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Ecuador may be close to kicking Assange out of their embassy

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Is the figurative noose tightening around Julian Assange? We recently learned that Ecuador was none too happy with the vast sums of money they’ve had to spend on their perpetual guest living in their London embassy. Prior to that, they may have signaled that he was chewing up too much of their bandwidth when they cut off his internet access. And now, according to an extensive report published in the Guardian, it’s looking more and more like they’re at the point of either trying to sneak him out of the country or, failing that, simply kicking him to the curb.

The Ecuadorian intelligence service is reportedly now viewing Assange as a “threat” to their own personnel. And that doesn’t begin to touch on the amount of diplomatic embarrassment he’s been causing their government. The Guardian also reveals more of the grubby details of Assange’s “living quarters” in their embassy. He’s apparently driving the workers there to distraction.

The head of Ecuadorian intelligence, Rommy Vallejo, held a meeting with Patiño to discuss the Assange situation and the “risks” he posed to embassy staff. Over time, Assange came to take up more than one-third of the embassy’s ground-floor space. Initially, he slept in narrow room next to the balcony. He subsequently colonised a back room as a bedroom and occupied half the kitchen. Assange’s unkempt realm was home to WikiLeaks and its computers, and was entirely private. There was no CCTV. It was off limits to diplomats, the rooms only accessible via special codes…

Ecuadorian government sources say Quito is considering a plan for where Assange might go next. Russia would be an obvious choice, though this would cause problems with the US. Cuba and Venezuela are also said to be under discussion. Since January, Assange has officially been an Ecuadorian diplomat. However, this probably would not stop the UK arresting him if it had the chance.

If Assange remains in the embassy, cut off from the world, WikiLeaks cannot function. Either way, it is clear that Ecuador no longer wants him. His future is more uncertain than ever. The most likely scenario is that he will soon walk out the door.

Shipping Assange to Russia would be one heck of a trick. The Brits have pulled back some of their surveillance, but the embassy is still being watched. If their “guest” comes out any of their doors there’s a good chance we’ll know about it. Failing that, Ecuador could just tell him to get out. But what happens if he leaves? We’ve discussed it here before, but the Guardian has reached essentially the same conclusions.

Assange faces a tough choice. If he walks out of the embassy, he can expect arrest and could spend up to a year in prison for breaking his bail conditions.

The US might then seek to extradite him. He would contest any attempt, and might win, but would face a long, uncomfortable spell behind bars while his case is decided.

None of those look like tasty choices for Assange, but are we really sure that Donald Trump would actually try to extradite him? It might make for some great headlines, but locking up Assange here and having his fans showing up and protesting every day (as they still do in London) would be yet another distraction for the media to hammer away at whenever the Russia news slows down.

And speaking of Russia, there are still unanswered questions as to how and when Assange got his hands on the DNC emails. Many suspect a Russian connection in that data transfer, whether it was actually an agent of the Russian government or one of their surrogates. Putting Assange behind bars and having him face the possibility of an extensive jail term in the United States might make him more likely to sing if he has any stories to tell. Who would suffer the damage of those revelations in American politics remains an unknown for now, but the last thing Trump needs is yet another Russia, Russia, Russia story out there for the press to feast upon.

If Ecuador can get Assange out of the country without the Brits grabbing him, it’s just possible that he might be on the loose for quite some time. And after spending this long in the embassy and likely going stir crazy, is it that far-fetched to think that Julian Assange might just take his chances?

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Previously Deported Illegal Alien Charged with Brutal Murder of Shakopee, MN Woman

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Minnesota officials charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal from Mexico with the brutal murder of his former girlfriend in Shakopee, Minnesota earlier this month.

Fraider Diaz-Carbajal had been previously deported but told the court he has lived in the are for 18 years.
Fraider does not speak English and needed a translator.

He stabbed his former girlfriend several times before cutting his own neck.

SW News Media reported:

A 27-year-old woman who was killed in Shakopee on Aug. 12 has been identified as Enedelia Perez Garcia, 27, and today prosecutors charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal, 35, 1279 Taylor St. Unit 6, with second-degree murder (not premeditated) in her death. Police say he was in the country illegally after being deported in 2014.

At about 4:02 p.m. on Aug. 12, Shakopee police were dispatched to a fight call involving a knife at 1279 Taylor St., No. 6., and while on the way to the Taylor Ridge Towhomes, they were told a male had a knife and a female was possibly dead.

According to the charging documents, officers found a bloody scene in the upstairs bedroom: Diaz-Carbajal was lying with his head resting on the stomach and chest of a woman who was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall and did not appear to be breathing. Diaz-Carbajal’s throat was cut with a 6 to 8-inch-long laceration and there were several stab wounds in his abdomen. He was “taking occasional breaths and moving” and a large, bloody knife was at his left side.

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Can AI produce fine art?

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We don’t normally cover the fine art beat here for obvious reasons, but there was a sale of a painting to a French collector in February which drew some attention. Another work by the same artist is going on sale at Christie’s presently. They works are going for some impressive amounts of money, but that’s not what makes the story interesting. The artist is an Artificial Intelligence program from a company named Obvious. (Time)

Hanging inside a gold frame on a pristine white wall in Christie’s Central London Gallery is a dark, moody portrait of a man in Puritan-style black clothes—the work, it seems, of some Old Master. But scrawled in the bottom right corner, there’s an unexpected signature: a mathematical equation.

This is Edmond de Belamy by French art collective Obvious—or, more accurately, by an algorithm designed by Obvious.

“The whole process is about humans having as little input as possible in the finished piece,” says Gauthier Vernier, one of three 25 year-old French men who started Obvious in April 2017 out of their apartment in Paris. Since then, by teaching a computer about art history and showing it how to make its own work, Obvious have produced 11 artworks with the help of artificial intelligence.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the technical particulars behind this since you can read them all at the article and at the Obvious Art website if you wish. The short version is that they developed an algorithm that scanned a vast number of paintings taken from classical art. It uses something called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) which randomly generate images meeting certain criteria (a face has two eyes, one nose, one mouth, etc.) and the program “tests” each image itself to see if it can tell whether it’s original art or a computer generation. The results do indeed resemble portraits.

Here’s the real question: Is this art? Allow me to offer the definitive answers (plural) because it works both ways.

First… Yes. This is art.

But that answer comes with a caveat. Anything can be art because art is in the eye of the beholder. You can walk down the beach, find a particularly interesting looking piece of driftwood, take it home, clean it up and mount it on a wooden base. If you find it attractive, if it brings you pleasure, if your friends come over and compliment you on it… it’s art. And that’s only good art I’m talking about. Some of the crap put out by human beings as “modern art” is total garbage. If a crucifix in a jar of urine or three basketballs shoved into a broken fish tank (I actually saw that one in a gallery in New York City some years ago) qualify as art, then anything this robot spits out can certainly bear the name.

Second… No. This is definitely not art.

What they are presenting is a painting. But it didn’t come from an original thought or moment of inspiration in a mind, human or otherwise. They fed a bunch of examples into a program and had it randomly place zeros and ones corresponding to random colors until it generated something which matched certain test criteria that the programmers defined as being “art.” There was no feeling, no intent nor even any knowledge in the “mind” of the program of what it was doing. It was solving a math problem by randomly guessing combinations until it arrived at some solutions which met those design criteria.

It also wasn’t “painted” in any way that requires effort, training or involves risk of messing up a brush stroke. I had to search for a while to find out how the actual, physical paintings are created, but the AI only generates an image file. It’s then fed into a fancy laserjet printer which is set up to print on canvas instead of paper. Then a human being took it out and mounted it in a frame. An artist could never reproduce one of their painting precisely by hand. There would always be at least minute differences. Obvious could crank out the same portrait a thousand times and they would all be the same.

This isn’t even artificial intelligence as near as I can see. And it’s certainly not fine art. You could switch out the canvas for paper and it would be making interesting posters. If some rich collector wants to go to Christie’s and lay out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for one of these creations, that’s up to them. But save up your money, because Obvious can produce thousands more for you in no time at all.

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President Trump Responds to Manafort Conviction “Nothing to do With Russian Collusion” (VIDEO)

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“NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIAN COLLUSION” – President Trump

President Trump responded Tuesday afternoon after a jury found his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on 8 felony counts.

The President spoke to the press shortly after he landed in Charleston, West Virginia as he headed to his rally.

“It doesn’t involve me but I still feel really sad…you know it’s a very sad thing that happened. This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion…this has absolutely nothing to do…this is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace,” Trump said.

President Trump also said that he feels very bad for Paul Manafort. “He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan…” Trump continued.

The President didn’t answer any questions about his former lawyer Michael Cohen who just pleaded guilty to 8 counts; his plea deal includes 3-5 years jail time.

VIDEO:


After four days of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict on 8 counts and could not make a decision on 10 counts in the tax evasion and bank fraud case against Paul Manafort.

Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 counts. The jury found Manafort guilty on 8 counts.

Both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort were hunted down by Mueller and his thugs because of their association with Donald Trump.

We currently have a two-tiered justice system because AG Sessions is AWOL.

One set of laws for Trump and his supporters and another set of laws for Democrats and Clinton-Deep State cronies.

H/T: Zero Hedge

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