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

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

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

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

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions

Trump hints at ending US trade with all North Korea partners | Time To Play Trump Card

WHY NORTH KOREA IS TESTING MISSILES & NUKES? TOP 5 REASONS

Inside North Korea Newest Documentary (2017)

North Korea DARKEST SECRETS 2017 Deepest Secrets Revealed for the First Time

China Pulls Trade From North Korea! Russia RESPONDS BY Increasing Trade by 73%!

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

United Nations funding mechanism needs to be changed: John Bolton

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

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

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

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

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

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

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

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

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

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

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

BREAKING: Putin To Trump – I will arm your enemies if you send arms to mine

What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

Why China Supports North Korea

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

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

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

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

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

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

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

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

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

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

The Korean War

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soviet support

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

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

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

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

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

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

Path to a plutonium weapon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

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

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

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

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nuclear Silk Road

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial skullduggery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “disco ball” warhead

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

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

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

But experts aren’t laughing.

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

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

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

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

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

A legitimate threat

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

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

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

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening by Selling Its $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017, Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos — Story 2: Will American People Form A New Political Party ? Yes — American Independence Party? When? — 2024 When Over 50% Are Independents — No Longer Believe Democratic or Republican Parties Represent Their Interests/Concerns — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos — Story 4: Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

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

 

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

Image result for branco cartoons more sanctions on north korea

United Nations bans key North Korea exports over missile tests

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North Korea hit with unprecedented economic sanctions

Amb. Nikki Haley: Sanctions are a ‘gut punch’ to North Korea

North Korea vows retaliation against the United States

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Sen. Lindsay Graham: Time for new approach on North Korea

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton Calls For Military Option On North Korea

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

Is America prepared for a confrontation with North Korea?

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How Big of a Threat is North Korea?

 

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

By Chas Danner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanctions against North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

United Nations sanctions

A North Korea cargo ship at the dock in Nampo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United States sanctions

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

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

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

South Korean sanctions

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

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

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

Japanese sanctions

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

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

European Union

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

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

Assessment

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

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

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

References

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More Voters Voting Independent, Want Competitive Third-Party

Monday, August 07, 2017

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

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

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

Questions – Third Party – August 1-2, 2017

See Toplines
See Crosstabs
Platinum Page

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

Conducted August 1-2, 2017
By Rasmussen Reports

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Voters See Republicans As Bigger Roadblock Than Democrats For Trump

Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White House set for renovations as Trump takes first vacation

Trump denies he called White House a ‘dump’

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

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

 

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

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SEYMOUR HERSH: SPY CHIEFS INVENTED RUSSIA-COLLUSION STORY

Famous journalist claims they lied to Obama and lied about Trump

GARTH KANT

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fleitz wants Congress to investigate the spies. He wrote:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– – – – – – – – – –

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

Everyone needs to share this story far and wide. Tell your friends. Tell everyone you know. Sydney Hersh, arguably the greatest investigative journalist of the last five decades, has stated:

* Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.
* Obama’s intelligence chiefs, led by John Brennan, ran a disinformation campaign to mislead the American public.

#DrainTheSwamp

 

Murder of Seth Rich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Murder of Seth Rich
Date July 10, 2016
Time 4:20 a.m. EST (approximate)
Location Bloomingdale neighborhood
(Ward 5Washington, D.C.)
Cause Shooting
Outcome Under investigation by D.C. police
Inquiries Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Coroner Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington D.C.

Seth Conrad Rich (January 3, 1989 – July 10, 2016) was an American employee for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdaleneighborhood of Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] As of May 2017 the shooting is still under investigation by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.[4]

The murder spawned several right-wingconspiracy theories about the crime, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to U.S. intelligence that concluded the leaked DNC emails were part of 2016 U.S. elections interference.[5][6][7] These theories were debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5] The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times,[10]Los Angeles Times,[11] and The Washington Post.[12]

Rich’s parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, with their spokesperson calling them “sociopaths” and “disgusting”.[13][14][15] They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News,[16] and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used.[6][15][16] The investigator admitted he had no evidence to back up his claims, and Fox News issued a retraction.[5][6][17]

Seth Rich’s early life and career

Rich grew up in a Jewish family, in Omaha, Nebraska.[18][19][20] He volunteered for the Nebraska Democratic Party, interned for Senator Ben Nelson, was active in Jewish outreach,[21] and worked with the United States Census Bureau.[22][23] In 2011, he graduated from Creighton University with a degree in political science.[24][23] He moved to Washington, D.C. to work for pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.[23] In 2014 he began working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the Voter Expansion Data Director. One of his tasks at the DNC was the development of a computer application to help voters locate polling stations.[2][25][26]

Shooting and death

On Sunday, July 10, 2016, Rich was shot about a block from his apartment in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[27][28][29]

Earlier that night he had been at Lou’s City Bar, a sports pub 1.8 miles from his apartment, in Columbia Heights, where he was a regular customer. He left when the bar was closing, at about 1:30 or 1:45 a.m.[30][31] Police were alerted to gunfire at 4:20 a.m. by an automated gunfire locator.[29][32] Within approximately one minute after the gun shots, police officers found Rich with multiple gunshot wounds, in a conscious and breathing state.[33] He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.[34][35][36] According to police, he died from two shots to the back[27][28] and may have been killed in an attempted robbery, noting that the neighborhood had recently been plagued by robberies.[27] Rich’s mother told NBC‘s Washington affiliate WRC-TV, “There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything… They didn’t finish robbing him, they just took his life.”[37] The police told the family they had found a surveillance videotape showing a glimpse of the legs of two people who could possibly be the killers.[30]

Aftermath

On the day after the shooting, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement mourning his loss and praising Rich’s work to support voter rights.[32][38] Two days after the shooting, Hillary Clinton spoke of his death during a speech advocating limiting the availability of guns.[2][19]

Bike rack and plaque outside the DNC headquaters

In October 2016, a plaque and bike rack outside the DNC headquarters were dedicated to Rich’s memory.[38] In September 2016, Rich’s parents and girlfriend appeared on the syndicatedtelevision show Crime Watch Daily to speak about the murder case.[39][40] In February 2017, the Beth El Synagogue in Omaha named after Rich an existing scholarship that helps Jewish children attend summer camps.[41]

The Rich family accepted the pro bono public relations services of Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman in September 2016.[11] The Rich family and Burkman held a joint press conference on the murder in November 2016.[11][42] In January 2017, Burkman launched an advertising campaign in Northwest D.C. searching for information regarding Seth Rich’s death. This included billboard advertisements and canvassing with flyers.[43][44] In late February, Burkman told media outlets he had a lead that the Russian government was involved in Rich’s death,[45] and the Rich family distanced itself from Burkman.[46] On March 19, 2017, Rich’s brother, Aaron, started a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise $200,000 for private investigation, public outreach activities, and a reward fund.[47] On March 24, Burkman started “The Profiling Project” with some forensics students at George Washington University, an independent investigative attempt to solve the murder of Seth Rich.[48][49] On June 20, 2017, the Profiling Project said that the conspiracy theories surrounding the death were unfounded, and published a report which speculated that the murder was caused by a serial killer.[50]

According to the Rich family spokesman, a Fox News contributor and financial adviser Ed Butowsky contacted the Rich family and recommended having former homicide detective and Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler investigate Seth Rich’s murder. The family gave Wheeler permission to investigate, though they did not hire him.[15][51] Instead, Wheeler’s investigation was financed by Butowsky himself.[52] NBC News reported that Butowsky initially denied involvement in the case, though he later told CNN he was involved in Wheeler’s investigation by offering financial support.[53][54] Butowsky told Dallas News that he advised the Rich family to hire a private investigator, and that they then chose to hire Wheeler.[53] After Wheeler asserted links between Rich and Wikileaks in a Fox affiliate interview on May 15, 2017—an assertion he later backpedaled from[55]—the family spokesman said that the family regretted working with Wheeler.[4] Wheeler then sued Fox News on August 1, 2017, for mental anguish and emotional distress, alleging that he had been misquoted in a story that was then published on the urging of President Donald J. Trump[56]

Rewards

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) posted its customary reward of $25,000 for information about the death.[2][33]

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks announced a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder leading to a conviction,[57][58][59] although Rich’s family said they were unable to verify this reward offer.[60] When making the offer for the reward, WikiLeaks said their offer should not be taken as implying Rich had been involved in leaking information to them.[2]

In November 2016, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman stated he was personally offering a $100,000 reward in addition to those announced by the police department and WikiLeaks, and he added another $5,000 to his offer in December and another $25,000 in January.[60][61][30] Burkman said he hoped the money would help “get to the truth of what happened here and will either debunk the conspiracy theories or validate them”.[62]

American businessman and investor, Martin Shkreli offered $100,000 for information leading to the murderer.[63]

Conspiracy theories

Origins

Genesis

The murder stoked right-wingconspiracy theories that arose days after Rich’s death,[64][65][66] including an unsubstantiated claim that his murder was connected to the DNC email leak of 2016.[4] A post on Twitter before Rich’s memorial service originated the idea that he was killed related to a political assassination.[64] Subsequently the conspiracy theory was publicized on Reddit and then on the website Heat Street, later popularized by Donald Trump political adviser Roger Stone via his Twitter account.[64] Reddit users attempted to tie the homicide to prior “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy theories.[65] On July 13, 2016, conspiracy website WhatDoesItMean.com promoted a similar conspiracy theory.[66]

WikiLeaks statements

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the police had no information suggesting a connection between Rich’s death and data obtained by WikLeaks.[2]Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, fueled speculation of a connection when, unbidden, he brought up the case.[30][67] People who worked with Rich said he was not an expert computer hacker helping to leak information to foreigners. Andrew Therriault, a data scientist who had mentored Rich, said although he had recently been working as a programmer, this “wasn’t his background”, and another co-worker said Rich was very upset when he heard hackers associated with Russian intelligence services had broken into the DNC computers and could be interfering with the election.[30]

Spread by social media and right wing

These conspiracy theories were promoted by Mike CernovichSean HannityGeraldo RiveraKim DotcomPaul Joseph WatsonNewt GingrichJack Posobiec, and others.[68][69][70]

The same venues that fomented the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory helped to promulgate the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories,[71][72][11] and each shared similar features.[73][74][75] Both were promoted by individuals subcribing to far-right politics,[76] and by campaign officials and individuals appointed to senior-level national security roles by Donald Trump.[77][78][79] After prior coordination on Facebook, each theory was spread on Twitter by automated bots using a branded hashtag, with the goal of becoming a trending topic.[71] Both the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory were spread in the sub reddit forum promoting Donald Trump, called “The Donald”.[80] In both conspiracy theories, the promoters attempted to shift the burden of proof — asking others to attempt to disprove their claims, without citing substantiated evidence.[52]Slate called the claims about Seth Rich a “PizzaGate-like conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death”,[81]The Huffington Post described it as “the ‘alt-right’ idiocy of Pizzagate all over again”,[75]NPR‘s David Folkenflik said Fox News coverage of it “evokes the pizza-gate terrible allegations utterly unfounded”,[82] and Margaret Sullivan wrote for The Washington Post: “The Seth Rich lie has become the new Comet Ping Pong … Crazy, baseless and dangerous.”[83]

Debunking

The conspiracy theories have been debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5]

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia described the murder as related to a bungled attempted at theft.[5] Police further debunked claims by Rod Wheeler, and made a statement saying: “the assertions put forward by Mr. Wheeler are unfounded.”[5] The FBI told PolitiFact.com that the MPD was investigating the homicide.[8]

A representative of the Rich’s family members, Brad Bauman, disputed the notion of conspiracy theorists that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in looking into the homicide.[5] Bauman stated: “The FBI is not now and has never been a party to this investigation.”[5]

FactCheck.org analyzed statements by Newt Gingrich related to the conspiracy theory, where Gingrich said Rich “apparently was assassinated” subsequent to “having given WikiLeaks something like … 53,000 [DNC] emails and 17,000 attachments”.[5] FactCheck.org determined this claim was “unsupported” and determined “there’s no evidence for his claim.”[5]

PolitiFact.com rated the assertion Rich gave emails to WikiLeaks as a “baseless claim”.[6] They called the claim “an unfounded conspiracy theory”.[6] PolitiFact.com analyzed the claims by Gingrich and rated their false nature as “Pants on Fire!”[6] PolitiFact.com concluded: “Gingrich and others are talking about an unfounded conspiracy theory as if it’s a matter of fact. It is far from it. We rate his claim Pants on Fire.”[6] In a separate analysis, PolitiFact.com concluded: “There’s no evidence there’s any link between Rich and WikiLeaks. The FBI has indirectly denied investigating the case, which Washington police consider a robbery gone wrong.”[8]

Snopes.com looked into the matter and stated: “We were able to confirm the FBI is not investigating Rich’s murder — it is an MPD investigation… All claims made by Mr. Wheeler are false and take fake news to a whole new level. The family deserves better and everyday MPD continues to work diligently to solve this case.”[9] Snopes rated the claim “DNC staffer Seth Rich sent ‘thousands of leaked e-mails’ to WikiLeaks before he was murdered.” as “False”.[9]

The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times.[10]The New York Times cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the persistence of false claims, concluding: “fake news dies hard”.[10]The Los Angeles Times called the conspiracy theories “unsubstantiated rumors”.[11]

The Washington Post cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the power of fake news to spread virally online.[12] The paper used the example as a case study of the persistence of fake news, and found that television news media can be a soft target for such false stories.[12]The Washington Post further found that the proliferation of fake news via Facebook had decreased, but remained powerful on Twitter due to spread via online bots.[12] They found that the conspiracy theories with the largest potential to spread on the Internet were those that held attraction for both the alt-right movements and the political left wing.[12]The Washington Post concluded that even if a particular false story had been sufficiently debunked, such fact-checking was unable to stop the spread of the falsehoods online.[12]

Fox News retracted reporting

Uncorroborated story

On May 15, 2017, Fox 5 DC (WTTG) reported the uncorroborated and later largely retracted[84] claims by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective, that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up;[85][84] claims that were never independently verified by Fox.[86] The next day, Fox News published a lead story on its website and provided extensive coverage on its cable news channel about what it later said were Wheeler’s uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich;[87][88][89] in the lead story Fox News removed from their website a few days later, they stated that Wheeler’s claims had been “corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News.”[90][91][92] In reporting these claims, the Fox News report re-ignited conspiracy theories about the killing.[73][93][94] According to NPR, within a day of the original Fox report, “Google searches for Rich had overtaken searches for James Comey, even amid continuous news about the former FBI director’s conversations with Trump.”[52]The Washington Post noted Fox News chose to lead with this story at a time when most other media outlets were covering Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russia.[88]

Other news organizations revealed Wheeler was a Donald Trump supporter, a paid Fox News contributor, and according to NBC News had “developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women”.[93][95][4]The Washington Post noted it is “rare for a news organization to have such a close relationship with the people it is covering”, as Wheeler was “playing three roles at once: as a Fox source, as a paid contributor to the network and as a supposedly independent investigator of the murder”.[73] When Wheeler appeared on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News shows, these multiple roles were not disclosed to viewers.[73] Seth Rich’s family had hired Wheeler to investigate Rich’s death; after Wheeler’s Fox News interview on May 15, 2017, Brad Bauman, a communications professional and pro bono spokesman for the Rich family, said the family was asking Fox News and the Fox affiliate to retract their reports and apologize for damaging their son’s legacy.[4]

The family spokesperson, the Washington, D.C. police department, the Washington, D.C. mayor’s office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case all disputed Wheeler’s claims.[93][96] The family said, “We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”[93] Bauman criticized Fox News for its reporting, saying he believed that the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: “I think there’s a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda.”[9]

Later that day, Wheeler told CNN he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks.[84] Wheeler claimed that Fox had presented his quotes misleadingly and that he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter.[84][52] Despite this, Sean Hannity’s show and Fox & Friends continued to promote the conspiracy theory for the remainder of the week.[97][98] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Geraldo Rivera took part in spreading the conspiracy.[98][99][100] Hannity had on his program Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who said the organization filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, and from the Metropolitan Police.[101] Sean Hannity furthermore promoted the uncorroborated claims of Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand resident sought by the United States on fraud charges who claimed without evidence that Rich had been in contact with him before his death.[102] Fox News host Julie Roginsky was critical of the conspiracy theory peddlers, stating on Twitter and on her television show: “The exploitation of a dead man whose family has begged conspiracy theorists to stop is really egregious. Please stop.”[103] Fox News was also criticized by conservative outlets, such as the Weekly Standard,[104]National Review,[105][106] and Red State,[107][108][109] and conservative columnists, such as Jennifer Rubin,[110] Michael Gerson,[111] and John Podhoretz.[112]

Cease and desist letter and retraction

On May 19, 2017, an attorney for the Rich family sent a cease and desist letter to Wheeler.[16]

Fox News issued a retraction of the story on May 23, 2017 and removed the original article, and did not apologize or specify what went wrong or how it did so.[17][113][114] Despite this, Hannity, who pushed the theory, remained unapologetic, saying “I retracted nothing” and “I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[115][102][114] In their May 23 statement, Fox News said,

The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.[115]

The Poynter Institute said that the retraction was “woefully inadequate”, noting that,

The two-paragraph statement, published under the “politics” category on the network’s website, doesn’t say what about Fox News’ reporting was inaccurate (that its original source backed away from his claim that he had information showing Rich was in touch with Wikileaks). It doesn’t replace the bad information with accurate information (that police believe Rich was murdered during a robbery). It doesn’t specify who in the organization is being held accountable. And the correction doesn’t appear on the original story to explain why it was removed, nor has it been shared in the on-air forums where the inaccurate story was promoted. As of this writing, the original URL displays a 404 error. Fox News isn’t even acknowledging to people who click the link to the original story that it’s been retracted.[116]

On May 23, 2017, Sean Hannity stated on his television program that he would cease discussing the issue.[117] Hannity said his decision to cease commenting on the matter was related to the family of the murder victim: “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing the matter at this time.”[117] In the same statement wherein he promised to cease discussion of the topic, he vowed to pursue facts in the future: “I promise you I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[117] Several advertisers including Crowne Plaza HotelsCars.comLeesa MattressUSAAPeloton and Casper Sleep pulled their marketing from his program on Fox News.[118][119][120] Crowne Plaza Hotels later said that it was not their policy to advertise on political commentary shows, and had not been aware of their sponsorship of the show.[121] USAA soon returned to advertising on Fox News after receiving customer input.[122]

Wheeler lawsuit

On August 1, 2017, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator hired by Butowsky who was the first to claim links between Seth Rich’s murder and the DNC hack on Fox, but who later appeared to retract his claims, filed a lawsuit (Case 1:17-cv-05807 Southern District of New York), in which 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky are named as defendants, stating that quotes attributed to him in the original Fox News piece were fabricated. The lawsuit also alleges that the fabricated quotes were included in the Fox News story at the urging of the Trump White House.[123][124]

Text messages and audio apparently supporting this assertion were included in the filing of the lawsuit. About a month before the story was aired on Fox News, Wheeler and Butowsky met at the White House with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to review the planned story on Seth Rich’s murder. After talking to Wheeler and Butowsky, Zimmerman sent Wheeler a draft of a story without any quotes from Wheeler on May 11th. On May 14th Butowsky texted Wheeler saying “Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.” Butowsky also left a voicemail for Wheeler which said “We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do.”[124] Butowsky said Seymour Hersch confirmed a link between Rich and the FBI. Hersch confirmed the conversation with Butowsky but told NPR the link was “gossip” and that Butowsky exaggerated its significance.[125]

In an email to Fox News Bukowsky also wrote about the purpose behind the Seth Rich story: “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion (between) Trump and the Russians.” He also instructed Wheeler that “[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Zimmerman’s] work prove that the Russians didn’t hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections (…) If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest.”[124]

When the story aired on Fox News, it included supposed quotes from Wheeler and was written as if the accusations against the DNC came from him. Wheeler alleges that the quotes were fabricated and should not have been attributed to him.[123]

In later recordings Butowsky admits to Wheeler that the claims being attributed to him were false but says that “One day you’re going to win an award for having said those things you didn’t say.” He also says “I know that’s not true, if I’m under oath, I would say I never heard him say that.”[124]

Family’s reaction

In May 2017, Aaron issued a statement saying “We simply want to find his killers and grieve. Instead, we are stuck having to constantly fight against non-facts, baseless allegations, and general stupidity to defend my brother’s name and legacy.”[4]

The family spokesperson said “At this point, only people with transparent political agendas or sociopaths are still perpetuating Seth Rich conspiracies.”[126]

His parents authored a piece in The Washington Post on May 23, 2017 titled: “We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder,” in which they wrote:

We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.[13]

See also

References

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

Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh (born April 8, 1937) is an American investigative journalist and political writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a longtime contributor to The New Yorkermagazine on national security matters and has also written for the London Review of Books since 2013.[5][6]

Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. In 2004, he notably reported on the US military‘s mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and five George Polk Awards. In 2004, he received the George Orwell Award.[7]

Early years

Hersh was born on April 8, 1937[8] in Chicago to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to the US from Lithuania and Poland and ran a dry-cleaning shop in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a history degree, Hersh found himself struggling to find a job. He began working at Walgreens before being accepted into University of Chicago Law School but was soon expelled for poor grades.[9]After returning for a short time to Walgreens, Hersh began his career in journalism as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in 1959. He later became a correspondent for United Press International in South Dakota. In 1963, he went on to become a Chicago and Washington correspondent for the Associated Press. While working in Washington Hersh first met and befriended I. F. Stone, whose I. F. Stone’s Weekly would serve as an initial inspiration for Hersh’s later work. It was during this time that Hersh began to form his investigative style, often walking out of regimented press briefings at the Pentagon and seeking out one-on-one interviews with high-ranking officers. After a falling out with the editors at the AP when they insisted on watering down a story about the US government’s work on biological and chemical weapons, Hersh left the AP and sold his story to The New Republic. During the 1968 presidential election, he served as press secretary for the campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy.

After leaving the McCarthy campaign, Hersh returned to journalism as a freelancer covering the Vietnam War. In 1969, Hersh received a tip from Geoffrey Cowan of The Village Voice regarding an Army lieutenant being court-martialled for killing civilians in Vietnam. His subsequent investigation, sold to the Dispatch News Service, was run in thirty-three newspapers and exposed the My Lai massacre, winning him the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.[9][10]

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

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

After the New York Times

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

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

Selected stories

My Lai Massacre

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

Project Jennifer

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

Korean Air Flight 007

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

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

Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Maxwell

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

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

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

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

Iraq

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

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

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

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

Iran

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

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

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

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

Lebanon

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

Killing of Osama bin Laden 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syrian Civil War

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

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

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

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

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

Criticism

Kennedy research

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

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

Use of anonymous sources

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

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

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

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

Speeches

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

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

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

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

Link between the US government and Fatah al-Islam

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

Morarji Desai libel suit

Hersh wrote in his 1983 book The Price of Power that former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai had been paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Desai called the allegation “a scandalous and malicious lie” and filed a $50 million libel suit against Hersh. By the time the case went to trial Desai, by then 93, was too ill to attend. CIA director Richard Helms and Henry Kissinger testified under oath that at no time did Desai act in any capacity for the CIA, paid or otherwise. A Chicago jury ruled in favor of Hersh, saying Desai did not provide sufficient evidence that Hersh had published the information with intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth, either of which must be proven in a libel suit.[68][69]

Controversy

On August 1, 2017, Hersh was interviewed by National Public Radio for a story on a lawsuit related to an investigation into the 2016 death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. In the interview, Hersh denied a claim by investigator Ed Butowsky that Hersh had said he’d spoken to a Federal Bureau of Investigation source who confirmed the existence of information on Rich’s laptop computer showing he had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. In the NPR interview, Hersh dismissed the claim as “gossip.”[70]

Later that same day, a purported audio recording of Hersh was made public, in which he states that his “high level” and “unbelievably accurate” source provided him with information from an FBI report confirming Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. Hersh has not publicly denied the authenticity of the recording, nor his alleged statements on it.[71]

Awards, honors and associations

His journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize, the 2004 National Council of Teachers of English George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, two National Magazine Awards, 5 George Polk Awards – making him that award’s most honored laureate – and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting:

  • 1969: George Polk Special Award (for his My Lai reporting)
  • 1970: Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting
  • 1973: George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting; Scripps-Howard Public Service Award; Sidney Hillman Award
  • 1974: George Polk Award for National Reporting
  • 1981: George Polk Award for National Reporting
  • 1983: National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
  • 2003: National Magazine Award for Public Interest for his articles “Lunch with the Chairman”, “Selective Intelligence”, and “The Stovepipe”.
  • 2004: following Hersh’s 2004 articles in the New Yorker magazine exposing the Abu Ghraib scandal: National Magazine Award for Public Interest, Overseas Press Club Award, National Press Foundation’s Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award, and his fifth George Polk Award.

Publications

Books

Articles and reportage

Forewords

  • Hersh, Seymour M. (foreword) (2005) in Scott RitterIraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein (Hardcover), Nation Books, ISBN 1-56025-852-7

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 902, May 31, 2017, –Breaking — Story 1: Unmasking The Unmaskers: House Intelligence Committee Issues Subpoenas To NSA, CIA, FBI Regarding Unmasking Requests By Susan Rice, John Brennan, and Samantha Power in Classified Documents and Former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and Trump Lawyer — Videos — Story 2: Portrait of A Paranoid: Hillary Clinton Unplugged But Weaponized– Blames Russians, Comey, Democratic Party, Fake News, Wikileaks, and Others — Not Herself and Her Campaign — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Still Listening To Both Side on Paris Climate Agreement — Trump Supporters Want Him To Pull Out Now! — Videos

Posted on May 31, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, Countries, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Education, Elections, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Freedom of Speech, Government, History, House of Representatives, Networking, News, Obama, People, Politics, Polls, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Senate, Spying on American People, United Kingdom, United States of America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

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Image result for unmasking susan rice and john brennanImage result for unmasking susan rice and john brennanImage result for trump on climate change

Breaking — Story 1: House Intelligence Committee Issues Subpoenas To NSA, CIA, FBI Regarding Unmasking Requests By Susan Rice, John Brennan, and Samantha Power in Classified Documents and Former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn — Videos

House committee issues subpoenas, references ‘unmasking’

FBI, CIA and NSA served with subpoenas in unmasking probe

House Intelligence Committee unmasks the unmaskers

Trump’s Lawyer, Flynn Subpoenaed by House Intel Committee

Rep Adam Schiff Confirms House Intel Will Also Subpoena Michael Flynn MSNBC

EVERY TREY GOWDY QUESTION: GRILLS John Brennan on Trump Russia Collusion Leaks Unmasking

Why Russia Helps Trump, Not Clinton?? CIA Director John Brennan GRILLED by Tom Rooney

“The Day You Left Office Classified Information Appeared On The Front Page” Trey Gowdy’s Pissed

Former CIA Director John Brennan Testifies on Interference in 2016 Elections 5/23/17

NSA Director Mike Rogers Testifies on President Trump and FBI Probe 5/23/2017

House Intelligence Panel Issues Seven Subpoenas in Russia Probe

Four are related to Russia investigation, three to ‘unmasking’ controversy, individuals say

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifying before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week.

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifying before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week. PHOTO: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

The Republican-led committee issued four subpoenas related to the Russia investigation. Three subpoenas are related to questions about how and why the names of associates of President Donald Trump were unredacted and distributed within classified reports by Obama administration officials during the transition between administrations.

The committee has subpoenaed the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency for information about what is called “unmasking.” Republicans on the committee have been pushing for a thorough investigation of how the names of Trump campaign officials became exposed in classified intelligence reports based off intelligence community intercepts.

Those subpoenas seek information on requests made by former national security adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power for names to be unmasked in classified material. The three didn’t personally receive subpoenas, the people familiar with the matte said. Mr. Brennan, Ms. Rice and Ms. Power didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ms. Power hasn’t previously been reported as a potential witness in the probe so her inclusion in the subpoenas may mean Republicans are broadening their areas of investigation.

Typically, information about Americans intercepted in foreign surveillance is redacted, even in classified reports distributed within the government, unless a compelling need exists to reveal them. Unmasking requests aren’t uncommon by top intelligence community officials but Republicans want to know whether any of the unmaskings of Trump campaign officials during the transition were politically motivated.

The four subpoenas related to the Russia investigation remain unknown but Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, has previously said that former national security adviser Mike Flynn would be subpoenaed by the panel. It is unclear if Mr. Flynn is one of the four targeted Wednesday.

The House Intelligence Committee is one of two bodies currently probing the question of whether Russian meddled in the 2016 election and whether anyone from Mr. Trump’s campaign played a role. The Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting its own investigation and has already issued subpoenas to Mr. Flynn and his businesses. Mr. Trump has said there was no collusion with Russia and called the investigation a witch hunt. Russia has denied the allegations.

The House panel also sent a letter to former White House press aide Boris Epshteyn asking him to voluntarily submit information to the committee. Mr. Epshteyn briefly served as special assistant to the president in the Trump administration before departing his post earlier this year.

“Like many others, Mr. Epshteyn has received a broad, preliminary request for information from the House Intelligence Committee,” an attorney for Mr. Epshteyn said Wednesday. “This is a voluntary request. Mr. Epshteyn has not been subpoenaed nor do we anticipate that he will be. We have reached out to the committee with several follow up questions and we are awaiting their response in order to better understand what information they are seeking and whether Mr. Epshteyn is able to reasonably provide it.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-intelligence-committee-said-to-have-issued-seven-subpoenas-in-russia-probe-1496261435

 

Story 2: Portrait of A Paranoid:  Hillary Clinton Unplugged And Weaponized — Blames Russians, Comey, Democratic Party, Fake News, Wikileaks, and Many Others — Not Herself  — The Emails and Server Were A “Nothing Burger” (Actually Criminal Behavior)  — Videos —

FULL EVENT: Hillary Clinton Speaks at Recode’s Code Conference (5-31-17)

FULL Hillary Clinton tears into Donald Trump at CodeCon

 Hillary Clinton: Russians Influenced Voters In The Election | CNBC

Published on May 31, 2017

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton speaks with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference about her loss in the election and how Russia and technology played into that.
» Subscribe to CNBC: http://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC

BLAME COMEY: Hillary Clinton Says “Yes, We Thought We Were Going to Win” the Day Before Election

TWITTER: GOOD OR BAD? Hillary Clinton Addresses Conspiracies, Lies, Disinformation on Social Media

Hillary Clinton blamed the DNC in part for her election loss

Hillary Clinton Blames Russians, James Comey, Fake News For Her Defeat In 2016 | TODAY

The Truth about “Paranoia” (Reality Distortion)

Are you distorting reality? How do you know?

Napoleon XIV: ‘They’re coming to take me away’

Story 3: President Trump Still Listening To Both Side on Paris Climate Agreement — Trump Supporters Want Him To Pull Out Now! — Videos

The Paris Climate Agreement Won’t Change the Climate

Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

What They Haven’t Told You about Climate Change

Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

President Trump Will Pull Out of Paris Climate Agreement. New Report!

Trump ready to pull out of Paris climate deal

Climate Deal in Paris: Everything You Need to Know

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The Pronk Pops Show 895, June 17, 2017, Breaking: Story 1: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Appoints Former FBI Director Robert Mueller Special Counsel To Investigate Russia’s Influence in U.S. Presidential 2016 Election — Videos — Story 2: The President of United States Is The FBI Director’s Boss — Absolutely No Obstruction of Justice — Former FBI Director Went Along With President Obama and Let Hillary Clinton Off — A Real Case of Obstruction of Justice By Obama and Comey — Prosecute Clinton, Obama, and Comey — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Goes On Offense — “But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine.” — Videos —

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: American History, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Impeachment, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Medicare, National Security Agency, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, Videos, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Image result for Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed Special ProsecutorImage result for cartoon trump comey obstruction of justice

Image result for Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed Special counsel

Image result for president trump at coast guard academy

 

Breaking: Story 1: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Appoints Former FBI Director Robert Mueller  Special Counsel To Investigate Russia’s Influence in U.S. Presidential 2016 Election — Videos — 

 

Robert Mueller named special counsel for FBI Russia probe– 

FBI Director Meuller to lead Trump-Russia probe

Robert Mueller Former FBI Director Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation

FBI Director Mueller Reflects on His 12-Year Term

Published on Aug 30, 2013

On the eve of his departure from the FBI after 12 years as Director, Robert S. Mueller reflects on the important role of the Bureau’s personnel and partners in the FBI mission.

Leadership in Context: Transforming the FBI in an Uncertain World

Uploaded on Oct 13, 2009

FBI Director Robert Mueller assumed his role on September 4, 2001, only a week before the 9/11 attack. In his talk, he discussed efforts to radically change the focus and mindset at the FBI following the attacks, shifting from a reactive stance to one that prevents such events from occurring in the future. He discussed the shift in priorities immediately following 9/11, as well as leadership efforts in the years since to solidify and improve upon those initial changes. He talks about the challenges of running a large government agency, and some leadership lessons he has found to be useful for those managing in any large organization. The event was sponsored by the Stanford Law School. (Recorded: October 8, 2009)

 

Robert Mueller appointed special counsel

Last Updated May 17, 2017 6:10 PM EDT

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel to oversee the previously confirmed investigation of Russian efforts to influential the 2016 Presidential election and related matters.

“I have determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome,” Rosenstein said in a statement.

The appointment comes as numerous Democratic lawmakers have called for a special counsel, colloquially known as a special prosecutor. Such calls increased in recent days after Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. On Tuesday, it was revealed the Comey had written a memo alleging that Mr. Trump had asked him to back off from investigation former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Rosenstein’s letter announcing the appointment of Mueller says, “If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the special counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”

Mueller was appointed FBI director in 2001 and served in the position until 2013. FBI directors are appointed to ten-year terms, but President Barack Obama added two years to his tenure.

A career prosecutor and veteran of the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, Mueller is a widely respected figure in Washington.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doj-appoints-special-counsel-in-wake-of-comey-developments/

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced on Wednesday.

The appointment of Mr. Mueller dramatically raises the stakes for President Trump in the multiple investigations into his campaign’s ties to the Russians. It follows a swiftly moving series of developments that have roiled Washington, including Mr. Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the disclosure that the president urged Mr. Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Graphic: Why It’s So Hard to Have an Independent Russia Investigation

“I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination.”

While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney.

Mr. Mueller is expected to announce his resignation from the law firm WilmerHale.

Robert Mueller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Mueller
Director Robert S. Mueller- III.jpg
6th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
September 4, 2001 – September 4, 2013
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Deputy Bruce Gebhardt
John Pistole
Timothy Murphy
Sean Joyce
Preceded by Thomas Pickard (Acting)
Succeeded by James Comey
United States Deputy Attorney General
Acting
In office
January 20, 2001 – May 10, 2001
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Eric Holder
Succeeded by Larry Thompson
United States Attorney for the Northern District of California
In office
1998–2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Michael Yamaguchi
Succeeded by Kevin Ryan
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
In office
1990–1993
President George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Preceded by Edward Dennis
Succeeded by Jo Ann Harris
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
Acting
In office
1986–1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William Weld
Succeeded by Frank L. McNamara
Personal details
Born Robert Swan Mueller III
August 7, 1944 (age 72)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Princeton University (BA)
New York University (MA)
University of Virginia (JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Unit 3RDMARDIV.png 3rd Marine Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Vietnam gallantry cross-w-palm-3d.svg Gallantry Cross

Robert Swan Mueller III (born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer who was the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for 12 years, between September 4, 2001 and September 4, 2013.

On May 17 2017, the US Department of Justice announced that Mueller would serve as special counsel to oversee investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 President Election and ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Early life and education

Mueller was born on August 7, 1944, in New York City, New York, the son of Alice C. (née Truesdale) and Robert Swan Mueller.[1] His maternal great-grandfather was railroad executive William Truesdale; his ancestry includes German, Scottish, and English.[2] Mueller grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A 1962 graduate of St. Paul’s School, he went on to receive an A.B. from Princeton University in 1966, where he played lacrosse, an M.A. in international relations from New York University in 1967, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

Military service

Mueller joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an officer for three years, leading a rifle platoon of the 3rd Marine Division during the Vietnam War. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Career

Following his military service, Mueller continued his studies at the University of Virginia Law School, eventually serving on the Law Review. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree, Mueller worked as a litigator in San Francisco until 1976.

He then served for 12 years in United States Attorney offices. He first worked in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where he rose to be chief of the criminal division, and in 1982, he moved to Boston to work in the office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts as Assistant United States Attorney, where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, terrorism and public corruption cases, as well as narcotics conspiracies and international money launderers.

After serving as a partner at the Boston law firm of Hill and Barlow, Mueller returned to government service. In 1989, he served in the United States Department of Justice as an assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. The following year he took charge of its criminal division. During his tenure, he oversaw prosecutions that included Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie bombing) case, and the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. In 1991, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In 1993, Mueller became a partner at Boston’s Hale and Dorr, specializing in white-collar crime litigation. He returned to public service in 1995 as senior litigator in the homicide section of the District of Columbia United States Attorney’s Office. In 1998, Mueller was named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California and held that position until 2001.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Official portrait, circa 2001

At the memorial event of Giovanni Falcone, Mueller told the audience of American and Italian law enforcement that the relationships forged years ago between the Italian National Police and the FBI “have borne tremendous fruit in this age of international crime and terrorism. Those friendships have set the standard for global cooperation among law enforcement”.

Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI Director on July 5, 2001.[3] He and two other candidates were up for the job at the time, but he was always considered the front runner.[4] Washington lawyer George J. Terwilliger III and veteran Chicago prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer Dan Webb were up for the job but both pulled out from consideration around mid-June. Confirmation hearings for Mueller, in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, were quickly set for July 30, only three days before his prostate cancer surgery.[5][6] The vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001, passed unanimously, 98–0.[7] He served as Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice for several months, before officially becoming the FBI Director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the September 11 attacks against the United States.

On May 12, 2011, it was reported that President Obama had asked Director Mueller to continue at the helm of the FBI for another 2 years beyond his normal term, expiring on September 4, 2013.[8] The Senate approved this request on July 27, 2011.[9] On September 4, 2013, Mueller was replaced by James Comey.[10]

Domestic wiretapping investigation

Director Mueller, along with Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, offered to resign from office in March 2004 if the White House overruled a Department of Justice finding that domestic wiretapping without a court warrant was unconstitutional.[11] Attorney General John D. Ashcroft denied his consent to attempts by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to waive the Justice Department ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to proceed. On March 12, 2004, President George W. Bush gave his support to changes in the program sufficient to satisfy the concerns of Mueller, Ashcroft and Comey.[11] The extent of the National Security Agency‘s domestic warrantless eavesdropping under the President’s Surveillance Program is still largely unknown.

Post-FBI Career

After leaving the FBI in 2013, Mueller became a visiting professor at Stanford University where his focus is on issues related to cyber-security.[12] In addition to his teaching position, Mueller also joined the law firm WilmerHale as a partner in their Washington, D.C. Office.[13]

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as Special Counsel in connection with the FBI’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election.[14]

Bibliography

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Robert Swan Mueller III”. Chicago Sun-Times. July 30, 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-02.[dead link]
  2. Jump up^ “Ancestry of Robert Mueller”. Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  3. Jump up^ “Remarks by the President in Nominating Robert S. Mueller as Director of the FBI”. The White House. 2001-07-05. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  4. Jump up^ “Bush Names Mueller FBI Director”. United Press. 2001-06-06. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
  5. Jump up^ “Senate hearing set July 30 for FBI choice Mueller”. CNN. 2001-06-18. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
  6. Jump up^ “FBI director-designate has prostate cancer”. CNN. 2001-06-13. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
  7. Jump up^ “Robert S. Mueller, III, to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” (Plain Text). United States Senate. 2001-08-02. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
  8. Jump up^ “FBI Director to stay in post for another 2 years”. CNN. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  9. Jump up^ “Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director”. New York Times. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  10. Jump up^ “FBI — James B. Comey Sworn in as FBI Director”. FBI. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (2007-05-16). “Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  12. Jump up^ Gorlick, Adam (2013-11-05). “Former FBI director to bolster security research at Stanford.” (Press release). Stanford, California: Stanford University. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  13. Jump up^ “Former Director of the FBI Robert Mueller III Joins WilmerHale” (Press release). Wilmer Hale. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  14. Jump up^ http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/special-counsel-robert-mueller/index.html?sr=twCNN051717special-counsel-robert-mueller1002PMStoryPhoto&linkId=37706257

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Eric Holder
United States Deputy Attorney General
Acting

2001
Succeeded by
Larry Thompson
Government offices
Preceded by
Thomas Pickard
Acting
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
2001–2013
Succeeded by
James Comey

 

Story 2: President Trump is FBI Director’s Boss — Absolutely No Obstruction of Justice — Former FBI Director Went Along With President Obama and Let Hillary Clinton Off For Numerous Felonies — A Real Case of Obstruction of Justice By Both Obama and Comey — Prosecute Clinton, Obama, and Comey — Videos

Image result for branco cartoon trump obstruction of justiceImage result for cartoon trump comey obstruction of justice

 

About That James Comey Memo. Let’s Dig Into It a Little!

Trey Gowdy on NYT Story that Trump Asked James Comey to Lay off Mike Flynn!

Krauthammer on Flynn: This is a cover-up without a crime

Lionel Nation Live Stream: J. Edgar Comey the Clown Exacts His Revenge While Fake News Revels

What qualifies as obstruction of justice?

Obama: Clinton Careless In Managing Emails

FBI director calls Clinton, her aides ‘extremely careless’

Exclusive: President Obama On FBI Reviewing Hillary Clinton Emails

Gregg Jarrett: Comey’s revenge is a gun without powder

Gregg Jarrett

James Comey was lying in wait.

His gun was cocked, he took aim and fired.  But his weapon was empty.

Three months ago, the then-FBI Director met with President Trump.  Following their private conversation, Comey did what he always does –he wrote a memorandum to himself memorializing the conversation.  Good lawyers do that routinely.

Now, only after Comey was fired, the memo magically surfaces in an inflammatory New York Times report which alleges that Mr. Trump asked Comey to end the Michael Flynn investigation.    

Those who don’t know the first thing about the law immediately began hurling words like “obstruction of justice”, “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “impeachment“.   Typically, these people don’t know what they don’t know. 

Here is what we do know.

Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States.  Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey.  (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361)  He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law. 

So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ?  If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.

Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case.  If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent.  Thus, no crime.

There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do.  Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.

Comey’s memo is being treated as a “smoking gun” only because the media and Democrats, likely prompted by Comey himself, are now peddling it that way.

Comey will soon testify before Congress about this and other matters.  His memo will likely be produced pursuant to a subpoena.  The words and the context will matter.

But by writing a memo, Comey has put himself in a box.  If he now accuses the President of obstruction, he places himself in legal jeopardy for failing to promptly and properly report it.  If he says it was merely an uncomfortable conversation, he clears the president of wrongdoing and sullies his own image as a guy who attempted to smear the man who fired him.

Either way, James Comey comes out a loser.  No matter.  The media will hail him a hero.

After all, he gave them a good story that was better than the truth.

Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News Anchor and former defense attorney.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/16/gregg-jarrett-comeys-revenge-is-gun-without-powder.html

MAY 17, 2017 1:59PM

Obstruction of Justice

President Trump is being accused of “obstruction of justice” because of a conversation that he may have had with former FBI Director James Comey.  According to the news stories, Trump may have asked Comey to lay off his former National Security advisor, Michael Flynn.  In this post I want to briefly examine the legal doctrine of obstruction of justice.

To begin, a basic principle of American criminal law is that the line between what’s lawful and what’s unlawful needs to be clear so we will know, in advance, what conduct might land us in a prison cell.  That’s the gist behind the constitutional prohibition of ex post facto laws.  Laws with vague terms raise the same danger.  When laws are vague, police and prosecutors can abuse their power and trap people.  And that’s the danger with a catch-all doctrine such as “obstruction of justice.”

“Obstruction” has sometimes been defined by the authorities as almost any action that “impedes” an investigation.  Invoking your constitutional right to silence, your right to speak with an attorney, or the attorney-client privilege are sometimes deemed “obstruction.”  Don’t the courts restrain those abuses?  Yes, sometimes they do.  I’m presently editing a book of Judge Alex Kozinski’s legal opinions.  One case, United States v. Caldwell, touches on this subject.  Here is Judge Kozinski:

Under the government’s theory, a husband who asks his wife to buy him a radar detector would be a felon — punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 — because their actions would obstruct the government function of catching speeders. So would a person who witnesses a crime and suggests to another witness (with no hint of threat) that they not tell the police anything unless specifically asked about it.So would the executives of a business that competes with a government-run enterprise and lowers its prices to siphon off the government’s customers. So would co-owners of land who refuse to sell it for use as a military base, forcing the government to go to the extra trouble of condemning it. So would have Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus, had they agreed with each other to quit if asked by President Nixon to fire Archibald Cox. The federal government does lots of things, more and more every year, and many things private parties do can get in the government’s way. It can’t be that each such action is automatically a felony.

I should note that when James Comey served as a prosecutor in New York, he pursued Martha Stewart and went so far as to say that her assertion of innocence was itself a violation of the law!  When Comey worked as assistant attorney general, he also took a dangerously expansive view of what he considered “uncooperative” conduct by business firms.  He expected lawyers for business firms to act as deputies for the federal government, which raised constitutional problems—especially for employees who were unaware of the legal minefield all around them during a purported “internal” investigation.

Let’s also consider how the doctrine might work within the government itself.  Say a rookie cop busts a homeless man named Al, for possession of heroin.  Al is street wise so he offers to become a snitch if his charge is dropped.  Al says he was using heroin with the governor just the day before and that the governor told him that he kept a stash of other drugs in his desk at the mansion.  The rookie thinks this is a huge deal and proposes to use Al in a sting operation against the governor.  The police captain rejects the proposal and tells the rookie to forget the whole thing because it’s a made up story.  Has the captain obstructed the investigation or exercised appropriate supervision?

Another example.  Let’s say 50 FBI agents are working on the Russia investigation (improper, possibly illegal, actions involving Mr. Trump or others working on his campaign).  One agent is convinced that Mr. Trump is a traitor, taking bribes from Putin, and other illegal acts.  He proposes grand jury subpoenas for Mr. and Mrs. Trump so that they can be questioned under oath right away.  Only his FBI supervisor rejects the idea.  Has the FBI supervisor obstructed justice or exercised sound discretion?

One important difference, of course, is that neither the police captain nor the FBI supervisor, were targets (or around the targets) of the underlying investigation. Repeat: That is an important difference.  The main point of this post is simply to caution against wild and vague claims of “obstruction of justice.”  Legal rights should never be considered “obstruction.”  When judges, or prosecutors, or law enforcement supervisors restrain overzealous subordinates, that should not be considered “obstruction.”  Mr. Trump is not above the law, but investigators must also respect the law as they go about their work.

https://www.cato.org/blog/obstruction-justice

 

WASHINGTON — President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.

Such documents, Mr. Chaffetz wrote, would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the F.B.I.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. It was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

In a statement, the White House denied the version of events in the memo.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the statement said. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

GRAPHIC

The Events That Led to Comey’s Firing, and How the White House’s Story Changed

New disclosures on Tuesday allege that in February, President Trump asked James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to shut down an investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

OPEN GRAPHIC

Mr. Chaffetz’s letter, sent to the acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, set a May 24 deadline for the internal documents to be delivered to the House committee. The congressman, a Republican, was criticized in recent months for showing little of the appetite he demonstrated in pursuing Hillary Clinton to pursue investigations into Mr. Trump’s associates.

But since announcing in April that he will not seek re-election in 2018, Mr. Chaffetz has shown more interest in the Russia investigation, and held out the potential for a subpoena on Tuesday, a notably aggressive move as most Republicans have tried to stay out of the fray.

Document: Representative Jason Chaffetz’s Letter to the F.B.I.

In testimony to the Senate last week, Mr. McCabe said, “There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.” Mr. McCabe was referring to the broad investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The investigation into Mr. Flynn is separate.

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment.

Mr. Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey told the Justice Department about the conversation or his memos.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last week. Trump administration officials have provided multiple, conflicting accounts of the reasoning behind Mr. Comey’s dismissal. Mr. Trump said in a television interview that one of the reasons was because he believed “this Russia thing” was a “made-up story.”

The Feb. 14 meeting took place just a day after Mr. Flynn was forced out of his job after it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of phone conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Despite the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey, the investigation of Mr. Flynn has proceeded. In Virginia, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in recent weeks for records related to Mr. Flynn. Part of the Flynn investigation is centered on his financial links to Russia and Turkey.

Mr. Comey had been in the Oval Office that day with other senior national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When the meeting ended, Mr. Trump told those present — including Mr. Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to leave the room except for Mr. Comey.

Five Contradictions in the White House’s Story About Comey’s Firing

The Trump administration has offered conflicting answers about how and why the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was fired.

Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

Mr. Trump then turned the discussion to Mr. Flynn.

After writing up a memo that outlined the meeting, Mr. Comey shared it with senior F.B.I. officials. Mr. Comey and his aides perceived Mr. Trump’s comments as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret — even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation — so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.

Mr. Comey was known among his closest advisers to document conversations that he believed would later be called into question, according to two former confidants, who said Mr. Comey was uncomfortable at times with his relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Comey’s recollection has been bolstered in the past by F.B.I. notes. In 2007, he told Congress about a now-famous showdown with senior White House officials over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. The White House disputed Mr. Comey’s account, but the F.B.I. director at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, kept notes that backed up Mr. Comey’s story.

The White House has repeatedly crossed lines that other administrations have been reluctant to cross when discussing politically charged criminal investigations. Mr. Trump has disparaged the continuing F.B.I. investigation as a hoax and called for an inquiry into his political rivals. His representatives have taken the unusual step of declaring no need for a special prosecutor to investigate the president’s associates.

The Oval Office meeting occurred a little over two weeks after Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Comey to the White House for a lengthy, one-on-one dinner at the residence. At that dinner, on Jan. 27, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey at least two times for a pledge of loyalty — which Mr. Comey declined, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Mr. Trump said that “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

After the meeting, Mr. Comey’s associates did not believe there was any way to corroborate Mr. Trump’s statements. But Mr. Trump’s suggestion last week that he was keeping tapes has made them wonder whether there are tapes that back up Mr. Comey’s account.

The Jan. 27 dinner came a day after White House officials learned that Mr. Flynn had been interviewed by F.B.I. agents about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. On Jan. 26, the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, told the White House counsel about the interview, and said Mr. Flynn could be subject to blackmail by the Russians because they knew he had lied about the content of the calls.

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The Pronk Pops Show 894, May 16, 2017, Story 1: Trump Whipping The Washington Post — More Fake News From Big Lie Media — Open Source New al Qaeda and Islamic State Laptop Battery Bombs May Evade Airport Security — Videos — Story 2: The Real Danger To The Our Republic Is Progressive Propaganda About Trump — American People Are Ignoring Them As They Get Trump Media Fatigue — Videos

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Image result for trump and russian foreign minister and ambassadorImage result for mcmaster statement white house may 16, 2017Image result for May 16, 2016 cartoons trump and washingon post

Story 1: Trump Whipping The Washington Post — More Fake News From Big Lie Media — Israel Was The Primary Original Source — Open Source New al Qaeda and Islamic State Laptop Battery Bombs May Evade Airport Security — Videos — 

Image result for cartoons washingon post fake newsImage result for cartoons washingon post fake news

Image result for cartoons washingon post fake news

Story 1: Trump Whipping The Washington Post — More Fake News From Big Lie Media — It didn’t happen. — Videos — 

UPDATED: Trump revealed highly classified material to Russian officials, Washington Post reports

MCMaster on Trump revealed secret classified information to the russians 5/15/2017

Former US Ambass To Russia On Trump Defends Giving Highly Classified Info To Russians | CNN

Israel was source of leaked terrorism intel Trump told Russians

Trump defends giving Russia highly classified intelligence

Panel on Sources: Trump Shared Classified Information with Russians. @thelauracoates #Breaking

National Security Adviser Denies Trump Gave Russians Secrets

Natl. Security Advisor McMaster PRESS BRIEFING on Trump’s Upcoming Trip, Classified Info to Russians

Published on May 16, 2017

Brought to you by Desert Diamond: http://ddcaz.com
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser plans to brief reporters at the White House. The White House says H.R. McMaster will hold an on-camera briefing before noon. He was originally scheduled to appear with press secretary Sean Spicer, but Spicer plans to hold a separate, off-camera session with reporters later in the day, after McMaster’s appearance. Reporters had been promised a briefing from McMaster about Trump’s first overseas trip, which opens Friday. But McMaster is likely to face questions about reports that Trump shared classified intelligence information with Russian officials when they met in the Oval Office last week. McMaster has denied the reports, telling reporters Monday after the story broke: “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

BREAKING: General McMaster Just Dropped BOMBSHELL Proves Trump Never Leaked To Russia

Is the intel community undermining the Trump presidency?

Deep State Leaks Highly Classified Info to Washington Post to Smear President Trump

U.S. bans large electronics on inbound foreign flights from 8 countries

Laptops, tablets banned from some flights to US

New Laptop Bombs May Evade Airport Security

Published on Mar 31, 2017

US intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe that ISIS and other terrorist organizations have developed innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices that FBI testing shows can evade some commonly used airport security screening methods, CNN has learned

Intelligence officials received information on ISIS testing laptop bombs

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

May 15 at 7:45 PM

Trump revealed highly classified intel in Oval Office meeting with Russians
President Trump revealed highly classified intel in Oval Office meeting with Russians (Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/The Washington Post)

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.

 
Washington reacts to Trump’s disclosure of classified information
The White House and lawmakers reacted May 15 to Washington Post revelations that President Trump disclosed classified information during a meeting with Russian officials.

The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as “false,” but did not take any questions.

McMaster: Trump ‘did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known’
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied recent reporting that President Trump revealed classified information in a meeting with Russian officials. (Reuters)

In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.

The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.

But officials expressed concern about Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

What Trump’s classified revelations to Russian officials mean for allies
Washington Post national security reporter Greg Miller explains what President Trump’s potential disclosures to Russian officials means going forward. (The Washington Post)

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

Trump also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.

The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.

Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. “Can you believe the world we live in today?” he said, according to one official. “Isn’t it crazy?”

Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.

A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

White House officials defended Trump. “This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

But officials could not explain why staff members nevertheless felt it necessary to alert the CIA and the NSA.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he would rather comment on the revelations in the Post story after “I know a little bit more about it,” but added: “Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening. And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place.”

Corker also said, “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.”

Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.

“He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”

Lavrov’s reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.

Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.

“Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,” the summary said. The president also “raised Ukraine” and “emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”

Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.7825502d7181

To the Washington Post, the New York Times and other left-wing outlets, journalism is blood sport.

It’s not about a mission to deliver facts, but to fulfill an agenda.

That couldn’t be clearer this week when Washington Post “Fact Checker” columnist Glenn Kessler tweeted on Monday that there was “applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per minute.”

Applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per minute

It’s not the first time the mask slipped and reporters applauded in the newsroom.

On Tuesday morning, Matt Drudge tweeted a link to a Politico story from 2009 which contained a pool report about President-Elect Barack Obama’s visit to the newsroom.

After three and a half  hours at his transition office, PEOTUS obama took another 6 minute ride through washington, arriving at 157 pm at the nondescript soviet-style building at 15th and L street that houses the washington post.

Around 100 people–Post reporters perhaps?–awaited PEOTUS’s arrival, cheering and bobbing their coffee cups.

Pool is holding in a van outside, while Mr obama does his washington post interview, and will exercise enormous restraint by ending report before saying what really thinks about this turn of events.

After the Post’s story broke, the president’s National Security Advisor denied the allegations:

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as “false,” but did not take any questions.

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/washpost-reporters-cheer-trump-russia-leak-story-just-like-obama-09-visit/

Donald Trump said Amazon and Jeff Bezos have a ‘huge antitrust problem.’ Now they may.

The president-elect is certainly one to hold grudges.

https://www.recode.net/2016/11/9/13573926/donald-trump-amazon-jeff-bezos-antitrust-taxes

Did Washington Post Just Publish Its 4th Major #FakeNews Story in Last Week?

The Washington Post has had a very busy week.

The DC paper has published screaming headline after headline that turn out to be complete trash.
Even the National Enquirer would be red-faced after at this point.

It’s as if the WaPo will print anything for clicks.
They’ve become a click-bait site.

What a disgrace.

Here are the four completely inaccurate reports published by the Trump-bashing Washington Post this past week.

1.) The Washington Post was completely off in their fake news reports last week Comey asking for more funds to investigate Trump before he was fired.

On Wednesday the Washington Post reported that former FBI Director James Comey sought more resources for his Russia probe just days before he was fired by President Trump.

Comey was fired by President Trump on Tuesday.
Too bad the story was complete garbage.

The Department of Justice refuted the report Wednesday saying Comey DID NOT ask Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein for more resourses for the Russian conspiracy probe.

DOJ is pushing back hard- they say any reporting that Comey asked Rosenstein for more resources is “completely false” -now working Sen Intel https://twitter.com/thehill/status/862338205504475136 

2.) The Washington Post was wrong about Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein threatening to resign

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that “Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey,” citing an unnamed source close to the White House.

This was completely inaccurate.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told WJLA reporter Michelle Macoluso he DID NOT threaten to quit over James Comey firing.

3.) The Washington Post claimed Sean Spicer was “hiding in the bushes.”

Mr. Spicer WAS NOT hiding in the bushes as the Washington Post reported.

Mediaite reported

The Washington Post offered a correction to their readers on Wednesday, in order to clarify a really strange account about how Sean Spicer tried to avoid talking to reporters after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Shortly after Comey’s firing set of a political firestorm this week, the White House had to scramble in order to control the impact and respond to overwhelming media intrigue. During this time, WaPo released a report stating that Spicer was hiding in the White House’s bushes on Tuesday night, and that he only emerged from the shrubbery once reporters promised not to film him while he took some of their questions…

…WaPo has since amended the original article with an editor’s note saying Spicer was among the bushes instead of inside them:

4.) The Washington Post accuses President Trump of releasing top secret information to the Russians during his meeting in the White House last week.

National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster refuted the claim tonight with a statement to the press.

Natl Security Adviser McMaster made a statement denying a report that @POTUS revealed classified info to Russia. http://fxn.ws/2rkAYib 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was also in the room during the meeting between President Trump and Russian officials, also denied the allegations by the Washington Post.

It was complete crap:

WH source with direct knowledge just told me @washingtonpost didn’t talk to ANY U.S. official at mtg w/ Lavrov. “It’s Fake News”

U.S. to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe, Officials Say

Acting on fears that terrorists can build bombs into laptops, Homeland Security has decided to expand the ban it imposed on Middle Eastern flights. Computers will now be checked as baggage.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday.Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.

DHS said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

However, this move is increasing fears in the aviation industry that as well as guarding against bombs this ban could actually endanger flights. Laptops and tablets denied access to the cabin and added to checked baggage means that devices with a history of lithium-ion battery fires could set off a deadly conflagration in a cargo hold — where no one can put out the fires.

The FAA recorded 33 incidents in 2016 of personal electronic devices carried into cabins by passengers causing fire emergencies during flights, according to an FAA document reviewed by The Daily Beast. Of these, three were in laptops and two in tablets.

Two of the most serious were on Delta flights and both involved laptops.

On January 15, 2016 on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta fire broke out in a bag in an overhead bin shortly before landing. The smoke in the cabin became so overwhelming that when the flight reached the gate, passengers opened emergency exits over the wings and staff on the ramp helped them escape directly from the wings.

Flight attendants used halon fire suppressant extinguishers and water extinguishers to put out the fire, which had originated in two laptops.

On December 3, 2016 fire broke out in an overhead bin on a flight from Honolulu to Atlanta. Cabin crew needed three halon extinguishers and two water extinguishers to put out a fire originating in a laptop. For the rest of the flight the laptop was placed in a cooler with ice and monitored.

The FAA stressed that the 33 incidents are only ones that they are aware of. “This should not be considered as a complete listing of all such incidents…nor do they include all investigative and enforcement actions taken,” the documented stated.

Tests carried in 2015 by the FAA’s Fire Safety Branch have shown that halon gas is ineffective against fires originating in the kind of lithium-ion batteries used in laptops and tablets.

Even more to the point, these tests have revealed that the quantity of halon gas used in the automatic fire suppression systems of airplane cargo holds had no effect on a fire that begins as what is called a thermal runaway in a lithium-ion battery. Panels in the cargo hold designed to contain a fire were actually blown out in the tests, creating an explosion that would destroy an airplane.

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Commenting on these tests, the Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations, IFALPA, representing airline pilots worldwide, said, “In fact, the fire proceeded is if the halon were not present.”

Some Middle East airlines complained to the International Civil Aviation Organization that they had been unduly penalized by the original 10-country ban. In response, the ICAO said that it accepted that improvised explosive devices in electronic devices have been “the greatest security risk to commercial aircraft for some years.”

At the same time, they said, they have asked experts to examine the safety risk of a sudden influx of electronic devices in cargo holds. And Patrick Ky, a European safety regulator, told Reuters that his agency wants airlines to avoid placing all the electronic devices in checked baggage being in the same container in the cargo hold.

At London’s Heathrow Airport, where 17 percent of all flights to the U.S. originate, is adding an extra layer of security screening for those flights at the gates.

As The Daily Beast reported in March, the original ban placed on the 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East followed intelligence gathered during a raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. Bomb makers had managed to insert into batteries an explosive device powerful enough to bring down an airplane.

First indications of this came in 2016 when a hole was blown in the fuselage of an Airbus A320 as it was on its ascent from Mogadishu, Somalia. The airplane was able to make an emergency landing. The insurgent group Al-Shababb claimed that it had equipped a passenger with a laptop rigged as a bomb.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/05/10/u-s-to-ban-laptops-in-all-cabins-of-flights-from-europe

U.S. Raid in Yemen Led to Laptop Ban on Flights, Officials Say

Intel sources fear terrorists can make bombs as small as computer batteries, provoking the ban on carry-on electronics at sensitive foreign airports.

Three intelligence sources told The Daily Beast that the ban on carry-on electronics aboard U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East was the result of information seized during a U.S. raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. The United Kingdom joined the U.S. ban Tuesday.Information from the raid shows al Qaeda’s successful development of compact, battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices believed to be strong enough to bring down an aircraft, the sources said. The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered, a source explained, which is why the electronics ban is only for the aircraft cabin not checked luggage.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly cited two attacks on flights in the last two years, the downing of a Russian jet over the Egyptian Sinai in October 2015 and an attempt that nearly succeeded in bringing down a jet that had taken off from Mogadishu, Somalia last year and made an emergency landing after an explosion ripped open its cabin. The insurgent group Al-Shababb claimed credit for getting a laptop onboard the flight that had been rigged as a bomb.“Since they weren’t high enough, the explosion wasn’t catastrophic to the plane and they were able to land,” one source told The Daily Beast. “The bomber got sucked out of the hole, but it was proof of concept.”DHS declined to comment on the intelligence, saying only “we employ a variety of measures, both seen and unseen, to protect air travelers.”

A former British Army intelligence analyst told The Daily Beast that an investigation into the device suggested that it used a military grade high explosive that generates a supersonic shock wave. It was probably the same explosive used by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid: PETN, or pentaerythritol tritinate, which is hard to detect. It delivers high yield for its weight: just 100 grams can destroy a car. 

Although the ban on laptops is based on the belief that the compact explosive inside a battery would have to be triggered by the bomber in the airplane the British analyst believes that a laptop might actually be equipped with a timer. “The timing mechanism can be quite small. In fact, it is believed that the Somali bomb was pre-timed. Therefore a ban that still allows laptops in the cargo hold does little to negate the threat.”

He also points out such a device could not be triggered remotely: “There is no phone reception at 30,000 feet and installing a link to a satellite connection would be too bulky.”

The chief bomb maker for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has been working on packing even smaller devices, the source added. CNN first reported the news on Tuesday evening.

The problem with this theory is that it implies that the security screening of electronic devices at the 10 airports is no better than at the airport in a failed state like Somalia. The pilot of the Airbus A320 involved in that incident said of that airport: “the security is zero.” Airport employees had conspired with the bomber to get the laptop through security.

One source said the foreign countries included in the ban were selected because of their exposure to al Qaeda groups and members who might try to bring a battery bomb on a plane heading for the U.S.

Egyptian intelligence officials were briefed over the weekend, according to one source, and have long been concerned about another plane departing from Cairo being brought down like the Metrojet plane in Oct. 2015. And there is another disaster, EgyptAir Flight 804, from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport to Cairo in May that crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and killed 66 people.

The crash has subsequently been shrouded in mystery. In December the Egyptian authorities announced that a criminal investigation had been opened. They had had six months in which to analyze data from the airplane’s two flight recorders recovered from the wreck. But there was a dispute between the Egyptian and French about the cause. The French air crash investigators said that it was not possible at that stage to draw conclusions about the origin of the accident.

It is known from data transmitted from the Airbus A320 as it spiraled down from its cruise height of 37,000 feet that it suffered a rapid cascade of failures, beginning with an electrical problem in the cockpit. This escalated into a fire in the electronics bay below the cockpit that effectively fried the computers controlling the flight.

There were indications that the disastrous sequence started with some kind of explosion in the passenger toilet immediately above the electronics bay and behind the cockpit. Video taken of the wreck showed heat damage beneath the cockpit.

Before leaving Paris the airplane had flown from Asmara in Eritrea, to Cairo and then onward to Tunis and Paris. That means that investigators would be looking at the possibility of an explosive device being placed on the airplane at any of those airports.

In early March, a Russian passenger on a Turkish Airways flight from Alexandria to Istanbul was arrested after an improvised explosive was found in his luggage, according to a DHS alert in early March citing Egyptian media.

The gravity of the move had been underscored by the political response to it. Representative Adam Schiff, Californian Democrat and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement:

“Over the weekend I received an additional briefing by the Department of Homeland Security and I fully support the new security precautions. These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat.”

Several Federal Air Marshals told The Daily Beast they were angry they were blindsided by the ban, only to learn about it from CNN or BBC news reports circulated by management. (President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to CNN as “fake news.”) But DHS spokesman said they shouldn’t be surprised to not receive notification about something they aren’t involved in.

“FAMS aren’t involved in this particular action so why would they be notified of an action that doesn’t directly affect their duties?” DHS spokesman David Lapan told The Daily Beast.

Federal Air Marshals only fly on U.S. carriers and the electronics ban involves direct flights into the U.S. from countries served by foreign airlines.

The most consequential impact of the new measures will be on the three airlines operating out of the Persian Gulf states: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. In the last decade there has been a major transformation of the connections between inter-continental airline routes. Led by Emirates from their hub in Dubai this has put the three airlines in a dominant position to connect flights from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe and, significantly, to directly fly passengers from those regions to the United States.

Moreover, these airlines have set new standards of service, particularly for business class passengers. Anyone flying business class with these carriers finds the cabins glowing with the glare from many laptops as workaholic executives and managers use their flight time to catch up on work.

The three major U.S. international carriers, Delta, American and United, have found themselves left with fleets of older airplanes that can’t match the quality of cabin amenities of the Gulf airlines, who use latest generation jets like the Airbus A380 super jumbo and the Airbus A350. Over the last few years those airlines have pushed into major U.S. business centers like New York, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle – scooping up, for example, major players in the energy and tech industries.

Craig Jenks, President of a New York base consultancy, Airline/Aircraft projects, pointed out that the ban’s effects reach far beyond the named airports.

In particular, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all have a high volume of passengers originating in Indian cities. Among these are many in high tech industries flying on from hubs in the Gulf directly to U.S. tech business centers like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York.

“Now, all of a sudden, you arrive at a Gulf airport headed for San Francisco with your light carry-on and you discover, no laptop on board nor even while in transit at the hub. Intentionally or not, this is a negative for the Gulf carriers,” Jenks said.

Now that the ban has been joined by the UK, which has said that passengers on 14 airlines would not be able to carry laptops into the cabin of direct flights to London from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, the disruption to business travelers has become even more widespread.

Air travel remains a priority target for terrorists. And, once more, the mere threat of terror attacks has proved itself as costly, at least in economic impact, as the act of terror.

For example, one recent casualty has been Turkish Airlines. In 2015 it was following the Gulf airlines’ model to exploit the strategic location of Istanbul as a hub for the Middle East and Africa. In that year it made a profit of $872 million. Last year that became a loss of $463 million. Two events, a terror attack on Istanbul airport and the failed coup in July, as well as fear of new terror attacks, have put the airline into a financial crisis. Istanbul is on both the U.S. and U.K. list of airports covered by the new ban.

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