Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Federal judge in Hawaii blocks Trump's 3rd travel ban

donald trump

A federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday granted a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump's third travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect at midnight on October 18.

Trump issued a proclamation last month restricting travel to the US from nationals of eight countries, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, Chad, Libya, and North Korea.

Those restrictions came after the first two iterations of the travel ban, which targeted majority-Muslim nations, faced court challenges.

Trump's newest proclamation, issued on September 24, replaced the outright ban with travel restrictions tailored on a country-by-country basis.

One of the lawyers on the case, Neal Katyal, tweeted, "We have just won."

Read the full order below:

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

SEE ALSO: Trump renews travel ban with restrictions targeting new countries

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Construction has started on a prototype of Trump's border wall

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How the US got its first big break against the Cali cartel — in a bathtub in Queens, New York

New York City heroin lab drugs

In the early 1970s, the newly formed US Drug Enforcement Administration was focused on heroin, and its agents spent little time on cocaine.

"We really were not pursuing it like we should have," Mike Vigil, who joined the agency a few months after it was created in mid-1973, told Business Insider, in part because it "didn't have the social impact" that heroin did.

Cocaine was often seen as "kiddie dope" and not significant enough to go after, said Vigil, who would eventually serve as chief of international operations for the DEA before he retired.

A drug-abuse task force set up by President Gerald Ford in late 1975 said cocaine was not a problem, as it was "not physically addictive … and usually does not result in serious social consequences, such as crime, hospital emergency room admissions, or both"

But cocaine's prevalence would only grow; by 1979 at least 20% of Americans said they had used it in the past year. And with US authorities focused elsewhere, cocaine traffickers jockeyed to supply a burgeoning market, building networks between South America and the US.

Perhaps the most well-known traffickers of the period were those of Medellin cartel, who funneled immense amounts of cocaine to the US, mainly to South Florida, in the 1970s and 1980s. But the Cali cartel also gained a foothold in the US, focusing on New York City, were its operations went largely unnoticed for most of the 1970s.

New York City cocaine drug bust police DEA

Cali's point man for New York was Jose Santacruz Londono, a cofounder of the cartel. The DEA wasn't aware of his operations in the the city in the mid-1970s, but in summer 1978, the agency's New York City branch office got a letter from a citizen's committee in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood in Queens, expressing concern about growing violence and crime in the area related to cocaine trafficking.

The letter didn't have much impact, as the DEA was still focused on heroin at that point.

"The agency thought the drug was small time," said Ken Robinson, who was a member of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which was set up in 1970 to coordinate drug investigations among government and law-enforcement agencies, according to Ron Chepesiuk's 2003 book, "The Bullet or the Bribe: Taking Down Colombia's Cali Drug Cartel."

"So they turned the matter over to the NYDETF for investigation," Robinson said.

Jose Santacruz Londono Cali cartel Colombia

Detectives following up on the letter didn’t expect much, as other cocaine operations had been very low-tech, usually involving bundles of the drug thrown off ships, picked up, and sold in bars.

But the task force's investigation began to gain steam in September 1978, when a Colombian man walked into their office and described a cocaine ring stretching from South America to Queens.

It had an unlimited supply of the drug, he said, and its members used beepers to communicate. He eventually tipped officers off to a drug sale, which yielded a kilo brick of cocaine and a suspect.

Another suspect, a man in a red Chevy Impala, got away. A dogged investigation of the missing car turned up more than 50 parking violations. Those tickets led the officers to another car, a blue Buick, which in turn led officers back to the red Chevy, which was parked nearby. The officers found that the suspects had swapped the license plates of the blue Buick and the red Chevy, and the NYDETF's investigation accelerated.

The officers got few resources from their superiors, but they pursued the case in their free time, doing surveillance on the two cars around the clock. In the process they began to understand the scope of the cocaine problem in Jackson Heights; dealers walked the streets with no fear of arrest, and many sold openly from their cars.

In October, the task force seized six pounds of cocaine and some financial ledgers, which revealed that their suspects were making at least a million dollars a month — a stunning figure previously only associated with the heroin trade.

New York City cocaine drug bust police

In January 1978, the officers identified a major player in the organization, Jose Patino. Surveillance on Patino led the officers to a number of apartments, some of which appeared to be used infrequently, if at all. In July, they sped to one apartment after getting word their suspect was there. They stopped him, and he agreed to a search of the apartment, apparently unaware of his rights.

Inside they found the man’s bag had a money-counting machine and rubber bands. More searching turned up rent receipts for more apartments.

Searches at one of those apartments turned up more false identification documents, but it was the discovery at an apartment on Burns Court that left the detectives staggering.

They kicked down the door, and the occupants were gone, but inside the smell of cocaine was almost overpowering. "The windows were barred and the agents couldn’t open them. Some of them left the apartment to get some air," Chepesiuk writes. "The rugs were infested with coke and the bathtub was crammed with kilo packages of coke."

Colombia cocaine seizure bust

"They found 44 pounds of cocaine in a huge safe, machine guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, bulletproof vests, driver’s licenses, business cards, an aircraft registration, and automobile registration, coded customer lists, and more financial records," according to Chepesiuk.

"Nobody had ever seen 44 pounds of cocaine in New York City before," Robinson said.

Officers also seized firearms manuals, including a Marine Corps manual titled "Destruction by Demolition, Incendiaries and Sabotage."

John Fallon, the DEA's northeast regional director, said it was the most weapons ever seized by authorities in a cocaine bust, and it triggered fears that a Miami-like war for control of the cocaine trade would erupt in New York City.

"The DEA brass in New York City sent the Washington headquarters information providing evidence that cocaine was becoming a problem, not just in Miami but also New York City," former DEA agent Rich Crawford told Chepesiuk. "The DEA started to take the drug seriously. It began assigning more agents to cocaine investigations."

While the Burns Court apartment was still being examined, officers went to another apartment in Bayside. There they found an authentic passport for Santacruz, who they had actually encountered in person months earlier while tailing Jose Patino. They also found bank records connecting Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela — the other two Cali cartel cofounders — directly to drug deals in New York.

Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela Cali Colombia

Their investigation began to reveal details about the Cali cartel financial structure and leadership. Santacruz was connected to cocaine busts as early as 1976, and US authorities found additional evidence linking him to Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela.

The suspects they arrested who made bail would disappear, and ones they managed to hold to said little, spurning offers for lighter sentences in exchange for cooperation. It didn’t appear they could have revealed much, as the cartel's US operations were organized as a network of cells.

"The organization operated through independent cells, and members of each cell didn’t know each other," Robinson told Chepesiuk. "When we arrested someone, he would say, 'I don’t know anything. I've just been dealing with one guy.'"

Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela Cali Colombia

The cartel also had lawyers in the US, some of whom would use trials as opportunities to gauge what evidence US authorities had on the cartel and report back to Santacruz himself.

The Cali cartel also used violence. Investigators in New York found that prospective employees had to give the cartel names of family members still in Colombia, who would undoubtedly pay if that employee betrayed the cartel.

Over time, investigators would suss out patterns in the cartel's operations, but its methods were more sophisticated than anything they had encountered.

The cartel's personnel had endless fake documents, cycled through apartments, and had money, drugs, and weapons stashed at separate apartments. And the insular network of Colombians in the US that the cartel relied on often deflected or stalled police investigations.

By the end of 1981, the NYDETF’s investigation gathered mountains of evidence from around the country about the Cali cartel’s US operations, revealing some 40 members of the organization, many of whom were convicted on trafficking charges. It also seized $2 million in cash, 70 weapons, and over 430 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $50 million.

SEE ALSO: What the Cali cartel learned from Pablo Escobar, according to a DEA agent who hunted both of them

NOW READ: Pablo Escobar's death cleared the way for a much more sinister kind of criminal in Colombia

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the price of cocaine in America has barely moved in decades

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The unarmed security guard hailed as a hero after the Las Vegas shooting has mysteriously vanished

mandalay bay las vegas

Jesus Campos, the security guard injured in the Las Vegas shooting and lauded by authorities as an "absolute hero" for his efforts assisting police officers, has disappeared.

He's fallen off the radar of union leaders, backed out of media interviews, and sparked concern from neighbors who say they have no idea where he is.

Campos was shot in the leg on October 1 as he approached the door of Stephen Paddock's hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay, just moments before the gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, according to the latest information given by Las Vegas authorities. The massacre ultimately left 58 people dead and hundreds others injured.

Campos' disappearance comes amid a wide-ranging investigation into the shooting that has so far yielded more questions than answers, and prompted a proliferation of conspiracy theories. Investigators have still not determined a motive Paddock's deadly rampage, and Las Vegas authorities have changed their version of the shooting's timeline multiple times.

Officials said Campos was "absolutely critical" to the police response to the shooting, notifying his dispatch immediately and advising officers as they arrived.

Yet on Thursday, as union leaders sought to coordinate interviews with Campos and multiple news outlets, Campus suddenly vanished.

David Hickey, president of the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America union, told media that he was with Campos in a Las Vegas hotel suite on October 12, ahead of scheduled interviews with CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Sean Hannity's show on Fox News.

But Hickey said Campos abruptly left the suite while Hickey was meeting in a separate room with representatives from MGM Resorts. Another union member told Hickey that Campos was taken to a health clinic, but Hickey said he was unable to reach Campos after that, despite multiple attempted phone calls.

"We have had no contact with him … Clearly, somebody knows where he is," Hickey told the Los Angeles Times.

A spokesperson for UMC Quick Care, where Hickey told Fox News Campos went, said they hadn't heard anything about the security guard visiting any of their eight locations in the Las Vegas area.

When Times reporters visited Campos' reported address over the weekend, they found an armed private security guard, who declined to say who had hired him, and three "no trespassing" signs on the fence and house.

"Nobody knows where he is," Campos' neighbor Jaime Ruano told the Times, adding that Campos was "a hero."

Last Friday, Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told media that Paddock likely shot Campos around 10:05 p.m., just moments before Paddock opened fire on the crowd of concertgoers through the smashed-out windows of his 32nd-floor suite.

A previous timeline that Las Vegas authorities gave just days earlier indicated that Campos had been shot at 9:59 p.m., prompting speculation over why six minutes had supposedly elapsed between Campos' shooting and Paddock's massacre. In his Friday news conference, Lombardo said that the 9:59 p.m. timestamp had been derived from a "human entry into a security log," and the information was no longer considered accurate.

Lombardo also assailed accusations that law enforcement officials were either covering up details of the shooting, or had been mistaken due to ineptitude.

"In the public space, the word 'incompetence' has been brought forward, and I am absolutely offended with that characterization," he said.

Las Vegas authorities have since sought to shut down speculation about Campos' role in the shooting.

"[Campos] is not missing. He's not under arrest. We tell people what we know. If they don't believe it but they're going to believe whatever website, then I don't know what else to tell you," LVMPD officer Larry Hadfield told the fact-checking website Snopes.

SEE ALSO: 'There is no conspiracy': Las Vegas sheriff clarifies 6-minute discrepancy in massacre timeline

DON'T MISS: The mysterious piece of paper found in the Las Vegas shooter's hotel room reportedly contained target calculations

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The mysterious life of the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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An Uber executive's lawyer invoked LeBron James when asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from a woman who was raped by an Uber driver

Emil Michael uber

Emil Michael, Uber's former senior vice president of business who resigned in June, asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit against him on Monday.

The documents were filed in the US District Court of Northern California in San Francisco.

The lawsuit concerns the medical files of a woman who was raped in India by her Uber driver in December, 2014. During the trial, the driver was alleged to have had a history of sexual assault. After she was raped, she sued Uber and that case was settled. The rapist was convicted of the crime and sent to prison for life. Alexander reportedly helped with that conviction, even testifying at his trial.

This lawsuit is the second one the woman filed against Uber. It came after a story that circulated earlier this year, first reported by Recode's Kara Swisher, that alleged that Uber executives had obtained and mishandled the woman's medical records when dealing with that first lawsuit. The suit alleges that various Uber executives violated her medical privacy by looking at her health records.

Michael is one of three Uber executives personally named in the suit. The company is also being sued. The other executives named are former CEO Travis Kalanick, and former president of Asia, Eric Alexander.

In the motion to dismiss, Michael's lawyers argue that the whole case against their client is nonsense. The lawyers don't go so far as to deny that someone at Uber (perhaps even Michael) may have seen the woman's medical records, obtained by another employee from the police in Dehli, India, when she sued Uber and was working to put the rapist behind bars. Rather, Michael denies that he had anything to do with obtaining them.

The woman — who is not named — also alleges that Uber executives defamed her by suggesting to others that she was working with a rival company to harm Uber's business. On that allegation, the lawyers use an interesting tactic: they invoke the name of LeBron James and the crazy 2010 lawsuit from a man named Leicester Bryce Stovell 

Stovell is an attorney who claimed that he was the biological father of James by way of that lawsuit. He was demanding $4 million dollars from his allegedly long-lost-son and his son's mother.

Among the things Stovell claimed was defamation. This was, apparently, based on a remark from James who at one point said, "I want to be a better father than mine was." The lawsuit was dismissed in 2011 with the judge basically decreeing that the people hearing a negative remark have to know exactly who is being dissed, and no one would have thought of Stovell. Michael's attorneys invoke LeBron James to argue that since the woman's identity was never revealed publicly by Michael, he couldn't have defamed her. This second lawsuit is filed under "Jane Doe."

The hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for December 1. Even if the judge decides to drop Michael from the suit, that doesn't mean that the whole suit will be kicked out and the other executives won't be on the hook for allegations involving her medical records. But should a judge drop Michael from the case, it would be a step in that direction. And that would be a step toward ending one of the nastiest lawsuits hanging over several Uber executives' heads.

SEE ALSO: Uber's exodus continues: Here are all the high-ranking execs who left the troubled company this year

AND: Founder of $110 million startup CrowdFlower: I'm forever grateful to Travis Kalanick

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This 'crazy, irrational decision' Apple made 20 years ago turned out to be the key to its outrageous success over Samsung

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Taking your reading to networking

Content engage relationships

I am a big believer that content is nothing more than the currency of relationships.

I’m not dismissing the value of content, any more than I would dismiss the value of words at an offline networking event. Without words how could you engage others and get to know them?

But I’m not going to measure the success of my words or my content, like others do, by whether I used the right words (the ones that ranked) and how much traffic my words got. There has to be something more.

When I read a good post or article, whether from a blogger, reporter, columnist or business person (lawyers included), I look to meet the person. Online and maybe later, offline.

If someone can add value to my life with what they’ve had to say online, maybe there’s something more to be gained through getting to know them.

What do I do?

  • Share their piece on Twitter, giving the person the appropriate attribute by including their Twitter handle at the end of my tweet. This lets them know I appreciate their thoughts and that I wanted the world to know it was their piece, not mine. The person then gets both an email and a notice on letting them know that I shared their piece. (Another good reason you need to use your Twitter in your name if you write.)
  • I look them up on other social networks and look for ways to connect. This morning I came across a piece by Gretchen Reynolds, “Phys Ed” columnist at the New York Times, about a study which found that running has a positive impact on brain neurons and can delay the onset of dementia. I run every day and my father died Alzheimer’s, I liked that Reynolds regularly writes on running. I looked her up on Facebook and was disappointed that she did not use Facebook as a way to engage her readers. Facebook enables me to get to know people, professionally and personally, in a real and authentic way. Facebook, through its algorithms and my Fabian friends is also a wonderful way to get news and information that’s valuable to my life.
  • With some people I’ll ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn in my travels to look up people I may want to meet.

Everyone wants to post content. Some, so much so that they’ll have others write it for them. But that content is only valuable if it leads to building a name and relationships.

Take advantage of this and get out and engage and network with those content producers — especially those you’d live to meet.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Trump complains about the Senate being too slow to confirm his judicial nominees, says 'it's not fair'

Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said Monday that the slow pace of Senate confirmations for his long list of judicial nominees is "not fair."

After going after Senate Democrats for "obstruction" regarding his governmental nominations, he added that he "can say the same thing with our judicial nominees, our judges."

"We have some of the most qualified people," Trump said, citing The Wall Street Journal.

"They're waiting forever on line," he continued. "It shouldn't happen that way. It's not right, it's not fair."

Soon after, in an impromptu press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump again complained about the slow pace of confirmation. He added that he will set records in terms of how many judges his administration will nominate and have confirmed, and called his administration's handling of the judicial vacancies on the federal bench one of the "unsung" victories of his term in office.

McConnell echoed Trump in his comments, pushing for a faster pace of confirmation.

Trump's comments came after McConnell last week pushed for Republicans to crush one of Democrats' biggest weapons in combating Trump's nominations to the federal bench.

McConnell told The Weekly Standard in an interview published Wednesday that "blue slips" — a tradition that allows senators to give or withhold their blessing for a judicial nominee from their state — should be viewed as a confirmation of how a senator will vote on nominees, breaking with the norm of needing a blue-slip approval to move forward with a judicial nominee.

The blue-slip process gives the party that does not control the White House leverage over the president's nominations, and some Democrats have used that power to deny a handful of Trump's nominees from moving forward in the Judiciary Committee. That, in turn, makes it easier for Trump to advance nominees in states that do not have any Democratic Senate representation.

With Democrats now having the ability to, in many states, prevent Trump's judicial nominees from advancing, McConnell told The New York Times last month that he thought the blue-slip practice should be scrapped for circuit-court nominations (though it would remain the same for other judicial nominees). That sparked backlash from Democrats, who said the move would be hypocritical, as Republicans staunchly defended the blue-slip process while President Barack Obama was in office.

On Wednesday, McConnell pushed the issue again, which came after Politico reported Monday night that he was receiving heat from influential outside conservative groups for the slow pace of confirmation of Trump's judicial nominees. The push from those conservative groups came as Trump recently hit 65 combined nominations between appeals courts, district courts, the US Tax Court, and the US Court of Federal Claims. There are currently roughly 140 vacancies on the federal bench, providing Trump with the opportunity to cement a lasting legacy on the courts.


SEE ALSO: McConnell gives strongest hint yet that GOP should gut the biggest weapon Democrats have to halt Trump's judicial nominees

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The story of a North Korean amputee's 6,000-mile escape on crutches

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Bowe Bergdahl expected to plead guilty on Monday, as he doubts he could get fair trial under Trump

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Army and received by Reuters on May 31, 2014. U.S Army/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive by the Taliban for five years after walking off his post in Afghanistan, is expected to plead guilty on Monday during a military hearing at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

His decision to plead guilty and avoid trial was reported earlier this month and looks likely to close the eight-year saga that began in June 2009, when the then-23-year-old private first class disappeared from his post near the Afghan border with Pakistan after five months in the country.

In an interview filmed last year by a British filmmaker and obtained by ABC news, Bergdahl said that he didn't think it was possible for him to get a fair trial under President Donald Trump, who made Bergdahl a target during his campaign.

"We're tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who's a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed," Trump said at a Las Vegas rally in 2015. "You know in the old days — Bing. Bong," Trump said while mimicking firing a rifle. "When we were strong."

"We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted," Bergdahl said in the interview. "The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people."

trump rally

According to Bergdahl's lawyers, Trump referred to Bergdahl as a traitor at least 45 times during the campaign, and they argued those comments would unfairly influence the case, filing an unsuccessful motion to dismiss in January.

Bergdahl's lawyers were also prevented from asking potential jurors if they voted for Trump. In August, Bergdahl decided to face trial in front of a judge alone, rather than a jury.

Bergdahl was immediately captured after leaving his post and held for five years by the Haqqani network. Videos of him in captivity were released by the Taliban, and the US monitored him using drones, spies, and satellites.

Washington also pursued behind-the-scenes negotiations to get his release, and in May 2014 he was given to US special forces in exchange for five Taliban detainees who were held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Bergdahl arraignment

Bergdahl has said he left his post in order to draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit and its leadership. An Army Sanity Board Evaluation found that he suffered from schizotypal personality disorder.

The nature of Bergdahl's capture and release led to debate over whether the trade was worth it and about whether he was a hero or deserter. Some soldiers held Bergdahl responsible for wounds they suffered during the search for him. An Army judge later ruled that testimony from troops harmed during the search would be allowed, strengthening the prosecutor's case.

US officials have described Bergdahl's treatment in captivity as the worst case of prisoner abuse since the Vietnam War, beating him and locking him in a small cage for extended periods of time. In the interview, Bergdahl — who twice attempted to escape his captors — said he wanted to fight the "false narrative" put out by conservative media portraying him as a traitor and jihadi sympathizer. He was not charged with any crime related to helping the enemy.

"You know, it’s just insulting frankly," Bergdahl told the interviewer. "It's very insulting, the idea that they would think I did that."

Sentencing will start on October 23, according to an Associated Press report published earlier this month.

SEE ALSO: Decertifying the Iran deal is putting the US in 'rogue-state territory'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: FMR. DEFENSE SECRETARY: US ‘paid too high a price’ for Bowe Bergdahl

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