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The Pronk Pops Show 1356, November 11, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Honors Veterans at 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade — Videos

See the source image

President Trump and The First Lady Attend the New York City Veterans Day Parade

Trump is first sitting president to attend Veterans Day Parade

Trump speaks at the New York City Veterans Day parade

President Trump kicks off the 100th annual NYC Veterans Day Parade at Madison Square Park in Manhattan. He will be the first president to participate in the parade. Trump gives an address at the park, the site of the Eternal Light Flagstaff memorial. #FoxNews

Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks on Veterans Day 2019

Vice President Pence Attends a National Veterans Day Observance

WATCH: Trump speaks at Veterans Day Parade in New York

USA: Veterans Day Parade sees anti-Trump protests

100th Annual NYC Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day observances from across the country

VP Pence speaks at Arlington Cemetery

WATCH: Vice President Pence observes Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

 

Story 2: President Trump’s Back Channel To Ukraine And Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani — Cashing In As Trump’s Trusted Adviser? —  Video

Trish Regan: Corruption, payouts and quid pro quos

Fitton: This is a fundamental threat to our republic

WATCH: Giuliani had a campaign against former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, John Sullivan says

How Rudy Giuliani went from ‘America’s mayor’ to Ukraine business broker

Giuliani’s globetrotting complicates US foreign policy

Giuliani: Shouldn’t Biden be investigated over Ukraine if Trump can be impeached over it?

Giuliani rips ‘corrupt’ media, defends Trump’s calls for Biden probe

Giuliani slams ‘swamp media’, says it’s time to fight back against Dems

PBS News Hour full episode November 11, 2019

‘He’s Gonna Sing’: Giuliani Hires 3 Lawyers Amid Ukraine Scandal | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

What diplomat George Kent said about Rudy Giuliani — and Hunter Biden

‘I wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff’: Giuliani | ABC News

 

Rudy Giuliani’s diplomatic backchannel was both ‘irregular’ and ‘outlandish’

Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1355, November 8, 2019, Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos –Story 2: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — “Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

Posted on November 17, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Climate Change, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Eating, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Exercise, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Islam, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Mexico, Middle East, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, Obesity, People, Pete Buttigieg, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos —

 

Nowhere Man

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command
He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all ’til somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You

The Beatles – Nowhere Man (live!)

 

Trump: Democrats are trying to find people that hate me

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

What The World Never Knew About The Beatles

I am the Walrus The Beatles

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I’m crying
Sitting on a corn flake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you’ve been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Mr. City policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I’m crying
I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for

 

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Oct. 4, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. CDT

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

 Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 17

We recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task for misleading reporters about the fact that he was a participant in the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the subject of a whistleblower complaint and now an impeachment inquiry in Congress. He earned Four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to reporters to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place.

But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts. Now let’s look at comments by Schiff, who is heading the impeachment inquiry, as reporters probed about the whistleblower before the details of the allegation were revealed.

 Schiff’s answers are especially interesting in the wake of reports in the New York Times and The Washington Post that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee staff member for guidance before filing a complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general. The staff member learned the “very bare contours” of the allegation that Trump has abused the powers of his office, The Post said.

When the Fact Checker asked what “bare contours” meant, a committee spokesman pointed to an exchange of letters. In a Sept. 13 letter to the committee, the general counsel of the director of national intelligence said that “complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” In his own letter that day, Schiff wrote that because of that language, and because the DNI refused to affirm or deny that White House officials were involved in the decision not to forward the complaint, the committee can conclude only that “the serious misconduct involves the president of the United States and/or other senior White House or administration officials.”

Our suspicion is that the unidentified staff member learned the potential complaint involved “privileged” communication, which is code for something having to do with the president.

So, with this new information, let’s look back at how Schiff handled questions about his knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

The Facts

Sept. 16, interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN

Cooper: “Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?”
Schiff: “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.”
Cooper: “And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?”
Schiff: “I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way.”

This is a classic dodge — “don’t want to get into any particulars” — and Cooper failed to follow up. Notice how Schiff quickly answered whether he knew the identity of the whistleblower — “I don’t know” — but then sidestepped the questions about whether the committee had been contacted. But in doing so, he managed not to mislead; he just simply did not answer the question.

Sept. 17, interview on “Morning Joe”

Sam Stein: “Have you heard from the whistleblower? Do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?” …
Schiff: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”

This is flat-out false. Unlike the quick two-step dance he performed with Anderson Cooper, Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.

“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” a committee spokesman told The Fact Checker. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
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The spokesman pointed to an interview with Schiff by the Daily Beast, in which he said that he “did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff.” But he added that he “should have been much more clear.”

Sept. 19, meeting with reporters at the Capitol

Schiff: “In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern.”

Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

Schiff, however, does qualify that this was a complaint alleging “an urgent concern,” and it’s not clear whether the initial inquiry had tipped off the committee staff that it would rise to that level. Still, Schiff’s phrasing was misleading because he gives no hint that the committee was aware a potentially significant (“privileged”) complaint might have been filed.

“As Chairman Schiff has made clear, he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, has had no communication with them or their attorney, and did not view the whistleblower’s complaint until the day prior to the hearing with the DNI when the ODNI finally provided it to the Committee,” the spokesman said. “Whistleblowers frequently come to the committee. Some whistleblowers approach the IG without notice to the Committee, and some who do go to the IG do not necessarily file a complaint. However, this was the first whistleblower complaint provided to the Committee this year that the IC IG determined to be of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible,’ and Chairman Schiff would have raised the alarm regardless when it was illegally withheld.”

The spokesman added: “The focus should not be on the whistleblower, but rather the complaint which the IC IG determined was credible and urgent and which has been thus far confirmed by the call record released by the White House and statements by the President and his personal attorney.”

The Pinocchio Test

There are right ways and wrong ways to answer reporters’ questions if a politician wants to maintain his or her credibility. There’s nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don’t try to mislead (as Pompeo did).

But Schiff on “Morning Joe” clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the IG’s office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication.

The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.

Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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The Pronk Pops Show 1354, November 7, 2019, Story 1: More State Department Career Diplomat Testimony Released – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George P. Kent Resented President’s Use of His Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s  Whose  Smear Campaign To Discredit Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Forced Her Recall To Washington Based Upon False Claims — Kent Critical of Hunter Biden Activities in Ukraine and Warned Vice-President in 2015!– Clinton Obama Democratic Political Scandal About To Rock America — Videos — Story 2: Hell on Earth and Paradise Lost In Hours 85 Dead and One Year Later California Is Still Burning As Fires Spreading By Humans Moving To Harm’s Way As Death Toll Mounts: Camp Fire in Northern California & Hill Fire and Woolsey Fires in Southern California — Update — Fire Approaching Hollywood — Videos — 

Posted on November 15, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Mexico, Military Spending, National Security Agency, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Senate, Social Networking, Subversion, Treason, Ukraine, United States of America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: More State Department Career Diplomat Testimony Released – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George P. Kent Resented President’s Use of His Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s  Whose  Smear Campaign To Discredit Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Forced Her Recall To Washington Based Upon False Claims — Kent Critical of Hunter Biden Activities in Ukraine and Warned Vice-President in 2015!– Major Obama Scandal About To Hit — Videos —

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Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
November 8, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. CST

The Post reports on the release of the transcript of a senior State Department official’s testimony: “Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, who oversaw Ukraine policy, told lawmakers that to get an Oval Office meeting, [President] Trump was demanding that the country’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, promise to open investigations into the 2016 U.S. election, Trump’s former rival Hillary Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden, a possible 2020 challenger.” (It is not clear whether “Hillary Clinton” meant simply the hacking and release of emails during the 2016 election, or whether there was some other fishing expedition on Trump’s list of demands.)

Kent becomes a critical witness, and a good opening witness, because he can cover a lot of ground. There are a number of critical topics about which he can testify in public next week.

First, he can attest to the parallel foreign policy run by Rudolph Giuliani that was not a foreign policy at all, but rather a personal mission for Trump. As the New York Times reports, “The detail suggests that Mr. Trump was thinking of his political fortunes — not a broad interest in Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda, as many of his defenders have claimed — as he pressed Mr. Zelensky to take action.” This is critical because the central issue here is whether Trump was demanding something of personal benefit to him (an announced investigation) in return for a public act (a meeting, release of aid). Kent confirms that what was going on was corrupt, a bribe for Trump’s personal benefit, not a bargain in the context of foreign policy.

Second, Kent can attest that Giuliani was out to smear a distinguished diplomat, someone Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to publicly support. Kent testified behind closed doors at the impeachment hearing: “Mr. Giuliani, at that point, had been carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information about Ambassador [Marie] Yovanovitch, so this was a continuation of his campaign of lies.”

Why is this important? The Post explains, “Giuliani had aligned himself with corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors, including one official who was ‘essentially colluding’ with other corrupt officials to undermine a Ukrainian probe into a fake passport ring that threatened U.S. security, Kent told impeachment investigators.” Again, Giuliani has been empowered by Trump to conduct activities that promote corruption, not investigate corruption, as Trump’s defenders implausibly argue. (When was Trump ever concerned about corruption?) This also paints Pompeo is a bad light, showing him to be unwilling to defend his employee or push back against Giuliani, who was helping to hijack U.S. policy. Was Pompeo weak or ruthlessly ambitious (in never crossing Trump)? Both, perhaps.

Third, Kent suggests an effort in the State Department to be less than forthcoming in response to congressional investigators. Kent described a confrontation in a 20-person meeting with a State Department lawyer who objected strenuously to Kent’s insistence that the House request for documents extend to Carl Risch, the assistant secretary for consular affairs. The lawyer pulled Kent out of the meeting. The Post recounts what occurred, with Kent speaking first.

“I said, ‘That was unprofessional.’ And he then said, ‘You were unprofessional.’ He got very angry. He started pointing at me with a clenched jaw,” arguing that Congress could interpret Kent’s comments as trying to influence the collection of document.
“I said, ‘That’s called projection,’ ” he continued. “What I hear you saying is that you think that I am doing that. What I was trying to do was make sure that the department was being fully responsive.”

The State Department, you might recall, issued a statement accusing House investigators of “bullying” employees to testify. Kent seems to have taken issue with that as well.

In other words, Kent is describing a campaign to be as unresponsive as possible. Whether this rises to the level of a cover-up remains to be seen. Once again, Pompeo comes off as less than attentive to his constitutional obligations.

Fourth, Kent implicates acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Kent testified, “It was clear to me that Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland had a direct connection with Chief of Staff Mulvaney. . . . It was not, to the best of my knowledge, done through the national security staff and Ambassador [John] Bolton. It was done [through] Ambassador Sondland directly to Chief of Staff Mulvaney.” Trump’s refusal to allow Mulvaney to testify is one of many examples of Trump’s obstruction of the investigation.

Fifth, Kent echoes many other witnesses who point to the impropriety if not the illegality of what Trump was doing:
On Aug. 15, Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s new assistant, Catherine Croft, went to Kent’s office and asked, “Have we ever asked the Ukrainians to investigate anybody?”
Kent suspected that she was really asking whether U.S. officials had ever gone to the Ukrainians “and asked them to investigate or prosecute individuals for political reasons,” he testified. “And if that was the question, the answer is, ‘I hope we haven’t’,’ ” he said he told her. “And we shouldn’t because that goes against everything that we are trying to promote in the post-Soviet states for the last 28 years, which is the rule of law.”
The following day, he said, he spoke with the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., who “amplified” the theme. Taylor told him that Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak made a remark referring to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, a formal process by which one government requests legal help from another.
“And I told Bill Taylor, that’s wrong, and we shouldn’t be doing that as a matter of U.S. policy,” Kent said. He said Taylor agreed.

Finally, we get a glimpse of how Trump is manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and where he came up with this cock-and-bull story that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in our election. Kent testified that it was Putin and Hungary’s strongman Viktor Orban “along with former Mayor Giuliani, [whose] communications with President Trump shaped the President’s view of Ukraine and Zelensky, and would account for the change from a very positive first call on April 21 to his negative assessment of Ukraine when he had the meeting in the Oval Office on May 23.” Once more, whatever Trump does in foreign policy always seems to inure to Putin’s advantage. Strange.

Kent is a compelling witness who can cover a lot of ground. No wonder he is on the schedule for the critical first week of testimony.

Read more:

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Updated October 29, 2019

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/08/heres-why-george-kent-is-star-witness/

George P. Kent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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George Kent
George Kent.jpg
Education Harvard University (AB)
Johns Hopkins University (MA)
National Defense University (MS)

George P. Kent is an American diplomat serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs since September 4, 2018.[1]

 

Education

Kent graduated in 1989 with an AB in Russian history and literature from Harvard University. He then earned an MA from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1992.[1] Kent later graduated with an MS in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the National Defense University in 2012.[2]

Career

Kent has been in the State Department‘s foreign service since 1992.[3][4] He speaks UkrainianRussian, and Thai, as well as some PolishGerman, and Italian.[1] His work as a US Foreign Service Officer has included service in Ukraine, Poland, Thailand and Uzbekistan.[2]

From 1995 to 1997, he was posted in Warsaw, Poland, as an economics officer dealing with trade, environmental, and counter-narcotics issues.[2] Kent was later assigned to serve as deputy political counselor in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 2004 to 2007, which include the time period of the Orange Revolution.[2] From 2012 to 2014, Kent served as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.[1] He served as a senior anti-corruption coordinator in the European bureau in 2014–2015,[1] and as deputy chief of mission in Kyiv, from 2015 to 2018.[4] On September 4, 2018, he was appointed to his current position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.[2][4]

On October 15, 2019 Kent testified in the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, serving as a key witness on whether Rudy Giuliani used a campaign of disinformation to undermine the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.[5] Kent’s warnings regarding the disinformation campaign are documented in State Department emails submitted to Congress by the organization’s inspector general. Kent protested a “fake news smear” directed at Ambassador Yovanovitch by media commentators supportive with President Trump. He also criticized the Ukrainian prosecutor undermining Yovanovitch, calling the disinformation “complete poppycock.”[6]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e “George P. Kent”United States Department of StateArchived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e “USUBC Members welcomed George Kent, new Deputy Assistant Secretary, Europe, U.S. State Department, in Washington, D.C”U.S.–Ukraine Business Council. September 10, 2018. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Hansler, Jennifer (October 15, 2019). “Another career diplomat caught in the Ukraine scandal speaking to impeachment probe Tuesday”CNN. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  4. Jump up to:a b c Bade, Rachael (October 15, 2019). “State Department official to face questions about Ukraine and Giuliani”The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Kane, Paul; Demirjian, Karoun; Bade, Rachael (October 15, 2019). “White House directed ‘three amigos’ to run Ukraine policy, senior State department official tells House investigators”The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Vogel, Kenneth P.; Shear, Michael D. (October 15, 2019). “Senior State Dept. Ukraine Expert Says White House Sidelined Him”The New York TimesISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 16, 2019.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_P._Kent

Marie Yovanovitch

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Marie Yovanovitch
Marie L. Yovanovitch.jpg
9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine
In office
August 29, 2016 – May 20, 2019
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded by Geoffrey Pyatt
Succeeded by Kristina Kvien (Acting)
United States Ambassador to Armenia
In office
September 22, 2008 – June 9, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by John Evans
Succeeded by John Heffern
United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
In office
February 4, 2005 – February 4, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Stephen Young
Succeeded by Tatiana Gfoeller
Personal details
Born 1958 (age 60–61)
MontrealQuebecCanada
Education Princeton University (BA)
National Defense University (MS)

Marie Louise Yovanovitch (born 1958),[1] also known as Masha Yovanovitch,[2] is an American diplomat and member of the senior ranks of the United States Foreign Service. She served in a variety of State Department posts, including Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2004–2005); U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan (2005–2008); U.S. Ambassador to Armenia (2008–2011); Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2012–2013); and Ambassador to Ukraine (2016–2019). Yovanovitch is a diplomat in residence at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.[3][4]

While ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch was subjected to a conspiracy-driven smear campaign, amplified by President Donald Trump and his allies. In May 2019, Trump abruptly recalled Yovanovitch from her post following claims by Trump surrogates that she was undermining Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former vice president and 2020 U.S. presidential election candidate Joe Biden. Yovanovitch’s removal preceded a July 2019 phone call by Trump in which he attempted to pressure Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden. Following revelation of a whistleblower complaint about the phone call and attempts to cover it up, an impeachment inquiry against Trump was initiated by the House of Representatives. In October, Yovanovitch testified in three House committee depositions in the inquiry.

Contents

Early life and education

Marie Yovanovitch is the daughter of Mikhail Yovanovitch and Nadia (Theokritoff) Yovanovitch,[5] who fled the Soviet Union and later the Nazis.[3] She was born in Canada, moved to Connecticut at age three, and became a naturalized American citizen at age eighteen. She grew up speaking Russian.[3]

Yovanovitch graduated from the Kent School in Connecticut in 1976; her parents were longtime foreign language teachers at the school.[6] Yovanovitch earned a B.A. in History and Russian Studies from Princeton University in 1980.[7] She studied at the Pushkin Institute (1980) and was awarded an M.S. from the National Defense University‘s National War College in 2001.[7]

Career

Early diplomatic career

Yovanovitch joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1986. Her first foreign assignment, in Ottawa, was followed by overseas assignments including MoscowLondon, and Mogadishu. From May 1998 to May 2000 she served as the Deputy Director of the Russian Desk in the U.S. Department of State.[7]

From August 2001 to June 2004, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.[8] From August 2004 to May 2005 she was the senior advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.[9] Yovanovitch also served as International Advisor and Deputy Commandant at the National Defense University‘s Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and as dean of the School of Language Studies within the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute.[9]

U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia and subsequent service

Yovanovitch is “well known in diplomatic circles for her measured demeanor and diligence in representing both Republican and Democratic administrations.”[10] Yovanovitch was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan on November 20, 2004; she presented her credentials on February 4, 2005, and remained in this post until February 4, 2008.[1][11] Her nomination as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan was confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote.[12]

Yovanovitch was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Armenia on August 4, 2008; she presented her credentials on September 22, 2008, and remained in this post until June 9, 2011.[11] Her nomination as ambassador to Armenia was again confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote.[13] During confirmation hearings, Yovanovitch acknowledged that Turks had committed mass killings, rapes, and expulsions of Armenians between 1915 and 1923, calling this “one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century,” but, in line with U.S. policy, declined to use the phrase Armenian Genocide, saying that the use of this politically sensitive phrase was a policy decision that could be made only by the highest-ranking U.S. officials, namely President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[14]

While in Armenia, Yovanovitch pushed Armenian authorities to give fair treatment to Armenians arrested in post-election protests in 2008.[10] Yovanovitch received the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award,[9] a department award honoring ambassadors who demonstrate “extraordinary commitment to defending human rights.”[10]

After returning to Washington in 2012 and 2013, Yovanovitch served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.[4] In that position, Yovanovitch was a key State Department headquarters contact for U.S. diplomats in Europe, working with, among others, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein, regarding issues such as U.S. missile defense in Poland.[10] Yovanovitch received the department’s Senior Foreign Service Performance Award six times and the Superior Honor Award five times.[9] She was promoted to the rank of Career Minister in 2016.[15]

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

Yovanovitch was announced as the nominee for U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on May 18, 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt;[16] the nomination was sent to the Senate the next day, and confirmed by voice vote of the Senate on July 14, 2016.[17] Yovanovitch was sworn in on August 12, 2016, and presented her credentials on August 29, 2016.[1]

Anti-corruption work and other activities

Yovanovitch was respected within the national security community for her efforts to encourage Ukraine to tackle corruption,[18] and during her tenure had sought to strengthen the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which had been created to bolster efforts to fight corruption in Ukraine; these efforts earned Yovanovitch some enemies within the country.[19] In a March 2019 speech to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Yovanovitch said that the Ukrainian government was not making sufficient progress to combat corruption, saying: “It is increasingly clear that Ukraine’s once-in-a-generation opportunity for change has not yet resulted in the anti-corruption or rule of law reforms that Ukrainians expect or deserve.”[20]

Smear campaign against Yovanovitch and ouster

As U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch was the target of a conspiracy-driven smear campaign.[21] Unfounded allegations against her were then made by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as well as conservative commentator John Solomon of The Hill and Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, who accused her of being part of a conspiracy involving anti-corruption probes in Ukraine and efforts by the Trump administration to investigate ties between Ukrainian officials and the Hillary Clinton campaign.[3][22][23] Lutsenko, who has been accused by Ukrainian civil society organizations of corruption,[20] claimed that Yovanovitch, an Obama administration appointee, had interfered in Ukraine politics, had given him a “do-not-prosecute” list and was interfering in his ability to combat corruption in Ukraine.[22][19] The U.S. State Department said that Lutsenko’s allegations against Yovanovitch were “an outright fabrication”[22] and indicated that they were a “classic disinformation campaign.”[21] Lutsenko subsequently recanted his claims of a “do-not-prosecute” list.[22] Lutsenko’s unfounded allegation was nonetheless amplified by President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Giuliani, Solomon, and conservative media outlets.[22][24] Ukrainians who opposed Yovanovitch were also sources for Giuliani, who “was on a months-long search for political dirt in Ukraine to help President Trump.”[20]

In May 2019, after complaints from Giuliani and other Trump allies that Yovanovitch was undermining and obstructing Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 U.S. presidential election candidate Joe Biden, Trump ordered Yovanovitch’s recall.[25][26] In a July 25, 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (the contents of which became public in September 2019), Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and disparaged Yovanovitch to his foreign counterpart.[24][18]

Yovanovitch’s abrupt ouster shocked and outraged career State Department diplomats.[19][27] Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, the chief diplomat for U.S. policy for Europe, testified that he had urged top State Department officials David Hale and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, to issue a statement expressing strong support for Yovanovitch, but that top State Department leadership rejected this proposal.[21] Former senior U.S. diplomats Philip Gordon and Daniel Fried, who served as assistant secretaries of state for European and Eurasian Affairs and as National Security Council staffers under presidents of both parties, praised Yovanovitch and condemned Trump’s “egregious mistreatment of one of the country’s most distinguished ambassadors,” writing that this had demoralized the U.S. diplomatic corps and undermined U.S. foreign policy.[28] The American Foreign Service Association and American Academy of Diplomacy, representing members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, expressed alarm at Trump’s disparagement of Yovanovitch in his call with Zelensky.[29] Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer who served as ambassador to four countries and had been chief adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, resigned in October 2019 in protest of Trump’s attacks against Yovanovitch and “the State Department’s unwillingness to protect career diplomats from politically motivated pressure.”[30][31] Yovanovitch’s ouster became one of the issues explored in the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry against Trump;[25] her recall was termed “a political hit job” by Democratic members of Congress.[18][22]

Congressional testimony

On October 11, 2019, Yovanovitch gave closed-door deposition testimony before the House Oversight and ReformForeign Affairs and Intelligence committees.[32][19][33] A transcript of Yovanovitch’s full testimony was released to the public on November 5, 2019.[33]

The State Department sought to stop Yovanovitch from testifying before Congress, in line with Trump’s policy of refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.[19] The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena, stating that “the illegitimate order from the Trump Administration not to cooperate has no force”—and Yovanovitch proceeded to give testimony.[19]

In her testimony, Yovanovitch testified that Trump had pressured the State Department to remove her, and that she was “incredulous” to be removed based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”[19] Yovanovitch stated that after her removal, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan had told her that she had done nothing wrong but that the State Department had been under political pressure from Trump to remove her since summer 2018.[19] Sullivan, in his own testimony to Congress, corroborated Yovanovitch’s testimony, confirmed that Yovanovitch was the target of a smear campaign, and publicly affirmed that Yovanovitch had served “admirably and capably” as ambassador.[34]

Yovanovitch testified that her removal was the result of “significant tension between those who seek to transform the country and those who wish to continue profiting from the old ways,” and that false narratives were pushed from an “unfortunate alliance between Ukrainians who continue to operate within a corrupt system, and Americans who either did not understand that corrupt system, or who may have chosen, for their own purposes, to ignore it.”[35] Yovanovitch described the State Department under Trump as “attacked and hollowed out from within,” and warned that the Russia and other U.S. rivals would benefit “when bad actors in countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system.”[19] Yovanovitch testified that when she sought advice from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on how to respond to the smear campaign, Sondland recommended that she tweet praise for Trump.[36][37]

Yovanovitch also detailed attempts by Giuliani to interfere in the State Department’s consular decisions, by attempting to override a U.S. visa denial for former Ukrainian official Viktor Shokin, who had been declared ineligible for travel in the United States based on his “known corrupt activities.”[38][36] Yovanovitch also said that she was “shocked” and felt threatened by Trump’s statement, in a phone call with Zelensky, that “she’s going to go through some things,” testifying that she was very concerned “that the President would speak about me or any ambassador in that way to a foreign counterpart.”[36]

Subsequent posting

After being ousted as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch became a Senior State Department Fellow at Georgetown University‘s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.[4]

See also

References…

External links

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

In Testimony, American Envoy to Ukraine Outlines Trump’s Quid Pro Quo

Not pulling any punches. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

In dramatic testimony Tuesday morning, William Taylor, the American envoy to Ukraine, provided the most complete picture yet of how centrally the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy revolved around a quid pro quo: military aid and a White House visit in exchange for an investigation into Joe Biden’s son and another involving the origins of the FBI’s investigation into President Trump.

In a long opening statement that prompted sighs and gasps among lawmakers, Taylor made it clear that those who were steering the White House’s Ukraine policy, including U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, were preoccupied with the investigations. Sondland, Taylor said, had cited them as a reason the White House held up Ukraine military aid for months. Taylor also said Sondland had heard about the Biden investigation from the president himself, contradicting Sondland’s testimony last week. Taylor drew on extensive notes he had taken at the time of the events he described.

Democrats framed his statements as deeply damaging to the president, while Republicans attempted to shrug them off. “What he said was incredibly damning to the president of the United States,” Representative Ted Lieu said, echoing others’ assessments of the testimony.

Taylor was involved in a now-notorious text-message exchange with Sondland and former special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker involving the administration’s unusual posture toward the country. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor texted at one point. Sondland assured him there was no quid pro quo, in a text he has said he wrote after speaking with the president.

Multiple Democrats suggested that Sondland, who testified last week, needed to return to clear up statements that conflicted with Taylor’s.

Taylor took over as envoy after Marie Yovanovitch, the previous ambassador, was fired under suspicious circumstances in May.

As with other witnesses involved in the proto-impeachment inquiry, the Trump administration attempted to block Taylor from talking to lawmakers. But after Democrats issued a subpoena compelling him to appear, Taylor, like previous witnesses, complied.

The White House has vociferously denied the existence of a quid pro quo, though the White House chief of staff admitted the existence of one in a bungled press conference last week.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Taylor was acting ambassador to Ukraine.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/10/william-taylor-ukraine-trump.html

Two summits with Italian spy chiefs and a tape of the vanished professor who kicked off claims of Russian ‘collusion’: How Bill Barr launched criminal inquiry into his OWN department and Washington’s spies after ‘breakthrough’ in Rome

  • Professor Joseph Mifsud met Trump campaign adviser George Popodopolus in April 2016 and allegedly offered him ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails 
  • Popodopolus is thought to have relayed that information to an Australia diplomat, who in turn informed Washington, sparking the Russia investigation 
  • After the probe opened Mifsud asked for protection in Italy, fearing for his safety
  • As part of the application he gave taped testimony to the security services, which was listened to be Attorney General Barr and prosecutor John Durham 
  • After listening to the tape, Barr decided to launch a full criminal probe 

Attorney General William Barr decided to launch a criminal investigation into his own department after hearing taped testimony from a professor at the centre of the FBI’s Russia investigation.

The ‘breakthrough’ came on Barr’s second trip to Rome this summer, in which he and prosecutor John Durham are understood to have sat down and listened to a tape containing a deposition from academic Josef Mifsud.

Mifsud is alleged to have offered Trump adviser George Papadopoulos ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails in April 2016. When word of the meeting reached Washington, it provided the basis for what became the Mueller investigation.

Barr is now investigating Mifsud as part of a counter-investigation into how the Mueller probe – which found no clear evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russian government – got started.

Durham and Barr reportedly heard a recording of Joseph Mifsud in Italy - the professor widely credited with sparking the counterintelligence probe into Trump campaign officials

Probe: Bill Barr, the attorney general, flew to Rome twice to meet spy chiefs there - to ask what the U.S. government's own agents were up to

Probe: John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, flew to Rome twice to meet spy chiefs there - to ask what the U.S. government's own agents were up to

While it is not clear what Barr (left) and Durham (right) heard on the tape, sources said their investigation into the Russia probe ‘expanded significantly’ afterwards, before being upgraded to a criminal inquiry

Mifsud went into hiding in 2017 and Italian justice ministry records show he applied for police protection around the same time, giving a taped deposition about why people might want to harm him.

It is thought that is the tape that Barr and Durham listened to when they visited Rome in September – their second journey to Italy after another visit in August.

While it is not clear what they heard on the tape, Fox News reported earlier this week that Durham’s investigation ‘expanded significantly’ after the second Rome visit.

Two sources told the news site on Thursday that the administrative review has now become a full criminal investigation.

Papadopoulos – who was jailed in 2018 for lying to FBI investigators – has previously accused Mifsud of being planted by the intelligence services to cook up a pretext to investigate Trump. 

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has acknowledged the existence of both meetings with Barr, saying that he was seeking information about the activities of FBI agents assigned to Italy.

Conte insisted on the complete legitimacy of both the meetings and his own role, after local media accused him of violating protocols in permitting the meetings.

Barr visited and called world leaders from around the world over the summer, collecting evidence into how the FBI's probe of Donald Trump's connections to Russia got started

Mifsud is believed to have offered Trump adviser George Papadopoulos 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton during a meeting in London. When word of the meeting got back to Washington, it is understood to have formed the basis of the Mueller probe

Mifsud is believed to have offered Trump adviser George Papadopoulos ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton during a meeting in London. When word of the meeting got back to Washington, it is understood to have formed the basis of the Mueller probe

Conte said Barr’s request arrived via normal diplomatic channels for ‘a preliminary exchange of information with our intelligence aimed at verifying activities of American agents. This must be clear.’

Conte argued that Italian law gives the country’s premier sole responsibility for responding to intelligence requests, and that he could not seek, for example, preliminary clearance from the parliamentary intelligence committee or legally discuss the request with any minister or political leader.

Conte also emphasized that the Americans showed no interest in the activities of Italian intelligence, and that the Italian intelligence services were ‘completely extraneous to these events.’

Conte said that Barr first held a ‘preliminary technical’ meeting with intelligence officials in offices at Rome’s Piazza Dante on Aug. 15. That was followed up with another meeting in the same offices on Sept. 27.

‘I hate to disappoint you but there were no meetings in bars or hotels,’ Conte said, referring to media speculation. ‘They were all held in institutional settings.’

Referring to domestic criticism that the meetings came at a moment when the previous Conte-led government was in crisis, Conte emphasized that the American request for the meetings was made in June – before Interior Minister Matteo Salvini sought to push Conte out of power – and that the request arrived by normal diplomatic channels.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7613295/How-Bill-Barr-launched-criminal-inquiry-breakthrough-meeting-Rome.html

Joseph Mifsud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Joseph Mifsud
Born 1960

Disappeared 6 November 2017 (aged 56–57)
RomeItaly
Nationality Maltese
Education University of Malta (BA)
University of Padua (MA)
Queen’s University Belfast(PhD)

Joseph Mifsud (born 1960)[1] is a Maltese academic. In 2016, he became involved with George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the Donald Trump presidential campaign, and was later accused of being a link between that campaign and Russia. In 2018, he was described as missing, and an Italian court listed his location as “residence unknown”.[2] According to media reports he was in Rome as of April 2019.[3]

Education

Mifsud holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Malta (1982) and a master’s degree in education from the University of Padua (1989).[1] He was awarded a PhD in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast; his thesis was titled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective”.[4]

Career

From 2006 to 2008, Mifsud served as the chef de cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta.[1] He later became a principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP). In 2008, he was named President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).[1][5] At least as early as 2010, he began making numerous trips to Russia.[6] He was a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland,[7] as well as director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, where he served as director from 2012 until it closed in 2016. The academy was partnered with the University of Stirling.[8][9][10] He has also served as president of the University Consortium of the Province of Agrigento in Sicily; in September 2018, an Italian court ordered him to repay the Consortium 49,000 euros ($56,700) in overpayments.[2]

In a 2017 interview, he claimed to be a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),[11] although the ECFR website in 2018 did not list him as a member.[12] He regularly attended meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Russia, backed by the Kremlin and attended by Vladimir Putin.[13] According to a BBC report, Mifsud was in Moscow in April 2016 to speak on a panel run by the Valdai Club alongside Stephan Roh, the German multimillionaire lawyer and investor described as a “wheeler-dealer” by the BBC Newsnight program.[14] Roh is Mifsud’s former employer,[15] he could not be reached for comment by the BBC. Another speaker at the Valdai Club was Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whom Mifsud subsequently introduced to Papadopoulos via email.[14] Mifsud reportedly claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.[16]

Mifsud denied having any contact with the Russian government, saying “I am an academic, I do not even speak Russian.”[7] The Mueller Report, released in 2019, said that Mifsud “maintained various Russian contacts while living in London”, including an unnamed person (name redacted), who was a former staff member of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm based in Saint Petersburg.[17]

Connection to George Papadopoulos

In March 2016, shortly after Papadopoulos was named as a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, Mifsud met Papadopoulos in Rome. They later met again in London, where Mifsud allegedly introduced Papadopoulos to a Russian woman that he falsely claimed was Putin’s niece; Mifsud has denied this.[7][13] At a meeting in April, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had learned that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos allegedly repeated the information to the Australian High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer, who later reported to American authorities that Papadopoulos had apparently known about Russia’s theft of emails from Democratic sources before it was publicly reported. Papadopoulos has since publicly declared that he did tell Downer about the fact that he was offered “dirt” on Clinton but he has denied any recollection of communicating this theft of emails with Downer. The FBI then launched an investigation into possible connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.[18]

Volume 1 of the Mueller Report stated that Mifsud travelled to Moscow in April 2016, and upon his return told Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.[19][17] It also mentions that Papadopoulos “suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton”. This would appear to corroborate the contact with Downer.

According to Mifsud, he was interviewed by the FBI in February 2017 while visiting the United States to speak at a conference.[20][21] The FBI has not confirmed that they interviewed him, but he is listed as a featured speaker at the February 2017 national meeting of Global Ties, an event sponsored by the US Department of State.[22] Mifsud left the United States on 11 February 2017. Prosecutors with the investigation into Russian interference in the election suggested, in a 17 August 2018 sentencing memorandum for Papadopoulos, that they might have wanted to challenge, detain, or arrest Mifsud if Papadopoulos had told the truth about their interactions.[23]

Papadopoulos and some critics of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign have asserted that Mifsud was actually a Western intelligence operative who was instructed to entrap Papadopoulos in order to justify the investigation.[24][25] During Robert Mueller‘s testimony to two congressional committees on 24 July 2019, Republicans Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes portrayed Misfud as a central figure in what they asserted was an investigation based on false and politically motivated premises, while Democrats tried to frame their assertion as a diversion and conspiracy theory.[26] Jim Jordan asked Robert Mueller why he never charged Mifsud with lying to the FBI while George Papadopoulos was charged for lying about Mifsud.[27]

Connection to Stephan Roh

Stephan Roh, the Russian-speaking[28] German lawyer and multimillionaire with close ties to Russia,[29] has worked alongside Mifsud for years. Papadopoulos’s wife, who briefly worked for Mifsud, has described Roh as Mifsud’s lawyer, best friend, and funder.[citation needed] Roh owns multiple businesses, many headquartered in Moscow or Cyprus. Roh also is an investor in Link Campus University, holding a 5% stake.[30][unreliable source?] The university is known for its diplomatic, intelligence and analytical studies, such as the School of Analysis–Security and Intelligence section, and a place where Mifsud taught.[31]

Link Campus University was founded 1999 by Vincenzo Scotti as a subsidiary of the University of Malta, with help from Mifsud, who was then the head of the university’s education department. Scotti was Italian interior minister from 1990 to 1992, when he oversaw the country’s domestic intelligence apparatus. Scotti has been the ″director″ at Link Campus University, while Mifsud was its “director of international relations” and recruited foreign students for Link Campus University.[32][unreliable source?] After Robert Mueller in May 2017 took over the Trump Russia collusion investigation Mifsud could not start classes at that academic year.[33] Mifsud lived in university housing until summer 2018.[34]

The Mueller Report made no mention of Mifsud’s longtime association with Italian Ex-Minister Vincenzo Scotti or with the institution that Scotti headed in Rome, Link Campus University.[32][unreliable source?]

In his book, Roh claimed that he was detained and questioned by investigators on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel team in October 2017.[29]

Missing report

According to a filing in a U.S. federal court in the case Democratic National Committee v. Russian Federation in September 2018, Mifsud was “missing and may be deceased”. Mifsud’s whereabouts were unknown and he could not be served with the complaint.[35] He spoke to his girlfriend on 31 October 2017. The next day an Italian newspaper revealed that the “professor” referred to in news reports about Papadopoulos was Mifsud, and she has not heard from him since then.[36] According to CNN, he has “gone to ground” and was last seen on 6 November 2017 at Link University, a private university in Rome where he was teaching at the time.[20] In September 2018, an Italian court described his location as “residence unknown”.[2]

According to media reports Mifsud was in Rome as of April 2019.[3] On October 1, 2019, the Italian newspaper il Foglio published a photo of Mifsud in Switzerland with a copy of the Swiss newspaper Zürichsee-Zeitung dated May 21, 2018, as proof that he was still alive.[34]

See also

References

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

 

Story 2: Hell on Earth and Paradise Lost In Hours 85 Dead and One Year Later California Is Still Burning As Fires Spreading By Humans Moving To Harm’s Way As Death Toll Mounts: Camp Fire in Northern California & Hill Fire and Woolsey Fires in Southern California — Update — Fire Approaching Hollywood — Videos — 

Update November 11, 2019

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California Fires Leave Behind Apocalyptic-Like Destruction

 

Five people are burned alive in their cars in California wildfires as 240,000 are forced to evacuate and millions more are warned their homes are under imminent threat

  • The fires fueled by the notorious Santa Ana winds and low humidity are expected rage on into the weekend
  • In Northern California, the Camp Fire has spread across 70,000 acres in Butte County north of Sacramento 
  • Camp Fire killed five people trapped in their cars, burned 2,000 structures and destroyed town of Paradise
  • In Southern California, the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire have already scorched more than 40,000 acres
  • Nearly 150,000 residents near Ventura and Los Angeles counties have been ordered to evacuate 
  • Winds of up to 70mph are blowing the westward toward the Pacific Ocean, forcing total evacuation of Malibu
  • Caitlyn Jenner’s Malibu home was destroyed, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s home is under threat
  • Lady Gaga’s home and Will Smith’s are also at risk of being consumed by the wildfire
  • The fires are flanking Thousand Oaks, threatening the community still reeling from Wednesday’s shooting 
  • Actor James Woods has retweeted nearly 20 posts from families pleading for information about loved ones

 

Five people have been burned alive in their cars by a wildfire in Northern California while officials warn that two other blazes ravaging the southern part of the state are zero percent contained, threatening to destroy thousands of homes.

The notorious Santa Ana winds are expected to continue fueling the three fast-moving wildfires as they tear across large swaths of the coastal state. Over 240,000 have been evacuated across the state.

In Southern California, nearly 150,000 people are under evacuation orders as a pair of life-threatening fires have overtaken more than 40,000 acres, with dry winds of up to 70mph push them westward toward the Pacific Ocean.

The larger of the two southern blazes, the Woolsey Fire, has scorched as least 35,000 acres north of Los Angeles since igniting near Rocketdyne at around 2pm local time Thursday, quickly spreading southwest toward Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks, the community still reeling from a mass shooting on Wednesday night.

The massive Woolsey Fire was a zero containment on Friday night, and dozens of communities on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties as well as the beachside city of Malibu have been ordered to evacuate as the flames approach.

To the west of the Woolsey Fire a second, smaller blaze dubbed the Hill Fire has torched almost 6,000 acres in Ventura County after igniting at around the same time in Hill Canyon Thursday afternoon.

Three wildfires are seen burning in California on Friday. The larger Camp Fire in the north has killed five and destroyed the town of Paradise. In the south, near Los Angeles the twin Hill and Woolsey Fires have forced an evacuation of Malibu

Three wildfires are seen burning in California on Friday. The larger Camp Fire in the north has killed five and destroyed the town of Paradise. In the south, near Los Angeles the twin Hill and Woolsey Fires have forced an evacuation of Malibu

 

In Southern California, the fire has spread toward the Pacific, forcing the total evacuation of Malibu. Caitlyn Jenner’s home was destroyed by the flames, and other celebrity homes under fire threat are seen on the map above

The smoke from the fire is seen from the Pacific Coast Highway as residents flee Malibu and nearby areas

The smoke from the fire is seen from the Pacific Coast Highway as residents flee Malibu and nearby areas

A home burns on Friday as seen from a helicopter in the Calabasas section of Los Angeles

A home burns on Friday as seen from a helicopter in the Calabasas section of Los Angeles

A house along Pacific Coast Highway burns as the Woolsey Fire reached the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California on Friday

A house along Pacific Coast Highway burns as the Woolsey Fire reached the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California on Friday

In Northern California, the Camp Fire has raced across 70,000 acres since starting on Thursday morning, destroying 2,000 structures and killing at least five people who had no time to escape.

That fire has devastated the town of Paradise, where officials say nearly every structure has been razed by out-of-control flames and five people were found dead in burned out vehicles early Friday afternoon. The Camp Fire is 5 per cent contained.

When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot.

People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.

‘There was really no firefight involved,’ said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate. ‘These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday.’

The causes of all three fires are under investigation. The Camp Fire began at 6.29am on Friday, while in the south the Hill and Woolsey Fires began on Friday afternoon.

Over 2,500 fire personnel are fighting the three blazes on the ground as challenging fire conditions are expected to continue through the weekend.

The map above shows the approximate location of all three fires in California as of Friday

The map above shows the approximate location of all three fires in California as of Friday

Five people were found burned alive in their cars midday Friday after the relentless Camp Fire ravaged the town of Paradise+56

Five people were found burned alive in their cars midday Friday after the relentless Camp Fire ravaged the town of Paradise

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia in Northern California

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia in Northern California

Even after sunrise, smoke still filtered the sun over the burned out areas Paradise, as the Camp Fire burns out of control

Even after sunrise, smoke still filtered the sun over the burned out areas Paradise, as the Camp Fire burns out of control

Abandoned vehicles sit at a car lot in Paradise, north of Sacramento, California on Friday after the Camp Fire ravaged the area+56

Abandoned vehicles sit at a car lot in Paradise, north of Sacramento, California on Friday after the Camp Fire ravaged the area

In Paradise, a line of burned out abandoned cars sit on the road after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Thursday+56

In Paradise, a line of burned out abandoned cars sit on the road after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Thursday

Abandoned cars from fleeing residents of the Magalia and Paradise Pine area, line Skyway road the day after the start of the Camp Fire that continues to burn out of control through the region, fueled by high winds in Butte County, California

Abandoned cars from fleeing residents of the Magalia and Paradise Pine area, line Skyway road the day after the start of the Camp Fire that continues to burn out of control through the region, fueled by high winds in Butte County, California

The Camp Fire (above) completely engulfed the town of Paradise in Northern California, growing to 70,000 acres since starting on Thursday morning and killing at least five people who became trapped in their cars while trying to escape

The Camp Fire (above) completely engulfed the town of Paradise in Northern California, growing to 70,000 acres since starting on Thursday morning and killing at least five people who became trapped in their cars while trying to escape

In Southern California, wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued, warning wind gusts could reach 70mph and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.

No injuries have been reported in either southern fire as of Friday morning, but officials have warned that they will remain life-threatening through the weekend.

At around 7am local time Friday, officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for the entire city of Malibu as the Woolsey Fire raged toward the Pacific Ocean.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department punctuated the evacuation message with the declaration: ‘Imminent threat!’

‘We’re in a situation where this fire is moving quickly – conditions are changing rapidly,’ Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Buschow said at a press conference.

The Woolsey fire jumped US Highway 101 in the Calabasas area overnight and is now continuing it’s path into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The approximate area touched by the Woolsey and Hill Fires as of midday Friday is shown on the map above. Thousands of residents living in the areas marked in yellow, including Calabasas and Malibu, have been ordered to evacuate as the fires move west toward the Pacific with help from fierce dry winds

Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted this view of the Woolsey Fire from the company's headquarters in Burbank, California

Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted this view of the Woolsey Fire from the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California

A helicopter drops water on a brush fire behind a home during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, California on Friday

A helicopter drops water on a brush fire behind a home during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, California on Friday

Clouds of smoke appear from the Woosley Fire to the north in Malibu as people ride their bicycles in Venice Beach, California

Clouds of smoke appear from the Woosley Fire to the north in Malibu as people ride their bicycles in Venice Beach, California

People watch the heavy smoke rises over the the Santa Monica Mountains during the Woolsy fire in Malibu, California

People watch the heavy smoke rises over the the Santa Monica Mountains during the Woolsy fire in Malibu, California

A firefighter keeps watch as the charred remains of a burned out home are seen during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu+56

A firefighter keeps watch as the charred remains of a burned out home are seen during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu

The Southern California fires are flanking the city of Thousand Oaks, threatening the beleaguered community as it tries to mend itself after a gunman stormed a bar holding ‘College Night’ on Wednesday, killing 12 people and himself.

‘Just 48 hours ago our city experience tragedy that had national implications,’ Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox said at a press conference on Friday night.

He pointed out that many of those affected by the shooting had probably been forced to evacuate their homes, and noted that the loss of property was never comparable to the loss of life.

‘Those lives will never be recovered. Tonight we are talking about a serious fire situation, but thankfully we have not lost a single life,’ the mayor said.

Smoke from the Hill Fire could be seen over the area where a vigil was held last night for the victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill less than 24 hours earlier.

The Thousand Oaks Teen Center that was used as meeting point after the massacre has now been transformed into a shelter from the fire.

Paramount Ranch, where a number of Hollywood westerns have been filmed, is seen after it was decimated by a wildfire+56

 

Paramount Ranch, where a number of Hollywood westerns have been filmed, is seen after it was decimated by a wildfire

The HBO series Westworld shoots at Paramount Ranch, which is seen above on Friday decimated by the Woolsey Fire

The HBO series Westworld shoots at Paramount Ranch, which is seen above on Friday decimated by the Woolsey Fire

Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills in Southern California is seen after it was decimated by a wildfire on Friday

Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills in Southern California is seen after it was decimated by a wildfire on Friday

Kanye West's office (above) in Calabasas was evacuated on Friday as the intense flames of the Woolsey Fire approached

Kanye West’s office (above) in Calabasas was evacuated on Friday as the intense flames of the Woolsey Fire approached

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Rainn Wilson, and Alyssa Milano have been forced to evacuate as the flames surrounded their homes.

West’s offices in Calabasas also had to be evacuated after the raging wildfire encroached on the area.

Around the same time reports emerged that Caitlyn Jenner’s 3,500 square foot, 4-bedroom pad overlooking the Malibu beach was destroyed by fierce flames from the same blaze.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga’s mansion nearby in Malibu was seen surrounded by a blanket of thick smoke as the wildfire overtook the beachside city before moving toward Oxnard.

Will Smith posted a video to his Instagram story expressing worry that his own home would be hit by the flames as the path of destruction continues.

In Agoura Hills, the Woolsey Fire destroyed Paramount Ranch, the set of HBO’s Westworld and many other western films and shows.

HBO said that no cast or crew were at the Paramount Ranch location when it burned down.

Among the films that have been shot at the ranch are Caught in the Draft with Bob Hope, The Lake House with Sandra Bullock, and TV shows including The Mentalist, Weeds and Quickdraw.

Dr Quinn Medicine Woman was also shot there from 1992 to 1997.

Nearly 20,000 acres have been scorched by the twin wildfires tearing across Ventura and Los Angeles counties

Nearly 20,000 acres have been scorched by the twin wildfires tearing across Ventura and Los Angeles counties

The Woolsey fire burns a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, California on Friday. The fire has reached 14,000 acres

The Woolsey fire burns a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, California on Friday. The fire has reached 14,000 acres

A firefighter wipes soot from his eyes while fighting flames engulfing a home near Malibu Lake in Southern California on Friday. As of midday the Woolsey and Hill Fires ravaging the area are zero percent contained, according to state officials

A firefighter wipes soot from his eyes while fighting flames engulfing a home near Malibu Lake in Southern California on Friday. As of midday the Woolsey and Hill Fires ravaging the area are zero percent contained, according to state officials

A firefighter battles flames at a home in Thousand Oaks, where the community still reeling from Wednesday night's shooting

A firefighter battles flames at a home in Thousand Oaks, where the community still reeling from Wednesday night’s shooting

The Hill and Woolsey Fires have approached Thousand Oaks from both sides as they scorch a path toward the Pacific

The Hill and Woolsey Fires have approached Thousand Oaks from both sides as they scorch a path toward the Pacific

A helicopter dispenses water over flames burning a portion of Griffith Park in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, which is located in the park, are preparing animals to be evacuated as the Woolsey Fire approaches+56

A helicopter dispenses water over flames burning a portion of Griffith Park in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, which is located in the park, are preparing animals to be evacuated as the Woolsey Fire approaches

A large plum of smoke from a brush fire rises over a congested Interstate 5 in Los Angeles as thousands evacuate their homes 

A large plum of smoke from a brush fire rises over a congested Interstate 5 in Los Angeles as thousands evacuate their homes

An aerial view of the Hill Fire in Southern California shows smoke rising out of Camarillo after the blaze jumped over Highway 101, threatening thousands of homes and forcing a number of communities to evacuate+56

An aerial view of the Hill Fire in Southern California shows smoke rising out of Camarillo after the blaze jumped over Highway 101, threatening thousands of homes and forcing a number of communities to evacuate

Large plumes of smoke from a fast moving wildfire are seen in the background as volunteers care for evacuated horses at The Pierce College Equine Center where evacuees are bringing their large and small animals in the Woodland Hills section of LA

Large plumes of smoke from a fast moving wildfire are seen in the background as volunteers care for evacuated horses at The Pierce College Equine Center where evacuees are bringing their large and small animals in the Woodland Hills section of LA

The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted a picture of a truck in front of a blazing hillside as smoke billows behind it 

The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted a picture of a truck in front of a blazing hillside as smoke billows behind it

Smoke from the Hill Fire could be seen over the area where a vigil was held last night for the victims of Wednesday's shooting

Smoke from the Hill Fire could be seen over the area where a vigil was held last night for the victims of Wednesday’s shooting

The fire has been spread by powerful winds that pushed it through canyons and to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which were evacuated.

More than 165 firefighters were rushed to the area and eight aerial air tankers have been ordered to tackle the fierce blaze from above.

A ‘red flag’ warning came into effect at 10am today in the San Diego County mountains and valleys and will last until 10pm Friday.

In nearby Newbury Park where ex-marine Ian Michael Long lived, residents stood and watched two scenes unfolding – one of reporters standing outside of home of the suspected shooter, the other a brush fire raging behind their homes.

Connor Chaney, 21, told the LA Times: ‘You feel hopeless. There’s nothing you can do over there or there.’

This morning the flames were said to be only three miles from the Borderline Bar and Grill.

The Hill Fire is burning in the same area as the Springs Fire from 2013, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

‘The wind is definitely pushing this thing toward the ocean just like the Springs Fire a few years ago,’ Ventura County Fire Capt Brian McGrath told the Los Angeles Times. ‘It’s very fast.’

Flames from the Woolsey Fire scorch a hill on Friday in Calabasas, where more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated

Flames from the Woolsey Fire scorch a hill on Friday in Calabasas, where more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated

Strong, dry winds are expected to continue into Friday night, pushing the wildfires westward toward the Pacific Ocean

Strong, dry winds are expected to continue into Friday night, pushing the wildfires westward toward the Pacific Ocean

Kim Kardashian and three children given just one hour to evacuate wildfire-threatened Calabasas mansion

Kim Kardashian and her three children were given just one hour to evacuate her home as wildfires swept through California.

The reality TV star flew back from San Quentin jail, where a death row inmate she is campaigning to have released is being held, when she was told to quickly flee the devastating blazes.

As the 38-year-old came into land in her private plane she took aerial videos and pictures of the flames spreading around the around Los Angeles and Ventura County.

The star has asked her fans to ‘pray for Calabasas’ after the reality TV star was ‘evacuated’ from her home due to wildfires.

She took to Instagram to share aerial photos of the Woosley fire in California and praise the efforts of firefighters.

However once she landed, Kim revealed her and kids North, Chicago and Saint only ‘had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home’.

The socialite was returning from a business trip when she spotted the fires from the air.

 

Kim Kardashian (left) hides her makeup free face behind her friend Larsa Pippen while leaving Epione Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills as her home in Calabasas is threatened by the raging Woolsey Fire on Friday

Kim Kardashian (left) hides her makeup free face behind her friend Larsa Pippen while leaving Epione Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills as her home in Calabasas is threatened by the raging Woolsey Fire on Friday

 

Kim Kardashian (left) hides her makeup free face behind her friend Larsa Pippen while leaving Epione Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills as her home in Calabasas is threatened by the raging Woolsey Fire on Friday

Kim had just one hour to evacuate the $20million home she shares with Kanye West in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Calabasas

Kim had just one hour to evacuate the $20million home she shares with Kanye West in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Calabasas

And once on the ground, Kim made sure to document the action, sharing pictures and videos of first responders to the tragedy.

She captioned as video with: ‘Fire fighters are arriving. Thank you for all that you do for us!!!’ wrote the mother-of-three.’

Kim and rapper Kanye West’s 15,000 sqft estate in Hidden Hills is thought to be worth around $20million.

The fire first erupted on Thursday afternoon east of neighboring city Chatsworth and has since grown to 4,000 acres in Ventura County.

It rapidly burned down several houses as mandatory evacuations were ordered in areas like the Kardashian neighborhood of Hidden Hills.

Kim and her sister Kourtney, 39, both live in exclusive Calabasas, near their mother Kris Jenner and brother Rob.

Kourtney left her Calabasas home and posted an Instagram picture of suitcases in her car as she went to stay with sister Kendall Jenner’s house in Beverly Hills and joked she was raiding her pantry for food.

Kim Kardashian has asked her fans to 'pray for Calabasas' after the reality TV star was 'evacuated' from her home due to wildfires. She shared the photo above with her three kids [L-R] North, Chicago and Saint last night

Kim Kardashian has asked her fans to ‘pray for Calabasas’ after the reality TV star was ‘evacuated’ from her home due to wildfires. She shared the photo above with her three kids [L-R] North, Chicago and Saint last night

She wrote alongside the picture: ‘I pray that everyone is kept safe and protected from these fires. No Calabasas tonight.’

Kris Jenner’s upmarket Hidden Hills neighborhood was evacuated, but she was also not at her $9.9m home as the drama unfolded as she was watching daughter, Kendall, take to the catwalk and star in the Victoria Secrets fashion show in New York.

Kylie was not in California at the time as she was supporting boyfriend, Travis Scott, at his Astroworld tour in Baltimore, Maryland.

Khloe Kardashian revealed that she and daughter True were staying with Rob Kardashian and his daughter, Dream, who live near Kris, but were not forced out of their home.

She tweeted last night: ‘I am with Rob, Dream and True and I am up keeping watch! Saying prayers and thanking all of the brave firefighters who risk their lives for us.’

Reporting by Chris Dyer for MailOnline 

On Friday officials confirmed that five people had been found dead in their vehicles after having been burnt alive by ferocious flames in Northern California’s Camp Fire.

In the northern part of the state, the town of Paradise has been ‘pretty much destroyed’ by a raging wildfire that forced some 27,000 terrified residents to flee their homes.

All of the city’s 27,000 residents were ordered to evacuate on Thursday as the wildfire quickly turned into an inferno. Many residents said traffic jams developed as they left as panicked people fled, some abandoning their cars to try to escape on foot.

Evacuees were seen clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the blaze that engulfed the town, destroying hundreds of buildings and causing highway pylons to collapse into roads.

One witness Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene as she fled the town as the flames took over, saying: ‘Things started exploding. People started getting out of their vehicles and running.’

 

Towering “firenado” seen swirling amid the that has scorched at least 20,000 acres in Northern California.

The Butte County Sheriff has received reports of multiple fatalities, but officials are trying to confirm those reports, authorities say. https://abcn.ws/2DtY1QD 

Embedded video

An ABC News crews caught the 'firenado' in action as wildfires swept through Butte County in nouthern California 

An ABC News crews caught the ‘firenado’ in action as wildfires swept through Butte County in nouthern California

A red flag warning was in effect from Friday morning, meaning firefighters face a battle against the high dry winds and low humidity that help spread the wildfire.

On Thursday night fire officials said the blaze was ‘growing uncontrollably’ as it swept across Butte County at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute, and more than 2,200 firefighters fought against the flames.

Cal Fire Capt Scott McLean late last night: ‘Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation. The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out.’

McLean says a wind-whipped wildfire destroyed thousands of structures but he said they won’t have an exact count, nor have an idea over the extent of any injuries until they can get into the dangerous area.

Little remains of the the Blackbear Diner as fire roared past it taking with it a hospital, a gas station and dozens of homes

 

Officials say nearly every structure in Paradise has been razed by out-of-control flames and multiple people have likely died. Pictured are the remains of the Blackbear Diner as fire roared past, taking with it a hospital, a gas station and dozens of homes

Some 2,000 firefighters are working to bring the Camp Fire under control as it ravages Butte County north of Sacramento

Some 2,000 firefighters are working to bring the Camp Fire under control as it ravages Butte County north of Sacramento

 The Camp Fire has spread across 15 square miles in Butte County north of Sacramento. Pictured: A home in Paradise is engulfed in flames as the Camp Fire tears through the town of 27,000 people

 The Camp Fire has spread across 15 square miles in Butte County north of Sacramento. Pictured: A home in Paradise is engulfed in flames as the Camp Fire tears through the town of 27,000 people

Embers blow in the wind as the flames from the Camp Fire tear through a KFC restaurant in Paradise on Thursday+56

Embers blow in the wind as the flames from the Camp Fire tear through a KFC restaurant in Paradise on Thursday

A home burns to the ground in Paradise as the Camp Fire quadrupled in size over Thursday night, scorching 110 square miles 

A home burns to the ground in Paradise as the Camp Fire quadrupled in size over Thursday night, scorching 110 square miles

A Jack in the Box fast food restaurant is engulfed in flames as the Camp Fire overtook the town of Paradise Thursday night

A Jack in the Box fast food restaurant is engulfed in flames as the Camp Fire overtook the town of Paradise Thursday night

The restaurant was one of the many commercial building destroyed in Paradise, as the Camp Fire continues to burn out of control through the region, fueled by high winds in Butte County, California+56

The restaurant was one of the many commercial building destroyed in Paradise, as the Camp Fire continues to burn out of control through the region, fueled by high winds in Butte County, California

California Highway Patrol officers attempt to transfer a potbelly pig they rescued to Butte County Animal control officers in Paradise, as the Camp Fire continues to burn out of control through the region

California Highway Patrol officers attempt to transfer a potbelly pig they rescued to Butte County Animal control officers in Paradise, as the Camp Fire continues to burn out of control through the region

Paradise resident Cathy Fallonstands near the charred remains of her home. 'I'll be darned if I'm going to let those horses burn in the fire' said Fallon, who stayed on her property to protect her 14 horses, 'It has to be true love.' The horses all survived

Paradise resident Cathy Fallonstands near the charred remains of her home. ‘I’ll be darned if I’m going to let those horses burn in the fire’ said Fallon, who stayed on her property to protect her 14 horses, ‘It has to be true love.’ The horses all survived

An American flag stands above the smoldering ground outside a home in Paradise after the Camp Fire passed through

An American flag stands above the smoldering ground outside a home in Paradise after the Camp Fire passed through

‘Ominous’ piece of burnt paper descends from sky amid fast-moving California blaze

As a vicious wildfire rages through Northern California, the warning to flee came to one woman in the form of a small ‘ominous’ piece of charred paper that descended from the sky.

Nicole Kowalczyke, of Chico, said she stepped outside her home on Thursday around 9am to assess the menacing cloud of black smoke taking over the sky about 10 miles away from her home.

As she stood outside the single piece of burnt parchment floated down from above.

‘I thought, “If this is a piece of the Bible, this is going to be crazy,”‘ she said to the San Francisco Gate. ‘It looked very ominous. It was kind of a like a leaf…how they fall down.’

Nicole Kowalczyke, of Chico, shared this photo of a charred piece of paper that descended from the blackened sky on Thursday, near the Camp Fire blaze

Nicole Kowalczyke, of Chico, shared this photo of a charred piece of paper that descended from the blackened sky on Thursday, near the Camp Fire blaze

But upon a closer look she said the singed piece of paper appeared to be from a fire manual and included information about fire hose pressure.

She shared it to social media where writing: ‘I was standing outside looking at the smoke in the sky with the #campfire near my office and this fell out of the sky.’

The  picture racked up more than 500 likes with some Twitter users saying the paper looked like a ‘holy message’.

‘Wow. At least it’s not a piece of a page from the #Bible. Then, I would be getting in my vehicle and heading for the ocean…’ twitter user David Nyro wrote.

‘Dang…don’t scare me….there for a minute, I thought it was the Constitution,’ one Twitter user wrote.

‘That’s a poignant photo. Hope you aren’t too close,’ another added.

‘This is disconcerting to see. Burned debris falling from sky from #CampFire is a page from a fire truck manual,’ yet another Twitter fan said.

Some online users said they had eerily similar incidents happen to them.

‘I’ll never forget that happening years ago during the huge Oakland fires. Just heartbreaking,’ Twitter user Kim O’Connor said.

‘I had a VERY similar thing happen to me during the Carr Fire a few months ago in Redding. The page was from a Self Help/Inspirational book, but nearly the whole page fell at my feet during the fire tornado.’

While officials say there have likely been a number of fatalities from the rapidly expanding Camp Fire, no official number has been reported.

Meanwhile, families in search of missing loved ones have received aid from an unlikely source: actor James Woods.

The award-winning actor has filled his Twitter page -@RealJamesWoods – with retweets of nearly 20 posts from relatives pleading for information about their missing loved ones.

Woods tweeted: ‘To all my wonderful followers: I want to thank you for your extraordinary efforts tonight connecting people with lost loved ones in the terrible #CampFire. Your thousands of retweets of invaluable information literally saved lives. God bless you all.’

At the top of the profile Woods pinned a link to a running list of missing persons, which stood at a total of 40 as of 10am PST Friday morning.

The award-winning actor has retweeted nearly 20 posts from relatives pleading for information about loved ones

Actor James Woods has been helping families in search of loved ones caught up in the Camp Fire by turning his Twitter account - @RealJamesWoods - into a missing persons database

Actor James Woods has been helping families in search of loved ones caught up in the Camp Fire by turning his Twitter account – @RealJamesWoods – into a missing persons database

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6371393/Southern-California-fires-force-evacuation-1-000-homes.html

 

 

 

2019 California wildfires

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2019 California wildfires
Statistics[1]
Total fires 6,402
Total area 250,349 acres (101,313 ha)
Cost $163 million in suppression[2]
Fatalities 3
Non-fatal injuries 22
Season
← 2018
2020 →

The 2019 wildfire season is the current-running fire season in California. So far, over 6,402 fires have been recorded according to Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, totaling an estimated of 250,349 acres (101,313 ha) of burned land as of November 3.[1] Although the 2019 fire season had been relatively quiet in California through mid-September as compared to past years,[3] October through December is still expected to have the greatest fire potential as the Diablo winds and the Santa Ana winds pick up.[4]

In late October, the Kincade Fire became the largest fire of the year, burning 77,758 acres (31,468 ha) in Sonoma County by November 6.

Massive preemptive public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events have been controversial. PG&E and other power utilities have preemptively shut off power to over one million residents due to perceived risk of wildfires starting in high winds due to high-voltage power lines. While large areas have been without power for days, people in fire danger areas had trouble getting updates and critical life support equipment would not work without backup power.[5]

 

Early projections

Smoke from the Kincade Fire on October 24 as viewed from GOES-17

Fire behavioral experts and climatologists have warned that heavy rains from months early in the year have produced an excess of vegetation that would become an abundance of dry fuel later in the year as the fire season gets underway.[6] According to the US Forest Service and Interior Department officials, early projections indicated that the fire season would possibly be worse than the year prior, stating that “if we’re lucky, this year will simply be a challenging one.” This assessment was written on the basis of noting that the state has recently been seeing consistently destructive fires more often than ever before.[7]

Wildfires

The following is a list of fires that burned more than 1,000 acres (400 ha), or produced significant structural damage or casualties.

Name County Acres Start date Containment date Notes hideRef
Refuge Kern 2,500 May 7 May 9 1 structure destroyed [8]
Boulder San Luis Obispo 1,127 June 5 June 11 [9]
Sand Yolo 2,512 June 8 June 17 7 structures destroyed, 2 injuries [10][11]
West Butte Sutter 1,300 June 8 June 10 [12][13]
McMillan San Luis Obispo 1,764 June 12 June 14 [12][14]
Lonoak Monterey 2,546 June 25 June 26 Downed PG&E power line was the cause[15] [16]
Rock Stanislaus 2,422 June 25 June 27 [17]
Cow InyoTulare 1,975 July 25 October 11 Caused by lightning strike [18]
Springs Mono 4,840 July 26 October 7 Caused by lightning strike [19]
Tucker Modoc 14,150 July 28 August 15 Unintentionally caused by vehicular traffic along California State Route 139[20][21] [22][23]
W-1 McDonald Lassen 1,020 August 8 August 11 Caused by lightning strike [24][25]
Gaines Mariposa 1,300 August 16 August 20 [26]
Mountain Shasta 600 August 22 August 26 14 buildings destroyed, 7 damaged and 3 people injured [27]
Long Valley Lassen 2,438 August 24 August 27 [28]
R-1 Ranch Lassen 3,380 August 28 September 5 Caused by lightning strike [29]
Tenaja Riverside 1,926 September 4 September 14 [30]
Walker Plumas 54,608 September 4 September 25 9 structures destroyed [31]
Taboose Inyo 10,296 September 4 Active (85% contained) Caused by lightning strike [32]
Lime Siskiyou 1,872 September 4 September 19 Caused by lightning strike [33][34]
Middle Trinity 1,339 September 5 October 5 Caused by lightning strike [35]
Red Bank Tehama 8,838 September 5 September 13 Caused by lightning strike; 2 buildings destroyed [36]
South Tehama 5,332 September 5 October 11 Caused by lightning strike [37][38]
Lone Modoc 5,737 September 5 September 13 Caused by lightning strike [39][40]
Springs Mono 4,840 September 6 September 23 Caused by lightning strike [41][42]
Briceburg Mariposa 5,563 October 6 October 24 1 structure destroyed [43][44]
Sandalwood Riverside 1,011 October 10 October 14 Trash in a garbage truck caught fire and spread to nearby brush
74 structures destroyed, 16 structures damaged, 2 civilian fatalities
[45][46]
Caples El Dorado 3,435 October 10 November 1 Caused by a controlled burn that went out of control [47]
Saddleridge Los Angeles 8,799 October 10 October 31 Unconfirmed cause, but reported that high-voltage SCE transmission line malfunctioned near point of origin
19 structures destroyed, 88 structures damaged, 1 civilian fatality, 8 firefighter injuries
[48][49]
Kincade Sonoma 77,758 October 23 November 6 Unconfirmed cause, but reported that high-voltage PG&E transmission line malfunctioned near point of origin
374 structures destroyed, 40 structures damaged, 0 reported deaths, 2 firefighters injured
[50][51][52][53]
Tick Los Angeles 4,615 October 24 October 31 22 structures destroyed, 27 structures damaged [54]
Getty Los Angeles 745 October 28 November 6 Caused by a tree branch that fell on a power line during high winds
12 homes destroyed, 5 homes damaged
[55][56][57]
Easy Ventura 1,806 October 30 November 2 Threatened the area near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley[58] [59][60][61]
Hillside San Bernardino 200 October 31 Active (95% contained) 6 homes destroyed, 18 homes damaged [62]
Maria Ventura 9,999 October 31 November 5 Brush fire broke out at around 6:15 p.m. October 31 on South Mountain in Santa Paula[63] [64]
Ranch Tehama 2,534 November 3 Active (55% contained) 3 injuries, acreage reduced from 3,768 due to better mapping [65][66] [67]

Other fires

Three people were injured during the Moose Fire (August 12–17).[68] Two people were injured and four structures were destroyed during the Country Fire (September 3–6).[69] Four people were injured during the Lopez Fire (September 21–27),[70] and one during the Electra Fire (September 25).[71] A small brush fire ignited in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles County on October 21. The fire burned 42 acres (17 hectares) within a few hours,[72] forcing the evacuation of 200 homes. Three firefighters suffered injuries while one civilian was treated for respiratory illness.[72][73]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_California_wildfires

 

List: The 20 largest wildfires in California history

Since modern record keeping began in the 1930s, California has had dozens of major fires

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

The Kincade Fire, threatening towns in Sonoma County and causing major evacuations, expanded to 66,231 acres as of Monday morning. That’s more than twice the size of the city of San Francisco. So far, however, the fire isn’t yet among the 20 largest in modern California history. The list, ranked by acres burned:

1) Mendocino Complex – July 2018 – Colusa County, Lake County,
Mendocino County & Glenn County – 459,123 acres, 280 structures destroyed, 1 death

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a back fire while battling the Medocino Complex fire on August 7, 2018 near Lodoga, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 

2) Thomas – December 2017 – Ventura & Santa Barbara counties – 281,893 acres, 1,063 structures destroyed, 2 deaths

Flames come close to a house as the Thomas Fire advances toward Santa Barbara County seaside communities on December 10, 2017 in Carpinteria, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) 

3) Cedar – October 2003 – San Diego County – 273,246 acres, 2,820 structures destroyed, 15 deaths

A San Jose firefighter battles a portion of the Cedar Fire using a water spout from atop a firetruck October 27, 2003 near Lakeside in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) 

4) Rush – August 2012 – Lassen County – 271,911 acres in California, 43,666 acres in Nevada, 0 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

5) Rim –  August 2013 – Tuolumne County – 257,314 acres, 112 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

Inmate firefighters walk along Highway 120 after a burnout operation as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) 

6) Zaca – July 2007 – Santa Barbara County – 240,207 acres burned, 1 structure destroyed, 0 deaths

The Zaca Fire, burning in the mountains north of Santa Barbara, Calif., illuminates the smoke covering the mountain top while smaller fire descend toward rural homes, ranches and campgrounds along Paradise Road, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007, as seen in this time-lapse exposure. (AP Photo/ Michael A. Mariant) 

7) Carr – July 2018 – Shasta and Trinity counties – 229,651 acres, 1,614 structures destroyed, 8 deaths

The Carr Fire burn activity surges along Highway 299 near the Trinithy-Shasta county line, near Lewiston, Calif., Sunday, July 29, 2018. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group Archives) 

8) Matilija – September 1932 – Ventura County – 220,000 acres burned, 0 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

9)  Witch – October 2007 – San Diego County – 197,990 acres, 1,650 structures destroyed, 2 deaths

A helicopter prepares to drop water on the Witch Fire on October 23, 2007 in the Del Dios area of Escondido, California. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) 

10) Klamath Complex –  June 2008 – Siskiyou County – 192,038 acres, 0 structures destroyed, 2 deaths

11) Marble Cone – July 1977 – Monterey County – 177,866 acres, 0 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

Firefighters at the Marble Cone Fire in Big Sur on August 15, 1977. (Monterey County Herald Archives) 

12) Laguna – September 1970 – San Diego – 175,425 acres, 382 structures destroyed, 5 deaths

13) Basin Complex – June 2008 – Monterey County, 162,818 acres, 58 structures, 0 deaths

The Basin Complex Fire on the east side of Highway One near the Esselen Institute in Monterey County on Monday, July 7, 2008. (Vern Fisher/Monterey County Herald) 

14) Day – September 2006 – Ventura County – 162,702 acres, 11 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

A crew member from the California Department of Forestry lights a backfire to try and stop the Day Fire from reaching Interstate 5 Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006, near Castaic, Calif. (AP Photo/The Ventura Star, Juan Carlo) 

15) Station – August 2009 – Los Angeles County – 160,557 acres, 209 structures destroyed, 2 deaths

Los Angeles County fire fighters mop up hot spots as they fight the Station Fire August 30, 2009 in Acton, California.(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 

16) Camp – November 2018 – Butte County – 153,336 acres, 18,804 structures destroyed, 86 deaths

The massive plume from the Camp Fire, burning in the Feather River Canyon and near Paradise, wafts over the Sacramento Valley as seen from Chico on Thursday November 8, 2018. (David Little/Bay Area News Group) 

17) Rough – July 2015 – Fresno County – 151,623 acres, 4 structures destroyed, 0
deaths

18 McNally -July 2002 – Tulare County -150,696 acres, 17 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

Flames of the McNally Fire are reflected in the North Fork of the Kern River July 23, 2002 in the Sequoia National Forest north of Kernville, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) 

19) Stanislaus Complex – August 1987 – Tuolumne County – 145,980 acres, 28 structures destroyed, 1 death

20) Big Bar Complex – August 1999 – Trinity County – 140,948 acres, 0 structures destroyed, 0 deaths

Looking to the southwest from the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation about 50 miles east of Eureka, Calif., a thick blanket of fog-like smoke drifts far to the southwest as the Big Bar Complex wildfires continue to burn Oct. 7, 1999. (AP Photo/Times-Standard, Shaun Walker) 

Source: CalFire, US Forest Service

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/28/list-the-20-largest-wildfires-in-california-history/?shared=email&msg=fail

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1344, October 18, 2019, Story 1: Five Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos — Story 2: Britain Finally Has European Union Divorce Agreement But Will Parliament Approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal? — Videos –Story 3: Hillary Clinton Rampant Russian Delusions, Lying and Paranoia — Russia Dumped Hillary Clinton for Tulsi Gabbard As The Russian Choice For Their Candidate in 2020? — In Your Guts You Know Hillary Gone Nuts —  Videos — Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1299 July 31, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

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Story 1: FIve Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos —

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Syria, Turkey, Kurds, ISIS & Trump & Putin, and how the Middle East unravelled in murderous chaos

Turkey in northern Syria explained

The US, Daesh and the PKK: Explaining Turkey’s operation in Syria

Turkey backed Syrian forces move into Tal Abyad

Turkish, Kurdish forces accuse each other of violating cease-fire

How the Kurds became a key player in Syria’s war

The PKK explained

The PKK-YPG connection

The Kurds

The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

Turkish and Kurdish forces clash despite ceasefire

Syria: Kurds’ fury as Trump orders US troop withdrawal

War in Syria: Can the Kurdish forces fight back?

Turkey invades Syria: Who are the players and what do they want? | DW News

What’s next for the Kurds? | ITV News

Why the world is worried about Turkey

PBS NewsHour West live show October 18, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — October 18, 2019

Bashar al-Assad: ‘Turkey will pay a heavy price’ for Syrian involvement

Al-Assad’s troops enter northern towns to confront offensive

Assad forces are moving into towns and villages once held by the Kurds | ITV News

Race to the border: Syrian Kurds call in Assad against Turkey offensive

An Interview with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan

The war against Assad in Syria

Civil war in Syria has already claimed the lives of more than 60.000 people. The prospect that there will soon be an end to the murdering is bad. “Assad listens to no one”, suggests Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when describing his experiences with the Syrian president. The former UN negotiator Kofi Annan, who attempted to mediate between the fronts for several months, always had the feeling that “Assad will not accept reality”. At the same time, Annan makes the USA and the Syrian opposition jointly responsible for the disaster: “Those calling for Assad to resign as a precondition for talks make negotiations impossible”. In an exclusive interview, Syria’s President, Bashar al Assad, defended attacks by his air force on rebels in Syrian cities, which also massively effect his own people, said: “We have to defend ourselves as the tactics of the enemy force us to”. In the same interview, which was recorded at the end of 2012 for this documentary,

Assad also made “foreign terrorists responsible for the situation in his country”. In his documentary, Grimme award winner Hubert Seipel analyses the dangerous situation in Syria. Apart from his meeting with Assad, he conducted exclusive interviews with Kofi Annan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Seipel illuminated a conflict in which not only Kalashnikovs and missiles, but also the Internet plays the central role in public opinion. “False information and psychological warfare make up a very large part of the Syrian Civil War. It is significantly worse than in previous wars that I had ever been involved in”, added Kofi Annan, describing the massive disinformation. Whoever has control of the images of war, has the power to influence political decisions. Massacre marketing is a powerful weapon.

Frontline – The Battle for Syria

2012 documentary on the Syrian Civil War by Frontline

The Boy who started the Syrian War | Featured Documentary

The Cost of the Syrian War

Syria’s child refugees: ‘You feel that they have lost their hearts

Syrians Return Home After Humiliating Refugee-Life in Europe | The Quint

The Ingraham Angle 10/18/19 | Fox Breaking News Laura Ingraham October 18, 2019

Rand Paul Discusses Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Syria | The View

Neoconservatives vs. America: A Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy Since 9/11

Ron Paul: Americans Are Forced to Pay for U.S. Government’s Interventionist Foreign Policy

Ron Paul’s 2003 House speech about the danger of neoconservatism

 

Kurdistan Workers’ Party

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Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK)
Leader Cemîl Bayik and Besê Hozat [tr]
Founded 1978; 41 years ago
Headquarters Qandil Mountains
Paramilitary wing People’s Defence Forces(HPG)
Free Women’s Units (YJA-STAR)
Ideology Kurdish nationalism[1]
Communalism
Democratic confederalism[2]
Libertarian socialism[3]
Jineology
Anti-capitalism
National affiliation Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement (HBDH)
International affiliation Kurdistan Communities Union(KCK)
Website
www.pkkonline.org
People’s Defence Forces
Hêzên Parastina Gel (HPG)
Leader(s)
Foundation 1984[8]
Dates of operation 1984–present
Motives Cultural & political rights for the Kurdish population in Turkey.[9]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Communalism[10]
Notable attacks 1984 PKK attacks
May 24, 1993 PKK ambush
2011 Hakkâri attack
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12]
Size Over 32,800 active fighters (2015 Turkish claim)[13]
Website www.hezenparastin.com
Free Women’s Units
Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star (YJA-STAR)
Foundation 2004
Dates of operation 2004–present[14]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Socialism
Communalism[10]
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12][15]
Website www.yja-star.com/ku/

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (KurdishPartiya Karkerên Kurdistanê‎, TurkishKürdistan İşçi Partisi [a]) is a Kurdish militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq, broadly considered as a terrorist group. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state. The PKK has in March 2016 vowed to overthrow the Turkish “fascist AKP” government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[16] For different reasons, the PKK has been designated as “terrorist” organization by Turkey,[17] the United States, the European Union, and Japan.[18]

The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan[19] and 1979 it made its existence known to the public.[20] The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reasons given by the PKK for this were the oppression of Kurds in Turkey and capitalism.[21][22] By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[failed verification][24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27]

Since the PKK’s foundation, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency, however, did not begin until 15 August 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, most of whom were Kurdish civilians through Turkish military actions.[28]

In 1999, PKK leader Öcalan was captured and imprisoned.[29] In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In 2013, the PKK declared a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the solution process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish minority.

Since July 2015, when the ceasefire broke down,[30] violent actions inside Turkey from the government against the PKK and vice versa kept occurring, supplemented with Turkish military action in 2018 against PKK fighters in Iraq, and both in January 2018 and October 2019 against Kurdish political groups (PYD) and forces (YPG and YPJ) in Syria which according to Turkey and some observers[31] are strongly tied to the PKK (see ‘clashing’ details in: Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present)#2015–present).

Contents

History

PKK supporters at 2003 march opposing the Iraq War, London

In the early 1970s, the organization’s core group was made up largely of students led by Abdullah Öcalan (“Apo“) in Ankara. By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991.[23][32][33][34] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27] The group focused to the large oppressed Kurdish population in south-east Turkey. A meeting on 25 November 1978, in a tea house near Diyarbakır is considered the founding meeting.[35] On 27 November 1978, the group adopted the name Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Espousing a Marxist ideology, the group took part in violent conflicts with right-wing entities as a part of the political chaos in Turkey at the time. The group tried to assassinate the Kurdish tribal leader Mehmet Celal Bucak in 1979. According to the PKK sources, he was exploiting the peasants, and collaborated with Turkey in oppressing the Kurds. It is believed that this marked a period of intense urban warfare among other political elements.

Turkish sources claimed that the 1980 Turkish coup d’état pushed the organization to another stage, with members being executed, doing jail time, being subject to capital punishment, or fleeing to Syria. On 10 November 1980, it was claimed that the PKK bombed the Turkish Consulate in Strasbourg, France in a joint operation with the Armenian radical group ASALA, which they claimed as the beginning of a “fruitful collaboration.”[36] The PKK didn’t take responsibility despite a numerous of accusations.

Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed into a paramilitary group, using training camps in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and France. At the same time, some of its members started to get training by the members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who themselves were trained by Soviet personnel in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in Syrian-controlled camps. According to the U. S. government reports, the PKK received significant support by Syria, which allowed it to maintain headquarters in Damascus, as well as by Iran, Iraq, and Libya. It later began to launch attacks and bombings against Turkish governmental installations, the military, and various institutions of the state. The organization focused on attacks against Turkish military targets in Turkey, although civilian targets were also hit. The group started to gain publicity after committing political killings and massacres.[37][38][39][40]

From the mid-1990s, the organization began to lose the upper hand in its operations as a consequence of a change of tactics by Turkey and Syria’s steady abandonment of support for the group. The group also had lost its support from Saddam Hussein.[41] At the same time, the government started to use more violent methods to counter Kurdish militants. From 1996 to 1999, the organization began to use suicide bombers, VBIED and ambush attacks against military and police bases. The role of suicide bombers, especially female ones were encouraged and mythologised by giving them the status of a “goddess of freedom”, and shown as role models for other women after their death. On 30 July 1996, Zeynep Kınacı, a female PKK fighter, carried out the organization’s first suicide attack, killing 8 soldiers and injuring 29 others. The attacks against the civilians, especially the Kurdish citizens who refused to cooperate with them were also reported at the same years. On 20 January 1999, a report published by HRW, stated that the PKK was believed to have been responsible for more than 768 executions. The organization had also reportedly committed 25 massacres, killing more than 300 people. More than hundred victims were children and women.[42][42][43][44][45]

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict was in its peak in the 1990s until the leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured, prosecuted and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment as part of the government’s seeking European Union membership.[46] In the late 1990s, Turkey increased the pressure and the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria ended open Syrian support.[47][48]

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for human rights abuses during the conflict.[49][50] Some judgements are related to executions of Kurdish civilians,[51] torturing,[52] forced displacements,[53]destroyed villages,[54][55][56] arbitrary arrests,[57] murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists and politicians.[58][59][60] As a result of increasing Kurdish population and activism, the Turkish parliament began a controlled process of dismantling some anti-Kurdish legislation, using the term “normalization” or “rapprochement,” depending on the sides of the issue. It partially relaxed the bans on broadcasting and publishing in the Kurdish language, although significant barriers remain.[61] At the same time, the PKK was blacklisted in many countries. On 2 April 2004, the Council of the European Union added the PKK to its list of terrorist organizations. Later that year, the US Treasury moved to freeze assets of branches of the organization. The PKK went through a series of changes, and in 2003 it ended the unilateral truce declared when Öcalan was captured.[62]

On 20 March 2016, the PKK announced the establishment of Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement, a coalition of MaoistsMarxists-Leninists, Apoists, Communists and Hoxhaistswhich aim to attain “democracy and a free future” for “peoples against Imperialism, Capitalism, Chauvinism, Fascism and Racism”, by working towards the overthrow of the ruling AKP government, who they deem collaborative fascist.[63]

Ideology, aims

The organization originated in the 1970s from the radical left and drew its membership from other existing leftist groups, mainly Dev-Genç.[64]:127 During the 1980s, the movement included and cooperated with other ethnic groups, including ethnic Turks, who were following the radical left.[64]:127[64]:129 The organization initially presented itself as part of the worldwide communist revolution. Its aims and objectives have evolved over time towards the goal of national autonomy,[65] and democratic confederalism.[66][67][68]

Around 1995, the PKK ostensibly changed its aim from independence to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy within the Turkish state,[69][70][71] though all the while hardly suspending their military attacks on the Turkish state except for ceasefires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015. In 1995, Öcalan said: “We are not insisting on a separate state under any condition. What we are calling for very openly is a state model where a people’s basic economic, cultural, social, and political rights are guaranteed”.[70]

Whilst this shift in the mid-nineties has been interpreted as one from a call for independence to an autonomous republic,[72] some scholars have concluded that the PKK still maintains independence as the ultimate goal, but through society-building rather than state-building.[73][74]

Nevertheless, the PKK has in March 2016 also vowed to overthrow the Turkish government of Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[75]

The organization has adapted the new Democratic confederalist views of its arrested leader, which aim to replace the United NationsCapitalism and Nation State with the Democratic Federalism which is described as a “system of popularly elected administrative councils, allowing local communities to exercise autonomous control over their assets, while linking to other communities via a network of confederal councils.[76]

Followers of Öcalan and members of the PKK are known, after his diminutive name, as Apocu (Apo-ites) under his movement, Apoculuk (Apoism).[77]

Organization

The PKK has multiple heads in various countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia and West European countries.[78] However, Abdullah Öcalan was the unchallenged leader of the organization. After the capture of Öcalan, authorities induced him to publicly plead for a ceasefire.[79] Though serving life imprisonment, Öcalan is still considered the honorary leader and figurehead of the organization.[80]

Murat Karayılan led the organization from 1999 to 2013. In 2013 Cemil Bayik and Besê Hozat assumed as the first joint leadership.[81] Cemil Bayik, beside Abdullah Öcalan, Kesire Yildirim Öcalan and Haki Karer was one of the core leaders. The organization appointed “Doctor Bahoz,” the nom de guerre of Fehman Huseyin, a Syrian Kurd, in charge of the movement’s military operations signifying the long-standing solidarity among Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan.[82]

Wings[

Umbrella organization

In 1985, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (KurdishEniye Rizgariye Navata Kurdistan‎, ERNK) was established by the PKK as its popular front wing, with the role of both creating propaganda for the party, and as an umbrella organization for PKK organizations in different segments of the Kurdish population, such as the peasantry, workers, youth, and women. It was dissolved in 1999, after the capture of Abdullah Öcalan.[83][84]

Armed wing

The PKK has an armed wing, originally formed in 1984 as the Kurdistan Freedom Brigades (KurdishHazen Rizgariya Kurdistan‎, HRK),[85] renamed to the People’s Liberation Army of Kurdistan (KurdishArteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan‎, ARGK) in 1986,[83] and again renamed to the People’s Defense Forces (KurdishHêzên Parastina Gel‎, HPG) in 1999.[86]

Women’s armed wing

The Free Women’s Units of Star (KurdishYekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star‎,[87] YJA-STAR) was established in 2004 as the women’s armed wing of the PKK, emphasizing the issue of women’s liberation.[14]

Training camps

The first training camps were established in 1982 in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and also in Beqaa Valley with the support of the Syrian government.[88][89] After the Iran-Iraq war and the Kurdish civil war, the PKK moved all its camps to Northern Iraq in 1998. The PKK had also completely moved to Qandil Mountains from Beqaa Valley, under intensive pressure, after Syria expelled Öcalan and shut down all camps established in the region.[89] At the time, Northern Iraq was experiencing a vacuum of control after the Gulf War-related Operation Provide Comfort. Instead of a single training camp which could be easily destroyed, the organization created many small camps. During this period the organization set up a fully functioning enclave with training camps, storage facilities, and reconnaissance and communications centers.

In 2007, the organization was believed to have camps strung out through the mountains that straddle the border between Turkey and Iraq, including in Sinaht, Haftanin, Kanimasi and Zap.[90] The organization developed two types of camps. The mountain camps, located in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, are used as forward bases from which militants carry out attacks against Turkish military bases. The units deployed there are highly mobile and the camps have only minimal infrastructure.[90] The other permanent camps, in the Qandil Mountains of Iraq, have more developed infrastructure—including a field hospital, electricity generators and a large proportion of the PKK’s lethal and non-lethal supplies.[90] The organization is also using the Qandil mountain camps for its political activities.

It was claimed in 2004 that there was another political training camp in Belgium, evidence that the organization had used training camps in Europe for political and ideological training.[91]

Political representation

The organization had sympathizer parties in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey beginning in the early 1990s. The establishment of direct links to the organization has been a question. In sequence HEP/DEP/HADEP/DEHAP/DTP and the BDP, which later changed its name to Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on 11 July 2014,[92] as well as the HDP have been accused of sympathizing with the PKK, since they have refused to brand it as a terrorist group.

Political organizations established in Turkey are banned from propagating or supporting separatism. Several political parties supporting Kurdish rights have been allegedly banned on this pretext. The constitutional court claimed to find direct links between the HEP/DEP/HADEP and the PKK. In 2008 the DTP-party was prosecuted by the constitutional court. It is reported that Turkey has used the PKK as an excuse to close Kurdish political parties.

Turkish-Kurdish politician and conspiracist Abdülmelik Fırat had claimed the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded by the PKK, and that 80 percent of Kurds do not vote for this party.[93] Senior DTP leaders maintain that they support a unified Turkey within a democratic framework. Aysel Tuğluk published an article in Radikal in May 2007 as the co-president of DTP, to prove that claim.[94]

Several parliamentarians and other elected representatives have been jailed for speaking in Kurdish, carrying Kurdish colors or otherwise allegedly “promoting separatism”, most famous among them being Leyla Zana.[95] The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for arresting and executing Kurdish writers, journalists and politicians in numerous occasions. Between 1990 and 2006 Turkey was condemned to pay 33 million euros in damages in 567 cases. The majority of the cases were related to events that took place in southeastern Anatolia[96] Politicians of the HDP are often accused and prosecuted for being members of the PKK.[97] In Iraq the political party Tevgera Azadî is said to have close to the PKK.[98]

Alleged links with Turkish intelligence

During the controversial Ergenekon trials in Turkey, allegations have been made that the PKK is linked to elements of the Turkish intelligence community.

Şamil Tayyar, author and member of the ruling AK Party, claimed that Öcalan was released in 1972 after just three months’ detention on the initiative of the National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT), and that his 1979 escape to Syria was aided by elements in MİT.[99] Öcalan has admitted making use of money given by the MIT to the PKK, which he says was provided as part of MIT efforts to control him.[100]

Former police special forces member Ayhan Çarkın alleged that the state, using the clandestine Ergenekon network, colluded with militant groups such as the PKK, Dev-Sol and Turkish Hezbollah, with the goal of profiting from the war.[101]

A witness to the trials testified that General Levent Ersöz, former head of JITEM, had frequent contact with PKK commander Cemîl Bayik.[102]

According to official figures, it was claimed that nearly 2000 PKK members became itirafçı (“confessors”) after their arrest. Some were persuaded or coerced to play an active role in the conflict, particularly under the direction of the Turkish Gendarmerie‘s unofficial JİTEMunit.[citation needed]

Activities

During its establishment in the mid-1970s, amid violent clashes country-wide, the organization used classic violent methods, such as the alleged failed assassination of Mehmet Celal Bucak as a propaganda-of-the-deed.[64] After the 1980 military coup, the organization developed into a paramilitary organization using resources it acquired in Syria, Russia, Europe and Beqaa Valley in part of ex-Syrian-controlled Lebanon. After 1984, PKK began also to use the Maoist theory of people’s war.[103][104]

The PKK has faced condemnation by some countries for executing civilians, using suicide bombers,[105][106] Child Soldiers[107] and involvement in drug trafficking.[108]

Political activity 1978–1984

In the first phase (1978–1984), the PKK tried to gain the support of the Kurdish population. It attacked the machinery of government and distributed propaganda in the region. PKK tactics were based on ambushsabotage, riots, protests, and demonstrations against the Turkish government. During these years, the PKK also fought a turf war against other radical Islamist Kurdish and Turkish organisations in Turkey. Turkish newspapers claimed that the PKK effectively used the prison force to gain appeal among the population which PKK has denied.[109][110] In the whole Turkey, this period was characterized by violent clashes which culminated in the 1980 military coup.

During this time, the organization argued that its violent actions against the government forces were explained by the need to defend Kurds in the context of what it considered as the massive cultural suppression of Kurdish identity (including the 1983 Turkish Language Act Ban) and cultural rights carried out by other governments of the region.[111] Turkey also used violent and oppressive methods against its Kurdish citizens to stop them supporting the PKK.

Armed rebellion 1984–1999

In the second phase (1984–1999), which followed the return of civilian rule in 1983, escalating attacks were made on the government’s military and vital institutions all over the country. The objective was to destabilize the Turkish authority through a long, low-intensity confrontation. In addition to skirmishing with Turkish military and police forces and local village guards, the PKK has conducted bomb attacks on government and police installations.[112] Kidnapping and assassination against government and military officials and Kurdish tribal leaders who were named as puppets of the state were performed as well. Widespread sabotages were continued from the first stage. Turkish sources had also claimed that the PKK carried out kidnappings of tourists, primarily in Istanbul, but also at different resorts. However, the PKK had in its history arrested 4 tourists and released them all after warning them to not enter the war zone. The vast majority of PKK’s actions have taken place mainly in Turkey against the Turkish military, although it has on occasions co-operated with other Kurdish nationalist paramilitary groups in neighboring states, such as Iraq and Iran.[113] The PKK has also attacked Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities across Western Europe in the late 1980s. In effect, the Turkish state has led a series of counter-insurgency operations against the PKK, accompanied by political measures, starting with an explicit denunciation of separatism in the 1982 Constitution, and including proclamation of the state of emergency in various PKK-controlled territories starting in 1983 (when the military relinquished political control to the civilians). This series of administrative reforms against terrorism included in 1985 the creation of village guard system by the then prime minister Turgut Özal. Öcalan, in presence of PUK leader Jalal Talabani declared a unilateral cease fire in 1993, and said the PKK did not want to separate from Turkey, but Turkey did not respond to it.[114] Turkey was involved in serious human rights violations during the 1990s. The ECHR has condemned Turkey for executions of Kurdish civilians, torturing, forced displacements and massive arrests.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an effort to win increased support from the Kurdish peasantry, the PKK altered its leftist secular ideology to better accommodate and accept Islamic beliefs. The group also abandoned its previous strategy of attacking Kurdish and Turkish civilians who were against them, focusing instead on government and military targets.[115] In its campaign, the organization has been accused of carrying out atrocities against both Turkish and Kurdish civilians and its actions have been criticised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International[116] and Human Rights Watch[117][citation needed]. Similar actions of the Turkish state have also been criticized by these same groups.

Cease fire 1999–2004

The third phase (1999–2012), after the capture of Öcalan, PKK reorganized itself and new leaders were chosen by its members. The PKK wasn’t active between 2000 and 2003. The organization made radical changes to survive, such as changing its ideology and setting new goals. At the same time, the PKK continued to recruit new members and sustain its fighting force.

According to Turkish sources, in April 2002 at its 8th Party Congress, the PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and proclaimed a commitment to nonviolent activities in support of Kurdish rights. A PKK/KADEK spokesman stated that its armed wing, The People’s Defense Force, would not disband or surrender its weapons for reasons of self-defense. This statement by the PKK/KADEK avowing it would not lay down its arms underscores that the organization maintained its capability to carry out armed operations. PKK/KADEK established a new ruling council in April, its membership virtually identical to the PKK’s Presidential Council. The PKK/KADEK did not conduct an armed attack in 2002; however, the group periodically issued veiled threats that it will resume violence if the conditions of its imprisoned leader are not improved and its forces are attacked by Turkish military, and it continued its military training like before.

In November 2003, another congress was held which lead to renaming itself as the People’s Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK). The stated purpose of the organizational change was to leave behind nationalistic and state-building goals, in favor of creating a political structure to work within the existing nation-states.[118] Through further internal conflict during this period, it is claimed that 1500 militants left the organization,[118] along with many of the leading reformists, including Nizamettin Taş and Abdullah Öcalan‘s younger brother Osman Öcalan[119]

Second insurgency 2004–2012

Kongra-Gel called off the cease-fire at the start of June 2004, saying Turkish security forces had refused to respect the truce. Turkish security forces were increasingly involved in clashes with Kurdish separatist fighters. Ankara claimed that about 2,000 Kurdish fighters had crossed into Turkey from hideouts in mountainous northern Iraq in early June 2004.

While the fight against the Turkish security forces between 2004 and 2010 continued, the PKK and its ancillary organizations continued to enjoy substantial support among the Kurds of Turkey. In 2005, the original name of the organization PKK was restored, while the Kongra-Gel became the legislature of the Koma Komalên Kurdistan.[120][121] Turkey’s struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK was marked by increased clashes across Turkey in 2005. In the Southeast, Turkish security forces were active in the struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK. There were bombings and attempted bombings in resort areas in western Turkey and Istanbul, some of which resulted in civilian casualties. A radical Kurdish separatist group calling itself the Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for many of these attacks. The TAK is a rival to PKK that since 2006 repeatedly damaged the PKK’s efforts to negotiate cease-fires and unlike the PKK, is seeking to establish independent Kurdistan.[122] In 2006 alone, the PKK claimed over 500 victims. In October 2006, the PKK allegedly declared a unilateral cease-fire that slowed the intensity and pace of its attacks, but attacks continued in response to Turkish security forces significant counterinsurgency operations, especially in the southeast. On 21 October 2011 Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran would co-operate with Turkey in some military operations against the PKK.[123]

2012 was the most violent year in the armed conflict between the Turkish State and PKK since 1999. At least 541 individuals lost their lives as a result of the clashes including 316 militants and 282 soldiers. In contrast, 152 individuals lost their lives in 2009 until the Turkish government initiated negotiations with the PKK leadership.[124] The failure of this negotiations contributed to violence that were particularly intensified in 2012. The PKK encouraged by the rising power of the Syrian Kurds increased its attacks in the same year.

During the Syrian Civil War, the Kurds in Syria have established control over their own region with the help of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party as well as with support from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, under President Masoud Barzani.[125]

2013–15 Peace process

Demonstration in Paris for slain PKK workers

In late 2012, the Turkish government began secret talks with Öcalan for a ceasefire.[126] To facilitate talks, government officials transmitted letters between Öcalan in jail to PKK leaders in northern Iraq.[127] On 21 March 2013, a ceasefire was announced.[128] On 25 April, it was announced that the PKK would leave Turkey. Commander Murat Karayılan remarked “As part of ongoing preparations, the withdrawal will begin on May 8, 2013. Our forces will use their right to retaliate in the event of an attack, operation or bombing against our withdrawing guerrilla forces and the withdrawal will immediately stop.”[129] The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq welcomed the idea of refugees from its northern neighbor.[130] The BDP held meetings across the region to explain the pending withdrawal to concerned citizens. “The 8th of May is a day we both anticipate and fear,” explained party leader Pinar Yilmaz. “We don’t trust the government at all. Many people here are afraid that once the guerrillas are gone, the Turkish military will crack down on us again.”[128]

The withdrawal began as planned with groups of fighters crossing the border from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.[126] Iraqi leadership in Baghdad, however, declared that it would not accept armed groups into its territory. “The Iraqi government welcomes any political and peaceful settlement”, read an official statement. “[But] it does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq’s security and stability.”[130] The prospect of armed Kurdish forces in northern Iraq threatens to increase tensions between the region and Baghdad who are already at odds over certain oil producing territory. PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz sought to ease concerns stating the plan would boost democracy. “The [peace] process is not aimed against anyone,” he said “and there is no need for concerns that the struggle will take on another format and pose a threat to others.”[130]

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 PKK fighters resided in Turkey at the time.[citation needed] The withdrawal process was expected to take several months even if Iraq does not intervene to try to stop it.[130] On 14 May 2013, the first groups of 13 male and female fighters entered Iraq’s Heror area near the Metina mountain after leaving Turkey. They carried with them Kalashnikov assault rifles, light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers before a welcoming ceremony.[131]

Kurdish PKK guerilla, 23 March 2014

On 29 July 2013, the PKK issued an ultimatum in saying that the peace deal would fail if reforms were not begun to be implemented within a month.[132] In October, Cemil Bayik warned that unless Turkey resumed the peace process, the PKK would resume operations to defend itself against it. He also accused Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds during the Syrian Civil War by supporting other extremist rebels who were fighting them.[133]

Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani backed the initiative saying, alongside Erdogan: “This is a historic visit for me … We all know it would have been impossible to speak here 15 or 20 years ago. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a very brave step towards peace. I want my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process.”[134]

2014 action against Islamic State and renewed tensions in Turkey

The PKK engaged the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in Syria in mid-July 2014[135] as part of the Syrian Civil War. In August the PKK engaged IS in Northern Iraq and pressured the Government of Turkey to take a stand against IS.[136][137] PKK forces helped tens of thousands of Yazidis escape an encircled Mount Sinjar.[138] In September 2014, during the Siege of Kobanî, the PKK, receiving direct U.S. military support,[139] engaged with Islamic State forces in Syria who were attacking Kurdish city Kobane, which resulted in conflicts with Turks on the border and an end to a cease-fire that had been in place over a year.[140] The PKK accused Turkey of supporting ISIS. The PKK participated in many offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.[141]

A number of Turkish Kurds rallied in large-scale street protests, demanding that the government in Ankara take more forceful action to combat IS and to enable Kurdish militants already engaged against IS to more freely move and resupply. These protests included a PKK call for its supporters to turn out.[142] Clashes between police and protesters killed at least 31 people. The Turkish government continued to restrict PKK-associated fighters’ movement across its borders, arresting 260 People’s Protection Units fighters who were moving back into Turkey. On 14 October, Turkish Air Force fighter-bombers attacked PKK positions in the vicinity of Daglica, Hakkari Province.[143]

Turkish military statements claimed that the bombings were in response to PKK attacks on a Turkish military outpost in the area. The Firat news agency, which Al Jazeera describes as “close to the PKK”, claimed that Turkish forces had been shelling the PKK positions for days beforehand and that the PKK action had itself been retaliation for those artillery strikes.[144] The PKK had already reported several Turkish attacks against their troops months before Turkish bombing started.

Percentage of the popular vote won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2015 Turkish general election. “The HDP’s elections results, which are a proxy indicator of popular support for the PKK, show that the group has followers throughout the country.”[145]

July 2015–present: Renewed insurgency

PKK and Peshmerga fighters, 11 August 2015

PKK Sniper

In the months before the parliamentary election of 2015, as the “Kurdish-focused” HDP’s likelihood of crossing the 10% threshold for entry into the government seemed more likely, Erdogan gave speeches and made comments that repudiated the settlement process and the existence of a Kurdish problem and refusing to recognize the HDP as having any role to play despite their long participation as intermediaries.[146] These announcements increased distrust of the government’s good faith among Kurdish leaders. In July 2015, Turkey finally became involved in the war against ISIL. While they were doing so, they decided to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.[147] The bombings came a few days after PKK was suspected of assassinating two Turkish police officers in CeylanpınarŞanlıurfa, accused by the PKK of having links with ISIS after the 2015 Suruç bombing.[148][149] The PKK has blamed Turkey for breaking the truce by bombing the PKK in 2014 and 2015 continuously.

In August 2015, the PKK announced that they would accept another ceasefire with Turkey only under US guarantees.[150] PKK announced a one-sided ceasefire in October 2015 near election time, but the government refused.[citation needed] The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has condemned the Turkish air strikes in its autonomous region in the north of Iraq.[151]

The number of casualties since 23 July was claimed by Turkish government to be 150 Turkish officers and over 2,000 Kurdish rebels killed (by September).[152] In December 2015, Turkish military operation in southeastern Turkey has killed hundreds of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands and caused massive destruction in residential areas.[153][154]

In March 2016, the PKK helped to launch the Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement with nine other Kurdish and Turkish revolutionary leftist, socialist and communist groups (including the TKP/MLTHKP-C/MLSPBMKPTKEP/LTİKB [defrtrzh]DKPDK and MLKP) with the aim of overthrowing the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[63]

Tactics

The areas in which the group operates are generally mountainous rural areas and dense urban areas. The mountainous terrain offers an advantage to members of the PKK by allowing them to hide in a network of caves.[citation needed]

Recruiting[

PKK female fighters

Since its foundation, the PKK has recruited new fighters mainly from Turkey, but also from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Western countries using various recruitment methods, such as using nationalist propaganda and its gender equality ideology. At its establishment, it included a small number of female fighters but over time, however, the number increased significantly and by the early 1990s, 30 percent of its 17,000 armed fighting forces were women.[155] In much of rural Turkey, where male-dominated tribal structures, and conservative Muslim norms were commonplace, the organization increased its number of members through the recruitment of women from different social structures and environments, also from families that migrated to several European countries after 1960 as guest workers.[155] It was reported by a Turkish university that 88% of the subjects initially believed that equality was a key objective, and that they joined the organization based on this claim.[156] In 2007, approximately 1,100 of 4,500–5,000 total members were women.[155]

In its early stages, the PKK recruited young women by kidnapping them. This forced families whose children were already a member of the organization to cooperate and thus turning them into accomplices, which increased the number of women joining the group, according to the publication, published by the Jamestown Foundation.[155][157][158]

The organization is also actively recruiting child soldiers and it has been accused of abducting more than 2,000 children by Turkish Security Forces. The independent reports by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations(UN) and the Amnesty International have confirmed the recruitment and use of child soldiers by the organization and its armed wings since the 1990s.[107][159][160][161]

According to the TEPAV think-tank which did research on the identities of 1,362 PKK fighters who lost their lives between 2001 and 2011, 42% of the recruits were under 18, with over a quarter of these being under 15 years of age at the time of recruiting. The organization is also believed to have used the children in the drug trade.[162]

On 22 December 2016, a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK, and the YBS, a Yazidi militia affiliated with the PKK, had actively recruited child soldiers since the 2015. The report stated that more than 29 cases had been documented, and some recruited children were under 15 when they had been recruited, which is a war crime under international law.[159]

Weapons

In July 2007, the weapons captured between 1984 and 2007 from the PKK operatives and their origins published by the Turkish General Staff indicates that the operatives erased some of the serial numbers from their weapons. The total number of weapons and the origins for traceable ones were:[163]

 
The choice and origin of the traceable weapons (July 2007)[163]
Type Quantity Sources
AK-47 Kalashnikovs 4,500 71.6% from the USSR, 14.7% from China, 3.6% from Hungary, 3.6% from Bulgaria
Rifles[nb 1] 5,713 of (959 traceable) 45.2% from Russia, 13.2% from United Kingdom, and 9.4% from United States.
Rocket launchers 1,610 (313 traceable) 85% from Russia, 5.4% from Iraq, and 2.5% from China in origin.
Pistols 2,885 (2,208 traceable) 21.9% from Czechoslovakia, 20.2% from Spain, 19.8% from Italy
Grenades 3,490 (136 traceable) 72% from Russia, 19.8% from United States, 8% from Germany,
Land mines 11,568 (8,015 traceable) 60.8% from Italy, 28.3% from Russia, 6.2% from Germany

Turkish authorities claimed that four members of the organization, who handed themselves over to authorities after escaping from camps in northern Iraq, claimed they had seen two U.S. armored vehicles deliver weapons, which was widely reported and further stoked suspicions about U.S. policy in Iraq.[164] The US envoy denied these claims.[165] The arms were claimed to be part of the Blackwater Worldwide arms smuggling allegations. The probe of organization’s weapons and the investigation of Blackwater employees were connected.[166] The PKK also denied these claims.

Resources

Funding

Parties and concerts are organized by branch groups.[167] Additionally, it is believed that the PKK earns money through the sale of various publications, as well as receiving revenues from legitimate businesses owned by the organization, and from Kurdish-owned businesses in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Iran and Western Europe.[168][169] Besides affiliate organizations, it is claimed that there are sympathizer organizations such as the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe and the International Kurdish Businessmen Union which constantly exchanges information and perform legitimate or semi-legitimate commercial activities and donations.[citation needed]

According to the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the organization collects money from its members, using labels like ‘donations’ and ‘membership fees’ which are seen as a fact extortion and illegal taxation by the authorities. There are also indications that the organization is actively involving in money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking, as well as illegal immigration inside and outside the EU for funding and running its activities.[170]

Drug trafficking

PKK’s involvement in drug trafficking has been documented since the 1990s.[171] A report by Interpol published in 1992 states that the PKK, along with nearly 178 Kurdish organizations were suspected of illegal drug trade involvement. The British National Criminal Intelligence Service determined that the PKK obtained $75 million from drug smuggling in Europe in 1993 alone.[172] Members of the PKK have been designated narcotics traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[173] The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic security agency, echoed this finding in its 2011 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution, stating that despite the U.S Department of Treasury designation, there was “no evidence that the organizational structures of the PKK are directly involved in drug trafficking”.[174]

On 14 October 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted the senior leadership of the PKK, designating Murat Karayılan, the head of the PKK, and high-ranking members Ali Riza Altun and Zübeyir Aydar as foreign narcotics traffickers at the request of Turkey.[173] On 20 April 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the designation of PKK founders Cemîl Bayik and Duran Kalkan and other high-ranking members as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, the designation freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals.[175]

According to research conducted by journalist Aliza Marcus, the PKK accepted the support of smugglers in the region. Aliza Marcus claimed that some of those Kurdish smugglers who were involved in the drugs trade, either because they truly believed in the PKK—or because they thought it a good business practice (avoid conflicts)—frequently donated money to the PKK rebels. She also claimed that there were reports of PKK supporters in Europe who used their positions and contacts to trade in drugs—and then handed some of the profits to the PKK. And when PKK activists needed more money, they had no qualms about approaching Kurds who trafficked in narcotics. However, according to Aliza Marcus, it does not seem that the PKK, as an organization, directly produced or traded in narcotics.[176]

Following the SDF capture of Raqqa, YPJ and YPG troops raised a large banner of Abdullah Öcalan in the city centre.[177]

In 2018, the state-run new agency AA claimed that the PKK has successfully kept its drug production and trafficking activities underground, both across the globe and within Turkey, and that the security forces had carried out more than 414 drug trafficking operations against the organization since the 1980. The Turkish authorities have also claimed that the organization gains 1,5 billion USD yearly from drug trafficking.[178][179]

The report, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stated that the instability in Iraq has helped the PKK to develop and use Iraq as a transhipment point for Afghan heroin. The PKK was reported to collect taxes per kilogram of heroin trafficked to Turkey from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq borders, with potential profits reaching US$200 million annually.[180]

The EUROPOL which has monitored the organization’s activities inside the EU has also reported the organization’s involvement in the trafficking of drugs and human beings to raise funds for its terrorist activities inside and outside the EU.[170]

On 1 January 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of Moldovan-based individuals Zeyneddin Geleri, Cerkez Akbulut, and Omer Boztepe as specially designated narcotics traffickers for drug trafficking on behalf of the PKK in Europe. According to the OFAC, Zeynedding Geleri was identified as a high-ranking member of the PKK while two others were activists. The OFAC stated that the drug trafficking is still one of the organization’s criminal activities it uses to obtain weapons and materials.[181]

Human resources

In 2008, according to information provided by the Intelligence Resource Program of the Federation of American Scientists the strength of the organization in terms of human resources consists of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants of whom 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.[182] With the new wave of fighting from 2015 onwards, observers noted that active support for the PKK had become a “mass phenomenon” in majority ethnic Kurdish cities in the Southeast of the Republic of Turkey, with large numbers of local youth joining PKK-affiliated local militant groups.[183]

International support

At the height of its campaign, the organization received support from many countries. According to Turkey, countries the PKK has previously/currently received support from include: Greece,[184][185] Iran,[186] Iraq,[187] Russia[188] and Syria.[186] The level of support given has changed throughout this period. Official Turkish sources also allege cooperation between the PKK and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).[189]

Greece
According to Ali Külebi, president of an Ankara-based nationalist think tank TUSAM, “It is obvious that the PKK is supported by Greece, considering the PKK’s historical development with major support from Greece.” Külebi alleged in 2007 that PKK militants received training at a base in Lavrion, near Athens.[190] Retired Greek L.T. General Dimitris Matafias and retired Greek Navy Admiral Antonis Naxakis had visited the organization’s Mahsun Korkmaz base camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley in October 1988 along with parliamentarians from the center-left PASOK.[191] At the time it was reported that the general had assumed responsibility for training. Greeks also dispatched arms through the Republic of Cyprus.[191] In December 1993, Greek foreign affairs minister Theodoros Pangalos was quoted as saying “we must be supportive of the Kurdish people to be free”.[192] Greece declined to join Germany and France and the eleven other members at the EU to ban the organization.[192] During his trial, Öcalan admitted, as quoted in Hürriyet, that “Greece has for years supported the PKK movement. They even gave us arms and rockets. Greek officers gave guerrilla training and explosives training to our militants” at a camp in Lavrion, Greece.[193]
Syria
From early 1979 to 1999, Syria had provided valuable safe havens to PKK in the region of Beqaa Valley. However, after the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria, Syria placed restrictions on PKK activity on its soil such as not allowing the PKK to establish camps and other facilities for training and shelter or to have commercial activities on its territory. Syria recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization in 1998.[194] Turkey was expecting positive developments in its cooperation with Syria in the long term, but even during the course of 2005, there were PKK operatives of Syrian nationality operating in Turkey.[167][195]
Iran
Iran provided PKK with supplies in the form of weapons and funds. However, Iran later listed the PKK as a terrorist organization after Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan used Iran’s supply of resources to the PKK on its own soil.[citation needed]
Armenia
Turkish and Azeri sources have alleged in 2007 that PKK maintains camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[196] Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan called these allegations “sheer nonsense” in 2008.[197] In May 2008 a commentary in the right-wing newspaper Yeni Şafak claimed that the PKK’s leadership, “perhaps feeling insecure in northern Iraq, was mulling a move to Nagorno-Karabakh.” In response, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry press spokesman Vladimir Karapetian stated, “The unsubstantiated rumors about the intentions on the side of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to move to Nagorno-Karabakh and controlled territories cannot be called anything less than another provocation.”[198]
Republic of Cyprus
Support of the Republic of Cyprus was alleged when Abdullah Öcalan was caught with a Cypriot passport under the name of Mavros Lazaros, a nationalist reporter.
Soviet Union and Russia
Former KGBFSB officer Alexander Litvinenko alleges that PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan was trained by KGBFSB.[199] As of 2008, Russia is still not among the states that list PKK as a terrorist group despite intense Turkish pressure.
United Kingdom
MED TV broadcast for five years in the UK, until its license was revoked by the regulators the Independent Television Commission (ITC) in 1999. The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization since 29 March 2001. In 2008, the United Kingdom detained members of the PKK and seized the assets of the PKK’s representative in Britain, Selman Bozkur, alias “Dr. Hüseyin”. His assets remain frozen.[200]
Support of various European states
The Dutch police had allegedly raided the ‘PKK paramilitary camp’ in the Dutch village of Liempde and arrested 29 people in November 2004, but all were soon released.[201] Denmark allows Kurdish satellite television stations (such as ROJ-TV), which Turkey claims has links with the PKK, to operate in Denmark and broadcast into Turkey.[202]
Various PKK leaders, including Hidir Yalcin, Riza Altun, Zubeyir Aydar, and Ali Haydar Kaytan all lived in Europe and moved freely. The free movement was achieved by strong ties with influential persons. Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the former President of FranceFrançois Mitterrand, had active connections during the 1990s with elements of the organization’s leadership that forced a downgrade in relationships between the two states.[203] After harboring him for some time, Austria arranged a flight to Iraq for Ali Rıza Altun, a suspected key figure with an Interpol arrest warrant on his name.. Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gül summoned the Austrian ambassador and condemned Austria’s action.[204] On 30 September 1995, while Öcalan was in Syria, Damascus initiated contact with high-ranking German CDU MP Heinrich Lummer and German intelligence officials.
The Chief of the Turkish General Staff during 2007, General Yaşar Büyükanıt, stated that even though the international struggle had been discussed on every platform and even though organizations such as the UN, NATO, and EU made statements of serious commitment, to this day the necessary measures had not been taken.[205] According to Büyükanıt; “this conduct on one side has encouraged the terrorists, on the other side it assisted in widening their activities.[205] 
Sedat Laçiner, of the Turkish think tank ISRO, says that US support of the PKK undermines the US War on Terror.[206] Seymour Hersh claimed that the U.S. supported PEJAK, the Iranian branch of the PKK.[207] The head of the PKK’s militant arm, Murat Karayılan, claimed that Iran attempted to recruit the PKK to attack coalition forces, adding that Kurdish guerrillas had launched a clandestine war in north-western Iran, ambushing Iranian troops.[208]

Designation as a terrorist group

The PKK has been placed on Turkey’s terrorist list, as well as a number of allied governments and organizations.[17]

The European Union — which Turkey aspires to join — in 2011 renewed its official listing of the PKK as group or entity subject to “specific [EU] measures to combat terrorism” under its Common Foreign and Security Policy.[209] First designated as such in 2002, the PKK was ordered to be removed from the EU terror list on 3 April 2008 by the European Court of First Instance on the grounds that the EU had failed to give a proper justification for listing it in the first place.[210] However, EU officials dismissed the ruling, stating that the PKK would remain on the list regardless of the legal decision.[211]

The PKK is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department;[212] in 2018, the United States offered a $12 million reward for information on three PKK leaders.[213]

The PKK is also a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000;[214] the British Prime Minister Theresa May used the phrase “Kurdish terrorism” in 2018, in a certain context.[215]

France prosecutes Kurdish-French activists and bans organizations connected to the PKK on terrorism-related charges,[216] having listed the group as a terrorist organization since 1993.[217] However, French courts often refuse to extradite captured individuals accused of PKK connections to Turkey due to technicalities in French law, frustrating Turkish authorities[failed verification].[218]

The following other individual countries have listed or otherwise labelled the PKK in an official capacity as a terrorist organization:

Australia,[219][220] Austria,[221] Azerbaijan,[222] Canada,[223] Czech Republic,[224] Germany,[225] Iran,[226] Japan,[227] Kazakhstan,[228] Kyrgyzstan,[229] New Zealand,[230] Spain,[231] Syria.[194]

States etc. not designating them as terrorist group

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained at a 2019 press conference that “NATO does not have a public list where we list different organisations as terrorist organisations. Some other national organisations have that kind of list, for instance the UN or . . . and EU, but NATO does not have that kind of public list, where we list terrorist organisations.”[232] Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and fields the group’s second-largest armed contingent.

The PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN.

Russia has long ignored Turkish pressure to ban the PKK,[233] and the group is also not included in the official terror blacklist of China (PRC), Brazil, Switzerland, India and Egypt.[234][235]

The government of Switzerland has rejected Turkish demands to blacklist the PKK,[236] though it has taken its own measures to monitor and restrict the group’s activities on Swiss soil, including banning the collection of funds for the group in November 2008.[237]Switzerland considers only those organizations as terrorist organizations which are in the terrorist list of the United Nations.[238]

Flags

Party flags

Flag of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) (1978–1995)[239]
Flag of the PKK (1995–2000)[239]
Flag of the PKK (2000-2002)
Flag of the KADEK (2002–2003)[239]
Flag of the Kongra-Gel (KGK) (2003–present)[239][240]
Flag of the PKK (2005–present)[241]

Flags of wings

Flag of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG, Formerly HRK and ARGK)[242][243]
Flag of the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK) (1985-2000)[239][244]
Former flag of the Free Women’s Units of Star (YJA-STAR)[242]
Current flag of the YJA-STAR[245]

See also

Related and/or associated organizations

Notes

  1. ^ also rendered as Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, such as on the group’s official website

References…

Further reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan_Workers%27_Party

 

Story 2: Britain Finally Has European Union Divorce Agreement But Will Parliament Approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal? — Videos

 

See the source image

Nigel Farage Would Prefer a General Election Over Boris Johnson’s Deal | Good Morning Britain

Boris Johnson seeks MPs’ support for Brexit deal in new race against time

The Five 10/18/19 | The Five Fox News October 18, 2019

‘And you thought he was crazy…’ How the world’s newspapers reacted to Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement

But newspapers at home and abroad recognised that while one battle was won, the war continued in Westminster. 

The Prime Minister will on Friday seek to sell his Brexit deal to sceptical MPs, as he returns home fresh from an EU victory but risking defeat in parliament.

Mr Johnson pulled off a major coup in agreeing a new divorce deal with the European Union, paving the way for him to deliver his promise to leave the bloc on October 31.

But Thursday’s deal must still pass the House of Commons, which is meeting for…

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/18/thought-crazy-worlds-newspapers-reacted-boris-johnsons-brexit/

Do the deal! Poll reveals Britain wants MPs to stop the delay and back Boris Johnson today after his Brexit breakthrough

  • 50 per cent of people said MPs should back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in a Survation Poll for the Daily Mail  
  • A total of 47 per cent believe Mr Johnson’s plan should go to a referendum, compared with 44 against the idea
  • The survey found a surge in support for the Tories following the PM’s breakthrough at this week’s EU summit 
  • MPs will vote on Mr Johnson’s deal on Saturday, the first time Parliament is sitting on the weekend since 1982
  • The vote is set to be incredibly tight, with the PM trying to ‘lovebomb’ Labour MPs and Tory rebels to back him
  • Rebel Tory MP Oliver Letwin has tabled an amendment which could force Mr Johnson to request an extension 

Story 3: Hillary Clinton Rampant Russian Delusions, Lying and Paranoia — Russia Dumped Hillary Clinton for Tulsi Gabbard As The Russian Choice For Their Candidate in 2020? — In Your Guts You Know Hillary Is Nuts — Lock Her Up —  Videos — 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

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See the source image

Tucker: Hillary spreads vicious lies about fellow Democrats

Hillary Clinton calls Tulsi Gabbard a “favorite of the Russians”

Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are grooming a Democrat for 2020

Hillary Implies Tulsi Boosted by Russians | The View

Ingraham: Heeere’s Hillary

Hillary Clinton talks about the 2020 presidential election

Tulsi Gabbard: This is what’s so dangerous about Hillary Clinton

Russian to Conclusions: Hillary vs. Tulsi and Jill | The News & Why It Matters | Ep 397

Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are grooming a Democrat for 2020

Tulsi Gabbard fires back at Hillary Clinton’s Russian asset claim

Stein says Clinton promoting ‘unhinged conspiracy theory’

Tulsi Gabbard responds to Hillary Clinton: Clinton “knows she can’t control me”

Max Blumenthal on why Hillary Clinton smeared Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein

Tulsi Gabbard: 9/11 inspired me to enlist in the military

Tulsi Gabbard rips CNN, NY Times for ‘smearing’ her reputation

Tucker: Not everyone in 2020 Democratic field is a lunatic

The Five 10/18/19 | The Five Fox News October 18, 2019

State Dept. finds nearly 600 violations in Clinton’s email scandal

‘You can’t control me’: Defiant Tulsi Gabbard says Hillary has ‘the blood of thousands on her hands’ and calls her the ‘queen of warmongers’ after 2016 loser accused her of being a Russian asset ready to run as an independent candidate

  • Tulsi Gabbard bashed Hillary Clinton during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday
  • She said the former Secretary of State is waging a smear campaign against her because ‘she knows she can’t control me’
  • It comes on the heels of Clinton claiming the Russians were ‘grooming’ a Democratic presidential contender to be a third-party spoiler candidate 
  • ‘They’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,’ Clinton said 
  • In response, Gabbard tweeted that Clinton was ‘the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption’
  • On her appearance on Tucker Carlson, Gabbard also insisted that Clinton has blood on her hands for ‘championing’ the Iraq War
  • Clinton did not mention Gabbard by name but the Hawaii representative has been accused of being a ‘Russian asset’
  • Gabbard, in Tuesday’s debate, said that allegation was ‘completely despicable’

Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

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FULL TRUMP RALLY: President Trump holds campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

Trump holds a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

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qqq The Pronk Pops Show 1338, October 10, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Rally In Minneapolis, Minnesota — Story 2: Search For The Partisan Democrat CIA Leaker Phony Whistleblower That Worked For Joe Biden? — Videos — Story 3: Two Trump Supporters Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Rally In Minneapolis, Minnesota — Videos

FULL RALLY: President Trump rally in Minneapolis, MN

Story 2: Search For The Partisan Democrat CIA Leaker Phony Whistleblower Worked For Joe Biden — Videos —

Bidens Lied About Hunter’s Burisma Pay, Dems Colluded With Ukraine, Reports John Solomon

Second Whistleblower Emerges On President Donald Trump And Ukraine | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

CIA whistleblower: This is an insult to real whistleblowers

US intelligence chief testifies on whistleblower complaint – as it happened

Joe Biden ‘worked with whistleblower when he was vice president’ say White House and intelligence sources – despite CIA analyst’s denial that he had ‘ties’ to any 2020 Dem candidate

  • New report says that CIA whistleblower worked with Biden when he was VP
  • Whistleblower’s attorneys previously denied ties in carefully worded statement
  • Questions are mounting about whistleblower’s possible political bias
  • Person has already been identified as having a Democratic affiliation 
  • IG said person ‘had some type of professional relationship’ with Dem candidate
  • But attorneys for the CIA agent said he had only ever worked as a professional civil servant and had not worked for any political campaign 

The whistleblower accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power worked with Joe Biden when he was vice president, according to a new report.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the CIA whistleblower issued a carefully-worded statement denying that the had a ‘professional’ link to a 2020 Democratic candidate, saying he is an apolitical civil servant.

Now an intelligence source says that it is likely that the unnamed CIA analyst, who is clearly an expert on Ukraine issues, briefed Biden and probably even accompanied him on Air Force Two on one or more of Biden’s six visits to the country.

‘From everything we know about the whistleblower and his work in the executive branch then, there is absolutely no doubt he would have been working with Biden when he was vice president,’ a retired CIA officer told the Washington Examiner.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday evening.

Biden is seen with then-President Barack Obama signing executive orders to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2009. Source say that Biden worked closely with the CIA whistleblower while serving as vice president

Biden is seen with then-President Barack Obama signing executive orders to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2009. Source say that Biden worked closely with the CIA whistleblower while serving as vice president

Trump has accused the whistleblower of having ties to one of his political opponents

Trump has accused the whistleblower of having ties to one of his political opponents

President Trump claims Schiff helped write whistleblower complaint
Separately, a former Trump administration official told the Examiner that Biden’s work on foreign affairs as vice president brought him into close proximity with the whistleblower.

“This person, after working with Biden, may feel defensive towards him because he feels [Biden] is being falsely attacked. Maybe he is even talking to Biden’s staff,” the former official said. “Maybe it is innocent, maybe not.”

The whistleblower’s alleged political bias has become the subject of various accusations following a report that the Intelligence Community Inspector General said that the person ‘worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates.’

The claim of a ‘professional link’ between the CIA agent and a candidate was first made in an article by Washington Examiner columnist and conservative commentator Byron York.

The whistleblower, who alleges misconduct on Trump’s part, had already been identified as having a Democratic party affiliation.

A person with knowledge of the Inspector General (IG) for the Intelligence Community’s recent testimony to the House, was reported by York to have indicated there was an additional ‘professional relationship.’

‘The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,’ a source told the Examiner.

Another source told the paper: ‘The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates.’

After Trump tweeted a link to the Examiner report, the unnamed CIA agent’s attorneys issued a rare public statement claiming that there was a ‘professional relationship’ between the whistleblower and a candidate.

Trump tweeted: ‘This is just the beginning.’ Later on Tuesday he tweeted: ‘The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS.’

But late Wednesday, the lawyers said they wanted to ‘clarify some facts,’ and said in the statement: ‘Our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party.

‘Second, our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch.

‘Third, in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials – not as candidates.’

Rare statement: How the whistleblower's attorneys slapped back at the president

The whisteblower’s attorneys – who did not confirm that the official is a male CIA agent, although that aspect of his identity is already known – went on to slam suggestions that his complaint was not credible and said he had told the inspector general about his career to help establish its credibility.

‘Fourth, the whistleblower voluntarily provided relevant career information to the ICIG in order to facilitate an assessment of the credibility of the complaint,’ the attorneys said.

‘Fifth, as a result, the ICIG concluded – as is well known – that the complaint was both urgent and credible.

Finally, the whistleblower is not the story. To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources. For that reason the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant.’

The combination of a clapback at the president by the attorneys, and a hint of more information about the official’s resume, will only add to the drama surrounding the complaint.

Pointedly, the lawyers called their client ‘whisteblower #1,’ a reference to a report that they have another or possibly even multiple other whistleblowers who are in the process of making complaints.

The IG, Michael Atkinson, had provided vague information in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee in August, writing the whistle-blower had ‘some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.’

The whistle-blower in a complaint alleges that Trump asked the President of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens to help his own 2020 reelection. An unsealed call shows Trump bringing up the Bidens with the Ukrainian president.

Who could it be? Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro Third 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Debate, Houston, USA. A report connected the whistle-blower to one of the 2020 candidates

Who could it be? Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro Third 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Debate, Houston, USA. A report connected the whistle-blower to one of the 2020 candidates

The president has previously gone after the whistle-blower, identified by the New York Times as a CIA officer who has been detailed to the White House at some point, and demanded the right to face his accuser.

The Washington Post reported that House Democrats may interview the whistle-blower at an off-site location to protect their identity, amid concerns it could leak.

In remarks caught on video, Trump said: ‘I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because that’s close to a spy.’ He continued: ‘You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now,’ he said, referencing execution.

A group of 90 national security professionals has applauded an unidentified whistle-blower.

‘While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government. As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing,’ the officials wrote.

‘That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns,’ said the security officials, who served Democratic and Republican presidents.

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

Whistleblower had ‘professional’ tie to 2020 Democratic candidate

In an Aug. 26 letter, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, wrote that the anonymous whistleblower who set off the Trump-Ukraine impeachment fight showed “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”

A few weeks later, news reports said the whistleblower’s possible bias was that he is a registered Democrat. That was all. Incredulous commentary suggested that Republicans who were pushing the bias talking point were so blinded by their own partisanship that they saw simple registration with the Democratic Party as evidence of wrongdoing.

“Give me a break!” tweeted whistleblower lawyer Mark Zaid. “Bias? Seriously?”

Now, however, there is word of more evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part. Under questioning from Republicans during last Friday’s impeachment inquiry interview with Atkinson, the inspector general revealed that the whistleblower’s possible bias was not that he was simply a registered Democrat. It was that he had a significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates currently vying to challenge President Trump in next year’s election.

“The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,” said one person with knowledge of what was said.

“The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates,” said another person with knowledge of what was said.

“What [Atkinson] said was that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and that he had a prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate,” said a third person with knowledge of what was said.

All three sources said Atkinson did not identify the Democratic candidate with whom the whistleblower had a connection. It is unclear what the working or professional relationship between the two was.

In the Aug. 26 letter, Atkinson said that even though there was evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part, “such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible,’ particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.”

Democrats are certain to take that position when Republicans allege that the whistleblower acted out of bias. Indeed, the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a public document, for all to see. One can read it regardless of the whistleblower’s purported bias.

Nevertheless, Republicans will want to know more about the origins of the whistleblower complaint, especially given the unorthodox use of whistleblower law involved. There is more to learn — like who the Democratic candidate is — before Republicans will say they know enough about what happened.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/whistleblower-had-professional-tie-to-2020-democratic-candidate

 

 Story 3: Two Trump Supporters Arrested On Campaign Finance Charges — Videos —

PBS NewsHour full episode October 10, 2019

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – October 10th, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine fixers are arrested trying to flee the U.S. hours after lunching with him and are charged with funneling $350k from mystery Russian businessman to Trump PAC – then pushing to have ambassador to Kiev fired

  • Lev Parnas Igor Fruman assisted Giuliani’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate his theory about the 2016 elections 
  • They are both foreign-born and expected to appear in federal court in Virginia
  • Donated $325,000 to pro-Trump super PAC through an LLC
  • Accused of breaking campaign finance laws and concealing foreign donations 
  • House Intelligence committee called both men to testify about their work with Giuliani in Ukraine but lawyer declined
  • They were subpoenaed on Thursday 
  • The two men had dinner with President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in 2018
  • Giuliani has said both are clients of his 
  • They introduced Giuliani to Ukrainian figures as part of his effort to pursue his theory of foreign election interference
  • The men took steps to hide foreign donor as source behind contributions due to his ‘Russian roots and current political paranoia about it’

A pair of Florida businessmen who worked with Donald Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to promote politically-charged investigations in Ukraine were arrested on federal campaign finance charges as they tried to flee the country, it was revealed Thursday.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were each born in former Soviet republics, assisted Giuliani’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate his theory about the 2016 elections, and also help Giuliani’s effort to dig up dirt on a company tied to the Bidens in Ukraine.

They were arrested at Dulles Airport on a plane to Vienna, Austria, a few hours after they were seen lunching with Giuliani at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C.

At a federal court hearing in Alexandria, VA, Thursday afternoon federal prosecutors said the pair were a flight risk.

U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Parnas and Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail.

The two men cultivated ties with a series of top Republican officials. They had dinner with President Trump at the White House and dined with Donald Trump Jr. in 2018.

Parnas bragged about dining with the president at the White House that year.

Giuliani has said both are clients of his.  While they were sitting in Alexandria Sheriff’s Office cells, the Soviet-born duo were also hit with subpoenas by the House Intelligence Committee.

Parnas and Fruman had lunch with Giuliani Wednesday at Trump’s DC hotel hours before trying to leave the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday in the Southern District of New York, the men are accused of funneling $325,000 from a mystery Russian businessman into America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC in violation of U.S. campaign laws banning foreign donations and efforts to conceal campaign funds.

Flight risk: U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail

Flight risk: U.S. Judge Michael Nachmanoff ordered Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to post $1 million each in bail, surrender their passports and be subject to home detention, among other conditions, before they can be released from jail

Lev Parnas
Igor Fruman

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested and charged with campaign finance crimes in an indictment unsealed Thursday

Mike Pence, Igor fruman, Lev Parnas, President Trump, and Rudy Giuliani are pictured in an image captured by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Mike Pence, Igor fruman, Lev Parnas, President Trump, and Rudy Giuliani are pictured in an image captured by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Dining at the White House: Lev Parnas bragged that he was a guest of Donald Trump in spring 2018 -

Dining at the White House: Lev Parnas bragged that he was a guest of Donald Trump in spring 2018 –

In addition to helping Trump, the same super PAC spent millions to boost former Texas GOP Rep Pete Sessions, who wrote a letter calling for the firing of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich, who Trump trashed on his infamous July call with the Ukrainian president and who House Democrats want to interview Friday as part of their impeachment probe.

The House Intelligence committee wants both men to testify about their work with Giuliani in Ukraine as part of its impeachment probe into Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.

Their lawyer John Dowd – Trump’s former attorney – has said they won’t provide the information. Amid the standoff, three House committees issued subpoenas for interviews and information.

Dowd hung up on an Associated Press reporter seeking comment. He had previously replied to the Democrat-controlled committee rejecting the subpoenas and writing in comic sans font. He had also accused the Democrats of harassing his clients.

The men were arrested late Wednesday at Dulles airport in Virginia as they were about to fly abroad with one-way tickets to Vienna, according to prosecutors.

U.S. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Giuliani said both Parnas and Fruman were his clients. They assisted his Ukraine investigation

U.S. President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Giuliani said both Parnas and Fruman were his clients. They assisted his Ukraine investigation

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018

Men associated with Giuliani arrested for violating campaign laws
The pair donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, through an LLC, prosecutors say.

Although the indictment mentions only an alleged scheme to violate campaign finance laws, the two men are also connected to a the sprawling Ukraine matter that has President Trump now facing a ramped-up House Democratic impeachment effort.

The Associated Press reported that the two men sought to use their connections to Giuliani to get the Ukrainian state gas company, Naftogaz, to replace members of their board of directors.

The indictment doesn’t mention Giuliani, whose association with Parnas and Fruman was part of his effort to amass potential dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden.

The pair dined with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2018, along with Tommy Hicks Jr., according to a Facebook post that captured the event. Hicks was leading the pro-Trump super PAC at the time and now has a position as co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

They also had dinner with President Trump, and images Parnas posted on Twitter in May thanks the president for an ‘incredible dinner and even better conversation’ at the White House.

He also wrote: ‘!!!! Making America Great!!!!!!!’ and tagged ‘#TRUMP2020.’

An image posted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project shows them pictured with Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, and Giuliani.

They also donated to Florida Sen. Rick Scott and hosted fundraisers for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined by Donald Trump Jr., the Miami Herald reported.

The men are being represented John Dowd, who served as Donald Trump’s lawyer during part of the Mueller probe.

Their company, Global Energy Producers LLC, has been accused of violating campaign finance laws for its six-figure donations to the super PAC.

Chief rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Azman with former Arkansas governor Mike Hackabee - father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders - and 'American friends of Anatevka' Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were pictured in Jerusalem

Chief rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Azman with former Arkansas governor Mike Hackabee – father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders – and ‘American friends of Anatevka’ Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were pictured in Jerusalem

Correia, President Trump, and Igor Fruman on July 4, 2018+11

Correia, President Trump, and Igor Fruman on July 4, 2018

 

Florida men tied to Giuliani arrested on campaign charges

By MICHAEL BIESECKER, MICHAEL BALSAMO, DESMOND BUTLER and ERIC TUCKERan hour ago

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center shows, from left, Donald Trump Jr., Tommy Hicks Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018. Parnas and Fruman were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, on campaign finance violations resulting from a donation to a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection. (The Campaign Legal Center via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s lawyer and the Ukraine investigation were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. The charges relate to a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump’s reelection.

Related Coverage: Trump impeachment inquiry

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested Wednesday trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, according to Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. No destination was disclosed.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The indictments mark the first criminal charges related to the Ukraine controversy. While they do not suggest wrongdoing by the president, they are likely to add fuel to the House impeachment inquiry, raising additional questions about whether those close to Trump and Giuliani sought to use their influence to affect U.S. foreign policy decisions.

Youtube video thumbnail

Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as baseless and politically motivated.

Records show that Parnas and Fruman used wire transfers from a corporate entity to make the $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018. But wire transfer records that became public through a lawsuit show that the corporate entity reported as making the transaction was not the source of the money.

Prosecutors also allege that Parnas urged a congressman to seek the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, at the behest of Ukrainian government officials. That happened about the same time that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for the politician.

The congressman wasn’t identified in court papers, but the donations match campaign finance reports for former Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who lost his re-election bid in November. In May 2018, Parnas posted a photo of himself and his business partner David Correia with Sessions in his Capitol Hill office, with the caption “Hard at work !!”

John Dowd, an attorney for Parnas and Fruman, hung up on an Associated Press reporter seeking comment. Giuliani said he couldn’t comment and that he didn’t represent the men in campaign finance matters.

The men were arrested around 6 p.m. Wednesday and booked at a local jail in Alexandria, Virginia. A court appearance Thursday was delayed as lawyers tried to work out a bail package. Kevin Downing, the lawyer who represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges that he hid millions of dollars that he earned in Ukraine advising politicians there, was representing the men for their initial appearance and declined to comment.

Correia and Andrew Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, were also charged in the case.

Attorney General William Barr had been briefed on the investigation soon after he was confirmed in February, was updated in recent weeks and was made aware Wednesday night that the men were being arrested, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The indictment says Parnas and Fruman “sought to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working” and took steps to conceal it from third parties, including creditors. They created a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers, and “intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of in their own names.”

Prosecutors charge that the two men falsely claimed the contributions came from GEP, which was described as a liquefied natural gas business. At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, the indictment said.

Prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman conspired to make illegal contributions to try to skirt the limit on federal campaign contributions. The men are also accused of making contributions to candidates for state and federal office, joint fundraising committees and independent expenditure committees in the names of other people.

The commitment to raise more than $20,000 for the congressman was made in May and June 2018. The lawmaker had also received about $3 million in independent expenditures from a super political action committee that Parnas and Fruman had been funding. A super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate but isn’t allowed to directly coordinate with the official campaign.

As a result of the donations, Parnas and Fruman had meetings with the congressman and Parnas lobbied him to advocate for removing the ambassador to Ukraine, Berman said. Trump referred to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was indeed recalled to the U.S., as “bad news” in his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Berman said his office “will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct that draws into question the integrity of our political process.” His office had brought unrelated charges against the president’s former legal “fixer” Michael Cohen last year.

The indictment also charges that Kukushkin conspired with the three other defendants to make political contributions, funded by a foreign national, to politicians seeking state and federal office “to gain influence with candidates as to policies that would benefit a future business venture.”

An unnamed foreigner wired $500,000 from a bank account overseas through New York to the defendants for contributions to two candidates for state office in Nevada, the indictment alleges. Foreigners are not permitted to contribute to U.S. elections.

The indictment accuses the four men of also participating in a scheme to acquire retail marijuana licenses through donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states.

The big donation to the Trump-allied PAC in May 2018 was part of a flurry of political spending tied to Parnas and Fruman, with at least $478,000 in donations flowing to GOP campaigns and PACs in little more than two months.

The money enabled the relatively unknown entrepreneurs to quickly gain access to the highest levels of the Republican Party, including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

America First Action said the $325,000 contribution would remain in a separate account while the court cases play out. A spokeswoman, Kelly Sadler, said the committee will “scrupulously comply with the law.”

The AP reported last week that Parnas and Fruman helped arrange a January meeting in New York between Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, and Giuliani, as well as other meetings with top government officials.

Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation were echoed by Trump in the July 25 call with Zelenskiy. That conversation is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry .

House Democrats subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman on Thursday for documents they have refused to produce to three House committees. The panels have also subpoenaed Giuliani.

A whistleblower complaint by an unnamed intelligence official makes reference to “associates” of Giuliani in Ukraine who were attempting to make contact with Zelenskiy’s team, though it’s not clear that refers to Parnas and Fruman. That could put the two men squarely in the middle of the investigation into Giuliani’s activities.

___

Neumeister reported from New York City. Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Brian Slodysko in Washington, Larry Neumeister and Jonathan Lemire in New York and Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Virginia contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/c9125e9ccd894965bbf2860100366779

 

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 546-555

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