2 allows partner agencies to join together in a task force setting, combine data, and produce actionable leads for investigators and prosecutors working nationwide to combat international organized crime, and to coordinate the resulting multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions.
The members participating in the IOC-2 include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); U.S. Secret Service (USSS); U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS); U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General (DOL-OIG); and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Criminal Division.
The mission of the IOC-2 is to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations posing the greatest threat to the United States by (1) providing de-confliction and coordination of multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency, and multi-national law enforcement operations, investigations, prosecutions, and forfeiture proceedings; (2) identifying and analyzing all source information and intelligence related to transnational organized crime; and (3) disseminating such information and intelligence to support member agency investigative efforts.
According to the U.S. Law Enforcement Strategy to Combat International Organized Crime (IOC Strategy) released in April 2008 by DOJ, international organized crime has considerably expanded in presence, sophistication, and significance in recent years and it now threatens many aspects of how Americans live, work, and do business. These threats include criminal penetration of global energy and strategic material markets that are vital to American national security interests; logistical and other support to terrorists and foreign intelligence services; the use of cyberspace to target U.S. persons and infrastructure; and the manipulation of securities markets and financial institutions.
Major Theft Crimes
Major theft crimes caused by transnational, national, and regionally based criminal enterprises have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy, not only contributing to the rise of consumer prices, but also to the loss of tax revenues to states and communities. Major theft crimes may support terrorism-related funding and are directly related to organized crime groups, drug trafficking organizations, gang criminal enterprises, and illegal alien groups. Groups that commit major thefts also engage in other criminal acts, including violent crimes, fraud, money laundering, wire and mail fraud, intellectual property crime, and public corruption.
The FBI focuses its resources on the most egregious major theft activity which crosses state and sometimes international lines, particularly thefts of art, cargo, jewelry and gems, retail, and vehicles. Often working side by side with state and local law enforcement on task forces and in partnership with many industry groups, the FBI uses sophisticated techniques, including undercover operations and court-authorized surveillance, to identify and dismantle the criminal networks that commit these major thefts.
Art theft is the illicit trade in art and cultural artifacts includes theft of individual works of art, illegal export of objects protected by international laws, and pillaging of archaeological sites. The art and cultural property community estimates thefts to be about $500 million annually. It is an international problem requiring cooperation at all levels of law enforcement. Significant efforts are currently focused on ISIL looting and trafficking in cultural property to fund their terrorist agenda.
Although tremendous strides have been made to combat cultural property crime, intelligence reveals this is a growing global threat, demanding proactive FBI measures and resources. To aid in this endeavor, the FBI established the National Stolen Art File (NSAF)–a computerized index of stolen art and cultural property as reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. and internationally–and the Art Crime Team, responsible for addressing art and cultural crime cases.
Cargo theft is a significant crime problem in the U.S. According to industry estimates, annual losses attributed to stolen cargo are estimated to be in excess of $30 billion and greatly affect US, interstate, and international commerce. Widespread cargo theft has also given rise to concomitant offenses such as robbery, kidnapping, homicide, interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles, drug trafficking, health care fraud, money laundering and insurance fraud.
Despite the creation of a national cargo theft definition and subsequent addition of a cargo theft category in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, UCR reporting of cargo theft remains at a fraction of estimated cargo theft activity nationally. Cargo theft is identified as a high priority due to its adverse economic impact, negative impact on the retail supply chain, disruptive nature on the flow of commerce, and the potential for significant health and safety implications. Health and safety implications focus heavily on a concern for the theft of food and beverage consumables, health and beauty aids, and prescription and over-the-counter medicines and pharmaceuticals.
Jewelry and Gem Theft
Jewelry and gem thefts are often committed by organized criminal enterprises consisting of sophisticated thieves and organized fences for the stolen property. The jewelry and gem industry sustains estimated annual losses in excess of $1.5 billion. In some cases, these crimes resulted in serious physical injury or death. Jewelry and gem theft investigations can be extremely complex, national or international in scope, and require a specialized knowledge of the jewelry industry and how it operates.
As part of these investigations, the FBI liaisons with the jewelry industry and police departments, coordinates multi-divisional investigations, assists the field offices and Legal Attaché offices overseas in JAG-related investigations, and supports an industry-owned and operated database, which is available to all law enforcement from the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
Industry experts estimate that organized retail crimes cost the U.S. approximately $30 billion each year. While that estimate includes other crimes like credit card fraud, gift card fraud, and price tag switching, other forms of theft may threaten consumer health and safety as stolen food products, pharmaceuticals, and other items are not maintained under proper conditions or labeled so may be less effective or hazardous when used by unsuspecting consumers. Organized retail theft causes higher prices for American consumers and less sales tax revenue for state and local governments.
The FBI focuses on the most significant retail theft cases involving the interstate transportation of stolen property as organized retail theft is a gateway crime, which major crime rings use the illicit proceeds to fund other crimes, such as organized crime activities, health care fraud, money laundering, and potentially terrorism. The FBI uses many of the same investigative techniques against organized retail theft groups that it uses against any criminal enterprise and partners with law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels in order to share intelligence and work together operationally.
From 2011 through 2015, reported vehicle thefts averaged just under 707,000 per year. Industry experts estimate that vehicle thefts account for $4.95 billion in losses annually. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates a national recovery rate of approximately 50-60 percent, making the average annual realized loss over $2 billion. In addition to the adverse economic impact, vehicle theft and its associated national and international criminal enterprises have been identified as having a strong nexus to threat financing where the vehicles are used as a medium or currency for worldwide financial transactions relating to drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, and RICO violations.
With a majority of stolen vehicles occurring in cities and states in close proximity to export areas such as international borders and seaports; it is believed that many unrecovered stolen vehicles are exported to Mexico and countries in Central America, Eastern Europe, West Africa, and Asia. The FBI focuses its limited resources on disrupting and dismantling the most sophisticated multi-jurisdictional criminal organizations responsible for the interstate and international trafficking of stolen vehicles, especially those that use the criminal proceeds from vehicle theft to fund other criminal activity.
It looks like the United States Post Office is getting in the business of voting.
It has recently been unearthed that he USPS filed for a patent on February 7, 2020 for a “Secure Voting System” that uses a blockchain access layer. Obviously, this could be one of the strongest signals of a welcome adaptation to blockchain by the U.S. government since blockchain was thrust on the map by Bitcoin.
“A voting system can use the security of blockchain and the mail to provide a reliable voting system,” the patent application says. “A registered voter receives a computer readable code in the mail and confirms identity and confirms correct ballot information in an election. The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.”
The “United States Postal Service” is listed as the applicant on the application.
“Voters generally wish to be able to vote for elected officials or on other issues in a manner that is convenient and secure,” the application says. “Further, those holding elections wish to be able to ensure that election results have not been tampered with and that the results actually correspond to the votes that were cast. In some embodiments, a blockchain allows the tracking of the various types of necessary data in a way that is secure and allows others to easily confirm that data has not been altered.”
Equally as interesting as the patent itself is the fact that the application was filed before the coronavirus had wreaked total havoc on the country and long before the idea of mail in voting was being tossed around by pundits and the mainstream media on the daily.
InfoWars is in contact with Millie Weaver. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops. To support her, please visit Ezra Levant’s Go Fund Me: https://gf.me/u/yqjnrk
The swamp is a multifaceted flora and fauna. Shadowgate is the tool. To understand the tools we have to know who is using the tools as well. The Wexner inclusion is necessary to understand that the players go far back. Farther than even Soros.
Head of the Snake – Wexner, Maxwell’s, Mossad & Mega Group Exposed
Court orders Wexner documents unsealed in Jeffrey Epstein-related case against Dershowitz
By Kevin G. Hall, Miami Herald, Tribune News ServicePosted Aug 12, 2020 at 7:39 AM
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered the unsealing and release of correspondences from attorneys for celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz and retail magnate Leslie Wexner, who developed Victoria’s Secret into a worldwide brand, in a defamation case that is likely to reveal more about the secretive life of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled Monday that there was no cause to conceal the legal requests and responses and set an Aug. 17 date for a hearing on whether Wexner can be forced to testify in a defamation case involving one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
———————me—a bit of research on Loretta Preska——–
ca. Apr. 15, 2001, C.I.A. whistleblower Susan Lindauer warned American senior leadership that “I first learned of the 9/11 Conspiracy from my CIA handler, Dr. Richard Fuisz, in mid-April, 2001.”Lindauer Affidavit, Tr. 3:22-24.
Lindauer testified: “Throughout the summer of 2001, we were convinced the Twin Towers would be demolished, using a combination of explosives with the airplanes.” Tr. 6:8-10.
“I made one fatal mistake. I requested to testify through proper channels … I should have known better than to trust Congress. Thirty days after I phoned the Offices of John McCain and Senator Trent Lott, I woke to find the FBI pounding on my front door. At that point, I gained a new distinction as the second non-Arab American arrested on the Patriot Act, facing secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimonay. I was held under indictment for five years without a Trial–and thrown in prison on Carswell Air Foce Base in Texas for a year, without a hearing.” Tr. 18:4-5; 17-25. C.I.A. Whisteblower Susan Lindauer: “To Washington’s greatest shame, the Patriot Act, which Congress proclaimed a key judicial weapon to break up terrorism in the United States, was first used to stop a whistle blower from telling the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.” Tr. 18: 26-30. As a result of this testimony Lindauer was declared mentality unfit—a tactic thought to have passed into history after it was exposed as a commonly used way to muzzle dissent in the former Soviet Union, replete with corrupt judges willing to falsely imprison targets on fabricated KGB charges. In Lindauer’s case, her C.I.A.-compliant Judge Mukasey became Bush Jr.’s Attorney General as a reward.
To silence Lindauer’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission, Lindaeur was only the second non-Arab to be prosecuted under The Patriot Act. She was arrested on Mar. 11, 2004 and assigned to the corrupt Southern District of New York and Judge Michael B. Mukasey. George Bush later appointed Mukasey as Attorney General on Nov. 09, 2007.
Lindauer was held without a trial or even a hearing at Carswell Air Force Base (incarcerated in 2005) and ruled to be mentally unfit to stand trial. . The government tried to administer psychtropic drugs to further incapacate her frstimony on 9/11. She was released to Judge Loretta Preska in 2007. In 2008, a blogger began publicizing her illegal incarceration. The government dropped charges on Jan. 15, 2009. She published a book on her ordeal titled Extreme Prejudice and is now a government corruption critic
Preska wrote that she saw “no reason for that correspondence to remain under seal,” and told the parties to file their respective letters on the public docket, which happened Monday afternoon. The documents show that Dershowitz alleges that Giuffre — who is suing him for defamation — is trying to extort money from him because of his relationship as a longtime friend to and lawyer for Epstein. And Dershowitz wants Wexner and his attorney John Zeiger to testify that they had privately settled a similar claim threatened by Giuffre.
Dershowitz, who is countersuing Giuffre, was not only friends with Epstein, but as his lawyer was instrumental in negotiating a non-prosecution agreement more than a decade ago that absolved Epstein, his close associates and unnamed others of potential federal charges of sex trafficking.
The deal, blessed by then-U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida Alexander Acosta, proved highly controversial, and last year the U.S. attorney for Southern New York ignored it as he filed sex trafficking charges against the multimillionaire. Epstein was found dead by hanging in his jail cell as he awaited trial, scuttling efforts by the feds to have him implicate other prominent men.
In a June 23 letter to the judge, attorneys for Dershowitz noted they had served subpoenas in June on Wexner and Zeiger, and asked Preska to compel them to provide for “the production of a small number of documents directly relevant to the central allegation in this case that Plaintiff [Giuffre] falsely accused Professor Dershowitz of sexual abuse as part of a scheme to extort Wexner.”
Giuffre is the most prominent of the numerous women alleging sexual abuse while underage at the hands of Epstein. She says she was lured to Epstein by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested on July 2, and forced into sexual servitude over a four-year-period, coerced into sleeping with powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew and Dershowitz. Both men deny the claim.
In her response, Giuffre argued through a lawyer that Dershowitz has made the false allegation against her and for that reason she too wants to ask questions of Wexner.
“Defendant has put Leslie Wexner at the heart of his false and defamatory claims that Plaintiff and her counsel were engaged in an extortion plot to extract money from wealthy associates of Jeffrey Epstein by allegedly falsely naming the Defendant,” Charles J. Cooper, attorney with the firm Cooper & Kirk, which represents Giuffre in the defamation case, wrote in a July 28 letter to Preska.
Giuffre’s attorney zeroed in on the Dershowitz claim that Wexner was framed for financial reasons.
“For this reason, Plaintiff was likewise planning on seeking relevant documents and testimony from Mr. Wexner and Mr. Zeiger. Plaintiff, therefore, respectfully requests that the Court allow these depositions to proceed,” he wrote.
Wexner, now 83 and largely out of public view, is fighting to stay out of this matter. Epstein for a long stretch managed Wexner’s personal finances and those of his family charities. At one point, Epstein had broad power-of-attorney over the finances of Wexner, who grew wealthy through groundbreaking retail brands, including The Limited and Victoria’s Secret. Dershowitz is asking Judge Preska to compel Wexner to provide information on any correspondence between Wexner or Zeiger with Giuffre and her lawyers, past and present.
Through his attorney Zeiger, Wexner said he has no relevant information that could be used in a trial. No correspondence from Zeiger was released by the judge, but Dershowitz’s lawyers included a lengthy back-and-forth email chain that showed Wexner would cooperate only if compelled.
Lawyers for Dershowitz told the judge he was not worried about trial right now, just a legal stage called discovery, the pre-trial process where each side can seek obtain evidence that the other claims to have.
“Professor Dershowitz will address the admissibility of testimony obtained from Wexner at the appropriate time, upon a complete discovery record including being able to offer the Court Wexner’s actual testimony, as opposed to his lawyer’s self-serving characterization of what it will be,” Howard M. Cooper, an attorney with Todd & Weld, which is representing Dershowitz, wrote in a July 31 letter to the judge unsealed Monday.
Preska ordered the parties to discuss what exactly they are seeking from each other and file briefs with her by Thursday, four days before she hears them in a telephonic hearing.
——————-me–this article relates to what may ACTUALLY come out of this hearing
Likud Lawmaker Accuses Wexner Foundation of ‘Poisoning the Minds’ of Beneficiaries
Karhi accuses U.S.-based foundation of ‘clear left-wing bias,’ alleging that its funding came from late convicted sex offender Jeffrey EpsteinShare in FacebookShare in TwitterSend in e-mailSend in e-mailZen ReadPrint article
Karhi at a session of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, in June 2020.Credit: Knesset spokesperson / Shmulik GrosmanJonathan LisGet email notification for articles from Jonathan LisFollowPublished on 15.07.2020
The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on the activities in Israel of the U.S.-based Wexner Foundation, during which a right-wing lawmaker accused the foundation of political bias and “poisoning the minds” of program participants.
The session, which was convened at the request of Likud Knesset member Shlomo Karhi, officially dealt with cooperation between Israel and the foundation, which funds a program to train senior members of the Israeli public service. In practice, however, Karhi sought to undermine the foundation’s operations.
At the hearing, Karhi accused the foundation of working to spread “anti-democratic poison that will infiltrate the minds of our most senior civil servants.” The foundation, he alleged, “has a clear left-wing bias.” The cost of the program per student, he claimed, is 1 million shekels ($291,000). “Won’t any of the graduates feel obligated to [the foundation] for many years?” he asked.
Karhi also made reference to the millions of shekels which, according to reports, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak received from the foundations for studies that he was commissioned to carry out. “Did Barak do anything for the foundation at the Defense Ministry?” Karhi insinuated. “Did the foundation ask him to do anything for it?”
Karhi also raised allegations of the involvement of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in the Columbus, Ohio-based foundation, stating that Epstein had been a vice president of the foundation. Karhi added that, despite denials from the foundation that Epstein personally contributed to the foundation, there is documentation that he contributed at least $9.5 million.
“Would anyone think it appropriate for Israel to receive support from a foundation whose resources came from pedophiles?” the Likud lawmaker asked.
Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset member Eli Avidar slammed Karhi over his allegations, questioning the reliability of his information and adding that “defaming the graduates of the foundation is a crime.”
The Wexner Foundation issued a statement in response to condemn “the delegitimization campaign that aims to harm the program its mission to enrich the senior management in public service.”
“The foundation management disgustedly rejects the claim that the foundation functions from any political considerations, and that can be attested to by hundreds of graduates from various backgrounds and points of view,” the foundation said. “The Wexner Foundation management sees this as a worrying and serious attempt to harm a foundation that from its inception has acted from pure Zionistic motivations and will make every effort to ensure that the public service training program, among the most successful and high-quality in Israel, will continue for many years to come.”
The Wexner Foundation was founded in 1980 and among its other activities runs training programs for senior Israeli public servants in cooperation with Harvard University. The graduates of the program reportedly include Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and former State Prosecutor Moshe Lador.
Over the past two years, the foundation has come under major attack from the Israeli right-wing with allegations that it is “engineering” the outlook of the program’s graduates and encouraging left-wing views among senior public servants in Israel.
Another focus of the criticism is the $2.9 million in consulting fees that the foundation reportedly paid Barak. Following several years in which Barak and the foundation refused to provide details about what services were rendered in exchange, last week the foundation disclosed that one of Barak’s studies related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while another, on the subject of leadership, was never completed. The content of the research has not been released.
No need for communist China to invade. Victoria’s police have already raised the dictatorship’s flag over a police station in a heavily Chinese suburb. And guess who came to cut the cake to celebrate the dictatorship’s birthday? Why, it’s Gladys Liu, the Liberal MP tied to China’s propaganda arm. My editorial from The Bolt Report.