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The Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017: Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean — Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos — Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in the Pacific Ocean

What could happen if NKorea tests hydrogen bomb over ocean?

Kim Jong-un makes unprecedented statement at Trump as N. Korea suggests future …

Panel on Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘Dotard’ and ‘Frightened Dog’ #DonaldTrump #NorthKorea

“Rocket Man” : North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘a Frightened Dog’ and ‘Dotard’

Putin warns US, North Korea on verge of conflict

Hydrogen Bomb vs. Atomic Bomb: What’s The Difference?

North Korea nuclear test: Hydrogen bomb ‘missile-ready’ – BBC News

Fareed Zakaria on North Korea hints at detonating H-Bomb in Pacific. #Breaking #FareedZakaria

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM?

Why North Korea Can’t Build An ICBM (yet)

 

People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MARTHA MACCALLUM (9/18/2017)

Rand Paul Goes Off On Obamacare “Repeal”

Senator: Graham-Cassidy not an Obamacare repeal

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) On Latest Obamacare Effort: This Is Not Repeal – The Five

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEIL CAVUTO (9/14/2017)

 

Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Hannity : Circa News reports Obama’s FBI illegally shared spy data about Americans : 5/25/2017

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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

Trump: China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions

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John Bolton calls for ‘sweeping’ set of sanctions on China

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John Bolton: We are at a ‘crisis point’ with North Korea

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

Former CIA Director James Woolsey: North Korea Has Been Able To Hit Power Grid For Years | CNBC

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

Peters: People don’t understand how desperate North Korea is

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

Chinese sanctions will help US trade deficit, but could backfire: Andrew Peek

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

Lou Dobbs : Is China helping North Korea create nuclear missiles? : 5/30/2017

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

Trump unplugging Chinese banks will end China’s economy: Gordon Chang

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What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

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Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017, Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them –Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos — Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos — Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour and Wind Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

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Image result for president trump addresses the united nationsThe earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

 

NASA News, Sep 19, 2017

 

Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them — Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos —

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Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

 

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

President Donald Trump‘s first address to the United Nations General Assembly was marked by tough talk for North Korea and Iran.

The president referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the United States is forced to defend itself or allies against the North’s aggression.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said Tuesday. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

The UN secretary general warned UN members Tuesday morning that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War, and that fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

At the Pentagon, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked about the president’s new nickname for Kim Jong Un.

“We’re dealing with the North Korea situation through the international processes, and we will continue to do so with Secretary Tillerson leading the effort,” he said. “We will hopefully get this resolved through diplomatic means.”

Trump also slammed the Iranian government, calling it an “economically depleted rogue state” whose chief export is violence.

Questioning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump said the world cannot allow the “murderous regime” to continue its destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles. He added world leaders “cannot abide” by the agreement if it “provides cover” for Iran to eventually build its nuclear program.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that scrapping the deal would be a big mistake.

“I think that it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Iran’s president hasn’t given any specifics about how the country would react to a withdrawal.

“Given that Mr. Trump’s reactions and actions and policies are somewhat unpredictable, we have had long thought and discussions about our reactions,” President Hassan Rouhani said.

During his more than 40-minute inaugural address to the UN General Assembly, Trump said that he will “always put America first” and the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of in its dealings around the globe.

Trump said he will “defend America’s interests above all else.” He says the U.S. will “forever be a great friend to the world,” including its allies, but the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of and get nothing in return.

But Trump said that UN member states should unite to face global dangers, and rallied other countries to do their part in solving global issues, including sharing the burden of fighting terrorism.

“We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity… but each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value,” Trump said. “Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said. “It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

The president talked tough on terror saying “it is time to expose and hold responsible” nations that provide funding and safe harbor to terror groups. He says all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and “the Islamic extremist that inspires them.”

“We will stop radical Islamic terrorism, because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world,” said the president.

The leaders of Russia and China, among others, were not in attendance. Trump did not mention Russia in his speech, but he will meet with Russia’s foreign minister and host a reception for UN leaders Tuesday night.

After his address, Trump went to a luncheon where he gave a toast, admittedly calling himself a critic of the UN for years.

“To the potential — the great, great potential — of the United Nations. Thank you all for being here,” he said.

More: UN General Assembly Street Closures

In his first appearance at the United Nations on Monday, Trump made a call for sweeping reforms.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said.

The U.S. is the UN’s largest contributor, paying at least 25 percent of the operating budget. The president encouraged other nations to consider joining in, reviewing the UN’s spending and efficiency.

“I think the main message is ‘Make the United Nations great,’ not again, ‘Make the United Nations great.’ Such tremendous potential and I think we’ll be able to do this,” Trump said.

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious and complex problems,” Trump said. “The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.”

North Korea was a major conversation point in Monday’s phone call with China’s president. Trump also met with French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused on Iran.

Dinner with Latin American leaders was centered around trade and instability in Venezuela, which Trump addressed during his speech Tuesday.

“The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing, their Democratic institutions are being destroyed,” Trump said. “This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.”

Trump accused its President Nicolas Maduro of stealing power from elected representatives to preserve his “disastrous rule.”

There is no sign that Trump will falter on his choice to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord unless it is renegotiated, which will likely be a major topic this week.

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos —

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LIVE 🔴 Mexico 7.1 Earthquake 🔴 LIVE COVERAGE Hurricane MARIA Tracking CATEGORY 5 UPDATES 24/7

Crisis in Mexico’s MEGACITY

 

Mexico City hit by deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake on anniversary of 1985 disaster

Rescuers search through rubble after the city is struck on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed thousands of people.

Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake
Image:Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake 

A major earthquake has struck central Mexico, with reports that at least 134 people have been killed and thousands forced on to the streets.

Panicked workers fled from office buildings and clouds of dust rose up from the crumbling facades of damaged buildings after the 7.1 magnitude quake struck.

The tremors came hours after preparation drills were held on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people in the city.

Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City
Image:Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City

At least 30 people had died in the capital, while there were reports of people trapped in collapsed and burning buildings and local TV footage showed rescuers frantically trying to dig into rubble with pickaxes.

Speaking minutes after the earthquake struck, resident Georgina Sanchez sobbed: “I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZO_UM9lvbH/embed/?cr=1&v=7&wp=538#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A314.25000000000006%7D

Gala Dluzhynska said she was taking a class with 11 other women on the second floor of a building in the fashionable Alvaro Obregon street area when window and ceiling panels fell as the building began to tear apart.

She said she fell in the stairs and people began to walk over her, before someone finally pulled her up.

“There were no stairs anymore. There were rocks,” she said.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers have come together in an effort to rescue survivors

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Raboso in Puebla state, 76 miles (123km) southeast of Mexico City.

A civil protection official in Puebla said two people had been killed after a school collapsed, while Mexico state’s governor confirmed eight deaths, including a quarry worker killed by a rockslide and another victim hit by a falling lamppost.

Officials asked people not to smoke in the streets of Mexico City – which has a population of 20 million – warning of possible ruptured gas pipes.

Mexico City International Airport suspended operations, while electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

“We got out really fast, leaving everything as it was and just left,” said Rosaura Suarez, as she stood with a crowd on the street.

Alfredo Aguilar, 43, said the quake was “really strong – buildings started to move”.

He added that he saw a woman fainting as “people started to run.”

Rescuers display a placard reading 'Silence' as they hurry to free possible victims out of the rubble of a collapsed building after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Rescuers call for ‘Silence’ as they try to find victims in the rubble

The earthquake came less than two weeks after an 8.1 magnitude tremor in southern Mexico killed at least 98 people.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca – one of the areas hardest hit by the previous quake – on Tuesday.

He tweeted that he would be returning to Mexico City as soon as possible to deal with the emergency.

http://news.sky.com/story/mexico-city-hit-by-71-magnitude-earthquake-on-anniversary-of-1985-disaster-11043859

 

At least five dead’ after 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico City – shaking buildings and sending people fleeing into the street

  • Tremor hit hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake
  • Horrifying images coming out of country’s capital show rubble and chunks of buildings strewn across roads
  • Local resident Georgina Sanchez said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985’

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

Horrifying images coming out of the country's capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets

This car was left crushed under falling debris during the 7.1-magnitude earthquake

Hospital patients who were evacuated from wards were taken outside in their beds as a safety precaution

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: 'I'm so worried. I can't stop crying. It's the same nightmare as in 1985'

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

In the capital Mexico City, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Traffic came to a standstill as masses of workers blocked streets while clouds of dust rose from fallen facades.

Office workers were also seen hugging each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Panic in Mexico City as 7.1 earthquake hits capital

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of a devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985

Locals are pictured clearing debris from the earthquake which left dozens of buildings collapsed - with metal and concrete sent falling to the ground

Clouds of dust rose from fallen facades following the dramatic tremor which sent panic throughout the capital city's 20million inhabitants

The impact of the quake ripped buildings to pieces with materials torn from structures by the force of the tremor

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

Lazaro Frutis, a 45-year-old who escaped an office building before it crumpled to the ground, said: ‘We ran outside thinking all was going to collapse around us.

‘The worst thing is, we don’t know about our families or anything.’

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today's incident

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today’s incident

Office workers huddle as major earthquake shakes Mexico City

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, was caught up in the quake and said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

Mexico City’s international airport suspended operations with personnel checking the structures for damage. It is not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

Earlier this month, an 8.1 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Chiapas killing at least 98 people.

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Mexicans were left shocked as the quake struck just hours after emergency drills

The hardest-hit area was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable.

The remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses on to pavements to spend another anxious night sleeping outdoors.

Members of the ‘Topos’ (Moles) specialised rescue team dug through piles of debris looking for folk’s loved ones and hoping to find some that were still alive.

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

Today's quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Soldiers of the Army and Navy also joined in on the search and rescue, hoping to locate the bodies still missing in the wreckage.

Pena Nieto declared three days of national mourning when he first broke numbers on the deaths associated with the earthquake

The epicenter of the earthquake was 123km southwest of the town of Pijijiapan.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4900334/Strong-7-4-quake-hits-Mexico-anniversary-deadly-1985-tremor.html#ixzz4tA0OWmRB

 

Mexico City airport suspends operations following 7.1 magnitude earthquake

MGN
By Associated Press |
 
MEXICO CITY (AP) – The Latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local):

2:55 a.m.

Mexico City’s international airport says it has suspended operations due to the magnitude 7.1 quake that shook the central part of the country.

The airport says in a tweet that airport personnel are checking the structures for damage. It’s not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2:45 p.m.

Mexican television stations are showing dramatic images a several story building collapsing following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rattled the center of the country. It was unclear if people were inside the building.

Numerous other buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage across central Mexico in Tuesday’s quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

2:20 p.m.

Mexican television stations are broadcasting images of collapsed buildings in heavily populated parts of the city following Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Televisa broadcast images of a plume of smoke rising from one large structure.

One of the collapsed buildings is a large parking garage alongside a hospital.

There are no immediate reports on casualties.

___

2:10 p.m.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali says buildings have been damaged in his state in central Mexico by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

Gali said on his official Twitter account that “we will continue reviewing” damages and urged people to follow emergency procedures.

“What we have reports of is material damage … we have no reports of deaths so far,” tweeted Puebla Interior Secretary Diodoro Carrasco.

He said the towers of some churches have fallen in the city of Cholula, which is famous for its many churches.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2 p.m.

On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

1:50 p.m.

Buildings have been seriously damaged in Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico.

Local television stations broadcast images of collapsed facades and streets filled with rubble.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

___

1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it calculates the earthquake that struck central Mexico as magnitude 7.1

It says the epicenter was near the town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

Mexico’s seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said its center was east of the city in the state of Puebla.

Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/UPDATE-Buildings-collapse-following-71-magnitude-earthquake-in-Mexico-445804783.html

Richter magnitude scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Richter magnitude scale (ML, also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the size of an earthquake. The Richter scale, developed in the 1930s, is a base-10logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude, as recorded on a standardized seismograph at a standard distance.

As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than an earthquake that registered 4.0 at the same distance. As energy release is generally proportional to the shaking amplitude raised to the 32 power, an increase of 1 magnitude corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released by the lesser earthquake.[1] This means that, for instance, an earthquake of magnitude 5 releases 31.6 times as much energy as an earthquake of magnitude 4.

The Richter scale built on the previous, more subjective Mercalli intensity scale by offering a quantifiable measure of an earthquake’s size.[2]

In the United States, the Richter scale was succeeded in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale. The moment magnitude is currently used by the US Geological Survey to describe magnitudes for all earthquakes.[3]

Development

In 1935, seismologistsCharles Francis Richter and Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology developed a scale, later dubbed the Richter magnitude scale, for computing the magnitude of earthquakes, specifically those recorded and measured with the Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph in a particular area of California. Originally, Richter reported mathematical values to the nearest quarter of a unit, but the values later were reported with one decimal place; the local magnitude scale compared the magnitudes of different earthquakes.[1] Richter derived his earthquake-magnitude scale from the apparent magnitude scale used to measure the brightness of stars.[4]

Richter established a magnitude 0 event to be an earthquake that would show a maximum, combined horizontal displacement of 1.0 µm (3.9×10−5 in) on a seismogram recorded with a Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph 100 km (62 mi) from the earthquake epicenter. That fixed measure was chosen to avoid negative values for magnitude, given that the slightest earthquakes that could be recorded and located at the time were around magnitude 3.0. The Richter magnitude scale itself has no lower limit, and contemporary seismometers can register, record, and measure earthquakes with negative magnitudes.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} (local magnitude) was not designed to be applied to data with distances to the hypocenter of the earthquake that were greater than 600 km (370 mi).[3] For national and local seismological observatories, the standard magnitude scale in the 21st century is still {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}. However, this scale cannot measure magnitudes above about {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} = 7,[5] because the high frequency waves recorded locally have wavelengths shorter than the rupture lengths[clarification needed] of large earthquakes.

Later, to express the size of earthquakes around the planet, Gutenberg and Richter developed a surface wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}) and a body wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b}).[6] These are types of waves that are recorded at teleseismicdistances. The two scales were adjusted such that they were consistent with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} scale. That adjustment succeeded better with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale than with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b} scale. Each scale saturates when the earthquake is greater than magnitude 8.0.

Because of this, researchers in the 1970s developed the moment magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}). The older magnitude-scales were superseded by methods for calculating the seismic moment, from which was derived the moment magnitude scale.

About the origins of the Richter magnitude scale, C.F. Richter said:

I found a [1928] paper by Professor K. Wadati of Japan in which he compared large earthquakes by plotting the maximum ground motion against [the] distance to the epicenter. I tried a similar procedure for our stations, but the range between the largest and smallest magnitudes seemed unmanageably large. Dr. Beno Gutenberg then made the natural suggestion to plot the amplitudes logarithmically. I was lucky, because logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

Details

The Richter scale was defined in 1935 for particular circumstances and instruments; the particular circumstances refer to it being defined for Southern California and “implicitly incorporates the attenuative properties of Southern California crust and mantle.”[7] The particular instrument used would become saturated by strong earthquakes and unable to record high values. The scale was replaced in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale (MMS, symbol Mw); for earthquakes adequately measured by the Richter scale, numerical values are approximately the same. Although values measured for earthquakes now are {\displaystyle M_{w}}M_{w} (MMS), they are frequently reported by the press as Richter values, even for earthquakes of magnitude over 8, when the Richter scale becomes meaningless. Anything above 5 is classified as a risk by the USGS.[citation needed]

The Richter and MMS scales measure the energy released by an earthquake; another scale, the Mercalli intensity scale, classifies earthquakes by their effects, from detectable by instruments but not noticeable, to catastrophic. The energy and effects are not necessarily strongly correlated; a shallow earthquake in a populated area with soil of certain types can be far more intense in effects than a much more energetic deep earthquake in an isolated area.

Several scales have historically been described as the “Richter scale”, especially the local magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} and the surface wave {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale. In addition, the body wave magnitude{\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b}, and the moment magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, abbreviated MMS, have been widely used for decades. A couple of new techniques to measure magnitude are in the development stage by seismologists.

All magnitude scales have been designed to give numerically similar results. This goal has been achieved well for {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}{\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}, and {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}.[2][8] The {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} scale gives somewhat different values than the other scales. The reason for so many different ways to measure the same thing is that at different distances, for different hypocentral depths, and for different earthquake sizes, the amplitudes of different types of elastic waves must be measured.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} is the scale used for the majority of earthquakes reported (tens of thousands) by local and regional seismological observatories. For large earthquakes worldwide, the moment magnitude scale (MMS) is most common, although {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} is also reported frequently.

The seismic moment{\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, is proportional to the area of the rupture times the average slip that took place in the earthquake, thus it measures the physical size of the event. {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w} is derived from it empirically as a quantity without units, just a number designed to conform to the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale.[9] A spectral analysis is required to obtain {\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, whereas the other magnitudes are derived from a simple measurement of the amplitude of a specifically defined wave.

All scales, except {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, saturate for large earthquakes, meaning they are based on the amplitudes of waves which have a wavelength shorter than the rupture length of the earthquakes. These short waves (high frequency waves) are too short a yardstick to measure the extent of the event. The resulting effective upper limit of measurement for {\displaystyle M_{L}}M_L is about 7[5] and about 8.5[5] for {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}.[10]

New techniques to avoid the saturation problem and to measure magnitudes rapidly for very large earthquakes are being developed. One of these is based on the long period P-wave;[11] the other is based on a recently discovered channel wave.[12]

The energy release of an earthquake,[13] which closely correlates to its destructive power, scales with the 32 power of the shaking amplitude. Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of 31.6 ({\displaystyle =({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released; a difference in magnitude of 2.0 is equivalent to a factor of 1000 ({\displaystyle =({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released.[14] The elastic energy radiated is best derived from an integration of the radiated spectrum, but an estimate can be based on {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} because most energy is carried by the high frequency waves.

Richter magnitudes

Earthquake severity.jpg

The Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs (adjustments are included to compensate for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquake). The original formula is:[15]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-\log _{10}A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )=\log _{10}[A/A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )],\ }M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10} A - \log_{10} A_\mathrm{0}(\delta) = \log_{10} [A / A_\mathrm{0}(\delta)],\

where A is the maximum excursion of the Wood-Anderson seismograph, the empirical function A0 depends only on the epicentral distance of the station, {\displaystyle \delta }\delta . In practice, readings from all observing stations are averaged after adjustment with station-specific corrections to obtain the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} value.

Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; in terms of energy, each whole number increase corresponds to an increase of about 31.6 times the amount of energy released, and each increase of 0.2 corresponds to a doubling of the energy released.

Events with magnitudes greater than 4.5 are strong enough to be recorded by a seismograph anywhere in the world, so long as its sensors are not located in the earthquake’s shadow.

The following describes the typical effects of earthquakes of various magnitudes near the epicenter. The values are typical only. They should be taken with extreme caution, since intensity and thus ground effects depend not only on the magnitude, but also on the distance to the epicenter, the depth of the earthquake’s focus beneath the epicenter, the location of the epicenter and geological conditions (certain terrains can amplify seismic signals).

Magnitude Description Mercalli intensity Average earthquake effects Average frequency of occurrence (estimated)
1.0–1.9 Micro I Microearthquakes, not felt, or felt rarely. Recorded by seismographs.[16] Continual/several million per year
2.0–2.9 Minor I to II Felt slightly by some people. No damage to buildings. Over one million per year
3.0–3.9 III to IV Often felt by people, but very rarely causes damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable. Over 100,000 per year
4.0–4.9 Light IV to VI Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over. 10,000 to 15,000 per year
5.0–5.9 Moderate VI to VII Can cause damage of varying severity to poorly constructed buildings. At most, none to slight damage to all other buildings. Felt by everyone. 1,000 to 1,500 per year
6.0–6.9 Strong VIII to X Damage to a moderate number of well-built structures in populated areas. Earthquake-resistant structures survive with slight to moderate damage. Poorly designed structures receive moderate to severe damage. Felt in wider areas; up to hundreds of miles/kilometers from the epicenter. Strong to violent shaking in epicentral area. 100 to 150 per year
7.0–7.9 Major X or greater[17] Causes damage to most buildings, some to partially or completely collapse or receive severe damage. Well-designed structures are likely to receive damage. Felt across great distances with major damage mostly limited to 250 km from epicenter. 10 to 20 per year
8.0–8.9 Great Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions. One per year
9.0 and greater At or near total destruction – severe damage or collapse to all buildings. Heavy damage and shaking extends to distant locations. Permanent changes in ground topography. One per 10 to 50 years

(Based on U.S. Geological Survey documents.)[18]

The intensity and death toll depend on several factors (earthquake depth, epicenter location, population density, to name a few) and can vary widely.

Minor earthquakes occur every day and hour. On the other hand, great earthquakes occur once a year, on average. The largest recorded earthquake was the Great Chilean earthquake of May 22, 1960, which had a magnitude of 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale.[19]The larger the magnitude, the less frequently the earthquake happens.

Beyond 9.5, while extremely strong earthquakes are theoretically possible, the energies involved rapidly make such earthquakes on Earth effectively impossible without an extremely destructive source of external energy. For example, the asteroid impact that created the Chicxulub crater and caused the mass extinction that may have killed the dinosaurs has been estimated as causing a magnitude 13 earthquake (see below), while a magnitude 15 earthquake could destroy the Earth completely.[citation needed] Seismologist Susan Hough has suggested that 10 may represent a very approximate upper limit, as the effect if the largest known continuous belt of faults ruptured together (along the Pacific coast of the Americas).[20]

Energy release equivalents

The following table lists the approximate energy equivalents in terms of TNT explosive force – though note that the earthquake energy is released underground rather than overground.[21] Most energy from an earthquake is not transmitted to and through the surface; instead, it dissipates into the crust and other subsurface structures. In contrast, a small atomic bomb blast (see nuclear weapon yield) will cause only light shaking of indoor items, since its energy is released above ground.

Approximate magnitude Approximate TNT equivalent for
seismic energy yield
Joule equivalent Example
0.0 15 g 63 kJ
0.2 30 g 130 kJ Large hand grenade
1.5 2.7 kg 11 MJ Seismic impact of typical small construction blast
2.1 21 kg 89 MJ West fertilizer plant explosion[22]
3.0 480 kg 2.0 GJ Oklahoma City bombing, 1995
3.5 2.7 metric tons 11 GJ PEPCON fuel plant explosion, Henderson, Nevada, 1988
3.87 9.5 metric tons 40 GJ Explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1986
3.91 11 metric tons 46 GJ Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb
6.0 15 kilotons 63 TJ Approximate yield of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (~16 kt)
7.9 10.7 megatons 45 PJ Tunguska event
8.35 50 megatons 210 PJ Tsar Bomba—Largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Most of the energy was dissipated in the atmosphere. The seismic shock was estimated at 5.0–5.2[23]
9.15 800 megatons 3.3 EJ Toba eruption 75,000 years ago; among the largest known volcanic events.[24]
13.0 100 teratons 420 ZJ Yucatán Peninsula impact (creating Chicxulub crater) 65 Ma ago (108 megatons; over 4×1029 ergs = 400 ZJ).[25][26][27][28][29]

Magnitude empirical formulae

These formulae for Richter magnitude {\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}{\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }} are alternatives to using Richter correlation tables based on Richter standard seismic event ({\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} }=0, A=0.001mm, D=100 km). Below, {\displaystyle \textstyle \Delta }\textstyle \Delta  is the epicentral distance (in kilometers unless otherwise specified).

The Lillie empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude (maximum ground displacement) of the P-wave, in micrometers, measured at 0.8 Hz.

For distances {\displaystyle D}D less than 200 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}

and for distances between 200 km and 600 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}

where {\displaystyle A}A is seismograph signal amplitude in mm and {\displaystyle D}D is in km.

The Bisztricsany (1958) empirical formula for epicentral distances between 4˚ to 160˚:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}

Where {\displaystyle \tau }\tau  is the duration of the surface wave in seconds, and {\displaystyle \Delta }\Delta  is in degrees. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 5 and 8.

The Tsumura empirical formula:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=-2.53+2.85\log _{10}(F-P)+0.0014\Delta ^{\circ }}M_\mathrm{L} = -2.53 + 2.85 \log_{10} (F-P) + 0.0014 \Delta^{\circ}

Where {\displaystyle F-P}F-P is the total duration of oscillation in seconds. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 3 and 5.

The Tsuboi, University of Tokyo, empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.73\log _{10}\Delta -0.83}M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10}A + 1.73\log_{10}\Delta - 0.83

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude in micrometers.

See also

References

Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

Hurricane Maria is Crazy Powerful. Puerto Rico Bracing!

Cat 5 Hurricane Aimed at Puerto Rico

Bob Henson discusses the path of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria could be the worst ever for Puerto Rico, meteorologist says

Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico British Virgin Islands Dominica Dominican Republic Guadeloupe 9/19

Rep. Luis Gutierrez on Category 5 Hurricane Maria Barreling Toward Puerto Rico

Live Now Hurricane Maria Category 5 Trash Guadeloupe & Dominica With High Speed Winds (Sep 19, 2017)

CATEGORY 5 ~ HURRICANE MARIA HITS DOMINICA ( Pray for the Dominican republic)

Puerto Rico Faces Hurricane Maria After Irma’s $1 Billion Damage

 
 
  • Governor warns flood-zone residents their lives are in danger
  • Island orders rationing of already scarce basic necessities

Two weeks ago, Puerto Rico was spared a devastating hit when Hurricane Irma ripped up the Caribbean. This time, it may not be so lucky.

 The bankrupt island, already contending with the aftermath of a storm that left as much as $1 billion of damage and hundreds of thousands still without power, faces even more upheaval with Hurricane Maria set to hit as soon as Tuesday night. The government ordered rationing of basic necessities, including water and batteries, although those items were already gone from some San Juan store shelves as residents prepared for what could be the worst storm for the U.S. territory in decades.

Hurricane Maria heading west on Sept. 19.

Source: NOAA

“If you are in a flood zone or in a wood house, your life is in danger,” Governor Ricardo Rossello said during a press conference Monday in San Juan. “There has never been an event like this in our history in the last 100 years. Our call is for all citizens to move to a safe place.”

 Puerto Rico is facing an active hurricane season with little financial ability to navigate a natural catastrophe. It filed for bankruptcy in May after years of economic decline and borrowing to fill budget gaps. A series of defaults have effectively left it unable to raise money in the capital markets. And its aging government-owned electric utility, the Electric Power Authority, is also operating under court protection from creditors. Puerto Rico’s emergency fund stood at about $32 million before Irma passed through.

Prepa, the government-run utility, is still trying to restore power to hundreds of thousands of residents after its electrical infrastructure sustained as much as $400 million of the nearly $1 billion of damage from Irma. It was already in need of upgrades because it relies on oil to produce most of its electricity and the median plant age is 44 years, more than twice the industry average.

“We will not have sustainable electric infrastructure in the near future,” Rossello said. “We will be bringing in crews from outside of Puerto Rico to attend to these measures.”

Rossello’s administration has opened nearly 500 shelters throughout the island and may set up more. Water, batteries, baby food and generators were already scarce in San Juan by Monday evening and motorists waited at least half an hour in line to buy gasoline. Officials estimate the last time the island withstood such a powerful storm was in 1928 with Hurricane San Felipe.

“No matter what happens here in the next 36 hours, Puerto Rico will survive, we will rebuild, we will recover and with your support, we will come out stronger than ever,” Rossello said in a statement Tuesday.

Maria’s threat hasn’t rattled the bond market, given that Puerto Rico has already defaulted and is seeking to have some of its debts discharged in bankruptcy. While its securities were actively traded as the storm gathered force, Puerto Rico debt maturing in 2035 changed hands Tuesday at an average price of 56.7 cents on the dollar, the lowest level since Sept. 1, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The island is mostly insured by local firms, though has been seeking more international interest, according to a report published last year by the commonwealth’s commissioner of insurance’s office. Universal Insurance Group of Puerto Rico is the No. 1 provider of home coverage on the island, with almost 62 percent market share, according to data compiled by ratings firm A.M. Best. MAPFRE North America Group, ranked second with 22.5 percent of the market, is a unit of Spanish insurer Mapfre SA.

— With assistance by Sonali Basak

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/puerto-rico-faces-hurricane-maria-after-irma-s-1-billion-damage

Saffir–Simpson scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saffir–Simpson scale
Category Wind speeds
Five ≥70 m/s, ≥137 knots, ≥157 mph,≥252 km/h
Four 58–70 m/s, 113–136 knots,130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h
Three 50–58 m/s, 96–112 knots,111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h
Two 43–49 m/s, 83–95 knots,96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h
One 33–42 m/s, 64–82 knots,74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h
Related classifications
Tropical storm 18–32 m/s, 34–63 knots,39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h
Tropical depression ≤17 m/s, ≤33 knots, ≤38 mph,≤62 km/h

The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS), formerly the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale (SSHS), classifies hurricanes – Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms – into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, contains storms with sustained winds exceeding 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h).

The classifications can provide some indication of the potential damage and flooding a hurricane will cause upon landfall.

Officially, the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Other areas use different scales to label these storms, which are called “cyclones” or “typhoons“, depending on the area.

There is some criticism of the SSHS for not taking rain, storm surge, and other important factors into consideration, but SSHS defenders say that part of the goal of SSHS is to be straightforward and simple to understand.

The scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Robert Simpson, who at the time was director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).[1] The scale was introduced to the general public in 1973,[2] and saw widespread use after Neil Frank replaced Simpson at the helm of the NHC in 1974.[3]

The initial scale was developed by Saffir, a structural engineer, who in 1969 went on commission for the United Nations to study low-cost housing in hurricane-prone areas.[4] While performing the study, Saffir realized there was no simple scale for describing the likely effects of a hurricane. Mirroring the utility of the Richter magnitude scale in describing earthquakes, he devised a 1–5 scale based on wind speed that showed expected damage to structures. Saffir gave the scale to the NHC, and Simpson added the effects of storm surgeand flooding.

In 2009, the NHC made moves to eliminate pressure and storm surge ranges from the categories, transforming it into a pure wind scale, called the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (Experimental) [SSHWS].[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2010.[6]The scale excludes flood ranges, storm surge estimations, rainfall, and location, which means a Category 2 hurricane which hits a major city will likely do far more cumulative damage than a Category 5 hurricane that hits a rural area.[7] The agency cited various hurricanes as reasons for removing the “scientifically inaccurate” information, including Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Ike (2008), which both had stronger than estimated storm surges, and Hurricane Charley (2004), which had weaker than estimated storm surge.[8] Since removed from the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, storm surge predicting and modeling is now handled with the use of a computerized numerical model developed by the National Weather Service called “Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes” (SLOSH).

In 2012, the NHC expanded the windspeed range for Category 4 by 1 mph in both directions, to 130–156 mph, with corresponding changes in the other units (113–136 kn, 209–251 km/h), instead of 131–155 mph (114–135 kn, 210–249 km/h). The NHC and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center assign tropical cyclone intensities in 5 knot increments, and then convert to mph and km/h with a similar rounding for other reports. So an intensity of 115 knots is rated Category 4, but the conversion to miles per hour (132.3 mph) would round down to 130 mph, making it appear to be a Category 3 storm. Likewise, an intensity of 135 knots (~155 mph, and thus Category 4) is 250.02 km/h, which according to the definition used before the change would be Category 5. To resolve these issues, the NHC had been obliged to incorrectly report storms with wind speeds of 115 kn as 135 mph, and 135 kn as 245 km/h. The change in definition allows storms of 115 kn to be correctly rounded down to 130 mph, and storms of 135 kn to be correctly reported as 250 km/h, and still qualify as Category 4. Since the NHC had previously rounded incorrectly to keep storms in Category 4 in each unit of measure, the change does not affect the classification of storms from previous years.[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2012.[9]

Categories

The scale separates hurricanes into five different categories based on wind. The U.S. National Hurricane Center classifies hurricanes of Category 3 and above as major hurricanes, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center classifies typhoons of 150 mph or greater (strong Category 4 and Category 5) as super typhoons (although all tropical cyclones can be very dangerous). Most weather agencies use the definition for sustained winds recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which specifies measuring winds at a height of 33 ft (10.1 m) for 10 minutes, and then taking the average. By contrast, the U.S. National Weather ServiceCentral Pacific Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center define sustained winds as average winds over a period of one minute, measured at the same 33 ft (10.1 m) height,[10][11] and that is the definition used for this scale. Intensity of example hurricanes is from both the time of landfall and the maximum intensity.

The scale is roughly logarithmic in wind speed, and the top wind speed for Category “c” (c=1 to 4, as there is no upper limit for category 5) can be expressed as 83×10^(c/15) miles per hour rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 – except that after the change mentioned above, Category 4 is now widened by 1 mph in each direction.

The five categories are, in order of increasing intensity:[12]

Category 1

Category 1
Sustained winds Most Recent
33–42 m/s
64–82 kn
119–153 km/h
74–95 mph
Max 2017-09-14 1705Z.jpgHurricane Max shortly before landfall in Mexico in September 2017.

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage

Category 1 storms usually cause no significant structural damage to most well-constructed permanent structures; however, they can topple unanchored mobile homes, as well as uproot or snap weak trees. Poorly attached roof shingles or tiles can blow off. Coastal flooding and pier damage are often associated with Category 1 storms. Power outages are typically widespread to extensive, sometimes lasting several days. Even though it is the least intense type of hurricane, the storm can still produce widespread damage and can be a life-threatening storm.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 1 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Flossy (1956), Gladys (1968), Agnes (1972), Juan (1985), Ismael (1995), Claudette (2003), Gaston (2004), Stan (2005), Humberto (2007), Isaac (2012), Manuel (2013), Earl (2016), Hermine (2016), Newton (2016), Franklin (2017), and Max (2017).

Category 2[edit]

Category 2
Sustained winds Most Recent
43–49 m/s
83–95 kn
154–177 km/h
96–110 mph
Arthur Jul 3 2014 1615Z.jpg
Arthur in 2014 approaching North Carolina.

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage

Storms of Category 2 intensity often damage roofing material (sometimes exposing the roof) and inflict damage upon poorly constructed doors and windows. Poorly constructed signs and piers can receive considerable damage and many trees are uprooted or snapped. Mobile homes, whether anchored or not, are typically damaged and sometimes destroyed, and many manufactured homes also suffer structural damage. Small craft in unprotected anchorages may break their moorings. Extensive to near-total power outages and scattered loss of potable water are likely, possibly lasting many days.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 2 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Able (1952), Alice (1954), Fifi (1974), Diana (1990), Calvin (1993), Gert (1993), Rosa (1994), Erin (1995), Alma (1996), Juan (2003), Alex (2010), Richard (2010), Tomas (2010), Carlotta (2012), Ernesto (2012), and Arthur (2014).

Category 3

Category 3
Sustained winds Most Recent
50–58 m/s
96–112 kn
178–208 km/h
111–129 mph
Otto 2016-11-24 1605Z.jpg
Otto near its landfall on Nicaragua.

Devastating damage will occur

Tropical cyclones of Category 3 and higher are described as major hurricanes in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. These storms can cause some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, particularly those of wood frame or manufactured materials with minor curtain wall failures. Buildings that lack a solid foundation, such as mobile homes, are usually destroyed, and gable-end roofs are peeled off. Manufactured homes usually sustain severe and irreparable damage. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures, while larger structures are struck by floating debris. A large number of trees are uprooted or snapped, isolating many areas. Additionally, terrain may be flooded well inland. Near-total to total power loss is likely for up to several weeks and water will likely also be lost or contaminated.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 3 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Easy (1950), Carol (1954), Hilda (1955), Celia (1970), Ella (1970), Eloise (1975), Olivia (1975), Alicia (1983), Elena (1985), Roxanne (1995), Fran (1996), Isidore (2002), Lane (2006), Karl (2010), Sandy (2012) and Otto (2016).

Category 4[edit]

Category 4
Sustained winds Most Recent
58–70 m/s
113–136 kn
209–251 km/h
130–156 mph
Harvey 2017-08-25 2231Z.png
Harvey in August 2017 shortly before its Texaslandfall.

Catastrophic damage will occur

Category 4 hurricanes tend to produce more extensive curtainwall failures, with some complete structural failure on small residences. Heavy, irreparable damage and near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are common. Mobile and manufactured homes are often flattened. Most trees, except for the heartiest, are uprooted or snapped, isolating many areas. These storms cause extensive beach erosion, while terrain may be flooded far inland. Total and long-lived electrical and water losses are to be expected, possibly for many weeks.[5]

The 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster to hit the United States, peaked at an intensity that corresponds to a modern-day Category 4 storm. Other examples of storms that peaked at Category 4 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Hazel (1954), Gracie (1959), Flora (1963), Cleo (1964), Betsy (1965), Frederic (1979), Joan (1988), Iniki (1992), Luis (1995), Iris (2001), Charley (2004), Dennis(2005), Gustav (2008), Ike (2008), Joaquin (2015), and Harvey (2017).

Category 5

Category 5
Sustained winds Most Recent
≥ 70 m/s
≥ 137 kn
≥ 252 km/h
≥ 157 mph
Maria Geostationary VIS-IR 2017.pngMaria in September 2017 approaching landfall on Dominica.

Cataclysmic damage will occur

Category 5 is the highest category of the Saffir–Simpson scale. These storms cause complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Collapse of many wide-span roofs and walls, especially those with no interior supports, is common. Very heavy and irreparable damage to many wood frame structures and total destruction to mobile/manufactured homes is prevalent. Only a few types of structures are capable of surviving intact, and only if located at least 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) inland. They include office, condominium and apartment buildings and hotels that are of solid concrete or steel frame construction, public multi-story concrete parking garages, and residences that are made of either reinforced brick or concrete/cement block and have hipped roofs with slopes of no less than 35 degrees from horizontal and no overhangs of any kind, and if the windows are either made of hurricane-resistant safety glass or covered with shutters. Unless all of these requirements are met, the absolute destruction of a structure is certain.[5]

The storm’s flooding causes major damage to the lower floors of all structures near the shoreline, and many coastal structures can be completely flattened or washed away by the storm surge. Virtually all trees are uprooted or snapped and some may be debarked, isolating most affected communities. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required if the hurricane threatens populated areas. Total and extremely long-lived power outages and water losses are to be expected, possibly for up to several months.[5]

Historical examples of storms that made landfall at Category 5 status include: “Cuba” (1924), “Okeechobee” (1928), “Bahamas” (1932), “Cuba–Brownsville” (1933), “Labor Day” (1935), Janet (1955), Camille (1969), Edith (1971), Anita (1977), David (1979), Gilbert (1988), Andrew (1992), Dean (2007), Felix (2007), Irma (2017),[13] and Maria (2017).[14] No Category 5 hurricane is known to have made landfall at that strength in the eastern Pacific basin.

Criticism

Some scientists, including Kerry Emanuel and Lakshmi Kantha, have criticized the scale as being simplistic, indicating that the scale takes into account neither the physical size of a storm nor the amount of precipitation it produces.[7] Additionally, they and others point out that the Saffir–Simpson scale, unlike the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes, is not continuous, and is quantized into a small number of categories. Proposed replacement classifications include the Hurricane Intensity Index, which is based on the dynamic pressure caused by a storm’s winds, and the Hurricane Hazard Index, which bases itself on surface wind speeds, the radius of maximum winds of the storm, and its translational velocity.[15][16] Both of these scales are continuous, akin to the Richter scale;[17] however, neither of these scales have been used by officials.

“Category 6”

After the series of powerful storm systems of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, a few newspaper columnists and scientists brought up the suggestion of introducing Category 6, and they have suggested pegging Category 6 to storms with winds greater than 174 or 180 mph (78 or 80 m/s; 151 or 156 kn; 280 or 290 km/h).[7][18] Only a few storms of this intensity have been recorded. Of the 33 hurricanes currently considered to have attained Category 5 status in the Atlantic, 17 had wind speeds at 175 mph (78 m/s; 152 kn; 282 km/h) or greater and only seven had wind speeds at 180 mph (80 m/s; 160 kn; 290 km/h) or greater (the 1935 Labor Day hurricaneAllenGilbertMitchRitaWilma, and Irma). Of the 15 hurricanes currently considered to have attained Category 5 status in the eastern Pacific, only six had wind speeds at 175 mph (78 m/s; 152 kn; 282 km/h) or greater (PatsyJohnLindaRick, and Patricia), and only three had wind speeds at 180 mph (80 m/s; 160 kn; 290 km/h) or greater (Linda, Rick, and Patricia). However, most storms which would be eligible for this category were typhoons in the western Pacific, most notably Typhoon Tip in 1979 with sustained winds of 190 mph (310 km/h) and typhoons Haiyan and Meranti in 2013 and 2016, respectively, with sustained winds of 195 mph (314 km/h).[19]

According to Robert Simpson, there are no reasons for a Category 6 on the Saffir–Simpson Scale because it is designed to measure the potential damage of a hurricane to human-made structures. Simpson stated that “…when you get up into winds in excess of 155 mph (249 km/h) you have enough damage if that extreme wind sustains itself for as much as six seconds on a building it’s going to cause rupturing damages that are serious no matter how well it’s engineered.”[3] Despite his statements, the counties of Broward and Miami-Dade in Florida have building codes which require critical infrastructure buildings to be able to withstand hurricane winds of 156 and up,[20] which contradicts Mr. Simpson’s assessment of building strength. Absent a “Category 6”, governments have no guidance as to where “up” should end.

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Williams, Jack (May 17, 2005). “Hurricane scale invented to communicate storm danger”USA Today. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  2. Jump up^ Staff writer (May 9, 1973). “’73, Hurricanes to be Graded”. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  3. Jump up to:a b Debi Iacovelli (July 2001). “The Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale: An Interview with Dr. Robert Simpson”Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Retrieved September 10, 2006.
  4. Jump up^ Press Writer (August 23, 2001). “Hurricanes shaped life of scale inventor”. Retrieved March 20, 2016.[dead link]
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h The Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale National Hurricane Center. Accessed 2009-05-15.
  6. Jump up^ National Hurricane Operations Plan Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., NOAA. Accessed July 3, 2010.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Ker Than (October 20, 2005). “Wilma’s Rage Suggests New Hurricane Categories Needed”LiveScience. Retrieved October 20, 2005.
  8. Jump up^ “Experimental Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale” (PDF). National Hurricane Center. 2009.
  9. Jump up^ Public Information StatementNOAA. Accessed March 9, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ Tropical Cyclone Weather Services Program (June 1, 2006). “Tropical cyclone definitions” (PDF). National Weather Service. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  11. Jump up^ Federal Emergency Management Agency (2004). “Hurricane Glossary of Terms”. Archived from the original on December 14, 2005. Retrieved March 24, 2006. Accessed through the Wayback Machine.
  12. Jump up^ “Name That Hurricane: Famous Examples of the 5 Hurricane Categories”Live Science. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  13. Jump up^ “Famous Hurricanes of the 20th and 21st Century in the United States” (PDF). http://www.weather.gov/crh/.
  14. Jump up^ Brown, Daniel. “Hurricane Maria Tropical Cyclone Update”. National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  15. Jump up^ Kantha, L. (January 2006). “Time to Replace the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale?” (PDF). Eos87 (1): 3, 6. Bibcode:2006EOSTr..87….3Kdoi:10.1029/2006eo010003. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  16. Jump up^ Kantha, Lakshmi (February 2008). “Tropical Cyclone Destructive Potential by Integrated Kinetic Energy” (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Boston: American Meteorological Society89 (2): 219–221. Bibcode:2008BAMS…89..219Kdoi:10.1175/BAMS-89-2-219.
  17. Jump up^ Benfield Hazard Research Centre (2006). “Atmospheric Hazards”Hazard & Risk Science Review 2006University College London. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  18. Jump up^ Bill Blakemore (May 21, 2006). “Category 6 Hurricanes? They’ve Happened: Global Warming Winds Up Hurricane Scientists as NOAA Issues Its Atlantic Hurricane Predictions for Summer 2006”ABC News. Retrieved September 10, 2006.
  19. Jump up^ Debi Iacovelli and Tim Vasquez (1998). “Supertyphoon Tip: Shattering all records” (PDF). Monthly Weather Log. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  20. Jump up^ Jennifer Kay (September 2017). “Irma could test strength of Florida’s strict building codes”The_Washington_Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved September 16, 2017.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_scale

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 Story 1: Trump’s Fire and Fury Over The Nuclear Club’s New Member, North Korea — On The Brink of Nuclear Arms Race and Proliferation — Duck and Cover — Videos

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Trump warns North Korea threats ‘will be met with fire and fury’

  • President Donald Trump warns that threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
  • North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can fit in its missiles, according to NBC News and The Washington Post.

Jacob Pramuk

Trump: North korea will be met with fire and fury

President Trump: North Korea will be met with ‘fire and fury’  39 Mins Ago | 00:27

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea about facing “fire and fury” if the isolated nation makes more threats to the United States.

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening … and I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump told reporters during what he calls a “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club.

His comments came hours after revelations Pyongyang has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon designed to fit inside its missiles.

The development raises the stakes for Trump and other world leaders, who already faced difficult and limited options in dealing with North Korea’s aggression.

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously put new sanctions on North Korea over its continued missile tests. The country has tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles that landed off the coast of Japan this year. Some analysis has said one of those missiles could potentially reach the mainland United States.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/trump-warns-north-korea-threats-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury.html

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say

A confidential assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency says that North Korea has already developed a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can fit on top of an ICBM. (The Washington Post)
 August 8 at 12:09 PM
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.

While more than a decade has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, many analysts believed it would be years before the country’s weapons scientists could design a compact warhead that could be delivered by missile to distant targets. But the new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has already been reached.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially last year claimed to have done so.

The DIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.

Kim Jong Un is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, both China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion earnings.

The nuclear progress further raises the stakes for President Trump, who has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons. In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said. But McMaster said the administration would do everything short of war to “pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him, such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearize.” The options said to be under discussion ranged from new multilateral negotiations to reintroducing U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula, officials familiar with internal discussions said.

Determining the precise makeup of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has long been a difficult challenge for intelligence professionals because of the regime’s culture of extreme secrecy and insularity. The country’s weapons scientists have conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, the latest being a 20- to 30-kiloton detonation on Sept. 9, 2016, that produced a blast estimated to be up to twice that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

But producing a compact nuclear warhead that can fit inside a missile is a technically demanding feat, one that many analysts believed was still beyond North Korea’s grasp. Last year, state-run media in Pyongyang displayed a spherical device that government spokesmen described as a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but whether it was a real bomb remained unclear. North Korean officials described the September detonation as a successful test of a small warhead designed to fit on a missile, though many experts were skeptical of the claim.

Kim has repeatedly proclaimed his intention to field a fleet of nuclear-tipped ICBMs as a guarantor of his regime’s survival. His regime took a major step toward that goal last month with the first successful tests of a missile with intercontinental range. Video analysis of the latest test revealed that the missile caught fire and apparently disintegrated as it plunged back toward Earth’s surface, suggesting North Korea’s engineers are not yet capable of building a reentry vehicle that can carry the warhead safely through the upper atmosphere. But U.S. analysts and many independent experts believe that this hurdle will be overcome by late next year.

“What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along,” said Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and author of “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout,” published by the center this year. “There’s a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era.”

While few discount North Korea’s progress, some prominent U.S. experts warned against the danger of overestimating the threat. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the last known U.S. official to personally inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities, has calculated the size of North Korea’s arsenal at no more than 20 to 25 bombs. Hecker warned of potential risks that can come from making Kim into a bigger menace than he actually is.

“Overselling is particularly dangerous,” said Hecker, who visited North Korea seven times between 2004 and 2010 and met with key leaders of the country’s weapons programs. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy — a madman — and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.”

“The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”

In the past, U.S. intelligence agencies have occasionally overestimated the North Korean threat. In the early 2000s, the George W. Bush administration assessed that Pyongyang was close to developing an ICBM that could strike the U.S. mainland — a prediction that missed the mark by more than a decade. More recently, however, analysts and policymakers have been taken repeatedly by surprise as North Korea achieved key milestones months or years ahead of schedule, noted Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ East Asia Nonproliferation Program. There was similar skepticism about China’s capabilities in the early 1960s, said Lewis, who has studied that country’s pathway to a successful nuclear test in 1964.

“There is no reason to think that the North Koreans aren’t making the same progress after so many successful nuclear explosions,” Lewis said. “The big question is why do we hold the North Koreans to a different standard than we held [Joseph] Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China? North Korea is testing underground, so we’re always going to lack a lot of details. But it seems to me a lot of people are insisting on impossible levels of proof because they simply don’t want to accept what should be pretty obvious.”

Fifield reported from Krabi, Thailand. Yuki Oda in Tokyo contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.44fcf2bba791

 

The right way to play the China card on North Korea


The successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (Korean Central News Agency/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
 July 5

Jake Sullivan was national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and director of policy planning in the Obama administration. Victor Cha is former director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council and served as deputy head of the U.S. delegation for the six-party talks in the George W. Bush administration.

North Korea’s July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile test raises hard questions for the Trump administration: Is there any path forward that does not lead either to war or to living with a nuclear North Korea that can hit the continental United States? Can effective diplomacy prevent the “major, major conflict” that President Trump has talked about?

There is growing recognition that the old playbook won’t work. Reviving old agreements North Korea has already broken would be fruitless. The Chinese won’t deliver on meaningful pressure. And a military strike could lead to all-out war resulting in millions of casualties. We need to consider a new approach to diplomacy.

That means playing the China card, but not the way it has been played until now. It’s not enough to ask China to pressure Pyongyang to set up a U.S.-North Korea negotiation. China has to be a central part of the negotiation, too. China, rather than the United States, should be paying for North Korea to halt and roll back its nuclear and missile programs. Here’s the logic.

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The best option would be for China to agree to work with us and South Korea toward getting new leadership in North Korea that is less obsessed with weapons of mass destruction. But this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future for a litany of reasons: China’s historical ties to its little communist brother; its concerns about regime collapse; its uncertainty about alternative viable power centers to the Kim family; its mistrust of U.S. motives; and its strained relations with South Korea.

The next option would be for China to cut off, or at least severely curtail, its commerce with North Korea, which accounts for 85 to 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, to restrain Pyongyang. But as Trump has recognized in recent tweets, China is unlikely to go this far right now, for the same reasons.

So we are left with a less dramatic form of carrots-and-sticks diplomacy, backed by increasing pressure. But it can’t be a repeat of previous rounds.

In the past, China has largely left it to the United States to put inducements on the table. Together the nuclear agreements executed by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations cost the United States a half-billion dollars for denuclearization via monthly energy-assistance payments to Pyongyang. (Japan and South Korea also paid their fair share; China paid only a small amount in the Bush agreement.) Meanwhile, China continued to enjoy its trade relationship with North Korea, extracting mineral resources at a fraction of world market prices.

Now China is back, pushing us to the bargaining table, as evidenced by its statement with Russia after Tuesday’s missile test calling for the United States to give up military exercises in exchange for a missile-testing freeze.

According to a confidential assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year. (The Washington Post)

We should reject the freeze-for- freeze. But beyond that, we should tell China that it has to pay to play. The basic trade would be Chinese disbursements to Pyongyang, as well as security assurances, in return for constraints on North Korea’s program. China would be paying not just for North Korean coal, but for North Korean compliance.

In a Chinese freeze-and-rollback agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency would monitor compliance. If North Korea cheated, China would not be receiving what it paid for. The logical thing would be for it to withhold economic benefits until compliance resumed.

Of course, China might continue to fund the regime anyway. Or North Korea could very well reject such a deal from the start. But these scenarios would leave us no worse off than we are now. And it might well put us in a stronger position. Because China didn’t get what it paid for, or got the cold shoulder from Pyongyang, it might become more receptive to working with us and our allies on other options.

Why would China agree to this plan, given that it has never been willing to put its economic leverage to real use before?

Beijing wants a diplomatic off-ramp to the current crisis. President Xi Jinping is still seeking a good relationship with Trump in this critical year of China’s 19th Party Congress. Furthermore, Chinese frustrations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have grown after his execution of family members and regime figures close to China. All this may give the Trump administration marginally more leverage than its predecessors had.

We also have an important stick. If China refuses to proceed along these lines, we would be better positioned to pursue widespread secondary sanctions against Chinese firms doing business with North Korea beyond the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of a Chinese bank last week. We would be left with little choice.

Of course, this idea is no silver bullet. It doesn’t answer the question of how to get verifiable, enforceable, durable constraints on North Korea. It won’t go very far if what North Korea really cares about is extracting something from the United States. But North Korea is the land of lousy options. We should be looking for a strategy that gives us not only a better chance of success but also some advantages if it fails.

List of states with nuclear weapons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of nuclear-armed states of the world.

 NPT-designated nuclear weapon states (ChinaFranceRussian FederationUnited KingdomUnited States)
  Other states with nuclear weapons (IndiaNorth KoreaPakistan)
  Other states presumed to have nuclear weapons (Israel)
  States formerly possessing nuclear weapons (BelarusKazakhstanSouth AfricaUkraine)

There are eight sovereign states that have successfully detonated nuclear weapons.[1]Five are considered to be “nuclear-weapon states” (NWS) under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In order of acquisition of nuclear weapons these are: the United States, the Russian Federation (the successor state to the Soviet Union), the United KingdomFrance, and China.

Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted nuclear tests, namely IndiaPakistan, and North Korea. North Korea had been a party to the NPT but withdrew in 2003. Israel is also widely known to have nuclear weapons,[2][3][4][5][6] though it maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity regarding this (has not acknowledged it), and is not known definitively to have conducted a nuclear test.[7] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute‘s SIPRI Yearbook of 2014, Israel has approximately 80 nuclear warheads.[8]

According to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear Notebook, the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide is estimated at 9,920 in 2017.[9]

South Africa developed nuclear weapons but then disassembled its arsenal before joining the NPT.[10] Nations that are known or thought to have nuclear weapons are sometimes referred to informally as the nuclear club.

Statistics and force configuration

Countries by estimated total nuclear warhead stockpile.
According to the Federation of American Scientists.

The following is a list of states that have admitted the possession of nuclear weapons or are presumed to possess them, the approximate number of warheads under their control, and the year they tested their first weapon and their force configuration. This list is informally known in global politics as the “Nuclear Club”.[11] With the exception of Russia and the United States (which have subjected their nuclear forces to independent verification under various treaties) these figures are estimates, in some cases quite unreliable estimates. In particular, under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty thousands of Russian and U.S. nuclear warheads are inactive in stockpiles awaiting processing. The fissile material contained in the warheads can then be recycled for use in nuclear reactors.

From a high of 68,000 active weapons in 1985, as of 2016 there are some 4,000 active nuclear warheads and 10,100 total nuclear warheads in the world.[1] Many of the decommissioned weapons were simply stored or partially dismantled, not destroyed.[12]

It is also noteworthy that since the dawn of the Atomic Age, the delivery methods of most states with nuclear weapons has evolved with some achieving a nuclear triad, while others have consolidated away from land and air deterrents to submarine-based forces.

Country Warheads (Active/Total)[nb 1] Date of first test Test site of first test CTBT status Delivery methods
The five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT
United States 2,800 / 6,800[1] 16 July 1945 (“Trinity“) Alamogordo, New Mexico Signatory[13] Nuclear triad[14]
Russia 1,910 / 7,000[1] 29 August 1949 (“RDS-1“) SemipalatinskKazakhstan Ratifier[13] Nuclear triad[15]
United Kingdom 120 / 215[1] 3 October 1952 (“Hurricane“) Monte Bello IslandsAustralia Ratifier[13] Sea-based[16][nb 2]
France 280 / 300[1] 13 February 1960 (“Gerboise Bleue“) Sahara desert, French Algeria Ratifier[13] Sea- and air-based[17][nb 3]
China n.a. / 270[1] 16 October 1964 (“596“) Lop NurXinjiang Signatory[13] Suspected nuclear triad.[18][19]
Non-NPT nuclear powers
India n.a. / 110–120[1] 18 May 1974 (“Smiling Buddha“) Pokhran,Rajasthan Non-signatory[13] Nuclear triad[20][21][22][23][24]
Pakistan n.a. / 120–130[1] 28 May 1998 (“Chagai-I“) Ras Koh HillsBalochistan Non-signatory[13] Land and air-based.[25][26]
North Korea n.a. / 60 [1] 9 October 2006[27] KiljuNorth Hamgyong Non-signatory[13] Suspected land and sea-based.[28]
Undeclared nuclear powers
Israel n.a. / 80[1][29][30] 1960–1979[31] incl. suspected Vela Incident[32] Unknown Signatory[13] Suspected nuclear triad.[33][34]

Five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT

An early stage in the “Trinity” fireball, the first nuclear explosion, 1945

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2014

The mushroom cloud from the first Soviet Union atomic test “RDS-1” (1949).

French nuclear-powered aircraft carrierCharles de Gaulle (right) and the American nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise (left), each of which carries nuclear-capable warplanes

These five states are known to have detonated a nuclear explosive before 1 January 1967 and are thus nuclear weapons states under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, they also happen to be the UN Security Council‘s permanent members with veto power on UNSC resolutions.

United States

The United States developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II in cooperation with the United Kingdom and Canada as part of the Manhattan Project, out of the fear that Nazi Germany would develop them first. It tested the first nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945 (“Trinity“) at 5:30 am, and remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war, devastating the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the first nation to develop the hydrogen bomb, testing an experimental prototype in 1952 (“Ivy Mike“) and a deployable weapon in 1954 (“Castle Bravo“). Throughout the Cold War it continued to modernize and enlarge its nuclear arsenal, but from 1992 on has been involved primarily in a program of Stockpile stewardship.[35][36][37][38] The U.S. nuclear arsenal contained 31,175 warheads at its Cold War height (in 1966).[39] During the Cold War, the United States built approximately 70,000 nuclear warheads, more than all other nuclear-weapon states combined.[40][41]

Russian Federation (formerly part of the Soviet Union)

The Soviet Union tested its first nuclear weapon (“RDS-1“) in 1949, in a crash project developed partially with espionage obtained during and after World War II (see: Soviet atomic bomb project). The Soviet Union was the second nation to have developed and tested a nuclear weapon. The direct motivation for Soviet weapons development was to achieve a balance of power during the Cold War. It tested its first megaton-range hydrogen bomb (“RDS-37“) in 1955. The Soviet Union also tested the most powerful explosive ever detonated by humans, (“Tsar Bomba“), with a theoretical yield of 100 megatons, intentionally reduced to 50 when detonated. After its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet weapons entered officially into the possession of the Russian Federation.[42] The Soviet nuclear arsenal contained some 45,000 warheads at its peak (in 1986); the Soviet Union built about 55,000 nuclear warheads since 1949.[41]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon (“Hurricane“) in 1952. The UK had provided considerable impetus and initial research for the early conception of the atomic bomb, aided by the presence of refugee scientists working in British laboratories who had fled the continent. It collaborated closely with the United States and Canada during the Manhattan Project, but had to develop its own method for manufacturing and detonating a bomb as U.S. secrecy grew after 1945. The United Kingdom was the third country in the world, after the United States and Soviet Union, to develop and test a nuclear weapon. Its programme was motivated to have an independent deterrent against the Soviet Union, while also maintaining its status as a great power. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1957 (Operation Grapple), making it the third country to do so after the United States and Soviet Union.[43][44] The UK maintained a fleet of V bomberstrategic bombers and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) equipped with nuclear weapons during the Cold War. It currently maintains a fleet of four ‘Vanguard’ classballistic missile submarines equipped with Trident II missiles. In 2016, the UK House of Commons voted to renew the British nuclear deterrent with the Dreadnought-class submarine, without setting a date for the commencement of service of a replacement to the current system.

France

France tested its first nuclear weapon in 1960 (“Gerboise Bleue“), based mostly on its own research. It was motivated by the Suez Crisis diplomatic tension vis-à-vis both the Soviet Union and the Free World allies United States and United Kingdom. It was also relevant to retain great power status, alongside the United Kingdom, during the post-colonial Cold War (see: Force de frappe). France tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1968 (“Opération Canopus“). After the Cold War, France has disarmed 175 warheads with the reduction and modernization of its arsenal that has now evolved to a dual system based on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and medium-range air-to-surface missiles (Rafale fighter-bombers). However new nuclear weapons are in development[citation needed] and reformed nuclear squadrons were trained during Enduring Freedom operations in Afghanistan.[citation needed] France signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992.[45] In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac stated a terrorist act or the use of weapons of mass destruction against France would result in a nuclear counterattack.[46] In February 2015, President Francois Hollande stressed the need for a nuclear deterrent in “a dangerous world”. He also detailed the French deterrent as “less than 300″ nuclear warheads, three sets of 16 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 54 medium-range air-to-surface missiles” and urged other states to show similar transparency.[47]

China

China tested its first nuclear weapon device (“596“) in 1964 at the Lop Nur test site. The weapon was developed as a deterrent against both the United States and the Soviet Union. Two years later, China had a fission bomb capable of being put onto a nuclear missile. It tested its first hydrogen bomb (“Test No. 6“) in 1967, a mere 32 months after testing its first nuclear weapon (the shortest fission-to-fusion development known in history).[48] The country is currently thought to have had a stockpile of around 240 warheads, though because of the limited information available, estimates range from 100 to 400.[49][50][51] China is the only NPT nuclear-weapon state to give an unqualified negative security assurance due to its “no first use” policy.[52][53] China signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992.[45] On February 25, 2015 U.S. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy stated to the House Armed Services Committee‘s seapower subcommittee that the U.S. does not believe the PLAN currently deploys SLBMs on their submarine fleet.[54]

Other states declaring possession of nuclear weapons

Large stockpile with global range (dark blue), smaller stockpile with global range (medium blue), small stockpile with regional range (light blue)

India

India is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India tested what it called a “peaceful nuclear explosive” in 1974 (which became known as “Smiling Buddha“). The test was the first test developed after the creation of the NPT, and created new questions about how civilian nuclear technology could be diverted secretly to weapons purposes (dual-use technology). India’s secret development caused great concern and anger particularly from nations, such as Canada, that had supplied its nuclear reactors for peaceful and power generating needs.[citation needed]

Indian officials rejected the NPT in the 1960s on the grounds that it created a world of nuclear “haves” and “have-nots”, arguing that it unnecessarily restricted “peaceful activity” (including “peaceful nuclear explosives”), and that India would not accede to international control of their nuclear facilities unless all other countries engaged in unilateral disarmament of their own nuclear weapons. The Indian position has also asserted that the NPT is in many ways a neo-colonial regime designed to deny security to post-colonial powers.[55] Even after its 1974 test, India maintained that its nuclear capability was primarily “peaceful”, but between 1988 and 1990 it apparently weaponized two dozen nuclear weapons for delivery by air.[56] In 1998 India tested weaponized nuclear warheads (“Operation Shakti“), including a thermonuclear device.[57]

In July 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced plans to conclude an Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.[58] This came to fruition through a series of steps that included India’s announced plan to separate its civil and military nuclear programs in March 2006,[59] the passage of the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement by the U.S. Congress in December 2006, the conclusion of a U.S.–India nuclear cooperation agreement in July 2007,[60] approval by the IAEA of an India-specific safeguards agreement,[61] agreement by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to a waiver of export restrictions for India,[62] approval by the U.S. Congress[63] and culminating in the signature of U.S.–India agreement for civil nuclear cooperation[64] in October 2008. The U.S. State Department said it made it “very clear that we will not recognize India as a nuclear-weapon state”.[65] The United States is bound by the Hyde Act with India and may cease all cooperation with India if India detonates a nuclear explosive device. The US had further said it is not its intention to assist India in the design, construction or operation of sensitive nuclear technologies through the transfer of dual-use items.[66] In establishing an exemption for India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group reserved the right to consult on any future issues which might trouble it.[67] As of early 2013, India was estimated to have had a stockpile of around 90–110 warheads.[1]

Pakistan

Pakistan also is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan covertly developed nuclear weapons over decades, beginning in the late 1970s. Pakistan first delved into nuclear power after the establishment of its first nuclear power plant near Karachi with equipment and materials supplied mainly by western nations in the early 1970s. Pakistani President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto promised in 1971 that if India could build nuclear weapons then Pakistan would too, according to him: “We will develop Nuclear stockpiles, even if we have to eat grass.”

It is believed that Pakistan has possessed nuclear weapons since the mid-1980s.[68] The United States continued to certify that Pakistan did not possess such weapons until 1990, when sanctions were imposed under the Pressler Amendment, requiring a cutoff of U.S. economic and military assistance to Pakistan.[69] In 1998, Pakistan conducted its first six nuclear tests at the Ras Koh Hills in response to the five tests conducted by India a few weeks before.

In 2004, the Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, a key figure in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, confessed to heading an international black market ring involved in selling nuclear weapons technology. In particular, Khan had been selling gas centrifugetechnology to North Korea, Iran, and Libya. Khan denied complicity by the Pakistani government or Army, but this has been called into question by journalists and IAEA officials, and was later contradicted by statements from Khan himself.[70]

As of early 2013, Pakistan was estimated to have had a stockpile of around 100–120 warheads,[1] and in November 2014 it was projected that by 2020 Pakistan would have enough fissile material for 200 warheads.[71]

North Korea

North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but announced a withdrawal on January 10, 2003, after the United States accused it of having a secret uranium enrichment program and cut off energy assistance under the 1994 Agreed Framework. In February 2005, North Korea claimed to possess functional nuclear weapons, though their lack of a test at the time led many experts to doubt the claim. However, in October 2006, North Korea stated that due to growing intimidation by the United States, it would conduct a nuclear test to confirm its nuclear status. North Korea reported a successful nuclear test on October 9, 2006 (see 2006 North Korean nuclear test). Most U.S. intelligence officials believe that North Korea did, in fact, test a nuclear device due to radioactive isotopes detected by U.S. aircraft; however, most agree that the test was probably only partially successful.[72] The yield may have been less than a kiloton, which is much smaller than the first successful tests of other powers; boosted fission weapons may have an unboosted yield in this range, which is sufficient to start deuterium-tritium fusion in the boost gas at the center; the fast neutrons from fusion then ensure a full fission yield. North Korea conducted a second, higher yield test on 25 May 2009 (see 2009 North Korean nuclear test) and a third test with still higher yield on 12 February 2013 (see 2013 North Korean nuclear test). North Korea claimed to have conducted its first H-bomb test on 5 January 2016, though measurements of seismic disturbances indicate that the detonation was not consistent with a hydrogen bomb.[73]

Other states believed to possess nuclear weapons

Israel

Israel is widely known to have been the sixth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons, but has not acknowledged its nuclear forces. It had “rudimentary, but deliverable,” nuclear weapons available as early as 1967.[74] Israel is not a party to the NPT. Israel engages in strategic ambiguity, saying it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons into the region, but refusing to otherwise confirm or deny a nuclear weapons program or arsenal. This policy of “nuclear opacity” has been interpreted as an attempt to get the benefits of deterrence with a minimum political cost.[74][75] In 1968, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Yitzhak Rabin, affirmed to the United States State Department that Israel would “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.” Upon further questioning about what “introduce” meant in this context, however, he said that “he would not consider a weapon that had not been tested as a weapon,” and affirmed that he did not believe that “an unadvertised, untested nuclear device” was really “a nuclear weapon.” He also agreed, however, that an “advertised but untested” device would be considered “introduction.” This has been interpreted to mean that official Israeli policy was that the country could possess a nuclear weapon without technically “introducing” it, so long as it did not test it, and as long as it was “unadvertised”.[76][77]

In 1986, a former Dimona technician, Mordechai Vanunu, disclosed extensive information about the nuclear program to the British press, including photographs of the secret areas of the nuclear site, some of which depicted nuclear weapons cores and designs. Vanunu gave detailed descriptions of lithium-6 separation required for the production of tritium, an essential ingredient of fusion-boosted fission bombs, as well as information about the rate of plutonium production. Vanunu’s evidence was vetted by experienced technical experts before publication, and is considered to be among the strongest evidence for the advanced state of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[75][78]Theodore Taylor, a former U.S. nuclear device design expert and physicist leading the field[79] especially in small and efficient nuclear weapons, reviewed the 1986 Vanunu leaks and photographs in detail. Taylor concluded that Israel’s thermonuclear weapon designs appeared to be “less complex than those of other nations,” and at the time of the 1986 leaks “not capable of producing yields in the megaton or higher range.” Nevertheless, “they may produce at least several times the yield of fission weapons with the same quantity of plutonium or highly enriched uranium.” In other words, Israel could “boost” the yield of its nuclear fission weapons. According to Taylor, the uncertainties involved in the process of boosting required more than theoretical analysis for full confidence in the weapons’ performance. Taylor therefore concluded that Israel had “unequivocally” tested a miniaturized nuclear device. The Institute for Defense Analyses(IDA) concluded after reviewing the evidence given by Vanunu that as of 1987, “the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960.” and would require supercomputers or parallel computing clusters to refine their hydrogen bomb designs for improved yields without testing, though noting in 1987 they were already then developing the computer code base required.[80] Israel was first permitted to import US built supercomputers beginning in November 1995.[80]

In a paper by the USAF Counterproliferation Center researcher Lieutenant Colonel Warner D. Farr wrote that much lateral proliferation happened between pre-nuclear France and Israel stating “the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one—such was the depth of collaboration” and “the Israelis had unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data.” minimizing the need for early Israeli testing.[81] West Germany army magazine, Wehrtechnik (“military technology”), claimed that western intelligence documented that Israel had conducted an underground test in the Negev in 1963.[82] There is also speculation that Israel may have tested a nuclear weapon along with South Africa in 1979, but this has not been confirmed, and interpretation of the Vela Incident is controversial. The stated purpose of the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona is to advance basic nuclear science and applied research on nuclear energy.[83]

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, Israel likely possesses around 75–200 nuclear weapons.[29][84] The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Israel has approximately 80 intact nuclear weapons, of which 50 are for delivery by Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 are gravity bombs for delivery by aircraft. SIPRI also reports that there was renewed speculation in 2012 that Israel may also have developed nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missiles.[85]

Nuclear weapons sharing

U.S. nuclear weapons in host countries[86][87]
Country Air base Custodian Warheads
 Belgium Kleine Brogel 52nd Fighter Wing 10~20
 Germany Büchel 52nd Fighter Wing 20
 Italy Ghedi Torre 52nd Fighter Wing 40[88]
Aviano 31st Fighter Wing 50
 Netherlands Volkel 52nd Fighter Wing 22 [89]
 Turkey Incirlik 39th Air Base Wing 60~70
Total 202~222
  • BelgiumGermanyItalyNetherlandsTurkey

Under NATOnuclear weapons sharing, the United States has provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey to deploy and store.[90] This involves pilots and other staff of the “non-nuclear” NATO states practicing, handling, and delivering the U.S. nuclear bombs, and adapting non-U.S. warplanes to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs. However, since all U.S. nuclear weapons are protected with Permissive Action Links, the host states cannot easily arm the bombs without authorization codes from the U.S. Department of Defense.[91] Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga acknowledged the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Italy.[92] U.S. nuclear weapons were also deployed in Canada as well as Greece from 1963 to 1984. However, Canada withdrew three of the four nuclear-capable weapons systems by 1972. The single system retained, the AIR-2 Genie, had a yield 1.5 kilotons, was designed to strike enemy aircraft as opposed to ground targets, and might not have qualified as a weapon of mass destruction given its limited yield.[93]

Members of the Non-Aligned Movement have called on all countries to “refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements.”[94] The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) has criticized the arrangement for allegedly violating Articles I and II of the NPT, arguing that “these Articles do not permit the NWS to delegate the control of their nuclear weapons directly or indirectly to others.”[95] NATO has argued that the weapons’ sharing is compliant with the NPT because “the U.S. nuclear weapons based in Europe are in the sole possession and under constant and complete custody and control of the United States.”[96]

States formerly possessing nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons have been present in many nations, often as staging grounds under control of other powers. However, in only one instance has a nation given up nuclear weapons after being in full control of them. The fall of the Soviet Union left several former Soviet republics in physical possession of nuclear weapons, though not operational control which was dependent on Russian-controlled electronic Permissive Action Links and the Russian command and control system.[97][98]

Alleged Spare bomb casings from South Africa’s nuclear weapon programme. Their purpose is disputed.[99]

South Africa

South Africa produced six nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but dismantled them in the early 1990s.

In 1979, there was a detection of a putative covert nuclear test in the Indian Ocean, called the Vela incident. It has long been speculated that it was a test by Israel, in collaboration with and support of South Africa, though this has never been confirmed. South Africa could not have constructed such a nuclear bomb until November 1979, two months after the “double flash” incident. South Africa signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991.[100][101]

Former Soviet Republics

  • Belarus had 81 single warhead missiles stationed on its territory after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. They were all transferred to Russia by 1996. In May 1992, Belarus acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[102]
  • Kazakhstan inherited 1,400 nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, and transferred them all to Russia by 1995. Kazakhstan has since acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[103]
  • Ukraine has acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine inherited about 5,000 nuclear weapons when it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, making its nuclear arsenal the third-largest in the world.[104] By 1996, Ukraine had agreed to dispose of all nuclear weapons within its territory, with the condition that its borders were respected, as part of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The warheads were disassembled in Russia.[105] Despite Russia’s subsequent and internationally disputed annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine reaffirmed its 1994 decision to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state.[106]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ All numbers are estimates from the Federation of American Scientists. The latest update was in April 2017. If differences between active and total stockpile are known, they are given as two figures separated by a forward slash. If specifics are not available (n.a.), only one figure is given. Stockpile number may not contain all intact warheads if a substantial amount of warheads are scheduled for but have not yet gone through dismantlement; not all “active” warheads are deployed at any given time. When a range of weapons is given (e.g., 0–10), it generally indicates that the estimate is being made on the amount of fissile material that has likely been produced, and the amount of fissile material needed per warhead depends on estimates of a country’s proficiency at nuclear weapon design.
  2. Jump up^ From the 1960s until the 1990s, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force maintained the independent capability to deliver nuclear weapons via its V bomber fleet.
  3. Jump up^ France formerly possessed a nuclear triad until 1996 and the retirement of its land-based arsenal.

References

Story 2: President Trump’s Golden Opportunity To Negotiate With Communist China — Trump Ultimatum: Destroy North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities Or Face A Total Trade and Investment Ban With The United States — China Enabled North Korea Now It Must Disable Their Nuclear and Missile Forces No Later Than 1 January 2018 — Videos

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Embargo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Trade embargo)

An embargo (from the Spanish embargo, meaning hindrance, obstruction, etc. in a general sense, a trading ban in trade terminology and literally “distraint” in juridic parlance) is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country or a group of countries.[1] Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is imposed. Embargoes are similar to economic sanctions and are generally considered legal barriers to trade, not to be confused with blockades, which are often considered to be acts of war.[2]

Embargoes can mean limiting or banning export or import, creating quotas for quantity, imposing special tolls, taxes, banning freight or transport vehicles, freezing or seizing freights, assets, bank accounts, limiting the transport of particular technologies or products (high-tech) for example CoCom during the cold-war.[3]

In response to embargoes, an independent economy or autarky often develops in an area subjected to heavy embargo. Effectiveness of embargoes is thus in proportion to the extent and degree of international participation.

Business

Companies must be aware of embargoes that apply to the intended export destination.[4] Embargo check is difficult for both importers and exporters to follow. Before exporting or importing to other countries, firstly, they must be aware of embargoes. Subsequently, they need to make sure that they are not dealing with embargoed countries by checking those related regulations, and finally they probably need a license in order to ensure a smooth export or import business. Sometimes the situation becomes even more complicated with the changing of politics of a country. Embargoes keep changing. In the past, many companies relied on spreadsheets and manual process to keep track of compliance issues related to incoming and outgoing shipments, which takes risks of these days help companies to be fully compliant on such regulations even if they are changing on a regular basis. If an embargo situation exists, the software blocks the transaction for further processing.

Examples

An undersupplied U.S. gasoline station, closed during the oil embargo in 1973

The Embargo of 1807 was a series of laws passed by the U.S. Congress 1806–1808, during the second term of President Thomas Jefferson.[5] Britain and France were engaged in a major war; the U.S. wanted to remain neutral and trade with both sides, but neither side wanted the other to have the American supplies.[6] The American national-interest goal was to use the new laws to avoid war and force that country to respect American rights.[7]

One of the most comprehensive attempts at an embargo happened during the Napoleonic Wars. In an attempt to cripple the United Kingdom economically, the Continental System – which forbade European nations from trading with the UK – was created. In practice it was not completely enforceable and was as harmful if not more so to the nations involved than to the British.[8]

The United States imposed an embargo on Cuba on February 7, 1962.[9] Referred to by Cuba as “el bloqueo” (the blockade),[10] the US embargo on Cuba remains one of the longest-standing embargoes.[11] The embargo was embraced by few of the United States’ allies and apparently has done little to affect Cuban policies over the years.[12] Nonetheless, while taking some steps to allow limited economic exchanges with Cuba, President Barack Obamareaffirmed the policy, stating that without improved human rights and freedoms by Cuba’s current government, the embargo remains “in the national interest of the United States.”[13]

In 1973–1974, Arab nations imposed an oil embargo against the United States and other industrialized nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The results included a sharp rise in oil prices and OPEC revenues, an emergency period of energy rationing, a global economic recession, large-scale conservation efforts, and long-lasting shifts toward natural gasethanolnuclear and other alternative energy sources.[14][15]

In effort to punish South Africa for its policies of apartheid, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a voluntary international oil embargo against South Africa on November 20, 1987; that embargo had the support of 130 countries.[16]

List of countries under embargo

Former trade embargoes

See also

Notes

U.S. Ends Ban on China Trade; Items Are Listed

Curbs Lifted on Shipping to Red Bloc

By Carroll Kilpatrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 11, 1971

President Nixon opened another door to the resumption of more normal relations with China yesterday with an order permitting trade in a long list of nonstrategic items.

At the same time, the President cleared the way for larger farm exports to the Soviet bloc by terminating a requirement imposed by President Kennedy that half of grain and flour shipments to Communist countries be carried in American ships.

The President’s action lifts a 21-year-old embargo against trade with China permitting selected exports to China and the import of goods from China on the same basis goods from other Communist countries are admitted.

Following a series of other steps taken in recent months to improve relations with the Chinese, the President’s announcement is considered a prelude to an ending later this year of U.S. opposition to the seating of Peking in the United Nations, provided that Taiwan is not expelled.

Under the new order, U.S. exporters will be free to sell to China most farm, fish and forestry products, fertilizers, coal, selected chemicals and metals, passenger cards, agricultural, industrial and office equipment and certain electronic and communications equipment.

The President’s order does not remove the prohibition against the shipment of locomotives to China, one of the key items the Peking government is said to want, and of aircraft.

Defense department officials opposed lifting the ban on most heavy transportation equipment with the argument it could be used in helping Communist troops in Vietnam.

The President accepted the argument, but officials said that the list of goods still on the strategic list would be under constant review and that changes would be made from time to time.

An exporter may apply to the Commerce Department for a license to ship a locomotive or any other item on the strategic list, and the White House held out some hope that exceptions may be made from time to time.

“Items not on the open general list may be considered for specific licensing consistent with the requirements of U.S. national security,” the White House statement said.

The big surprise of the President’s announcement was his termination of the requirement that half of the shipment of grain and flour to Communist nations be carried in American ships.

AFL-CIO President George Meany promptly criticized the President’s decision, calling it a “breach of faith and an unwarranted blow at the livelihoods of American seafaring men.”

Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin cautioned that farmers should not expect big increases in grain exports immediately.

“We hope it will eventually result in meaningful trade for farm exports along with products from American industry,” Hardin said. “We do not anticipate significant trade developments with either China or the Soviet Union in the immediate future.”

But Hardin hailed the President’s action as a “constructive step” that will ultimately benefit American farmers.

U.S.-China trade was roughly $200 million annually in 1950 when President Truman imposed an embargo after China entered the Korean War on the North Korean side.

China’s total world trade now totals about $2 billion in exports and the same in imports with about $1.5 billion from non-Communist countries, the bulk of it from Japan.

White House press secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the President looks upon these new measures “as a significant step in improved communications with a land of 800 million people after a 20-year freeze in our relations.”

“The President will later consider the possibility of further steps in an effort to reestablish a broader relationship with a country and people having an important role for future peace in Asia.”

The list of strategic goods which may be freely shipped to Mainland China does not include such items as petroleum products, navigation and tele-communication equipment and machinery for wielding large pipes in addition to locomotives.

These goods may be shipped to the Soviet Union, however. They constitute the main difference between the list of goods available for export to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and those still requiring an export license as far as China is concerned.

Some experts have argued that Peking will not be responsive to the new possibilities of trade with the United States since the list is more favorable to the Soviet Union.

Administration officials were sensitive to this criticism and discounted the differences between the two lists as insignificant.

The President’s announcement said that he was taking “the first broad steps in termination of U.S. controls on a large list of non-strategic U.S. exports to the People’s Republic of China.”

In the future, products listed as non-strategic may be freely sold to China under open general export licenses without the need to obtain Department of Commerce permission for each specific transaction,” the statement said.

On April 14, Mr. Nixon announced a five-point program designed to “create broader opportunities for contacts between the Chinese and American peoples.” These included a promise to expedite the issuance of visas to permit Chinese visitors to the United States, a relaxation of currency controls to permit Peking’s use of American dollars and the removal of restrictions prohibiting American oil companies from providing fuel to Chinese merchant ships.

On April 19, in an interview at a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the President said the question of trade with the Chinese is “up to them.”

“If the want to trade … we are ready,” he said. “If they want to have Chinese come to the United States, we are ready. We are also ready for Americans to go there, Americans in all walks of life.

“But it take two, of course. We have taken several steps. They have taken one inviting the American table tennis team to Peking. We are prepared to take other steps in the trade field and also with regard to the exchange field, but each step must be taken one step at a time.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/flash/june/china71.htm

 

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U.N. Security Council Approves New Sanctions on North Korea

By Chas Danner

Image
The unanimous vote on Saturday. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council has approved a U.S.-drafted resolution to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, in response to its escalating nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs. The new sanctions, which received unanimous support from the council on Saturday, will impose a full ban on roughly a third of North Korean exports, denying them more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

The sanctions are the seventh set to be imposed on North Korea since its first nuclear-weapon test in 2006, but the first international measure to be taken against the regime since President Trump took office. The resolution comes a little more than a week after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that was capable of reaching the mainland U.S. It also received the crucial support of China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, and one of the countries that can veto any U.N. Security Council resolution.

In fact, Politico reports that the sanctions negotiations with China, which started following North Korea’s first successful test of an ICBM on July 4, succeeded in derailing a Trump-administration plan to open a trade investigation targeting China. That plan, which Trump and White House officials hinted at last weekend, was apparently due to be announced on Friday. Assuming the Politico report is accurate, staving off the White House represents a rare win for the State Department against other factions in the Trump administration. It also, for now, denies the White House a chance to test whether or not a trade war with China would be a smart way to protect the U.S. from a North Korean nuclear missile.

“This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation,” U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley declared before the U.N. Security Council vote on Saturday. Per the resolution, North Korea can no longer export coal, iron, lead, seafood, and a few other materials. New joint ventures with the country are also prohibited, as are new investments in existing ventures, and more North Korean individuals and entities have been added to the preexisting U.N. sanctions blacklist, which freezes assets and travel.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, declared on Saturday that the new resolution demonstrates that the world is “united in its position regarding the nuclear position on the Korean peninsula,” and said that China was glad that the U.S. said it was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang or reunification of the two Koreas. North Korea’s denuclearization (which is not very likely) is still a top U.S. priority, however. The U.S. will also continue to conduct its annual military exercises with South Korea, while both China and Russia reiterated their opposition to the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile-defense system in South Korea, though that issue did not prevent them from supporting the final resolution.

The resolution does not, as the U.S. originally had sought, cut the amount of oil being delivered to North Korea, but the U.S. was apparently able to overcome the initial objections of China and Russia. All involved stressed that they saw the sanctions as a way to force North Korea to the negotiating table over its nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs, but the successful implementation of this — or any — new sanctions on the country will rely almost exclusively on China following through on its end.

Sanctions against North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sanctions against North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, have been imposed by various countries and international bodies. The current sanctions are largely concerned with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006.

United Nations sanctions

A North Korea cargo ship at the dock in Nampo

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.[1]

Resolution 1718 in 2006 demanded that North Korea cease nuclear testing and prohibited the export to North Korea of some military supplies and luxury goods.[2][3] A Sanctions Committee is established, supported by a Panel of Experts that issue annual reports.[4][5][6]

Resolution 1874, passed after the second nuclear test in 2009, broadened the arms embargo. Member states were encouraged to inspect ships and destroy any cargo suspected being related to the nuclear weapons program.[3][1]

Resolution 2087, passed in January 2013 after a satellite launch, strengthened previous sanctions by clarifying a state’s right to seize and destroy cargo suspected of heading to or from North Korea for purposes of military research and development.[3][1]

Resolution 2094 was passed in March 2013 after the third nuclear test. It imposed sanctions on money transfers and aimed to shut North Korea out of the international financial system.[3][1]

Resolution 2270, passed in March 2016 after the fourth nuclear test, further strengthened sanctions.[7] It banned the export of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals. The export of coal and iron were also banned, with an exemption for transactions that were purely for “livelihood purposes”.[8][1]

Resolution 2321, passed in November 2016, capped North Korea’s coal exports and banned exports of copper, nickel, zinc, and silver.[9][10] In February 2017, a UN panel said that 116 of 193 member states had yet not submitted a report on their implementation of these sanctions, though China had.[11] Also in February 2017, China announced it would ban all imports of coal for the rest of the year.[12]

United States sanctions

In February 2016, President Obama enacted the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, which passed the House of Representatives and the Senate with nearly unanimous support.[3] This law:

  • requires the President to sanction entities found to have contributed to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, arms trade, human rights abuses or other illegal activities.[3]
  • imposes mandatory sanctions for entities involved in North Korea’s mineral or metal trades, which comprise a large part of North Korea’s foreign exports.[3]
  • requires the US Treasury Department to determine whether North Korea should be listed as a “primary money laundering concern,” which would trigger tough new financial restrictions.[3]
  • imposes new sanctions authorities related to North Korean human rights abuses and violations of cybersecurity.[3]

This followed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013 which the Senate failed to pass.

South Korean sanctions

South Korea imposed sanctions against North Korea following the 2010 sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan. These sanctions, known as the May 24 measures, included:[3]

  • banning North Korean ships from South Korean territorial waters.[3]
  • suspending inter-Korean trade except at the Kaesong Industrial Zone.[3]
  • banning most cultural exchanges.[3]

In 2016 President Park Geun-hye ordered the Kaesong complex shut in retaliation for the nuclear test in January and the rocket launch in February.[3]

Japanese sanctions

In 2016, Japan’s sanctions against North Korea included:[3]

  • banning remittances, except those made for humanitarian purposes and less than 100,000 yen in value.[3]
  • freezing assets of suspect individuals and organisations in Japan.
  • prohibiting North Korean citizens from entering Japan.[3]
  • renewing the ban on North Korean ships entering Japanese ports and extending it to include other ships that have visited North Korea.[3]
  • banning nuclear and missile technicians who have been to North Korea from entering Japan.[13]

European Union

The European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. These include:[3]

  • an embargo on arms and related materiel.[3]
  • banning the export of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea.
  • banning the trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the North Korean government.[3]
  • banning the import of minerals from North Korea, with some exemptions for coal and iron ore.
  • banning exports of luxury goods.[3]
  • restrictions on financial support for trade with North Korea.[3]
  • restrictions on investment and financial activities.[3]
  • inspections and monitoring of cargoes imported to and exported from North Korea.[3]
  • prohibiting certain North Korean individuals from entering the EU.[14]

Assessment

A report by the United Nations Panel of Experts stated that North Korea was covertly trading in arms and minerals in defiance of the sanctions.[15]

The academic John Delury has described the sanctions as futile and counterproductive. He has argued that they are unenforceable and unlikely to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.[16]

On the other hand, Sung-Yoon Lee, Professor in Korean Studies at the Fletcher School, and Joshua Stanton, advocate continued tightening of sanctions, targeting Pyongyang’s systemic vulnerabilities, including blocking the regime’s “offshore hard currency reserves and income with financial sanctions, including secondary sanctions against its foreign enablers. This would significantly diminish, if not altogether deny, Kim the means to pay his military, security forces and elites that repress the North Korean public”.[17][18]

References

Story 2: Will American People Form A New Political Party? Yes — American Independence Party? When? — 2024 When Over 50% of American Voters Are Independents — No Longer Believe Democratic and/or Republican Parties Represent Their Interests/Concerns — Videos

Pence denies NYT report on 2020 presidential run

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WOW! Hillary Wants To Run In 2020 (Will She Ever Learn)

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The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

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My Red Pill Moment: The Awakening

 

More Voters Voting Independent, Want Competitive Third-Party

Monday, August 07, 2017

Voters are more receptive to a political third party than they have been in recent years, and more than half now say they have voted for a candidate independent of the two major parties. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 1-2, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Questions – Third Party – August 1-2, 2017

See Toplines
See Crosstabs
Platinum Page

National Survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters

Conducted August 1-2, 2017
By Rasmussen Reports

 

1* Would it be good or bad for the United States if there was a truly competitive third political party? Or would it make no political difference?

 

2* Have you ever voted for an independent candidate not affiliated with either major party?

 

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/august_2017/questions_third_party_august_1_2_2017

 

Voters See Republicans As Bigger Roadblock Than Democrats For Trump

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Voters are now more likely to believe Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem for President Trump than Democrats are.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters believe congressional Republicans are a bigger problem for the president, while 36% believe Democrats are the bigger problem. A sizable 22% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily email update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20 & 23, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/july_2017/voters_see_republicans_as_bigger_roadblock_than_democrats_for_trump

 

Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos —

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PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman)
PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman) 
 – The Washington Times – Saturday, August 5, 2017

White House renovators didn’t waste any time overhauling the West Wing once President Trump left for a 17-day vacation Friday.

Renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue began hardly an hour after Mr. Trump boarded Air Force One en route to Bedminster, New Jersey, according to his social media manager, Dan Scavino. The president is scheduled to spend the next two and a half weeks at his golf resort there as the White House receives a well deserved makeover.

Mr. Scavino tweeted a picture of the Oval Office being emptied hardly an hour after Air Force One left Joint Base Andrews on Friday, and on Saturday he shared a photograph of the White House’s historic Resolute desk being removed for renovation.

The White House announced earlier in the week that the West Wing will undergo extensive renovations in Mr. Trump’s absence, including upgrades to the facility’s 27-year-old air-conditioning and heating systems, as well as the installation of new wiring, paint and carpets.

“Due to the 24/7, 365-day use a year, the estimated age of the system based off of usage is 81 years old,” deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters Thursday.

“I doubt that you would want to come to work on a hot summer day when the air-conditioning wasn’t working,” she said Friday.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/5/white-house-renovations-begin-trump-starts-17-day-/

Now that President Trump has left the White House and kicked off his 17-day getaway to his golf course in New Jersey, renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are going full-steam ahead.

Dan Scavino Jr., the president’s director of social media, tweeted on Friday a photo of an empty Oval Office with a step ladder near the fireplace.

“Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse,” he captioned the photo. “One hour after Air Force One is wheels up??the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.”

Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse. One hour after Air Force One is wheels up🛫the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.

White House set for renovations as Trump takes first vacation

Trump denies he called White House a ‘dump’

As ABC News previously reported, the West Wing will be cleared out for several weeks for much-needed repairs.

Work has already begun on White House grounds to replace the 27-year-old heating and cooling system, the second stage of a renovation that started under the Obama administration.

Other work includes painting and new carpeting in the West Wing and refurbishments in the Oval Office. All of the renovations will be conducted by General Service Administration designers.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to deny a golf.com report that while speaking with members at the Trump National Golf Club, he said the White House is a “dump.”

“I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” he tweeted. “But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE.”

I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen. But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE

ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-staffer-tweets-photo-white-house-renovations-kicking-053405552–abc-news-topstories.html

 

Story 4 Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

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SEYMOUR HERSH: SPY CHIEFS INVENTED RUSSIA-COLLUSION STORY

Famous journalist claims they lied to Obama and lied about Trump

GARTH KANT

 

The entire Russia collusion story was a fiction made up by intelligence chiefs who lied about President Trump, and lied to President Obama and the media, according to a person on a just-released audio recording who is almost certainly legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Further, the person who recorded the audio is almost certainly financier Ed Butowsky, who hired private investigator Rod Wheeler to investigate the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last July.

Wheeler filed a defamation lawsuit against Butowsky and Fox News on Tuesday over a story the network retracted about the investigation.

 

WND did some digging and discovered those identical words appear on the audio recording, apparently verifying they were spoken by Hersh and taped by Butowsky. Judging by a report in the Washington Post, the conversation happened during, or before, February.

The audio was first posted late Tuesday afternoon on a site called Big League Politics then went viral after it was linked on Twitter by WikiLeaks.

Hersh, himself, acknowledged speaking with Butkowsy, during an NPR interview Monday in which he referred to the Seth Rich angle as gossip and said Butowsky “took two and two and made 45 out of it.”

But Hersh did not disavow what he said about the Russia collusion narrative.

On the recording, the reporter called the entire story that the Trump presidential campaign and transition team colluded with Russia “a Brennan operation.”

Hersh accused former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and current NSA Director Michael Rogers of peddling “disinformation” and misleading Obama and the press.

And he dded, “Trump’s not wrong to think they all f—ing lied about him.”

Hersh suggested Rogers falsely told the press that American intelligence agencies even knew who in the Russian military intelligence service “leaked it,” in apparent reference to the hacked Democratic emails that embarrassed the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

He also dismissively called Brennan an “a—hole,” Rogers a “f—ing moron” and Clapper “sort of a better guy but not a rocket scientist.”

Hersh ascribed a simple motive to the subterfuge by the top spies: They wanted to keep their jobs by assuring Clinton won the presidential election.

“With Trump they’re gone. You know, they’re done – they’re going to live on their pensions, they’re not going to make it.”

Hersh also explained why the story came to dominate the news cycle, portraying his colleagues in the establishment media as, essentially, too gullible.

“I worked at the New York Times for years and they have smart guys but they are totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (unintelligible) tells them something they actually believe it,” he said.

And, speaking of those highly placed sources, he said, “These guys run the f—ing Times.”

Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for exposing the My Lai massacre and has become one of the nation’s best-known and most-accomplished investigative reporters.

According to his biography in the New Yorker, in addition to Hersh’s Pulitzer, his journalism and publishing awards include five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

Hersh made on-the-record comments critical of the Russia collusion story to The Intercept on Jan. 25, flatly saying he did not believe the assessment by the intelligence community that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a hacking campaign designed to elect Trump.

He also blasted the major media for uncritically accepting the claims by Obama’s intelligence officials as facts.

“The way they (the media) behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff.”

Hersh told the Intercept that if he had been covering the story, “I would have made Brennan into a buffoon. A yapping buffoon in the last few days. Instead, everything is reported seriously.”

The reporter zeroed in on questionable aspects of the intelligence assessment that would become highly relevant when Brennan and Clapper finally testified before congressional committees months after the inauguration of Trump.

“What does an assessment mean?,” asked Hersh. “It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it?”

He continued, “And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief.”

Hersh’s critique of the flimsiness of the intelligent assessment parallels the analysis made by a prominent former CIA analyst after Clapper revealed during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on May 8, that it was not true that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had compiled, and agreed with, the findings.

As WND reported, Clapper not only revealed that just three agencies, the NSA, FBI and CIA, were involved in the assessment.

He also revealed that those agencies did not do the assessment themselves.

The analysis and conclusion were made by an irregular and hand-picked panel of what were called experts, who actually may have been, according to former CIA officer Fred Fleitz, highly politicized.

Fleitz served in U.S. national security positions for 25 years at the CIA, DIA, Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff.

As someone intimately familiar with the inner workings of the intelligence community, Fleitz penned an article for Fox News on May 12, that spelled out what really happened.

He had written previously that when the U.S. Intelligence Community issued an ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ (ICA) on January 6, 2017, that found Russia deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump’s candidacy, he “was suspicious because it reached unusually clear judgments on a politically explosive issue with no dissenting views.”

Fleitz was then surprised to hear Clapper explain in his May testimony that two dozen or so “seasoned experts” were “handpicked” from the contributing agencies and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.)

Wrote Fleitz, “This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.”

Describing just how unusual that was, he said, “Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure.”

Furthermore, “The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization.”

Fleitz also noted that former FBI Director James Comey had testified that the report’s conclusion of Russian interference was based on logic, not evidence.

“So we now know,” surmised the former CIA officer, “this was a subjective judgment made by a hand-picked group of intelligence analysts.”

“One has to ask how these hand-picked analysts were picked. Who picked them? Who was excluded?”

Fleitz called it a major problem that “the process gave John Brennan, CIA’s hyper-partisan former director, enormous influence over the drafting of the ICA.”

“Given Brennan’s scathing criticism of Mr. Trump before and after the election, he should have had no role whatsoever in the drafting of this assessment. Instead, Brennan probably selected the CIA analysts who worked on the ICA and reviewed and approved their conclusions.”

In other words, it seems Fleitz thought it not impossible that Brennan rigged the report to arrive at the conclusion he wanted.

Which makes Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on May 24, all the more relevant, because even though he testified he saw no evidence of collusion, the former CIA director admitted it was he who set in motion the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians.

Fleitz wants Congress to investigate the spies. He wrote:

“The unusual way that the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment was drafted raises major questions as to whether it was rigged by the Obama administration to produce conclusions that would discredit the election outcome and Mr. Trump’s presidency. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees therefore should add investigations of whether this ICA was politicized to their investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/seymour-hersh-spy-chiefs-invented-russia-collusion-story/#GCyp3JGqpJvbUcrE.99

 

Seymour Hersh audio transcript revealing Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

As reported by many alternative news websites, and as ignored by many corrupt mainstream media news outlets, audio recently emerged of award winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh stating that Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

You can listen to the audio here, or the transcript of the audio is provided below:

“I’ll tell you what I know. All I know comes off an FBI report. Don’t ask me how – you can figure out – you’ve been around long enough. I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew. The kid was not an IT expert, but he learned stuff. He was a data programmer, but he learned stuff.

He’s living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lives – I’m sure you know – there’s been about 8 or 9 or 10 violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun. And the kid’s hands – I’m sure you know – his hands are marked up, the cops included he fought off the people, tried to run and they shot him twice in the back with a .22 small caliber, and then the kids that did it ran – they got scared – didn’t take his wallet.

Okay, so what the cops do then, and here’s what nobody knows, what I’m telling you – or maybe you know something about it – when you have a death like that, DC cops, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find. If he’s dead you don’t need a warrant, but most cops get a warrant because they don’t know if the guy has a room-mate. You need a warrant, so they get a warrant.

They go in the house, and they can’t do much with his computer, it’s password. The cops don’t know much about it. So the DC cops, they have a cyber unit in DC and they’re more sophisticated. They come and look at it. The idea is maybe he’s had a series of exchanges with somebody who says ‘I’m going to kill you, you mother ****er over a girl’ or… And they can’t get in. The cyber guys are a little better, but they can’t make sense of it, so they call the FBI cyber unit. The DC unit, the Washington field office is a hot s*** unit. The guy running the Washington field office, he’s like a three star at an army base. he’s ready for four. You know what I mean – he’s gong to go for a top job. There’s a cyber unit there that’s excellent.

What you get in a warrant – the public information you get in a warrant – doesn’t include the affidavit underlying why you’re going in – what the reason was. That’s almost never available. I can tell you that. The existence of a warrant is a public document 99% of the time.

So, and the same morning they call in the feds. The feds get through and here’s what they find. This is according to the FBI report. What they find is he makes contact.

First of all, you have to know some basic facts. One of the basic facts is that there are no DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 21st or 22nd, the last email from either one of those groups.

And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring/early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks. That’s in his computer, and he makes contact. Now, I have to be careful because I met Julian ten twelve years… I stay the f*** away from people like that. You know, he’s invited me, when I’m in London I always get a message, “Come see me at the Ecuadorian embassy.” F*** you, I ain’t going there. I got enough trouble without getting photographed. He’s under total surveillance by everybody.

Anyway, they found what he had done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails, some juicy emails from the DNC. And you know, by the way all this s*** about the DNC, you know, whatever happened the democrats themselves wrote this s***, you know what I mean. All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said, “I want money.”

Then later Wikileaks did get the password. He had a DropBox – a protected DropBox – which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be an IT wizard. He was certainly, he was not a dumb kid.

They got access to the DropBox. He also – this is also in the FBI report – he also let people know with whom he was dealing. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also… The word was passed according to the NSA report, “I also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems.” Okay. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know whether he…

Anyway, Wikileaks got access, and before he was killed. I can tell you right now. Brennan’s1 an asshole. I’ve known all these people for years. Clapper2 sort of a (illegible) guy but not a rocket scientist. The NSA guy’s a f***ing moron. And the trouble with all those guys is the only way they’re going to make it to, you know, get hired by SAI (illegible) and delivered some fat cat contract is if Hillary stayed in. With Trump they’re gone. They’re done. They’re going to live on they’re pension. They’re not going to make it. And I got to tell you, guys in that job, they don’t want to live on their pension. They want to be on boards making six hundred thousand bucks.

I have somebody on the inside. I’ve been around a long time and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful. He’s a very high level guy. He’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business, long form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole f***king thing began.

It’s a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation operation f***ing the f***ing president. And at one point they even started telling the press, they were back-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press – f***ing c***sucker Rogers3 – was telling the press that we even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. I mean all bulls***.

I worked for the New York Times for f***ing years. The trouble with the New York Times is they have smart guys but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (illegible) told them something, they actually believe it. I was hired by the Times to write about, go after the war, the Vietnam war in 72, because they were just locked in, so that’s what the Times is. These guys run the f***ing Times.

And Trump’s not willing to… I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better Press Secretary. Trump’s not willing to think they all f***ing lied about him.”

– – – – – – – – – –

This is arguably the biggest scandal in decades, and yet despite the magnitude of the scandal, it’s a sad reflection on just how corrupt and anti-American the mainstream media has become that the majority of them will attempt to cover this story up.

Everyone needs to share this story far and wide. Tell your friends. Tell everyone you know. Sydney Hersh, arguably the greatest investigative journalist of the last five decades, has stated:

* Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.
* Obama’s intelligence chiefs, led by John Brennan, ran a disinformation campaign to mislead the American public.

#DrainTheSwamp

 

Murder of Seth Rich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Murder of Seth Rich
Date July 10, 2016
Time 4:20 a.m. EST (approximate)
Location Bloomingdale neighborhood
(Ward 5Washington, D.C.)
Cause Shooting
Outcome Under investigation by D.C. police
Inquiries Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Coroner Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington D.C.

Seth Conrad Rich (January 3, 1989 – July 10, 2016) was an American employee for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdaleneighborhood of Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] As of May 2017 the shooting is still under investigation by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.[4]

The murder spawned several right-wingconspiracy theories about the crime, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to U.S. intelligence that concluded the leaked DNC emails were part of 2016 U.S. elections interference.[5][6][7] These theories were debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5] The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times,[10]Los Angeles Times,[11] and The Washington Post.[12]

Rich’s parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, with their spokesperson calling them “sociopaths” and “disgusting”.[13][14][15] They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News,[16] and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used.[6][15][16] The investigator admitted he had no evidence to back up his claims, and Fox News issued a retraction.[5][6][17]

Seth Rich’s early life and career

Rich grew up in a Jewish family, in Omaha, Nebraska.[18][19][20] He volunteered for the Nebraska Democratic Party, interned for Senator Ben Nelson, was active in Jewish outreach,[21] and worked with the United States Census Bureau.[22][23] In 2011, he graduated from Creighton University with a degree in political science.[24][23] He moved to Washington, D.C. to work for pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.[23] In 2014 he began working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the Voter Expansion Data Director. One of his tasks at the DNC was the development of a computer application to help voters locate polling stations.[2][25][26]

Shooting and death

On Sunday, July 10, 2016, Rich was shot about a block from his apartment in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[27][28][29]

Earlier that night he had been at Lou’s City Bar, a sports pub 1.8 miles from his apartment, in Columbia Heights, where he was a regular customer. He left when the bar was closing, at about 1:30 or 1:45 a.m.[30][31] Police were alerted to gunfire at 4:20 a.m. by an automated gunfire locator.[29][32] Within approximately one minute after the gun shots, police officers found Rich with multiple gunshot wounds, in a conscious and breathing state.[33] He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.[34][35][36] According to police, he died from two shots to the back[27][28] and may have been killed in an attempted robbery, noting that the neighborhood had recently been plagued by robberies.[27] Rich’s mother told NBC‘s Washington affiliate WRC-TV, “There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything… They didn’t finish robbing him, they just took his life.”[37] The police told the family they had found a surveillance videotape showing a glimpse of the legs of two people who could possibly be the killers.[30]

Aftermath

On the day after the shooting, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement mourning his loss and praising Rich’s work to support voter rights.[32][38] Two days after the shooting, Hillary Clinton spoke of his death during a speech advocating limiting the availability of guns.[2][19]

Bike rack and plaque outside the DNC headquaters

In October 2016, a plaque and bike rack outside the DNC headquarters were dedicated to Rich’s memory.[38] In September 2016, Rich’s parents and girlfriend appeared on the syndicatedtelevision show Crime Watch Daily to speak about the murder case.[39][40] In February 2017, the Beth El Synagogue in Omaha named after Rich an existing scholarship that helps Jewish children attend summer camps.[41]

The Rich family accepted the pro bono public relations services of Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman in September 2016.[11] The Rich family and Burkman held a joint press conference on the murder in November 2016.[11][42] In January 2017, Burkman launched an advertising campaign in Northwest D.C. searching for information regarding Seth Rich’s death. This included billboard advertisements and canvassing with flyers.[43][44] In late February, Burkman told media outlets he had a lead that the Russian government was involved in Rich’s death,[45] and the Rich family distanced itself from Burkman.[46] On March 19, 2017, Rich’s brother, Aaron, started a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise $200,000 for private investigation, public outreach activities, and a reward fund.[47] On March 24, Burkman started “The Profiling Project” with some forensics students at George Washington University, an independent investigative attempt to solve the murder of Seth Rich.[48][49] On June 20, 2017, the Profiling Project said that the conspiracy theories surrounding the death were unfounded, and published a report which speculated that the murder was caused by a serial killer.[50]

According to the Rich family spokesman, a Fox News contributor and financial adviser Ed Butowsky contacted the Rich family and recommended having former homicide detective and Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler investigate Seth Rich’s murder. The family gave Wheeler permission to investigate, though they did not hire him.[15][51] Instead, Wheeler’s investigation was financed by Butowsky himself.[52] NBC News reported that Butowsky initially denied involvement in the case, though he later told CNN he was involved in Wheeler’s investigation by offering financial support.[53][54] Butowsky told Dallas News that he advised the Rich family to hire a private investigator, and that they then chose to hire Wheeler.[53] After Wheeler asserted links between Rich and Wikileaks in a Fox affiliate interview on May 15, 2017—an assertion he later backpedaled from[55]—the family spokesman said that the family regretted working with Wheeler.[4] Wheeler then sued Fox News on August 1, 2017, for mental anguish and emotional distress, alleging that he had been misquoted in a story that was then published on the urging of President Donald J. Trump[56]

Rewards

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) posted its customary reward of $25,000 for information about the death.[2][33]

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks announced a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder leading to a conviction,[57][58][59] although Rich’s family said they were unable to verify this reward offer.[60] When making the offer for the reward, WikiLeaks said their offer should not be taken as implying Rich had been involved in leaking information to them.[2]

In November 2016, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman stated he was personally offering a $100,000 reward in addition to those announced by the police department and WikiLeaks, and he added another $5,000 to his offer in December and another $25,000 in January.[60][61][30] Burkman said he hoped the money would help “get to the truth of what happened here and will either debunk the conspiracy theories or validate them”.[62]

American businessman and investor, Martin Shkreli offered $100,000 for information leading to the murderer.[63]

Conspiracy theories

Origins

Genesis

The murder stoked right-wingconspiracy theories that arose days after Rich’s death,[64][65][66] including an unsubstantiated claim that his murder was connected to the DNC email leak of 2016.[4] A post on Twitter before Rich’s memorial service originated the idea that he was killed related to a political assassination.[64] Subsequently the conspiracy theory was publicized on Reddit and then on the website Heat Street, later popularized by Donald Trump political adviser Roger Stone via his Twitter account.[64] Reddit users attempted to tie the homicide to prior “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy theories.[65] On July 13, 2016, conspiracy website WhatDoesItMean.com promoted a similar conspiracy theory.[66]

WikiLeaks statements

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the police had no information suggesting a connection between Rich’s death and data obtained by WikLeaks.[2]Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, fueled speculation of a connection when, unbidden, he brought up the case.[30][67] People who worked with Rich said he was not an expert computer hacker helping to leak information to foreigners. Andrew Therriault, a data scientist who had mentored Rich, said although he had recently been working as a programmer, this “wasn’t his background”, and another co-worker said Rich was very upset when he heard hackers associated with Russian intelligence services had broken into the DNC computers and could be interfering with the election.[30]

Spread by social media and right wing

These conspiracy theories were promoted by Mike CernovichSean HannityGeraldo RiveraKim DotcomPaul Joseph WatsonNewt GingrichJack Posobiec, and others.[68][69][70]

The same venues that fomented the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory helped to promulgate the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories,[71][72][11] and each shared similar features.[73][74][75] Both were promoted by individuals subcribing to far-right politics,[76] and by campaign officials and individuals appointed to senior-level national security roles by Donald Trump.[77][78][79] After prior coordination on Facebook, each theory was spread on Twitter by automated bots using a branded hashtag, with the goal of becoming a trending topic.[71] Both the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory were spread in the sub reddit forum promoting Donald Trump, called “The Donald”.[80] In both conspiracy theories, the promoters attempted to shift the burden of proof — asking others to attempt to disprove their claims, without citing substantiated evidence.[52]Slate called the claims about Seth Rich a “PizzaGate-like conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death”,[81]The Huffington Post described it as “the ‘alt-right’ idiocy of Pizzagate all over again”,[75]NPR‘s David Folkenflik said Fox News coverage of it “evokes the pizza-gate terrible allegations utterly unfounded”,[82] and Margaret Sullivan wrote for The Washington Post: “The Seth Rich lie has become the new Comet Ping Pong … Crazy, baseless and dangerous.”[83]

Debunking

The conspiracy theories have been debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5]

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia described the murder as related to a bungled attempted at theft.[5] Police further debunked claims by Rod Wheeler, and made a statement saying: “the assertions put forward by Mr. Wheeler are unfounded.”[5] The FBI told PolitiFact.com that the MPD was investigating the homicide.[8]

A representative of the Rich’s family members, Brad Bauman, disputed the notion of conspiracy theorists that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in looking into the homicide.[5] Bauman stated: “The FBI is not now and has never been a party to this investigation.”[5]

FactCheck.org analyzed statements by Newt Gingrich related to the conspiracy theory, where Gingrich said Rich “apparently was assassinated” subsequent to “having given WikiLeaks something like … 53,000 [DNC] emails and 17,000 attachments”.[5] FactCheck.org determined this claim was “unsupported” and determined “there’s no evidence for his claim.”[5]

PolitiFact.com rated the assertion Rich gave emails to WikiLeaks as a “baseless claim”.[6] They called the claim “an unfounded conspiracy theory”.[6] PolitiFact.com analyzed the claims by Gingrich and rated their false nature as “Pants on Fire!”[6] PolitiFact.com concluded: “Gingrich and others are talking about an unfounded conspiracy theory as if it’s a matter of fact. It is far from it. We rate his claim Pants on Fire.”[6] In a separate analysis, PolitiFact.com concluded: “There’s no evidence there’s any link between Rich and WikiLeaks. The FBI has indirectly denied investigating the case, which Washington police consider a robbery gone wrong.”[8]

Snopes.com looked into the matter and stated: “We were able to confirm the FBI is not investigating Rich’s murder — it is an MPD investigation… All claims made by Mr. Wheeler are false and take fake news to a whole new level. The family deserves better and everyday MPD continues to work diligently to solve this case.”[9] Snopes rated the claim “DNC staffer Seth Rich sent ‘thousands of leaked e-mails’ to WikiLeaks before he was murdered.” as “False”.[9]

The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times.[10]The New York Times cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the persistence of false claims, concluding: “fake news dies hard”.[10]The Los Angeles Times called the conspiracy theories “unsubstantiated rumors”.[11]

The Washington Post cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the power of fake news to spread virally online.[12] The paper used the example as a case study of the persistence of fake news, and found that television news media can be a soft target for such false stories.[12]The Washington Post further found that the proliferation of fake news via Facebook had decreased, but remained powerful on Twitter due to spread via online bots.[12] They found that the conspiracy theories with the largest potential to spread on the Internet were those that held attraction for both the alt-right movements and the political left wing.[12]The Washington Post concluded that even if a particular false story had been sufficiently debunked, such fact-checking was unable to stop the spread of the falsehoods online.[12]

Fox News retracted reporting

Uncorroborated story

On May 15, 2017, Fox 5 DC (WTTG) reported the uncorroborated and later largely retracted[84] claims by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective, that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up;[85][84] claims that were never independently verified by Fox.[86] The next day, Fox News published a lead story on its website and provided extensive coverage on its cable news channel about what it later said were Wheeler’s uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich;[87][88][89] in the lead story Fox News removed from their website a few days later, they stated that Wheeler’s claims had been “corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News.”[90][91][92] In reporting these claims, the Fox News report re-ignited conspiracy theories about the killing.[73][93][94] According to NPR, within a day of the original Fox report, “Google searches for Rich had overtaken searches for James Comey, even amid continuous news about the former FBI director’s conversations with Trump.”[52]The Washington Post noted Fox News chose to lead with this story at a time when most other media outlets were covering Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russia.[88]

Other news organizations revealed Wheeler was a Donald Trump supporter, a paid Fox News contributor, and according to NBC News had “developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women”.[93][95][4]The Washington Post noted it is “rare for a news organization to have such a close relationship with the people it is covering”, as Wheeler was “playing three roles at once: as a Fox source, as a paid contributor to the network and as a supposedly independent investigator of the murder”.[73] When Wheeler appeared on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News shows, these multiple roles were not disclosed to viewers.[73] Seth Rich’s family had hired Wheeler to investigate Rich’s death; after Wheeler’s Fox News interview on May 15, 2017, Brad Bauman, a communications professional and pro bono spokesman for the Rich family, said the family was asking Fox News and the Fox affiliate to retract their reports and apologize for damaging their son’s legacy.[4]

The family spokesperson, the Washington, D.C. police department, the Washington, D.C. mayor’s office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case all disputed Wheeler’s claims.[93][96] The family said, “We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”[93] Bauman criticized Fox News for its reporting, saying he believed that the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: “I think there’s a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda.”[9]

Later that day, Wheeler told CNN he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks.[84] Wheeler claimed that Fox had presented his quotes misleadingly and that he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter.[84][52] Despite this, Sean Hannity’s show and Fox & Friends continued to promote the conspiracy theory for the remainder of the week.[97][98] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Geraldo Rivera took part in spreading the conspiracy.[98][99][100] Hannity had on his program Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who said the organization filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, and from the Metropolitan Police.[101] Sean Hannity furthermore promoted the uncorroborated claims of Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand resident sought by the United States on fraud charges who claimed without evidence that Rich had been in contact with him before his death.[102] Fox News host Julie Roginsky was critical of the conspiracy theory peddlers, stating on Twitter and on her television show: “The exploitation of a dead man whose family has begged conspiracy theorists to stop is really egregious. Please stop.”[103] Fox News was also criticized by conservative outlets, such as the Weekly Standard,[104]National Review,[105][106] and Red State,[107][108][109] and conservative columnists, such as Jennifer Rubin,[110] Michael Gerson,[111] and John Podhoretz.[112]

Cease and desist letter and retraction

On May 19, 2017, an attorney for the Rich family sent a cease and desist letter to Wheeler.[16]

Fox News issued a retraction of the story on May 23, 2017 and removed the original article, and did not apologize or specify what went wrong or how it did so.[17][113][114] Despite this, Hannity, who pushed the theory, remained unapologetic, saying “I retracted nothing” and “I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[115][102][114] In their May 23 statement, Fox News said,

The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.[115]

The Poynter Institute said that the retraction was “woefully inadequate”, noting that,

The two-paragraph statement, published under the “politics” category on the network’s website, doesn’t say what about Fox News’ reporting was inaccurate (that its original source backed away from his claim that he had information showing Rich was in touch with Wikileaks). It doesn’t replace the bad information with accurate information (that police believe Rich was murdered during a robbery). It doesn’t specify who in the organization is being held accountable. And the correction doesn’t appear on the original story to explain why it was removed, nor has it been shared in the on-air forums where the inaccurate story was promoted. As of this writing, the original URL displays a 404 error. Fox News isn’t even acknowledging to people who click the link to the original story that it’s been retracted.[116]

On May 23, 2017, Sean Hannity stated on his television program that he would cease discussing the issue.[117] Hannity said his decision to cease commenting on the matter was related to the family of the murder victim: “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing the matter at this time.”[117] In the same statement wherein he promised to cease discussion of the topic, he vowed to pursue facts in the future: “I promise you I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[117] Several advertisers including Crowne Plaza HotelsCars.comLeesa MattressUSAAPeloton and Casper Sleep pulled their marketing from his program on Fox News.[118][119][120] Crowne Plaza Hotels later said that it was not their policy to advertise on political commentary shows, and had not been aware of their sponsorship of the show.[121] USAA soon returned to advertising on Fox News after receiving customer input.[122]

Wheeler lawsuit

On August 1, 2017, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator hired by Butowsky who was the first to claim links between Seth Rich’s murder and the DNC hack on Fox, but who later appeared to retract his claims, filed a lawsuit (Case 1:17-cv-05807 Southern District of New York), in which 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky are named as defendants, stating that quotes attributed to him in the original Fox News piece were fabricated. The lawsuit also alleges that the fabricated quotes were included in the Fox News story at the urging of the Trump White House.[123][124]

Text messages and audio apparently supporting this assertion were included in the filing of the lawsuit. About a month before the story was aired on Fox News, Wheeler and Butowsky met at the White House with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to review the planned story on Seth Rich’s murder. After talking to Wheeler and Butowsky, Zimmerman sent Wheeler a draft of a story without any quotes from Wheeler on May 11th. On May 14th Butowsky texted Wheeler saying “Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.” Butowsky also left a voicemail for Wheeler which said “We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do.”[124] Butowsky said Seymour Hersch confirmed a link between Rich and the FBI. Hersch confirmed the conversation with Butowsky but told NPR the link was “gossip” and that Butowsky exaggerated its significance.[125]

In an email to Fox News Bukowsky also wrote about the purpose behind the Seth Rich story: “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion (between) Trump and the Russians.” He also instructed Wheeler that “[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Zimmerman’s] work prove that the Russians didn’t hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections (…) If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest.”[124]

When the story aired on Fox News, it included supposed quotes from Wheeler and was written as if the accusations against the DNC came from him. Wheeler alleges that the quotes were fabricated and should not have been attributed to him.[123]

In later recordings Butowsky admits to Wheeler that the claims being attributed to him were false but says that “One day you’re going to win an award for having said those things you didn’t say.” He also says “I know that’s not true, if I’m under oath, I would say I never heard him say that.”[124]

Family’s reaction

In May 2017, Aaron issued a statement saying “We simply want to find his killers and grieve. Instead, we are stuck having to constantly fight against non-facts, baseless allegations, and general stupidity to defend my brother’s name and legacy.”[4]

The family spokesperson said “At this point, only people with transparent political agendas or sociopaths are still perpetuating Seth Rich conspiracies.”[126]

His parents authored a piece in The Washington Post on May 23, 2017 titled: “We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder,” in which they wrote:

We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.[13]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Seth_Rich

Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh (born April 8, 1937) is an American investigative journalist and political writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a longtime contributor to The New Yorkermagazine on national security matters and has also written for the London Review of Books since 2013.[5][6]

Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. In 2004, he notably reported on the US military‘s mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and five George Polk Awards. In 2004, he received the George Orwell Award.[7]

Early years

Hersh was born on April 8, 1937[8] in Chicago to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to the US from Lithuania and Poland and ran a dry-cleaning shop in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a history degree, Hersh found himself struggling to find a job. He began working at Walgreens before being accepted into University of Chicago Law School but was soon expelled for poor grades.[9]After returning for a short time to Walgreens, Hersh began his career in journalism as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in 1959. He later became a correspondent for United Press International in South Dakota. In 1963, he went on to become a Chicago and Washington correspondent for the Associated Press. While working in Washington Hersh first met and befriended I. F. Stone, whose I. F. Stone’s Weekly would serve as an initial inspiration for Hersh’s later work. It was during this time that Hersh began to form his investigative style, often walking out of regimented press briefings at the Pentagon and seeking out one-on-one interviews with high-ranking officers. After a falling out with the editors at the AP when they insisted on watering down a story about the US government’s work on biological and chemical weapons, Hersh left the AP and sold his story to The New Republic. During the 1968 presidential election, he served as press secretary for the campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy.

After leaving the McCarthy campaign, Hersh returned to journalism as a freelancer covering the Vietnam War. In 1969, Hersh received a tip from Geoffrey Cowan of