Activist who exposed Hunter Biden laptop data flees to Switzerland

Activist who exposed Hunter Biden laptop data flees to Switzerland
Conservative critics have alleged that Hunter Biden, the president’s second son, partnered with his uncle James Biden to exploit Joe Biden’s political influence to win multimillion-dollar contracts in Ukraine and China. (AFP)
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Updated 08 April 2022

Activist who exposed Hunter Biden laptop data flees to Switzerland

Activist who exposed Hunter Biden laptop data flees to Switzerland
  • James Maxey plans to post all of the data from the laptop, which includes more than 80,000 files, 1.7 gigabytes of data and 8,000 emails, online in the coming weeks
  • Former Bannon colleague suggested he feared he could be killed in the US, telling Newsmax he was being followed by ‘black SUVs’

CHICAGO: The whistleblower who sent the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop to members of Congress, triggering a congressional investigation in October 2019, says he has fled to Switzerland to escape surveillance by “bad actors” and members of the FBI.

During an interview on the conservative cable TV channel Newsmax on Thursday, Jack Maxey said he posted many of the files from Biden’s computer online, but that the documents were “taken down” by US intelligence agencies.

Allegations of influence-peddling by Joe Biden’s son to secure lucrative contracts poses a political threat to the president’s ability to hold on to Congress during the midterm elections in November.

Conservative critics have alleged since 2018 that Hunter Biden, the president’s second son, partnered with his uncle James Biden to exploit Joe Biden’s political influence to win multimillion-dollar contracts in Ukraine and China.

The allegations gained momentum when Hunter Biden’s personal laptop fell into the hands of Republican congressmen. He took the laptop to a Delaware computer repair store in April 2019 — the same month his father officially launched his bid for the presidency — but forgot to pick it up. After being abandoned, the laptop legally became the property of the store’s owner, who took its contents, including thousands of Hunter Biden’s personal emails, and turned them over to Republican activists, who quickly called for an investigation.

One of the conservative activists who got a copy of the laptop’s hard drive was Maxey, who co-hosted the podcast “The War Room” with Steve Bannon, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump.

The initial emails released from the laptop, according to several published accounts, include lurid details of a decadent lifestyle, as well as information pertaining to Hunter Biden’s contracts in China and Ukraine.

In 2014, for example, Hunter Biden joined Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Burisma as a $1 million-per-year consultant. Less than a month after his then-vice president father visited Ukraine and met Burisma executives in April that year, the lucrative contracts began rolling in.

A top US diplomat stationed in Kyiv warned in a classified email sent to the State Department in 2016 that Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, while his father was still vice president, “undercut” anti-corruption efforts in the country. That email, dated Nov. 22, 2016, was written by George Kent, who at the time was the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Republicans in Congress introduced a resolution on Oct. 15, 2019, that provided specific details culled from the laptop and demanded an investigation into Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings.

Maxey said he fled to Switzerland recently after fearing he was being surveilled by “bad actors” and the FBI. He told British tabloid The Daily Mail that he feared retaliation. Maxey told the newspaper he plans to post all of the data from the laptop, which includes more than 80,000 files, 1.7 gigabytes of data and 8,000 emails, online in the coming weeks.

Maxey said he posted the files on another site but they were quickly taken down by “US intelligence agencies,” implicating the Biden administration in covering up the scandal.

“We chose five different drop boxes around the world. One in New Zealand, two in the United States, two in the United Kingdom,” Maxey told Newsmax, adding that his objective “is to expose the truth.”

He added: “In each case, the material that we put on there, and it was a relatively small amount, 8,000 emails, they were taken down in under 70 minutes. I would say that the vast majority were taken down in under 15 minutes.”

Dalia Al-Aqidi, a conservative columnist and senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, said: “This issue has been largely covered up in the liberal media and social media platforms to minimize its negative effect on the 2020 presidential elections.

“Nobody cares about Hunter Biden’s personal life nor his lifestyle as a private citizen; however, the issue is much more complicated than that. Americans deserve to know what role President Biden had played in his son’s business and what services were offered by Hunter in order to get paid thousands of dollars. Did he offer access to his father, and did the president benefit from his son’s deals? A transparent and bipartisan investigation is due now. Better late than never.”

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California’s 50th District told Arab News last week that the Hunter Biden controversy is “the most consequential political scandal since Watergate, and it deserves an investigation in Congress no less robust and no less bipartisan than that one.”

Maxey suggested he feared he could be killed, telling Newsmax he was being followed by “black SUVs.” He said he feels less vulnerable to harassment in Switzerland and has friends there who could help him release the documents.

“I’m constantly reminded that I’m American and plenty of better men than me are taking dirt naps. I’m going to keep my oath to defend the constitution against all enemies. Foreign and domestic,” he said.


Rangers fan found ‘safe and sound’ after going missing for 36 hours in Seville

Rangers fan found ‘safe and sound’ after going missing for 36 hours in Seville
Updated 2 min 6 sec ago

Rangers fan found ‘safe and sound’ after going missing for 36 hours in Seville

Rangers fan found ‘safe and sound’ after going missing for 36 hours in Seville
  • Gordon Smith, 42, disappeared after Scottish side’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in Europa League final
  • Sister thanks fans ‘and Scotland as a whole’ for helping find her missing brother

DUBAI: A Rangers fan who went missing for nearly 36 hours after Wednesday’s Europa League final in Seville has been found.
Gordon Smith, 42, became separated from his brother Craig, 23, after going to the toilet at a fan zone at about 11 pm, soon after his team had been beaten by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Spanish city.
According to media reports, after waiting for several hours, the younger sibling, from Renfrewshire, went searching for his brother but was unable to track him down.
When the missing man failed to make contact with any of his family members, his sister, Danielle Ashleigh Smith, took to social media to appeal to Rangers supporters to help find him.
She told the media that her brother had not returned to the fan zone and that bags containing the brothers’ passports, money and phones had been stolen.
“Their belongings were stolen at some point in the early hours from Craig,” she said.
Smith described her brother’s disappearance as “out of character” and said at the time she was concerned for his safety.
But on Friday afternoon, she posted on Facebook that the missing sibling had been found “safe and sound” at 11 a.m. that morning.
“He’s safe and en route to some accommodation,” she said.
She also expressed her gratitude at the response she received to her social media plea, saying that several people had offered help with money, accommodation and even flights.
“The support shown from not only Rangers fans but Celtic fans and Scotland as a whole has been amazing and I am proud this is my country,” she wrote.
News reports said a Seville resident had helped liaise with police during the search for Smith.
Younger brother Craig was now preparing to fly home after contacting his family and being issued with emergency travel papers, the reports said.


Former Moroccan footballer dies after daredevil cliff jump

Former Moroccan footballer dies after daredevil cliff jump
Updated 19 May 2022

Former Moroccan footballer dies after daredevil cliff jump

Former Moroccan footballer dies after daredevil cliff jump
  • Murad Lamrabette, formerly of Dutch club SBV Vitesse, dies during family holiday in Majorca
  • Lamrabette’s wife recorded 31-year-old’s ill-fated stunt on video that went viral

DUBAI: A Moroccan former footballer leapt to his death while performing a daredevil jump whilst on a family holiday in Spain.
Media reports identified the man as 31-year-old Murad Lamrabette, who played for Dutch club SBV Vitesse’s U23 team in the 2010/2011 Eredivisie season, as well as other professional football clubs in Holland.
Lamrabette died in front of his two children and wife, who filmed him as he attempted to perform a “tombstone” stunt from a 30-meter high cliff during the family’s vacation in Majorca.
The 31-year-old miscalculated his jump, and drowned after hitting a rock and falling into the water below unconscious, said reports.
His wife could be heard shouting “oh my god” as she recorded the stunt in a 14-second video that later went viral across social media and news platforms.
Spanish authorities carried out an autopsy, the results of which indicated that Lamrabatte died from drowning, rather than injuries caused by the impact of hitting the rock.
Reports added that authorities had yet to interview his wife as she was too traumatized by the incident.
After retiring from football, Lamrabatte retrained and became a kickboxing coach.
His former club posted an obituary on its website, and tweeted: “Vitesse has received the sad news that Murad Lamrabatte has passed away. The former attacker of Jong Vitesse has just turned 31. We wish family and friends a lot of strength.”


Former US President George W. Bush’s freudian slip sees him confuse ‘wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq’ with Ukraine

Former US President George W. Bush’s freudian slip sees him confuse ‘wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq’ with Ukraine
Updated 19 May 2022

Former US President George W. Bush’s freudian slip sees him confuse ‘wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq’ with Ukraine

Former US President George W. Bush’s freudian slip sees him confuse ‘wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq’ with Ukraine
  • The 75-year-old former president blamed the slip on his age

LONDON: Former US President George W. Bush found himself somewhat embarrassed after he called the invasion of Iraq “wholly unjustified and brutal” while discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Speaking at his presidential center in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday, Bush said,:“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq … I mean, of Ukraine.” 

The freudian slip joins a long list of Bush’s verbal gaffes delivered over the years.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003, with the Bush administration claiming at the time there were weapons of mass destruction in the country. However, UN inspectors found no evidence of the existence of such weapons before the invasion.

US military operations in Iraq dragged on until 2011, with tens of thousands of civilians killed and displaced and almost 5,000 coalition troops killed.

On Twitter, many quickly pointed out the irony of conflating the invasions of Iraq and Ukraine. Justin Amash, a former congressman from Michigan, tweeted: “Oof. If you were George W. Bush, you think you’d just steer clear of giving any speech about one man launching a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion.”  

Another tweeted: “That’s not a Freudian slip, it’s a Freudian tumble down the stairs.”

“Awww. there goes that ol rascal george, reminding everyone of his war crimes. hahaha! isn’t it cute? please excuse him. he’s 75, so it’s okay to laugh off the millions he killed. we have fun here at the institute. now where was he? oh yeah, Putin’s unprecedented evil” tweeted another.

https://twitter.com/DubJ/status/1527109267228172288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1527109267228172288%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffpost.com%2Fentry%2Ftwitter-reacts-bush-iraq-slip-up_n_6285a57be4b05c3afec484e3 

Writer and entrepreneur Adam Best wrote: “George W. Bush has always been the Michael Jordan of speaking gaffes but never expected a Freudian slip where he admitted to being a war criminal.” 

Some have speculated that the slip-up could be used as evidence in a possible prosecution of Bush for war crimes, with one tweeting: “This should be admissible as evidence at The Hague.” 

In his speech, Bush said that elections in Russia are rigged and political opponents are imprisoned or eliminated from participating in the electoral process. 

The 75-year-old former president blamed the slip on his age, and after an awkward silence, the audience laughed. 


Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram slammed for blackface birthday ‘prank’

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram slammed for blackface birthday ‘prank’
Updated 19 May 2022

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram slammed for blackface birthday ‘prank’

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram slammed for blackface birthday ‘prank’

LONDON: Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram has found herself in hot water after being accused of racism for putting on blackface for a “prank.”

To celebrate her 39th birthday, Ajram filmed a video of herself walking down the streets of Lebanon’s capital Beirut with her skin darkened by makeup and wearing a dark curly wig to see if people would recognize her.

In the clip, she carried out everyday tasks such as shopping, going to a cafe, asking for directions, and eating dinner with a friend. During the meal, she removed her makeup to reveal her identity and took photos with fans.

Throughout the video, curious passers-by could be seen staring at Ajram.

But after posting the video on social media, Ajram faced a deluge of criticism for her prank and was asked to apologize.

In a tweet, Arab disability activist, Abla Abdelhadi, said Ajram’s actions were ill-timed coming so soon after racist shootings in Buffalo, in the US, that left 10 people dead.

Also in a tweet, black-Palestinian activist, Samah Fadil, said that “considering people with my skin tone or darker some kind of joke worthy of a prank,” must have been “very embarrassing” for Ajram.

In 2018, another Lebanese singer Myriam Fares was slammed on social media over a music video scene in which she appeared with a black face.

Blackface is considered a racist and derogatory representation of black people and appropriation of black culture. It has a long history both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

In the West, blackface is now widely rejected but it continues to play a role in popular culture in parts of the Middle East. The makeup and curly or braided wigs have been used on Lebanese and Egyptian television to poke fun at domestic workers and Sudanese people.


Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit
Updated 17 May 2022

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit

Manal Rostom becomes first Egyptian woman to reach Everest summit
  • Rostom took two months to complete her journey to the top of the tallest mountain on Earth
  • In 2019, Nike chose Rostom to be the first veiled Egyptian Arab woman to serve as the face of their international women's sportswear brand

LONDON: Extreme climber, marathon-runner and mountaineer Manal Rostom has become the first Egyptian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Rostom reached the world's highest peak earlier this week, and in the weeks beforehand shared a social media video on her thoughts and fears ahead of the final push to the top. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Manal A Rostom (@manirostom)

 

Rostom took two months to complete her journey to the top of the tallest mountain on Earth, which stands 8,849 meters tall.

Rostom has previous taken part in marathons around the world including in New York City, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and London, as well as the Great Wall of China.

She has also previously climbed some of the world's other highest mountain summits, namely Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Elbrus, and made it to the Mount Himalaya base camp in 2016.

In 2019, Nike chose Rostom to be the first veiled Egyptian Arab woman to serve as the face of their international women's sportswear brand.