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Florida AG Calls on Mark Zuckerberg to Testify before Human Trafficking council

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking discussing predators exploiting his social media applications to solicit victims in a press release released on Tuesday. A recent poll of Florida law enforcement agencies found that Meta owns 53% of the social media sites that have been used to assist human trafficking since 2019.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has requested that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg attend before the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking on Monday to explain how Meta is being used to enable sex exploitation and human trafficking.

Moody said so while revealing what she called the “stunning” and “disturbing” results of a statewide study that discovered Meta platforms are being used by human traffickers to conduct crimes more than any other social media platforms.

It appears to be a first-of-its-kind statewide inquiry and request.

Since 2019, more than half of all documented instances of social media platforms being used in Florida cases of human trafficking have involved Meta platforms, according to a new state inquiry. Incorporated among them are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Florida Attorney General’s Office

“Before launching new products or wasting time preparing for a cage match that will likely never happen, Zuckerberg should be working to make Meta’s existing platforms safer for users and to prevent vulnerable people from being forced into illicit sex work,” Moody said Monday when announcing the results of a state investigation. “The findings of our statewide survey and other reports make it clear that Meta platforms are the preferred social media applications for human traffickers looking to prey on vulnerable people. Zuckerberg needs to immediately turn his attention to this public safety threat and testify to our council about what Meta is doing to prevent its platforms from being used to assist, facilitate or support human trafficking.”

The Florida legislature commissioned the formation of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. The 15-member group, led by Moody, collaborates with law enforcement to combat human trafficking and issues yearly reports on the issue.

The council was tasked with looking into the frequency with which social media platforms were being used to help, facilitate, or encourage human trafficking in Florida after the state legislature approved HB 615 in 2022, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law. The council made its initial findings public on Monday after presenting them to the lawmakers in January.

These conclusions come from a survey that was distributed to 80 law enforcement organizations, including 67 sheriff’s offices and a number of police departments. 32 organizations responded with 376 reports totaling 376 human trafficking investigations since 2019. The majority, 271, concerned the use of social media to aid human trafficking. The majority of these, 146 of them, included Meta applications.

Moody also sent a letter to Zuckerberg on Monday requesting him to appear before the council to explain what Meta’s plans are “to stop human traffickers from using its platforms to advance this horrific crime.”

She’s requested Zuckerberg respond by September 5 at the latest or else. On October 2, the council will meet again. He has not yet commented on the situation, but his business has been defending itself against numerous lawsuits for many years that were brought up in connection with the same issue.

Meta “has long faced accusations that its platforms are a haven for sexual misconduct,” Reuters reports.

It’s currently being sued by hundreds of plaintiffs, including parents, school districts, and pension and investment funds that own stock in Meta.

The most recent lawsuit filed by the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island alleges that Meta’s leadership and board haven’t protected their fiduciary interests because they’ve ignored “systemic evidence” of crimes against children being allegedly committed using its platforms.

According to the complaint, Meta’s executives and directors specifically deny preventing the use of Facebook and Instagram to aid sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation. This leads to “the only logical inference that the board has consciously decided to permit Meta’s platforms to promote and facilitate sex/human trafficking,” according to the complaint.

Both Meta and Facebook have vigorously defended themselves in court, including at the Texas Supreme Court, where they lost.

In 2021, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that victims of sex trafficking could sue Facebook despite it using Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act as a defense.

Justice Blacklock said the justices “do not understand section 230 to ‘create a lawless no-man’s land on the Internet’ in which states are powerless to impose liability on websites that knowingly or intentionally participate in the evil of online human trafficking.” The court’s ruling also points out that “Congress recently amended section 230 to indicate that civil liability may be imposed on websites that violate state and federal human-trafficking laws.”

According to a 2022 Federal Human Trafficking Report found that from 2019 to 2022, Facebook was the most popular social media site for luring potential victims. Facebook and Instagram accounted for 60% of the recruitment for human trafficking on the top 10 platforms examined in the report.

According to a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s 2022 CyberTipline report by Electronic Service Providers, over 27 million, or 85%, of incidents reported were from Meta platforms.

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CIA Secret Report Reveals Warning to Russia of Terrorist Attack was Marked “Urgent” but Failed to Identify Target

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US warning regarding a potential terrorist attack at a concert venue in Russia was labeled as “urgent.” However, the warning, according to Hersh’s source, did not specify Crocus City Hall as the target, despite some media reports suggesting otherwise.

The CIA allegedly provided the warning to Russian intelligence before the concert at the Crocus City Hall marking it “urgent,” meaning that the data in it “was credible and near term,” Hersh quoted the official as saying.

“The highly secret report on the attack in Moscow was prepared by the Counterterrorism Center at CIA headquarters and delivered to the terrorism division of the Russian Federal Security Service located in the old KGB building in Moscow. Separate briefings were presented in person by the FBI officer at the embassy. This is an established relationship,” the official said.

The warning, however, did not mention Crocus City Hall near Moscow and only said that an attack was being planned at some “public gathering,” according to the official.

The information provided by the official is contrary to a Washington Post report published on Tuesday claiming that Crocus City Hall was specifically identified in the warning as the target of a terrorist attack.

On March 22, several armed men broke into Crocus City Hall, a major concert venue just outside Moscow, and started shooting at people. They also started a fire in one of the auditoriums, which was full of people ahead of a concert. The attack left 695 casualties, including 144 dead, according to the latest data from the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

The four main suspects in the case — all of them citizens of Tajikistan — tried to flee the scene in a car but were detained and charged with terrorism. Russian authorities believe the perpetrators planned to flee to Ukraine, where a safe haven had been arranged for them. An investigation is underway.

Later in March, The New York Times reported, citing European and US security officials, that the US intelligence agencies did not provide the Russian side with all the information they had about the threat of a terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in the Moscow Region out of fear that Russian authorities might learn about their intelligence sources or methods of work.

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov also said that the information transmitted by the United States on the preparation of a terrorist attack was of a general nature, and the Russian special services responded to it.

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Biden Admin is Using Fraudulent Climate Dataset in Push For Green Agenda, According to Government Watchdog

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A government watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Biden administration over its use of a dataset frequently used to push its climate agenda.

Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) filed the complaint with the Commerce Department over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Billions Project” dataset, which purports to keep track of natural [and climate] disasters that have caused at least $1 billion in damages going back to 1980. The billion-dollar disasters (BDD) data — cited frequently by the Biden administration to insinuate that climate change is intensifying and justify sweeping green policies — is based on opaque data derived from questionable accounting practices, PPT alleges in the complaint.

“American families and businesses continue to struggle with persistently high inflation, which many attribute in large part to the energy policies and government spending of the current administration. The idea that blatant violations of scientific integrity could be underlying the rationale for these policies should concern every American,” Michael Chamberlain, PPT’s director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated incident. The Biden Administration came into office pledging that its decision making would be grounded in the highest-quality science, but all too often has failed to live up to those promises.”

The complaint was filed with the Commerce Department, as NOAA operates under its auspices, Chamberlain told the DCNF.

PPT’s complaint alleges that NOAA does not adequately disclose its sources and methods for compiling the BDD dataset, adds and removes BDD events from the dataset without providing its rationale for doing so and produces cost estimates that are sometimes significantly different than those generated by more conventional accounting procedures.

While NOAA states that it develops its BDD data from more than a dozen sources, the agency does not disclose those sources for specific events or show how it calculates loss estimates from those sources, PPT’s complaint alleges.

The complaint further alleges that NOAA’s accounting methods are opaque and “produce suspect results.”

For example, when Hurricane Id alia took aim at Florida in 2023, NOAA initially projected that the storm would cause about $2.5 billion worth of damages before insured losses ultimately came in at about $310 million, according to PPT’s complaint, which cites the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

 for that figure. Nevertheless, NOAA subsequently marked up its estimate for how much damage the storm caused to $3.5 billion, a discrepancy for which NOAA provided no explanation, PPT alleges in its complaint.

NOAA researchers have disclosed in the past that the agency considers factors such as functions pertaining to livestock feeding costs — in addition to more conventional types of damages — in their cost calculations.

Further, the complaint alleges that BDD events are quietly added and removed from the dataset without explanation, citing Roger Pielke Jr., a former academic who believes climate change to be a real threat but opposes politicized science. In a forthcoming paper analyzing the merits of BDD statistics, Pielke compared the dataset in late 2022 to the dataset in the middle of 2023 and found that ten new BDD events were added to the list and 3 were subtracted without explanation.

Apart from the issues with methodology alleged by PPT in its complaint, the use of BDD events as a proxy for climate change’s intensity is inherently misleading because economic data does not reflect changes in meteorological conditions, as Pielke has previously explained to the DCNF.

For example, increasing concentrations of assets, especially in coastal areas, can confound the usefulness of BDD events as an indicator for the intensity of climate change, as Energy and Environment Legal Institute Senior Policy Fellow Steve Milloy has previously explained to the DCNF. Hypothetically, the same exact hurricane could hit the same exact place, decades apart, with vastly different damage totals; this would be the case because there are simply more assets sitting in the way of the storm, not because the storm was any more violent due to worsening climate change.

NOAA has acknowledged this limitation of the dataset in prior communications with the DCNF.

Additionally, NOAA will add disasters to the list retrospectively because it adjusts for inflation, meaning that a hurricane that caused $800 million in damages in 1980 dollars would be added to the list because the damages exceed $1 billion when adjusted for inflation, for example.

The Biden administration has frequently cited the BDD dataset to substantiate its massive climate agenda.

For example, Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk cited the dataset in written testimony submitted to lawmakers in February explaining the White House’s decision to pause new approvals for liquefied natural gas export terminals.

The BDD statistics are also referenced Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), the Biden administration’s landmark climate report that is intended to provide the most sound scientific basis for lawmakers and officials to craft climate policy.

NOAA asserted that the increasing frequency of BDD events is a sign of intensifying climate change in a January press release and blog post summarizing 2023, and then defended the use of the dataset in subsequent communications with the DCNF.

“Sensational climate claims made without proper scientific basis and spread by government officials threaten the public’s trust in its scientific officials and undermines the government’s mission of stewarding the environment,” PPT’s complaint states. “It also poses the danger of policymakers basing consequential government policy on unscientific claims unsupported by evidence.”

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U.S. Military Has Started Recalling Retirees Due to Recruiting Crisis

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The U.S. Army Publishing Directorate released the ALARACT 017/2024, titled, “Utilization of the Army Retiree Recall Program.”

The document cites Executive Order 13223 from the Bush administration in 2001.

A retiree recall is a “retired Soldier who is ordered to active duty (AD) from the Retired Reserve or the retired list under 10 USC 688/688a, 12301(a), or 12301(d). Per AR 601-10, Recalled retiree Soldiers must be aligned to a valid vacant AC requirement that matches the grade and skill of the retiree before he or she may be recalled to AD,” according to the document. “The retiree population will be utilized as a last resort to fill Active Component vacant requirements.”

The ALARACT 017/2024 comes as the U.S. military is experiencing a recruitment crisis.

The U.S. Army recently announced that it is cutting thousands of positions. Authorized troop levels will now be an estimated 470,000 by fiscal year 2029, down 24,000 from its 494,000 soldiers.

“While making these investments and adding formations, the Army must also reduce force structure to protect readiness in light of decreased end strength. The Army is currently significantly over-structured, meaning there are not enough soldiers to fill out existing units and organizations. Army leaders seek to have at least 470,000 soldiers in the Active Component by FY29, which is nearly 20,000 above the current end strength but a reduction of about 24,000 authorizations compared to currently planned force structure,” the report

 states.

It added that the Army is “undertaking a similarly important transformation of its recruiting enterprise so that it can man units sufficiently, continue to bring the right types and amounts of new talent into the Army, and rebuild its overall end strength.” Noting the ongoing recruitment failure within the U.S. military, the document noted, “The Army must solve its recruiting challenges to successfully transform for the future.”

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