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Hackers Target US Nuclear Weapons Agency in Massive Cyber Attack

“This is a developing situation.”

Elias Marat

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A major cyber espionage attack has hit a number of U.S. federal agencies, including networks belonging to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Department of Energy (DOE), which are responsible for maintaining the country’s massive stockpile of nuclear weapons.

On Thursday, officials swiftly began coordinating notifications about the security breach to congressional oversight bodies following a briefing by DOE Chief Information Officer Rocky Campione, reports Politico.

Authorities were alarmed after suspicious activity was detected in a number of networks belonging to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as well as the Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington. Networks belonging to the Office of Secure Transportation and Richland Field Office of the Department of Energy were also reportedly breached.

Officials close to the incident claim that hackers were able to do more damage at FERC than the other networks, according to the report.

Authorities have scoured the networks to ascertain how much data has been accessed or stolen, but officials are still largely in the dark about the extent to which government networks have been compromised. According to the report, officials at DOE could take weeks to understand how much damage was wrought by the attacks.

It is believed that the attack on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could have been part of a broader attempt to disrupt the U.S. electric grid. While FERC isn’t involved in the direct management of power flows, the data it stores could potentially reveal the most critical locations in case of future attacks.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, on the other hand, is the key agency tasked with managing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and its operations take up the bulk of the DOE budget. Likewise, the Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories are critical sites where atomic research related to both nuclear weapons and civil nuclear power takes place. The Office of Secure Transportation is in charge of moving enriched uranium and other material related to the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

Federal officials have expressed concern about the breach, which is feared to have impacted computer systems not only in the U.S. and across the globe. So far, Russian hackers tied to the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) are being looked at as the most likely culprit. However, Moscow has denied any involvement in the attacks.

The attack on DOE networks appears to signal the potent threat posed by hackers even when they are up against core components of the U.S. national security enterprise.

It is believed that the hackers were able to compromise the federal networks by exploiting security flaws in the networking software sold by IT company SolarWinds, which has hundreds of clients across the U.S. government and the private sector.

On Thursday, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an ominous warning about a significant computer intrusion, noting that it “poses a grave risk” to governments on the federal, state, and local levels.

On Wednesday, the FBI, CISA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement acknowledging their collaboration in an “ongoing” cybersecurity campaign, noting that they had only begun their work in earnest in recent days after learning of the incident.

“This is a developing situation, and while we continue to work to understand the full extent of this campaign, we know this compromise has affected networks within the federal government,” the statement explained.

News

Adam Toledo: Chicago Police Video Shows 13-Year-Old’s Hands Were Up When Cops Shot Him

Elias Marat

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The Chicago Police Department has released gruesome footage depicting the moment that police officers fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo while his hands were up.

In new bodycam footage from the March 29 slaying, an officer pursuing Toledo can be heard shouting at the young boy to show his “f*cking hands” before shooting him a single time, leaving the boy covered in blood and gasping for air.

While the officer can be heard shouting “drop it,” the teenager appeared to have empty hands when he raised his arms in the moment before he was shot. Video also shows officers discovering a handgun near the scene.

Adam was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The video released Thursday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability the footage from the officer who shot Toledo, along with 16 other body-warn camera video clips, two recordings of 911 calls, an incident report, and a response report, along with other materials.

The mother of Adam, Elizabeth Toledo, reported the boy one week prior to the shooting, although he did return hom on March 27 before leaving that night, reports WBEZ.  Because Adam did not have any form of identification, the family wasn’t informed by police about his death until March 31. In a GoFundMe page set up by Elizabeth, it was noted that one of Adam’s “dreams was to become a police officer.”

“It weighs heavy on our hearts to be planning our last goodbyes instead of watching him grow up and live out those dreams,” the family noted on the page.

The child has been described as having a “big imagination” and was a fan of children’s shows and zombie movies.

“Adam was really into zombies. And the zombie apocalypse. He even had this zombie apocalypse bag packed and ready to go. Some of his favorite movies and TV shows were ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Cars,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’” Elizabeth told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appealed for calm over the release of the gruesome footage while businesses in the area have boarded up their windows in anticipation of large protests.

“We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,” the mayor told reporters. “So while we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain.”

The release of the video comes amid continuing anger and grief over the April 11 shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

It also comes as authorities fear a new wave of protests as communities await the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May after kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

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Music

Lil Nas X Song Is #1 In Saudi Arabia, Where Homosexuality Is Illegal Under Sharia Law

Elias Marat

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Lil Nas X has been on top of the world for weeks now, whether it’s living rent-free in the heads of homophobes or topping the Billboard charts after his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” dominated playlists.

And ironically, the anthem has become the most-played song in Saudi Arabia, the conservative kingdom where open expressions of same-sex love and even private acts of gay sex are punishable by death.

The song, whose video features the artist giving Satan himself a lap dance have dominated news conversations all over the globe, smashed through to the top of the Billboard Global 200, which ranks top tracks in over 200 territories, on Monday.

According to Apple Music, the song is also leading Saudi Arabia’s top 100 charts as the most-played song in the country.

Apparently overjoyed by the ranking, Lil Nas X tweeted: “WE NUMBER 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA WTF LETS GOOOO”

The autocratic kingdom, which has long been governed by a strict yet uncodified interpretation of Sharia law, has an atrocious record on LGBTQ rights and classifies homosexuality as a variety of extremism. N many circumstances, gay sex is punishable by death.

As the Human Dignity Trust explains, “The punishment varies depending on the circumstances: married men and interfaith sex are punished with the death penalty, while non-married men are punished with flogging. Sharia law principles underpinning the criminal law in Saudi Arabia also impose strict dress codes that impact on the gender expression of transgender people.”

However, this does not mean that Saudi citizens abstain from these “illicit” acts. As one fan wrote on Twitter: Period!!!! Let’s correct the narrative about the Middle East! Shoutout Saudi Arabia.”

However, another user responded: “I lived in Saudi Arabia my whole [life] and if I come out I will literally get stoned and people will be happy about it, saying it’s a ‘narrative’ doesn’t help anyone in the contrary, the middle IS homophobic and change NEEDS to happen.”

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Corruption

Cop Who ‘Accidentally’ Killed Daunte Wright Arrested on 2nd-Degree Manslaughter Charges

Elias Marat

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The former Minnesota cop who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop will now face charges of second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor announced on Wednesday.

The brutal killing of Wright, which comes amid the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for last May’s killing of George Floyd, threatens to spark a new round of nationwide protests against police brutality and discriminatory policing.

On Wednesday, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput confirmed that Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, would be charged.

On Wednesday morning, agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Potter, the bureau announced in a statement.

Potter was taken into custody in St. Paul and will be booked at Hennepin County jail.

On Tuesday, Potter resigned as demands for justice for Wright reverberated nationwide. Her resignation coincided with that of the city’s former police chief, who claims that Potter accidentally grabbed her Glock when she thought she was reaching for her Taser during the Sunday traffic stop.

Wright’s family and attorneys have rejected the claim that Wright’s death was merely the result of an “accident” and are demanding accountability and sweeping reforms of policing in Minnesota.

Potter could face up to 10 years in prison along with a $20,000 fine, per Minnesota law.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back,” said Wright family attorney Ben Crump in a statement.

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force,” the statement added.

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