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The Pronk Pops Show 1278, June 20, 2019, Part 1– Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done , Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos — Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Videos — Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida — Boom Boom Boom — Send Them Home — MAGA MAGA MAGA — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Keep America Great — Win Win Win — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1272 June 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1271 June 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1269 June 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1265 May 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1263 May 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1262 May 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1261 May 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1260 May 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1253 May 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1252 May 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done, Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos —

Tucker: Washington is war-hungry

Pentagon releases footage of US drone being shot down by Iran

LIVE: President Trump first comments after Iran shoots down US Drone | June 20th 2019

US is bringing the Iranian economy to its knees: Nile Gardiner

Oil prices rise after Iran shoots down US drone

40% Chance of 2020 U.S.-Iran Military Conflict: Eurasia CEO

Iran shoots down US drone as tensions escalate

Video shows Iran shooting down US drone

Iran says it shot down US drone ‘violating Iranian air space’ amid growing tensions

Iran Shot Down U.S. Drone to Disrupt Trade in Persian Gulf, Senior U.S. Military Official Says

President Trump makes first comments after Iran shoots down U.S. Drone | ABC News Special Report

Iran says it’s ‘ready for war’

Iran shoots down US military spy drone | DW News

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Is The U.S. Going To War With Iran? | AJ+

Iran’s foreign minister accuses US, Mideast of provoking conflict

Iran’s Zarif thrashes Trump, “US driven by pathological obsession” (Munich Security Conference 2019)

Can air strikes take out Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Did Trump Just Blink or Bluff in Standoff With Iran?

Anthony Halpin

Bloomberg

Was it all a bluff? After news leaked that President Donald Trump approved and then called off U.S. airstrikes on Iran last night, it emerged he’d warned Tehran about an imminent attack while insisting he was against a war.

Today, as airlines began re-routing flights away from the Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s Foreign Ministry called in the Swiss ambassador, who also represents U.S. interests, for talks.

Was the outreach why Trump abandoned the strikes? Or was this the latest example of the whipsaw approach from a president who’s twice attacked Syria but also backed away from using force after lashing out at Iran and North Korea?

The leak of Trump’s about-face also speaks volumes about the battle for influence in the White House. Hardliners clearly thought they’d convinced him to back a tough response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. Navy drone. Yet Trump was elected on a pledge to pull out of Middle East wars.

The president, who governs with the cliffhanger style of his Apprentice TV show, thrives on keeping supporters hooked on dramatic twists.

But as his 2020 re-election campaign gains steam, the stakes now include the prospect of armed conflict and instability in a region that supplies a third of the world’s oil.

Global Headlines

Biden’s burden | Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is encountering the same pitfalls as other seasoned politicians who’ve found their experience and record can be a liability. The former Delaware senator’s struggles to defend his remarks this week about finding common ground with two segregationists is an early sign of the trouble he could have explaining a complicated voting record and his nostalgia for a Washington collegiality that has steadily diminished since he was first elected in 1972.

Border control | Trump praised Mexico’s efforts to crack down on migrants crossing the border into the U.S. after the two countries entered an agreement aimed at stemming the flow of people entering Mexico from Central America. Mexico will take greater control of its southern border and ask foreigners to register their arrival.

Osaka drama | Before Trump, Group of 20 summits were dull if worthy affairs. This year’s gathering in Osaka, Japan next week promises to be anything but, as the U.S. president holds talks with China’s Xi Jinping after threatening to escalate their trade conflict. The best-case scenario would be a pause in new U.S. tariffs and a resumption of negotiations that broke down in May. The worst-case would be a new Cold War between the two largest economies.

Favorites flushed | European Union leaders cast aside the candidates who’ve dominated the race to head the next EU Commission and will start from scratch less than two weeks before a self-imposed deadline. The decision at a summit in Brussels extends gridlock that has left investors in the dark over a series of critical posts including the next president of the European Central Bank.

Bad air | As climate change tops political agendas from Washington to New Delhi, there’s no solution in sight for the bad air choking Europe’s poorest countries. While the EU has focused mostly on stability in the volatile Balkans, health problems and lost productivity from air pollution cost the continent more than 10 billion euros a year. Obsolete coal plants and cars spew smog and hundreds of thousands of people burn tires, wood and trash to stay warm.

What to Watch

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will go head-to-head in the contest to become the U.K.’s next prime minister as they seek votes from the Conservative Party’s 160,000 grassroots members over the next month. Ukraine’s Constitutional Court threw out a challenge to a decree by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordering early parliamentary elections. The ruling confirmed a vote will take place next month and a new government should be in place by the fall. Turkey reruns the election for mayor of Istanbul on Sunday, pitting former prime minister and ruling AK Party candidate Binali Yildirim against opposition challenger Ekrem Imamoglu, who was stripped of his narrow victory in the March 31 ballot.

And finally…The U.K. is poised to generate more energy from low-carbon sources than from fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Wind, solar, hydro and nuclear plants provided 48% of the nation’s power in the first five months of this year. The U.K. has gone without burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for the equivalent of 80 days so far in 2019, including one stretch of 18 days in a row.

–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter and Daniel Ten Kate.

https://news.yahoo.com/did-trump-just-blink-bluff-100815556.html

Trump says Iran made ‘big mistake’ by taking down US drone

today

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Washington. Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” by shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz but suggested it was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation of the tensions that have led to rising fears of open military conflict.

Asked about a U.S. response, the president said pointedly, “You’ll soon find out.”

The downing of the huge, unmanned aircraft , which Iran portrayed as a deliberate defense of its territory rather than a mistake, was a stark reminder of the risk of military conflict between U.S. and Iranian forces as the Trump administration combines a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Iran with a buildup of American forces in the region.

The drone — which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737 — entered Iranian airspace “despite repeated radio warnings” and was shot down by Iran, acting under the U.N. Charter which allows self-defense action “if an armed attack occurs,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general.

Donald Trump is playing down Iran's downing of an American drone, saying that it might have been a mistake executed by someone just being "loose and stupid." He said it was a "new wrinkle" in escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. (June 20)

Trump, who has said he wants to avoid war and negotiate with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, appeared to play down the significance of the shootdown.

He cast it as “a new wrinkle … a new fly in the ointment.” Yet he also said that “this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”

Shortly before Trump spoke, Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Central Command air forces in the region, took a more pointed view of the shootdown in an area where Trump has blamed Iran for attacking shipping vessels.

“This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce,” he said.

The Trump administration has been putting increasing economic pressure on Iran for more than a year. It reinstated punishing sanctions following Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of an international agreement intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from earlier sanctions.

The other world powers who remain signed on to the nuclear deal have set a meeting to discuss the U.S. withdrawal and Iran’s announced plans to increase its uranium stockpile for June 28, a date far enough in the future to perhaps allow tensions to cool.

Citing Iranian threats, the U.S. recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

The first U.S. reaction was Trump’s Thursday morning tweet of six forceful words: “Iran made a very big mistake.”

But later, while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said, “I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.

He said the American drone was unarmed and unmanned and “clearly over international waters.” It would have “made a big, big difference” if someone had been inside, he said.

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”

Taking issue with the U.S. version of where the attack occurred, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that his country had retrieved sections of the military drone “in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.” He said, “We don’t seek war but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters.”

U.S. Gen. Guastella disputed that contention, telling reporters that the aircraft was 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest Iranian territory and flying at high altitude when struck by a surface-to-air missile. The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

One U.S. official said there was a second American aircraft in the area that was able to get video and imagery of the drone when it was shot down.

Congressional leaders came to the White House for an hour-long briefing in the Situation Room late Thursday with top national security officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Army Secretary Mark Esper, whom Trump has said he’ll nominate as Pentagon chief.

The Senate’s top Democrat called the downing of the American drone “deeply concerning” and accused the administration of not having an Iran strategy and keeping Congress and the rest of the nation in the dark.

“The president needs to explain to the American people why he’s driving us toward another endless conflict in the Middle East,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t think Trump wanted war with Iran and the American people have “no appetite” for it either. She said the U.S. needs to be “strong and strategic” about protecting its interests but “cannot be reckless.”

Talking tougher, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called Iran a “murderous regime” and said, “If they’re itching for a fight they’re going to get one.”

“We’re a lot closer today than we were yesterday, and only God knows what tomorrow brings,” said Graham, a Trump ally who talked with the president by telephone.

The senator also focused on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, saying its leaders have refused to negotiate after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the international agreement to limit Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

Graham said it’s imperative that the U.S. clearly tell the Iranians that any attempt to increase uranium enrichment will be seen as a “hostile act against the United States and our allies in Israel and will not go unanswered.”

Another factor: This all comes as Trump is launching his re-election campaign. He ran for president promising to bring American troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan and has repeatedly said he wants to keep America out of “endless wars.”

Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush, cautioned against thinking about politics when weighing any response to Iran.

“I suspect a successful limited counter-strike, such as taking out the missile battery that fired at the drone or the sinking of an unmanned Iranian vessel, would be seen as a well-calibrated show of resolve and discipline,” Fleischer said in an interview. He added that “if we do nothing, Iran may strike again thinking it has impunity.”

https://apnews.com/84ad15edb7324472bb867852059a0a7a

Iran shoots down US surveillance drone, heightening tensions

29 minutes ago

In this Oct. 24, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Air Force, members of the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron prepare to launch an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk on Thursday, June 20, 2019, amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident. (Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan/U.S. Air Force via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million.

Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

Trump later appeared to play down the incident, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he had a feeling that “a general or somebody” being “loose and stupid” made a mistake in shooting down the drone.

AP Graphic

The incident immediately heightened the crisis already gripping the wider region, which is rooted in Trump withdrawing the U.S. a year ago from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal’s terms by next week while threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe doesn’t offer it a new deal.

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami. (Sepahnews via AP)

The drone took off from the southern Persian Gulf and collected data from Iranian territory, including the southern port of Chahbahar near Iran’s border with Pakistan, the Guard said in comments that appeared aimed at showing it could track the aircraft.

The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

Iran used its air defense system known as Third of Khordad to shoot down the drone — a truck-based missile system that can fire up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) into the sky, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iranian state TV later broadcast video it described as the moment the Guard launched the surface-to-air missile that struck the U.S. drone. Chants of “God is great!” could be heard as a fireball appeared in the darkened sky.

Typically, militaries worldwide call out to errant aircraft entering their airspace before firing. It’s unclear whether Iran gave any warning before opening fire. The U.S. military says Iran fired on and missed another drone last week near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all global oil moves.

The U.S. has been worried about international shipping through the strategic waterway since tankers were damaged in May and June in what Washington has blamed on limpet mines from Iran, although Tehran denied involvement.. On Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Navy showed fragments of mines that it said bore “a striking resemblance” to those seen in Iran

The RQ-4 Global Hawk was at least 34 kilometers from Iranian territory when it was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of the U.S. Central Command. He said it was an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf region.

But Salami, speaking to a crowd in the western city of Sanandaj, described the American drone as “violating our national security border.”

“Borders are our red line,” the Revolutionary Guard general said. “Any enemy that violates the borders will be annihilated.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said the drone entered Iranian airspace, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted it would take its case to the U.N. He later tweeted that Iran retrieved parts of the drone in its territorial waters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged caution, warning any war between Iran and the U.S. would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged support for U.S. efforts to halt what he called escalating Iranian provocations.

“In the last 24 hours, Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern and urged all parties to “avoid any action that could inflame the situation,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

America stations some RQ-4 Global Hawks at the Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE, near the capital of Abu Dhabi. Associated Press journalists saw the drones on the base’s tarmac during a March 2016 visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden. The U.S. military occasionally publishes images from there of the drones, which have a distinctive hump-shaped front and an engine atop the fuselage.

Iran has claimed to have shot down U.S. drones before. In the most famous incident, in December 2011, Iran seized an RQ-170 Sentinel flown by the CIA to monitor Iranian nuclear sites after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran later reverse-engineered the drone to create their own variants.

Elsewhere in the region Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired a rocket at a desalination plant in al-Shuqaiq, a city in the kingdom’s Jizan province. The state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying it caused no damage or casualties.

The Yemeni rebel Al-Masirah satellite news channel earlier said the Houthis targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen, with a cruise missile.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation now pushed to the brink of famine by the conflict. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

https://apnews.com/e4316eb989d5499c9828350de8524963

 

 

Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos

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Trump slams Fed over interest rate policy

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Trump expected Powell to be a ‘cheap-money’ Fed chairman

S&P 500 closes at new record as Wall Street bets Fed will lower rates, Dow surges nearly 250 points

VIDEO02:12
The S&P 500 just closed at a record high — Here’s what four experts say to watch

Stocks rallied on Thursday, led by strong gains in tech and energy shares, as Wall Street cheered the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next month.

The S&P 500 surged 1% to 2,954.18, a record close. The broad index also hit an intraday record of 2,958.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 249.17 points higher at 26,753.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% to end the day at 8,051.34.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016. Investors cheered the decline in the benchmark for mortgage rates and corporate bonds.

The energy sector rose more than 2% to lead all 11 S&P 500 sectors higher as oil prices jumped. Tech gained 1.4% after shares of Oracle surged more than 8% on stronger-than-forecast earnings. General Electric’s 2.8% rise pushed the industrials sector up more than 1.6% on the day.

“Markets are based on numbers and perception. If the perception is rates are getting cut, that’s going to drive markets higher,” said Kathy Entwistle, senior vice president of wealth management at UBS. “UBS’ stance up until yesterday was we wouldn’t see any rate cuts this year. Now we see a much larger chance of a 50-basis-point cut.”

The Fed said Wednesday it stands ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks as they took stock of intensifying trade tensions and growing concerns about inflation. Most Fed policymakers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the calendar year by approximately half a percentage point in the previous session, while Chairman Jerome Powell said others agree the case for lower rates is building.

Policymakers also dropped “patient” from the Fed’s statement and acknowledged that inflation is “running below” its 2% objective.

Market participants viewed the overall tone from the U.S. central bank as more dovish than expected. Traders are now pricing in a 100% chance of a rate cutnext month, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

With Thursday’s gains, the market has now erased the steep losses recorded by the major indexes in May, which were sparked by trade fears. The S&P 500 and Dow both fell more than 6% while the Nasdaq lost 7.9% last month. The three indexes were up more than 7% for June.

China and the U.S. hiked tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods in May. Stocks turned around this month as traders bet the rising trade tensions, coupled with weaker economic data, would lead the Fed to ease its monetary policy stance.

The Fed’s message on Wednesday sent the 10-year Treasury yield to as low as 1.974% before ending the day around 2.02%. The yield stood at 2.8% in January.

“The FOMC reinforced the market’s conviction,” said Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, in a note. “Barring a dramatic turnaround in the data, the next move is a cut – perhaps even a 50bp reduction.”

The dollar also took a hit against other major currencies. The dollar index dropped 0.5% to 96.65, led by a 0.6% slide in the euro. The yen and Canadian dollar also rose against the U.S. currency.

Energy shares got a boost from higher oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) climbed 2.2% as shares of Exxon Mobil gained 1.7%. Oil prices surged 5.4% after a U.S. official said a drone was shot down over Iranian airspace.

Meanwhile, Slack shares surged more than 40% in their first day of trading. The stock closed above $38 after setting a reference price of $26.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/stock-market-dow-futures-higher-after-fed-raises-rate-cut-hopes.html

Federal Open Market Committee

About the FOMC

Recent FOMC press conference

June 19, 2019

FOMC Transcripts and other historical materials

The term “monetary policy” refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 gave the Federal Reserve responsibility for setting monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve controls the three tools of monetary policy–open market operationsthe discount rate, and reserve requirements. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is responsible for the discount rate and reserve requirements, and the Federal Open Market Committee is responsible for open market operations. Using the three tools, the Federal Reserve influences the demand for, and supply of, balances that depository institutions hold at Federal Reserve Banks and in this way alters the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other depository institutions overnight.

Changes in the federal funds rate trigger a chain of events that affect other short-term interest rates, foreign exchange rates, long-term interest rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables, including employment, output, and prices of goods and services.

Structure of the FOMC

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of twelve members–the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Nonvoting Reserve Bank presidents attend the meetings of the Committee, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the Committee’s assessment of the economy and policy options.

The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year. At these meetings, the Committee reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth.

For more detail on the FOMC and monetary policy, see section 2 of the brochure on the structure of the Federal Reserve Systemand chapter 2 of Purposes & Functions of the Federal Reserve System. FOMC Rules and Authorizations are also available online.

2019 Committee Members

Alternate Members

Federal Reserve Bank Rotation on the FOMC

Committee membership changes at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year.

2020 2021 2022
Members New York
Cleveland
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
Alternate
Members
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
New York
Chicago
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis

 †For the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the First Vice President is the alternate for the President. Return to table

For additional information, please use the FOMC FOIA request form.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htm

 

Fed holds rates steady, but opens the door for a rate cut in the future

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

The strong majority for this month’s decision contrasted with a sharp difference of opinion on what happens next.

The committee provided an important nod to those worried about slower growth: It dropped the word “patient” in  describing its approach to policy. The characterization was a key part of the Fed “pivot” earlier this year that signaled to the market a more dovish approach to rates.

“The Fed didn’t surprise investors with the decision to maintain rates, but the split vote tells us that a cut is on the way and it’s increasingly likely that will be in July, as bond markets have been hoping,” said Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Asset Management.

“This was probably the compromise decision — it wasn’t shocking and should offer some reassurance,” Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, said in a note. “The FOMC will still want to closely monitor the stress fractures from the bond market, middling housing and auto sales numbers, and an increasingly uncertain global economic landscape in the coming months.”

The statement also changed wording to concede that inflation is “running below” the Fed’s 2% objective. In their forecast for headline inflation this year, officials slashed the estimate to 1.5% from March’s 1.8%. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is likely now to be 1.8% from March’s 2%, according to the quarterly summary of economic projections also released Wednesday.

‘In light of these uncertainties’

The committee changed language from its May statement to indicate that economic activity is “rising at a moderate rate,” a downgrade from “solid.”

In their baseline scenario, FOMC members said they still expect “sustained expansion of economic activity” and a move toward 2% inflation, but realize that “uncertainties about this outlook have increased.”

“In light of these uncertainties and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective,” the statement said. The “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” language mirrors a statement from Powell in early June.

Very reasonable to think Fed will cut rates twice this year: Strategist

The committee characterized the labor market as “strong” with “solid” jobs growth, despite May’s disappointing nonfarm payrolls growth of 75,000. The statement further said that household spending “appears to have picked up from earlier in the year.”

The changes came amid what appeared to be little consensus among the committee about where rates go next.

Divided Fed

According to the “dot plot” of individual members’ expectations, eight members favor one cut this year while the same number voted in favor of the status quo and one still wants a rate hike. Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari have led the public discussion about the potential for rate cuts, while other members have been less firm.

Into 2020, the Fed consensus was a bit stronger, with nine members wanting a cut to a funds rate around 2.1%. The direction changes, though, in 2021, with indications of an increase of about a quarter-point, culminating in an expected long-run value of 2.5%. The funds rate most recently was trading at 2.37%.

Traders in the thin and volatile funds market had been pricing in a 26% chance of a cut at this week’s meeting. Later in the year, though, the probability for a July easing rose to 82.5% and the chances of a second cut in December were most recently at 60.4%. The market expects a third cut to come around March of 2020.

While the statement language offered some significant changes, estimates in the summary of economic projections, other than inflation, moved little from March. GDP growth is still expected to be 2.1% for the year – it was 3.1% in the first quarter, and the Atlanta Fed is forecasting a 2% gain in the second quarter. The unemployment rate is now expected to hold at a 50-year low of 3.6%, against the March forecast of 3.7%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/19/fed-decision-fed-leaves-rates-unchanged.html

10-year Treasury yield drops below 2% for first time since November 2016

Federal funds rate

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Federal Funds Rate compared to U.S. Treasury interest rates

2 to 10 year treasury yield spread

Inflation (blue) compared to federal funds rate (red)

Quarterly gross domestic product compared to Federal Funds Rate.

Federal Funds Rate and Treasury interest rates from 2002-2019

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate. The target rate is chosen in part to influence the money supply in the U.S. economy[3]

Contents

Mechanism

Financial institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accountsNOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007–2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5] The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 19 December 2018 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 2.25–2.50%.[9] This represents the ninth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.[10]

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00–0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00–0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[11]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, the price of borrowed funds – the federal funds rate – falls. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the federal funds rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, the interest rate will normally rise.[12]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[13] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the federal funds rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[14][15]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [16][17][18]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[19][20][21]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[22]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[23]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25–0.50[24]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50–0.75[25]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75–1.00[26]
  • Jun 14, 2017 — 1.00–1.25[27]
  • Dec 13, 2017 — 1.25–1.50[28]
  • Mar 21, 2018 — 1.50–1.75[29]
  • Jun 13, 2018 — 1.75–2.00[30]
  • Sep 26, 2018 — 2.00–2.25[9]
  • Dec 19, 2018 — 2.25–2.50[31]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and housing fell.[32]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments outside the United States less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  2. ^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions(PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. August 24, 2011. p. 4. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  3. ^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. January 30, 2008. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
  4. ^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. ^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. ^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s”(PDF)Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  8. ^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007.
  9. Jump up to:ab “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement” (Press release). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Tankersley, Jim (March 21, 2018). “Fed Raises Interest Rates for Sixth Time Since Financial Crisis”The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  11. ^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  12. ^ David Waring (February 19, 2008). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  13. ^ “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  14. ^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. ^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. ^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. ^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. ^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. ^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. ^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  21. ^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  22. ^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  23. ^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  24. ^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  25. ^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016.
  26. ^ Cox, Jeff (March 15, 2017). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”CNBC. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  27. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 14, 2017.
  28. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 13, 2017.
  29. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. March 21, 2018.
  30. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 13, 2018.
  31. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  33. ^ Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough (March 16, 2017). “The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer”The New York Times. Retrieved March 18,2017Rising interest rates in the United States are driving money out of many developing countries, straining governments and pinching consumers around the globe.

External links

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

The Impact of an Inverted Yield Curve

The term yield curve refers to the relationship between the short- and long-term interest rates of fixed-income securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates.

From an economic perspective, an inverted yield curve is a noteworthy event. Below, we explain this rare phenomenon, discuss its impact on consumers and investors, and tell you how to adjust your portfolio to account for it.

Interest Rates and Yield Curves

Typically, short-term interest rates are lower than long-term rates, so the yield curve slopes upwards, reflecting higher yields for longer-term investments. This is referred to as a normal yield curve. When the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates narrows, the yield curve begins to flatten. A flat yield curve is often seen during the transition from a normal yield curve to an inverted one.

Normal Yield Curve

Figure 1 – A normal yield curve

What Does an Inverted Yield Curve Suggest?

Historically, an inverted yield curve has been viewed as an indicator of a pending economic recession. When short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates, market sentiment suggests that the long-term outlook is poor and that the yields offered by long-term fixed income will continue to fall.

More recently, this viewpoint has been called into question, as foreign purchases of securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have created a high and sustained level of demand for products backed by U.S. government debt. When investors are aggressively seeking debt instruments, the debtor can offer lower interest rates. When this occurs, many argue that it is the laws of supply and demand, rather than impending economic doom and gloom, that enable lenders to attract buyers without having to pay higher interest rates.

Inverted Yield Curve

Figure 2 – An inverted yield curve: note the inverse relationship between yield and maturity

Inverted yield curves have been relatively rare, due in large part to longer-than-average periods between recessions since the early 1990s. For example, the economic expansions that began in March 1991, November 2001 and June 2009 were three of the four longest economic expansions since World War II. During these long periods, the question often arises as to whether an inverted yield curve can happen again.

Economic cycles, regardless of their length, have historically transitioned from growth to recession and back again. Inverted yield curves are an essential element of these cycles, preceding every recession since 1956. Considering the consistency of this pattern, an inverted yield will likely form again if the current expansion fades to recession.

Upward sloping yield curves are a natural extension of the higher risks associated with long maturities. In a growing economy, investors also demand higher yields at the long end of the curve to compensate for the opportunity cost of investing in bonds versus other asset classes, and to maintain an acceptable spread over inflation rates.

As the economic cycle begins to slow, perhaps due to interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Bank, the upward slope of the yield curve tends to flatten as short-term rates increase and longer yields stay stable or decline slightly. In this environment, investors see long-term yields as an acceptable substitute for the potential of lower returns in equities and other asset classes, which tend to increase bond prices and reduce yields.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Consumers

In addition to its impact on investors, an inverted yield curve also has an impact on consumers. For example, homebuyers financing their properties with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have interest-rate schedules that are periodically updated based on short-term interest rates. When short-term rates are higher than long-term rates, payments on ARMs tend to rise. When this occurs, fixed-rate loans may be more attractive than adjustable-rate loans.

Lines of credit are affected in a similar manner. In both cases, consumers must dedicate a larger portion of their incomes toward servicing existing debt. This reduces expendable income and has a negative effect on the economy as a whole.

The Formation of an Inverted Yield Curve

As concerns of an impending recession increase, investors tend to buy long Treasury bonds based on the premise that they offer a safe harbor from falling equities markets, provide preservation of capital and have potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline. As a result of the rotation to long maturities, yields can fall below short-term rates, forming an inverted yield curve. Since 1956, equities have peaked six times after the start of an inversion, and the economy has fallen into recession within seven to 24 months.

As of 2017, the most recent inverted yield curve first appeared in August 2006, as the Fed raised short-term interest rates in response to overheating equity, real estate and mortgage markets. The inversion of the yield curve preceded the peak of the Standard & Poor’s 500 in October 2007 by 14 months and the official start of the recession in December 2007 by 16 months. However, a growing number of 2018 economic outlooks from investment firms are suggesting that an inverted yield curve could be on the horizon, citing the narrowing spread between short- and long-dated Treasuries.

If history is any precedent, the current business cycle will progress, and slowing in the economy may eventually become evident. If concerns of the next recession rise to the point where investors see the purchase of long-dated Treasuries as the best option for their portfolios, there is a high likelihood that the next inverted yield curve will take shape.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Fixed-Income Investors

A yield curve inversion has the greatest impact on fixed-income investors. In normal circumstances, long-term investments have higher yields; because investors are risking their money for longer periods of time, they are rewarded with higher payouts. An inverted curve eliminates the risk premium for long-term investments, allowing investors to get better returns with short-term investments.

When the spread between U.S. Treasuries (a risk-free investment) and higher-risk corporate alternatives is at historical lows, it is often an easy decision to invest in lower-risk vehicles. In such cases, purchasing a Treasury-backed security provides a yield similar to the yield on junk bondscorporate bondsreal estate investment trusts (REITs) and other debt instruments, but without the risk inherent in these vehicles. Money market funds and certificates of deposit (CDs) may also be attractive – particularly when a one-year CD is paying yields comparable to those on a 10-year Treasury bond.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Equity Investors

When the yield curve becomes inverted, profit margins fall for companies that borrow cash at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, such as community banks. Likewise, hedge funds are often forced to take on increased risk in order to achieve their desired level of returns.

In fact, a bad bet on Russian interest rates is largely credited for the demise of Long-Term Capital Management, a well-known hedge fund run by bond trader John Meriwether.

Despite their consequences for some parties, yield-curve inversions tend to have less impact on consumer staples and healthcare companies, which are not interest-rate dependent. This relationship becomes clear when an inverted yield curve precedes a recession. When this occurs, investors tend to turn to defensive stocks, such as those in the food, oil and tobacco industries, which are often less affected by downturns in the economy.

The Bottom Line

While experts question whether or not an inverted yield curve remains a strong indicator of pending economic recession, keep in mind that history is littered with portfolios that were devastated when investors blindly followed predictions about how “it’s different this time.” Most recently, shortsighted equity investors spouting this mantra participated in the “tech wreck,” snapping up shares in tech companies at inflated prices even though these firms had no hope of ever making a profit.

If you want to be a smart investor, ignore the noise. Instead of spending time and effort trying to figure out what the future will bring, construct your portfolio based on long-term thinking and long-term convictions – not short-term market movements.

For your short-term income needs, do the obvious: choose the investment with the highest yield, but keep in mind that inversions are an anomaly and they don’t last forever. When the inversion ends, adjust your portfolio accordingly.

Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey, Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators Eastland (Mississippi) and Talmadge (Georgia) Who Got Things Done — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers and Big Lie Media Playing Identity Politics and Divide and Conquer — Videos —

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

SUSAN WALSH / AP

Joe Biden was a freshman senator, the youngest member of the august body, when he reached out to an older colleague for help on one of his early legislative proposals: The courts were ordering racially segregated school districts to bus children to create more integrated classrooms, a practice Biden opposed and wanted to change.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attemptingto bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The recipient of Biden’s entreaty was Sen. James Eastland, at the time a well-known segregationist who had called blacks “an inferior race” and once vowed to prevent blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. The exchange, revealed in a series of letters, offers a new glimpse into an old relationship that erupted this week as a major controversy for Biden’s presidential campaign.Biden on Wednesday night described his relationship with Eastland as one he “had to put up with.” He said of his relationships with Eastland and another staunch segregationist and southern Democrat, Sen. Herman Talmadge of Georgia, that “the fact of the matter is that we were able to do it because we were able to win — we were able to beat them on everything they stood for.”

But the letters show a different type of relationship, one in which they were aligned on a legislative issue. Biden said at the time that he did not think that busing was the best way to integrate schools in Delaware and that systemic racism should be dealt with by investing in schools and improving housing policies.

The letters were provided Thursday to the Washington Post by the University of Mississippi, which houses Eastland’s archived papers. They were reported in April by CNN.

Biden’s campaign late Thursday issued a statement saying that “the insinuation that Joe Biden shared the same views as Eastland on segregation is a lie.”

“Plain and simple. Joe Biden has dedicated his career to fighting for civil rights,” the statement said.

The controversy over Biden’s comments this week have continued to reverberate at a crucial time in the campaign, with matters of race dominating the political discussion ahead of several prominent gatherings, including the first presidential debate next week and a multicandidate event before black voters in South Carolina on Friday. It has emerged as a complex political problem for Biden, who has been trying to campaign as a civil rights champion while explaining past views that are out of step with today’s Democratic base.

Biden’s Wednesday remarks sparked one of the sharpest intra-Democrat exchanges of the campaign, when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of his black 2020 rivals, criticized both Biden’s work with segregationists and the language that he used in describing it.

On Wednesday, Biden called Booker. Biden’s campaign also distributed talking points to supporters, emphasizing that Eastland and Talmadge “were people who he fundamentally disagreed with on the issue of civil rights.”

Late Thursday, the former vice president met with a small group that included black members of Congress, one of the participants said.

Divisions also emerged in Biden’s campaign over how he should handle such situations. Aides alternately argued that he simply misspoke in telling the anecdote, that he shouldn’t be telling it at all or that his remarks demonstrate his ability to work with those with whom he disagrees and the words were being purposefully twisted for political gain.

The letters show that Biden’s courtship of Eastland started in 1972, before he had taken office, and that he wrote to the older senator listing his top six committee assignment requests, with Foreign Relations and Judiciary at the top. A few weeks later, Biden thanked Eastland, writing that he was “flattered and grateful” for his help. He also referred to the December 1972 car crash that killed his wife and daughter and injured his two sons.

“Despite my preoccupation with family matters at this time, I intend to place the highest priority on attending to my committee responsibilities,” Biden wrote.

Biden supporters have repeatedly pointed to his efforts on civil rights issues to cast him as a champion of equality. Not only did he share an eight-year partnership with the first black president, he also worked alongside black leaders throughout his career on extending the Voting Rights Act, amending the Fair Housing Act and creating the holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.et in the debate over the merits of busing as a solution to greater integration, Biden’s avowed stance against it put him at odds with some civil rights leaders.

 

 

It was in that context that he courted the support of Eastland — at the time the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — as well as other senators.

In one letter, on March 2, 1977, Biden outlined legislation he was filing to restrict busing practices.

“My bill strikes at the heart of the injustice of court ordered busing,” he wrote to Eastland. “It prohibits the federal courts from disrupting our educational system in the name of the constitution where there is no evidence that the governmental officials intended to discriminate.”

“I believe there is growing sentiment in the Congress to curb unnecessary busing,” he added. The Senate two years earlier had passed a Biden amendment that prohibited the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare from ordering busing to achieve school integration.

 

“That was the first time the U.S. Senate took a firm stand in opposition to busing,” Biden wrote. “The Supreme Court seems to have recognized that busing simply cannot be justified in cases where state and local officials intended no discrimination.”

In later letters to Eastland, Biden continued pushing his legislation.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The next year, he continued to push for antibusing legislation and again wrote to Eastland.

“Since your support was essential to having our bill reported out by the Judiciary Committee, I want to personally ask your continued support and alert you to our intentions,” Biden wrote on Aug 22, 1978. “Your participation in floor debate would be welcomed.”

After Biden’s remarks at the Wednesday night fund-raiser, advisers played down his comments about Eastland as a garbled rendition of a familiar Biden anecdote. In particular, they sought to excuse Biden for saying that Eastland didn’t refer to him as “boy” — an insult leveled at black men — but as “son.”

“He just misspoke,” said one Biden adviser. “The way Biden usually tells the story, he says Eastland didn’t call him ‘senator,’ he called him ‘son,’ ” the adviser said. “Eastland called him ‘boy’ and ‘son’ also. This was Eastland’s way of diminishing young senators.”

In the campaign statement Thursday, Biden’s national press secretary, Jamal Brown, said Biden’s “strong support for equal housing, equal education and equal job opportunities were clear to all Delawareans in the 1970s.”

Biden sought to ensure that black students received “the resources necessary to deliver the quality education they deserved,” he said.

Brown added that throughout his public life, Biden “fought the institutional problems that created de facto segregated school systems and neighborhoods in the first place: redlining, school lines drawn to keep races and classes separate and housing patterns and discrimination.”

Almost the entire Democratic field is set to attend a fish fry Friday night hosted by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a leading black figure in the state and one who has remained supportive of Biden.

It would be the first public appearance Biden is making with the same Democratic presidential hopefuls who have heaped criticism on him for the comment.

In demanding an apology, Booker said Wednesday that Biden’s “relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone.”

Asked about Booker’s remarks by reporters, Biden declined to offer an apology and instead demanded one from Booker. The two men later spoke privately.

“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word ‘boy’ is painful to so many,” said Sabrina Singh, a Booker campaign spokeswoman. “Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt.”

Biden’s campaign would not elaborate on the call, but it is clear the topic could linger over the coming days.

Biden has scheduled a sit-down interview with MSNBC, his campaign has been sending out talking points to surrogates, and some black supporters are eager to hear the former vice president offer a fuller explanation.

“I think he’s got to address it head on and show people what his line of thinking was,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in South Carolina who is close with Biden’s team. “I don’t think they need to get off course with their strategy. I just think they have to address it as it comes up and move on.”

Other Biden supporters, however, think he’s taking just the right approach and standing by his long-held beliefs.

I encouraged campaign staff that I know to say: ‘Don’t back off on this. This is precisely why you’re the right guy in the right place at the right time.’ And I was glad to see that he didn’t,” said Dave O’Brien, a longtime Biden supporter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“You know that some of the other issues, he’s got to evolve with the times, which he has,” O’Brien added. “But there are points where you need to make a stand, so I was very glad to see him not back off on this issue.”

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/nation/joe-biden-james-eastland-segregation-democratic-primary-20190621.htmlPosted: June 20, 2019 – 10:59 PM

Biden not apologizing for remarks on segregationist senators

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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress presidential forum in Washington, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joe Biden refused calls to apologize Wednesday for saying that the Senate “got things done” with “civility” even when the body included segregationists with whom he disagreed.

His rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, including the two major black candidates in the contest, roundly criticized Biden’s comments. But Biden didn’t back down and was particularly defiant in the face of criticism from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who said the former vice president should apologize for his remarks.

Biden countered that it was Booker who should apologize because the senator “should know better” than to question his commitment to civil rights.

“There’s not a racist bone in my body,” Biden said. “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”

Speaking on CNN, Booker responded: “I was raised to speak truth to power and that I shall never apologize for doing that. And Vice President Biden shouldn’t need this lesson.”

The firestorm is quickly becoming one of the most intense disputes of the Democratic presidential primary, underscoring the hazards for Biden as he tries to turn his decades of Washington experience into an advantage. Instead, he’s infuriating Democrats who say he’s out of step with the diverse party of the 21st century and potentially undermining his argument that he’s the most electable candidate in the race.

The controversy began at a New York fundraiser Tuesday when Biden pointed to long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.

“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of the two men, who were prominent senators when Biden was elected in 1972. Biden described Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and said Eastland called him “son,” though not “boy,” a reference to the racist way many whites addressed black men at the time.

Yet even in that Senate, Biden said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”

A pile on from Biden’s rivals quickly ensued. Booker said he was disappointed by Biden’s remarks.

“I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together,” said Booker, who is African American.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democratic presidential candidate and a white man who is married to a black woman, tweeted: “It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of ‘civility’ typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a black presidential candidate, said Biden was “coddling” segregationists in a way that “suggests to me that he doesn’t understand … the dark history of our country” — a characterization Biden’s campaign rejects.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another 2020 candidate, said, “For the vice president to somehow say that what we’re seeing in this country today is a function of partisanship or a lack of bipartisanship completely ignores the legacy of slavery and the active suppression of African Americans and communities of color right now.”

The tumult comes at a crucial point in the campaign. Biden is still recovering from controversy he sparked earlier this month when he angered many Democrats by saying he didn’t support federal taxpayer money supporting abortion. He later reversed his position.

He’s among the more than 20 candidates who will descend on South Carolina this weekend to make their case to black voters at a series of Democratic events.

Meanwhile, most Democratic White House hopefuls will again gather in Miami next week for the first presidential debate of the primary season. Biden will almost certainly come under fire there for his comments this week.

He sought to defuse the tension on Wednesday by saying he was trying to argue that leaders sometimes have to work with people they disagree with to achieve goals, such as renewing the Voting Rights Act.

“The point I’m making is you don’t have to agree. You don’t have to like the people in terms of their views,” he said Wednesday. “But you just simply make the case and you beat them without changing the system.”

He has received support from some black leaders. Cedric Richmond, Biden’s campaign co-chairman and former Congressional Black Caucus chairman, said Biden’s opponents deliberately ignored the full context of his argument for a more functional government.

“Maybe there’s a better way to say it, but we have to work with people, and that’s a fact,” Richmond said, noting he dealt recently with President Donald Trump to pass a long-sought criminal justice overhaul. “I question (Trump’s) racial sensitivity, a whole bunch of things about his character … but we worked together.”

Likewise, Richmond said, Biden mentioned Jim Crow-era senators to emphasize the depths of disagreements elected officials sometimes navigate. “If he gets elected president, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate” to overcome filibusters, Richmond noted. “He could be less genuine and say, ‘We’re just going to do all these things.’ But we already have a president like that. (Biden) knows we have to build consensus.”

Biden also drew a qualified defense from Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black senator from his party. Scott said that Biden “should have used a different group of senators” to make his point but that his remarks “have nothing to do with his position on race” issues. Scott said the reaction reflects an intense environment for Democrats in which the desire to defeat Trump means “anything the front-runner says that is off by a little bit” will be magnified.

https://apnews.com/5b57473cfcda44e4b35c8a40759a26fc

The gloves come off in the Democratic primary

This was the week that the battle for the nomination got real.

The tenor of the Democratic presidential primary has verged on courteous from the start: To the extent that Democrats went after Joe Biden, it was usually not by name. And Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren kept their rivalry decidedly civil.

This week, with the first debates of the election season days away, the gentility came to an end.

Biden’s remarks at a New York fundraiser that “at least there was some civility” when he worked with segregationists in the Senate unleashed a torrent of criticism from his rivals and the left. And a story in POLITICO about centrists coming around to Warren as an “anybody but Bernie” alternative set off Sanders and his allies.

“We knew the primary wouldn’t be all puppies and rainbows forever,” said Ben LaBolt, a former adviser to Barack Obama. “And as the debates approach you can see a new dynamic emerging.”

The reaction from Biden’s rivals to his comments was fierce.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose wife is African American, noted that one of the segregationists Biden invoked, James Eastland of Mississippi, would have outlawed his marriage. Sen. Cory Booker, who is black, took offense that Biden seemed to make light of Eastland calling him “son” but not “boy.”

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys’,” Booker said.

Booker called on Biden to apologize but Biden took a different path. Outside a fundraiser Wednesday night, a defiant Biden said he had nothing to be sorry for and that it’s Booker who should apologize for questioning someone without “a racist bone in my body.”

“He knows better,” Biden said.

The crossfire marked some of the most direct and intense exchanges so far of the 2020 primary campaign. And it signals that with less than a week until the first televised debate, the field is done tiptoeing around.

“Running for president is no tea party. It’s a battle. And it is customary for candidates to begin to engage at this stage. The polite preliminaries are over,” said Democratic strategist and former Obama hand David Axelrod. “And since there is generally broad agreement on issues, if not solutions, the disputes necessarily turn on other things.”

In a separate episode, Sanders dispatched a tweet that was viewed as a sideswipe of Warren.

“The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie,’” Sanders wrote on Twitter, sharing a POLITICO storyheadlined: “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee.”

Sanders faced his own backlash over the remark.

“If we had a multi-party parliament, it’d be pretty normal for Sanders and Warren to campaign against each other for leadership in a Social Democratic Party. That said, I still find this move pretty dissapointing [sic] and unnecessary. Draw contrasts if you want, but not like this,” tweeted Waleed Shadid, communications director of the progressive group Justice Democrats.

Shadid later noted that Sanders on CNN said his remark was targeted at the moderate think tank Third Way, and not Warren.

Still, the escalating tensions come as Warren is gaining on Sanders in polls. She leapfrogged him in recent surveys in Nevada and California. And a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed Warren and Sanders virtually tied for second, with Warren, at 15 percent, gaining five points in one month. Biden still led the field at 32 percent.

“Biden’s numbers have held up higher than expected and a number of challengers are going after his gaffes more aggressively than before,” LaBolt said. “Warren has begun eating into Bernie’s numbers and he is trying to fend her off.”

Still, one Democratic veteran of the 2016 campaign, ex-Sanders adviser Mark Longabaugh, said the current tangles are nothing like what he experienced in that campaign. There’s plenty of time for it to get there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“I don’t know if the gloves are off. I think the gloves may be getting a little loose — pulling out the fingertips to take the gloves off.” Longabaugh said. “Having been through the 2015-16 experience, I gotta tell ya, that was much more combative than anything you’ve seen in this race — not anything close.”

Not far from anyone’s mind are the first debates in Miami on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

“While this type of engagement is expected,” LaBolt said, “candidates should be careful not to cross any lines that could significantly damage potential nominees for the general.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/20/2020-election-democratic-primary-1373202

 

 

Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida –Send Them Home — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Videos

TRUMP 2020: President Trump Re-Election Campaign Rally – FULL SPEECH

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With Florida rally, Trump aims for a 2020 campaign ‘reset’

Trump to launch 2020 re-election bid in Florida

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Crowds grow for Trump rally in Orlando

People are lining up for President Trump’s event on Tuesday

THE PRESIDENT IS BACK: President Trump Returns From MASSIVE Orlando Rally

The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider?

President Trump is running for reelection as an outsider candidate. But it’s a knotty challenge for someone who holds the world’s most powerful office.

Trump’s speech in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, which officially launched his 2020 bid, was rife with rhetoric portraying himself — and by extension his supporters — as victims of nefarious elites.

The president said that he and his allies were besieged by a “permanent political class” and “an unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests.”

“Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day,” Trump insisted at one point. Moments before, he told the crowd, “the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently.”

It’s the kind of language that makes Democrats roll their eyes. Trump, they note, is a billionaire property developer, born into wealth, who won the presidency on his first attempt — yet he portrays himself as the tribune of “the forgotten men and women of our country” whom he invoked in his January 2017 inaugural address.

But Trump’s unconventionality might, in itself, help him retain some kind of outsider cachet in a way that is unusual for an incumbent president.

“For any other president, yes, it is a challenge,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the 2016 presidential primaries.

“But Trump is unlike any other president. Trump has been at war with the establishment since the moment he set foot in the White House,” he said.

It is certainly true that Trump was viewed with suspicion by the Republican Party from the time he began his presidential run — and that his language and attitudes are viewed with distaste by much of the Beltway political class.

But dislike for Trump’s personal antics is hardly confined to D.C. elites.

A Pew Research Center poll in March showed pluralities of the public believing that he was not “trustworthy,” “even-tempered” or “well-informed.”

For all Trump’s supposed concern with less affluent Americans, 56 percent of the respondents in the Pew poll said they did not believe he cared about “people like me,” whereas just 40 percent said he did care.

The GOP has largely made peace with him, with former rivals including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) becoming enthusiastic supporters, congressional dissenters such as former Rep. Mark Sanford(R-S.C.) having been defeated in primaries and Trump now in firm control of the party apparatus.

Skeptics also point to both policies and personnel — from the steep cut in the corporate tax rate in 2017 to the 16-month run of the ethically challenged Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency — as evidence that the swamp has remained undrained under Trump.

But Trump allies are insistent that the president’s feel for the cultural mores of blue-collar America remains a potent and underrated political weapon.

“He is certainly an outsider to the political establishment. They still don’t get him and he is not coming around to their way of thinking,” said Barry Bennett, who worked as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “He may live inside the gates but he does not live inside the establishment. … I don’t know anyone who believes he has become some kind of Georgetown socialite.”

Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump friend, insisted, “I have never ever met anyone, any Trump supporter, who believes anything else besides the fact that he’s an outsider.”

There is clearly a political dividend to be gained if Trump can hold onto his outsider image.

In the recent past, voters in presidential elections have often chosen the candidate seen as less steeped in the ways of Washington.

Former President Obama won election twice as a change agent, initially winning the White House as the first black president and then securing a second term over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the personification of a genteel Republican establishment.

Former President George W. Bush had only a tenuous claim to outsider status, given he was the son of a president — yet his campaign was able to paint then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a creature of Washington in the 2004 presidential election.

Before that, former President Clinton used his down-home Arkansas image as a weapon against an incumbent president, Bush’s father, George H.W Bush, and then won a second term over another GOP establishment favorite, then-Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.).

Independent observers acknowledge that Trump’s style, divisive though it is, could help him be seen as much more of a disruptor even than these recent predecessors.

“It’s almost impossible for an incumbent to run as an outsider, but Trump has held onto that credential,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor who specializes in political communications. “He is parlaying that into how he sees himself — running against the Democrats, the media, the elites.”

Republicans, meanwhile, argue that Trump’s outsider image could be especially useful if Democrats pick former Vice President Joe Biden as their nominee.

Biden, in their telling, is much easier to brand as a creature of Washington given his decades in the Senate. There will be a different challenge if Democrats instead choose one of Biden’s rivals who is a fresher face on the national political scene, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); or more radical, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.).

Trump, billionaire Manhattanite though he may be, has long used the idea that he is sneered at by a snobbish elite to his own advantage.

On Tuesday, he told his supporters that Democrats “want to destroy you.”

It was a stark and visceral remark even by Trump’s standards.

But, after his 2016 victory, even his critics can’t be so sure it won’t work.

https://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/449436-the-memo-can-trump-run-as-an-outsider

A Second Term for What?

Trump can’t win by relitigating 2016 and playing only to his base.

President Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18.PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump announced his campaign for a second term at a rally in Orlando on Tuesday evening that recounted his first-term record and 2016 victory before thousands of rapturous supporters. The only thing missing was an agenda for 2020.

The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile.

Donald Trump Launches Campaign

The President is also right that his opponents have refused to recognize the legitimacy of his election. House Democrats may still try to impeach him for not obstructing an investigation into what wasn’t a conspiracy with Russia. His sense of “grievance,” to quote the media meme about his speech, on that point is entirely justified.

Yet Mr. Trump is asking for four more years, and his preoccupation with vindicating 2016 won’t resonate much beyond his core supporters. Most voters have moved on from 2016, which is why a majority opposes impeachment in every poll. They don’t much care about Mr. Trump’s greatest hits about Hillary Clinton, who alas for the President will not be on the ballot in 2020. They want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

This is all the more important given the way his first term has evolved on policy. One paradox is that his main policy successes have come from pursuing a conventional conservative agenda. The failures have been on the issues like trade and immigration that are the most identified with Trumpian disruption.

The economy’s renewed growth spurt came from tax reform, deregulation, liberating energy production and ending the anti-business harassment of the Obama years. His remaking of the judiciary and rebuilding of the military unite Republicans of all stripes. Criminal justice reform was the result of years of spade work on the right and left.

Mr. Trump deserves credit for pursuing all of this despite often ferocious opposition that might have intimidated a different GOP President. That’s true in particular of his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, where U.S. Democratic and media opinion is aligned with Europe’s elites.

On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. He must now confront the asylum crisis at the border with no help from Democrats. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.

The other paradox of the Trump Presidency is his low approval rating despite a stronger economy. The polls show his approval rating on the economy is above 50% but his overall approval is 44.3% in the Real Clear Politics average. The difference is best explained by Mr. Trump’s polarizing behavior, which has alienated in particular college-educated voters and Republican women. In the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, Mr. Trump is underwater with white college-educated women by a remarkable 20 percentage points.

Mr. Trump may figure he can persuade some of those skeptics by making the Democratic nominee even more unpopular than he is. If the Democrats oblige by nominating Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, that might be possible. But that is making a bet on the other party’s mistake, and a re-election campaign is typically a referendum on the incumbent.

Which is all the more reason to offer voters something more for a second term. He could put Democrats on the spot for high housing prices and homelessness by talking about restrictive zoning for elites and high property taxes. He could offer to reform higher education by making schools responsible for some of the debt of students who can’t repay loans, or invigorate vocational education to help young people who can’t go to college.

He could package health-care proposals to expand choice, reduce prices and make insurance portable; his administration has already proposed some of them. He could advance his theme of “draining the swamp” by offering ideas to reform the civil service. We’d include entitlement reform, but then Mr. Trump has shown no interest and we don’t believe in political miracles.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and Mr. Trump won’t win as a policy wonk in any case. But Mr. Trump also won’t win by relitigating the 2016 election or playing only to his political base. He needs more than he offered voters on Tuesday night.

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda
A Fox News poll has found that Democrats prefer a “steady” candidate to a “big agenda” candidate. But going up against the scale of Donald Trump will be tough, so how do frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren compare? Image: Getty

‘This election is about you. Your family, your future & the fate of YOUR country’: Trump lays it on the line at 20,000-strong Orlando rally as he kicks off 2020 re-election campaign with his entire family and obligatory digs at ‘Crooked Hillary’

  • The president spent the first half-hour of a Tuesday night rally hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton 
  • Trump said his team wondered if it should hold the rally in a venue which can hold 20,000 people
  • ‘Not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests… Congratulations!’ the president said to cheers
  • The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism when she wound up an arena of supporters
  • Husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming, ‘CNN Sucks!’ 
  • ‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. We’re going to fight like hell,’ Eric said 
  •  Donald Trump Jr. mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours
  • ‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said, claiming the ex-VP has four-person crowds 

President Trump spent a Tuesday night rally he’d advertised as a 2020 kickoff hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton for acid washing her emails and failing to deliver on her pledge to beat him, while Democrats vying for the party’s nomination now escaped his wrath.

Noting that he’s under constant media scrutiny, Trump said that he’d be sent to the slammer if he ordered aides to destroy potential evidence.

‘But, can you imagine if I got a subpoena, think of this, if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump,’ he claimed in a campaign speech in Orlando.

Trump said subpoenas he’s receiving are not about Democratic claims that his campaign may have colluded with Russia.

‘The Democrats don’t care about Russia, they only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I’ve ever known or worked with,’ he argued. ‘But they are really going after you. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about us, it’s about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.’

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend
First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump's first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended - with his audience chanting 'Lock her Up!' in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

Trump's campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Trump’s campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Michael Boulos, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Donald Trump Jr. arrive at a rally for US President Donald Trump

FLOTUS Melania introduces her husband at Trump 2020 rally

The president said, ‘They wanted to deny you the future you demanded and the future that America deserved and that now America is getting. Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it’s not going to happen. Not gonna happen.’

Trump claimed that Democrats as a party would use the ‘power of the law to punish their opponents’ if they’re handed the reigns to the country.

‘Imagine if we had a Democrat president and a Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents – which they’re trying to do now anyway – they’ll always be trying to shield themselves,’ he claimed. ‘They will strip Americans of their Constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political base and they’ll get votes someplace down the future. That’s what it’s about.’

Broad attacks on the Democratic Party and ‘radical socialism’ were the most stringent assaults that Trump would levy all night.

He said, ‘More than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed up to support “Crazy Bernie Sanders” socialist government takeover of health care.

‘He seems not to be doing too well lately,’ the president said as an aside. ‘They want to end Medicare as we know it and terminate the private health insurance of 180 million Americans who love their health insurance. America will never be a socialist country.’

It was his only mention at the rally of one of his most formidable opponents. Former Democratic President Joe Biden was also a footnote in the speech, earning two mentions, as a part of the ‘Obama-Biden’ duo that Trump said ruined American foreign policy and drove down the nation’s economy.

‘Remember the statement from the previous administration? Would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing? Well, tell “Sleepy Joe” that we found the magic wand. That’s a sleepy guy,’ the president added.

Trump outlined his vision tweeting: ‘Don’t ever forget – this election is about YOU. It is about YOUR family, YOUR future, & the fate of YOUR COUNTRY. We begin our campaign with the best record, the best results, the best agenda, & the only positive VISION for our Country’s future! #Trump2020’

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Trump rails against Democrats, Mueller and ‘fake news’ at 2020 rally
Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Clinton.

The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism first. She wound up an arena of supporters with a claim that the media was saying Clinton was going to be the 45th President of the United States days before the election. ‘They have always been wrong,’ she declared.

Attacks on the media as ‘fake news’ and ‘dishonest’ from Lara and her husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming ‘CNN Sucks!’ minutes later.

The Trumps said their family has been under attack from one group or another since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015.

‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. And guys we are going to fight like hell – our family is going to fight like hell for this country. We will never ever stop fighting, and we will never ever, ever stop winning,’ the president’s son said. ‘And guys, we love you very much. We’re all going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. We’re going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. So we’re going to see you.’

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president.

‘I don’t know about you, but I look around this room and when Joe Biden’s putting about seven people in an audience, I’m saying, “I think they may be a little wrong with the polling.” But what they hell do I know?’ he said.

National polls show Biden beating Trump in a general election. A Quinnipiac University survey that came out Tuesday found that the former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41, the newly-released poll showed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would win by a similar margin, 48 – 42, while other top Democrats would perform in the poll’s margin of error.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told DailyMail.com inside the rally that Quinnipiac is ‘c**p’ in response to the latest poll showing bad news in a critical swing state for the controversial president.

Trump had already warned the public that this official launch of 2020 campaign would be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents for more than 30 hours to save their places at the front of a massive line that would ensure them floor seats

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Trump attacks Democrats at his Orlando rally
Don Jr. brushed off the threat from Biden, 76, as he campaigned for his father, 73, on Tuesday in Orlando. He called Biden and his competitors a ‘clown show’ and gave the Democrat a new nickname. ‘Sloppy Joe,’ he called him, as he hit Biden for flip-flopping.

‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said. ‘To his group of about four people in the audience, “Government has failed you.” Usually, as he’s groping someone. It ain’t pretty, but there’s something off with that guy.’

The president’s son said he agrees that government is broken and it’s a problem. ‘The problem is Joe, you’ve been in government for almost 50 years. If government failed you, maybe you’re the problem Joe Biden,’ he said. ‘It’s not rocket science.’

Trump warned the public that the campaign rally would be ‘wild,’ and Don Jr. helped him deliver on the pledge.

He mocked Biden’s pledge to cure cancer, asking, ‘Why the hell didn’t you do that over the last 50 years, Joe?’

Don Jr. blamed the media for giving Biden a pass. ‘Why did not one of them say, “Well, Joe, how exactly are you going to do that?” And why didn’t you do that in the last eight years as vice president and the prior 40 years in government and the Senate?’

His father later claimed that he’d cure cancer in remarks that followed. ‘We will push onward with new medical frontiers. We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases, including cancer and others and we’re getting closer all the time,’ he said.

Attacks on Clinton and media were a common theme throughout the night, with Trump pausing and waiting for his supporters to cheer, ‘CNN SUCKS!’ and ‘Lock her Up!’ as he talked about the former secretary of state’s acid-washed emails and her loss to him in the last election.

‘It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of our election, spy on our campaign, which is what they did,’ he complained.

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Vice President Mike Pence, escorted in by Karen Pence, speaks before Trump takes the stage on Tuesday evening

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

Melania's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

Melania’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

President Trump said as he opened the event that he could feel the ‘magic’ in Orlando – a play on the name of the city’s professional basketball team.

He spoke to supporters in the same arena that the team plays in, which is a venue that can hold roughly 20,000 people.

‘You know, I said, “This is a very big arena for a Tuesday night.” I said, “You know, if we have about three or four empty seats, the fake news will say – headlines: he didn’t fill up the arena.” So I said maybe we shouldn’t take the chance, maybe we shouldn’t go to Orlando, maybe we should go someplace else,’ Trump said in his opening remarks. ‘I said, “No, I think we’ll go to Orlando.” And, not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests. That means you folks have come out very, very good.’

Supporters camped out in tents for more than 30 hours to save their places at the front of a massive line that would ensure them floor seats at Tuesday evening’s show.

Saundra Kiczenski, a Michigan native who works in retail, waited from 7am on Monday. She said she’d been to rallies in support of the president in 15 states. She spent Monday night on the pavement in a sleeping bag.

‘I took the hotel pillow and slept on the ground,’ she told DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon as she waited to get in.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

A cover band with aging rockers who call themselves ‘The Guzzlers’ revved up the crowd under a beating sun at a ‘festival’ the campaign held in an outdoor parking lot, where vendors sold a captive and cramped group sodas, snow cones and Trump umbrellas.

Sweltering heat that topped 87 degrees soon turned to pouring rain, giving the umbrellas a dual purpose for supporters like Richard Snowden who chose to remain.

A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Snowden said he’d be ‘remiss’ to have skipped the kickoff. He told DailyMail.com from the comfort of a party-style tent his group had pitched that he’d attended 54 rallies since Trump announced his candidacy for office in 2015.

But even Snowden called himself a pragmatist and said of the president’s reelection odds, ‘I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk.’

‘The incumbency will help. He won’t catch them flat-footed this time,’ he observed, as he waited for the rally to begin. ‘And he won’t have the dislike of Hillary working in his favor,’ he said in remarks that proved to prescient.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he'd be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

 

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport

Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport in Orlando

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, and Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump, right, wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be ‘wild,’ after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7156179/Trumps-2020-kickoff-features-media-bashing-attacks-Joe-Biden-old-foe-Hillary-Clinton.html

 

Trump, in 2020 campaign mode, calls Democrats ‘radical’

today

President Donald Trump jabbed at the press and poked the political establishment he ran against in 2016 as he kicked off his reelection campaign with a grievance-filled rally focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a possible second term.

Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center on Tuesday night, Trump complained he was “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and an “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down.

He painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and saying Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said. Trump made only passing mention of any of the Democrats running to replace him even as he tossed out “radical” and “unhinged” to describe the rival party.

Trump has long railed against the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the ongoing probes by House Democrats in the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s report .

President Donald Trump officially kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally. "We're going to keep it better than ever before," he declared. (June 18)

The apocalyptic language and finger-pointing made clear that Trump’s 2020 campaign will probably look a whole lot like his run three years ago. Even after two-and-a-half years in the Oval Office, Trump remains focused on energizing his base and offering himself as a political outsider running against Washington.

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Wednesday morning that Trump had raised $24.8 million in less than 24 hours for his reelection.

In his speech, Trump spent considerably more time focused on former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton than on his current 2020 challengers, even though she is not on the ballot.

Thousands of Trump supporters began gathering outside the arena on Monday.

“Trump has been the best president we’ve ever had,” said Ron Freitas, a retired Merchant Marine and registered Democrat from Orlando.

Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters clapped and took photos when a 20-foot (6-meter) blimp of a snarling Trump baby in a diaper was inflated. Some members of the far-right hate group Proud Boys were also spotted marching outside the rally.

Trump aides scheduled the kickoff near the four-year anniversary of the day when the former reality television star and New York tabloid fixture launched his longshot campaign for president with a famous escalator ride in front of a crowd that included paid actors.

Trump spoke fondly of his 2016 race, calling it “a defining moment in American history.” He said that in the years since, he had upended Washington, staring down “a corrupt and broken political establishment” and restoring a government “of, for and by the people.”

He never has really stopped running. He filed for reelection on Jan. 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration, and held his first 2020 rally in February, 2017, in nearby Melbourne. He has continued holding his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies in the months since.

Trump asked the crowd whether he should stick with “Make America Great Again” or upgrade his slogan. His new one — “Keep America Great” — was greeted with boisterous cheers.

Trump is hoping to replicate the dynamics that allowed him to take charge of the Republican Party and then the presidency as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. In 2016, he successfully appealed to disaffected voters who felt left behind by economic dislocation and demographic shifts. He has no intention of abandoning that mantle, even if he is the face of the institutions he looks to disrupt.

The president underscored that on the eve of the rally in must-win Florida, returning to the hardline immigration themes of his first campaign by tweeting that next week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”

That promise, which came with no details and sparked Democratic condemnation, seemed to offer a peek into a campaign that will largely be fought along the same lines as his first bid, with very few new policy proposals for a second term.

Early Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said Trump’s politics are “all about dividing us” in ways that are “dangerous — truly, truly dangerous.”

Another leading Democratic contender, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Trump had delivered “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total, absolute nonsense.”

But those involved in the president’s reelection effort believe his version of populism, combined with his mantra to “Drain the Swamp,” still resonates, despite his administration’s ties with lobbyists and corporations and the Trump family’s apparent efforts to profit off the presidency.Critics have pointed out his constant promotion for his golf courses, both at home and abroad, and note that this daughter, White House senior aide Ivanka Trump, made $4 million last year from her stake in the president’s Washington hotel, which has become a favored destination for foreign nationals looking to curry favor with the administration.

Advisers believe that, in an age of extreme polarization, many Trump backers view their support for the president as part of their identity, one not easily shaken. They point to his seemingly unmovable support with his base supporters as evidence that he is still viewed the same way he was as a candidate: a political rebel.

Trump tried to make the case that he had made good on his 2016 promises, including cracking down on illegal immigration and boosting jobs.

Near the rally’s end, Trump ran through a list of promises for a second term, pledging a new immigration system, new trade deals, a health care overhaul and a cure for cancer and “many diseases,” including eradicating AIDS in America.

https://apnews.com/947182a691e6498ca4488e9fc8f9e4b5

President Trump spent a Tuesday night rally he’d advertised as a 2020 kickoff hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton for acid washing her emails and failing to deliver on her pledge to beat him, while Democrats vying for the party’s nomination now escaped his wrath.

Noting that he’s under constant media scrutiny, Trump said that he’d be sent to the slammer if he ordered aides to destroy potential evidence.

‘But, can you imagine if I got a subpoena, think of this, if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump,’ he claimed in a campaign speech in Orlando.

Trump said subpoenas he’s receiving are not about Democratic claims that his campaign may have colluded with Russia.

 

A sunshine state of mind! Melania and Donald Trump gaze lovingly at one another as they leave the White House hand-in-hand and head to Florida for the president’s 2020 rally

  • Trump, 73, and Melania, 49, departed the White House together on Tuesday to fly to Florida
  • The President will be officially launching his 2020 campaign with a rally at the Amway Center
  • The first lady wore a summery $2,290 white eyelet Andrew Gin dress with a pair of red and white polka-dot heels
  • She grinned at her husband as they walked hand-in-hand to Marine One
  • Melania is not expected to speak at the event, which will include an estimated 20,000 people

Donald and Melania Trump had a rare romantic public moment on Tuesday as the two left the White House for Orlando, Florida.

The President and first lady walked hand-in-hand across the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on their way to Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff rally.

Cameras caught the couple sharing a warm smile as they held onto each other, Trump, 73, dressed in a navy suit and red tie and his 49-year-old wife took advantage of the June heat in a $2,290 summery white eyelet dress from Andrew Gin, and red polka-dot heels.

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn't wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida+19

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania's hands in both of his own+19

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania’s hands in both of his own

The couple isn’t typically much for PDA but shared an intimate smile as they walked passed photographers.

They held each other’s hands, with Trump stopping at one point in order to clasp Melania’s left hand in both of his own.

Melania beat the heat, which is hovering in the mid-to-high 80s in Washington, D.C. today, in a breezy but figure-flaunting white sleeveless dress, which featured a seasonally appropriate eyelet patter with floral cutouts on the top.

She accessorized with a pair of dark sunglasses and red and white pointy-toe pumps. while wearing her brown hair blown out around her shoulders.

The couple, who married in 2005, celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary in January, just one year less than he was married to his first wife Ivana.

The couple grinned as they boarded Marine One and then switched planes for Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s+19

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses+19

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps+19

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done+19

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done

They’re flying down not to Mar-a-Lago but Orlando, where Trump is kicking off his 2020 presidential campaign at the Amway Center in front of an estimated 20,000 people.

Trump’s campaign is transforming the area outside the arena to have a festival-like atmosphere, with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time.

The most coveted positions are not seats at all, but standing positions near the front of the stage. Backers of the president in that area are likely to get a handshake, a selfie or Trump’s autograph at the event that formally marks the beginning of his campaign for a second term.

All of Trump’s children and his wife Melania will be with him at the event, sources told DailyMail.com, as will the Mike Pence, the president’s running mate and the nation’s vice president.

The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said, but given the president’s tendency to call on people to speak, she could end up addressing the crowd.

Donald Trump, Jr., on the other hand is expected to give remarks before the rally.

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress+19

It will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat+19

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress, which will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said+19

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said

Change of plan? The couple's 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them+19

Change of plan? The couple’s 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them

Family affair: Trump's adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there+19

Family affair: Trump’s adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews+19

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together+19

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together

The president’s eldest son is a frequent presence at campaign events — with and without his father — and often serves as a warm-up act for the president’s supporters. He’s also campaigned and raised money for other Republican candidates since his father entered politics.

His girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality, is also scheduled to be at the rally. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s reelection campaign.

Senior advisers and family members to the president Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are also expected to be at the rally.

It’s unclear if Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, will be in Orlando. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, but is also pregnant with the couple’s second child. She made a state trip to the UK in early June.

It will be 13-year-old Barron Trump’s first appearance at a campaign rally since his father took office.

Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany, who has been less involved than her older siblings in her father’s campaigns and administration, will also be there.

Orlando Trump supporters stakeout spots ahead of rally

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign+19

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday+19

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Wild: The Republican incumbent set the tone in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

President Trump release his 2020 campaign ad for re-election

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at this evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he said.

Trump had apparently dropped a claim that ‘thousands’ turned up on Monday, with about 250 people camping overnight. But the numbers grew steadily as temperatures soared in Orlando Tuesday, reaching 87 degrees before an hour-long downpour that soaked a waiting crowd.

A new Quinnipiac poll showed Trump losing Florida to Democratic nemesis Joe Biden. The former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41 per cent, the newly-released survey showed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would win by a similar margin, 48 – 42, while other top Democrats would perform in the poll’s margin of error

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7155853/Melania-Trump-smiles-warmly-husband-depart-Orlando-campaign-kickoff-rally.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1238, April 11, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested In Great Britain — Videos — Story 2: Obama vs. Trump Using Drones To Kill Terrorists and Many Innocent Civilians — Videos — Story 3: Fake Sanctuary Cities Oppose Sending Illegal Aliens To Their Cities — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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The Real Reason Julian Assange Was Arrested

Collateral Murder?

WikiLeaks video: ‘Collateral murder’ in Iraq

Published on Apr 7, 2010
WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously sourced documents, has released a video showing what apparently is a US military helicopter firing at unarmed civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks said the footage, filmed from a helicopter cockpit, shows a missile strike and shooting on a square in a Baghdad neighbourhood in July 2007. The website said 12 civilians were killed in the attack, including two journalists, Namir Nour El Deen and Saeed Chmagh, who worked for the Reuters news agency. This is the full, unedited version of the footage.

WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord

Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

What U.S. charges against Julian Assange mean for journalists

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested In London, Facing Possible US Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

‘The Five’ reacts to Julian Assange’s charges

Former MI5 Agent on Assange’s arrest

Bill Binney (former NSA) on the Arrest of Julian Assange

Former intel chief reacts to Assange arrest

LIVE: Wikileaks Editor in chief holds press briefing on Assange’s “new criminal case”

‘The arrest of Julian Assange is spiteful self-interested politics’

Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London- BBC News

Wikileaks Co-founder Julian Assange Arrested

How Julian Assange Became a Household Name

Why has Julian Assange been holed up? BBC News

Who Is Julian Assange? (2010)

Secret World of US Election: Julian Assange talks to John Pilger (FULL INTERVIEW)

What 33,000 pages of leaked emails teach us about Hillary Clinton

CIA Hacking Tools Released in Wikileaks Vault 7 – Threat Wire

WikiLeaks Vault 7 explained

CIA declines to comment on WikiLeaks document dump

WikiLeaks releases documents on CIA hacking

CIA Director Calls WikiLeaks Hostile Intelligence Service

SEVEN officers, found guilty of skipping UK bail and charged by American government with hacking 750,000 classified documents

  • Wikileaks founder dragged out of Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of police officers today 
  • Arrest was for skipping bail in 2012 and also for a US extradition request over computer hacking charges 
  • Ecuador said decision came after he behaved badly and interfered with its affairs during his seven-year stay
  • Appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court where he was found guilty of breaching bail conditions in 2012
  • He faces a further court hearing in May relating to his possible extradition to the US on the hacking charges 
  • He has not left embassy since 2012, when he was offered refuge from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden
  • Assange has always feared extradition to the US, where he’s wanted for a leak of highly-classified documents 
  • Corbyn told Government not to extradite Assange for ‘exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’

Julian Assange is facing up to 12 months in a British prison after he was found guilty of skipping bail to avoid being extradited to Sweden in 2012 to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The Wikileaks founder finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge for the past seven years.

A judge branded Assange’s defence ‘laughable’ and his behaviour that of a ‘narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests’ after he pleaded not guilty to breaching his bail conditions, claiming he did so because he could never expect a fair trial in the UK.

Ecuador’s decision to revoke his political asylum this morning saw a diplomatic falling of dominoes, with seven British police officers entering the embassy at 10am before restraining him as he tried to flee to his private room.

They then dragged the fugitive away kicking and screaming into a van as he shouted ‘this is unlawful’ and ‘the UK must resist’.

In a dramatic turn of events, he was then also charged by US government prosecutors with conspiring with American whistleblower Chelsea Manning to break the password of a classified government computer in 2010.

Assange participated in the hacking in ‘real-time’ and encouraged the act, which led to one of the largest leaks of classified information in US history, according to a statement.

The US department of justice confirmed he has been charged with computer crimes, which if he is found guilty of could result in a five-year jail term. Addressing Assange at today’s court hearing, District Judge Michael Snow told him to ‘get over to the US’ and ‘get on with your life’.

While he awaits sentencing for jumping bail, Assange, 47, also faces a court hearing on May 2 relating to his possible extradition to the US to contest the hacking charges.

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson said he will fight extradition, adding that he thanked supporters and said ‘I told you so’ when she visited him in his police cell.

Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno dramatically withdraw Assange’s asylum status this morning, blaming his ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’ in continuing to work with Wikileaks while housed at the embassy.

In a scathing statement, President Moreno accused Assange of violating the terms of his asylum by ‘interfering in internal affairs of other states’ as well as ‘blocking security cameras’ and ‘mistreating guards’. Its interior minister even alleged he had smeared faeces on the embassy’s walls.

The arrest came just 24 hours after Wikileaks had accused Ecuador of an ‘extensive spying operation’, adding that it assumed intelligence had been handed over to the Trump administration.

Mr Trump, who had declared ‘I love WikiLeaks’ during his 2016 campaign when the website released damaging emails concerning Hillary Clinton, said following Assange’s arrest that ‘I know nothing really about him’.

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Assange on the way to court

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

V

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: 'This is unlawful'+32

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: ‘This is unlawful’

The US Department of Justice said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning “to break a password to a classified US government computer”

Indictment form for Julian Assange

The US Department of Justice, releasing this indictment form, said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning ‘to break a password to a classified US government computer’

A judge described Assange's defence that he could never expect a fair trial in the UK as 'laughable', calling his behaviour that of a 'narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests' as the court heard he tried to fight off arresting officers

A judge described Assange’s defence that he could never expect a fair trial in the UK as ‘laughable’, calling his behaviour that of a ‘narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests’ as the court heard he tried to fight off arresting officers

Assange gestures to photographers as he is driven away from Westminster Magistrates' Court after he hearing today

A large crowd of Press and supporters were gathered outside the court to wait for him to come out

Assange gestures to photographers as he is driven away from Westminster Magistrates’ Court after he hearing today

Assange pictured as he was led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Assange pictured as he was led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Assange (pictured bottom left) as he is arrested by police after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, address the media outside of Westminster Magistrates Court today

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, address the media outside of Westminster Magistrates Court today

The decision to expel Assange followed months of gradually souring relations between the Ecuadorian government and its unwelcome guest.

‘He exposed atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’: Corbyn urges the UK not to extradite Assange to America – as luvvies and Russia slam his arrest

Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government not to extradite Julian Assange, saying he had exposed evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Almost 12 hours after Assange was arrested, the Labour leader tweeted: ‘The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.’

He accompanied his social media post with a video tweeted by shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, which she said showed leaked Pentagon footage of a 2007 air strike in Iraq which implicated American armed forces in the killing of civilians and two journalists.

Corbyn (pictured today) broke this silence this evening to urge the UK government not to extradite Assange

Addressing the House of Commons on Thursday, Ms Abbott said Assange was in the ‘cross-hairs of the US administration’ over his whistle-blowing activities.

She claimed this was the reason why the WikiLeaks founder would be subject to an extradition warrant from the US.

She said: ‘On this side of the House we want to make the point that the reason we are debating Julian Assange this afternoon, even though the only charge he may face in this country is in relation to his bail hearings, is entirely due to the whistle-blowing activities of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.’

Ms Abbott went on: ‘It is this whistle-blowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale, that has put Julian Assange in the cross-hairs of the US administration.

‘It is for this reason that they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Mr Assange.’

In response, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Why is it whenever someone has a track record of undermining the UK and our allies and the values we stand for, you can almost guarantee that the leadership of the party opposite will support those who intend to do us harm?

‘You can always guarantee that from the party opposite.’

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Corbyn and Abbott were joined by the likes of Pamela Anderson, Edward Snowden, Vivienne Westwood and Peter Tatchell in voicing their concern.

 US whistleblower Snowden warned the arrest was a ‘dark moment for press freedom,’ while fashion designer Westwood protested outside Westminster Magistrates Court.

Snowden, a former CIA agent tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

Assange’s close friend Pamela Anderson also blasted the arrest on Twitter, calling the UK ‘America’s b****’ and claiming it was a ‘diversion from Brexit’.

She said:  ‘How could you Equador ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b**** and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added:  ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Ms Anderson then re-tweeted videos of Assange’s arrest before posting a photo of him with the caption ‘veritas valebit’, which is Latin for ‘truth will prevail’.

And the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed the move was ‘the hand of democracy squeezing the throat of freedom’.

President Moreno, who entered the office in 2017, was personally targeted by Wikileaks in February, when a set of documents were leaked that allegedly linked the president and family members to financial corruption and money laundering.

Wikileaks has previously called Moreno’s pursuit of Assange a ‘diversion tactic’ aimed at pointing attention away from the scandal and scoring political points with the US, with whom he is believed to want to improve relations.

The revival of US-Ecuadoran diplomacy, led by Moreno, saw the International Monetary Fund in Washington approve a $4.2billion payment to the Ecuadorian government in March, a month to the day that Assange was arrested and charged.

The Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, said that in the time Assange remained in the embassy he had been disrespectful, ‘continually a problem’ and interfered in elections, politics and the internal affairs of other countries.

Mr Marchan said: ‘He was continually a problem to us, he was very disrespectful to the authorities, he has said that we were spying on him, he has said we were lying, we were agents of the United States.’

A Downing Street spokesman insisted the UK had not lobbied the Ecuadorians to revoke Assange’s asylum status.

She said: ‘In terms of contact, there has been a sense of dialogue with the Ecuadorian government from the onset.

‘The decision to revoke asylum was one for them entirely and you’ll have seen from their statements that they have set that out.

‘Beyond that, this is now a matter for the police and the court system.’

When asked if the British Government had lobbied the Ecuadorians, she said: ‘No, and as I’ve said the decision to revoke his asylum status is one taken entirely by them and they have confirmed that in their statements today.’

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through Wikileaks, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court a few hours after his was brought into custody by police.

James Hines, for the US government, told the court: ‘Officers attended the embassy around 9.15am where they met the ambassador.

‘The ambassador said he was proposing to serve documents ending Assange’s asylum.’

The court heard that the officers met Assange at 10pm. Mr Hines said: ‘The officers tried to introduce themselves to him but he barged past them attempting to return to his private room.

‘He was arrested at 10.15am. He resisted that arrest and had to be restrained. Officers were struggling to handcuff him. They received assistance from other officers outside.’ He told the court that Assange kept saying: ‘This is unlawful.’

Mr Hines said: ‘He was in fact lifted into the police van and taken to West Central police station. There he was more formally arrested.’

News of his arrest was praised by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said ‘no one was above the law’, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added Assange was ‘no hero’ and claimed he had ‘hidden from the truth for years’.

In a statement, the Home Office said: ‘We can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.

‘He is accused in the United States of America computer related offences.’

Scotland Yard said Assange was held for failing to appear in court in June 2012 and ‘further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10.53am after his arrival at a central London police station’.

US authorities claim Assange helped former US military analyst Chelsea Manning crack a password to gain entry to secure a computer network and download material to share with WikiLeaks.

The Wikileaks editor tonight claimed Assange was thrown ‘overboard’ by Ecuador to face decades in jail or even the death penalty in the US.

Kristinn Hrafnsson said the extradition request from the US for the Australian, on charges of conspiring to break into a classified government computer, was ‘only a part of the story’.

She said believed ‘that there will be more later, that will be added on, more charges’.

The Icelandic editor of the whistle-blowing site said: ‘It probably adds to the likelihood that he will be extradited from the UK if it’s on relatively smaller charges.

‘The legal codes proceeding in the Grand Jury investigation include various legal codes and the Espionage Act of 1917 which carries the death penalty and at least elements of decades in prison.’

Assange has always feared extradition to the US where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the leaking of highly-classified documents.

However, the UK government has insisted it would not extradite Assange if there was a risk of him being executed. The Ecuadorian government said it had asked Britain for this guarantee.

The Wikileaks founder (pictured over a seven-year period) finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge

The Wikileaks founder (pictured over a seven-year period) finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge

A protestor is handled by police officers standing outside Westminster Magistrates Court after the arrest of Julian Assange

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum

This graphic shows how Assange's dramatic arrest unfolded this morning at the Ecuadorian Embassy

The US charges were announced shortly after Assange was taken into custody this morning.

What is UK’s extradition agreement with the US and how long could it take to send Assange to America?

The UK to US extradition process is in place to seek justice for serious crimes affecting both countries and its citizens.

It protects the rights of those accused and victims.

The latest version of the  treaty updated the formal extradition relationship between the US and UK following changes in the UK’s own extradition laws and corrected a previous imbalances.

It was previously required that the US would have to  present its evidence in ‘prima facie’ form, when the US had never required that from the UK.

In the case of Assange experts have now said that he is likely to receive a custodial sentence in the UK and that and extradition to the US will follow.

Extradition lawyer Thomas Garner: ‘Given Assange’s public statements in the past it is clear that he would attempt to raise many bars to his extradition.

‘The extradition court here would not come to any conclusions on the merits of the US case in the proceedings here.

‘Its sole concern would be whether there are any legal bar to his being extradited to stand trial in the US. The process would take many months to conclude.

‘If there were an extradition request from the US, given the likely complexity of the case, it is doubtful that any final hearing would be heard this year.’

In a statement, US Department of Justice said Assange’s arrest was ‘in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer’.

If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, it said.

Ms Manning, a transgender woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 after leaking 700,000 military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

She was released in 2017 after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former president Barack Obama.

It is alleged Ms Manning and Assange had ‘real-time discussions’ on how to share the classified records, with Assange ‘actively encouraging’ Ms Manning to provide more.

During an exchange, Ms Manning allegedly told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left’, to which Assange replied ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience’.

The statement added: ‘Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

‘If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

‘A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.’

Ms Manning was jailed in the US last month after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzon, who is coordinating Assange’s defence, claimed today he was the target of ‘political persecution’.

‘There is evident political persecution which started precisely with the massive publication by WikiLeaks in 2010 of cables and very serious information’ which Assange had published, including a trove of classified Pentagon documents detailing alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq,’ he said.

‘The threats against Julian Assange for political reasons, persecution on the part of the United States, are more current than ever.’

Mr Garzon also accused Ecuador’s president of lying about the reasons behind the revoking of Assange’s citizenship of the South American state, acquired in 2017.

Moments after the arrest, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange's political asylum 'in violation of international law'

Moments after the arrest, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum ‘in violation of international law’

British police are pictured arriving at the embassy moments before the Wikileaks founder was dragged outside in handcuffs

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Mr Trump, who had declared 'I love WikiLeaks' during his 2016 campaign when the website released damaging emails concerning Hillary Clinton, said following Assange's arrest that 'I know nothing really about him'

Who is former US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and how is she linked to Assange?

Chelsea Manning is a US Army intelligence analyst and delivered hundreds of thousands of classified documents that he found troubling to WikiLeaks.

In 2009 Manning was sent to Iraq where she had access to ‘troubling’ information.

She gave this information to WikiLeaks and was later arrested after her actions were reported to the US government.

In 2010 Assange was accused of conspiring with Manning and other conspirators to publish secret military and diplomatic documents that Manning had collected.

In 2013 she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and theft.

Chelsea Manning leaving court in March after testifying before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange

Chelsea Manning leaving court in March after testifying before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange

A year later Manning, who is transgender, was granted the right to be legally recognized as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, after living as Bradley Manning.

In 2017 President Barack Obama commuted her sentence and she was released from prison.

Earlier this year, Manning revealed that she was fighting a subpoena to testify before a grand jury about her interactions with WikiLeaks.

On March 5 she testified before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange.

On March 9 she was taken into custody after a federal judge found her in contempt for her refusal to cooperate.

Jennifer Robinson, who is also representing Assange, said: ‘Since 2010 we’ve warned that Julian Assange would face prosecution and extradition to the United States for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks. Unfortunately today, we’ve been proven right.

‘Mr Assange was arrested this morning at about 10am at the Ecuadorian Embassy after the ambassador formally notified him that his asylum would be revoked, and he was arrested by British police.

‘We’ve today received a warrant and a provisional extradition request from the United States, alleging that he has conspired with Chelsea Manning in relation to the materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010.

‘This sets a dangerous precedent for all media organisations and journalists in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

‘This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.

‘I’ve just been with Mr Assange in the police cells. He wants to thank all of his supporters for their ongoing support and he said: ‘I told you so’.’

It was accidentally revealed in November that Assange had been secretly indicted by the US Justice Department, but the exact nature of the charges against the 47-year-old was not disclosed.

Assange has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered diplomatic protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

The case was eventually dropped as investigators were unable to formally notify Assange of the allegations, however Swedish prosecutors revealed today that the case could now be revisited following his arrest.

Moments after the arrest, during which Assange held on to a Gore Vidal book on the history of the national security state, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally and ‘in violation of international law’.

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’.

The 51-year-old, who claims she was previously in a relationship with Assange, said she was in shock at the arrest.

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked ‘very bad’.

She said: ‘How could you Equador? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b***h and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added: ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption 'Veritas Valebit', which is Latin for 'the truth will prevail'

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked 'very bad'

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

Meanwhile, US whistleblower Edward Snowden warned the arrest was a ‘dark moment for press freedom’.

Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

How Assange has cost UK taxpayers more than £12million while holed up in embassy

Julian Assange first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after he was granted conditional bail in 2010 after his supporters paid £240,000 in cash and sureties.

In 2015 the Met Police announced it would end its 24-hour guard as part part of a three-year police operation.

Scotland Yard released figures in 2015 which suggested that Assange being in the UK is estimated to have cost over £12million.

At the time the Met said the figure included £6.5million of costs incurred for police officer pay costs that would be incurred during normal duties, as well as a £2.7million price tag for police overtime.

Another £1.1million is said to have been ran up due to administration costs.

MailOnline has contacted the Met Police for an updated figure.

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the Wikileaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

Assange’s arrest comes a day after Wikileaks accused the Ecuadorean Government of an ‘extensive spying operation’.

In a press conference yesterday, it was alleged that the Wikileaks founder’s meetings with lawyers and a doctor inside the Ecuador embassy in London over the past year had been secretly filmed.

The anti-secrecy organisation said it had been offered all the material from an unnamed person in Spain, if it paid €3million (£2.6million).

Wikileaks also told how it assumed the information had been handed over to the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said following the arrest: ‘What we have shown today is that nobody is above the law – Julian Assange is no hero.

‘He’s hidden from the truth for years and years and it’s right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.’

He added: ‘What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the Foreign Office.’

Mr Hunt added: ‘[It’s] a very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve this situation that’s been going on for nearly seven years.

‘It’s not so much that Julian Assange was being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian Embassy hostage. It was a situation that was absolutely intolerable to them.’

How judge who called Assange a ‘narcissist’ has slammed celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s son

Judge Michael Snow was appointed as District Judge for the south east in 2004.

He is based at the City of Westminster Magistrates in London.

In 2011 he accused prosecutors of ‘double standards’ over a drunk who allegedly racially abused an Irish worker at Westminster Cathedral.

He had also previously dealt with the case of Jacqueline Woodhouse, a woman who in 2012 launched a tirade of explicit rants on the central line tube in London.

A court sketch of Assange and Judge Snow

A court sketch of Assange and Judge Snow

At the time Judge Snow said she had been grossly offensive.

In 2016, he also criticised the son of British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, Marco Pierre White Jr, after he pleaded guilty to dishonestly using his ex-girlfriend’s bank card.

He has also ruled over a number of recent cases including that of Lovel Bailey, who murdered Good Morning Britain’s Alex Beresford’s cousin Nathaniel Armstrong.

His term of office is set to be renewed in August 2020.

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’

Wikileaks tweeted: ‘URGENT: Ecuador has illigally (sic) terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law.

‘He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.’

Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador, said in a statement on Assange: ‘Ecuador is a generous country and a nation with open arms.

‘Ours is a government respectful of the principles of international law, and of the institution of the right of asylum.

‘Granting or withdrawing asylum is a sovereign right of the Ecuadorian state, according to international law.

‘Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declaration of its allied organisation, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.

‘Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr Assange in 2012.

‘For six years and 10 months, the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Assange and have provided for his everyday needs at the facilities of our Embassy in London.

‘When I became the President of Ecuador, I inherited this situation and decided to adopt a protocol to set the daily life rules at the Embassy, which is less than anyone may expect from a guest hosted at his own house.

‘Ecuador has fulfilled its obligations in the framework of international law.

‘On the other hand, Mr Assange violated, repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas; despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.’

Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, has strongly condemned his successor’s decision.

He tweeted that Lenin Moreno was the ‘greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history’.

Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan (right) and Ecuadorian Ambassador Jaime Marchan (left) pose jubilantly at a press conference in Victoria Gardens, Westminster, after WikiLeaks founder Assange was arrested

An Assange supporter outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London's Knightsbridge last week, where protesters have gathered for seven years in support of the Wikileaks founder

The Swedish lawyer of Julian Assange’s alleged rape victim is pushing to reopen the case that was dropped in 2017.

Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz says she would ‘do all we can to make prosecutors reopen investigation’ in the wake of the Wikileaks founder’s arrest today.

She said: ‘My client and I have just received the news that Assange has been arrested.

‘The fact that what we have been waiting and hoping for for nearly seven years is now happening, of course, comes as a shock to my client.

‘We will do all we can to get prosecutors to reopen the Swedish preliminary criminal investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape.’

Julian Assange, centre, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Julian Assange, centre, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Assange was arrested by British police today after Ecuador dramatically withdrew political asylum seven years after he was given refuge in the country’s London embassy.

The 47-year-old has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered political protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

While the case was eventually dropped, Assange has always feared extradition to the US where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the leaking of highly-classified documents.

Edward Snowden brands Julian Assange’s arrest ‘a dark moment for press freedom’

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned the arrest of Julian Assange is ‘a dark moment for press freedom’.

Soon after Assange’s arrest in London today, Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the Wikileaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

An international warrant for arrest was issued on November 18 2010 for Assange on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion – which he denies.

He has since lived inside the embassy in Knightsbridge for seven years when Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in the rape case.

A into his time at the embassy, Assange told journalists he would not leave even if the sex charges against him were dropped, due to fears he would be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

In 2015, investigations into the sex allegations were dropped because Swedish authorities ran out of time to question him – but the case of suspected rape remained open.

A senior Swedish prosecutor interviewed Assange a year later over the course of two days over the allegations of rape. But in 2017, Swedish authorities suddenly dropped the rape allegations.

The Wikileaks founder was dragged head-first in handcuffs today by a group of seven men today as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London as he screamed out ‘the UK must resist’.

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through Wikileaks, is currently in custody and is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ‘as soon as possible’.

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum status came after the ‘repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols’ and his ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’.

In a statement today, Ecuador’s president added that he had asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to any country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

The news of his arrest was immediately confirmed by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Twitter, who said that ‘no one was above the law’.

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’

Who is Julian Assange and why is he wanted by Sweden, Britain and the US?

Assange (pictured above) has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents

Assange (pictured above) has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents

Julian Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy almost seven years ago.

He has become a poster boy for campaigners against state spying and censorship.

To his critics, he is a danger to national security and his work could make him the subject of espionage charges in the US.

The Australian started hacking into networks of the powerful elite when he was part of the ‘computer underground’ in his late teens.

The 47-year-old shot to public attention after founding the pro-transparency website in 2006 as an online library of otherwise secret documents from governments, intelligence agencies, political parties and multinational corporations.

WikiLeaks servers are located all over the world, but the central server is located in an underground nuclear bunker in Stockholm, Sweden.

As the self-styled editor-in-chief of the site, he has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents and attracted high-profile supporters including Pamela Anderson, novelist Tariq Ali, filmmaker Ken Loach and Jemima Goldsmith (nee Khan).

He has been quoted as saying: ‘It is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abusers.’

Among the major leaks since the site’s foundation were battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, diplomatic communications and a military video showing a US helicopter attack that killed at least 11 men.

Assange has also been forced to deny Russian intelligence sources provided a trove of tens of thousands of emails from senior figures within the Democratic National Congress (DNC) during the US election campaign.

He published these alongside thousands of emails from the private server of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, originating from her time as Secretary of State, which the site obtained through freedom of information laws.

Assange stood down as editor of Wikileaks in September last year.

Little detail is known about his personal life.

His parents reportedly met at a demonstration against the Vietnam war and he was born in Townsville, Australia in 1971.

He passed through 37 different schools when he was on the road with his mother’s travelling theatre company. Later, while studying at the University of Melbourne between 2003 and 2005, he was vice-president of the mathematics and statistics society.

He left university without graduating after becoming disillusioned with academia, according to the society’s magazine Paradox.

Julian Assange's cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally

Julian Assange’s cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally

Assange took refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after being bailed during extradition court hearings. A short time later he was granted political asylum by the South American country.

For more than a year, doctors have warned of the Australian’s declining health due to the ‘prolonged uncertainty of indefinite detention’.

Visitors during his nearly seven years in residence have included Anderson and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, while one member of his inner sanctum has attracted its own following.

His cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally.

She was a gift from his young children to keep their father company.

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom: A timeline of the WikiLeaks founder’s decade in the limelight

2006

Assange creates Wikileaks with a group of like-minded activists and IT experts to provide a secure way for whistleblowers to leak information. He quickly becomes its figurehead and a lightning rod for criticism.

2010

March: U.S. authorities allege Assange engaged in a conspiracy to hack a classified U.S. government computer with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. 

July: Wikileaks starts releasing tens of thousands of top secrets documents, including a video of U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.  What followed was the release of more than 90,000 classified US military files from the Afghan war and 400,000 from Iraq that included the names of informants. 

August: Two Swedish women claim that they each had consensual sex with Assange in separate instances when he was on a 10-day trip to Stockholm. They allege the sex became non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.

First woman claims Assange was staying at her apartment in Stockholm when he ripped off her clothes. She told police that when she realized Assange was trying to have unprotected sex with her, she demanded he use a condom. She claims he ripped the condom before having sex.

Second Swedish woman claims she had sex with Assange at her apartment in Stockholm and she made him wear a condom. She alleges that she later woke up to find Assange having unprotected sex with her.

He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Assange was granted permission by Swedish authorities to fly back to the U.K.

November: A Swedish court ruled that the investigation should be reopened and Assange should be detained for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.

Wikileaks releases its cache of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

December: Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.

2011

February: A British judge rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden but Wikileaks found vows to fight the decision.

April:  A cache of classified U.S. military documents is released by Wikileaks, including intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who are detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

November: Assange loses High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.

2012

June: Assange enters the Ecuadorian embassy in London requesting political asylum.

August: Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.

2013

June: Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex charges against him are dropped out of fear he will be extradited to the U.S.

2015

August: Swedish prosecutors drop investigation into some of the sex allegations against Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.

2016

July: Wikileaks begins leaking emails U.S. Democratic Party officials favoring Hillary Clinton.

November: Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days.

2017

January: Barack Obama agrees to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning from prison. Her pending release prompts speculation Assange will end his self-imposed exile after Wikileaks tweeted he would agree to U.S. extradition.

April: Lenin Moreno becomes the new president of Ecuador who was known to want to improve diplomatic relations between his country and the U.S.

May: An investigation into a sex allegation against Assange is suddenly dropped by Swedish prosecutors.

2018

January: Ecuador confirms it has granted citizenship to Assange following his request.

February: Assange is visited by Pamela Anderson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel.

March: The Ecuadorian Embassy suspends Assange’s internet access because he wasn’t complying with a promise he made the previous year to ‘not send messages which entailed interference in relation to other states’.

August: U.S. Senate committee asks to interview Assange as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

September: Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks.

October: Assange reveals he will launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’.

November: U.S. Justice Department inadvertently names Assange in a court document that says he has been charged in secret.

2019

January: Assange’s lawyers say they are taking action to make President Trump’s administration reveal charges ‘secretly filed’ against him.

April 6: WikiLeaks tweets that a high level Ecuadorian source has told them Assange will be expelled from the embassy within ‘hours or days’. But a senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to remove him from the London building.

April 11: Assange has his diplomatic asylum revoked by Ecuador.

The police bill? £13m and counting…

Scotland Yard has given the figure of £13.2million as the cost of guarding the Ecuadorian embassy while Assange was inside – but the true figure is likely to be far higher.

Uniformed officers were permanently stationed outside the embassy in Kensington, west London, from when the WikiLeaks founder arrived in June 2012 until October 2015.

At this point, the permanent deployment was stood down as police deemed it was ‘no longer proportionate’.

Under Freedom of Information laws, the Metropolitan Police has revealed that it cost at least £13.2million to guard the embassy from 2012 to 2015.

It said £7.2million had been incurred in police pay, £3.8million in overtime and £2.2million in admin overheads and costs to supporting departments.

Scotland Yard has refused to reveal costs incurred after 2015 for undercover officers and other surveillance.

It argued the release of such information would ‘cause operational harm’.

It also said it would ‘allow extremists to gauge the level of policing deployed to a specific site’ and adversely affect relations with Ecuador.

Last night the Metropolitan Police said it was ‘looking into’ whether it could provide an updated figure.

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.

According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.

During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer, Thomas W. Traxler and Gordon D. Kromberg, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Walczewski and Nicholas O. Hunter of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-111.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/wikileaks-founder-charged-computer-hacking-conspiracy

Glenn Greenwald Rages Against Assange Arrest, Battles Journos: ‘It’s the Criminalization of Journalism’

Glenn Greenwald went on the warpath Thursday morning following the arrest of Julian Assange in London.

In a lengthy Twitter rant, Greenwald — founder of The Intercept — blasted those in the media who are not speaking out against the arrest, arguing it is a direct attack on press freedom.

“If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror,” Greenwald wrote.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/09/the-guardian-view-on-julian-assange-it-would-be-wrong-to-extradite-him?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium=&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1554831501 

2,579 people are talking about this

Some journalists on Twitter issued similar warnings as Greenwald — but backed off their criticism of the arrest after the Department of Justice formally announced its charge, one count of conspiracy of hacking by helping Chelsea Manning break into a Department of Defense computer. Greenwald, though, maintained that the DOJ was still out of bounds.

“The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish,” Greenwald wrote. “Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism.”

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish. Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism

In a lengthy Twitter rant, Greenwald — founder of The Intercept — blasted those in the media who are not speaking out against the arrest, arguing it is a direct attack on press freedom.

“If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror,” Greenwald wrote.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/09/the-guardian-view-on-julian-assange-it-would-be-wrong-to-extradite-him?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium=&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1554831501 

2,579 people are talking about this

Some journalists on Twitter issued similar warnings as Greenwald — but backed off their criticism of the arrest after the Department of Justice formally announced its charge, one count of conspiracy of hacking by helping Chelsea Manning break into a Department of Defense computer. Greenwald, though, maintained that the DOJ was still out of bounds.

“The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish,” Greenwald wrote. “Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism.”

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish. Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism

View image on Twitter

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The security state agents for NBC/MSNBC cheering the Trump administration for arresting Assange because they’re authoritarians who only pretend to care about press freedom when it advances their partisan interests.This is what happens when news outlets merge with the US Govt

1,610 people are talking about this

Eventually, Greenwald focused his ire on NBC News.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I’m not surprised to see NBC journalists uniting behind Trump DOJ to justify the criminalization of WikiLeaks – NBC is fully aligned with the CIA/NSA long obsessed with destroying WL – but this tweet is false: the indictment also charges Assange with *encouraging* his source:

Tom Winter

@Tom_Winter

Replying to @Tom_Winter

The indictment makes it clear that this has nothing to do with the publishing of materials.

Assisting someone to break the law and access classified information is not protected by the 1st Amendment or the SCOTUS ‘NY Times vs. United States’ decision.

765 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I’m not surprised to see NBC journalists uniting behind Trump DOJ to justify the criminalization of WikiLeaks – NBC is fully aligned with the CIA/NSA long obsessed with destroying WL – but this tweet is false: the indictment also charges Assange with *encouraging* his source:

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

US journalists have long hated WikiLeaks because they have published stories of far greater importance & impact than most of those journalists in the lifetime will ever publish, all without being part of their little club. But to cheer the Trump DOJ prosecution is just grotesque.

738 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

NBC News made the decision to hire a team of former military & intelligence officials to “report” & “analyze” the news – starting with the highly compromised ex-CIA DIrector now on its payroll – and as a result the have full-on fascists & authoritarians saying things like this:

1,070 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

NBC is the official organ of whatever you call it: the military-industrial complex, the Deep State, the Blob. I’m glad they made it official by putting CIA & intel officials on their payroll. The above psychopathic tweet is what you’d expect to hear at Langley, not a news outlet.

828 people are talking about this

At one point, MSNBC justice and security analyst Matthew Miller decided to engage Greenwald — leading to this debate:

Matthew Miller

@matthewamiller

how is hacking a legitimate journalistic technique?

35 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

So you’re saying the Obama DOJ searched for years to find evidence that Assange “hacked” those documents but failed to find any evidence, but the Trump DOJ found what you couldn’t. Pretty humiliating for you. Hacking is a crime, but they’re emphasizing “encouragement”:

59 people are talking about this

Matthew Miller

@matthewamiller

no, not humiliated at all. I’m glad when DOJ does its job, under any admin. The indictment shows an attempt to hack a password, which is a crime. It’s certainly not a legit journalistic technique, and prosecuting it does not threaten journalism or the first amendment.

39 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I love how you blindly trust the Trump DOJ’s accusations in a press release. It doesn’t surprise me at all to watch Democrats unite behind Trump to imprison their political enemy. The indictment doesn’t allege he hacked. Manning had access. It alleges he tried to help her hide it

89 people are talking about this

Prominent documentarian Alex Gibney jumped in the fray as well.

Alex Gibney

@alexgibneyfilm

Not accurate. The charge is “conspire…to knowingly access a computer…without authorization…” 15 (A) in the following document: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/press-release/file/1153481/download 

See Alex Gibney’s other Tweets

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

Manning had access. The indictment says that. It claims Assange’s efforts were designed to help her cover her tracks and, it seems clear,it did not work. It also alleges that he encouraged her to get more: something journalists do constantly with sources.

The seven-year itch: Assange’s awkward stay in the embassy

The WikiLeaks founder’s visit became uncomfortable for both him and his hosts

Julian Assange in a police van in London after his arrest.
 Julian Assange in a police van in London after his arrest. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

When Julian Assange, disguised as a motorcycle courier, first walked up the steps of Ecuador’s small embassy behind Harrods in central London and asked for asylum, few people – including, surely, Assange himself – could have imagined it would be almost seven years before he next exited the front door.

It was mid-June 2012, and as Britain expectantly awaited the opening of the Olympics just over a month later, the WikiLeaks publisher had exhausted every legal avenue in his attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden, where two women had made allegations of rape and sexual assault during a visit by Assange to Stockholm in 2010.

 Julian Assange removed from Ecuadorian embassy in London – video

Assange, who had been briefly imprisoned and then on bail for more than a year, argued that Swedish prosecutors should interview him in London. But as well as resisting extradition to Sweden, he also feared being handed over to the US for potential prosecution over the so-called Cablegate documents (published in the Guardian and elsewhere) and other releases. The WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning was already in custody on espionage charges (she would be sentenced to 35 years in prison, later commuted by President Obama. Manning was reimprisoned last month).

Q&A

Why was Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy?

Show

Ecuador offered Assange almost his last option to avoid extradition, his last appeal having failed at the supreme court. The country’s then president, the leftwinger Rafael Correa, was sympathetic and Assange was granted asylumtwo months later.

It was never a very comfortable arrangement at the poky embassy, however. An office was repurposed as a bedroom and workspace, but he was forced, initially at least, to sleep on a mattress on the floor, sharing a bathroom and with access only to a tiny basic kitchen.

Chelsea Manning has recently been reimprisoned on espionage charges.
Pinterest
 Chelsea Manning has recently been reimprisoned on espionage charges. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

With the Swedes determined to extradite him, however, and a US grand jury hearing into WikiLeaks already under way, the Australian resolved to stay put. High-profile visitors came and went – Vivienne Westwood, Lady Gaga and the footballer Eric Cantona among them – and a small group of supporters maintained a periodic vigil outside. But still Assange remained.

Much has happened in the time he has been inside the embassy. WikiLeaks has continued to publish, exposing details of US tactics in trade negotiations, of the country’s surveillance of other governments, and of CIA hacking methods, among other revelations. A WikiLeaks staff member accompanied the whistleblower Edward Snowden to Moscow after he leaked classified NSA documents about US surveillance programmes to newspapers including the Guardian.

Assange has been the subject of a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which flopped, and a documentary, which premiered at Cannes. He even acquired a cat.

More significantly for the Australian’s legal position, after years of torturous wrangling, his Swedish problem appeared to go away, thanks simply to the passage of time. An investigation into one of the Swedish women’s accusations, of sexual assault, was discontinued in 2015 after the statute of limitations expired, and in 2017, Sweden’s chief prosecutor said she was dropping her investigation into the outstanding allegation of rape after concluding there was no practical way of continuing. She gave herself the option of reopening the case if he later “made himself available”.

But even the apparent resolution of that seven-year legal standoff did not persuade Assange to leave the embassy, despite reports that the Obama administration had concluded it would not be able to prosecute him without pursuing the newspapers that had published WikiLeaks releases, including the New York Times and potentially the Guardian.

And, now that he has been removed from the embassy, the outstanding allegation of rape could be raised again if prosecutors decide to reopen the case. Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents his unnamed accuser, on Thursday told the Associated Press that “we are going to do everything” to have the case reopened “so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted for rape”.

Assange’s Ecuadorian stay may have spanned two UK general elections (and two major referendums), but successive British governments have remained resolute, insisting that he would be subject to arrest if he left for alleged breaches of his bail conditions when he first sought asylum.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in a scene from the biopic The Fifth Estate.
Pinterest
 Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in a scene from the biopic The Fifth Estate. Photograph: Frank Connor/AP

A finding by a UN panel in 2016 that Assange’s continued confinement in the embassy amounted to “arbitrary detention” was dismissed by the UK Foreign Office, which maintained that his presence there was voluntary.

Two significant things changed, however – both of them presidential elections.

Donald Trump was initially a great fan of Assange, praising WikiLeaks repeatedly during the 2016 presidential campaign after emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and his rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign were published by the website. But other US Republicans have remained hostile, and following Trump’s election to the presidency, his administration has vowed to attempt to prosecute Assange.

In February 2017 the then attorney general Jeff Sessions said arresting Assange was priority, while a mistake in a document filed last Novembersuggested criminal charges had been secretly filed against him. Trump and Sessions’s successor, William Barr, now have the yet-to-be-published report by special counsel Robert Mueller into Trump’s links to Russia, including allegations that the DNC releases published by WikiLeaks were obtained by Russian hackers.

But aside from events in the US, Assange has also had an increasing Ecuadorian problem. WikiLeaks’s DNC publications in 2016 prompted Ecuador’s discomfort at its sometimes troublesome houseguest to flare into irritation, and it temporarily cut off the Australian’s internet access saying he was using it to interfere in the US election.

Julian Assange speaks to reporters and supporters on a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in May 2017.
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 Julian Assange speaks to reporters and supporters on a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, London, May 2017. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images

The relationship between Assange and his hosts deteriorated further after Lenín Moreno was elected to the Ecuadorian presidency in 2017. Moreno had described Assange as a “stone in the shoe”, but said before his election that he could remain in the embassy if he agreed to abide by certain conditions.

In January 2018 it emerged that the country had made Assange an Ecuadorian citizen in a bid to resolve the impasse (its request to have him recognised as a diplomat was dismissed by the UK).

But the Ecuador-Assange relationship remained strained, and last year the country cut off his internet access again, saying he had breached an agreement not to interfere with other states. Assange had tweeted in support of the Catalan independence movement, causing a rift between Quito and Madrid, and challenged the UK’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Moreno later ordered the removal of an additional multimillion-pound security operation set up by his predecessor to protect Assange. In July last year the president said that Assange would ultimately have to leave the embassy, and by October the Australian was suing his hosts, saying their conditions for his stay violated his “fundamental rights and freedoms”. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks held a press conference to say it had uncovered a surveillance operation against him in the embassy, leading to private legal and medical information being offered for sale in what it said was an extortion attempt.

On Thursday morning, finally, Ecuador’s patience had “reached its limit”, Moreno said in a statement justifying his decision to revoke Assange’s asylum status. He is now, once again, in British custody.

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WikiLeaks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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WikiLeaks
1Graphic of hourglass, coloured in blue and grey; a circular map of the eastern hemisphere of the world drips from the top to bottom chamber of the hourglass.

The logo of WikiLeaks, an hourglass with a globe leaking from top to bottom

show

Screenshot
Type of site
Document archive and disclosure
Available in English, but the source documents are in their original language
Owner Sunshine Press
Created by Julian Assange
Website WikiLeaks.org[1]
Alexa rank Negative increase 25,736 (October 2018)[2]
Commercial No[3]
Registration None
Launched 4 October 2006; 12 years ago[4]
Current status Online

WikiLeaks (/ˈwɪkilks/) is an international non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks,[5] and classified media provided by anonymous sources.[6] Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press,[7] claims a database of 10 million documents in 10 years since its launch.[8] Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director.[9] Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief.[10][11]

The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya.[12] In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the “Iraq War Logs“. The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in “significant” attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published.[13][14] In 2010, WikiLeaks also released the US State Department diplomatic “cables”, classified cables that had been sent to the US State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret filesrelating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[15]

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton‘s campaign manager, John Podesta.[16] These releases caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign, and have been attributed as a potential contributing factor to her loss.[17] The U.S. intelligence community expressed “high confidence” that the leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks, while WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state.[18] During the campaign, WikiLeaks promoted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[19][20][21] In private conversations from November 2015 that were later leaked, Julian Assange expressed a preference for a GOP victory in the 2016 election, explaining that “Dems+Media+liberals woudl [sic] then form a block to reign [sic] in their worst qualities. With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities, dems+media+neoliberals will be mute.”[22] In private correspondence with the Trump campaign on election day (8 November 2016), WikiLeaks encouraged the Trump campaign to contest the election results in case they lost.[23]

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism for its absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia, and for criticising the Panama Papers‘ exposé of businesses and individuals with offshore bank accounts.[24][25] WikiLeaks has also been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts.[26][27][28][29]

History

Staff, name and founding

Julian Assange was one of the early members of the WikiLeaks staff and is credited as the website’s founder.

The wikileaks.org domain name was registered on 4 October 2006.[4] The website was established and published its first document in December 2006.[30][31] WikiLeaks is usually represented in public by Julian Assange, who has been described as “the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier, and all the rest”.[32][33] Sarah Harrison, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Assange who are currently living.[34] Harrison is also a member of Sunshine Press Productions along with Assange and Ingi Ragnar Ingason.[35][36] Gavin MacFadyen was acknowledged by Assange as a ″beloved director of WikiLeaks″ shortly after his death in 2016.[37]

WikiLeaks was originally established with a “wiki” communal publication method, which was terminated by May 2010.[38] Original volunteers and founders were once described as a mixture of Asian dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.[39] As of June 2009, the website had more than 1,200 registered volunteers.[39][40][41]

Despite some popular confusion, related to the fact both sites use the “wiki” name and website design template, WikiLeaks and Wikipedia are not affiliated.[42] Wikia, a for-profit corporation affiliated loosely with the Wikimedia Foundation, purchased several WikiLeaks-related domain names as a “protective brand measure” in 2007.[43]

On 26 September 2018, it was announced that Julian Assange had appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks while the organisation’s statement said Assange was remaining as its publisher. His access to the internet had been ended by his then hosts in the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2019 as he had broken a commitment “not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.[11][44][45]

Purpose

According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is “to bring important news and information to the public … One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” Another of the organisation’s goals is to ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not prosecuted for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online “drop box” is described by the WikiLeaks website as “an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to [WikiLeaks] journalists”.[46]

Some describe WikiLeaks as a media or journalistic organisation. For example, in a 2013 resolution, the International Federation of Journalists, a trade union of journalists, called WikiLeaks a “new breed of media organisation” that “offers important opportunities for media organisations”.[47] Harvard professor Yochai Benkler praised WikiLeaks as a new form of journalistic enterprise,[48] testifying at the court-martial of Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) that “WikiLeaks did serve a particular journalistic function,” and that the “range of the journalist’s privilege” is “a hard line to draw”.[49] Others do not consider WikiLeaks to be journalistic in nature. Media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wrote in 2011: “WikiLeaks might grow into a journalist endeavor. But it’s not there yet.”[50] Bill Keller of The New York Times considers WikiLeaks to be a “complicated source” rather than a journalistic partner.[50] Prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams writes that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic group, but instead “an organization of political activists; … a source for journalists; and … a conduit of leaked information to the press and the public”.[51] Noting Assange’s statements that he and his colleagues read only a small fraction of information before deciding to publish it, Abrams writes: “No journalistic entity I have ever heard of—none—simply releases to the world an elephantine amount of material it has not read.”[51]

Administration

According to a January 2010 interview, the WikiLeaks team then consisted of five people working full-time and about 800 people who worked occasionally, none of whom were compensated.[52] WikiLeaks does not have any official headquarters. In November 2010 the WikiLeaks-endorsed[53] news and activism site WikiLeaks Central was initiated and was administrated by editor Heather Marsh who oversaw over 70 writers and volunteers.[54] She resigned on 8 March 2012.[55]

WikiLeaks describes itself as “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking”.[56] The website is available on multiple servers, different domain names and has an official Darkweb version (available on the Tor Network) as a result of a number of denial-of-service attacks and its elimination from different Domain Name System (DNS) providers.[57][58]

Until August 2010, WikiLeaks was hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing “highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services”. PRQ is said to have “almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs“.[59] Currently, WikiLeaks is hosted mainly by the Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof in the Pionen facility, a former nuclear bunker in Sweden.[60][61] Other servers are spread around the world with the main server located in Sweden.[62] Julian Assange has said that the servers are located in Sweden and the other countries “specifically because those nations offer legal protection to the disclosures made on the site”. He talks about the Swedish constitution, which gives the information–providers total legal protection.[62] It is forbidden, according to Swedish law, for any administrative authority to make inquiries about the sources of any type of newspaper.[63] These laws, and the hosting by PRQ, make it difficult for any authority to eliminate WikiLeaks; they place an onus of proof upon any complainant whose suit would circumscribe WikiLeaks’ liberty, e.g. its rights to exercise free speech online. Furthermore, “WikiLeaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information.” Such arrangements have been called “bulletproof hosting“.[59][64]

After the site became the target of a denial-of-service attack on its old servers, WikiLeaks moved its website to Amazon‘s servers.[65] Later, however, the website was “ousted” from the Amazon servers.[65] In a public statement, Amazon said that WikiLeaks was not following its terms of service. The company further explained: “There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that ‘you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content … that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.’ It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content.”[66] WikiLeaks was then moved to servers at OVH, a private web-hosting service in France.[67] After criticism from the French government, the company sought two court rulings about the legality of hosting WikiLeaks. While the court in Lille immediately refused to force OVH to deactivate the WikiLeaks website, the court in Paris stated it would need more time to examine the complex technical issue.[68][69]

WikiLeaks used EveryDNS, but was dropped by the company after distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against WikiLeaks hurt the quality of service for its other customers. Supporters of WikiLeaks waged verbal and DDoS attacks on EveryDNS. Because of a typographical error in blogs mistaking EveryDNS for competitor EasyDNS, the sizeable Internet backlash hit EasyDNS. Despite that, EasyDNS (upon request of a customer who was setting up new WikiLeaks hosting) began providing WikiLeaks with DNS service on “two ‘battle hardened’ servers” to protect the quality of service for its other customers.[70]

WikiLeaks restructured its process for contributions after its first document leaks did not gain much attention. Assange stated this was part of an attempt to take the voluntary effort typically seen in “Wiki” projects, and “redirect it to … material that has real potential for change”.[71] Some sympathisers were unhappy[citation needed] when WikiLeaks ended a community-based wiki format in favour of a more centralised organisation. The “about” page originally read:[72]

To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like Wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyse their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.

However, WikiLeaks established an editorial policy that accepted only documents that were “of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest” (and excluded “material that is already publicly available”).[73] This coincided with early criticism that having no editorial policy would drive out good material with spam and promote “automated or indiscriminate publication of confidential records”.[74] The original FAQ is no longer in effect, and no one can post or edit documents on WikiLeaks. Now, submissions to WikiLeaks are reviewed by anonymous WikiLeaks reviewers, and documents that do not meet the editorial criteria are rejected. By 2008, the revised FAQ stated: “Anybody can post comments to it. [ … ] Users can publicly discuss documents and analyse their credibility and veracity.”[75] After the 2010 reorganisation, posting new comments on leaks was no longer possible.[38]

Legal status

The legal status of WikiLeaks is complex. Assange considers WikiLeaks a protection intermediary. Rather than leaking directly to the press, and fearing exposure and retribution, whistleblowers can leak to WikiLeaks, which then leaks to the press for them.[76] Its servers are located throughout Europe and are accessible from any uncensored web connection. The group located its headquarters in Sweden because it has one of the world’s strongest laws to protect confidential source-journalist relationships.[77][78] WikiLeaks has stated it does not solicit any information.[77] However, Assange used his speech during the Hack in the Box conference in Malaysia to ask the crowd of hackers and security researchers to help find documents on its “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009” list.[79]

Potential criminal prosecution

The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began.[80][81] Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the investigation was “not saber-rattling”, but was “an active, ongoing criminal investigation”.[81] The Washington Post reported that the department was considering charges under the Espionage Act of 1917, an action which former prosecutors characterised as “difficult” because of First Amendment protections for the press.[80][82] Several Supreme Court cases (e.g. Bartnicki v. Vopper) have established previously that the American Constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves violate any laws in acquiring it.[83] Federal prosecutors have also considered prosecuting Assange for trafficking in stolen government property, but since the diplomatic cables are intellectual rather than physical property, that method is also difficult.[84] Any prosecution of Assange would require extraditing him to the United States, a procedure made more complicated and potentially delayed by any preceding extradition to Sweden.[85] One of Assange’s lawyers, however, says they are fighting extradition to Sweden because it might result in his extradition to the United States.[86] Assange’s attorney, Mark Stephens, has “heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria [Virginia]” meeting to consider criminal charges for the WikiLeaks case.[87]

In Australia, the government and the Australian Federal Police have not stated what Australian laws may have been violated by WikiLeaks, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stated that the foundation of WikiLeaks and the stealing of classified documents from the United States administration is illegal in foreign countries.[88] Gillard later clarified her statement as referring to “the original theft of the material by a junior U.S. serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange.”[89] Spencer Zifcak, president of Liberty Victoria, an Australian civil liberties group, notes that without a charge or a trial completed, it is inappropriate to state that WikiLeaks is guilty of illegal activities.[90]

On threats by various governments towards Julian Assange, legal expert Ben Saul argues that Assange is the target of a global smear campaign to demonise him as a criminal or as a terrorist, without any legal basis.[91][92] The US Center for Constitutional Rights has issued a statement emphasising its alarm at the “multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities” in his arrest.[93]

Use of leaked documents in court

In a UK Supreme Court judgement given on 8 February 2018, the court unanimously decided that a document leaked through WikiLeaks “could be admitted into evidence”.[94][95]

The appeal that led to this ruling centred on a US government cable provided by Chelsea Manning and published by WikiLeaks. The Chagos islanders argued that the document showed the UK’s motive for setting up a marine park on their territory was improper, but it had been excluded from proceedings earlier in the case.[96]

In an “important test of Vienna Convention in relation to Wikileaks documents” The Court ruled that “the cable should have been admitted into evidence before the Administrative Court”, addressing the main issue. During this decision, the leaked document was said to not meet the criteria necessary to help the Chagos Refugee Group recover their homeland.[95][96]

Financing

WikiLeaks is a self-described not-for-profit organisation, funded largely by volunteers, and it is dependent on public donations. Its main financing methods include conventional bank transfers and online payment systems. According to Assange, WikiLeaks’ lawyers often work pro bono. Assange has said that in some cases legal aid has been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association.[52] Assange said in 2010 that WikiLeaks’ only revenue consists of donations, but it has considered other options including auctioning early access to documents.[52] During September 2011, WikiLeaks began auctioning items on eBay to raise funds, and Assange told an audience at Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas that the organisation might not be able to survive.[citation needed]

On 24 December 2009, WikiLeaks announced that it was experiencing a shortage of funds[citation needed] and suspended all access to its website except for a form to submit new material.[97] Material that was previously published was no longer available, although some could still be accessed on unofficial mirror websites.[98] WikiLeaks stated on its website that it would resume full operation once the operational costs were paid.[97] WikiLeaks saw this as a kind of work stoppage “to ensure that everyone who is involved stops normal work and actually spends time raising revenue”.[52] While the organisation initially planned for funds to be secured by 6 January 2010,[citation needed] it was not until 3 February 2010 that WikiLeaks announced that its minimum fundraising goal had been achieved.[citation needed]

The Wau Holland Foundation helps to process donations to WikiLeaks. In July 2010, the Foundation stated that WikiLeaks was not receiving any money for personnel costs, only for hardware, travelling and bandwidth.[99] An article in TechEye stated:

As a charity accountable under German law, donations for WikiLeaks can be made to the foundation. Funds are held in escrow and are given to WikiLeaks after the whistleblower website files an application containing a statement with proof of payment. The foundation does not pay any sort of salary nor give any renumeration [sic] to WikiLeaks’ personnel, corroborating the statement of the site’s former German representative Daniel Schmitt [real name Daniel Domscheit-Berg][100] on national television that all personnel works voluntarily, even its speakers.[99]

However, in December 2010 the Wau Holland Foundation stated that 4 permanent employees, including Julian Assange, had begun to receive salaries.[101]

In 2010, Assange said the organisation was registered as a library in Australia, a foundation in France, and a newspaper in Sweden, and that it also used two United States-based non-profit 501c3 organisations for funding purposes.[102]

On 22 January 2010, the Internet payment intermediary PayPal suspended WikiLeaks’ donation account and froze its assets. WikiLeaks said that this had happened before, and was done for “no obvious reason”.[citation needed] The account was restored on 25 January 2010.[citation needed] On 18 May 2010, WikiLeaks announced that its website and archive were operational again.[citation needed]

In June 2010, WikiLeaks was a finalist for a grant of more than half a million dollars from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,[31] but did not make the final approval.[103] WikiLeaks commented via Twitter: “WikiLeaks was highest rated project in the Knight challenge, strongly recommended to the board but gets no funding. Go figure.”[104] WikiLeaks said that the Knight foundation announced the award to “’12 Grantees who will impact future of news’ – but not WikiLeaks” and questioned whether Knight foundation was “really looking for impact”.[103] A spokesman of the Knight Foundation disputed parts of WikiLeaks’ statement, saying “WikiLeaks was not recommended by Knight staff to the board.”[104] However, he declined to say whether WikiLeaks was the project rated highest by the Knight advisory panel, which consists of non-staffers, among them journalist Jennifer 8. Lee, who has done PR work for WikiLeaks with the press and on social networking websites.[104]

During 2010, WikiLeaks received €635,772.73 in PayPal donations, less €30,000 in PayPal fees, and €695,925.46 in bank transfers. €500,988.89 of the sum was received in the month of December, primarily as bank transfers as PayPal suspended payments 4 December. €298,057.38 of the remainder was received in April.[105]

The Wau Holland Foundation, one of the WikiLeaks’ main funding channels, stated that they received more than €900,000 in public donations between October 2009 and December 2010, of which €370,000 has been passed on to WikiLeaks. Hendrik Fulda, vice-president of the Wau Holland Foundation, mentioned that the Foundation had been receiving twice as many donations through PayPal as through normal banks, before PayPal’s decision to suspend WikiLeaks’ account. He also noted that every new WikiLeaks publication brought “a wave of support”, and that donations were strongest in the weeks after WikiLeaks started publishing leaked diplomatic cables.[106][107]

The Icelandic judiciary decided that Valitor (a company related to Visa and MasterCard) was violating the law when it prevented donation to the site by credit card. A justice ruled that the donations will be allowed to return to the site after 14 days or they would be fined in the amount of US$6,000 a day.[108]

Leaks

2006–08

WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.[31] In August 2007, the UK newspaper The Guardian published a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi based on information provided via WikiLeaks.[109] In November 2007, a March 2003 copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta detailing the protocol of the US Army at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was released.[110][111] The document revealed that some prisoners were off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the US military had in the past denied repeatedly.[112] In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islandsbranch of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which resulted in the bank suing WikiLeaks and obtaining an injunction which temporarily suspended the operation of wikileaks.org.[113] The California judge had the service provider of WikiLeaks block the site’s domain (wikileaks.org) on 18 February 2008, although the bank only wanted the documents to be removed but WikiLeaks had failed to name a contact. The website was instantly mirrored by supporters, and later that month the judge overturned his previous decision citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction.[114][115] In March 2008, WikiLeaks published what they referred to as “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology“, and three days later received letters threatening to sue them for breach of copyright.[116] In September 2008, during the 2008 United States presidential election campaigns, the contents of a Yahoo account belonging to Sarah Palin (the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain) were posted on WikiLeaks after being hacked into by members of a group known as Anonymous.[117][118] In November 2008, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks, after appearing briefly on a weblog.[119] A year later, in October 2009, another list of BNP members was leaked.[120]

2009

In January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the 2008 Peru oil scandal.[121] During February, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports[122] followed in March by a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign[123][124] and a set of documents belonging to Barclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian.[125] In July, it released a report relating to a serious nuclear accident that had occurred at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009.[126] Later media reports have suggested that the accident was related to the Stuxnet computer worm.[127][128] In September, internal documents from Kaupthing Bank were leaked, from shortly before the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector, which caused the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off.[129] In October, Joint Services Protocol 440, a British document advising the security services on how to avoid documents being leaked, was published by WikiLeaks.[130] Later that month, it announced that a super-injunction was being used by the commodities company Trafigura to stop The Guardian (London) from reporting on a leaked internal document regarding a toxic dumping incident in Côte d’Ivoire.[131][132] In November, it hosted copies of e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, although they were not leaked originally to WikiLeaks.[133][134] It also released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the 11 September attacks.[135][136][137] During 2008 and 2009, WikiLeaks published the alleged lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for Australia, Denmark and Thailand. These were originally created to prevent access to child pornography and terrorism, but the leaks revealed that other sites featuring unrelated subjects were also listed.[138][139][140]

2010

Gun camera footage of the airstrike of 12 July 2007 in Baghdad, showing the slaying of Namir Noor-Eldeen and a dozen other civilians by a US helicopter.

In mid-February 2010, WikiLeaks received a leaked diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Reykjavik relating to the Icesave scandal, which they published on 18 February.[141] The cable, known as Reykjavik 13, was the first of the classified documents WikiLeaks published among those allegedly provided to them by United States Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley). In March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page US Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report written in March 2008 discussing the leaking of material by WikiLeaks and how it could be deterred.[142][143][144] In April, a classified video of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike was released, showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras.[145] After the mistaken killing, the video shows US forces firing on a family van that stopped to pick up the bodies.[146] In the week after the release, “wikileaks” was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide during the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.[147] In June 2010, Manning was arrested after alleged chat logs were given to United States authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom she had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo she had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and about 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[148]

In July, WikiLeaks released 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009 to the publications The GuardianThe New York Times and Der Spiegel. The documents detail individual incidents including “friendly fire” and civilian casualties.[149] About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released by WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. WikiLeaks asked the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help remove names from the documents to reduce the potential harm caused by their release, but did not receive assistance.[150] After the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany, on 24 July 2010, a local resident published internal documents of the city administration regarding the planning of Love Parade. The city government reacted by securing a court order on 16 August forcing the removal of the documents from the website on which it was hosted.[151] On 20 August 2010, WikiLeaks released a publication entitled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010.[152][153] After the leak of information concerning the Afghan War, in October 2010, around 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War were released. The BBC quoted the US Department of Defense referring to the Iraq War Logs as “the largest leak of classified documents in its history”. Media coverage of the leaked documents emphasised claims that the US government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.[154]

On 29 July 2010 WikiLeaks added an “Insurance file” to the Afghan War Diary page. The file is AES encrypted.[155][citation needed] There has been speculation that it was intended to serve as insurance in case the WikiLeaks website or its spokesman Julian Assange are incapacitated, upon which the passphrase could be published.[156][157] After the first few days’ release of the US diplomatic cables starting 28 November 2010, the US television broadcasting company CBS predicted that “If anything happens to Assange or the website, a key will go out to unlock the files. There would then be no way to stop the information from spreading like wildfire because so many people already have copies.”[158] CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh stated, “What most folks are speculating is that the insurance file contains unreleased information that would be especially embarrassing to the US government if it were released.”[158]

Diplomatic cables release

On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from Spain (El País), France (Le Monde), Germany (Der Spiegel), the United Kingdom (The Guardian), and the United States (The New York Times) started simultaneously to publish the first 220 of 251,287 leaked documents labelled confidential – but not top-secret – and dated from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010.[159][160] WikiLeaks planned to release the entirety of the cables in phases over several months.[needs update][160]

WikiLeaks supporters protest in front of the British Embassy in Madrid, 11 December 2010

The contents of the diplomatic cables include numerous unguarded comments and revelations regarding: critiques and praises about the host countries of various United States embassies; political manoeuvring regarding climate change; discussion and resolutions towards ending ongoing tension in the Middle East; efforts and resistance towards nuclear disarmament; actions in the War on Terror; assessments of other threats around the world; dealings between various countries; United States intelligence and counterintelligence efforts; and other diplomatic actions. Reactions to the United States diplomatic cables leak varied. On 14 December 2010 the United States Department of Justice issued a subpoena directing Twitter to provide information for accounts registered to or associated with WikiLeaks.[161] Twitter decided to notify its users.[162] The overthrow of the presidency in Tunisia of 2011 has been attributed partly to reaction against the corruption revealed by leaked cables.[163][164][165]

On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks’ huge archive of unredacted US State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it.[166][167] Guardian newspaper editor David Leigh had just published the decryption key in his book, so the files were now publicly available to anyone. Rather than let malicious actors publish selected data, WikiLeaks decided to publish the entire, unredacted archive in searchable form on its website.[citation needed]

2011–2015

In late April 2011, files related to the Guantanamo prison were released.[168] In December 2011, WikiLeaks started to release the Spy Files.[169] On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor.[170] On 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files (emails from Syrian political figures 2006–2012).[171] On 25 October 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Detainee Policies, files covering the rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody.[172] In April 2013 WikiLeaks published more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s, including the Kissinger cables.[173]

Placard in front of Embassy of Ecuador, London, 22 August 2012

In 2013, the organisation assisted Edward Snowden (who is responsible for the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures) in leaving Hong Kong. Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks activist, accompanied Snowden on the flight. Scott Shane of The New York Times stated that the WikiLeaks involvement “shows that despite its shoestring staff, limited fund-raising from a boycott by major financial firms, and defections prompted by Mr. Assange’s personal troubles and abrasive style, it remains a force to be reckoned with on the global stage.”[174]

In September 2013, WikiLeaks published “Spy Files 3“, 250 documents from more than 90 surveillance companies.[175] On 13 November 2013, a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership‘s Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks.[176][177] On 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks published the draft on the Trans-Pacific Partnership‘s Transparency for Healthcare Annex, along with each country’s negotiating position.[178] On 19 June 2015 WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world.[179]

On 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks published documents under the name of “Espionnage Élysée”, which showed that NSA spied on the French government, including but not limited to then President Francois Hollande and his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.[180] On 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks published more NSA top secrets intercepts regarding France, detailing an economic espionage against French companies and associations.[181]In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that the NSA had tapped the telephones of many German federal ministries, including that of the Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years since the 1990s.[182] On 4 July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that 29 Brazilian government numbers were selected for secret espionage by the NSA. Among the targets there were also the President Dilma Rousseff, many assistants and advisors, her presidential jet and other key figures in the Brazilian government.[183]

WikiLeaks supporters protest in front of the Ecuadorian embassy in London

On 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks published a top secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013 which illustrated the position of negotiating countries on “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs).[184] On 31 July 2015, WikiLeaks published secret intercepts and the related target list showing that the NSA spied on Japanese government, including the Cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui. The documents revealed that United States espionage against Japan concerned broad sections of communications about the US-Japan diplomatic relationship and Japan’s position on climate change issues, other than an extensive monitoring of the Japanese economy.[185] On 21 October 2015 WikiLeaks published some of John O. Brennan‘s emails, including a draft security clearance application which contained personal information.[186]

2016

On 4 July 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a trove of emails sent or received by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and released under the Freedom of Information Act.[187] The link contained 1258 emails sent from Clinton’s personal mail server which were selected in terms of their relevance to the Iraq War and were apparently timed to precede the release of the UK government’s Iraq Inquiry report.[188]

On 19 July 2016, in response to the Turkish government’s purges that followed the coup attempt,[189] WikiLeaks released 294,548 emails from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).[190] According to WikiLeaks, the material, which they claim to be the first batch from the “AKP Emails”, was obtained a week before the attempted coup in the country and “is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state”.[191] After WikiLeaks announced that they would release the emails, the organisation stayed for over 24 hours under a “sustained attack”.[citation needed] Following the leak, the Turkish government ordered the site to be blocked nationwide.[192][193][194][195] WikiLeaks had also tweeted a link to a database which contained sensitive information, such as the Turkish Identification Number, of approximately 50 million Turkish citizens, including nearly every female voter in Turkey.[196] This information first appeared online in April of the same year and was not in the files uploaded by WikiLeaks,[197] but in files archived by Michael Best, who then removed it when the personal data was discovered.[198][199][200]

On 22 July 2016, WikiLeaks released approximately 20,000 emails and 8,000 files sent from or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) personnel.[201] Some of the emails contained personal information of donors, including home addresses and Social Security numbers.[202] Other emails appeared to criticise Bernie Sanders and showed apparent favouritism towards Clinton.[203][204]

On 7 October 2016, WikiLeaks started releasing series of emails and documents sent from or received by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, including Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to banks.[205][206][207][208] According to a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, “By dribbling these out every day WikiLeaks is proving they are nothing but a propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Vladimir Putin‘s dirty work to help elect Donald Trump.”[209] The New York Times reported that when asked, president Vladimir Putin replied that Russia was being falsely accused. “The hysteria is merely caused by the fact that somebody needs to divert the attention of the American people from the essence of what was exposed by the hackers.”[210][211]

On 17 October 2016 WikiLeaks announced that a “state party” had severed the Internet connection of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. WikiLeaks blamed United States Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring the Ecuadorian government in severing Assange’s Internet, an accusation which the United States State Department denied.[212] The Ecuadorian government stated that it had “temporarily” severed Assange’s Internet connection because of WikiLeaks’ release of documents “impacting on the U.S. election campaign,” although it also stated that this was not meant to prevent WikiLeaks from operating.[213]

2017

On 16 February 2017, WikiLeaks released a purported report on CIA espionage orders (marked as NOFORN) for the 2012 French presidential election.[214][215][216] The order called for details of party funding, internal rivalries and future attitudes toward the United States. The Associated Press noted that “the orders seemed to represent standard intelligence-gathering.”[217]

On 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks started publishing content code-named “Vault 7“. In a series of tweets and a Facebook Live + Periscope press conference, WikiLeaks announced these documents contain CIA internal documentation of their “massive arsenal” of hacking tools including malware, viruses trojects, weaponised “zero day” exploits and remote control systems to name a few.[218][219][220] Leaked documents, dated from 2013 to 2016, detail the capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare, such as the ability to compromise carssmart TVs,[220] web browsers (including Google ChromeMicrosoft EdgeMozilla Firefox, and Opera Software ASA),[221][222][223] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple‘s iOS and Google‘s Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft WindowsmacOS, and Linux.[224]

On 5 May 2017, WikiLeaks posted links to e-mails purported to be from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in the French 2017 presidential election.[225] The documents were first relayed on the 4chan forum and by pro-Trump Twitter accounts, and then by WikiLeaks, who indicated they did not author the leaks.[225][226] Experts have asserted that the WikiLeaks Twitter account played a key role in publicising the leaks through the hashtag #MacronLeaks just some three-and-a-half hours after the first tweet with hashtag appeared.[227][228]The campaign stated that false documents were mixed in with real ones, and that “the ambition of the authors of this leak is obviously to harm the movement En Marche! in the final hours before the second round of the French presidential election”.[225][229] France’s Electoral Commission described the action as a “massive and coordinated piracy action”.[229][225] France’s Electoral Commission urged journalists not to report on the contents of the leaks, but to heed “the sense of responsibility they must demonstrate, as at stake are the free expression of voters and the sincerity of the election”.[229] Cybersecurity experts initially believed that groups linked to Russia were involved in this attack. The Kremlin denied any involvement.[230][231][232] The head of the French cyber-security agency, ANSSI, later said that they did not have evidence connecting the hack with Russia, saying that the attack was so simple, that “we can imagine that it was a person who did this alone. They could be in any country.”[233]

In September 2017, WikiLeaks released “Spy Files Russia,” revealing “how a St. Petersburg-based technology company called Peter-Service helped state entities gather detailed data on Russian cellphone users, part of a national system of online surveillance called System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM).”[234]

Claims of upcoming leaks

In January 2011, Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss banker, passed data containing account details of 2,000 prominent people to Assange, who stated that the information will be vetted before being made publicly available at a later date.[235] In May 2010, WikiLeaks said it had video footage of a massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by the US military which they were preparing to release.[236][237] In an interview with Chris Anderson on 19 July 2010, Assange showed a document WikiLeaks had on an Albanian oil-well blowout, and said they also had material from inside British Petroleum,[238] and that they were “getting enormous quantity of whistle-blower disclosures of a very high calibre” but added that they had not been able to verify and release the material because they did not have enough volunteer journalists.[239] In December 2010, Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC Television that WikiLeaks had information it considered to be a “thermo-nuclear device” which it would release if the organisation needs to defend itself against the authorities.[240]

In a 2009 interview by the magazine Computerworld, Assange claimed to be in possession of “5GB from Bank of America“. In 2010, he told Forbes magazine that WikiLeaks was planning another “megaleak” early in 2011, from the private sector, involving “a big U.S. bank” and revealing an “ecosystem of corruption”. Bank of America’s stock price decreased by 3%, apparently as a result of this announcement.[241][242] Assange commented on the possible effect of the release that “it could take down a bank or two”.[243][244] In August 2011, Reuters announced that Daniel Domscheit-Berg had destroyed approximately 5GB of data cache from Bank of America, that Assange had under his control.[245]

In October 2010, Assange told a major Moscow newspaper that “The Kremlin had better brace itself for a coming wave of WikiLeaks disclosures about Russia”.[246][247] Assange later clarified: “we have material on many businesses and governments, including in Russia. It’s not right to say there’s going to be a particular focus on Russia”.[248]

Authenticity

WikiLeaks has contended that it has never released a misattributed document and that documents are assessed before release. In response to concerns about the possibility of misleading or fraudulent leaks, WikiLeaks has stated that misleading leaks “are already well-placed in the mainstream media. WikiLeaks is of no additional assistance.”[249] The FAQ states that: “The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinise and discuss leaked documents.”[250]According to statements by Assange in 2010, submitted documents are vetted by a group of five reviewers, with expertise in different topics such as language or programming, who also investigate the background of the leaker if his or her identity is known.[251] In that group, Assange has the final decision about the assessment of a document.[251]

Columnist Eric Zorn wrote in 2016 that “it’s possible, even likely, that every stolen email WikiLeaks has posted has been authentic.”[252] (Writer Glenn Greenwald goes further, asserting that WikiLeaks has a “perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents.”[253]) However, cybersecurity experts agree that it is trivially easy for a person to fabricate an email or alter it, as by changing headers and metadata.[252] Some of the more recent releases, such as many of the emails contained in the Podesta emails, contain DKIM headers. This allows them to be verified as genuine to some degree of certainty.[254]

In July 2016, the Aspen Institute‘s Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan counterterrorism organisation, warned that hackers who stole authentic data might “salt the files they release with plausible forgeries.”[252] Russian intelligence agencies have frequently used disinformation tactics, “which means carefully faked emails might be included in the WikiLeaks dumps. After all, the best way to make false information believable is to mix it in with true information.”[255]

Promotion of conspiracy theories

Murder of Seth Rich

WikiLeaks has promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich.[256][257][258] Unfounded conspiracy theories, spread by some right-wing figures and media outlets, hold that Rich was the source of leaked emails and was killed for working with WikiLeaks.[259]WikiLeaks fuelled the conspiracy theories by offering a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the capture of Rich’s killer and hinting that Rich may have been the source of the leaked emails.[260] No evidence supports the claim that Rich was the source of the leaks.[20][261]

The Guardian wrote that WikiLeaks, along with individuals and groups on the hard right, had been involved in the “ruthless exploitation of [Rich’s] death for political purposes”.[262] The executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, an organization that advocates for open government, was critical of WikiLeaks’ fueling of conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich: “If they feel like they have a link to the staffer’s death, they should say it and be responsible about it. The insinuations, to me, are just disgusting.”[263]

Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton

WikiLeaks has popularized conspiracies about the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, such as tweeting an article which suggested Clinton campaign chairperson John Podesta engaged in satanic rituals (which was later revealed to be false),[19][264][265] implying that the Democratic Party had Seth Rich killed,[20] suggesting that Clinton wore earpieces to debates and interviews,[266] claiming that Hillary Clinton wanted to drone strike Assange,[267] promoting conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health,[21][268][269] and promoting a conspiracy theory from a Donald Trump–related Internet community tying the Clinton campaign to child kidnapper Laura Silsby.[270]

Criticism and controversies

Allegations of anti-Americanism

Short of simply disclosing information in the public interest, WikiLeaks has been accused of purposely targeting certain states and people, and presenting its disclosures in misleading and conspiratorial ways to harm those people.[264] Writing in 2012, Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating noted that “nearly all its major operations have targeted the U.S. government or American corporations.”[271] In a 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service” and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.[272]

Allegations of anti-Clinton and pro-Trump bias

Assange wrote on WikiLeaks in February 2016: “I have had years of experience in dealing with Hillary Clinton and have read thousands of her cables. Hillary lacks judgement and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars which spread terrorism. …  she certainly should not become president of the United States.”[273] In July 2017, during an interview by Amy Goodman, Julian Assange said that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is like choosing between cholera or gonorrhea. “Personally, I would prefer neither.”[274] WikiLeaks editor, Sarah Harrison, has stated that the site is not choosing which damaging publications to release, rather releasing information that is available to them.[275]

In an Election Day statement, Assange criticized both Clinton and Trump, saying that “The Democratic and Republican candidates have both expressed hostility towards whistleblowers.”[276] In conversations that were leaked in February 2018, WikiLeaks expressed a preference for a Republican victory in the 2016 election.[22]

Having released information that exposed the inner working of a broad range of organisations and politicians, WikiLeaks started by 2016 to focus almost exclusively on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.[277] In the 2016 US presidential election, WikiLeaks only exposed material damaging to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks even rejected the opportunity to publish unrelated leaks, because it dedicated all its resources to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. According to The New York Times, WikiLeaks timed one of its large leaks so that it would happen on the eve of the Democratic Convention.[278] The Washington Post noted that the leaks came at an important sensitive moment in the Clinton campaign, as she was preparing to announce her vice-presidential pick and unite the party behind her.[279] The Sunlight Foundation, an organisation that advocates for open government, said that such actions meant that WikiLeaks was no longer striving to be transparent but rather sought to achieve political goals: “It’s become something else. It’s not striving for objectivity. It’s more careless. When they publish information it appears to be in service of some specific goal, of retribution, at the expense of the individual.”[263]

WikiLeaks explained its actions in a 2017 statement to Foreign Policy: “WikiLeaks schedules publications to maximize readership and reader engagement. During distracting media events such as the Olympics or a high profile election, unrelated publications are sometimes delayed until the distraction passes but never are rejected for this reason.”[277] On 7 October 2016, an hour after the media had begun to dedicate wall-to-wall coverage of the revelation that Trump had bragged on video about sexually harassing women, WikiLeaks began to release emails hacked from the personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.[280][281] CNN notes that due to extensive coverage of the Trump tapes, the leaks were an “afterthought” in news coverage.[280] Podesta suggested that the emails were timed to deflect attention from the Trump tapes.[281]

In 2010, Donald Trump called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” and suggested that the “death penalty” should be a punishment for WikiLeaks’ releases of information.[282] Following the dump of e-mails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Donald Trump told voters, “I love WikiLeaks!”[283] Trump made many references to WikiLeaks during the course of the campaign; by one estimate, he referenced disclosures by WikiLeaks over 160 times in speeches during the last 30 days of the campaign.[284]

Correspondence between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr.

In November 2017, it was revealed that the WikiLeaks Twitter account corresponded with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential election.[23] The correspondence shows how WikiLeaks actively solicited the co-operation of Trump Jr., a campaign surrogate and advisor in the campaign of his father. WikiLeaks urged the Trump campaign to reject the results of the 2016 presidential election at a time when it looked as if the Trump campaign would lose.[23] WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to share a claim by Assange that Hillary Clinton had wanted to attack him with drones.[23] WikiLeaks also shared a link to a site that would help people to search through WikiLeaks documents.[23] Trump Jr. shared both. After the election, WikiLeaks also requested that the president-elect push Australia to appoint Assange as ambassador to the US. After The New York Times published a fragment of Donald Trump’s tax returns for one year, WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. for one or more of his father’s tax returns, explaining that it would be in his father’s best interest because it would “dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality” and not come “through the most biased source (e.g. NYT/MSNBC).”[23] WikiLeaks also asked Trump Jr. to leak his own e-mails to them days after The New York Times broke a story about e-mail correspondence between Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-affiliated lawyer; WikiLeaks said that it would be “beautifully confounding” for them to publish the e-mails and that it would deprive other news outlets from putting a negative spin on the correspondence.[23] Trump Jr. provided this correspondence to congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[23]

Allegations of Russian influence

In August 2016, after WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails, it was claimed that Russian intelligence had hacked the e-mails and leaked them to WikiLeaks. At the time, DNC officials made such claims, along with a number of cybersecurity experts and cybersecurity firms.[285][286] In October 2016, the US intelligence community announced that it was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations”.[18] The US intelligence agencies said that the hacks were consistent with the methods of Russian-directed efforts, and that people high up within the Kremlin were likely involved.[18] On 14 October 2016, CNN reported that “there is mounting evidence that the Russian government is supplying WikiLeaks with hacked emails pertaining to the U.S. presidential election.”[287] WikiLeaks has denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia.[287] President Putin has strongly denied any Russian involvement in the election.[210][211]

In September 2016, the German weekly magazine Focus reported that according to a confidential German government dossier, WikiLeaks had long since been infiltrated by Russian agents aiming to discredit NATO governments. The magazine added that French and British intelligence services had come to the same conclusion and said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev receive details about what WikiLeaks publishes before publication.[288] The Focus report followed a New York Times story that suggested that WikiLeaks may be a laundering machine for compromising material about Western countries gathered by Russian spies.[289]

On 10 December 2016, several news outlets, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Russia intelligence operatives provided materials to WikiLeaks in an effort to help Donald Trump’s election bid. The Washington Post article stated: “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”[290] The Guardian article reported, “individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others.”[291] WikiLeaks has frequently been criticised for its absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia.[24] The Guardian notes that journalists are killed frequently in Russia, and notes that Freedom House has ranked Russian press freedom as “not free … The main national news agenda is firmly controlled by the Kremlin. The government sets editorial policy at state-owned television stations, which dominate the media landscape and generate propagandistic content.[292]

In April 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted criticism of the Panama Papers, which had among other things revealed Russian businesses and individuals linked with offshore ties (Vladimir Putin’s associates had as much as $2 billion in offshore accounts).[293][277] The WikiLeaks Twitter account tweeted, “#PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID and [George] Soros”.[25] Putin would later go on to dismiss the Panama Papers by citing WikiLeaks: “WikiLeaks has showed us that official people and official organs of the U.S. are behind this.”[25] According to The New York Times, both Assange claims are substance-free: “there is no evidence suggesting that the United States government had a role in releasing the Panama Papers.”[294] Assange also falsely asserted that the Panama Papers gave Western figures a free pass, when the leaks in fact reported on a number of high-profile Western politicians, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.[277]

In 2012 when WikiLeaks began to run out of funds, Assange began to host a television show on Russia Today, Russia’s state-owned news network.[295] Assange has never disclosed how much he or WikiLeaks were paid for his television show.[295]

After President Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigned in February 2017 due to reports over his communications with Russian officials and subsequent lies over the content and nature of those communications, WikiLeaks tweeted that Flynn resigned “after destabilization campaign by U.S. spies, Democrats, press.”[296][297]

In April 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account suggested that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, which international human rights organisations and governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel attributed to the Syrian government, was a false flag attack.[298] WikiLeaks stated that “while western establishment media beat the drum for more war in Syria the matter is far from clear”, and shared a video by a Syrian activist who claimed that Islamist extremists were probably behind the chemical attack, not the Syrian government.[298]

In May 2017, cybersecurity experts stated that they believed that groups affiliated with the Russian government were involved in the hacking and leaking of e-mails associated with the Emmanuel Macron campaign; these e-mails were published on Pastebin but heavily promoted by WikiLeaks social media channels.[230][231][232]

In April 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated: “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” Pompeo said that the US Intelligence Community had concluded that Russia’s “primary propaganda outlet,” RT had “actively collaborated” with WikiLeaks.[299]

In August 2017, Foreign Policy reported that WikiLeaks had in the summer of 2016 turned down a large cache of documents containing information damaging to the Russian government.[277][300] WikiLeaks justified this by saying “As far as we recall these are already public … WikiLeaks rejects all information that it cannot verify.[301] WikiLeaks rejects submissions that have already been published elsewhere”.[277] Whereas news outlets had reported on some contents of the leaks in 2014, the information that news outlets reported on was less than half of the data that was made available to WikiLeaks in the summer of 2016.[277]

In October 2017, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a company working on behalf of the Trump presidential campaign, had contacted WikiLeaks about missing Hillary Clinton e-mails and the possibility of creating a searchable database for the campaign to use.[302][303] After this was reported, Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks had been approached by Cambridge Analytica but had rejected the approach.[302][303] WikiLeaks did not disclose what the subject of Cambridge Analytica’s approach was.[304]

Allegations of anti-semitism

WikiLeaks has been accused of anti-semitism both in its Twitter activity and hiring decisions.[305][306][307][308] According to Ian Hislop, Assange claimed that a “Jewish conspiracy” was attempting to discredit the organization. Assange denied making this remark, stating “‘Jewish conspiracy’ is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting.”[305][309]

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015, the WikiLeaks Twitter account wrote that “the Jewish pro-censorship lobby legitimized attacks”, referring to the trial of Maurice Sinet.[307] In July 2016, the same account suggested that triple parentheses, or (((echoes))) – a tool used by neo-Nazis to identify Jews on Twitter, appropriated by several Jews online out of solidarity – had been used as a way for “establishment climbers” to identify one another.[306][308] In leaked internal conversations, Assange discussed an article critical of WikiLeaks by Associated Press reporter Raphael Satter. He went on call the journalist “a rat”, adding “but he’s Jewish” and encouraged others to troll him.[22]

Exaggerated and misleading descriptions of the contents of leaks

WikiLeaks has been criticised for making misleading claims about the contents of its leaks.[310][311] Media outlets have also been criticised for reporting on WikiLeaks’ claims about the CIA leak, which were later retracted.[310]

According to University of North Carolina Professor Zeynep Tufekci, this is part of a pattern of behaviour. After the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt, WikiLeaks announced that it would release e-mails belonging to Turkey’s ruling conservative Justice and Development Party. WikiLeaks released Turkish emails and documents as a response to the Turkish government’s crackdown on real or alleged government opponents that followed the coup attempt.[189] When these e-mails were released, however, it “was nothing but mundane mailing lists of tens of thousands of ordinary people who discussed politics online. Back then, too, the ruse worked: Many Western journalists had hyped these non-leaks.”[310] According to Tufekci, there are three steps to WikiLeaks’ “disinformation campaigns”: “The first step is to dump many documents at once — rather than allowing journalists to scrutinise them and absorb their significance before publication. The second step is to sensationalise the material with misleading news releases and tweets. The third step is to sit back and watch as the news media unwittingly promotes the WikiLeaks agenda under the auspices of independent reporting.”[310]

Inadequate curation and violations of personal privacy

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism for violating the personal privacy of a multitude of individuals and inadequately curating its content. These critics include transparency advocates, such as Edward Snowden, the Sunlight Foundation and the Federation of American Scientists.[26]

WikiLeaks has published individuals’ Social Security numbers, medical information, and credit card numbers.[27] An analysis by the Associated Press found that WikiLeaks had in one of its mass-disclosures published “the personal information of hundreds of people – including sick children, rape victims and mental health patients”.[27] WikiLeaks has named teenage rape victims, and outed an individual arrested for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia.[27] Some of WikiLeaks’ cables “described patients with psychiatric conditions, seriously ill children or refugees”.[27] An analysis of WikiLeaks’ Saudi cables “turned up more than 500 passport, identity, academic or employment files … three dozen records pertaining to family issues in the cables – including messages about marriages, divorces, missing children, elopements and custody battles. Many are very personal, like the marital certificates that reveal whether the bride was a virgin. Others deal with Saudis who are deeply in debt, including one man who says his wife stole his money. One divorce document details a male partner’s infertility. Others identify the partners of women suffering from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Hepatitis C.”[27] Two individuals named in the DNC leaks were targeted by identity thieves following WikiLeaks’ reveal of their Social Security and credit card information.[27] In its leak of DNC e-mails, WikiLeaks revealed the details of an ordinary staffer’s suicide attempt and brought attention to it through a tweet.[312][313]

WikiLeaks’ publishing of Sony’s hacked e-mails drew criticism for violating the privacy of Sony’s employees and for failing to be in the public interest.[314][315] Michael A. Cohen, a fellow at the Century Foundation, argues that “data dumps like these represent a threat to our already shrinking zone of privacy.”[314] He noted that the willingness of WikiLeaks to publish information of this type encourages hacking and cybertheft: “With ready and willing amplifiers, what’s to deter the next cyberthief from stealing a company’s database of information and threatening to send it to Wikileaks if a list of demands aren’t met?”[314]

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for open government, has criticised WikiLeaks for inadequate curation of its content and for “weaponised transparency,” writing that with the DNC leaks, “Wikileaks again failed the due diligence review we expect of putatively journalistic entities when it published the personal information of ordinary citizens, including passport and Social Security numbers contained in the hacked emails of Democratic National Committee staff. We are not alone in raising ethical questions about Wikileaks’ shift from whistleblower to platform for weaponised transparency. Any organisation that ‘doxxes’ a public is harming privacy.”[316] The manner in which WikiLeaks publishes content can have the effect of censoring political enemies: “Wikileaks’ indiscriminate disclosure in this case is perhaps the closest we’ve seen in reality to the bogeyman projected by enemies to reform — that transparency is just a Trojan Horse for chilling speech and silencing political enemies.”[316]

In July 2016, Edward Snowden criticised WikiLeaks for insufficiently curating its content.[28] When Snowden made data public, he did so by working with the Washington Post, the Guardian and other news organisations, choosing only to make documents public which exposed National Security Agency surveillance programs.[28] Content that compromised national security or exposed sensitive personal information was withheld.[28] WikiLeaks, on the other hand, makes little effort to remove sensitive personal information or withhold content with adverse national security implications. WikiLeaks responded by accusing Snowden of pandering to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.[28]

University of North Carolina Professor Zeynep Tufekci has criticised WikiLeaks for exposing sensitive personal information: “WikiLeaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide … Data dumps by WikiLeaks have outed rape victims and gay people in Saudi Arabia, private citizens’ emails and personal information in Turkey, and the voice mail messages of Democratic National Committee staff members.”[29] She argues these data dumps which violate personal privacy without being in the public interest “threaten our ability to dissent by destroying privacy and unleashing a glut of questionable information that functions, somewhat unexpectedly, as its own form of censorship, rather than as a way to illuminate the maneuverings of the powerful.”[29]

In January 2017, the WikiLeaks Task Force, a Twitter account associated with WikiLeaks,[317] proposed the creation of a database to track verified Twitter users, including sensitive personal information on individuals’ homes, families and finances.[318][317][319] According to the Chicago Tribune, “the proposal faced a sharp and swift backlash as technologists, journalists and security researchers slammed the idea as a ‘sinister’ and dangerous abuse of power and privacy.”[318] Twitter furthermore bans the use of Twitter data for “surveillance purposes,” stating “Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter rules.”[317]

Internal conflicts and lack of transparency

Within WikiLeaks, there has been public disagreement between founder and spokesperson Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the website’s former German representative who was suspended by Assange. Domscheit-Berg announced on 28 September 2010 that he was leaving the organisation due to internal conflicts over management of the website.[100][320][321]

Julian Assange (left) with Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Domscheit-Berg was ejected from WikiLeaks and started a rival “whistleblower” organisation named OpenLeaks.

On 25 September 2010, after being suspended by Assange for “disloyalty, insubordination and destabilisation”, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the German spokesman for WikiLeaks, told Der Spiegel that he was resigning, saying “WikiLeaks has a structural problem. I no longer want to take responsibility for it, and that’s why I am leaving the project.”[322][323][324] Assange accused Domscheit-Berg of leaking information to Newsweek, claiming the WikiLeaks team was unhappy with Assange’s management and handling of the Afghan war document releases.[324] Daniel Domscheit-Berg wanted greater transparency in the articles released to the public. Another vision of his was to focus on providing technology that allowed whistle-blowers to protect their identity as well as a more transparent way of communicating with the media, forming new partnerships and involving new people.[325] Domscheit-Berg left with a small group to start OpenLeaks, a new leak organisation and website with a different management and distribution philosophy.[322][326]

While leaving, Daniel Domscheit-Berg copied and then deleted roughly 3,500 unpublished documents from the WikiLeaks servers,[327] including information on the US government’s ‘no-fly list’ and inside information from 20 right-wing organisations, and according to a WikiLeaks statement, 5 gigabytes of data relating to Bank of America, the internal communications of 20 neo-Nazi organisations and US intercept information for “over a hundred Internet companies”.[328] In Domscheit-Berg’s book he wrote: “To this day, we are waiting for Julian to restore security, so that we can return the material to him, which was on the submission platform.”[329] In August 2011, Domscheit-Berg claims he permanently deleted the files “in order to ensure that the sources are not compromised.”[330]

Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old Icelandic university student, resigned after he challenged Assange on his decision to suspend Domscheit-Berg and was bluntly rebuked.[324] Iceland MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir also left WikiLeaks, citing lack of transparency, lack of structure, and poor communication flow in the organisation.[331] According to the periodical The Independent (London), at least a dozen key supporters of WikiLeaks left the website during 2010.[332]

Non-disclosure agreements

Those working for WikiLeaks are reportedly required to sign sweeping non-disclosure agreements covering all conversations, conduct, and material, with Assange having sole power over disclosure.[333] The penalty for non-compliance in one such agreement was reportedly £12 million.[333] WikiLeaks has been challenged for this practice, as it seen to be hypocritical for an organisation dedicated to transparency to limit the transparency of its inner workings and limit the accountability of powerful individuals in the organisation.[333][334][335]

Lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee

On 20 April 2018, the Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in federal district court in Manhattan against Russia, the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, alleging a conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 United States presidential election in Trump’s favor.[336] WikiLeaks called the lawsuit a “publicity stunt” by the DNC and said, “As an accurate publisher of newsworthy information @WikiLeaks is constitutionally protected from such suits.” WikiLeaks added that they were considering filing a countersuit against the DNC.[337]

Reception

Graffiti in Bilbao “We want to know.”

Awards and praise

From interested parties

WikiLeaks has received praise as well as criticism. The organisation won a number of awards in its early years, including The Economist‘s New Media Award in 2008 at the Index on Censorship Awards[338] and Amnesty International‘s UK Media Award in 2009.[339][340] In 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first among websites “that could totally change the news,”[341] and Julian Assange received the Sam Adams Award[342] and was named the Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2010.[343] The UK Information Commissioner has stated that “WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen.”[344] During its first days, an Internet petition in support of WikiLeaks attracted more than six hundred thousand signatures.[345]

Support for good use of free speech

Sympathisers of WikiLeaks in the media and academia commended it during its early years for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, assisting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions.[346][347][348][349][350][351][352] In 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the “cyber war” being led at the time against WikiLeaks,[353] and in a joint statement with the Organization of American States the UN Special Rapporteur called on states and other people to keep international legal principles in mind.[354]

Public positions By U.S. politicians

Several Republicans who had once been highly critical of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange began to speak fondly of him after WikiLeaks published the DNC leaks and started to regularly criticise Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[355][356] Having called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” in 2010, President-Elect Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks in October 2016, saying, “I love WikiLeaks.”[357][358] Newt Gingrich, who called for Assange to be “treated as an enemy combatant” in 2010, praised him as a “down to Earth, straight forward interviewee” in 2017.[355] Sean Hannity, who had in 2010 said that Assange waged a “war” on the United States, praised him in 2016 for showing “how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is”.[356] Sarah Palin, who had in 2010 described Assange as an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands”, lavished praise on him in 2017.[359] Ann Coulter called for Assange to be awarded the presidential medal of freedom.[355]

Concerns from U.S. government

At the same time, several US government officials have criticised WikiLeaks for exposing classified information and claimed that the leaks harm national security and compromise international diplomacy.[360][361][362][363][364] Several human rights organisations requested with respect to earlier document releases that WikiLeaks adequately redact the names of civilians working with international forces, to prevent repercussions.[365] Some journalists have likewise criticised a perceived lack of editorial discretion when releasing thousands of documents at once and without sufficient analysis.[366] In 2016, Harvard law professor and Electronic Frontier Foundation board member Jonathan Zittrain argued that a culture in which one constantly risks being “outed” as a result of virtual Watergate-like break-ins (or violations of the Fourth Amendment) could lead people to hesitate to speak their minds.[367]

In April 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”.[368]

Also in April 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that arresting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a priority: “We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”[369]

Campaigns to discredit Wikileaks

In 2011, hacktivist group Anonymous published a secret proposal presented by a Palantir Technologies employee to Hunton & Williams, a Washington, D.C. law firm, to attempt to discredit WikiLeaks and supporters such as Glenn Greenwald with disinformation and cyberattacks.[370] Two other private security firms, Berico Technologies and HBGary, were also involved in the proposal.[371][372][373][374] Palantir temporarily suspended the employee, its CEO Alex Karp apologised to Greenwald, and a spokesperson said the company would have collapsed if it had carried out the proposal.[370]

Spin-offs

Release of United States diplomatic cables was followed by the creation of a number of other organisations based on the WikiLeaks model.[375]

  • OpenLeaks was created by a former WikiLeaks spokesperson. Daniel Domscheit-Berg said the intention was to be more transparent than WikiLeaks. OpenLeaks was supposed to start public operations in early 2011 but despite much media coverage, as of April 2013it is not operating.[376]
  • In December 2011, WikiLeaks launched Friends of WikiLeaks, a social network for supporters and founders of the website.[377]
  • On 9 September 2013[378] a number of major Dutch media outlets supported the launch of Publeaks, which provides a secure website for people to leak documents to the media using the GlobaLeaks whistleblowing software.[379]
  • RuLeaks is aimed at being a Russian equivalent to WikiLeaks. It was initiated originally to provide translated versions of the WikiLeaks cables but the Moscow Times reports it has started to publish its own content as well.[380]
  • Leakymails is a project designed to obtain and publish relevant documents exposing corruption of the political class and the powerful in Argentina.[381][382][383]
  • Honest Appalachia,[384] initiated in January 2012, is a website based in the United States intended to appeal to potential “whistleblowers” in West VirginiaVirginiaPennsylvaniaOhioKentuckyTennessee and North Carolina, and serve as a replicable model for similar projects elsewhere.[385][386]

In popular culture

Both The Fifth Estate and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks have received heavy criticism from Wikileaks itself, over fabrications and irresponsibility.[392] [393]

See also

References …

External links

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US Conducts Air War Against ISIL From Secret Base In Persian Gulf Region

Contract workers load a Hellfire missile onto a U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at a secret air base in the Persian Gulf region on Jan. 7, 2016.John Moore / Getty Images file

By Ken Dilanian and Courtney Kube

In the latest step toward rolling back Obama-era rules for targeted killings, President Donald Trump will no longer require U.S. intelligence officials to publicly disclose the numbers of people killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside of war zones.

Trump ended the reporting requirement by signing an executive order Wednesday. The move had been expected since the administration last year failed to release an annual accounting of civilian and enemy casualties required under an order signed in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama.

The order signed by Trump revokes a specific requirement that the administration release an unclassified summary of “the number of strikes undertaken by the United States government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, as well as assessments of combatant and noncombatant deaths resulting from those strikes, among other information.”

Obama dramatically expanded the use of targeted strikes with drone strikes against al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. He also sought to put in place a set of rules designed to promote accountability and encourage policymakers to minimize civilian casualties. Critics said those rules placed unwarranted constraints on counterterrorism operatives.

Among the rules was a requirement that there be a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties before the CIA launched a strike. That rule did not apply in war zones, where the standard is less strict. It’s unclear whether that rule remains in place.

The reporting requirement was the first-ever effort by the U.S. government to account for how many people have been killed in targeted strikes in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Obama’s first report in 2016 said the U.S. launched 473 strikes from Jan. 20, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2015, killing 2,372 to 2,581 combatants and 64 to 116 noncombatants.

Outside groups have much higher estimates for the death toll in American drone strikes.

That requirement is now repealed.

Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at the Human Rights Watch, called Trump’s decision “deeply troubling.”

“Unless Congress wants to leave open the possibility that the CIA can be a secret killing squad, it should immediately act to mandate robust unclassified and appropriately classified reports on the use of all force by the United States, and assessments of any and all civilian deaths, injury or other harm, caused by the United States,” Prasow said.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC) insists the administration is committed to “acknowledging responsibility” when civilian casualties occur, but called the reporting requirement “superfluous.”

“This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission,” the NSC spokesperson said.

Trump’s order does not affect a separate law that Congress passed last year requiring the Department of Defense to provide Congress with a report of civilian casualties resulting from military operations. But that does not apply to many areas where CIA drone strikes take place.

Under Trump, CIA drone strikes have not reached the level they did in the early Obama years, when the agency was pummeling targets in Pakistan on a weekly basis.

But in 2017, there were a record 156 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen and Somalia, according to Long War Journal, a website that tracks the attacks through credible U.S. and foreign media reports.

Last year, that number fell to 82, the website reported.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-cancels-obama-policy-reporting-drone-strike-deaths-n980156

Trump outpacing Obama in drone strikes; 80 in first year: Report

But analysts warn Trump administration far too secretive with drone program

A U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President Trump is outpacing his predecessor in the number of U.S. drone strikes abroad and has made it easier for the CIA to use the craft to eliminate targets, according to a new study released Thursday — but specialists warn the use of the unmanned killing machines remains shrouded in secrecy with rules of engagement that haven’t been publicly explained.

The comprehensive report from the nonpartisan Stimson Center examined U.S. drone policy since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that the steady rise in the frequency of drone strikes during former President Barack Obama’s tenure has continued since Mr. Trump came to power. During his eight years in office, Mr. Obama authorized roughly 550 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other nations in which the U.S. wasn’t explicitly at war.

In just his first 12 months, Mr. Trump green-lighted at least 80 strikes in those countries and “is on pace to surpass the strike tempo of both of his predecessors, which perhaps signals a great willingness to use lethal force,” the survey says.

The figures do not include military action in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. has has a formal military presence for more than a decade, and the strikes in countries such as Yemen and Somalia are typically overseen by the CIA, not the Pentagon.

Analysts argue that one reason for the uptick in the use of drones could be the Trump administration’s relaxation of the rules governing drone strikes. The administration reportedly has lessened the certainty required about a target’s whereabouts before launching a drone strike, and has declared parts of Yemen and Somalia to be area of “active hostilities,” which allow greater flexibility in the use of drones.

But the details of those and other drone policies remain secret, and some analysts contend that whatever progress on drone transparency had been made during the Obama administration has been swiftly reversed.

“The Trump administration appears to be rolling back initial, albeit limited, efforts to increase transparency in the U.S. drone program, which impedes the ability of the public to assess whether the use of drones is appropriate and responsible and to hold the government accountable for any mistakes or wrongful killings resulting from the use of drones in lethal operations,” wrote Rachel Stohl, managing director at Stimson who oversaw the drone study. “A lack of transparency also undermines the legitimacy of the U.S. drone program and the policy underpinning it, and implies that the United States has something to hide.”

A host of other groups, such as the ACLU, Amnesty International, and others, earlier this year released a joint statement calling on the Trump administration to make public much more information about the extent of its drone program, the rules of engagement it is using, and a host of other information.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jun/7/donald-trump-outpacing-barack-obama-drone-strikes-/

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Since the September 11 attacks, the United States government has carried out drone strikes in Pakistan (see drone strikes in Pakistan), Yemen (see drone strikes in Yemen), Somalia (see drone strikes in Somalia), Afghanistan, and Libya (see drone strikes in Libya).[1][2]

Drone strikes are part of a targeted killing campaign against jihadist militants; however, non-combatant civilians have also been killed in drone strikes.[1][2] Determining precise counts of the total number killed, as well as the number of non-combatant civilians killed, is impossible; and tracking of strikes and estimates of casualties are compiled by a number of organizations, such as the Long War Journal (Pakistan and Yemen), the New America Foundation (Pakistan), and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan).[1] The “estimates of civilian casualties are hampered methodologically and practically”;[3] for example, “estimates are largely compiled by interpreting news reports relying on anonymous officials or accounts from local media, whose credibility may vary.”[1]

 

 

Total numbers

According to the Long War Journal, which follows US anti-terror developments, as of mid-2011, drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 had killed 2,018 militants and 138 civilians.[4] The New America Foundation stated in mid-2011 that from 2004 to 2011, 80% of the 2,551 people killed in the strikes were militants. The Foundation stated that 95% of those killed in 2010 were militants and that, as of 2012, 15% of the total people killed by drone strikes were either known civilians or unknown.[5] The Foundation also states that in 2012 the rate of known civilian and unknown casualties was 2 percent, whereas the Bureau of Investigative Journalism say the rate of civilian casualties for 2012 is 9 percent.[6] The Bureau, based on extensive research in mid-2011, claims that at least 385 civilians were among the dead, including more than 160 children.[7] The Obama administration estimated in June 2016 that US drone strikes under Obama had killed 64 individuals conclusively determined to be non-combatants, in addition to 52 individuals whose status remained in doubt.[8]

It has been reported that 160 children have died from UAV-launched attacks in Pakistan[9] and that over 1,000 civilians have been injured.[10] Moreover, additional reporting has found that known militant leaders have constituted only 2 percent of all drone-related fatalities.[11] These sources run counter to the Obama administration’s claim that “nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death” due to UAV-based attacks.[12]

The New America Foundation estimates that for the period 2004-2011, the non-militant fatality rate was approximately 20%.[13]

President Donald Trump, on March 6, 2019, signed an executive order revoking the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside of war zones. The Trump administrationhad previously ignored a May 2018 deadline for an annual accounting of civilian and enemy casualties required under Executive Order 13732[14] signed in 2016 by Barack Obama.[15][16]

Afghanistan

After more than 30 UAV-based strikes hit civilian homes in Afghanistan in 2012, President Hamid Karzai demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has criticized such use of UAVs: “We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks … This would have been unthinkable in previous times.”[17]

Pakistan

In October 2013, the Pakistani government revealed that since 2008, civilian casualties made up 3 percent of deaths from drone strikes. Since 2008, it alleges there have been 317 drone strikes that killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians. This is less than previous government and independent organization calculations of collateral damage from these attacks.[18] S. Azmat Hassan, a former ambassador of Pakistan, said in July 2009 that American UAV attacks were turning Pakistani opinion against the United States and that 35 or 40 such attacks killed 8 or 9 top al-Qaeda operatives.[19]

Yemen

An attack by the US in December 2013, in a wedding procession in Yemen, killed 12 men and wounded at least 15 other people, including the bride. US and Yemeni officials said the dead were members of the armed group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), but witnesses and relatives told Human Rights Watch the casualties were civilians. Witnesses and relatives told Human Rights Watch that no members of AQAP were in the procession and provided names and other information about those killed and wounded. They said the dead included the groom’s adult son and the bride received superficial face wounds. The local governor and military commander called the casualties a “mistake” and gave money and assault rifles to the families of those killed and wounded – a traditional gesture of apology in Yemen. A few days after the incident, Yemeni MPs voted for a ban against the use of drones in Yemen, though it is unclear what effect this will have on drone usage.[20][21]

Criticism

There are a number of vocal critics of the use of UAVs to track and kill terrorists and militants. A major criticism of drone strikes is that they result in excessive collateral damage. David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum wrote in the New York Times[22] that drone strikes “have killed about 14 terrorist leaders”. It has also killed an unknown number of militants. But, according to Pakistani sources, they have also killed some 700 civilians. Grégoire Chamayou’s analysis, of one three hour long surveillance and attack operation on a convoy of three SUVs that killed civilians in Afghanistan in February 2010, shows a typical, if notorious, case. Throughout the operation there is a sense of the drone controllers’ desperation to destroy the people and destroy the vehicles — whatever the evidence of their clearly civilian nature. The transcript is full of statements like “that truck would make a beautiful target”; “Oh, sweet target!”; “the men appear to be moving tactically”; and “They’re going to do something nefarious”.[23]

It is difficult to reconcile these figures because the drone strikes are often in areas that are inaccessible to independent observers and the data includes reports by local officials and local media, neither of whom are reliable sources. Critics also fear that by making killing seem clean and safe, so-called surgical UAV strikes will allow the United States to remain in a perpetual state of war. However, others maintain that drones “allow for a much closer review and much more selective targeting process than do other instruments of warfare” and are subject to Congressional oversight.[24] Like any military technology, armed UAVs will kill people, combatants and innocents alike, thus “the main turning point concerns the question of whether we should go to war at all.”[24]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:abcd Cora Currier, Everything We Know So Far About Drone Strikes, Pro Publica (February 5, 2013).
  2. Jump up to:ab Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush, Bureau of Investigative Journalism (January 17, 2017).
  3. ^ Counting Drone Strike DeathsColumbia Law School Human Rights Clinic (October 2012).
  4. ^ Roggio, Bill, and Alexander Mayer, “Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2016“, Long War Journal, 5 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ “Out of the blue”The Economist. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  6. ^ Counting civilian casualties in CIA’s drone warArchived2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, Foreign Policy
  7. ^ Woods, Chris (10 August 2011). “Drone War Exposed – the complete picture of CIA strikes in Pakistan”Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  8. ^ “White House releases its count of civilian deaths in counterterrorism operations under Obama”Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  9. ^ Woods, Chris (11 August 2011). “Over 160 children reported among drone deaths”The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  10. ^ Woods, Chris (10 August 2011). “You cannot call me lucky – drones injure over 1,000”. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  11. ^ Bergen, Peter (19 September 2012). “Drone is Obama’s weapon of choice”CNN. Retrieved 16 December 2016Since it began in 2004, the drone campaign has killed 49 militant leaders whose deaths have been confirmed by at least two credible news sources. While this represents a significant blow to the militant chain of command, these 49 deaths account for only 2% of all drone-related fatalities.
  12. ^ Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (30 July 2011). “Fighting Back against the CIA drone war”Al Jazeera. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  13. ^ Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann. “2004–2011”. New America Foundation. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  14. ^ “Executive Order — United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force”whitehouse.gov. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  15. ^ “Executive Order on Revocation of Reporting Requirement”whitehouse.gov. 6 March 2019.
  16. ^ “Trump Cancels U.S. Report on Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes”Bloomberg News. 6 March 2019.
  17. ^ Carter, Jimmy (24 June 2012). “A Cruel and Unusual Record”New York Times.
  18. ^ Sebastian Abbot and Munir Ahmed (31 October 2013). “Pakistan says 3% of drone deaths civilians”Usa TodayAssociated Press. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  19. ^ Newsweek, 8 July 2009. Anita Kirpalani, “Drone On. Q&A: A former Pakistani diplomat says America’s most useful weapon is hurting the cause in his country.” Retrieved on 3 August 2009.
  20. ^ “US: Yemen Drone Strike May Violate Obama Policy”. Human Rights Watch.
  21. ^ “The Aftermath of Drone Strikes on a Wedding Convoy in Yemen”The New York Times.
  22. ^ Kilcullen, David, and Andrew Exum (16 May 2009). “Death From Above, Outrage Down Below”The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  23. ^ “Drone: Robot Imperium – Longreads”longreads.tni.org. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  24. Jump up to:ab Etzioni, Amitai (March–April 2013). “The Great Drone Debate”(PDF)Military Review. Archived from the originalon 22 May 2013.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_from_U.S._drone_strikes

 

Story 3: Fake Sanctuary Cities Oppose Sending Illegal Aliens To Their Cities — Suggestion or Presidential Order? — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Trump Threatens To Send ‘Illegals’ To Sanctuary Cities

Trump: Let’s see if sanctuary cities have open arms

Trump Announces Possible Sanctuary Cities For “Illegal Immigrants”

‘The Five’ reacts to Trump’s sanctuary city proposal

WH might send immigrants to sanctuary cities

OPEN ARMS: President Trump Considers Sending Migrants To Sanctuary Cities and States

Trump considers sending illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities

Donald Trump: I’m Considering Releasing Migrants In ‘Sanctuary Cities Only’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

 

MIGRANTS TO SANCTUARY CITIES: President Trump’s Plan For Illegal Immigration

Trump’s NEW Policy? Send ALL Illegals to Sanctuary Cities!

President Trump signs order to strip sanctuary cities of federal funding

Trump sanctuary city idea could help migrants stay in US

today

An idea floated by President Donald Trump to send immigrants from the border to “sanctuary cities” to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favor by placing them in locations that make it easier to put down roots and stay in the country.

The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders. Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation’s biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced this week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.

“With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the U.S.-born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples’ lives,” said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of immigrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. His administration has attempted several efforts to stop the flow, and he recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.

The idea to ship immigrants to Democratic strongholds was considered twice in recent months, but the White House and Department of Homeland Security said the plan had been rejected. But Trump said Friday he was still considering the idea.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. He added that, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Asked about the proposal Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was “not the ideal solution.”

“The president heard the idea, he likes it,” she told ABC’s “This Week,” adding that it is among several options being reviewed by the White House. “The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let’s see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it.” She said she hopes Democrats will work with the president on a comprehensive immigration bill.

Wilson Romero is an immigrant from Honduras who chose to settle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Romero, 27, was separated from his daughter, now 7, by federal authorities at the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, last year and jailed for three months before being released and making his way to live with his mother in San Jose, California. There he was reunited with his daughter, who attends public kindergarten.

https://apnews.com/e991a0409f7c475ba48e827e232b6cfe

 

White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes

April 11 at 11:55 PM

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.

The White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space but also served to send a message to Democrats. The attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE, with a top official responding that it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that “there are PR risks as well.”

After the White House pressed again in February, ICE’s legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration.

A White House official and a spokesman for DHS sent nearly identical statements to The Post on Thursday, indicating that the proposal is no longer under consideration.

“This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House statement said.

Pelosi’s office blasted the plan.

“The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” said Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

President Trump has made immigration a central aspect of his administration, and he has grown increasingly frustrated at the influx of migrants from Central America. He often casts them as killers and criminals who threaten U.S. security, pointing to cases in which immigrants have killed U.S. citizens — including a notable case on a San Francisco pier in 2015. And he has railed against liberal sanctuary-city policies, saying they endanger Americans.

“These outrageous sanctuary cities are grave threats to public safety and national security,” Trump said in a speech to the Safe Neighborhoods Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 7, less than a month after the White House asked ICE about moving detainees to such cities. “Each year, sanctuary cities release thousands of known criminal aliens from their custody and right back into the community. So they put them in, and they have them, and they let them go, and it drives you people a little bit crazy, doesn’t it, huh?”

The White House believed it could punish Democrats — including Pelosi — by busing ICE detainees into their districts before their release, according to two DHS whistleblowers who independently reported the busing plan to Congress. One of the whistleblowers spoke with The Washington Post, and several DHS officials confirmed the accounts. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller discussed the proposal with ICE, according to two DHS officials. Matthew Albence, who is ICE’s acting deputy director, immediately questioned the proposal in November.

Albence declined to comment but issued a statement through a spokesman acknowledging there was a discussion about the proposal.

“As the Acting Deputy I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue. I was asked my opinion and provided it and my advice was heeded,” the statement said.

DHS officials said the proposal resurfaced during the shutdown talks three months later, when Albence brought ICE attorneys into the discussion, seeking the legal review that ultimately doomed the proposal.

Miller declined to comment. His name did not appear on any of the documents reviewed by The Post. But as he is White House senior adviser on immigration policy, officials at ICE understood that he was pressing the plan.

Homeland Security officials said the sanctuary city request was unnerving, and it underscores the political pressure Trump and Miller have put on ICE and other DHS agencies at a time when the president is furious about the biggest border surge in more than a decade.

“It was basically an idea that Miller wanted that nobody else wanted to carry out,” said one congressional investigator who has spoken to one of the whistleblowers. “What happened here is that Stephen Miller called people at ICE, said if they’re going to cut funding, you’ve got to make sure you’re releasing people in Pelosi’s district and other congressional districts.” The investigator spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the whistleblower.

The idea of releasing immigrants into sanctuary cities was not presented to Ronald Vitiello, the agency’s acting director, according to one DHS official familiar with the plan. Last week, the White House rescinded Vitiello’s nomination to lead ICE, giving no explanation, and Vitiello submitted his resignation Wednesday, ending his 30-year-career.

The day after Vitiello’s nomination was rescinded, President Trump told reporters he wanted to put someone “tougher” at ICE. DHS officials said they do not know whether ICE’s refusal to adopt the White House’s plan contributed to Vitiello’s removal. His departure puts Albence in charge of the agency as of Friday.

he White House proposal reached ICE first in November as a highly publicized migrant caravan was approaching the United States. May Davis, deputy assistant to the president and deputy White House policy coordinator, wrote to officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security with the subject line: “Sanctuary City Proposal.”

“The idea has been raised by 1-2 principals that, if we are unable to build sufficient temporary housing, that caravan members be bussed to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” Davis wrote, seeking responses to the idea’s operational and legal viability. “There is NOT a White House decision on this.”

Albence replied that such a plan “would create an unnecessary operational burden” on an already strained organization and raised concerns about its appropriateness, writing: “Not sure how paying to transport aliens to another location to release them — when they can be released on the spot — is a justified expenditure. Not to mention the liability should there be an accident along the way.”

The White House pushed the issue a second time in the midst of the budget standoff in mid-February, according to DHS officials, and on the heels of a bitterly partisan 35-day government shutdown over Trump’s border wall plan. The White House discussed the immigrant release idea as a way to punish Democrats standing in the way of funding additional detention beds.

ICE detainees with violent criminal records are not typically released on bond or other “alternatives to detention” while they await a hearing with an immigration judge, but there have been instances of such detainees being released.

The White House urged ICE to channel releases to sanctuary districts, regardless of whether immigrants had any ties to those places.

“It was retaliation, to show them, ‘Your lack of cooperation has impacts,’ ” said one of the DHS officials, summarizing the rationale. “I think they thought it would put pressure on those communities to understand, I guess, a different perspective on why you need more immigration money for detention beds.”

Senior officials at ICE did not take the proposal seriously at first, but as the White House exerted pressure, ICE’s legal advisers were asked to weigh in, DHS officials said.

A formal legal review was never completed, according to two DHS officials familiar with the events, but senior ICE attorneys told Albence and others that the plan was inappropriate and lacked a legal basis.

“If we would have done that, we would have had to expend transportation resources, and make a decision that we’re going to use buses, planes, etc., to send these aliens to a place for whatever reason,” a senior DHS official said. “We had to come up with a reason, and we did not have one.”

The proposal faded when House Democrats ultimately relented on their demand for a decrease in the number of detention beds, a final sticking point in budget talks between the White House and House Democrats.


An immigration detainee stands near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement grievance box in the high-security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail that also houses immigration detainees in Orange, Calif. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of immigrant detainees in ICE custody has approached 50,000 in recent months, an all-time high that has further strained the agency’s budget. Those include immigrants arrested in the U.S. interior, as well as recent border-crossers transferred from U.S. Border Patrol. With unauthorized migration at a 12-year high, the vast majority of recent migrants — and especially those with children — are quickly processed and released with a notice to appear in court, a system that Trump has derided as “catch and release.”

The process has left Trump seething, convinced that immigration officials and DHS more broadly should adopt a harsher approach.

Vitiello’s removal from ICE last week was followed Sunday by the ouster of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who lost favor with Trump and Miller by repeatedly warning the White House that the administration’s policy ideas were unworkable and likely to be blocked by federal courts.

The sanctuary city proposal ran contrary to ICE policy guidelines, as well as legal counsel. ICE officials balked at the notion of moving migrants to detention facilities in different areas, insisting that Congress only authorizes the agency to deport immigrants, not relocate them internally, according to DHS officials.

The plan to retaliate against sanctuary cities came just after Trump agreed to reopen the government in late January, following a five-week shutdown over wall funding. The president gave lawmakers three weeks to come up with a plan to secure the border before a second fiscal deadline in mid-February.

During the talks, Republicans and Democrats sparred over the number of detention beds, with House Democrats pressing for a lower number amid pressure from their left flank.

It was during that mid-February standoff that one whistleblower went to Congress alleging that the White House was considering a plan to punish Democrats if they did not relent on ICE funding for beds. A second official independently came forward after that.

According to both, there were at least two versions of the plan being considered. One was to move migrants who were already in ICE detention to the districts of Democratic opponents. The second option was to bus migrants apprehended at the border to sanctuary cities, such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.


An Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer monitors a demonstration outside of the San Francisco ICE office on June 19, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sanctuary city

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sanctuary city (Frenchville sanctuaireSpanishciudad santuario) refers to municipal jurisdictions, typically in North America and Western Europe, that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law. Leaders of sanctuary cities say they want to reduce fear of deportation and possible family break-up among people who are in the country illegally, so that such people will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school. In the United States, municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by national immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date, if they were jailed for breaking local law.[1] Such policies can be set expressly in law (de jure) or observed in practice (de facto), but the designation “sanctuary city” does not have a precise legal definition. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated in 2018 that more than 500 U.S. jurisdictions, including states and municipalities, had adopted sanctuary policies.[2]

Studies on the relationship between sanctuary status and crime have found that sanctuary policies either have no effect on crime or that sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and stronger economies than comparable non-sanctuary cities.[3][4][5][6] Opponents of sanctuary cities argue that cities should assist the national government in enforcing immigration law. Supporters of sanctuary cities argue that enforcement of national law is not the duty of localities.[7] Legal opinions vary on whether immigration enforcement by local police is constitutional.[8]

European cities have been inspired by the same political currents of the sanctuary movement as American cities, but the term “sanctuary city” now has different meanings in Europe and North America.[9] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, and in continental Europe, sanctuary city refers to cities that are committed to welcoming refugeesasylum seekers and others who are seeking safety. Such cities are now found in 80 towns, cities and local areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[10] The emphasis is on building bridges of connection and understanding, which is done through raising awareness, befriending schemes and forming cultural connections in the arts, sport, health, education, faith groups and other sectors of society.[11] Glasgow and Swansea have become known as noted sanctuary cities.[10][12][13]

Tradition

The concept of a sanctuary city goes back thousands of years. It has been associated with ChristianityIslamJudaismBuddhismBaha’iSikhism, and Hinduism.[14] In Western Civilization, sanctuary cities can be traced back to the Old Testament. The Book of Numberscommands the selection of six cities of refuge in which the perpetrators of accidental manslaughter could claim the right of asylum. Outside of these cities, blood vengeance against such perpetrators was allowed by law.[15] In AD 392, Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I set up sanctuaries under church control. In AD 600 in medieval England, churches were given a general right of sanctuary, and some cities were set up as sanctuaries by Royal charter. The general right of sanctuary for churches in England was abolished in 1621.[14]

United States

History

The movement that established sanctuary cities in the United States began in the early 1980s. The movement traces its roots to religious philosophy, as well as in histories of resistance movements to perceived state injustices.[16] The sanctuary city movement took place in the 1980s to challenge the US government’s refusal to grant asylum to certain Central American refugees. These asylum seekers were arriving from countries in Central America like El Salvador and Guatemala that were politically unstable. More than 75,000 Salvadoreans and 200,000 Guatemalans were killed by their governments in hopes to suppress the communist movement in those countries at the time.[17] Faith based groups in the US Southwest initially drove the movement of the 1980s, with eight churches publicly declaring sanctuary in March 1982.[18] John Fife, a minister and movement leader famously wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Smith, saying that the “South-side United Presbyterian Church will publicly violate the Immigration and Nationality Act” by allowing sanctuary in its church for those from Central America.[19]

A milestone in the U.S. sanctuary city movement occurred in 1985 in San Francisco, which passed the largely symbolic “City of Refuge” resolution. The resolution was followed the same year by an ordinance which prohibited the use of city funds and resources to assist federal immigration enforcement–the defining characteristic of a sanctuary city in the U.S.[20] As of 2018 more than 560 cities, states and counties considered themselves sanctuaries.[2]

Terminology

Sanctuary Cities in the United States*
 State has legislation in place that establishes a statewide sanctuary for illegal immigrants
 County or county equivalent either contains a municipality that is a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, or is one itself
 All county jails in the state do not honor ICE detainers
 Alongside statewide legislation or policies establishing sanctuary for illegal immigrants, county contains a municipality that has policy or has taken action to further provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants

*Map is based on data published by ICE in a February 2017 reportoutlining jurisdictions that have declined ICE detainers.

Several different terms and phrases are used to describe immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. The term alien is “considered insensitive by many” and a LexisNexis search showed that its use in reports on immigration has declined substantially, making up just 5% of terms used in 2013.[21] Usage of the word “illegal” and phrases using the word (e.g., illegal alienillegal immigrantillegal worker and illegal migrant) has declined, accounting for 82% of language used in 1996, 75% in 2002, 60% in 2007, and 57% in 2013.[21] Several other phrases are competing for wide acceptance: undocumented immigrant (usage in news reports increased from 6% in 1996 to 14% in 2013); unauthorized immigrant (3% usage in 2013 and rarely seen before that time), and undocumented person or undocumented people (1% in 2007, increasing to 3% in 2013).[21] A recent term is “illegalized immigrant”.[22]

Media outlets’ policies as to use of terms differ, and no consensus has yet emerged in the press.[23][24] In 2013, the Associated Press changed its AP Stylebook to provide that “Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”[25]Within several weeks, major U.S. newspapers such as Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today adopted similar guidance.[24] The New York Times style guide similarly states that the term illegal immigrant may be considered “loaded or offensive” and advises journalists to “explain the specific circumstances of the person in question or to focus on actions: who crossed the border illegallywho overstayed a visawho is not authorized to work in this country.”[23] The style book discourages the use of illegal as a noun and the “sinister-sounding” alien.[23] Both unauthorized and undocumented are acceptable, but the stylebook notes that the former “has a flavor of euphemism and should be used with caution outside quotation” and the latter has a “bureaucratic tone.”[23] The Washington Post stylebook “says ‘illegal immigrant’ is accurate and acceptable, but notes that some find it offensive”; the Post “does not refer to people as ‘illegal aliens’ or ‘illegals,’ per its guidelines.[26]

Electoral politics

This issue entered presidential politics in the race for the Republican Party Presidential Nomination in 2008. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo ran on an anti-illegal immigration platform and specifically attacked sanctuary cities. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney accused Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of running it as a sanctuary city.[27] Mayor Giuliani’s campaign responded saying that Governor Romney ran a sanctuary Governor’s mansion, and that New York City is not a “haven” for undocumented immigrants.[27]

Following the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco (a sanctuary city) by an undocumented immigrant, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY) told CNN that “The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.”[28] The following day, her campaign stated: “Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years.”[29]

Trump administration agenda

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Justice Department sued California, Governor Jerry Brown, and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over three state laws passed in recent months, saying the laws made it impossible for federal immigration officials to do their jobs and deport criminals who were born outside the United States. The Justice Department called the laws unconstitutional and asked a judge to block them. The lawsuit says the state laws “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law.”[30] The Trump administration previously released a list of immigration principles to Congress. The list included funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors, and curbs on federal grants to sanctuary cities.[31] A pledge to strip “all federal funding to sanctuary cities” was a key Trump campaign theme. President Trump issued an executive order which declared that jurisdictions that “refuse to comply” with 8 U.S.C. 1373—a provision of federal law on information sharing between local and federal authorities—would be ineligible to receive federal grants.[32]

States and cities have shown varying responses to the executive order. Thirty-three states introduced or enacted legislation requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE officers and requests to hold non-citizen inmates for deportation. Other states and cities have responded by not cooperating with federal immigration efforts or showcasing welcoming policies towards immigrants.[32] California openly refused the administration’s attempts to “clamp down on sanctuary cities”. A federal judge in San Francisco agreed with two California municipalities that a presidential attempt to cut them off from federal funding for not complying with deportation requests is unconstitutional,[33] ultimately issuing a nationwide permanent injunction against the facially unconstitutional provisions of the order.[34] On March 27, 2018, the all-Republican Board of Supervisors in Orange County, California voted to join the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state.[35] In Chicago a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration may not withhold public safety grants to sanctuary cities. These decisions have been seen as a setback to the administration’s efforts to force local jurisdictions to help federal authorities with the policing of illegal immigrants.[36] On July 5, 2018, a federal judge upheld two of California’s Sanctuary laws, but struck down a key provision in the third.[37]

Local officials who oppose the president’s policies say that complying with federal immigration officers will ruin the trust established between law enforcement and immigrant communities. Supporters of the president’s policies say that protection of immigrants from enforcement makes communities less safe and undermines the rule of law.[36]

Political action

State

Opposition

Georgia banned “sanctuary cities” in 2010, and in 2016 went further by requiring local governments, in order to obtain state funding, to certify that they cooperate with federal immigration officials.[38]

Arizona, through SB 1070 (enacted in 2010), requires law enforcement officers to notify federal immigration authorities “if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they’ve detained or arrested is in the country illegally.”[39]

Tennessee state law bars “local governments or officials from making policies that stop local entities from complying with federal immigration law.”[40] In 2017, legislation proposed in the Tennessee General Assembly would go further, withholding funding from local governments deemed insufficiently cooperative with the federal government.[40]

In Texas no city has formally declared “sanctuary” status, but a few do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities and have drawn a negative response from the legislature.[41] Bills seeking to deprive state funding from police departments and municipalities that do not cooperate with federal authorities had been introduced into the Texas Legislature several times.[41] On February 1, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott blocked funding to Travis County, Texas due to its recently implemented de facto sanctuary city policy.[42][43]On May 7, 2017, Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 4 into law, effectively banning sanctuary cities by charging county or city officials who refuse to work with federal officials and by allowing police officers to check the immigration status of those they detain if they choose.[44][45]

As of 2019, Florida [46] and Arkansas [47][48] are pushing for anti ‘sanctuary cities’ measures in their states.

Support

The California state senate passed California Sanctuary Law SB54, a bill that largely prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using their money, equipment or personnel to aid federal government action against illegal immigrants. [49]

Federal

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 addressed the relationship between the federal government and local governments. Minor crimes, such as shoplifting, became grounds for possible deportation.[50] Additionally, the legislation outlawed cities’ bans against municipal workers reporting a person’s immigration status to federal authorities.[51]

Section 287(g) makes it possible for state and local law enforcement personnel to enter into agreements with the federal government to be trained in immigration enforcement and, subsequent to such training, to enforce immigration law. However, it provides no general power for immigration enforcement by state and local authorities.[52] This provision was implemented by local and state authorities in five states, California, Arizona, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina by the end of 2006.[53] On June 16, 2007 the United States House of Representatives passed an amendment to a United States Department of Homeland Security spending bill that would withhold federal emergency services funds from sanctuary cities. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was the sponsor of this amendment. 50 Democrats joined Republicans to support the amendment. The amendment would have to pass the United States Senate to become effective.[54]

In 2007, Republican representatives introduced legislation targeting sanctuary cities. Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Thelma Drake, R-Va., Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Tom Tancredo introduced the bill. The legislation would make undocumented immigrant status a felony, instead of a civil offense. Also, the bill targets sanctuary cities by withholding up to 50 percent of Department of Homeland Security funds from the cities.[55]

On September 5, 2007, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a House committee that he certainly wouldn’t tolerate interference by sanctuary cities that would block his “Basic Pilot Program” that requires employers to validate the legal status of their workers. “We’re exploring our legal options. I intend to take as vigorous legal action as the law allows to prevent that from happening, prevent that kind of interference.”[56][57]

On January 25, 2017 President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13768 directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration law.[58] He also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing weekly public reports that include “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”[58] Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, has argued that Trump’s withholding of federal funding would be unconstitutional: “Trump and future presidents could use [the executive order] to seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress. The circumvention of Congress makes the order a threat to separation of powers, as well.”[59] On April 25, 2017, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting this executive order.[60][61] The injunction was made permanent on November 20, 2017, when Judge Orrick ruled that section 9(a) of the order was “unconstitutional on its face“.[62] The judgment concluded that the order violates “the separation of powers doctrine and deprives [the plaintiffs] of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights.”[63]

In December 2018 the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a federal law that criminalized encouraging people to enter or live in the U.S. illegally. The court said the law was too broad in restricting the basic right of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Opponents of the law argued that it was a danger to lawyers advising immigrants and to public officials who support sanctuary policies.[64][65][66]

Jurisdiction

Whether federal or local government has jurisdiction to detain and deport undocumented immigrants is a tricky and unsettled issue, because the U.S. Constitution does not provide a clear answer. Both federal and local government offer arguments to defend their authority. The issue of jurisdiction has been vigorously debated dating back to the Alien Act of 1798.[67] Opponents of local level policing tend to use the Naturalization Clause and the Migration clause in the Constitution as textual confirmation of federal power. Because the Supremacy Clause is generally interpreted to mean that federal law takes priority over state law, the U.S. Supreme Court in the majority of cases has ruled in favor of the federal government. Certain states have been affected by illegal immigration more than others and have attempted to pass legislation that limits access by undocumented immigrants to public benefits. A notable case was Arizona’s SB 1070 law, which was passed in 2010 and struck down in 2012 by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.[68]

States like Arizona, Texas and Nevada justify their aggressive actions as a result of insufficient efforts by the federal government to address issues like use of schools and hospitals by illegal immigrants and changes to the cultural landscape—impacts that are most visible on a local level.[69] Ambiguity and confusion over jurisdiction is one of the reasons why local and state policies for and against sanctuary cities vary widely depending on location in the country.

Effects

Crime

A 2017 review study of the existing literature noted that the existing studies had found that sanctuary cities either have no impact on crime or that they lower the crime rate.[5] A second 2017 study in the journal Urban Affairs Review found that sanctuary policy itself has no statistically meaningful effect on crime.[70][3][71][72][73] The findings of the study were misinterpreted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 2017 speech when he claimed that the study showed that sanctuary cities were more prone to crime than cities without sanctuary policies.[74][75] A third study in the journal Justice Quarterly found evidence that the adoption of sanctuary policies reduced the robbery rate but had no impact on the homicide rate except in cities with larger Mexican undocumented immigrant populations which had lower rates of homicide.[76]

According to a study by Tom K. Wong, associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank: “Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties – from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment.”[4] The study also concluded that sanctuary cities build trust between local law enforcement and the community, which enhances public safety overall.[77] The study evaluated sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities while controlling for differences in population, the foreign-born percentage of the population, and the percentage of the population that is Latino.”[4]

Economy

Advocates of local enforcement of immigration laws argue that more regulatory local immigration policies would cause immigrants to flee those cities and possibly the United States altogether,[78] while opponents argue that regulatory policies on immigrants wouldn’t affect their presence because immigrants looking for work will relocate towards economic opportunity despite challenges living there.[7] Undocumented migrants tend to be attracted to states with more economic opportunity and individual freedom.[79] Because there is no reliable data that asks for immigration status, there is no way to tell empirically if regulatory policies do have an effect on immigrant presence. A study comparing restrictive counties with nonrestrictive counties found that local jurisdictions that enacted regulatory immigration policies experienced a 1–2% negative effect in employment.[7]

Health and well-being

A preliminary study’s results imply that the number of Sanctuary cities in the U.S. positively affects well-being in the undocumented immigrant population.[80] Concerning health, a study in North Carolina found that after implementation of section 287(g), prenatal Hispanic/Latina mothers were more likely than non-Hispanic/Latina mothers to have late or inadequate prenatal care. The study’s interviews indicated that Hispanics/Latinos in the section 287(g) counties had distrust in health services among other services and had fear about going to the doctor.[81]

Laws and policies by state and city[edit]

Alabama

  • In Alabama, state law (Alabama HB 56) was enacted in 2011, calling for proactive immigration enforcement; however, many provisions are either blocked by the federal courts or subject to ongoing lawsuits.[citation needed] On January 31, 2017, William A. Bell, the mayor of Birmingham, declared the city a “welcoming city” and said that the police would not be “an enforcement arm of the federal government” with respect to federal immigration law. He also stated that the city would not require proof of citizenship for granting business licenses. The Birmingham City Council subsequently passed a resolution supporting Birmingham being a “sanctuary city”.[82]

Arizona

  • Following the passage of Arizona SB 1070, a state law, few if any cities in Arizona are “sanctuary cities.” A provision of SB 1070 requires local authorities to “contact federal immigration authorities if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they’ve detained or arrested is in the country illegally.”[39] The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restrictive immigration policies, labels only one city in the state, South Tucson, a “sanctuary city”; the label is because South Tucson does not honor ICE detainers “unless ICE pays for cost of detention”.