Former President Barack Obama

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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Image result for rocket man kim h bomb in pacific

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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 —

Sharyl Attkisson speaks out about Obama-era surveillance

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Special Report : Krauthammer on FBI, CIA and NSA served subpoenas in unmasking probe : 5/31/2017

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

James Clapper Admits To Unmasking Trump

President Obama went to British intelligence to spy on Trump for him! – Judge Napolitano

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It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me

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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. Economic 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

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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 by Selling Its $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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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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Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

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Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017

 

Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos —

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London police confirm Parsons Green explosion was terrorist attack

Eyewitnesses describe moments of explosion on London Tube

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Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL

Trump Just Made HUGE Announcement To Americans Immediately After London Terror Attack Overnight

Parsons Green: ‘It’s a terrible thing’ – US President Donald Trump – BBC News

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Parsons Green: ‘There was a human stampede’ – BBC News

Parsons Green Explosion Tube Train Station at District Line London – Fulham 9/15/2017

Explosion on London tube train

Burning device filmed on tube carriage at Parsons Green station

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Parsons Green attack: 22 injured, UK terror threat remains at severe

#London #ParsonsGreen Bombing and the #MSM Usual Suspects Trained Seal Show: Repeat But Don’t Report

Idiots React to London Underground Attack

UPDATED

 Parsons Green attack: Police raid in west London as 18-year-old man arrested in Dover – latest news

Detectives investigating the terrorist attack at Parsons Green have made a “significant” arrest in connection with the attempted bombing.

The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover on Saturday morning under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

He remains in custody at a local police station from where he will be transferred to a south London police station.

 Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

The development came after Prime Minister ordered troops onto the streets on Friday night after a suspected Islamist placed a powerful time bomb on a packed rush hour train heading towards Westminster.

Theresa May took the decision after the independent Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre (JTAC) recommended raising the terror threat to its highest level, Critical, meaning another attack is expected.

The white bucket that is said to have blown up on the Parsons Green carriage
The improvised explosive device in a white bucket blew up on the final carriage of the Parsons Green train CREDIT: PRICEY1983AA/TWITTER

The army will deploy troops at key locations around the capital in order to free up police who were last night involved in a huge manhunt to catch the terrorist responsible for the failed Parsons Green bomb attack, which Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility.

At least 29 people were injured, including a boy believed to be aged about 10 when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off on a packed rush hour tube at Parsons Green in west London yesterday morning.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic after the blast sent a “fireball” and a “wall of flame” through a District line service in west London.

But the main device, which had been fitted with a crude timer using shop-bought fairy lights, failed to detonate, meaning hundreds of people were spared death and serious injury.

Anti-terror police are understood to be working on the theory that the bomb was detonated early by accident and that the intended target may have been the Tube station at Westminster.

Detectives have so far spoken to 45 witnesses and continue to receive information from the public to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline.

The public has sent 77 images and videos to investigators via the UK Police Image Appeal website.

A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight
A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight CREDIT: JONATHAN BRADY/PA WIRE

Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are continuing to urge anyone with information about the terrorist attack to contact police.

The attack – the fifth terrorist attack on the UK in just six months – caused a diplomatic row between Washington and London.

Donald Trump seemed to accuse the Metropolitan Police of knowing the identity of the attacker in advance but failing to prevent the bombing. Mr Trump posted on Twitter: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

His claim earned the US President a stiff rebuke from Theresa May. “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” said the prime minister. “The police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.”

Despite Mr Trump’s suggestion that the terrorist was known to police, counter-terrorism sources insisted that was not the case and that the hunt for the perpetrator of the bombing on a District Line train was ongoing.

An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station
An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station CREDIT: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA

Counter terrorism specialists from Scotland Yard were last night working to establish his identity from CCTV footage on the train and at stations on the line. They were also combing through records of payments with Oyster cards used to buy Tube tickets.

One theory is the suspected bomber may have fled the scene among the stampede of panicking passengers and escaped among the crowds.

They were also uncertain that Parsons Green was not the planned target, pointing to reports that the bomb, which was packed with shrapnel and contained a timing device, had apparently malfunctioned.

Witnesses reported seeing people “covered in blood” after a “flash and a bang” from the device, but sent a “fireball” through the packed Tube train.

Pictures and video posted on social media showed a flaming bucket – which appeared to have wires coming from it – inside a Lidl carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

The device is not believed to have fully detonated and it is reported that it could have been set off on a timer.

More follows – stay with us for the latest updates through the day

Residents evacuated at Sunbury address

The Met Police said police officers had evacuated and were searching a residential address in Sunbury-on-Thames.

Scotland Yard said: “The evacuation is a precautionary measure following the arrest of a man in Dover, Kent, at approximately 07:50hrs this morning in connection with the investigation into the terrorist attack at Parsons Green Underground Station on Friday, 16 September.

Officers began evacuating the address at approximately 13:40hrs today.

Residents in the buildings immediately surrounding the address are also being evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Cordons are being put in place at a 100 metre radius to facilitate the Metropolitan Police Service’s operation, which is being supported by colleagues from Surrey Police.

A search of the address is ongoing and the cordons will remain in place until the operation is complete.

Police would like to thank the local residents directly affected for their cooperation and patience. Local officers are on duty in the immediate area to talk to the community and address any concerns that they may have.

No further arrests have been made.”

Police cordon set up after officers raid house in Sunbury-on-Thames

 00:35

Armed police raid west London address

Police investigating the Parsons Green bombing carried out a raid on an address in Sunbury-on-Thames, close to the start of the M3 in west London, on Saturday afternoon.

Residents described a house in Cavendish Road being evacuated by armed officers. Others reported bomb squad vehicles arriving as armed officers moved in.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick says London “will not stop”

London will not be stopped by terror, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said as she highlighted an increased visible police presence on the capital’s streets.

Ms Dick spoke as she joined officers on some of the city’s busiest streets, travelling on the Tube to Waterloo Station and patrolling the tourist hot spot of the South Bank

She said: “London has not stopped after other terrible attacks and it will not stop after this one.”

The Commissioner said the public should feel “utterly reassured” by the presence of police.

Met chief says London "will not stop"

Met chief says London “will not stop”

02:38

She said: “I’ve been out and about today. The public seem to be very positive about the number of officers that we have.”

She added: “The great thing about London is that we don’t give in, we don’t give in to terrorists – we never have and we carry on.

“So the transport system is running just as it ever did and the events are going ahead today. People are out and about. I’ve spoken to lots of people, Londoners and tourists and business people. People are here and I would say, carry on about your business and secondly, of course, be vigilant.”

She added: “My main message is London is carrying on. Carry on with your business but be alert, don’t be alarmed but make sure you tell us anything that worries you.”

Scenes from Saturday morning

Armed police are making their presence felt in the capital following the news last night that Prime Minister Theresa May had raised the UK terror threat level to critical.

Armed police in Westminster
Increased security in Westminster CREDIT:  TOM NICHOLSON/LNP

Meanwhile, Tube passengers have been returning to Parsons Green.

A passenger walks into Parsons Green Underground station
The station reopened in the early hours CREDIT: PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Scotland Yard describe the arrest as “significant”

The 18-year-old was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

18-year-old arrested in Dover over London bombing

00:49

Man, 18, arrested in Dover

An 18-year-old man has been arrested in the Dover area under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in connection with the Parsons Green station bombing.

More information to follow as we receive it.

Tightened security ahead of Chelsea v Arsenal game

In a statement, Chelsea said:  “Following Friday morning’s incident at Parsons Green, and in order to help us fully prepare for the game, the majority of the Stamford Bridge site will remain closed until Sunday morning.

“This includes Stadium Tours, the Museum, Megastore and the Chelsea Health Club & Spa, while the ticket office will be operating via telephone and online only.

“During that time, entrance to the site will be via the Stamford Gate entrance only. On Sunday, we urge supporters to arrive at least one hour before kick-off to allow for extra security measures.

“We also request that supporters do not bring bags as this will delay your entry to the stadium. The club continues to monitor events and liaise with the police and relevant authorities on supporter safety.”

Trump under fire in US over London bombing comments

Ben Cardin, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, backed Theresa May in her rebuke of Donald Trump over the London  bombing David Millward reports.

“I think the Prime Minister of the UK was appropriate in calling the president out.”

John Cohen, former US counterterrorism official and now a professor at Rutgers University, also believed Mr Trump’s intervention was unhelpful.

“At this stage investigators are going to be doing everything they can to locate those involved in the attack, and in particular the bomb maker,”  he told the New York Times.

“These types of statements — at this stage of the investigation — can undermine law enforcement efforts because it discloses key information that the investigators may be using to locate the attackers, and it could put peoples’ lives at risk.”

Bomb ‘highly likely’ to be TATP – CNN

A source briefed by investigators told CNN that an initial assessment of the device indicates it is “highly likely” to have contained the explosive TATP but that this has not been confirmed. It also appeared to have been crude and poorly designed, the source said.

‘Excellent progress’ made in hunt for terrorist, police say

Met Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said the police were making “excellent progress” in the hunt for the terrorist.

He said officers were trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and 77 images and videos taken by members of the public at the scene were also being examined.

Mr Rowley said the IED had now been made safe and was being examined by specialist forensic scientists.

Threat level raised to ‘critical’

The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical, indicating a further attack may be imminent, following the Parsons Green Tube bomb, Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Army troops will be assisting the police with their duties, freeing up officers to continue their investigation into the attack.

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Amaq news agency which has links to the group.

White House defends Trump’s comments on Parsons Green attack

Mr McMaster was asked about Donald Trump’s comments this morning, in which he said the suspect of the bombing was “in the sights” of Scotland Yard.

Theresa May called that speculation “unhelpful”.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER 

Mr McMaster said he thought the president was speaking in general terms, and did not have any specific information.

He said: “I think what the president was communicating was that all our law enforcement efforts are focused on this threat for years.

“Scotland Yard is a leader in this, and if it happened here in the US the FBI would also have the suspect in their sights.

“I think he means generally this kind of activity is what we are trying to prevent.”

President Trump calls for renewed effort to cut terror funding

H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has just spoken about the Parsons Green attack in the White House, Harriet Alexander reports.

He said: “The US stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.

“We will defend our people and our values against these cowardly attacks, and we will always stand by countries who do the same.”

He said Mr Trump had been “unambiguous” in his policy on terrorism, urging a renewed effort at cutting financing for terrorist networks.

President Trump speaks to PM to express sympathy

The White House press secretary has revealed details of the phone call between Donald Trump and Theresa May. The US president phoned to “convey his sympathies and prayers for those injured in the terrorist attack today in London”, the White House said.

“The President pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism. ”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.

“They also discussed North Korea’s latest missile test, agreeing it was a reckless provocation and that China must now use all its leverage to bring pressure to bear on the North Korean regime to ensure they change course and end these illegal tests.”

Number of injured rises to 29

NHS England says 29 people have been treated after the explosion at Parsons Green tube station.

As of 5.30pm on Friday, NHS England said it was now treating 21 patients.

Eight others were discharged earlier in the day.

 

Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol as Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL after ISIS claim Tube bucket-bomb attack was carried out by a cell of several jihadis

  • Soldiers and armed police will be on the streets as the threat level is raised to critical, the highest possible 
  • Scotland Yard have identified the suspect behind the rush hour blast on District Line train at Parsons Green
  • Manhunt underway for bomber amid fears he may have left other devices and could be armed with knives 
  • Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the west London attack saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • IED had timer attached meaning terrorist probably exited at an earlier station but bomb failed to detonate
  • Bloodied and burned commuters ‘ran for their lives’ after explosion on London Underground this morning 
  • Were you on the train, witness the bombing or know one of the injured? Email tips@dailymail.com

Soldiers are being deployed on London’s streets as the terror threat level is raised to critical amid fears the Parsons Green bomber could strike again, Theresa May announced tonight.

Operation Temperer will see military personnel replacing police at key sites such as nuclear power plants to free up extra armed officers for regular patrols.

Scotland Yard said it is making ‘excellent’ progress in hunting the suspected terrorist who set off an improvised bucket bomb on a packed commuter train by Parsons Green tube station in west London at 8.20am.

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10: ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.’

Minutes later Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were ‘chasing down suspects’.

Police identified the suspected terrorist using CCTV but the investigation has been overshadowed by an extraordinary diplomatic row triggered by Donald Trump

The US President tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack tonight, saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’.

Scroll down for videos.  

A photograph of the flaming white bucket taken just after it exploded around 8.20am shows a number of wires protruding out of the top and on to the train carriage floor

The majority of victims suffered 'flash burns' including to their heads (pictured)  and several have been taken to a specialist burns unit

A victim, believed to be a schoolchild, is carried from the station with charred legs as others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

Others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

an 11-year-old who was found on the floor asking for his brother

Theresa May gave a statement from within Downing Street in which she announced the terror threat level would be raised to critical, its highest level

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were 'chasing down suspects'

A well-dressed young woman was walked to safety by a Met officer after having her head bandaged after suffering a burn or wound to her cheek

Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade raced to the scene in west London and were there within five minutes

This photograph captured the moment the first members of the emergency services raced to the scene within five minutes of the explosion

Elite armed counter-terrorism police are at the scene amid reports of the suspect being on the run and claims of a second device

Peter Crowley had the hair burnt off his head in the attack

Mr Crowley before the attack

A traumatised and injured passenger on the ill-fated Parsons Green train is taken away by paramedics and firefighters

The majority of the victims have suffered 'flash burns' caused by the ignition - but it appears that the bomb did not properly detonate

A forensic officer outside Parsons Green station in West London where there remains a heavy police presence as the manhunt for the suspected terrorist continues

Security was stepped up at stations around London following this morning's attack. Pictured is a British Transport Police officers at Euston

A police officer watches on as commuters file into the underground at Euston Station amid newly tightened security

As Britain faced its fifth terror attack in a year it has emerged:

  • Bucket bomb left on Tube train – which had a timer – failed to explode properly at 8.20am but left 29 injured;
  • Most victims suffered ‘flash burns’ and others crush injuries in ‘human stampede’ as people fled the train;
  • Two hours after the explosion Metropolitan Police confirmed they were treating it as a terrorist incident; 
  • The IED used Christmas lights as a fuse, as recommended by ISIS magazines and online bomb manuals;
  • Police are looking for multiple suspects – and officers have told MailOnline that main suspect is armed;
  • Donald Trump insists he has been briefed on bombing and Scotland Yard knew of the suspect before attack;
  • The Metropolitan Police hit back at ‘pure speculation’ and refused to name the suspect they are looking for; 
  • Met spotters are watching back CCTV from the train and at Tube stations to trace the bomber’s steps; 
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency saying ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • Police asks the public to dial 999 or the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789 321 if they see anything suspicious.

The crude bucket bomb – which had a timer – went off at 8.20am inside a tube train packed with commuters, including children and a pregnant woman.

The device was hidden in a builder’s bucket and could have killed dozens but failed to properly detonate and sent a ‘wall of fire’ through the carriage at Parsons Green injuring at least 29 people.

Terrified passengers were seen covered in blood with scorched hands, legs, faces and hair – others suffered crush injuries during a stampede as they ‘ran for their lives’ over fears the ‘train would blow up’.

London Ambulance took 19 patients to hospitals, while the others went in themselves. The four hospitals dealing with patients were Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and St George’s.

Officers are hunting for the bomber across London amid claims he could be armed and may have planted other explosive devices.

An officer at the scene told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb – there is a man with knives on the loose.’

Theresa May raises terror threat level to its highest possible

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10 –

 ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.

‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

In a pre-recorded television statement, May said military personnel would replace police officers ‘on guard duties at certain protected sites which are not accessible to the public’.

She said: ‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

Speaking moments afterwards, Assistant Commissioner Mike Rowley said: ‘We are making excellent progress at the moment as we pursue our lines of inquiry to identify, locate and arrest those responsible.

‘We have hundreds of police officers trawling through CCTV footage, detectives have spoken to tens of witnesses and we have taken a large number of calls to the hotline… for members of the public.

‘Indeed members of the public have sent in so far 77 images and videos of the scene which they have sent in to our appeal website and these are now being assessed for evidential value.’

Mr Rowley said he was only aware of one device, and the remnants of that device are being examined by experts.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC radio ‘there is a manhunt under way as we speak’ and there have been no arrests.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack this evening through its Amaq News Agency, saying its ‘soldiers planted IEDs’. However, the group has often made false claims in the past.

Photographs show what experts believe is a ‘unsophisticated’ bomb in a flaming white bucket inside a Lidl freezer bag with Christmas lights protruding from the top – a type of fuse encouraged by ISIS in its online manuals.

Donald Trump tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

Mrs May also hit out at the President’s tweet, calling it ‘unhelpful’, and has this evening discussed the intelligence sharing between the two countries with the President in a telephone call.

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

A forensics tent has been erected on the platform - although there have been no fatalities - and a single pair of shoes lies abandoned outside the door where the bomb ignited

Horrified witnesses on social media claim there was a stampede as people were 'screaming and running' off the trains, which was searched by heavily armed police officers today

A heavily armed officer wanders through the damaged train's carriages looking for more devices

The abandoned train at Parsons Green today after a terrorist left a bucket bomb on the carriage floor

Police believe the bomber may have exited the train (pictured) perhaps one or two stops before the bomb went off

Passengers on trains at Parsons Green were evacuated onto the track away to safety after London was hit by another terror attack

Passengers are ushered across the track by firefighters after getting trapped in the aftermath of the bombing

 Witnesses to the explosion said there was a loud ‘bang’, a flash and then a ball of flame engulfed surrounding passengers on the ‘packed’ District Line train.

Luke Warsmey said: ‘The explosion was like a large match going off at the end of the carriage. People just started sprinting. It was every man for himself when that happened. The burn victims had severe leg injuries.

HOW RELEASING INFORMATION HELPED CATCH BARCELONA ATTACKER

The failure of the Metropolitan Police to name the suspect contrasts sharply with the response to the last major terror attack in Europe, Barcelona in August.

Just over an hour after the attack took place, Spanish police tweeted the public to say they were searching for the attacker and to avoid the area.

Then, three hours after the attack, a photo of a suspect, Driss Oukabir, was released and circulated online.

The release of the image caused Oukabir to come forward to his local police and tell officers his documents had been stolen.

This was again revealed to the media as Oukabir’s younger brother Moussa became the prime suspect.

‘It was a very busy commuter train, young and old, school children going to their schools. I saw was nannies trying to look for kids, because of the rush of people just taking five and six year olds away from them and they were trying to look for them.

‘There were lots of injuries from people being trampled on and everyone who had been close to it had the same burns to their head.’

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee this afternoon to discuss the terrorist attack.

Mrs May later appealed to any members of the public with images of the incident to pass them to the police.

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion today.

A 100 yard cordon was erected around the station and a police helicopter was also overhead.

The Met confirmed it was a terrorist attack around 40 minutes later.

Scotland Yard said the area surrounding Parsons Green Tube station has been evacuated so specialist officers could ‘secure the remnants of the improvised device and ensure it is stable’.

NHS England said 29 patients in total were being treated at Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Central London Community Healthcare Urgent Care Centre. Of these 18 were taken by ambulance and four self-presented.

In the aftermath armed police swooped from the SO-15 counter-terrorism unit performed a hard-stop on a bus in nearby Chelsea Bridge Road. The call was linked to the terror attack but nothing suspicious was found on board.

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary's Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

Sniffer dogs are also searching around the cordoned off area amid claims that there are other devices 

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

A police cordon remained outside Parsons Green Tube station on Friday afternoon following the blast during the morning rush hour

A forensic officer in blue overalls walks along the pavement near Parsons Green tube station as the investigation continues into the attack

Emma Stevie, 27, described a ‘human stampede’ after the bomb went off. She said: ‘I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’. We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

‘There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

‘There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.’

Lidl will help police after their bag was used to house bomb

Supermarket Lidl has offered to assist a police investigation into the terrorist incident on the London Underground, after one of its bags was apparently used to hold the improvised bomb.

The German-owned grocery chain issued a statement just hours after social media photos of the affected District Line carriage showed a still-burning bucket inside a Lidl-branded reusable bag.

‘We are shocked and concerned to have learned of an incident at Parsons Green this morning and our thoughts are with those affected,’ Lidl UK said.

‘We will, of course, support the authorities should they need our assistance in their investigations. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops over the course of the day.’

A spokesman for the supermarket also confirmed that what seemed to be an insensitive tweet, purportedly sent out by Lidl UK’s twitter account on Friday morning, was fake.

Twitter user @jesuiscanard appeared to retweet a Lidl UK tweet from 10:32am which read: ‘We are proud to officially have the strongest bags. Great value for just 10p.’

Richard Aylmer-Hall told Sky News: ‘There were a few crush injuries on the stairs. People got squashed and crushed going down the stairs. Police evacuated everyone from the scene pretty quickly.

‘There was screaming, pushing and shoving – it was a like there was a terrorist on the loose with a gun or something – lots of people were in tears. When it was all over lots of people were being comforted and looked after. It was total chaotic panic.

‘A lady who had been on the same carriage as the device described it going off – a puff of smoke and flames coming out of it.’

Couple Lucy, 24 and Fabin, 29, were on their way to work when the explosion happened.

Lucy, who works in PR, said: ‘We just heard screaming and sprinting, there was a stampede on the stairs and people were falling over, there was a schoolboy being lifted up after he had fallen down, he was in his school uniform, he must have been about ten, he was crying and distressed.’

Fulham fitness instructor Niyi Shokunbi, 24, was in the next carriage the moment the bomb went off.

He told MailOnline: ‘I have never seen anything like it was like something out of a film. I thought it was an acid attack. It happened like bang within ten seconds, i just wanted to run.

‘I went towards the carriage where the bomb went off a woman said you don’t want to go in there. I saw a little boy with scratches on his face crying for his brother. A woman was bleeding. Everyone was running. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

People suffered burns from the explosion and others were hurt in the crush as people fled.

Rob Partinton, 24, from Harrow told MailOnline: ‘We were literally about two minutes from Parsons Green when the train suddenly stopped.

‘I saw people running on the track opposite direction towards Fulham Broadway, I could hear no screams but a lot of people running. We’ve been held at the station for the last half an hour. It’s pretty busy, a lot of police around and police dogs.’

Another witness, Sham, said he saw a man with blood all over his face. ‘There were loads of people crying and shaking,’ he told 5 live.

‘There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood. One guy I saw, his face was covered in blood – I’ve never seen anything like it.’

There is terror and panic at the station this morning, with police officers consoling members of the public

An injured man is helped into an ambulance – one of 18 ferried by ambulance to hospitals across London. Four others went to A&E themselves

A family with young children look towards the station in the aftermath of the terror attack on London

Witnesses say people ran from the scene with 'blood on their face'

People were stranded after the bombing and the District Line is expected to be closed for at least today

Bomb disposal experts are at the scene amid fears there could be second bomb 

Passengers ran onto the rail tracks to get away from the train as a fireball engulfed the carriage

 Witnesses claim people were trampled on when they fled the train after hearing a ‘whoosh’ and seeing flames race towards them

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area. It is not known at this stage how many people are injured.

Specialist armed anti-terror units also swamped the area.

Fairy lights have been used as detonators by extremist bombers before

Pictures of the apparent home-made bomb seen after the explosion show a Lidl coolbag with a large paint tub inside and a string of Christmas tree lights hanging over the top.

If the device does turn out to be a terrorist bomb, it would not be the first time extremists have used so-called ‘fairy lights’ to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time: ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.

‘The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.

‘Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it – I can only assume it was done on purpose.

‘It was standing against the door of the rear-most carriage.’

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it’.

Sylvain Pennec, a software developer from Southfields, near Wimbledon, was around 10 metres from the source of the explosion when fire filled the carriage.

‘I heard a boom and when I looked there were flames all around,’ he said. ‘People started to run but we were lucky to be stopping at Parsons Green as the door started to open.’

He described the scene of panic as commuters struggled to escape the carriage, ‘collapsing and pushing’ each other.

Mr Pennec stayed behind to take a closer look at what he believed was the source of the explosion.

‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked homemade. I’m not an expert though.’

Passengers on the train behind the affected Tube witnessed terrified passengers sprinting away up the tracks.

They were then held in their train for over an hour before being evacuated on to the tracks themselves.

Nicole Linnell, 29, who works for a fashion label, said: ‘We saw people running down the tracks. About 30 or 40 people.

‘They were running down the tracks outside our train.

‘It was absolutely terrifying. Running on the tracks is the last thing you want to do so we were like ‘What’s going on?’

‘After about an hour we were evacuated off the train on to the tracks. About 10 to 15 people at a time.’

Melanie Heyside had been at a gym nearby and intended to get on a District Line train to go to work.

She told Sky News: ‘I just was about to open the doors to leave the studio and then all of a sudden Swat cars completely stormed and blocked the street and police jumped out with their armour and were telling people to ‘move, to move’.

‘So I was inside with a group of other people and we weren’t really sure what to do.’

She said they were told to leave the area, which she added was populated by schoolchildren and others going to work, as quickly as possible.

Lady Margaret’s School, next to Parson’s Green tube station, has put an alert out to concerned parents to say all children are okay and there are no absences.

‘Crude’ bucket bomb made with fairy lights could have killed DOZENS say experts as police reveal 21/7-style device failed to properly detonate

Explosives experts say the Parsons Green bomb could have killed dozens if it had properly detonated at rush-hour this morning.

Anti-terror police are now examining the bucket bomb which failed to fully go off on a tube train in west London as they try to track down the bomber.

Photos of the explosive show a large builder’s tub – believed be packed with explosives – inside a Lidl coolbag, with a string of Christmas tree lights, thought to have been a crude detonator, hanging over the top.

Officers compared the device to those used in the failed 21/7 bombings, in which jihadis attempted to blow up tube trains. In that case, the bombs’ detonators went off but the explosives themselves were not ignited.

It is believed the bomb was left on the busy district line train from Wimbledon this morning before the bomber escaped. Police are analysing the device to track down the terrorist

ISIS have encouraged followers to use the lights in bomb guides they post online, but the terror group have yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

A timer is understood to have been found on the device, suggesting the terrorist left it on board the train and then got off. It also suggests it was intended to go off at busier stations further down the line.

Terror expert Will Geddes said:  ‘My suspicion is that Parsons Green was not the intended target.

‘Unless a person knows it, it is not going to mean a great deal to you – if it was Paddington or Notting Hill, they are internationally recognised names.’

‘I think it was more a premature detonation than anything else. This could have been a lot worse. It could have killed a significant number of people.’

Others say the bomb probably didn’t detonated properly because it was badly made.

Explosives expert Dr Sidney Alford told MailOnline: ‘The fact that an initial bang was heard but the bomb did not even shatter the plastic bucket it was contained in suggests to me this could have been hydrogen peroxide.

‘I can rule out other types of explosives as if the initial bang was heard with those they would have gone off completely and destroyed the bucket.’

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Dr Alford said the bomb properly did not go off because it was poorly designed.

Witnesses reported a ‘strong, acrid chemical smell’ in the carriage after the explosion.

Major General Chip Chapman told Sky News: ‘This doesn’t look like a high-end explosive from ISIS such as TATP (triacetone triperoxide) or, if it was, it failed significantly, the booster or detonator didn’t go off.’

‘That said of course, the most devastating land-based terror attack in Europe, in Madrid, had a similar modus operandi.’

He added: ‘It’s not a high explosive that functioned because the blast and shockwave would have killed multiple people.’

Former Army bomb squad expert Chris Hunter told the channel the pictures reminded him of the devices which failed to go off during botched the 21/7 attacks.

In that instance, a group of Islamic terrorists planned to carry out a copy-cat attack to 7/7, but although the detonator part of the bombs went off, they did not ignite the explosives and only one person was injured.

Examining the image of the bomb, chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told MailOnline: ‘It looks pretty unsophisticated.

‘It could be an incendiary device with some sort of detonator in a big white plastic bucket, perhaps with some sort of chemical like ammonia nitrate, fertiliser bomb to cause an explosion.’

He said the attack looked like ‘classic jihadi terrorism’ and the bomb could have been ‘devastating’ if it had detonated properly.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon said the attack would raise further questions over whether the sale of certain chemicals should be more heavily regulated.’

Describing the device, witness Sylvain Pennec said: ‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise. I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked home made.’

The incident has been compared to the 21/7 attacks in which bombs were placed on the underground and the detonators went off, but did not ignite the explosives

In that instance, the bombers Muktar Said Ibrahim (left) and Ramzi Mohammed were tracked down by police and convicted of terror offences

It is not be the first time extremists have used so-called them to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Similarities between the device and that used in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 have also been drawn.

In that case, timers were also used to allow the bombers to get away. However, in that case the explosives were in a pressure cooker.

Members of a bomb disposal squad stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

There were reports of a man at the station with a knife in the aftermath of the explosion. Scotland Yard said they believe this is unrelated to the Tube incident

Pictures from the District Line train appear to show a burning plastic bucket stashed in a Lidl carrier bag, which exploded

A police officer and a sniffer dog stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

People at the chaotic scene have been frantically calling relatives in the aftermath of the explosion 

Police at the scene are keeping people away, moving them up Fulham Road and away from the station

Emergency services at the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London

Peter Crowley tweeted this photograph, with the caption: 'Charred head from the fireball at Parsons Green'

Dozens of police vehicles are at the scene as people are being urged to avoid the area

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: 'We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green'

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: ‘We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green’

Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

 Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

Images from the scene show emergency services and armed police 

Social media users reported a 'stampede' around the underground station at rush hour 

The London Ambulance Service was called at 8:20am and sent single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and a hazardous area response team

People fled the Underground station in panic, amid reports there was an explosion 

May confronts Trump in a direct phone call after the US President sparked a diplomatic row by claiming Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the terror attack 

Theresa May today confronted Donald Trump to vent her anger after he claimed Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the attack.

The US President sparked a major diplomatic row by suggesting British police knew the extremist behind the bucket bomb in the second major intelligence sharing breach in just five months.

Both Mrs May and the Met Police reacted with fury to the intervention slamming Mr Trump for speculating about the fast moving terror investigation.

And in a direct call with the US leader late this afternoon, the Prime Minister raised her concerns over the comment directly with him.

The row is a revival of damaging split between London and Washington in May when shared intelligence about the Manchester bombing was handed to US media.

In a brief statement after the call a Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.’

The White House said Mr Trump ‘pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism’.

Mr Trump sparked a furious reaction from British police and politicians after he wrote on Twitter: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Angry MPs told the Mail Online his careless words risked endangering the crucial manhunt to find the extremist behind the attack.

After risking a new diplomatic row with Britain, Mr Trump insisted he had been briefed on intelligence about the attack and called Mrs May.

Donald Trump on the White House lawn today where he insisted he had been briefed about Parsons Green and said the suspect was known to police

Theresa May (pictured in No 10 this afternoon) said any speculation was unhelpful when asked about the President's tweets on the Parsons Green attack  

Trump tweeted: 'Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!'

 Trump tweeted: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Met terror chief Mark Rowley updated the media on the investigation this morning (pictured) but has not given any details of any man hunt

But in an afternoon press briefing, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster insisted that Trump wasn’t conveying information about Friday’s attack in particular.

‘I think what the president was communicating is that obviously all of our law enforcement efforts are focused on this terrorist threat from, you know – for years,’ McMaster told reporters at the White House. ‘Scotland Yard has been a leader, as our FBI has been a leader.’

‘So I think if there was a terrorist attack here, God forbid, that we would say that they were in the sights of the FBI. So I think he didn’t mean anything beyond that. … I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we’re trying to prevent. And so these organizations that are responsible for it, whatever comes out of this investigation that remains to be seen, it is likely that law enforcement had been orking on that problem set.’

Mr Trump’s initial Tweets came at almost exactly the same time as Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley gave an initial update on the attack in a TV statement.

Standard UK police procedure in the aftermath of any terror attack is to keep the identity of any suspects confidential. The tactic allows rapid arrests to be carried out without alerting the prime suspect or their family and friends.

Mr Trump’s used today’s tirade to promote his plans for a travel crackdown on Muslims wanting to visit the United States.

Speaking from Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency ‘Cobra’ committee, Mrs May said: ‘I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.’

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘The comments are unhelpful and pure speculation.

‘If anyone has got any evidence or information, please contact the anti-terrorism hotline.’

President Donald Trump has claimed Scotland Yard knew ahead of time about a bomber or bombers who set off a crude incendiary bomb Friday morning on London's 'Tube' subway

Trump added: 'Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!'

Trump added: ‘Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!’

The force declined to give details when asked by MailOnline if they had a suspect, evidence of a wider plot or if any suspect was seen on CCTV.

Liberal Democrat home affairs Sir Ed Davey told MailOnline Mr Trump could undermine the police investigation

He said: ‘It is insulting to the victims of this attack that Donald Trump is already using it to try and further his divisive political agenda.

‘Once again, Trump has shown he is not fit for the office of US President.’

Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the MailOnline the President should not have intervened.

He said: ‘The full focus must be on allowing the police and security services to do their job, and those responding at the scene to the emergency and tending to those injured.’

Mr Doughty warned the United States was endangering the special relationship by interfering in British investigations.

He said: ‘It has the potential to not only undermine a vital relationship, but also to prejudice investigations into this and other incidents.’

Theresa May's former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump's intervention by saying the president 'doesn't know' anything: 'This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner'

Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump’s intervention by saying the president ‘doesn’t know’ anything: ‘This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner’

Mr Doughty said it is ‘obviously not the first time’ key pieces of information about a terror attack have been leaked by the US, after details of the Manchester bombing investigation were printed in American newspapers.

Mr Timothy tweeted: ‘True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who has clashed publicly with Mr Trump before over London terrorism – told LBC today he had not seen the tweets but insisted the focus must be on allowing the police to get on with their job.

He said: ‘What is important is cool, calm heads are heard now.’

Mr Trump’s tweets could reignite the diplomatic row between the UK and the US over the leaking of sensitive police information.

In May the UK police temporarily stopping sharing intelligence about the terror investigation with America over a series of leaks about the Manchester bombing.

The president linked Friday's attack to his controversial travel ban, saying it 'should be far larger, tougher and more specific ¿ but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get 'nasty'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get ‘nasty’

It is understood American law enforcement agencies had the pictures for only a matter of hours before they were handed to a journalist from the New York Times.

The leak was the way Britons discovered the identity of the bomber Salman Abedi. Greater Manchester Police did not confirm his name until later.

At the time, Mrs May warned continued leaking would undermine the special relationship.

She told reporters the ties between Britain and America was the ‘deepest defense and security partnership that we have’ but she warned it was ‘built on trust’.

‘Part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently and I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure,’ she added.

The latest version of Trump’s travel ban, initially announced in a botched late-January rollout, calls for a ban on people entering the U.S. from six terror-prone countries that are also Muslim-majority nations.

It also bars the entry of most refugees from anywhere in the world.

Federal court challenges have resulted in exceptions being made for travelers who already have established ties to the U.S., including a broad definition of what counts as a close family member.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments to decide the ban’s constitutionality in October, but allowed it to go into effect last month while the case is pending.

Timeline of terror: Parsons Green train bombing is FIFTH attack to hit Britain in 2017

March 22: Five people are killed in a car and knife attack in Westminster.

Khalid Masood drove a hire car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, mounted the pavement and hit pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Palace of Westminster.

He stabbed Pc Keith Palmer, 48, to death.

Also killed in the atrocity were US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes. Masood was shot dead by police.

March 22: Five people were killed in a car and knife attack in Westminster, London

May 22: Twenty-two people – including children – are killed in a bombing at a pop concert in Manchester.

Lone suicide attacker Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans, many of them youngsters, left Manchester Arena following a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.

May 22: Twenty-two people - including children - are killed in a bombing at a pop concert in Manchester

Lone suicide attacker Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans, many of them youngsters, left Manchester Arena

June 3: Eight people are killed in a terror attack around London Bridge.

A van ploughed into people on the bridge before the three attackers carried out a knife rampage in Borough Market.

The perpetrators – Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 – were shot dead by police.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 - were shot dead by police

June 19: One man dies and several others are injured after a man allegedly rams his van into worshippers in north London.

Darren Osborne, 47, of no fixed address in Cardiff, is charged with murder and attempted murder after being accused of carrying out a premeditated attack on Muslims as they left a mosque on Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park.

June 19: One man dies and several others are injured after a man allegedly rams his van into worshippers in north London

Police warned there is no such thing as a ‘typical terrorist’ after official statistics showed rises in numbers detained across ethnicities and age groups.

There were 379 arrests for terrorism-related offences in the year ending June 2017, the highest number in a 12-month period since data collection began in 2001.

Police and MI5 are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time, while there are also 20,000 former ‘subjects of interest’ whose risk must be kept under review.

 The fairy lights bomber: Jihadi used similar device in plot two years ago

When officers raided his home in the Alum Rock area of the city, they found his room littered with text books detailing guerrilla warfare techniques and small arms combat, further bomb making instructions and dismantled electrical items such as doorbells and alarm clocks.

He bought most of the items he used for his bombs over the internet.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time: ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.

‘The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.

‘Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in terrorism and conflict.’

The Christmas tree lights found at Hussain's address, in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator

 ‘I feared the whole train would blow up’: Man whose hair was burned in tube explosion says he was ‘lucky to get away’ as victims describe human stampede to flee bucket bomb aftermath

Horrified witnesses have reported passengers fleeing a London tube carriage in terror as they feared the ‘whole train would blow up’.

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been ‘charred’ after a fireball engulfed his train at Parsons Green in west London.

Emma Stevie, 27, was on the train when the explosion happened at Parsons Green, in south-west London, and was caught in a ‘stampede’ and crush on the station steps.

Other commuters at the scene said they were ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ before running from the area.

Police have evacuated Parsons Green Underground Station after reports of a man wielding a knife and a second explosive device.

Emergency services have been on the scene at the London Underground station since around 8.20am this morning when a ‘fireball’ engulfed a train.

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been 'charred' after a fireball engulfed his train

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been ‘charred’ after a fireball engulfed his train

A police officer escorts an injured woman from the scene at Parsons Green Underground Station

Other commuters at the scene said they were 'thrown around and crushed' by panicked crowds shouting 'there's a man, there's a man' before running from the area

Other commuters at the scene said they were ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ before running from the area

Witnesses claim at least 30 commuters including school children were injured after a homemade bomb exploded on a packed commuter train.

Dozens of commuters made a ‘100 metre sprint’ after a large flash engulfed the 8.20am train as it pulled into Parsons Green station.

Video editor Luke Walmsley, 33, saw a woman with the skin of both her legs removed by the fire.

He also claims a ten-year-old boy suffered injuries and everybody had similar burns to their faces and hair.

In the moments after the incident photos of a burning white bucket, similar to a pot of paint inside a Lidl bag, with wires coming from the top were posted on social media.

Emma Stevie told the BBC: ‘We got on the train at Parsons Green, then I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’.

‘We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

‘There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

‘There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.

‘The fire brigade was telling us to get back on the platform, but no-one was.

‘The injuries from the stampede seemed the worst. I’m outside now, there are women crying and people sitting on the floor.’

Dozens of commuters made a '100 metre sprint' after a large flash engulfed the 8.20am train as it pulled into Parsons Green station

Peter Crowley told the BBC: ‘I heard a large bang from the doors on the other side of the tube train and this fireball came towards my heard and singed off all my hair – I have got burn marks at the top of my head. Everyone just ran off the train, it was quite scary.

‘It was a really hot intense fireball above my head, I’ve just got red marks and burns to the top of my head. There were a lot of people a lot worse than me.

‘I saw a gentleman opposite me in a puffer jacket and the whole back of that had been burned where the intense heat had got to it – he had burn marks across his face which are looking a lot worse than mine.

‘There were a lot of people in shock, a lot of people visibly upset. Mostly it was facial injuries, burns rather than cuts.

‘It was like nothing I have ever seen before – sheer panic. Everyone jumped off the train, everyone initial reaction was to look back and assess the situation. It was just sheer panic.

‘It was busy but it was movable, it was busy for that time of day. I am just going to the hospital shortly.’

Emergency services were at the scene within minutes of the terror attack 

People stand by an ambulance near Parsons Green tube station

Mr Charley said: 'I saw passengers with facial burns, they had been exposed to a very, very hot fire for a nano second, it was lucky doors were open because everyone just got off the tube'

Mr Crowley, seen here in a social media picture, described the chaos on the train this morning

He added: 'It was a terrifying experience, I am lucky I got away with just a bit of charred hair'

Accountant Sarah Hickson, 31, who was on her way to work said she was ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds.

She said: ‘People just started shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ and everyone started running. It was just sheer panic.

‘There were two people in front of me, a pregnant woman and a schoolboy.

‘They were being crushed on the concrete stairs, TfL staff were doing their best to get control but everyone was screaming trying to get out.

‘Eventually they managed to get some calm and people moved ever so slightly back allowing the boy and pregnant woman to get up.’

She added: ‘I am physically okay but shaken up, it was a scary experience.’

People reported being crushed on the concrete stairs with TfL staff were doing their best to get control

Witnesses said 'In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?'

Witnesses said ‘In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?’

People on their way to work were 'thrown around and crushed' by panicked crowds

Mr Walmsley, 33, said: ‘There was a really acrid burning smell that came out of the carriage.

‘We were three-quarters of a carriage away; there was screaming and then running as it pulled into Parsons Green – that was when it happened. It was coming to a standstill.

‘In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?

‘We did not know what was going on, there was a girl who had serious burns to her leg and there was a 10-year-old boy who had burns to his ankle.

‘People were rushing down the platform, everyone was doing a 100m sprint.

‘There was a flash at the end of the carriage that came down the train.

‘There were lots of injuries from people being trampled on and everyone who had been close to it had the same burns to their head.

‘We heard the first scream and then looked down and saw a flash and then the smoke and people running.

‘It was complete pandemonium, complete terror. They didn’t open the gates and the underground did not understand what was going on.

‘People were shouting ‘he’s got a knife! He’s got a knife!’ I didn’t see anyone with a knife.

‘It was the school run and there were a lot of kids in school uniform and mums and nannies trying to work out where their kids were.

‘The explosion was like a large match going off at the end of the carriage.

‘When people started running there was then the smell of burnt people.

‘There were more than 30 people injured, it was a full carriage and everyone had something wrong with them.

‘There was this girl who had no skin on her leg, whatever she had been wearing was just gone.

‘And there was another girl whose back garment was gone and her hair was gone.

‘It was a packed commuter train.’

Witnesses claim at least 30 commuters including school children were injured after a homemade bomb exploded on a packed commuter train

Couple Lucy, 24 and Fabin, 29, were on their way to work when the explosion happened.

Lucy, who works in PR, said: ‘We just heard screaming and sprinting, there was a stampede on the stairs and people were falling over, there was a schoolboy being lifted up after he had fallen down, he was in his school uniform, he must have been about ten, he was crying and distressed.’

Olaniyi Shokunbi, 24, boarded the train the bomb had been planted on at Putney Bridge and had been listening to music when he saw people scrambling off the train.

He said: ‘I thought the train was leaving Parsons Green but then I saw lots of people running up.

‘My first instinct was to get out of the train myself.

‘It’s a small station. There’s only two exits and a lot of people were struggling over each other. Some people just jumped over.

‘I thought it was an acid attack. It was early morning and people were drinking coffee and I felt some [liquid] on me and I thought ‘that better not go on my face’.’

Mr Shokunbi, a fitness instructor, said he had seen people lying on the floor covered in blood.

He said: ‘There were people on the floor, there was a little boy, I really felt sorry for him, he couldn’t have been more than 11.

‘He had scratches on his head, he was looking for his little brother.

‘I was going to go back into the train station but a woman said ‘don’t go back in there, there’s people on the floor’.’

He added: ‘There was a woman on the floor. She couldn’t breathe. People were screaming and crying.’

One man said he had seen people lying on the floor covered in blood

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Speaking to local radio Mr Crowley added: ‘I would personally say roughly about 20 who had physical injuries a lot of people who were shaken by the incident.

‘I wasn’t aware of the bag, I tend to keep myself to myself, I was side on to where I believe the incident happened.

‘That side of my hair is charred. There was a lot powder as if it was a high pressure tube that had some coating on it.’

He added: ‘Everyone ran off the tube, it was panic stations, my initial thought was that the whole train would blow up.

‘I saw passengers with facial burns, they had been exposed to a very, very hot fire for a nano second, it was lucky doors were open because everyone just got off the tube.

‘It was a terrifying experience, I am lucky I got away with just a bit of charred hair.’

The incident is ongoing, said police at the scene as police helicopters hover ahead where the suspect is thought to still be on the loose.

Counter terror police confirmed this morning the incident at Parson’s Green is being treated as a terror attack.

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area.

A police officer told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb, people need to stay back there is a man with knives on the loose.’

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Merton Council Councillor Daniel Holden was on the train that exploded this morning said there are ‘quite a few people injured.’

UBER HELPS STRICKEN RAIL PASSENGERS

Uber has confirmed it is helping people affected by tube cancellations.

The company tweeted this morning: ‘We are aware of an incident at Parsons Green.

‘We have turned off dynamic pricing and will refund all journeys from the affected area. ‘

He said: ‘I was one carriage away when it happened.

‘It was like a fireball had just hit, everyone was screaming and panicking. Everyone was trying to push their way off the train.’

‘There’s hundreds of police, fire brigade and ambulance here now.’

Mr Holden said he wasn’t injured in the explosion, but saw a few people who were.

‘They’re treating a few people who look quite injured,’ he said.

Former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: ‘It really is important not to spectacle at the moment, obviously everyone should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way.

‘As far as I understand the British Transport Police and TFL are on it and will be updating their websites as and when we get information.’

Chaos on the London Underground as District Line is shut down and police confirm Parsons Green explosion was terror attack

There is chaos on the London Underground after an explosion sent a fireball cascading through a packed commuter train this morning.

Transport for London said Tube services are suspended between Earls Court and Wimbledon.

Parsons Green station in west London remains closed with members of the public being urged to avoid area after a device exploded on the rush hour train.

Police have confirmed they are treating it as a terror-related incident.

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Horrified witnesses on social media claim there was a stampede as people were 'screaming and running off trains'

There was a stampede as a ‘fireball flew down the carriage’, leaving several passengers with serious facial burns on the packed rush hour train in Parsons Green, west London at 8.20am.

The doors opened on the District Line train and the commuters, many of them with scorched faces and hair, ran off screaming.

Transport for London said it was ‘investigating an incident at Parsons Green’ and urged customers travelling between Wimbledon and Earls Court to use alternative routes.

There is no service on the District Line from Earls Court to Wimbledon, with severe delays from Earls Court to Edgware Road.

TfL says there are also minor delays from Ealing Broadway to Turnham Green.

London Buses, South Western and London Overground are accepting London Underground tickets via any reasonable route.

TfL said passengers are being urged to avoid Earls Court, adding it remains unclear when the line will re-open with delays expected into the evening.

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Nigel Holness, London Underground’s director of network operations, said: ‘Our staff have worked to assist the emer-gency services and to ensure the safety of our customers during this morning’s incident at Parsons Green.

‘We are focussed on assisting the police investigation into what happened and providing support for our customers and staff.

‘Our Sarah Hope Line is available to offer help and support to anyone affected by this morning’s incident.’

Officers said the incident is ongoing, as police helicopters hover ahead where the suspect is thought to still be on the loose.

Counter terror police confirmed this morning the incident at Parson’s Green is being treated as a terror attack.

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area.

A police officer told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb, people need to stay back there is a man with knives on the loose.’

 ‘Come round, the kettle’s on!’ Unfazed Londoners are praised for ‘beautiful response’ to Parsons Green bucket bomb by offering to make cups of tea and opening their homes for survivors

Defiant Londoners have reached out and offered to help anyone caught up in a bomb blast which hit an underground train this morning.

People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London.

Taxi drivers have also come to the aid of those affected, offering free journeys while Facebook users are inviting victims in to shelter, rest and charge their phones.

Social media awash with people offering to 'put the kettle on' for those affected by the Parsons Green bomb blast

Nearby taxi company Hayber Cars has offered its services free of charge, while Chelsea and Fulham Dentist, has also offered people a place to shelter.

Jan Ståhlberg‏ tweeted: ‘Classic British response to an emergency & major incident: ‘I’ll put the kettle on’. Compassion and Communities come together.’

Anthony J Myers added: ‘Thank you to TfL staff, emergency services, security services and the Londoners of #ParsonsGreen who have offered to put the kettle on.’

Kind-hearted Debbie Clark, 57, has opened up her home on Kelvedon Road as a makeshift hospital while a police hunt is underway for the perpetrators behind the terror incident.

The mother of two woke up to hear banging at her front door from her neighbour Princess Stafford, who is deaf and mute and had been badly injured in a stampede as hundreds rushed out of the station following an explosion.

Ms Clark said: ‘I woke up to banging and she was at my door crying and distressed.’

People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London
 People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London

Across the road, Ms Clark said she saw three girls opposite her home, one was crying and said there were all ‘as white as a sheet’.

Taking them into her home, she gave them water and called their parents. She said: ‘they are just in shock. They said it happened so quickly, they just wanted to get out of there. One was from Sheffield, another from Surrey.’

She said: ‘I brought them all into my home, called the police and their parents. I just wanted to do something, you feel so helpless. I’ve lived here all my life and was born in Parson’s Green, you never expect something like this to happen.’

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Her neighbour Princess is currently on Ms Clark’s balcony with two chairs creating a makeshift stretcher with a suspected leg injury.

The 32-year-old was pushed to the floor by panicked commuters this morning as she waited to board a train at Parson’s Green to take her to work.

She told MailOnline how she was knocked to the ground and trapped. She said: ‘I couldn’t move, there were people on top of me and walking over me.’

The rush was so great she was pushed back to the stairwell, she said.

With tears in her eyes, she told MailOnline how she couldn’t breathe because of the number of people passing over her.

This afternoon she waits to be taken to hospital at Ms Clark’s home. She was told by London Ambulance they could be waiting for up to four hours.

Ms Clark said: ‘They are going to send a non emergency could take two to four hours because there have been serious injuries we understand. She can’t communicate she can’t hear and talk, good job I was in I am so glad I was in for her.’

‘Stay calm and go about your lives’: Boris Johnson urges Londoners not to panic as security is ramped up across the capital 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called on Londoners to remain calm as security is stepped up in the capital in the wake of the Parsons Green explosion.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command have launched an investigation following the explosion in west London during the Friday morning rush hour.

Mr Johnson says people should ‘keep calm and go about their normal lives’ as emergency services respond to the  incident.

A number of commuters have been taken to hospital with serious facial burns, as police remain at the scene

Speaking this morning, government minister Boris Johnson called on people to remain calm

Mr Johnson says it would be ‘wrong to speculate’, but that police and transit authorities ‘are on it.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said London ‘will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism’.

A Scotland Yard spokesman added: ‘We urge the public to remain calm but alert and if you have any concerns, see or hear anything suspicious then contact police.’

Prime Minister Theresa May is to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee this afternoon to discuss the incident.

Commuters fled in terror after the blast and witnesses reported seeing several people hurt and ‘covered in blood’ after a ‘flash and a bang’ on the District Line Tube.

Emergency services including armed police rushed to the scene and cordoned off the station.

Bomb disposal experts are among emergency services at the scene amid fears of more bombs

Transport for London said Tube services were suspended on that section of the underground

A woman walks with a young boy through west London as armed police stand guard nearby

Pictures posted on social media showed wires protruding from a flaming bucket inside a plastic carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

The Met added: ‘It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now under way by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.’

Investigators will be scouring CCTV and taking statements from dozens of witnesses as they attempt to piece together the lead-up to the explosion.

The device will be forensically assessed after being made safe, while police will be urgently trying to establish whether someone attempted to detonate it, and whether they were present at the scene.

Heavily-armed police were drafted in to assist the investigation at Parsons Green today

Armed police boarded the train in the incident as the hunt for the bomber was stepped up

Paramedics in bullet-proof vests were guarded by armed police at the scene this morning

The scenes of panic evoked memories of the July 7 atrocities in 2005, when suicide bombers killed 52 people in a series of co-ordinated attacks across the transport network.

Two weeks later, a group of men attempted to set off rucksack devices but the bombs failed to go off.

The emergency at Parsons Green will spark another huge counter-terrorism probe as security services confront an unprecedented threat.

Four attacks – at Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park – have hit Britain already this year.

Authorities have foiled 19 plots since the middle of 2013 – including six since the Westminster atrocity in March.

An armed police officer stands guard after an incident on a tube train at Parsons Green station

 

Story 2: North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan — Videos —

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Report: North Korea’s missile flew over Japan

North Korea sends message to U.S. by launching another missile towards Japan

North Korea fires missile over Japan

North Korea Fires A

North Korea fires missile over Japan in ‘unprecedented threat’- BBC News

Another Missile Over Japan

North  Korea fires another Intemediate Ballistic missile over Japan

The Repeated Mistake That’s Always Made When Dealing With North Korea

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Story 3: Conservative Commentator Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Some of The Protesters –Videos

North Korea fires missile over Japan in longest-ever flight

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance to its rivals.

Since President Donald Trump threatened the North with “fire and fury” in August, Pyongyang has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, threatened to send missiles into the waters around Guam and launched two missiles of increasing range over U.S. ally Japan. It tested its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).

North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance. (Sept. 15)

North Korea has repeatedly vowed to continue these tests amid what it calls U.S. hostility — by which it means the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea. Robust diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s little sign that senior officials from Pyongyang and Washington might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.

Friday’s missile, which Seoul said was the 19th ballistic missile launched by North Korea this year, triggered sirens and warning messages in northern Japan but caused no apparent damage to aircraft or ships. It was the second missile fired over Japan in less than a month. North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The missile was launched from Sunan, the location of Pyongyang’s international airport and the origin of the earlier missile that flew over Japan. Analysts have speculated the new test was of the same intermediate-range missile launched in that earlier flight, the Hwasong-12.

That missile is linked to North Korea’s declaration that it means to contain the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, which is the home of important U.S. military assets and appears well within the Hwasong-12′s range.

Friday’s missile test was met with the usual outrage. South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch and instructed government officials to pursue “stern” measures to discourage Pyongyang from further provocations. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said one of the two missiles fired in the drill hit a sea target about 250 kilometers (155 miles) away, which was approximately the distance to Pyongyang’s Sunan, but the other failed in flight shortly after launch.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis both called the North Korean launch a reckless act.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting to be held Friday afternoon in New York. Trump has not commented.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Pacific Command said the missile posed no threat to North America or to Guam.

South Korean experts have said North Korea wants to make missiles flying over Japan an accepted norm as it seeks to win more military space in a region dominated by its enemies.

North Korea initially flight-tested the Hwasong-12 and the ICBM model Hwasong-14 at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighboring countries.

The two launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to determine whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

North Korea’s August launch over Japan came weeks after it threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam and bracket the island with “enveloping” missile fire. The North’s latest launch might be an attempt to demonstrate its ability to fire a missile close to Guam, which is 3,400 kilometers (2,112 miles) away from North Korea, said Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

https://apnews.com/9d5be2ad4dd44c6082a7982d17b84b2f/North-Korea-fires-missile-over-Japan-in-longest-ever-flight

NKOREA LEADER SAYS HE WILL COMPLETE NUKE PROGRAM

AP Photo
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said the country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North’s “highly provocative” ballistic missile test on Friday.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim’s comments on Saturday – a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) as it flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29.

The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the “combat efficiency and reliability” of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power.

While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.

The U.N. Security Council accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests “have caused grave security concerns around the world” and threaten all 193 U.N. member states.

Kim also said the country, despite “limitless” international sanctions, has nearly completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

“As recognized by the whole world, we have made all these achievements despite the UN sanctions that have lasted for decades,” the agency quoted Kim as saying.

Kim said the country’s final goal “is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He indicated that more missile tests would be forthcoming, saying that all future drills should be “meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force” to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for “actual war.”

Prior to the launches over Japan, North Korean had threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the U.S. Pacific island territory and military hub the North has called an “advanced base of invasion.”

The Security Council stressed in a statement after a closed-door emergency meeting that all countries must “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all U.N. sanctions.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho called the missile launch an “outrageous act” that is not only a threat to Japan’s security but a threat to the world as a whole.”

Bessho and the British, French and Swedish ambassadors demanded that all sanctions be implemented.

Calling the latest launch a “terrible, egregious, illegal, provocative reckless act,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said North Korea’s largest trading partners and closest links – a clear reference to China – must “demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country is ready to work on tougher U.N. and EU measures to convince Pyongyang that there is no interest in an escalation, and to bring it to the negotiating table.

Friday’s launch followed North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 in what it described as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The North flight tested its Hwasong-14 ICBMs twice in July and analysts say the missiles could potentially reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target U.S. troops both in Asia and in the U.S. homeland.

This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.”

“If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” he said.

Robust international diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s so far little sign that senior officials from North Korea and the U.S. might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.

Lederer reported from the United Nations.

Story 3: Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Nine of The Protesters –Videos

 

Image result for ben shapiro speacks at berkeley september 14, 2017

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“Berkeley Students Need COUNSELING for My Talk?” Ben Shapiro RIPS Berkeley Snowflakes

Unprecedented measures at Berkeley for conservative writer’s speech

To see what free speech looks like in 2017 at the birthplace of the famed movement, consider the elaborate preparations underway for a talk Thursday by a conservative writer.

Ben Shapiro isn’t nearly as controversial as some right-wing speakers who have roiled the campus over the last year.

Nonetheless, UC Berkeley has told students that counseling is available to those stressed by all the commotion. A large swath of the campus will be closed off, including the plaza where the free speech movement began in the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on security, and police now can use pepper spray on protesters after a 20-year-old ban was lifted by the City Council this week.

Students and Black Panther supporters listen to Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther minister of information, at Sproul Plaza on Oct. 3, 1968.
Students and Black Panther supporters listen to Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther minister of information, at Sproul Plaza on Oct. 3, 1968. (Pirkle Jones / University of California Press)

Shapiro’s appearance is a key test for Berkeley, which has been hit by a series of violent clashes between far-left and far-right agitators that have sparked soul-searching in this liberal community about the line between protest and criminal behavior. Berkeley has become a favorite spot for far-right demonstrators to speak out, knowing they can get attention and push buttons in enemy territory.

The Thursday event marks the start of a parade of right-wing speakers who may be coming to campus over the next month. They include former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who announced that they will appear as part of a “Free Speech Week” event on campus.

The event is organized by Yiannopoulos and a student group. On Tuesday, Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof stressed that this event is far from a done deal — the student group hadn’t yet satisfied the requirements for bringing a speaker or followed proper procedure.

UC BERKELEY BRACES

‘We’ve never seen a situation like this’

But UC Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol T. Christ, has said allowing these talks is essential, trumpeting the belief that the best response to hate speech is “more speech” rather than trying to shut down others.

That leaves officials with the task of keeping the peace — and trying to keep the various warring sides under control. They hope to do it with what officials say are unprecedented security measures.

“We’ve never seen a situation like this. It’s very unique. It’s a very different political dynamic where free speech … at Berkeley has become the occasion for the right and left to confront each other,” Christ said Wednesday. “I believe very strongly in Ben Shapiro’s right to speak on campus. I don’t agree with Ben Shapiro; in fact I profoundly disagree with him. But I believe he was legitimately invited by a student group and that he has the right to speak. It’s a really troubling situation.”

City and campus officials are taking heightened steps to prevent the sort of chaos that descended on campus when Yiannopoulos tried to speak in February.

Police officers and physical barriers will be set up in a roughly half-mile-long perimeter around six campus buildings Thursday afternoon, cutting off access to Sproul Plaza, the site of Mario Savio’s famous 1964 address during the free speech movement and a common meeting ground for activists of all stripes.

Mario Savio stands atop a police car in front of Sproul Hall on Oct. 1, 1964.
Mario Savio stands atop a police car in front of Sproul Hall on Oct. 1, 1964. (The Bancroft Library / Courtesy of UC Berkeley)

In order to pass through the security perimeter, people will have to show tickets for the speech. Those who show up to protest will encounter an “increased and highly visible police presence,” Provost Paul Alivisatos said in a letter to the campus last week.

If protesters spill into the city business district south of campus, along Telegraph Avenue, they will encounter the city’s police force — which is now free to use pepper spray on individual protesters officers deem are committing acts of violence.

Berkeley police officers make arrests during protests several weeks ago.
Berkeley police officers make arrests during protests several weeks ago. (Los Angeles Times)

PEPPER SPRAY AND CLOSED STREETS

Berkeley police try to keep order

Berkeley police have come under criticism for not doing enough to break up the violence that has marred past protests.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood successfully pitched the City Council on Tuesday to adjust a 1997 ban on the use of pepper spray as a crowd-control technique.

Greenwood argued that police needed another tool — besides batons and tear gas — to deal with the violence that has come with the new wave of protests.

Councilwoman Linda Maio, who voted for the measure, agreed, citing the prospects of large protests if Yiannopoulos and Bannon come to campus in the coming weeks.

“This is a new phenomenon that is evolving, and we really don’t know what to expect,” she said of the protests over the last few months.

On Wednesday, the city also announced it was banning a wide range of weapons, including bricks, Mace and dynamite in a square-mile area centered around UC Berkeley’s campus.

Since the election, Berkeley residents have seen months of clashes between activists on the left who employ black-bloc militant tactics and once-obscure far-right organizations such as the Proud Boys and the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights.

The skirmishes have resulted in thousands of dollars of property damage in Berkeley and a handful of criminal charges.

The situation at Berkeley on Thursday will be a far cry from Shapiro’s visit to the campus in April 2016.

SHAPIRO’S STORY

A conservative voice that fights Trump, Bannon

Shapiro was met with little, if any, controversy then. The website he edits, the Daily Wire, wrote at the time that “the audience at Berkeley was civil and polite, perhaps more so than any other university Shapiro has visited in the last few weeks.”

The month before that speech, Shapiro resigned from the Bannon-led BreitbartNews after a colleague of his accused then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of assaulting her.

“Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew [Breitbart]’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda,” Shapiro wrote in a statement at the time.

During the election, his lashing critiques of Trump made him one of the more prominent opponents of the then-Republican nominee in the conservative movement.

This opposition to candidate Trump also made him the target of anti-Semitic harassment. The Anti-Defamation League released a report last fall detailing anti-Semitic harassment of journalists on Twitter during the first half of the 2016 election cycle. It found Shapiro to be the No. 1 target.

Shapiro was frustrated by a Berkeley decision earlier this month to shrink the number of seats in the audience for his address. Fitting in with a broader critique he’s offered in his writing, Shapiro also ridiculed the idea that anyone would need to seek counseling because he was speaking.

“As far as them ensuring that I have a venue trying to make sure that it’s secure, I’m not sure all of what they’re doing makes sense, but I’m appreciative that they’re at least trying,” Shapiro said.

“It’s very easy to get kids riled up by doing the shtick Yiannopoulos does, but that’s not my game, and it’s always why the comparisons are weird for me.”

It is unclear what level of protests will greet Shapiro.

Organizers with the group RefuseFacism.org were busy on campus Wednesday handing out fliers promoting a demonstration against Shapiro set for Thursday evening.

At Tuesday’s packed City Council meeting, Raphael Kadaris, an organizer with the group, drew loud applause from the audience when he said the council members were acting as “collaborators” with what he claims is a growing fascist movement in the nation for allowing the police use of pepper spray.

“These people don’t care about free speech,” he said, referring to the conservative speakers coming to campus. “They are using free speech as a pretext to get a foothold, to normalize fascism on these college campuses and to recruit a new generation of fascist youth into their movement.”

Some faculty members have called for a boycott during the “free speech” week.

Christ said Wednesday the challenge is to protect free speech in this charged environment.

“I think we’re in an area which presents both challenges to the law and challenges to university policy when a speaker occasions the university to first of all spend extraordinary amounts of money and take extraordinary measures that are quite disruptive to the university’s main business in order to protect the right of free speech.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-berkeley-protests-far-right-shapiro-20170914-htmlstory.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017, Story 1: Trump Preparing for Casus Belli and Negotiating With “Locked and Loaded” …Ready, Aim, “Fire and Fury” — Boom-Boom- Boom- Boom — Born To Be Wild — Thunder – Thunder – Thunder – Thunder — Thunderstruck — Videos

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Image result for presser president trump and vice president mike pence august 10, 207

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Story 1: Trump Preparing for Casus Belli and Negotiating With “Locked and Loaded” …Ready, Aim, “Fire and Fury” — Boom-Boom- Boom- Boom — Born To Be Wild — Thunder – Thunder – Thunder – Thunder- Thunderstruck — Videos

President Trump holds a Press Conference

Brand New President Trump Presser! This is Awesome! (8-10-17)

Europa Universalis IV – The Musical: Casus Belli

Casus belli – Seinfeld

Scott Adams tells you why “fire and fury” is smart persuasion \ 2017.08.09

Scott Adams tells you how Trump is “pacing” North Korea and treating them like serious foes

China To Trump Prepare For War

Trump Tells N. Korea What Will Happen If They Hit Guam | Trump Full Remarks On N. Korea – 8/10/17

Preemptive War Debate (Part 1)

Preemptive War Debate (Part 2)

Preemptive War Debate (Part 3)

Preemptive War Debate (Part 4)

John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom (from “The Blues Brothers”)

John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom [HQ]

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild (Easy Rider) (1969)

AC/DC – Thunderstruck (Official Video)

Thunderstruck
Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder
I was caught
In the middle of a railroad track
I looked round
And I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums
Beating in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
You’ve been
Thunderstruck
Rode down the highway
Broke the limit, we hit the town
Went through to Texas, yeah Texas, and we had some fun
We met some girls
Some dancers who gave a good time
Broke all the rules
Played all the fools
Yeah yeah they, they, they blew our minds
And I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please
Yeah them ladies were too kind
You’ve been
Thunderstruck
I was shaking at the knees

AC-DC Thunderstruck / Jet Fighters

Battleship & ACDC – Thunderstruck

PRESIDENT TRUMP DECLARES THAT US IS “LOCK AND LOADED” IN RESPONSE TO ANY NORTH KOREAN PROVOCATION AGAINST GUAM OR ALLIES

Here is President Trump’s response to North Korea’s recent threats made against Guam:

 

Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

In his latest broadside at North Korea, President Trump bluntly warned dictator Kim Jong Un on Friday that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” in case the country should “act unwisely.”

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump said on Twitter.

It was not clear exactly what sort of “military solutions” Trump was referring to or what precisely would constitute unwise action by the North Korean leader.

But North Korea said on Thursday it was putting together a plan to fire four missiles in the direction of the U.S. territory of Guam, a Pacific island that is home to large American military installations.

Trump’s warning came a day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters in Silicon Valley that the U.S. effort to “get this under control” was “diplomatically led,” “gaining traction,” and “gaining diplomatic results.”

Mattis underlined that he wanted to “stay right there right now” and warned that the cost of conflict could be “catastrophic,” but also said that when it comes to the U.S. military, “we are ready.”  [Yahoo News]

http://www.rokdrop.net/2017/08/president-trump-declares-that-us-is-lock-and-loaded-in-response-to-any-north-korean-provocation-against-guam-or-allies/

An American A-10 Warthog landed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Thursday.CreditYonhap, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — North Korea’s threat on Thursday to test-fire ballistic missiles soon near the American territory of Guam deepened the challenge confronting the Trump administration: how to defang Pyongyang’s missile programs without risking all-out war.

President Trump has made clear that his goal is to deny North Korea the capability to field a long-range nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the United States.

And though the Pentagon still hopes for a diplomatic solution, highly classified military options are at the ready, last seriously debated when the Clinton administration pondered pre-emptive action to try to thwart North Korea’s nuclear program.

Even a limited strike against a North Korean missile on its launching pad or the shooting down of a missile in midair would pose risks that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, might retaliate, setting off a spiral of escalation that could plunge the Korean Peninsula into war.

“In the event of a first strike against Kim, even a non-nuclear option, it is highly likely that Kim would retaliate at least conventionally against South Korea,” said James Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who is now dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. “This almost certainly would create an upward spiral of violence which would be extremely difficult to manage or to mitigate.”

The Trump administration’s first recourse has been diplomacy. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson sought to head off North Korea’s missile program this week by suggesting that the United States could open talks with Pyongyang if North Korea would halt its missile tests.

GRAPHIC

What Can North Korea Reach With Its Missiles?

North Korea’s ballistic missile program has recently accelerated faster than expected.

On Thursday, however, North Korea raised the stakes by saying that it was considering a plan to test-fire four intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missiles in international waters near Guam, home to American air and naval bases as well as a Thaad antimissile system.

Mr. Trump hinted broadly later in the day that he has his own military options in mind. “Obviously we’re spending a lot of time looking at, in particular, North Korea,” he told reporters, “and we are preparing for many different alternative events.”

But few of the military options are straightforward, and some former Pentagon officials involved in war planning for North Korea pointed to the complexities.

A major consideration would be whether and when to evacuate American and other allied civilians, which is no small feat as Seoul, a city of about 10 million, is within range of North Korea’s rockets and artillery and the North Korean military is also armed with chemical and biological weapons.

“With all this talk, what I worry about is a serious miscalculation,” said James D. Thurman, a retired Army general who served as the top United States commander in South Korea from 2011 to 2013. “Before we start talking about all these military options, we have to decide what are we going to do with the U.S. citizens over there.”

He estimated that at least a quarter-million Americans would have to be moved.

If the United States was prepared to go beyond a limited strike, it could conduct a surprise attack on North Korea’s missile garrison and weapon storage areas, using American aircraft stationed in Guam, in Japan and on aircraft carriers as well as strategic bombers that would be refueled in flight.

American officials, however, do not have high confidence that the military could find and destroy North Korea’s entire arsenal of long-range missiles and nuclear warheads. It would be up to American missile defenses to knock out any that survived and that North Korea might use to attack the United States or its allies.

North Korea could also use its artillery, rockets and special operations forces to attack South Korea. To better defend against the threat, the United States could deploy more of its own artillery, counterbattery and reconnaissance aircraft to South Korea and send more air and naval forces to the region. But that would forfeit any element of surprise.

“I can’t underscore enough how unappealing all the military options are,” said Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon’s top policy official at the end of the Obama administration. “This wouldn’t end well. The U.S. would win, but it would be ugly.”

Diplomatic efforts are also deeply complicated. Unless China believes the United States is serious about using military options to head off North Korea’s emerging missile threat, it may be difficult to gain the cooperation from Beijing needed to fashion a political solution.

“I am 100 percent sure from a number of conversations that, as a last resort, he would use military force to deny them the capability to strike the homeland with a nuclear weapon,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who met privately with Mr. Trump on the issue a month ago.

“He has convinced me,” Mr. Graham added. “Now it is up to him to convince the Chinese and North Koreans.”

To prevent nuclear attacks from elsewhere, namely Russia and China, the United States has relied on its potent nuclear arsenal. Some experts say the approach could also work with North Korea — a “least-bad option,” said Jeffrey A. Bader of the Brookings Institution.

But Mr. Trump has indicated that he does not want to rely on deterrence for a country he sees as bellicose and unpredictable.

Discouraging the enemy from massive escalation has worked even in the midst of war. During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the administration of George Bush led an effort to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait while dissuading Saddam Hussein from employing chemical weapons.

The Iraqis were warned shortly before the conflict by Secretary of State James A. Baker III that they would pay a heavy price if they used weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqi government interpreted that as meaning that the United States would rush to Baghdad to topple their government.

The United States could try a similar approach: attacking North Korea’s missiles while warning Mr. Kim that his government would be the next target if he dared to strike back. But few analysts are confident he would be restrained.

Those urging firmer action assert that a military buildup in and around South Korea could give economic sanctions and diplomacy more time to work while providing American negotiators with more leverage.

Mr. Graham asserted that diplomatic efforts would fail unless the United States made clear that North Korea’s deployment of an intercontinental missile would cross a “red line” and that military options were available if the talks faltered.

But General Thurman worried that the war of words was fueling tensions and adding to the risk of miscalculation.

“We are playing right into Kim Jong-un’s hands,” General Thurman said. “That is what he wants. He wants to be on the world scene.”

“I really would want to tamp down this rhetoric, maintain armistice conditions, keep the force ready and,” he said, “not get the herd spooked.”

Unspoken Words: Nuclear War Provocations and Plans

During the election campaign there was a brief period of anxiety about Clinton or Trump taking possession of the nuclear code, with the power to eradicate our species at the push of a few buttons.  But where has discussion, let alone mention, of nuclear weapons gone?   An exception is the brief article by Robert Dodge in CounterPunch  about the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advancing the Doomsday Clock to 2 ½ minutes before the midnight of human extinction caused by nuclear war or climate change:  “Nuclear weapons are not even on the radar of our congress. Their phones are not ringing off the hook about nuclear weapons.”

In a January 30th interview with Sonali Kolhatkar, George Lakoff discussed Trump’s trial balloon about nuclear weapons in which Trump said that if we have them, we should use them.  Lakoff said that there was a very brief reaction and then it’s gone, signaling that the public doesn’t care.  Doesn’t care or doesn’t know? Harvard professor Elaine Scarry has said that some of her students had never heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is a dangerous time to not know about nuclear weapons.  Trump inherited from Obama the ongoing US/NATO/Israeli escalation and military encirclement against  Iran, China, and Russia, and  the $1tn program to modernize nuclear weapons.   On January 28th the Ron Paul Institute reported that Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced a bill to Congress:    “… it specifically authorizes the president to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran at any time of his choosing and without any further Congressional oversight or input, as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” (Emphasis added).

Among the challengers to Iran’s purported nuclear threat are  Richard Falk (UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, expert on nuclear weapons and international law):  “What has Iran done to justify this frantic war-mongering … the outright threats emanating from Israel and the U.S. that leaves ‘all options’ on the table”?   Seymour Hersh investigated Israel’s nuclear weapons program in his book The Samson Option.  About Iran, Hersh wrote ofthe repeated inability of the best and the brightest of the Joint Special Operations Command to find definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons production program in Iran….. with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.”  And perhaps most damning, the U.K. Guardian: “Leaked spy cables show Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.”  Robert Fisk in The Independent 2012: “The Israeli President warns us now that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. Heaven preserve us. Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago.  Same old story. We’ve been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget ‘Nuclear Iran.’”

Noam Chomsky reported that a  nuclear Iran suited the U.S. pre-1979, before the Islamic revolution overthrew the brutal shah regime.  “A secret agreement made between MIT and the Shah of Iran, … pretty much amounted to turning over the Nuclear Engineering Department to the Shah.”  Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger, and Wolfowitz “wanted Iran to develop nuclear facilities and they were allies at the time.”  [1]

Demonizing Iran at this time deflects attention from real nuclear dangers.  According to the 2016 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the nine nuclear states together possess a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons, with the United States and Russia accounting for more than 93%.   The public likely does not know that shortly after the UN pledged to end the scourge of war, shortly after two atomic bombs killed minimally 140,000 Japanese people, that the U.S. embarked on developing far more lethal hydrogen bombs.   The explosive force of the Hiroshima bomb was 15-16 kilotons, whereas today’s bombs are in the range of 100 Kt to 550Kt of TNT (6 to 34 times the Hiroshima force). “Even a small-scale nuclear war involving one hundred Hiroshima-type (15 Kt) nuclear bombs between two countries such as India and Pakistan, would have a devastating effect on Earth’s climate” and “it is unlikely there would be any survivors.”  “At most, this would involve only 0.3% of the world’s nuclear explosive power” [2]

Nuclear weapons are deployed by intercontinental ballistic missiles, by submarine launched ballistic missiles, and by strategic bombers.   Submarines carrying up to 24 missiles, with each carrying  four to five warheads, possibly as many as 144 warheads per submarine, constantly patrol the oceans.   In a striking example of apparent disregard for the people of this planet,  a CNN newscast from August 2016 shows a smiling Michelle Obama “christening” a General Dynamic Virginia-class submarine manufactured in Connecticut, named after her, and designed to carry nuclear weapons.     According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, even though a Russian first-strike is not a credible risk, the United States still keeps its 450 silo-based nuclear weapons, and hundreds of submarine-based weapons, on hair-trigger alert and ready to launch within ten minutes toward their targets.

The five year UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review met in April, 2015, following four years of preparatory meetings.  Given the volatile tension between the U.S. and Russia and China, there was an urgency to take nuclear weapons off high alert status.  Instead, the focus of the month-long meeting was diverted to Iran’s nuclear weapons and to political opposition by the U.S., U.K., and Canada to establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East in order to shield Israel’s nuclear program from international laws and oversight.  In violation of the NPT, Germany has provided Israel  with a fleet of advanced submarines equipped to fire long-range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.  Astonishingly, two of these submarines, which carry weapons of mass destruction, were given to Israel as Holocaust reparation!  According to Netanyahu, the submarines carry nuclear weapons pointed at Iran.  “The Obama administration’s pretense that it knows nothing about any nuclear weapons in Israel makes intelligent discussion about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Middle East all but impossible.” India provides Israel with a launching site in the Indian Ocean.

During the Cold War, nuclear weapons strategy was based on deterrence, or mutually assured destruction (MAD).  Deterrence necessitated the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons, so the strategy in itself required weapons proliferation.  Shortly after 9/11,  G.W. Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).   Missile defence systems are designed to destroy incoming nuclear missiles shortly after they are launched.   There is a belief within the military that the U.S. could destroy its enemy’s full nuclear arsenal and prevent retaliation.  Nuclear strategy shifted from deterrence to pre-emptive first strike, with the belief that a nuclear war is winnableand acceptable.

Frustrated by the decades-long paralysis in regulating and eliminating these weapons, and fearful that there is even more likelihood of nuclear war than during the Cold War, the UN-formed Open Ended Working Group (OPEG), made up of all nations, is now focusing entirely and explicitly on eliminating nuclear weapons.  The nuclear-armed nations, plus many liberal democracies like Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain and other NATO countries, have voted against the majority.  Iran voted for.

The late Jonathan Schell dedicated his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons.  He wrote that nuclear exterminism did not come from 20thcentury totalitarian regimes, but that “the most radical evil imaginable – the extinction of the human species— [was] first placed in the hands of a liberal republic”.  A graver suspicion was that the United States and its allies did not build these weapons to face extraordinary danger, but because of “an intrinsic element of the dominant liberal civilization itself – an evil that first grew and still grows from within that civilization rather than being imposed from without.” [3]   Entire societies, the human species itself, are merely a pawn.   Schell writes that nuclear strategy is the “very epicenter of banality” and is manufactured in think tanks and academic institutions from the pseudoscience of game theory.

The anti-nuclear and antiwar movements have been relatively silent about Israel and about Obama’s nuclear program.    One current political opening may be women’s timely activism on the ground, with the precedent of women having led the successful opposition to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in 1961.  Women, in their historical role of caring for the young and old, for growing food and carrying water, are the unseen victims of war and should have the power to veto.

Notes.

[1] Noam Chomsky and Laray Polk (2013). Nuclear war and Environmental Catastrophe. Seven Stories Press), p. 21-22.

[2] Dr. Dale Dewar and Florian Oelck (2014). From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You: A Primer on Radiation and Health. Between the Lines. P. 149-50. Also see Eric Schlosser (2013). Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Penguin.

[3] Jonathan Schell (2001). The Unfinished Twentieth Century: The Crisis of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Verso.  P. 32-47.

 

Casus belli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Casus belli is a Latin expression meaning “an act or event that provokes or is used to justify war” (literally, “a case of war”).[1] A casus belli involves direct offenses or threats against the nation declaring the war, whereas a casus foederis involves offenses or threats against its ally—usually one bound by a mutual defense pact.[2][3] Either may be considered an act of war.

The term came into wide use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the writings of Hugo Grotius (1653), Cornelius van Bynkershoek (1707), and Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui (1732), among others, and due to the rise of the political doctrine of jus ad bellum or “just war theory”.[4][5] The term is also used informally to refer to any “just cause” a nation may claim for entering into a conflict. It is used retrospectively to describe situations that arose before the term came into wide use, as well as being used to describe present-day situations—even those in which war has not been formally declared.

In formally articulating a casus belli, a government typically lays out its reasons for going to war, its intended means of prosecuting the war, and the steps that others might take to dissuade it from going to war. It attempts to demonstrate that it is going to war only as a last resort (ultima ratio) and that it has “just cause” for doing so. Modern international law recognizes only three lawful justifications for waging war: self-defense, defense of an ally required by the terms of a treaty, and approval by the United Nations.

Proschema (plural proschemata) is the equivalent Greek term, first popularized by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War. The proschemata are the stated reasons for waging war, which may or may not be the same as the real reasons, which Thucydides called prophasis (πρóφασις). Thucydides argued that the three primary real reasons for waging war are reasonable fear, honor, and interest, while the stated reasons involve appeals to nationalism or fearmongering (as opposed to descriptions of reasonable, empirical causes for fear).

Reasons for use

Countries need a public justification for attacking another country, both to galvanize internal support for the war and to gain the support of potential allies.

In the post-World-War-II era, the UN Charter prohibits signatory countries from engaging in war except: 1) as a means of defending themselves—or an ally where treaty obligations require it—against aggression; 2) unless the UN as a body has given prior approval to the operation. The UN also reserves the right to ask member nations to intervene against non-signatory countries that embark on wars of aggression.[6]

Historical examples

This section outlines a number of the more famous and/or controversial cases of casus belli which have occurred in modern times.

American Civil War

While slavery was the long term cause of the American Civil War, the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter (April 12–14, 1861) served as casus belli[7] for igniting the deadliest war in American history.

Spanish–American War

In the eyes of the United States, the sinking of the USS Maine provided casus belli for the Spanish–American War. There have been several alternative explanations for the explosion, such as that proposed by Mr. Evans, a senior editor of Newsweek. In his book, he identifies a flaw in the design of the USS Maine whereby the boiler room stood right next to the gunpowder storage room and that a boiler malfunction may have heated the adjacent metal wall and caused the powder to explode.[citation needed]

Second Opium War

Europeans had access to Chinese ports as outlined in the Treaty of Nanking from the First Opium War. France uses the execution of Auguste Chapdelaine as a casus belli for the Second Opium War. On February 29th, 1856, Chapdelaine, a French missionary, was killed in the province of Guangxi, which was not open to foreigners. In response, British and French forces quickly take control of Guangzhou (Canton).

World War I

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria provided the trigger that led to the outbreak of World War I. In June 1914, the refusal of two points of the July Ultimatum offered to Serbia was used by Austria-Hungary as a casus belli for declaring war on Serbia. The murder at Sarajevo in Bosnia by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist, Austrian subject and member of Young Bosnia (a secret society), was the reason why this ultimatum was made.

The Russian Empire started to mobilize its troops in defense of its ally Serbia, which resulted in the German Empire declaring war on Russia in support of its ally Austria-Hungary. Very quickly, after the involvement of France, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire, five of the six great European powers became involved in the first European general war since the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1917, the German Empire sent the Zimmermann Telegram to Mexico, in which they tried to convince Mexico to join the war and fight against the United States, for which they would be rewarded Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, all former Mexican territories. This telegram was intercepted by the British, then relayed to the U.S., which led to President Woodrow Wilson then using it to convince Congress to join World War I alongside the Allies. The Mexican president at the time, Venustiano Carranza, had a military commission assess the feasibility, which concluded that this would not be feasible for multiple reasons.

World War II

In his autobiography Mein KampfAdolf Hitler had in the 1920s advocated a policy of lebensraum (“living space”) for the German people, which in practical terms meant German territorial expansion into Eastern Europe.

Alfred Naujocks, who organized and led the Gleiwitz incident on the orders of Heydrich.

In August 1939, to implement the first phase of this policy, Germany‘s Nazi government under Hitler’s leadership staged the Gleiwitz incident, which was used as a casus belli for the invasion of Poland the following September. Nazi forces used concentration camp prisoners posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, to attack the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland) on the eve of World War II in Europe. Poland‘s allies, the UK and France, subsequently declared war on Germany in accord their alliance.

In 1941, acting once again in accordance with the policy of lebensraum, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, using the casus belli of pre-emptive war to justify the act of aggression.

The Soviet Union also employed a manufactured casus belli against Finland during World War II on its part. In November 1939, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities between Germany, Britain and France, the Soviet Union staged the shelling of the Russian village of Mainila, which it blamed on the Finns. This manufactured incident was then used as a casus belli for the Winter War. In 1998, Russian President Boris Yeltsin admitted that the invasion had in fact constituted a Soviet war of aggression.

Six-Day War

casus belli played a prominent role during the Six-Day War of 1967. The Israeli government had a short list of casūs belli, acts that it would consider provocations justifying armed retaliation. The most important was a blockade of the Straits of Tiran leading into Eilat, Israel’s only port to the Red Sea, through which Israel received much of its oil. After several border incidents between Israel and Egypt‘s allies Syria and Jordan, Egypt expelled UNEFpeacekeepers from the Sinai Peninsula, established a military presence at Sharm el-Sheikh, and announced a blockade of the straits, prompting Israel to cite its casus belli in opening hostilities against Egypt.

Vietnam War

Many historians have suggested that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a manufactured pretext for the Vietnam War. North Vietnamese Naval officials have publicly stated that the USS Maddox was never fired on by North Vietnamese naval forces.[8][9] In the documentary film “The Fog of War“, then-US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara concedes the attack did not happen, though he says that he and President Johnson believed it did so at the time.[10]

The first Gulf of Tonkin Incident (the 2nd of August) should not be confused with the second Gulf of Tonkin Incident (the 4th of August). The North Vietnamese claimed that on August 2, US destroyer USS Maddox was hit by one torpedo and that one of the American aircraft had been shot down in North Vietnamese territorial waters. The PAVN Museum in Hanoi displays “Part of a torpedo boat… which successfully chased away the USS Maddox August, [sic] 2nd 1964″.

The casus belli for the Vietnam War was the second incident. On August 4, USS Maddox was launched to the North Vietnamese coast to “show the flag” after the first incident. The US authorities claimed that two Vietnamese boats tried to attack USS Maddox and were sunk. The government of North Vietnam denied the second incident completely. Deniability played favorably into the propaganda efforts of North Vietnam throughout the war, and for some years to follow.

1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon

The casus belli cited by Israel for its June 1982 invasion of Lebanon was the attempted assassination of the Israeli Ambassador in London, which the Israeli government blamed on the Palestinian Liberation Organization.[11] A possible invasion plan had been prepared in advance by Israel.[12]

War on Terror

The casus belli for the Bush administration‘s conceptual War on Terror, which resulted in the 2001 Afghanistan war, was the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York CityThe Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the intended attack on the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

2003 Invasion of Iraq

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, it cited Iraq’s non-compliance with the terms of cease-fire agreement for the 1990-1991 Gulf War, as well as planning in the 1993 attempted assassination of former President George H. W. Bush and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones as its stated casus belli.[13][14]

Cited by the George W. Bush administration was Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. The administration claimed that Iraq had not conformed with its obligation to disarm under past UN Resolutions, and that Saddam Hussein was actively attempting to acquire a nuclear weapons capability as well as enhance an existing arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed a plenary session of the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 citing these reasons as justification for military action.[15]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ The Free Dictionary: casus belli
  2. Jump up^ Bynkershoek, Cornelius van (2007). A Treatise on the Law of War. Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-566-1.
  3. Jump up^ Bynkershoek, Cornelius van (1995). On Questions of Public Law. William S. Hein & Company. ISBN 1-57588-258-2.
  4. Jump up^ Russell, Frederick H. (1997). The Just War in the Middle AgesCambridge University PressISBN 0-521-29276-X.
  5. Jump up^ Childress, James F. (1978). “Just-War Theories: The Bases, Interrelations, Priorities, and Functions of Their Criteria”. Theological Studies39: 427–45.
  6. Jump up^ “Chapter VII | United Nations”http://www.un.org. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  7. Jump up^ Watson, William (1887). Life in the Confederate Army: Being the Observations and Experiences of an Alien in the South During the American Civil War. United States: Chapman & Hall. p. 113. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  8. Jump up^ McNamara asks Giap: What happened in Tonkin Gulf?Archived 2015-03-06 at the Wayback Machine.”. (November 9, 1995). Associated Press
  9. Jump up^ CNN Cold War – Interviews: Robert McNamara ArchivedJune 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., retrieved January 23, 2007
  10. Jump up^ Kaplan, Fred (19 December 2003). “The Evasions of Robert McNamara” – via Slate.
  11. Jump up^ Sachar, Howard M.: A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, Alfred A. Knopf 1996, ISBN 0-679-76563-8, page 904.
  12. Jump up^ “As early as January 1982, therefore, with Begin‘s approval, Sharon paid a secret visit to Beirut…. By the following month… operational plans for the offensive were well advanced. Israeli liaison officers repeatedly visited Beirut to coordinate strategy with the Phalange. In the end, the Lebanon expedition would be the most thoroughly prepared campaign in Israel’s history.” – Sachar, A History of Israel, p. 903.
  13. Jump up^ “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq”. Office of the Press Secretary. October 2, 2002.
  14. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  15. Jump up^ “Remarks to the United Nations Security Council”. 4 February 2005. Archived from the

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casus_belli

 

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Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902, May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901, May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899, May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898, May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895, May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894, May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893, May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892, May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891, May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890, May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888, May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887, May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886, May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884, May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Image result for cartoons more sanctions on north koreaImage result for cartoons on 2020 presidential electionsImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for cartoons 2020 presidential raceImage result for o cartoons 2020 presidential race

 

Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos —

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John Bolton: We’re running out of time on North Korea

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WHY U.S IS NOT USING MILITARY OPTION AGAINST NORTH KOREA?

How Big of a Threat is North Korea?

 

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

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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 The Village Voice regarding an Army lieutenant being court-martialled for killing civilians in Vietnam. His subsequent investigation, sold to the Dispatch News Service, was run in thirty-three newspapers and exposed the My Lai massacre, winning him the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.[9][10]

In 1972, Hersh was hired as a reporter for the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he served from 1972 to 1975 and again in 1979. Hersh reported on the Watergate scandal, though most of the credit for that story went to Carl Bernstein and Hersh’s longtime rival Bob Woodward. Nonetheless, Hersh’s Watergate investigations led him in 1983 to the publication of The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, a damning portrait of Henry Kissinger that won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 1975, Hersh was active in the investigation and reporting of Project Azorian (which he called Project Jennifer), the CIA‘s clandestine effort to raise a Soviet submarine using the Howard Hughes‘ Glomar Explorer. This was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2015) dollars.

After the New York Times

His 1983 book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House won him the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography. In 1985, Hersh contributed to the PBS television documentary Buying the Bomb. In 1993 Hersh became a regular contributor to The New Yorker.[11]

Hersh has appeared regularly on the syndicated television news program Democracy Now![12]

Selected stories

My Lai Massacre

On November 12, 1969, Hersh reported the story of the My Lai Massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians were murdered by US soldiers in March 1968.[13] The report prompted widespread condemnation around the world and reduced public support for the Vietnam War in the United States. The explosive news of the massacre fueled the outrage of the US peace movement, which demanded the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. Hersh wrote about the massacre and its cover-up in My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath (1970) and Cover-up: The Army’s Secret Investigation of the Massacre at My Lai 4 (1972). For My Lai 4, Hersh traveled across the United States and interviewed nearly 50 members of the Charlie Company.[14]A movie called “Interviews with My Lai Veterans” won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subjects in 1971. A movie was also produced, based on this book, by Italian director Paolo Bertola in 2009.[15]

Project Jennifer

In early 1974, Hersh had planned to publish a story on “Project Jennifer” (later revealed to be named Project Azorian and Operation Matador), a covert CIA project to recover a sunken Soviet navy submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. CIA director William Colby discussed the operation with Hersh in 1974, but obtained his promise not to publish while the operation was active. Bill KovachThe New York Times Washington, D.C. bureau chief at the time, said in 2005 that the government offered a convincing argument to delay publication in early 1974—exposure at that time, while the project was ongoing, “would have caused an international incident”. The NYT eventually published Hersh’s account on March 19, 1975, after a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and included a five-paragraph explanation of the many twists and turns in the path to publication. It is unclear what, if any, action was taken by the Soviet Union after learning of the story. It was later revealed that the leaks prevented a second recovery attempt of the submarine after a small portion of it was raised in the summer of 1974.[16]

Korean Air Flight 007

In The Target Is Destroyed (1986), Hersh alleged that the shooting down of Korean Air Flight 007 in September 1983 by the Soviet Union was due to a combination of Soviet incompetence and United States intelligence operations intended to confuse Soviet responses.

Later releases of government information confirmed that there was a PSYOPS campaign against the Soviet Union that had been in place from the first few months of the Reagan administration. This campaign included the largest US Pacific Fleet exercise ever held, in April to May 1983.

Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Maxwell

In The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (1991), Hersh wrote that Nicholas Davies, the foreign editor of The Daily Mirror, had tipped off the Israeli embassy in London about Mordechai Vanunu. Vanunu had given information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program first to The Sunday Times and later to the Sunday Mirror. At the time, the Sunday Mirror and its sibling newspaper, the Daily Mirror were owned by media magnate Robert Maxwell who was alleged to have had contacts with Israel’s intelligence services. According to Hersh, Davies had also worked for the Mossad. Vanunu was later lured by Mossad from London to Rome, kidnapped, returned to Israel, and sentenced to 18 years in jail. Davies and Maxwell published an anti-Vanunu story that was claimed by critics to be part of a disinformation campaign on behalf of the Israeli government.[17]

Hersh repeated the allegations during a press conference held in London to publicize his book. No British newspaper would publish the allegations because of Maxwell’s famed litigiousness. However, two British MPs raised the matter in the House of Commons, which meant that British newspapers were able to report what had been said without fear of being sued for libel. Maxwell called the claims “ludicrous, a total invention”. He fired Davies shortly thereafter.[18]

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

Hersh strongly criticized Bill Clinton‘s decision to destroy, on August 20, 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Al-Shifa, the largest pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, accounted for half the country’s domestically produced medicines.[19]

Iraq

Hersh has written a series of articles for The New Yorker magazine detailing military and security matters surrounding the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In March 2002, he described the planning process for a new invasion of Iraq that he alleged had been on-going since the end of the First Gulf War, under the leadership of Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Fried and other neo-conservatives. In a 2004 article, he alleged that Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld circumvented the normal intelligence analysis function of the CIA in their quest to make the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Another article, “Lunch with the Chairman”, led Richard Perle, a subject of the article, to call Hersh the “closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.”[20]

A March 7, 2007, article entitled, “The Redirection” described a recent shift in the George W. Bush administration‘s Iraq policy, the goal of which Hersh said was to “contain” Iran. Hersh asserted that “a by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”[21]

In May 2004, Hersh published a series of articles which described the treatment of detainees by US military police at Abu Ghraib prison near BaghdadIraq.[22] The articles included allegations that private military contractorscontributed to prisoner mistreatment and that intelligence agencies such as the CIA ordered torture in order to break prisoners for interrogations. They also alleged that torture was a usual practice in other US-run prisons as well, e.g., in Bagram Theater Internment Facility and Guantanamo. In subsequent articles, Hersh wrote that the abuses were part of a secret interrogation program, known as “Copper Green“. According to Hersh’s sources, the program was expanded to Iraq with the direct approval of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both in an attempt to deal with the growing insurgency there and as part of “Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.”[23] Much of his material for these articles was based on the Army’s own internal investigations.[24]

Scott Ritter, a disaffected former arms inspector, asserted in his October 19, 2005 interview with Seymour Hersh that the US policy to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power started with US president George H. W. Bushin August 1990. Ritter concluded from public remarks by President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that the Iraq sanctions would only be lifted when Hussein was removed from power. The justification for sanctions was disarmament. The CIA offered the opinion that containing Hussein for six months would result in the collapse of his regime. According to Hersh, this policy resulted in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.[25]

Iran

In January 2005, Hersh alleged that the US was conducting covert operations in Iran to identify targets for possible strikes. Hersh also wrote that Pakistan and the United States had struck a “Khan-for-Iran” deal in which Washingtonwould look the other way at Pakistan’s nuclear transgressions and not demand handing over of its infamous nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan, in return for Islamabad‘s cooperation in neutralizing Iran’s nuclear plans. This was also denied by officials of the governments of the US and Pakistan.

In the April 17, 2006 issue of The New Yorker,[26] Hersh wrote that the Bush administration had plans for an air strike on Iran. Of particular note in his article was that a US nuclear first strike (possibly using the B61-11 bunker-busternuclear weapon) is under consideration to eliminate underground Iranian uranium enrichment facilities. In response, President Bush cited Hersh’s reportage as “wild speculation.” [27]

When, in October 2007, he was asked about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton‘s hawkish views on Iran, Hersh stated that Jewish donations were the main reason for these:

During one journalism conference, Hersh stated that after the Strait of Hormuz incident, members of the Bush administration met in vice president Dick Cheney‘s office to consider methods of initiating a war with Iran. One idea considered was staging a false flag operation involving the use of Navy SEALs dressed as Iranian PT boaters who would engage in a firefight with US ships. According to Hersh this proposed provocation was rejected. Hersh’s allegation has not been verified.[29]

Lebanon

In August 2006, in an article in The New Yorker, Hersh wrote that the White House gave the green light for the Israeli government to execute an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Supposedly, communication between the Israeligovernment and the US government about this came as early as two months in advance of the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others by Hezbollah prior to the 2006 Lebanon War in July 2006.[30] The US government denied these allegations.[31]

Killing of Osama bin Laden 

In September 2013, during an interview with The Guardian, Hersh commented that the 2011 raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was “one big lie, not one word of it is true”. He said that the Obama administration lies systematically, and that American media outlets are reluctant to challenge the administration, saying “It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]”.[32] Hersh later clarified that he didn’t dispute Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan, and rather meant that the lying began in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death.[33]

On May 10, 2015, Hersh published the 10,000-word article “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” in the London Review of Books (LRB) on the fourth anniversary of the Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden (Operation Neptune Spear). It immediately went viral, crashing the LRB website.[34] Hersh outlined with extensive quoting of both named and unnamed sources the background to how bin Laden’s presence in Abbotabad came to be known to the U.S. government and how the SEAL raid was in fact known to the Pakistanis and had ISI cooperation. Hersh alleges the U.S. government’s narrative was in fact an elaborate cover story meant to conceal Pakistan’s relationship with the Al Qaeda leader and to yield maximum political payoff for President Barack Obama in the runup to the 2012 election season:

The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.[35]

Operation Neptune Spear is often contrasted[citation needed] with a low point—Operation Eagle Claw, the botched 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran ordered by President Jimmy Carter that killed eight troops and freed no captured Americans.

The official U.S. version is that bin Laden’s location at Abbottabad was identified by the CIA by tracking an al-Qaeda courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Hersh reports that in August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer walked into the office of Jonathan Bank, the CIA station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad and betrayed the secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for part of the $25 million reward, and has since been relocated with his family to Washington and is a consultant to the CIA. The ISI had captured bin Laden in 2006; he had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains. The ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him. Bin Laden was very ill and was living as prisoner under ISI control in the garrison town of Abbottabad less than two miles from Pakistan’s National Military Academy at Kakul (equivalent of United States Military Academy at West Point). The Saudi government also knew about Osama’s presence in Abbottabad and had advised the Pakistanis to keep him as a prisoner and gave financial assistance. Major Amir Aziz, a Pakistani Army doctor, was ordered to move near his compound to provide treatment. Aziz was also given a share of the $25 million reward because he got the DNA sample which conclusively proved that it was bin Laden. A real casualty in the whole affair was the doctor named Shakil Afridi. His perfectly legitimate hepatitis B vaccination programme was claimed to be the way the US obtained bin Laden’s DNA. Afridi became the sacrificial lamb because the US wanted to protect its real CIA informant, Amir Aziz, who had been held by the Pakistanis. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years by the Pakistanis. Other vaccination programmes were canceled once this lie was put forth.[35]

Hersh writes that the Pakistan Army and intelligence service was warned about the U.S. Navy SEALs’ raid and made sure that the two helicopters carrying the SEALs to Abbottabad crossed Pakistani airspace without triggering an alarm: “The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders—General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI—were never informed of the US mission.”[35] The report also states that Pakistani officials knew about the raid before it happened in May 2011 and instructed those monitoring bin Laden’s compound to allow the SEALs to conduct the operation unobstructed.

Since his killing in 2011, the U.S. media has reported that bin Laden was given a perfunctory naval funeral off the deck of an aircraft carrier, to prevent any gravesite from becoming a symbol of martyrdom. According to Hersh’s account of the assassination, bin Laden’s corpse never made it to the USS Carl Vinson, because it had been torn apart by automatic fire at point-blank range before the CIA took whatever shreds were left: “Some members of the SEAL team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” And bin Laden’s wives and children were never turned over to the Americans for questioning.

Hersh’s story drew harsh criticism from media commentators and officials. Peter Bergen disputed Hersh’s contentions, saying they “defy common sense”;[36] Hersh responded that Bergen simply “views himself as the trustee of all things Bin Laden”.[37] A similar dismissal of Hersh’s account came from former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.[38] A former intelligence official who had direct knowledge of the operation speculated that the Pakistanis, who were furious that the operation took place without being detected by them, were behind the false story as a way to save face.[39]

Others criticized the press response. In an article for the Columbia Journalism ReviewTrevor Timm wrote that “barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his [Hersh’s] claims”, and observed that Slate, for example, “ran five hit jobs on Hersh within 36 hours”.[40]

On May 12, the Pakistan-based journalist Amir Mir disclosed that the “walk-in” who had provided the CIA with the information about bin Laden’s whereabouts was Brigadier Usman Khalid of ISI.[41][42]

On May 20, a former CIA officer, Philip Giraldi, opined in The American Conservative that he found Hersh’s story credible:

Syrian Civil War

During the Syrian Civil War US President Obama argued in a 2012 speech that a chemical attack in Syria would constitute crossing a “red line” and that this would trigger a US military intervention against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[44]

After this speech, and prior to the chemical attacks in Ghoutachemical weapons were suspected to have been used in at least four attacks in the country.[45] On 23 March 2013, the Syrian government requested the UN to send inspectors in order to investigate an incident in the town of Khan al-Assal, where it said opposition forces had used chlorine-filled rockets.[46] However, on 25 April US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated that US intelligence showed the Assad government was likely to have used chemical weapons – specifically sarin gas.[47]

On 8 December 2013, the London Review of Books published “Whose Sarin?”, in which Hersh argued that President Obama had “omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts” in his assertion during his televised speech of 10 September that the Syrian government had been responsible for the use of sarin gas in the Ghouta chemical attack of 21 August 2013 against a rebel-held district of Damascus.[48] In particular, Hersh wrote of anonymous intelligence sources telling him that the Syrian army was not the only agency with access to sarin, referring to the Al-Nusra Front Jihadist group, and that, during the period before the Ghouta attack, secretly implanted sensors at the country’s known bases had not detected suspicious movements suggesting a forthcoming chemical attack in the period.[48]

On 22 December 2015, the London Review of Books published Hersh’s article “Military to Military”[49] in which he exposed the divide between the US top brass and the politicians in the White House when it came to dealing with Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. Hersh reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States Department of Defense has indirectly supported Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad with quality intelligence in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups, providing said intelligence via GermanyIsrael and Russia – to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also writes the military even undermined a US effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joint Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the US arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally Russia, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Saudi ArabiaQatar and Turkey over their support of extremist groups in Syria. These countries had armed extremists with modern weapons – which gave them the upper hand in subduing the Syrian Army – and resulted in huge territorial losses by 2013. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government supported Jabhat al-Nusra. The US JCS reported the Erdogan government were “doing the same for Islamic State” in order to disrupt the balance in the Middle East. The Turkish government refused to halt the flow of foreign militants going through Turkey.[50][51]

On 25 June 2017, Welt am Sonntag published Hersh’s article “Trump’s Red Line”[52] in which he claimed to expose the divide between the US ‘intelligence community’ and Donald Trump, the President of the United States, over the alleged ‘sarin attack’ at the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib on 4 April 2017 … ‘Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.’ A chat conversation delivered to Hersh by his informants and published by Welt am Sonntag, “We got a fuckin‘ problem”[53] seems to evidence much upset on the part of at least one ‘American soldier’ in Syria in conversations with an American ‘security advisor’ as well. However, at least one journalist accused Hersh of sloppy journalism: “Hersh based his case on a tiny number of anonymous sources, presented no other evidence to support his case, and ignored or dismissed evidence that countered the alternative narrative he was trying to build.”[54]

Criticism

Kennedy research

Hersh’s 1997 book about John F. KennedyThe Dark Side of Camelot, made a number of controversial assertions about the former president, including that he had had a “first marriage” to a woman named Durie Malcolm that was never terminated, that he had been a semi-regular narcotics user, and that he had a close working relationship with mob boss Sam Giancana which supposedly included vote fraud in one or two crucial states in the 1960 presidential election. For many of these allegations, Hersh relied only on hearsay collected decades after the event. In a Los Angeles Times review, Edward Jay Epstein cast doubt on these and other assertions, writing, “this book turns out to be, alas, more about the deficiencies of investigative journalism than about the deficiencies of John F. Kennedy.”[55] Responding to the book, historian and former Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called Hersh “the most gullible investigative reporter I’ve ever encountered.”[56]

A month before the publication of The Dark Side of Camelot, newspapers, including USA Today, reported Hersh’s announcement that he had removed from the galleys, at the last minute, a segment about legal documents allegedly containing JFK’s signature.[57] The documents signed by “John F. Kennedy” included a provision, in 1960, for a trust fund to be set up for the institutionalized mother of Marilyn Monroe.[58][59] A paralegal named Lawrence Cusack had shared them with Hersh and encouraged the author to discuss them in the book.[58] Shortly before Hersh’s publicized announcement, federal investigators began probing Cusack’s sale of the documents at auction.[58] After The Dark Side of Camelot became a bestseller, Cusack was convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan of forging the documents and sentenced to a long prison term.[60] In 1997 the Kennedy family denied Cusack’s claim that his late father had been an attorney who had represented JFK in 1960.[58]

Use of anonymous sources

There has been sustained criticism of Hersh’s use of anonymous sources.[55][61][62] Critics, including Edward Jay Epstein and Amir Taheri, say he is over-reliant on them.[55][61][62] Taheri, for example, when reviewing Hersh’s Chain of Command (2004), complained:

As soon as he has made an assertion he cites a ‘source’ to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances. […] By my count Hersh has anonymous ‘sources’ inside 30 foreign governments and virtually every department of the U.S. government.[61]

In response to an article in The New Yorker in which Hersh alleged that the U.S. government was planning a strike on IranU.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan G. Whitman said, “This reporter has a solid and well-earned reputation for making dramatic assertions based on thinly sourced, unverifiable anonymous sources.”[63]

David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, maintains that he is aware of the identity of all of Hersh’s unnamed sources, telling the Columbia Journalism Review that “I know every single source that is in his pieces. … Every ‘retired intelligence officer,’ every general with reason to know, and all those phrases that one has to use, alas, by necessity, I say, ‘Who is it? What’s his interest?’ We talk it through.”[64]

Speeches

In an interview with New York magazine, Hersh made a distinction between the standards of strict factual accuracy for his print reporting and the leeway he allows himself in speeches, in which he may talk informally about stories still being worked on or blur information to protect his sources. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people. … I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”[62]

Some of Hersh’s speeches concerning the Iraq War have described violent incidents involving U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2004, during the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, he alleged that American troops sexually assaulted young boys:

Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has. They’re in total terror it’s going to come out.[62]

In a subsequent interview with New York magazine, Hersh regretted that “I actually didn’t quite say what I wanted to say correctly. … It wasn’t that inaccurate, but it was misstated. The next thing I know, it was all over the blogs. And I just realized then, the power of—and so you have to try and be more careful.”[62] In Chain of Command, he wrote that one of the witness statements he had read described the rape of a boy by a foreign contract interpreter at Abu Ghraib, during which a woman took pictures.[62]

Link between the US government and Fatah al-Islam

In March 2007, Hersh asserted in a New Yorker piece that the United States and Saudi governments were funding the terrorist organization Fatah al-Islam through aid to Lebanese Sunni Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[65] Following the publication of the story, journalist Emmanuel Sivan in Beirut wrote that Hersh put forth the allegation without any reliable sources.[66][67]

Morarji Desai libel suit

Hersh wrote in his 1983 book The Price of Power that former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai had been paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Desai called the allegation “a scandalous and malicious lie” and filed a $50 million libel suit against Hersh. By the time the case went to trial Desai, by then 93, was too ill to attend. CIA director Richard Helms and Henry Kissinger testified under oath that at no time did Desai act in any capacity for the CIA, paid or otherwise. A Chicago jury ruled in favor of Hersh, saying Desai did not provide sufficient evidence that Hersh had published the information with intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth,