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The Pronk Pops Show 748, August 21, 2017, Story 1: Eclipse Totality — Moon Shadow — Here Comes The Sun — The Primary Cause of Climate Change — Videos — Story 2: Bannon Breitbart Banishment– Interventionist War Mongering Generals and Political Establishment Winning — Trump Just Another Big Government Liberal Democrat Presidents (Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson) — Videos –Story 3: The Democrat Party of Slavery, Segregation, Klu Klux Klan, and White Supremacy Rewrites History By Tearing Down Confederate Soldier Statues That They Put Up — Admit It Democrats Are Racists That Play Race Cards — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos — Story 4: The Radical Islamic Terrorists Killed and Captured –13 Killed and Injured 100 in Barcelona Thursday — Videos

Posted on August 21, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Business, Climate Change, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Elections, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Law, Legal Immigration, Lying, Medicare, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939,  August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 902, May 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 898, May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895, May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894, May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893, May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892, May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891, May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890, May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 886, May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884, May 1, 2017

Image result for total eclipseImage result for branco cartoon on resignation of steve bannon

Story 1: Eclipse Totality — Moon Shadow — Here Comes The Sun — The Primary Cause of Climate Change —

Cat Stevens – Moon Shadow (1970)

 

 

Cat Stevens – Moonshadow Lyrics

[Chorus:]
Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow—
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow—And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more.And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more.[Chorus]And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more.And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk…Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?[Chorus]
Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.
Songwriters: YUSUF ISLAM, CAT STEVENS

Why a total solar eclipse is such a big deal

21 August: The Total Darkness: Everything to Know about The Great American Eclipse

2017 eclipse: First moment of totality

Total Eclipse Darkens Wyoming

Solar Eclipse 2017 Full 360º VR Experience In Casper, Wyoming | 360 Video | TIME

Trump Watches Eclipse From White House

Kern Astronomical Society explains why the solar eclipse is such a huge deal

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles Tribute

Here Comes the Sun: A Tribute to George Harrison by Paul Simon, Crosby and Grahm Nash

Beatles – Here Comes The Sun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

 

Read more: Beatles – Here Comes The Sun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Story 2: Bannon Breitbart Banishment– Interventionist War Mongering Generals and Political Establishment Winning — Trump Just Another Big Government Liberal Democrat Presidents (Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson) — Videos —

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his programme. Zero. They’re going to try to moderate him.”

~ Stephen Bannon

 

Image result for steve bannon and donald j. trump

Sean Hannity – on Bannon Resignation With Guests

The Story with Martha MacCallum – August 18, 2017

Trump FIRES Steve Bannon!!!

Tucker Carlson Reacts To Steve Bannon Getting Fired

Tucker Doesn’t Want More Troops In Afghanistan

Steve Bannon resigns as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist: Special Report

Steve Bannon Accidentally Spills The Beans?

Roger Stone On Steve Bannon Getting Fired

Steve Bannon vows to ‘go to war’ for Trump agenda after sacking – BBC News

Bannon Speaks After Stepping Down

Newt Gingrich Reacts to Bannon’s White House Departure

Ann Coulter Reacts to Steve Bannon’s Firing

BREAKING NEWS TRUMP 8/18/17 STEVE BANNON FIRED, Trump fires Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist

Shepard Smith REACTS to the firing of steve bannon – Steve Bannon FIRED by President Trump

Ann Coulter on Trump: Today We Got Our Leader Back! | Alt Left Takedown (8-16-17)

Trump Fires Steve Bannon; Which Doesn’t Surprise Me Even Slightly (Here’s Why)

Bill O’Reilly: Reacts to Trump Charlottesville Backlash & Steve Bannon (8-18-17)

Bannon, backed by billionaire, prepares to go to war

Win McNamee / AP

Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.
  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go “thermonuclear” against “globalists”that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.
  • Watch for Breitbart’s Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.

Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.

  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go “thermonuclear” against “globalists”that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.
  • Watch for Breitbart’s Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.

https://www.axios.com/bannons-next-move-2474479917.html

Steve Bannon, the ousted White House chief strategist, is reportedly considering starting a television network which would allow him to “go nuclear” as he settles vendettas with moderate advisers in the White House and pressures President Donald Trump to pursue a populist agenda of economic nationalism.

Allies of Mr Bannon compared him to a “tiger freed from his cage,” suggesting things would get “ugly” as he targets the Republican establishment and what he calls “West Wing Democrats”.

The departure of Mr Bannon came amid one of Mr Trump’s worst weeks as president.

He and first lady Melania Trump decided not to participate in the annual Kennedy Center Honours event celebrating American culture after a backlash from those being honoured. The White House said the first couple were pulling out to “allow the honourees to celebrate without any political distraction”.

I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S

Meanwhile, a host of charities canceled annual fundraising events at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. They included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the American  Cancer Society.

Mr Bannon’s possible TV network would be intended as a rival to Fox News, the Rupert Murdoch-owned channel which has been supportive of Mr Trump, but which Mr Bannon now regards as too moderate,  Axios reported.

Immediately after his departure on Friday he re-assumed control of Breitbart, the influential right-wing news website he steered before joining Mr Trump’s campaign last year. Mr Bannon said he was “going to war for Trump,” which appeared to mean the original hard line policies pursued during the campaign.

Mr Bannon’s new venture would probably be funded by Bob Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire and conservative mega-donor, who has previously backed both Breitbart and Mr Trump. Mr Mercer and Mr Bannon met last week to discus plans for after his White House exit. The following evening Mr Mercer had dinner with the president.

On the outsideMr Bannon will target a ring of presidential advisers sometimes known as the “globalists”. It includes Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, with whom Mr Bannon appeared to have lost a battle over putting more troops in Afghanistan.

Also in the firing line are Republican leaders in Congress such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans who Mr Bannon blames for stalling Mr Trump’s agenda, including funding for the border wall, and failing to overturn Obamacare.

Mr Bannon has few allies left within the White House promoting his agenda of economic nationalism. There was speculation that the few who remain, including senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, and deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, could be purged by John Kelly, the new chief of staff who is seeking to bring order to the chaotic administration.

Mr Kelly’s authority over the White House was boosted by Mr Bannon’s departure. A triumvirate of military generals – Mr Kelly, Mr McMaster, and Defence Secretary James Mattis – now hold extraordinary sway within the administration.

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser and friend of Mr Bannon, said:  “It’s a tough pill to swallow because you have a Republican West Wing that’s filled with generals and Democrats. It would feel like the twilight zone.”

In a candid first interview after leaving, Mr Bannon told the Weekly Standard: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his programme. Zero. They’re going to try to moderate him.”

Mr Bannon added: “I feel jacked up. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. It’s Bannon the Barbarian. I am definitely going to crush the opposition. I built a f****** machine at Breitbart. We’re about to rev that machine up.”

A friend of Mr Bannon told The Atlantic: “Steve is now unchained. He’s going nuclear. You have no idea. This is gonna be really f****** bad.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/steve-bannon-apos-nuclear-west-171613803.html

Story 3: The Democrat Party of Slavery, Segregation, Ku Klux Klan, and White Supremacy Rewrites History By Tearing Down Confederate Soldier Monument Statues  That They Put Up — Admit It —  Democrats Are Racists That Play Race Cards — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos —

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

~George Santayana

The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

Why Is ANTIFA Not Being Condemned?

The history of the racist Democrat party in under 12 minutes by Billy Whittle

Bill Whittle – Racism – Democrats and Republicans switch sides?

Trump Adviser: ‘He Is Stubborn And Doesn’t Realize How Bad This Is Getting’

Judge Napolitano: A Nation of Sheep

Judge Napolitano: How Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson Destroyed Constitutional Freedom

Ku Klux Klan – A Secret History

Ben Shapiro: Did The Parties Switch?

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (Dinesh D’Souza Interview)

Black History Racist Democrats Refuse to Teach Today – Pt. 1

Black History Racist Democrats Refuse to Teach Today – Pt. 2

The Reasons Why Democrats Are the Party of Slavery and Victimization | ZoNation

Sheriff Clarke ‘proud’ of Trump’s Charlottesville response

The Camera Caught A Key Moment At The Charlottesville Incident That Changes The Whole Story!

RIOTERS BEWARE: LIBERAL PROTESTERS ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE WHAT JEFF SESSIONS DID SECONDS AGO

 

Tearing Down Monuments of War – Is Destroying the Legacy of American Heroes Right or Wrong?

Credit Denise Sanders/The Baltimore Sun, via Associated Press

Recent news involving Al Sharpton criticizing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Museum, and the arrest of Antifa protester Takiyah Thompson who helped topple a Confederate statue, has many liberals applauding and many conservatives decrying the death of American Patriotism.  Who’s right and who’s wrong?  Is it repairing injustice or perpetuating the hate?

The Left’s Argument: Glorification of the Immoral

The left’s argument is that to bring public glory to Confederate, Nazi or Colonial figures of history, who were decidedly immoral in conscience, is our right as a progressive society. The first amendment guaranteeing freedom of expression doesn’t apply to public statues, which supposedly reflect the modern public’s appreciation of the American heritage of old. We keep their statues because, in theory, we agree with these depictions of heroism. We feel they represent us as a state, as a federal republic, and as Americans.

First amendment rights do not protect the right of public exhibition—rather, the right to privately exercise free speech and pay honor to any historical figure of choice behind closed doors or in a gathering of peers, with land owners that reflect the views of the party.

Not surprisingly, Nazis and other white supremacists are finding it difficult to book public venues because their ideology is offensive to most Americans. Corporations that own these venues usually don’t court public controversy for any reason, and so citing first amendment rights does not apply in this case.

If Antifa’s concluding solution to dissenters of the left is ever to invade the private properties of white supremacists, they would be exhibiting behavior like the Nazi Gestapo—the very evil they claim to fight against. However, the demonstrations have not reached that point yet.  Thus far the argument is that “we” don’t want symbols of segregation or slavery in the public eye.

The Right’s Argument: Cultural Marxism

The right’s argument is that removing these figures is un-American, treasonous and seditious—especially since Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Robert E. Lee, are all important figures in American history and they’re all at threat of being torn down.  Yes, many historical figures were slave owners and were, in the case of people like Harry Truman and FDR, full blown unlikable racists who spoke disparagingly of blacks and other non-whites.

Should this necessitate removal from a public square because it is little more than an offensive exhibition, as is burning the flag, or burning copies of the Quran?

The reason why such violent demonstrators are being called “communists” is not simply as a name dropping slur. Conservatives are referring to a pattern in history called Cultural Marxism.

The very definition of Cultural Marxism is the belief that all modern human behavior stems from the culture society allows—and that all culture is malleable, and easy to shape if only society takes a firm hand in censoring thoughts and statements contrary to public decency.

Cultural Marxism has a historical pattern of “modern societies” destroying icons and imagery of the past, particularly in destroying public statues, or even in destroying the legacy of historical, fictional or religious figures—a need for modern society to reject the old doctrines and old way of life in favor of a new and greater morality.

Some have gone so far to say that Cultural Marxism is the intentional destruction of all “holy things” an old society has accomplished, from legacies to traditional schools of thought, to even the gradual molding of individual preferences towards a State model worthy of following.

The Historical Perspective of Destroying Statues

Subversify and other third party progressives take an unemotional approach to the argument, and one based on a largely historical perspective. We know for example:

1. The dead are conscious of nothing. It doesn’t hurt Andrew Jackson’s feelings that he’s not on the $20 bill. It doesn’t concern Jefferson or Washington in the least, that people 200 years removed find their lifestyles offensive. This is merely the progression of modern society—and old society will never be in sync with the modern world because it hasn’t progressed to our state of civilized behavior, our compassion and humanity, learned by experience, a gradual process that takes literally hundreds of years.

2. It is common behavior among all revolutionaries to destroy the statues, legacies and icons of old figures that no longer serve a political purpose. This is nothing new—liberal radicals in Russia did the same on the early 20th century, as did revolutionaries in the French Revolution, and all the way down to ISIS in modern times. These people would not be revolutionaries if they “fought with honor” and tried to be nice to all those wonderful dead people.

3. In an ideal world, there would be no monuments to war heroes because nobody would ever see the value of resorting to war. The pacifist argument is that we should never think of a man who has resorted to war, resorted to murdering other people for his political purposes, as anyone deserving of special honor.  He did what had to be done, according to his perspective, not what he was proud of doing.

One may argue that violence is a necessary evil, such as protecting against home invaders, serial killers and gang warfare. That may be so, but at no point has anyone erected a monument saluting Bob for shooting his next door neighbor after a break-in attempt.

Wars, at the very best, are failures of human communication. Horrific “final solutions” that leaders take because they have run out of all other reasonable options. The aim of any so-called humanist should be to promote peace, find other options to violence, and negotiate a compromise so that we can all live one more day without gunning each other down in cold blood.

There may be no real advantage to removing statues, besides appeasing an angry mob—especially since the news media is what actually riles people up to commit violence in the first place. People only know how to respond to any situation after hearing a news narrative that demonstrates a “call to action” that makes sense.

We the Subversives, in opposition to the 1% and the oppression of the poor, will not violently intervene to oppose the removal of statues consecrating dead men and their dead wars. We can only imagine that Jefferson himself, and Washington himself, would be far less concerned with their legacies and far more concerned with the survival of the United States of America—especially as it faces its greatest divisionary war yet.

Instead, we will only remind the radicals of society that if you’re going to censure war criminals and morally repugnant men and women of yesterday, don’t forget to do the same to men and women today who are equally flawed.

Destroy the legacies of men who invaded other countries and killed civilians for profit and political advantage. Stop paying homage to public figures who align themselves with political parties that are morally reprehensible, whether because of election corruption, or because their own history is steeped in racism, slavery advocacy, white supremacy and resisting a progressive society.

Subversify remains adamantly opposed to both Republican and Democratic parties and any other ideology that promotes hate and an oligarchian society.

 

The Late Mitchell Warren is the author of The End of the Magical Kingdom series, a fairy tale parody / political satire dealing with issues of politics, religion and individual responsibility.

http://subversify.com/2017/08/16/tearing-down-monuments-of-war-is-destroying-the-legacy-of-american-heroes-right-or-wrong/

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from the University of Texas campus in Austin early on Monday. CreditEric Gay/Associated Press

With little warning, the University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate monuments from its campus overnight, 10 days before classes are set to begin.

Work to remove statues of two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, and the Confederate cabinet member John Reagan began late Sunday and continued into the early morning. A statue of James Stephen Hogg, Texas’ 20th governor, was also being removed.

The university’s president, Greg Fenves, explained that the decision had been made after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., this month opened his eyes to what the statues represented. One woman was killed and dozens more injured after white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park.

In a letter to the Texas campus’s community, Mr. Fenves wrote that after the events in Charlottesville, it had become clear to him “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

He said the statues’ historical and cultural significance was compromised by what they symbolized, and noted that they were erected in the midst of Jim Crow and segregation and that they represented “the subjugation of African-Americans.”

“The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history,” Mr. Fenves wrote. “But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”

A university spokesman, J. B. Bird, said Monday that the school had chosen to remove the statues at night “for public safety and to cause the least disruption to the university community.”

The statues were the latest to be removed this year, mostly after the events in Charlottesville. In April and May, at night and under guard, New Orleans removed four Confederate statues that had been the subject of controversy for years. Last week, Baltimore removed four statues in the middle of the night, in a swift operation similar to the one in Austin. On Saturday, Duke University in Durham, N.C., removed a statue of Lee from a campus chapel, days after protesters toppled a Confederate statue at the Durham County Courthouse.

The removals have been accompanied by a new wave of opposition to the statues. On Saturday, a Houston man was taken into custody near a monument to Richard W. Dowling, a Confederate commander, in the city’s Hermann Park after a park ranger reported finding the man in possession of materials that could be used to make an explosive device.

The man, Andrew Schneck, 25, was charged with attempting to damage or destroy federal property, according to Abe Martinez, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of Texas.

According to a criminal complaint released by the United States attorney’s office, Mr. Schneck told the ranger that he wanted to harm the statue and did not “like that guy.”

Meanwhile, the University of Houston announced Monday that it would be changing the name of a campus residence hall, the Calhoun Lofts, to the more innocuous “University Lofts.” Although the housing unit was not originally named for John C. Calhoun, the seventh vice-president and a strong defender of slavery, the school said that it was changing the name “in the wake of recent events, and out of sensitivity to our diverse student community.”

In Austin, three of the statues will be added to the collection of a campus historical center, where they will join a Jefferson Davis statue that was taken down in 2015 after a white supremacist killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C. The statue of Mr. Hogg was removed because it was a part of the broader exhibit, not because the university had ideological objections to its presence on campus, Mr. Bird said. The university is looking to find a new place for it on campus.

General Johnston was appointed to his post by Jefferson Davis in 1861 and given command of the Confederate army’s western department. He was killed in the battle of Shiloh in 1862. After resigning a congressional seat in the lead-up to the Civil War, Mr. Reagan served as the Confederacy’s postmaster general.

Austin is the Texas university system’s flagship campus. The school’s history, like that of many southern institutions, is intimately linked with the history of the Confederacy. A task force assembled to study the statues in 2015 said that removing the statue of Mr. Reagan might “put a target” on other buildings or spaces that honor Texans who fought in the Confederate army. The report noted that those Texans would include much of the university’s founding generation, including George Washington Littlefield, a regent and benefactor who commissioned the statues.

 

Story 4: Barcelona Terrorist Killed — Videos

Police Kill Man Suspected Of Deadly Barcelona Van Attack, The Fugitive Was Wearing Bomb Belt | TIME

Barcelona Terrorist being shot dead by police in Cambrils

Barcelona terror attack: How it happened

Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

 

Hero policewoman kills FOUR jihadists wearing fake suicide vests made from Coke cans

  • Five ISIS jihadis were shot dead in a beach resort attack launched eight hours after 13 died in Barcelona
  • Jihadis in fake suicide belts gunned down by police in beach resort of Cambrils on the Costa Dorada at 1 am
  • A wounded extremist clambered to his feet and climbed crash barrier before he was killed with 15 bullets
  • Catalan police officer managed to shoot dead four of the five suspects using a handgun and saved partner
  • Yesterday a terrorist in a van launched murderous rampage on Barcelona’s packed Las Ramblas promenade
  • He fled the scene and police are now hunting for Moroccan-born Moussa Oukabir, 18, who rented the vehicle
  • Fellow young Moroccans Mohamed Hychami, Younes Abouyaaqoub and Said Aallaa now also on the run
  • Two attacks linked and police say 12-strong terror cell’s bomb factory packed with gas canisters exploded 

A hero policewoman surrounded by drugged-up jihadis wearing ‘Coke can’ suicide vests killed four out of five of them herself and saved an injured colleague, it was revealed today.

The terrorists carrying knives and an axe bailed out of their overturned Audi A3 used to plough into crowds on the seafront in Cambrils on the Costa Dorada at 1am today, killing a woman, 61, from Zaragoza, and injuring six others.

Two police officers were on a routine foot patrol when one was hit by the car and within seconds her partner pulled out a handgun and killed four of them as they charged her.

The fifth terrorist ran into a park and was gunned down minutes later by a policeman – but clambered to his feet with a smile on his face and ran at armed officers who eventually needed 15 bullets to kill him.

Today Catalan police chief Josep Luis Trapero confirmed a single officer, who was meant to be on holiday this week, killed four of the terrorists and said: ‘To kill four people, even if you are a professional, is not easy to digest’, adding the officer was now receiving psychological support.

Eight hours earlier a ‘linked’ ISIS van assault on the packed Los Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona killed 13 including a three-year-old girl and injured at least 100 victims from 34 different countries.

Fitzroy Davies, from Wolverhampton, described how officers gunned down one of the Cambrils jihadis and filmed the moment he rose to his feet in a scene he compared to a ‘horror film’.

He said: ‘He must have been on drugs. He took the first round of shots he fell on the floor, and then within two seconds, I thought I was watching a film, one of them horror films, the guy just stood up. He was taunting, smiling, laughing and he carried on walking to the police, and then they gave it to him again, a couple more shots and then he fell to the ground’.

He said that his suicide belt ‘looked fake’, adding: ‘It looked like he was wearing Coke cans on him’.

ISIS has been feeding its fighters cheap super-amphetamine pills called Captagon, used to induce euphoria and increase adrenaline during their murderous missions.

Shocking video footage shows bodies strewn across the ground in the seaside town 

This is the moment a jihadi (pictured centre) in a fake suicide vest is finally shot dead - seconds after he was gunned down and got up again to walk towards police

The jihadi in a fake suicide vest walsk up and down the street ranting at police

He was shot and fell down - only to get up again

Witnesses described how he stood up like a monster in a horror film before being shot again

The terrorist gunned down twice lies dead on the ground - four of the five jihadis were shot dead by the same hero policeman, it emerged today

The killers, wearing fake explosive belts and clutching knives, bailed out of the shattered Audi and were seen smiling and shouting taunts at police shot them dead in the street at around 1am local time

Moroccan-born Moussa Oukabir, 18, who lives in Barcelona, has been named as a suspect in the Las Ramblas attack after reportedly stealing his brother's ID to rent the van and is still on the run

Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir (pictured), Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa (pictured), Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami (pictured) and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured
Police are hunting Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub (pictured), over the two terror attacks in Catalonia which killed 14 people and left more than 100 injured

Police are hunting (left to right) terror quartet Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub, over the two terror attacks in Catalonia

The van used to plough into crowds in Barcelona is towed away by police in the early hours of this morning with the driver still believed to be at large

Spanish security forces escort a friend of two Moroccan-born brothers linked to the Barcelona plot after arresting him in the town of Ripoll, Catalonia

Spanish security forces escort a friend of two Moroccan-born brothers linked to the Barcelona plot after arresting him in the town of Ripoll, Catalonia

The terror began in Barcelona yesterday and spread to Cambrils overnight and police believe the terror cell has a safe house in Alcanar and has links to Moroccan brothers from Ripoll

The terror began in Barcelona yesterday afternoon and spread to Cambrils overnight and police believe the terror cell has a safe house in Alcanar and has links to Moroccan brothers from Ripoll. The coast south of Barcelona has a reputation as a hotbed for terrorists and a key meeting to plan 9/11 was held a few miles from Cambrils

Multiple gunshots heard after sirens near house party in Cambrils

THE TERRORISTS KILLED AND SUSPECTS ARRESTED AFTER THE BARCELONA ATTACKS

As of Friday morning, four people have been arrested and six people have been killed in connection with the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambril.

The four arrested include one Spanish and one Moroccan national.

One man handed himself into police on Thursday evening: This is Driss Oukabir, 28, a Moroccan national living in Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona.

He claims he is not connected and that his identity documents had been stolen by his younger brother.

Moussa Oukabir, 18, is now being hunted by police, thought to have been the driver of the van on Las Ramblas that killed 13 and injured 100.

Thursday also saw one man arrested in Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, where the gas explosion in a house is being investigated.

One man died in this explosion, who has since been linked to the attacks last night.

Police believe the house where the explosion took place was being used as a bomb factory by the terrorists.

The third arrest, a man of unknown nationality, was also made in Ripoll, on Friday morning.

He is reportedly the driver of a Ford Focus which smashed though a police checkpoint on Thursday.

The driver fled the scene, leaving behind the car in which police found the car’s owner stabbed to death.

Five men wearing fake suicide belts were shot dead by police after they launched a second terrorist attack in Cambrils, 70 miles southwest of Barcelona at 1am Friday morning, injuring seven people by driving an Audi A3 into crowds on the seafront.

Eight hours earlier an ISIS jihadi drove a van at 60mph through crowds of people on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas promenade – Spain’s busiest tourist street – which was ‘jam-packed’ with holidaymakers and locals.

Police are today hunting for Europe’s most wanted man Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan-born teenager believed to have been the driver. He fled on foot and it is unclear if he joined the Cambrils attack. Three of his young friends are also on the run.

His brother Driss’ ID was used to rent up to three vans including the one in the attack but he has handed himself into police and denied any involvement. He is among four people arrested.

Police are linking the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks and believe the terror cell with up to 12 members had a base in the resort town of Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, where a house-cum-bomb factory packed with gas canisters was destroyed in an explosion on Wednesday killing one man and injuring another.

Five jihadis have been shot dead and four men including Driss Oukabir, 28, have been arrested.

A fourth suspect was gunned down in his car as he rammed officers at a roadblock in Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona. But Spanish media said he may have been the victim of a hijacking because he also had knife wounds.

As ISIS terrorists caused carnage in one of Europe’s great cities once again, it emerged today:

  • 13 were killed and at least 100 injured after an ISIS jihadi used a white Fiat van as a weapon on Los Ramblas, Barcelona at 4pm yesterday;
  • The driver flees the scene after driving at 60mph along 500 yards of road swerving to hit men, women and children including dozens of tourists;
  • Fugitive Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan-born teenager, is Europe’s most wanted man and is believed to have been the driver of the van; Three other Moroccans Mohamed Hychami, 24, Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, and Said Aallaa, 18, are also on the run;
  • Moussa may have rented up to three vehicles using his brother Driss’ ID and his 28-year-old older sibling has since handed himself in to police and is among four suspects arrested, including some mutual friends;
  • At 1am a second terror attack takes place in Cambrils, a seaside resort around 70 miles from Barcelona. An Audi A3 with five jihadis on board ploughs through crowds killing one woman and injuring six more including a policeman. Their car turns over and they bail out with knives before being shot dead by police in the street;
  • Police say a house in Alcanar, further along the Costa Dorada from Barcelona, exploded on Wednesday killing one man. They say it was packed with gas canisters and contained maps of Barcelona and is now understood to be the terror cell’s headquarters and bomb factory;
  • A man was shot dead in the town of Sant Just Desvern close to Barcelona after he drove at a road block. Police now believe he was a not a terrorist either fleeing the city in fear or may have been the victim of a hijacking;
  • ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which are strikingly similar to attacks in LondonBerlin, Stockholm and Nice, where rented vehicles were used as weapons;
  • CIA warned Spanish police two months ago that Barcelona faced an imminent attack;

Families fled for their lives yesterday when suspected Islamic State terrorists mowed down dozens in a hotspot for British holidaymakers.

More than 100 men, women and children were mowed down and their broken bodies lay in pools of blood on the famous Las Ramblas street at 4pm yesterday, where 13 are confirmed dead.

Prams and toys lay among the carnage alongside tourists’ ‘selfie sticks’, discarded in the chaos as families fled the terror attack.

Shops, bars and restaurants packed with tourists and locals were abandoned with drinks, half-eaten meals and ice creams abandoned on the tables.

Pictures from their Alcanar bomb factory show more than 20 butane gas canisters scattered in the rubble and detectives found paperwork suggesting an attack in Barcelona was imminent.

It was unclear whether the house was deliberately destroyed to hide evidence or whether an accidental detonation forced the cell to rush through an improvised van attack. One person pulled from the rubble of the house was among four people so far arrested for the plot.

The attack in the coastal town began when a van hit pedestrians near the port area, leaving seven people including a police officer injured. The van then overturned and the attackers, now on foot, were shot by police as they attempted to leave the scene. It was unclear whether they were armed.

Spain's King Felipe VI (C), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont applaud after observing a minute of silence for the victims in Barcelona today

Spain’s King Felipe VI (C), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont applaud after observing a minute of silence for the victims in Barcelona today

Huge crowds gathered at Plaza de Catalunya, which sits at the top of Los Ramblas, to observe a minute's silence that turned into applause 

Huge crowds gathered at Plaza de Catalunya, which sits at the top of Los Ramblas, to observe a minute’s silence that turned into applause

Crowds have returned to the scene of yesterday's terror attack to remember those killed or injured by the rampaging van

Crowds have returned to the scene of yesterday’s terror attack to remember those killed or injured by the rampaging van

Flowers and candles are starting to be laid at the top of Los Ramblas today as the city comes to terms with the shocking attack

Flowers and candles are starting to be laid at the top of Los Ramblas today as the city comes to terms with the shocking attack

Mourners in Barcelona were in tears and clinging to eachother for support as they surveyed the scene of devastation today

Large units of police are patrolling Los Ramblas today as tourists and local returned to the area where 13 died yesterday

In Cambrils - the scene of the second terror attack - armed police are patrolling the streets and blood was being washed from the cobbled streets

In Cambrils - the scene of the second terror attack - armed police are patrolling the streets and blood was being washed from the cobbled streets

A crowd in Barcelona’s main square defiantly shouted “not afraid” today following a minute’s silence attended by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI, held for the victims of a double vehicle attack.

Standing silent in the Plaza de Catalunya, Rajoy joined the king and Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalonia region where Barcelona is located, in mourning the victims of attacks that left 13 dead and more than 100 injured.

At loggerheads as the separatist Catalan government attempts to break away from Spain, Rajoy and Puigdemont put their differences aside as they held the minute of silence in the square near the scene of the Barcelona attack.

Just after, crowds at the square broke out in loud applause, shouting “I’m not afraid.”

Dramatic video posted online showed bystanders walking casually towards police cars before gunshots rang out, sending them leaping for safety on the beach below the raised roadway.

A second video shows four bodies lying on and near the road, apparently some way from the overturned vehicle, which is not in shot. The suspected suicide belts can be seen around the waists of the dead men.

A Spanish man filmed three of the terrorists as they lay dead on the ground, saying: ‘Look, there are two dead lying there on the floor. Sons of bitches, they were wearing explosives. No there are three of them. They were wearing explosives. Sons of bitches!’

Markel Artabe, a 20-year-old restaurant worker, said he was on the seaside promenade when he heard what he initially thought were fireworks, but soon realised were gunshots.

He said he saw someone lying on the ground ‘with a gunshot in the head’. The victim’s friends were crying out ‘help’, he added.

Joan Marc Serra Salinas, a 21-year-old waiter, said he heard many gunshots.

‘And shouting. And more shouting. I jumped onto the beach and didn’t move,’ he said.

A spokesman for the regional government in Catalonia said: ‘The suspected terrorists were driving an Audi A3 and ran down several people, until they crashed into a Mossos d’Esquadra patrol and the shootout began.’

As the Cambrils attack began police warned locals to stay inside – and many locked themselves inside hotels and bars.

Six people including a police officer were injured in the Cambrils attack, in the province of Tarragona. One was today in a critical condition in hospital, with another two seriously injured.

Four of the terrorists were killed immediately in the shootout and the fifth was shot and later arrested after being located by police in a helicopter. He later died from his injuries.

The regional police tweeted: ‘We are working with the hypothesis that the crimes in Cambrils are a terrorist attack. We have taken down those presumed responsible.We confirm that the 5th terrorist taken down in Cambrils, who was injured, has died.’

Driss Oukabir (pictured) has been arrested by police, according to local media reports. The Guardia Civil previously said the van used in the attack was rented by Oukabir in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada

One of the arrested suspects is believed to be Driss Oukabir

Driss Oukabir (pictured) has been arrested by police, according to local media reports. The Guardia Civil previously said the van used in the attack was rented by Oukabir in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada

Police officers rushed to the seaside resort to carry out an operation and ended up shooting the five terror suspects dead

Seven members of the public including a policeman were hurt in the new attack in Cambrils, 70 miles from Barcelona, which saw the jihadis’ car overturn before armed police gunned down the suspects

Seven members of the public including a policeman were hurt in the new attack in Cambrils, 70 miles from Barcelona, which saw the jihadis’ car overturn before armed police gunned down the suspects

Five terrorists were shot dead by police in the resort of Cambrils, south of Barcelona, as they carried out a new terror attack

Police officers and forensic personnel begin a search of the vehicle driven by the suspected Jihadists, who were quickly shot dead after the car flipped in the road

Police officers and forensic personnel begin a search of the vehicle driven by the suspected Jihadists, who were quickly shot dead after the car flipped in the road

The attack in the coastal town began when a van hit pedestrians near the port area, leaving seven people including a police officer injured

In Barcelona, a hired van (pictured), registered to rental company Telefurgo, rammed into scores of holidaymakers and their children. The crumpled van is pictured as a body lies on the ground

In Barcelona, a hired van (pictured), registered to rental company Telefurgo, rammed into scores of holidaymakers and their children. The crumpled van is pictured as a body lies on the ground

Horrifying images of the aftermath show an elderly couple were among the injured after the van ploughed into pedestrians on the busy Barcelona street

Horrifying images of the aftermath show an elderly couple were among the injured after the van ploughed into pedestrians on the busy Barcelona street

Police were seen arresting a suspect

They arrested a man earlier on Thursday

Stills from a video showing a man being arrested by Spanish police in Barcelona after the suspected terror attack in the heart of the city

There are harrowing scenes in Barcelona after a van was driven into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in the heart of the city. Thirteen people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured as armed police swarm the streets

How the Barcelona attack unfolded: Map shows the route the terrorist took as he ploughed into scores of holidaymakers

In a day of chaos and carnage that saw the deadliest Islamic terror attack in Spain since the 2004 Madrid bombings that killed 192, the biggest loss of life was in Barcelona.

The lone terrorist swerved his van onto the paved walkway of Las Ramblas and ploughed on for hundreds of yards. By the time he came to a halt, 13 people were dead and more than 100 more injured. Three Germans, a Greek and a Belgian were among the dead. More than 20 French nationals are believed to have been injured.

A five-year-old Irish boy suffered a broken leg when his family was caught up in the terror attack in Barcelona.

The boy’s father also has leg injuries after a van was driven into innocent people in Las Ramblas, one of the busiest avenues in the Spanish city.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said: ‘They are not life-threatening, I’m relieved to say. But in a way it’s a miracle that more Irish people weren’t involved, given that there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year.’

ISIS hits Europe with yet another marauding vehicle attack

The attack is the sixth time in a year that Islamic fanatics have used vehicles to kill pedestrians in Europe – with more than 100 dead.

· On July 14 last year, a truck was driven into crowds in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 86 revellers.

· On December 19, 12 died in Berlin when a truck smashed through a Christmas market in the German capital.

· On March 22 this year, five died after Khalid Masood drove into crowds on Westminster Bridge in Central London.

· On April 7, a fanatic drove a truck into pedestrians in Stockholm, killing five.

· On June 3, eight died when three attackers in a van mowed down passers-by on London Bridge (pictured above) before stabbing others nearby.

The father and son were part a family of four, including the mother and a daughter, and are understood to have been on a trip to celebrate the boy’s birthday. The youngster suffered a broken femur.

Spanish police initially named their prime suspect in the attack as the man they said hired the van, Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old Morocco-born man living in the town of Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona.

However hours later he apparently presented himself at a police station in Ripoll and claimed his 18-year-old brother Moussa had stolen his papers to hire the van.

Disturbing comments posted on social network Kiwi by an account carrying Moussa Oukabir’s name and photograph makes reference to killing all infidels.

Driss was the second of the two people arrested, while Moussa remained unaccounted for this morning.

Horrifying pictures and video from the scene of the Las Ramblas attack show armed police and paramedics rushing around the busy promenade in the centre of the city, as victims lie hurt in the street.

Josep Lluis Trapero, the head of the regional police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, said the attack was designed ‘to kill as many people as possible’.

A witness called Angel said he saw the attacker close up and described him as ‘a young man, maximum 25 years old, chestnut brown hair and skinny.’

Others described him as about 5ft 6in tall and wearing a blue and white striped top.

Another witness, Isaac, said: ‘The person was accelerating. He mounted the pavement to run people over. We saw the van passing by running people over at 50 miles an hour. It was as if it was driving through a field of corn.’

A taxi driver told Catalan TV station TV3: ‘The van was doing zigzags knocking over everyone he could. It was shocking.’

Aamer Anwar was walking down Las Ramblas at the time, which he said was ‘jam-packed’ with tourists.

He told Sky News: ‘All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.’

Briton Steve Garrett was in a nearby market and sheltered in a bakery with several others after streams of people ran inside.

Mr Garrett told the BBC: ‘A very large number of people ran into the market area in a big kind of way, lots of screaming, lots of shouting.

‘Obviously coming from England it was reminding me a great deal of what happened in London, so we were very concerned about what might be going on next.’

Mr Garrett said a ‘second wave’ of people then entered the market, followed by armed police.

He said: ‘They seemed to sweep through the market area. They seemed to be looking for someone. They were going very carefully, very cautiously, stall to stall.’

Another witness told Sky News: ‘It was quite terrifying. All of a sudden scores of people ran towards us, hysterical, children hysterical… first of all they said someone had been shot.

‘All of a sudden a second wave of people came down the street, we just ran, I lost my husband in the melee. The shops went into lockdown mode.’

She added: ‘We really had no idea what was going on other than that we needed to get ourselves out of there very quickly… there was just hundreds of people running away very quickly.’

'Bomb factory' blast: A home in Alcanar which exploded on Wednesday leaving butane gas canisters strewn in the rubble was linked to the terror cell, say police, who believe it was being used to make explosives. One man died in the blast and people were hurt

‘Bomb factory’ blast: A home in Alcanar which exploded on Wednesday leaving butane gas canisters strewn in the rubble was linked to the terror cell, say police, who believe it was being used to make explosives. One man died in the blast and people were hurt

Police are linking the terror attack in Barcelona to an explosion at a home 125 miles south of the city, which is believed to have been caused by canisters filled with butane

Police are linking the terror attack in Barcelona to an explosion at a home 125 miles south of the city, which is believed to have been caused by canisters filled with butane

Investigators have confirmed that yesterday's explosion is being linked to the terror attack in Barcelona 

Investigators have confirmed that yesterday’s explosion is being linked to the terror attack in Barcelona

BRITISH ACTRESS ‘WAS FORCED TO HIDE IN FREEZER’

Laila Roussa dramatically live tweeter her experience as the horrifying attack unfolded in Barcelona

Laila Roussa dramatically live tweeter her experience as the horrifying attack unfolded in Barcelona

Actress Laila Rouass has dramatically live tweeted her experience ‘hiding in a restaurant freezer’ after being caught up in the horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona.

The wife of snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, 46, took to Twitter amid the brutal terror attack which is believed to have claimed the lives of 13 people and wounded 100 others.

Tweeting directly in the middle of the attack, the former Holby City star said: ‘In the middle of the attack. Hiding in a restaurant freezer. Happened so fast. Praying for the safety of everyone here x.’

And in a later tweet, the star, from Stepney in London, posted: ‘Gunshots just heard. Armed police running down the street looking for someone.’

In a series of further tweets she added: ‘The whole of Las Ramblas and surrounding roads in lock down with armed police everywhere,’ and ‘hearing one person has been shot.’

Friend of Mrs Rouass and fellow actor Douglas Henshall tweeted a message of support to the former Holby City star.

He said: ‘F*** sake Laila stay safe. X’.

Tom Gueller, who lives on an adjoining road, was forced to flee the scene when he saw the van hurtling through the crowds.

He told BBC’s PM: ‘I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that.

‘I ran away, I mean I live near, I had to run back about 50 metres or so and go up to my flat and obviously see what’s happening on the road from my balcony.’

Asked about the van, he said: ‘It wasn’t slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas.’

Police chief Trapero told a news conference: ‘At 16.50 a van entered the pedestrian area of the Rambla, and drove for many meters, running over hundreds of people.

‘Many of them were injured and it caused the death of 13 people. The driver got out of the van and ran away. There was no shouting, no phrases which sometimes accompany such attacks. Witnesses called the emergency services and gave a description.

‘The Mossos began Operation Cage, an anti-terrorist operation throughout Catalonia. There is no evidence that the person who left the van was armed. We do not believe he was armed, at least visibly.

‘We entered all of the bars and establishments of the area to check nobody was hiding. This was clearly a terrorist attack with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

‘It is believed to be connected with a second incident – the explosion of a house in Alcanar. We received an alert of an explosion where one person has died and others were injured.

‘A part of the building collapsed. We are linking these two incidents. I cannot give further details as we are still working on the investigation.

At least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, Barcelona's busiest tourist area

At least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s busiest tourist area

Eyewitnesses said swarms of people were running for their lives with one woman desperately screaming out for her child. The van can be seen with a crumpled bonnet as people lie motionless on the pavement

Eyewitnesses said swarms of people were running for their lives with one woman desperately screaming out for her child. The van can be seen with a crumpled bonnet as people lie motionless on the pavement

Footage had emerged of heavily armed police swarming the area, searching for the attackers. Witnesses said the area was swamped with terror cops and plain clothed officers ‘within 30 seconds’ 

Footage had emerged of heavily armed police swarming the area, searching for the attackers. Witnesses said the area was swamped with terror cops and plain clothed officers ‘within 30 seconds’

‘This led to the arrest of two people directly implicated in this attack. This does not mean that the two people under arrest are those who carried out the attack in Barcelona – but they are connected to the attack.

‘Neither of them was the person driving the van. Neither of them has any convictions for terrorism. One is from Melilla [a Spanish enclave in north Africa] and the other is Moroccan.

‘One person was arrested in Alcanar and the other, a Moroccan, in Ripoll.’

World leaders were quick to condemn the bloodbath, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May saying Britain ‘stands with Spain against terror’ in response to the tragic news.

She added: ‘My thoughts are with the victims of the terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident. The UK stands with Spain against terror.’

US President Donald Trump condemned the attack and promised to do ‘whatever is necessary to help’ the Spanish.

As news of the atrocity was breaking, US First Lady Melania Trump tweeted: ‘Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona’.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, tweeted: ‘My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.’

Mr Khan added: ‘London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.’

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau says a moment of silence will be held in the city’s main square at noon today ‘to show that we are not scared and we are more united that ever’.

Many of those injured were seriously hurt, and Catalonia’s interior minister Joaquim Forn said he thought it ‘very possible’ that the number of dead will rise.

Pedestrians treated on ground after truck crashes into crowd

A woman lies injured on the pavement as paramedics offer treatment just moments after the van ploughed into pedestrians on Thursday 

A woman lies injured on the pavement as paramedics offer treatment just moments after the van ploughed into pedestrians on Thursday

Police have confirmed that at least 100 people are injured, with Catalonia's interior minister Joaquim Forn saying it is 'very possible' that the number of dead will rise

Police have confirmed that at least 100 people are injured, with Catalonia’s interior minister Joaquim Forn saying it is ‘very possible’ that the number of dead will rise

Victims lie in the street after the van attack in Barcelona

The attack has claimed 13 lives and left more than 100 injured

Victims lie in the street after the van attack in Barcelona, which has claimed 13 lives and left more than 100 injured

Armed police on the streets of Barcelona following Thursday's atrocity, which saw a van plough into crowds of pedestrians in the city's tourist area

Armed police on the streets of Barcelona following Thursday’s atrocity, which saw a van plough into crowds of pedestrians in the city’s tourist area

Armed policemen arrive in a cordoned-off area after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona, killing at least 13 people yesterday 

Armed policemen arrive in a cordoned-off area after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona, killing at least 13 people yesterday

The confusion and carnage was added to when a white Ford Focus car rammed police at a roadblock that had been set up to try and capture the fugitive terrorists, injuring three officers including a woman who suffered a broken leg.

The driver was shot dead after what was described as an exchange of fire, however officials last night sought to downplay the link to the terror plot.

Police chief Mr Trapero told his press conference: ‘He is a Spanish national and at the moment we have no indication he is linked to these other people.’

One of the terrorists ran on foot after carrying out the attack in the centre of Barcelona, which is typically packed with tourists 

One of the terrorists ran on foot after carrying out the attack in the centre of Barcelona, which is typically packed with tourists

People gather round a victim after the van drove into a crowd in Barcelona 

People flee after the van drove into crowds in centre of Barcelona 

People flee after the van drove into crowds in centre of Barcelona which left at least 13 people dead and more than 100 injured

The scene in Barcelona on Thursday as emergency services rush to help after Barcelona was attacked by suspected terrorists

The scene in Barcelona on Thursday as emergency services rush to help after Barcelona was attacked by suspected terrorists

Injured people are treated at the scene in Las Ramblas, Barcelona after the horrific attack. Right: People trapped in a shop under police guard

The civil guard has said the van used in the attack was rented in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada, which is around 15 miles by road from the scene of the killings.

A second van was found parked in the town of Vic, which is around 50 miles north of Barcelona. Police believe it was meant to be used as a getaway vehicle.

Local newspaper El Periodico said the CIA had warned local police two months ago that La Rambla could be the scene of a terrorist attack.

The incident has taken place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe’s top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.

A man sits on the pavement with his head in his hands after the tragic attack, now being treated as a terrorist incident

A man sits on the pavement with his head in his hands after the tragic attack, now being treated as a terrorist incident

People taking refuge in a shop near Las Ramblas in Barcelona after fleeing the busy promenade after the attack on Thursday 

People taking refuge in a shop near Las Ramblas in Barcelona after fleeing the busy promenade after the attack on Thursday

People are guided out of a fast food restaurant by police after the attack in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon 

People are guided out of a fast food restaurant by police after the attack in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon

The most wanted man in Europe: Manhunt for 18-year-old Barcelona terror suspect ‘who stole his brother’s identity and talked about killing infidels on social media’ 

Police are still hunting the teenager thought to have been behind the Barcelona terror attack which killed 13 and injured more than 100 people.

Moussa Oukabir, 18, is believed to have stolen his older brother’s identity documents to rent the white Renault van which ploughed into pedestrians on a busy street popular with tourists.

The teenager, said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan heritage, had previously written about ‘killing infidels’ in a chilling online post.

His brother Driss Oukabir, 28, was initially named as a suspect but later handed himself to a police station in Ripoll, a town to the north of Barcelona, not far from the French border.

The older brother, whose identity document is said to have been found in the van, was reportedly arrested after he told police his brother took his ID documents.

Moussa Oukabir is being hunted by police after his brother said he stole his ID to rent a van used in the Barcelona terror attack

Driss Oukabir was initially named as a suspect. It is understood his ID was found in the van used in the attack. He later said his younger brother stole his ID to rent the van

Police circulated the image of Driss Oukabir, 28, (right) saying he had rented a van used in the attack – but he later accused his brother Moussa (left) of stealing his ID documents to rent at least one van

An account with Moussa Oukabir's name and photograph posted on social media that, on his first day ruling the world, he would 'kill the infidels' and 'let Muslims follow the religion'

An account with Moussa Oukabir’s name and photograph posted on social media that, on his first day ruling the world, he would ‘kill the infidels’ and ‘let Muslims follow the religion’

On the run: Spanish police are now looking for the teenager in connection with yesterday's attack, which killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100

On the run: Spanish police are now looking for the teenager in connection with yesterday’s attack, which killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100

Moussa can be seen smiling and posing in images on his social media accounts, which he also used to air hatred for non-Muslims.

The teenager, reportedly a resident of Barcelona, posted on social network Kiwi that, if he was king of the world, his first act would be to ‘kill the infidels’.

After Moussa’s brother and another suspect were detained yesterday, police arrested a third person, a 34-year-old Moroccan, in Ripoll today. Moussa however is still on the run.

A security expert told the New York Times that police believe three vans were hired using the elder Oukabir brother’s ID, after the plotters were unable to hire a larger truck.

Little is yet known about Moussa, although his brother is thought to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. He is said to have come to Spain via Marseille in the south of France.

In the aftermath of the attack police circulated an image of the elder Oukabir, a Catalan resident of Moroccan origin, saying he had rented out a second van thought to be intended as a getaway vehicle – where his documents were found.

But police sources said Driss later handed himself in at a police station in Ripoll, 65 miles north of Barcelona, claiming his brother had stolen his documents, leading to police now focusing on finding Moussa.

On Friday morning, a third person was arrested by police investigating the attacks – also in the city of Ripoll.

Moussa pulling typical teenage poses on social media, where he also posted about hatred for non-Muslims

Moussa is said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan origin. His brother is understood to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala

Moussa is said to be a Spanish national of Moroccan origin. His brother is understood to have been born in the small Moroccan town of Aghbala

Authorities tow the van which ploughed into the crowd on Las Ramblas on Thursday

Authorities tow the van which ploughed into the crowd on Las Ramblas on Thursday

Damage: The front of the van can be seen destroyed in these images taken late last night

Damage: The front of the van can be seen destroyed in these images taken late last night

Hunted: The driver of the van is still on the run, but it is not known who was behind the wheel

Hunted: The driver of the van is still on the run, but it is not known who was behind the wheel

Spanish police has linked Thursday's attack to an explosion that killed at least one person in a Alcanar, 120 miles south of the Barcelona

Spanish police has linked Thursday’s attack to an explosion that killed at least one person in a Alcanar, 120 miles south of the Barcelona

Police officers rushed over to treat what is believed to be an officer after a driver in a Ford Focus drove through a roadblock 

British boy, seven, among those missing after Barcelona massacre as death toll from attacks rises to 14 and photos emerge of Las Ramblas victims – including Italian father killed while shielding his son 

Desperate families of those missing after the Spanish terror attacks searched for their loved ones on Friday as the death toll rose to 14 and the first victims were identified.

Seven-year-old Julian Cadman, who was born in Kent but moved to Australia three years ago, was named among the missing by his cousin who posted an appeal online after the boy’s mother, Jom, was listed as being in a serious condition in hospital by Spanish authorities.

His father, Andrew, is currently flying from Sydney to Spain to help in the search for his missing son without knowing whether the boy is dead or alive.

Meanwhile Heidi Nunes, from California, also appealed for information about her husband Jared Tucker, 43, on Friday after they got separated during the attack while out shopping.

Elsewhere the first of those killed in the ISIS attack on Las Ramblas were named as Italians Bruno Gulotta and Luca Russo, Belgian mother-of-two Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, and 57-year-old Spaniard Fransisco Lopez Rodriguez.

A three-year-old Spanish boy from Llimiana was also killed in the attack, the town’s mayor said. He was with his mother, grandmother, sister and aunt who was injured trying to save him.

It came as the death toll from both the Barcelona and Cambrils attack was raised to 14, while 130 people were confirmed injured, including 17 in critical condition and 30 in serious condition.

Julian Cadman, seven, believed to be from Britain, is missing after the terror attack in Barcelona has his family appeal for news

Julian was pictured enjoying his holiday in Barcelona just hours before the attack took place. British authorities have confirmed 'a small number of citizens' were caught up in the attack, but would not say if they were among the injured or dead

Julian was pictured enjoying his holiday in Barcelona just hours before the attack took place. British authorities have confirmed ‘a small number of citizens’ were caught up in the attack, but would not say if they were among the injured or dead

Luca Russo, 25, an engineer from Padua, in Italy, was also confirmed among the dead. He was on holiday at the time of the attack alongside his girlfriend Marta Scomazzon

Luca Russo, 25, an engineer from Padua, in Italy, was also confirmed among the dead. He was on holiday at the time of the attack alongside his girlfriend Marta Scomazzon

Miss Scomazzon (pictured with boyfriend Luca before the attack) was left with a broken collarbone after being hit, Italian media reported on Friday

Miss Scomazzon (pictured with boyfriend Luca before the attack) was left with a broken collarbone after being hit, Italian media reported on Friday

Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, from Belgium, has been identified as being among the dead. Authorities said she was on holiday with her husband and sons when she was run down and killed

Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, from Belgium, has been identified as being among the dead. Authorities said she was on holiday with her husband and sons when she was run down and killed

Spanish authorities say 57-year-old  Francisco Lopez Rodriguez (pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack) died on the spot after being hit by ISIS terrorists. He was earlier reported as missing

Spanish authorities say 57-year-old  Francisco Lopez Rodriguez (pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack) died on the spot after being hit by ISIS terrorists. He was earlier reported as missing

Heidi Nunes, from California, said online that her husband Jared Tucker, 43, is missing after the pair got separated on Las Ramblas during the attack. Rex Tillerson has confirmed one American death and said the State Department is 'still confirming the deaths and injuries of others', without giving specific details

Heidi Nunes, from California, said online that her husband Jared Tucker, 43, is missing after the pair got separated on Las Ramblas during the attack

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities are ‘urgently looking into reports’ of a dual-nationality child believed to be missing in Spain, and confirmed that ‘a number of British nationals’ were caught up in the attack.

Mrs May gave no indication if those Britons were among those wounded or killed.

Mr Gulotta, a computer salesman from Legnano, in northern Italy, was crushed to death in the Barcelona attack as he walked along holding his six-year-old son’s hand.

His wife, Martina, said he died kneeling down to shield their son and seven-month-old daughter from the van, according to boss Pino Bruno, who claimed to have spoken with her.

Meanwhile Belgian authorities named Mrs Vanbockrijck, from Tongeren, as among the dead, saying she was on holiday with her husband and sons at the time.

Spanish authorities said Mr Rodriguez, who was pictured on Las Ramblas moments before the attack, died on the spot after being hit by the terrorist’s van. He was earlier reported as missing.

Seven-year-old Julian Cadman’s grandmother Norma Canaveral told MailOnline: ‘We are just so worried. I am just waiting for news, hoping for good news.’

The 66-year-old, from London, said: ‘I don’t know what to say. His mother is in the hospital, she’s ok, but she became separated from Julian and we don’t know where he is. All we can do it wait.’

Julian was born in Kent and attended the Chiddingstone Nursery before moving to Sydney three years ago with his parents Jom and Andrew Cadman.

Andrew is from Australia and Jom is originally from The Philippines.

Driss Oukabir, 28, the brother of the suspected van driver, lives in Ripoll where he handed himself over to police on Thursday, while another man was also arrested there 

Driss Oukabir, 28, the brother of the suspected van driver, lives in Ripoll where he handed himself over to police on Thursday, while another man was also arrested there

King Felipe VI (centre), Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (to his left), and President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont (to his right) led a minute of silence in Barcelona on Friday for the victims of the attack

Thousands gathered in Catalonia Square in the centre of the city in order to honour the 13 people who died in the city, and another woman who passed away on Friday after being struck in a second attack in Cambrils

Thousands gathered in Catalonia Square in the centre of the city in order to honour the 13 people who died in the city, and another woman who passed away on Friday after being struck in a second attack in Cambrils

Women on Las Ramblas, the street where the attack took place, break down in tears as they remember victims of the attack

Women on Las Ramblas, the street where the attack took place, break down in tears as they remember victims of the attack

Jom is in hospital in Barcelona as she recovers from yesterday’s attack on Las Ramblas. Julian is still missing. Andrew has flown from Sydney to Spain.

Norma, who is Jom’s cousin, but is called ‘granny’ by Julian, said her daughter Christabel Juguilon had been calling relatives to find out what has happened to Julian.

Her other daughter Norie-Jean, Jom’s niece, added: ‘I saw the post about Julian being missing on Facebook this morning but we don’t know any more.

‘Julian’s a really sweet boy. He loves to dance, he’s a lovely, bubbly boy.’

Appeals for the missing came as two Spaniards, three Germans and one Belgian were identified among the dead, according to Spanish media.

The two Spainards were reported to be a man and boy who were related and came from the Rubí neighbourhood of Barcelona.

Meanwhile citizens from America, Australia, Ireland, France, Greece, Hong Kong and the Netherlands were confirmed among the more than 100 people injured.

A six-year-old girl, also of unknown nationality, is in serious condition in hospital after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage, theNew York Times reports.

Norman and Pederlita Putot, who were born in the Philippines but lived in Ireland, were named by RTE as among those caught up in the attack along with their two Irish-born children.

Their five-year-old son, who was not named, suffered a broken leg in the attack and is now in hospital along with his father, who suffered knee injuries.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: ‘It’s a miracle that more Irish people weren’t involved, given that there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year.

‘At the moment, you can safely say that over 300,000 Irish people are in Spain, today as we speak.

‘This is not just an attack on Spain or on Barcelona, but it’s an attack on the way we live as European citizens in the free world.’

French authorities have confirmed the largest number of injuries so far, saying 26 of its citizens were among those hurt with 11 in serious condition.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, said two citizens were in critical condition following the attack, two more were injured, and a total of 16 Australians were caught up in the attack.

Belgium’s foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed one citizen had been killed and another two injured, including one in serious condition.

Meanwhile Greek authorities said three people had been injured, identifying them as a woman and her two children, though the extent of their injuries is unclear.

Chinese authorities said one person from Hong Kong was among those hurt, while the US also confirmed and American suffered minor injuries.

Three Dutch are also among the injured, though it is not known how badly.

Five Cubans were identified among the injured on Friday as the country’s embassy in Spain said four were hurt in Barcelona and a fifth received minor injuries in the Cambrils attack that wounded a total of seven people, including a police officer.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4800282/PICTURED-Moroccan-man-rented-Barcelona-van.html#ixzz4qQj9MlJu

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The Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017, Story 1: Trump Takes On Government Regulation Permitting Process for Infrastructure With Executive Order — Videos Story 2: President Trump Takes On Corporate Executives Manufacturing Abroad and Big Lie Media On Charlottesville — I Need The Facts — Videos — Story 3: Will Trump Cave To Critics of Bannon? If Trump Does He Will Lose A Large Part Of His Voter Base And Some Talk Radio Supporters — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Takes On Government Regulation Permitting Process for Infrastructure With Executive Order — Videos 

President Donald Trump Full EXPLOSIVE Press Conference 8/15/17

 

Trump Says ‘Both Sides’ to Blame in Charlottesville Violence

Remarks at odds with day-earlier statement condemning white supremacists

Trump Again Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Violence
Responding to questions at a news conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump said “both sides” are to blame for violent weekend clashes in Charlottesville, Va. Here’s the 17-minute exchange with reporters. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

NEW YORK—President Donald Trump, in a combative news conference on Tuesday, defended his response to the racially charged protests over the weekend, saying both sides were to blame for the clashes in Charlottesville, Va.

“There is blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it,” Mr. Trump said of the confrontation between white nationalist protesters holding a demonstration in the city and the counterprotesters facing off against them.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but I’ll say it right now,” he said, adding that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks were at odds with his statement on Monday that singled out white supremacists for blame and was issued after the president faced heavy pressure for failing to do so two days earlier. One woman was killed during the violence when a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd.

Explaining Tuesday why he waited to call out white nationalist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name, Mr. Trump said: “Before I make a statement, I need the facts.”

The news conference was his first at Trump Tower since taking office, and was the most confrontational appearance since his last news conference at his New York skyscraper on Jan. 11, when he got into a shouting match with a CNN reporter.

Although the focus of the event was on Mr. Trump’s efforts to ease regulations and speed up infrastructure projects, the inquiries from reporters were almost exclusively about Mr. Trump’s handling of the protests, and why it took him three days to single out neo-Nazis or white nationalists, who organized the weekend rally.

Out of nearly two dozen questions aimed at the president, just one was about infrastructure. He received no questions about North Korea’s recent decision to back off its threat to fire missiles at Guam, or his first trade action aimed at China, which was announced on Monday.

An increasingly agitated president responded by calling the counterprotesters, who ranged from liberal activists, members of the clergy and students, the “alt-left”—a play on the term “alt-right” that is a catchall phrase for far-right groups that embrace tenets of white supremacy or reject mainstream conservatism.

He suggested there was a slippery slope from removing a statute of Civil War General Robert E. Lee, which sparked the demonstration, and scrubbing from history former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he said. “What about the fact that they came charging with their clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

The president’s comments were praised by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who, on Twitter, thanked Mr. Trump for his “honor and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemn the leftist terrorists.” Mr. Duke ran for Senate as a Republican.

The tweet drew immediate rebukes from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, one of his party’s few black congressmen.

“I don’t think anybody should be looking at getting props from a grand dragon from the KKK as a definition of success,” Mr. Hurd said on CNN, adding that the president should “stick to the teleprompter and not go off the cuff.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis), who has often defended Mr. Trump this year, moved quickly to separate himself from the president’s remarks at Trump Tower.

“We must be clear,” Mr. Ryan posted on Twitter. “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) tweeted: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that the president “once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!”

Following days of criticism about his handling of Charlottesville, Mr. Trump came to the news conference aggrieved about his treatment, two advisers to the president said. One said he had been “stunned” by the reaction over the past few days and was feeling “overwhelming pressure.” Mr. Trump could have parried questions by referring to his statement on Monday singling out white nationalist groups by name. Instead, he gave the most extensive public comments on the episode to date.

One adviser to the president, speaking before the news conference, said Mr. Trump was facing pressure from aides, family and friends to clarify his statement on Saturday and condemn more directly the white nationalist protesters. The danger to Mr. Trump is that divisive racial rhetoric will leave him isolated, this person said.

“Congress will run from him. Any normal person will run from him,” he said.

Mr. Trump also was asked about his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and his future in the White House.

The president has been urged to fire Mr. Bannon by other top White House officials, some Republican lawmakers, as well as Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House. But on Tuesday, the president called Mr. Bannon a “friend” and suggested he was safe, at least for now.

Mr. Bannon, who helped steer Mr. Trump’s election victory, joined the campaign from Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Brietbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon, but he’s a good person,” Mr. Trump said. “He is not a racist, I can tell you that.”

Some conservatives, though, said Mr. Trump is ill-served by Mr. Bannon’s presence in the West Wing, and calls for his ouster have risen since the Charlottesville violence.

Karl Rove, a former senior official in President George W. Bush’s White House and an op-ed writer for The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Bannon’s ideology is out of step with that of Republican and conservative thought. “I personally believe that Bannon’s mind-set is unhelpful to the president,” Mr. Rove said. “The idea of blowing up the Republican Party and helping the alt-right infiltrate the conservative movement is unhelpful to my party and my cause.”

Mr. Trump said some protesters Saturday weren’t white supremacists but people there to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statute.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis,” he said. “I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”

Mr. Trump also was asked about the executives who had left White House advisory positions in the wake of his slow condemnation of white nationalists.

He said: “Because they’re not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country. … They’re leaving out of embarrassment because they’re making their products outside” of the country.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-both-sides-to-blame-in-charlottesville-violence-reversing-mondays-stance-1502830785

 

Story 2: President Trump Takes On Corporate Executives Manufacturing Abroad and Big Lie Media On Charlottesville — I Need The Facts — Videos —

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Friday and Gannon investigate a burglary involving the theft of 400 pounds of high velocity gelatin dynamite from a consumer storage magazine. Friday and Gannon soon find out that the dynamite is used for something more sinister and deadly.

 

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Bannon could be gone ‘by the end of the week’: New claim of a Friday massacre in the cards for Trump’s chief strategist – and ally Sebastian Gorka could be next

  • Reports swirl that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week’s end
  • Trump administration is silent on the question but New York Times and CBS News paint a bleak picture for former Breitbart News executive chairman 
  • Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch has urged the president to fire Bannon
  • White House aide: Bannon ‘never expected to be here forever … but it’s not like his people are opening packages of banker’s boxes’ to collect their things
  • Another senior aide says flatly: ‘Steve’s staying’
  • Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing 

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is a marked man, according to news reports and sources inside the West Wing who see the nationalist Trump-whisperer’s political hourglass quickly losing sand.

CBS News reported Monday night that the axe could fall as soon as Friday on the man credited with arranging the president’s marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year.

The former Breitbart News executive chairman was once an equal partner in a ruling triumvirate of deputies that included Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

But Priebus’s star ran out of fuel last month. And his successor John Kelly is a no-nonsense retired Marine Corps general seen as a walking antidote to the chaos that marked Trump’s first half-year in office.

That prescription could oust a man known more for his Machiavellian streak than for playing well with others.

Reports swirled on Tuesday that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week's end

Reports swirled on Tuesday that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week’s end

Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing

Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing

Also looking over his shoulder is Sebastian Gorka, a hard-charging former Brietbart writer who speaks for the White House on terrorism and national security matters despite having no role with the National Security Council.

The Hill reported Tuesday that the administration has been slow to defend Gorka, but that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has so far been unable to sideline him.

Bannon has been accused of leveraging his relationships in the conservative media to undermine McMaster and National Economic Council chair Gary Cohn.

And he has feuded endlessly with Kushner, whose family ties with the president gave him a natural and undeniable leg up in any squabble.

President Trump has shown no public indication about whether Bannon has worn out his welcome.

Bannon himself did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

On Tuesday Bannon’s closest associates at the White House denied that he’s on the outs, even as The New York Times reported that he’s been placed in a sort of ‘internal exile’ without any precious presidential face-time.

‘He never expected to be here forever. That much is true,’ one aide told DailyMail.com on Tuesday, reacting to the Times’ description of Bannon’s fading fortunes.

‘But it’s not like his people are opening packages of banker’s boxes’ to collect their things, the source cautioned.

A second White House aide said flatly: ‘Steve’s staying’ – but wouldn’t elaborate.

The dissenting views are an indication of how warring factions in the White House can put contradictory spin on power struggles.

During an appearance on CBS' Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Bannon should get his walking papers

During an appearance on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Bannon should get his walking papers

Bannon was Trump's campaign CEO who was widely credited with arranging the president's marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year

Bannon was Trump’s campaign CEO who was widely credited with arranging the president’s marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, cautioned to the Times that right-wing America sees Bannon as its eyes and ears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Without the 63-year-old swashbuckler, he said, ‘there is a concern among conservatives that Washington, D.C., will influence the president in a way that moves him away from those voters that put him in the White House.’

Bannon and Gorka are the heart of the Trump administration’s intersection with the ‘alt-right,’ a conservative fringe that has become an easy target because of its uneasy mingling with white supremacist and anti-Semitic influences.

‘If he doesn’t want this to consume his presidency, he needs to purge anyone involved with the alt-right,’ former Ted Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler told The Hill.

‘Breitbart has become a pejorative … You can’t allow the Oval Office to be a vehicle for the alt-right.’

The Times also reported that media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News, has urged Trump to cut Bannon loose.

Murdoch made his comments about Bannon during dinner with Trump, new White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump’s private golf club on August 4, according to the Times.

During the dinner, Trump vented about his frustrations with Bannon and did not push back.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch reportedly urged Trump to fire Bannon and the president offered no pushback

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch reportedly urged Trump to fire Bannon and the president offered no pushback

Bannon and Trump, pictured on the third day of the president's term in office, were once inseparable but are now estranged 

Bannon and Trump, pictured on the third day of the president’s term in office, were once inseparable but are now estranged

During an appearance on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci discussed if he thought Bannon was ‘a leaker’ in the White House.

‘I said he was, and I obviously got caught on tape saying he was, so I have no problem saying that,’ Scaramucci replied.

‘If it was up to me, he would be gone,’ continued Scaramucci. ‘But it’s not up to me.’

Asked if he believed Bannon was a white supremacist, a passive-aggressive Scaramucci replied: ‘I don’t think he’s a white supremacist though I’ve never asked him.’

‘What I don’t like is the toleration of it, for me it’s something that should not be tolerated.’

This is not the first time Scaramucci expressed his feelings over Bannon, who previously called Breitbart a ‘platform for the alt-right.’

Over the weekend Scaramucci blamed Bannon’s ideology for some of the president’s recent missteps, including Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

The president initially condemned the Saturday incident as an ‘egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides – on many sides,’ a phrase that led some to believe he was tacitly supporting racism.

But on Monday, under pressure from critics, Trump said that ‘racism is evil’ and described members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as ‘criminals and thugs.’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Trump to fire Bannon anyway.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4792752/Steve-Bannon-gone-end-week.html#ixzz4prpJ7eoa

 

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

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

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

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Battleship & ACDC – Thunderstruck

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRAPHIC

What Can North Korea Reach With Its Missiles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unspoken Words: Nuclear War Provocations and Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes.

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

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

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

 

Casus belli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

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

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

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

Reasons for use

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

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

Historical examples

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

American Civil War

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

Spanish–American War

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

Second Opium War

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

World War I

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

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

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

World War II

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

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

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

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

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

Six-Day War

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

Vietnam War

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

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

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

1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon

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

War on Terror

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

2003 Invasion of Iraq

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

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

See also

References

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

How Big of a Threat is North Korea?

 

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

By Chas Danner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanctions against North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

United Nations sanctions

A North Korea cargo ship at the dock in Nampo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United States sanctions

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

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

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

South Korean sanctions

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

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

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

Japanese sanctions

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

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

European Union

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

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

Assessment

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

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

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

References

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

Pence denies NYT report on 2020 presidential run

Mike Pence And Kellyanne Just Announced The BEST News About What Trump Just Decided To Do For Americ

Tucker Carlson Tonight 8/7/17 – Tucker Carlson Fox News August 7, 2017 TRUMP’S FIRST 200 DAYS

A Milestone For Women In Politics: Libertarians Reflect on Hillary’s Nomination

Richard Epstein Enriches Us with His Ideas on Inequality, Taxes, Politics, and Health Care

Richard Epstein: Obamacare’s Collapse, the 2016 Election, & More

What Is Libertarianism?

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

What It Will Finally Take to Put Hillary Clinton Behind Bars

From white supremacy to Barack Obama: The history of the Democratic Party

The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

My Red Pill Moment: The Awakening

 

More Voters Voting Independent, Want Competitive Third-Party

Monday, August 07, 2017

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

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

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

Questions – Third Party – August 1-2, 2017

See Toplines
See Crosstabs
Platinum Page

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

Conducted August 1-2, 2017
By Rasmussen Reports

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Voters See Republicans As Bigger Roadblock Than Democrats For Trump

Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Trump’s vacation looks a lot like those of modern presidents

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White House renovations begin as Trump starts 17-day working vacation in New Jersey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White House set for renovations as Trump takes first vacation

Trump denies he called White House a ‘dump’

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

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

 

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

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Seymour Hersh Bombshell: Seth Rich Leaked DNC Emails to WikiLeaks and Russian Hacking Story Is False

Seymour Hersh States Seth Rich Was WikiLeaks Source

Seymour Hersh: Seth Rich Indeed Leaked DNC Emails to Wikileaks (Confirmed by Wikileaks Itself)

SEYMOUR HERSH CONFIRMS KIM DOT COM STORY. SETH RICH WIKILEAKS LEAKER

Roger Stone – DNC and Seth Rich Murder Developments

The Truth About Seth Rich & The DNC⁄Wikileaks Scandal | Stefan Molyneux

The Seth Rich Story Changes Once Again

The Truth About Seth Rich & The DNC⁄Wikileaks Scandal | Stefan Molyneux

Seth Rich Just Latest Media Obfuscation in Grip of Mass Delusion

Unless Alternative Media Sees its Own Blindspots, We Won’t Be Effective With Change

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SEYMOUR HERSH: SPY CHIEFS INVENTED RUSSIA-COLLUSION STORY

Famous journalist claims they lied to Obama and lied about Trump

GARTH KANT

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fleitz wants Congress to investigate the spies. He wrote:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– – – – – – – – – –

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

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

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

#DrainTheSwamp

 

Murder of Seth Rich

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

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

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

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

Seth Rich’s early life and career

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

Shooting and death

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

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

Aftermath

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

Bike rack and plaque outside the DNC headquaters

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

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

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

Rewards

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

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

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

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

Conspiracy theories

Origins

Genesis

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

WikiLeaks statements

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

Spread by social media and right wing

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

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

Debunking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News retracted reporting

Uncorroborated story

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

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

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

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

Cease and desist letter and retraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wheeler lawsuit

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

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

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

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

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

Family’s reaction

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

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

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

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

See also

References

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

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

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

Early years

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

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

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

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

After the New York Times

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

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

Selected stories

My Lai Massacre

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

Project Jennifer

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

Korean Air Flight 007

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

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

Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Maxwell

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

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

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

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

Iraq

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

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

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

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

Iran

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

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

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

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

Lebanon

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

Killing of Osama bin Laden 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syrian Civil War

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

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

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

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

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

Criticism

Kennedy research

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

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

Use of anonymous sources

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

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

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

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

Speeches

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

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

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

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

Link between the US government and Fatah al-Islam

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

Morarji Desai libel suit

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

Controversy

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

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

Awards, honors and associations

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

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

Publications

Books

Articles and reportage

Forewords

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

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos — Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 30 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

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Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos —

TRUMP BREAKING NEWS 8/3/17 WSJ: MUELLER IMPANELS GRAND JURY IN RUSSIA PROBE

Report: Mueller empowers grand jury in Russia investigation

Trump attorney: Grand jury not a surprise, not unusual

Mueller using grand jury as part of Russia investigation

Senators Take Action to Protect Robert Mueller’s Trump Investigation

Mary Clare Jalonick / AP
10:54 AM ET

(WASHINGTON) — Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job, putting forth new legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.

The bill would apply retroactively to May 17, 2017 — the day Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

“It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations,” Tillis said in a statement. “A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation’s system of check and balances.”

Mueller was appointed as special counsel following Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller, who was Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, has assembled a team of prosecutors and lawyers with experience in financial fraud, national security and organized crime to investigate contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Trump has been critical of Mueller since his appointment, and the president’s legal team is looking into potential conflicts surrounding the team Mueller has hired, including the backgrounds of members and political contributions by some members of his team to Hillary Clinton. He has also publicly warned Mueller that he would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances.

Mueller has strong support on Capitol Hill. Senators in both parties have expressed concerns that Trump may try to fire Mueller and have warned him not to do so.

“Ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation,” Coons said.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another member of the judiciary panel, said last week that he was working on a similar bill that would prevent the firing of a special counsel without judicial review. Graham said then that firing Mueller “would precipitate a firestorm that would be unprecedented in proportions.”

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also working on Graham’s legislation, according to Booker’s office. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has yet to signal support for either measure.

The Tillis and Coons bill would allow review after the special counsel had been dismissed. If the panel found there was no good cause for the counsel’s removal, the person would be immediately reinstated. The legislation would also codify existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause, such as a violation of departmental policies.

In addition, only the attorney general or the most senior Justice Department official in charge of the matter could fire the special counsel.

In the case of the current investigation, Rosenstein is charged with Mueller’s fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation.

http://time.com/4885770/robert-mueller-investigation-senate-legislation/

 

Exclusive: top FBI officials could testify against Trump

The acting head of the bureau told top officials to prepare.

Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.

McCabe has told colleagues that he too is a potential witness in the probe of whether Trump broke the law by trying to thwart the FBI’s Russia investigation and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Two senior federal law enforcement officials have told me that the new revelations illustrate why they believe the potential case against Trump is stronger than outsiders have thought.

“What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case,” a senior law enforcement official said. “You are going to have the [former] FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what [James Comey] has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.”

Trump and his supporters have long argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the special counsel to bring an obstruction case against Trump. The case would rely on the word of one man versus another, that of the president of the United States versus the FBI director he fired. But this was never the case.

Including Comey, as many as 10, and possibly more, of the nation’s most senior law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned as part of the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to two government investigators with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Comey’s notes on his conversations could also be used as evidence, according to many reports.

The White House declined to comment. First contacted by email by on July 27, White House spokesperson Kelly Love responded late Wednesday saying, “This would be a question for outside counsel.” Love did not name which of the president’s many lawyers to contact. Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for the president, did not respond to a phone message Wednesday evening. The FBI also declined to comment.

FBI agents are experienced witnesses who routinely testify in high-pressure cases. Plus, the FBI itself is a rare public institution that is widely respected and trusted by the American public. The witness list and breadth of possible evidence, including notes Comey and several other senior FBI officials made at the time, could add up to a much stronger obstruction of justice case than Trump ever could have imagined.

Among those who McCabe and other law enforcement officials have privately believed are potential witnesses are six of the highest-ranking officials of the agency: They include McCabe himself; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff; James Baker, the general counsel of the FBI; David Bowdich, who as the FBI’s associate director is the agency’s third-highest official; and Carl Ghattas, the head of the FBI’s national security division and a legal adviser to McCabe. McCabe was deputy director of the FBI until May, when he became acting director after President Trump fired Comey.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and a third senior Justice Department official are believed by law enforcement officials to be crucial fact witnesses in the obstruction probe. Their testimony is likely to support Comey and harm Trump, according to investigators and outside experts.

Mueller’s case is looking stronger than Trump surrogates say

In May, Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate whether Trump colluded with the Russian government to help defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. A related area of inquiry for the special counsel is whether Trump obstructed justice when he allegedly asked Comey to shut down his inquiry of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump made sure he and Comey were alone when he allegedly pressured the then-FBI director to curtail the FBI’s Russia investigation. At a private White House dinner on January 27, Trump allegedly pressed Comey to pledge his personal loyalty. The dinner came right after the president learned Flynn was under criminal investigation.

Later, on February 14, Trump allegedly leaned on Comey privately in an Oval Office meeting to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. Comey did not drop the investigation or take other steps Trump requested that the then-director of the FBI felt were improper. Trump then fired Comey on May 9.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s pressure on Comey to shut down his investigation — combined with other efforts to thwart the investigation, including firing Comey — are an obstruction of justice. As such, Comey is the central witness against Trump in any such obstruction investigation. That Trump was ordinarily alone with Comey when these various incidents occurred has led Trump and his surrogates to argue that it would be difficult for any obstruction of justice case to be brought because it would be based solely on Comey’s word.

“We have to keep in mind that is one person’s record of what happened,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said on Fox News in one typical comment repeated by White House surrogates. “The only two people who know what happened in these meeting are the president and James Comey.”

But even though Trump took great pains to try to be alone with Comey when they spoke, Comey regularly spoke to the six high-ranking FBI managers, often right after a distressing conversation with Trump about the Russia probe.

Comey spoke to these FBI officials almost always within 24 to 48 hours after such a contact took place, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials. A person familiar with the matter told me they know for certain there were at least eight such conversations — and likely more than a dozen — that Comey had with these high-ranking FBI managers, sometimes one on one, sometimes in groups of several officials. More than one such meeting was longer than an hour.

And in at least one previously unreported instance — that of a phone conversation between the president and Comey, during which Trump pressed Comey to say that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation — Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, was present for the entirety of the phone call.

Trump had unexpectedly called Comey while Comey was in a meeting with Rybicki. As Trump and the then-FBI director spoke, Rybicki stayed put and listened to the entirety of Comey’s side of the conversation, according to Comey’s testimony to Congress and a senior federal law enforcement official.

In addition, Comey often emailed Rybicki accounts of his troublesome discussions with Trump about the Russia investigation — if not immediately after, sometimes the same day, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.

Baker, the FBI general counsel, took methodical notes during his discussions with Comey and others in the FBI hierarchy about Trump’s efforts to thwart the FBI’s investigation, according to these same sources.

Law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned

I interviewed current and former law enforcement officials, including some who, though not directly involved in the investigation, have held key positions working for independent counsels or special prosecutors investigating earlier presidents. They told me they agree with McCabe’s assertions that the senior FBI managers are almost certainly to be questioned for any investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.

Sam Buell, a Duke University law professor who has previously served as a federal prosecutor in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Houston, similarly told me that Mueller will almost certainly interview all six senior FBI officials that Comey confided in, as well as Sessions and Rosenstein: “In any high-stakes matter, you are going to want to talk to anyone in the vicinity of a conversation. It doesn’t mean that they end up as trial witness. But at an investigative stage, you are going to talk to all of these people. You want their stories locked in. You want to know if what they have to say would help you or hurt you.”

John Keker, who during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations prosecuted retired Lt. Oliver North for the Iran-Contra special prosecutor, explained to me: “Think of any crime. The defense might make the case that the accuser made it up. The questions for the witness are: ‘Did you just make this up?’ ‘Are you just saying this now?’ ‘Why didn’t you say something before?’ ‘Whom did you say something to? Did you write it down?’

“But if they told people when it happens, it makes their story more plausible. It helps their credibility. In this case, the people Comey told were multiple senior FBI officials.”

Other evidence is there too

In addition to the actual testimony of Comey and nine other senior federal law enforcement officials against the president, there is other related corroboratory evidence created as a result of those conversations. And this could bolster any potential obstruction of justice case against Trump.

There are Comey’s now-famous notes, which are careful, meticulous accounts of his meetings with the president. They are powerful not only for their detail but even for the atmospherics that tell a compelling story, according to people who have read portions of them.

Explaining why he took these notes, Comey told Congress: “I knew that there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself but also to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative function. … [I]t was a combination of circumstances, subject matter, and the particular person.”

FBI agents and managers are inveterate note takers. It is part of the culture of the FBI. Several of the senior FBI managers Comey consulted with are also attorneys, who have similar traditions of memorializing important matters by taking careful and contemporaneous notes.

“That’s the culture of the FBI — you habitually document everything you do,” Lauren C. Anderson, a former senior FBI official who worked for the bureau for 29 years, told the New York Times, explaining why Comey made notes of his crucial conversations with the president. Her comments also would appear to explain why other senior FBI managers might have made similar sets of notes about their conversations with Comey.

Although it is unclear which FBI managers took notes and which did not, at least one person familiar with the matter said that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, made detailed notes of virtually every conversation with Comey or others about the Russia probe.

Those notes by Baker are crucial to investigators because Baker was a lively participant in discussions about whether to inform the Justice Department of the president’s pressure on Comey to end the Flynn investigation. During discussions about whether Comey or the Justice Department should give in to Trump’s request to say the investigation had not focused on him, Baker was the primary and strongest proponent that they not do so.

The potential testimony by Comey, McCabe, and so many other FBI witnesses could prove damning to Trump for other reasons. FBI agents and their managers are more than just highly credible witnesses. In the course of a typical FBI agent’s career, he or she works closely with federal prosecutors in making cases based on the testimony of witnesses first interviewed by the agent, and often testifies as a witness in cases, some dozens of times in the course of a career.

While most major governmental institutions have, according to most polls and surveys, faced some of their lowest ratings ever, the American public still retains strong confidence in its FBI. A November 2015 Pew Research national survey found that 68 percent of all Americans viewed the FBI favorably. Only four other federal agencies ranked higher: the US Postal Service, the National Park Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and NASA.

Even Trump allies could hurt Trump

Comey testified to Congress that he shared with senior managers of the FBI the president’s efforts to thwart the bureau’s Russia investigation. But he did not inform the Justice Department of those efforts prior to Trump firing him. A major reason he didn’t do so, Comey said, was because the FBI’s leaders told him, “Look, it’s your word against the president’s. There’s no way to corroborate this.”

But Comey testified that during a private meeting with Sessions about another matter — “the president’s concerns about leaks” — he took the opportunity “to implore the attorney general to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me.” Comey told Sessions that leaving him alone with Trump “was inappropriate and should never happen again.” Comey said that Sessions “did not reply at all, his body language suggesting he was helpless or unwilling to do anything.”

Comey also testified that he expressed similar concerns to Rosenstein: “I explained my serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting, especially with the FBI.”

In his own testimony to Congress, Sessions sharply disputed Comey’s claim that he said or did nothing when Comey raised these concerns, saying he told Comey “that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to follow department policies regarding appropriate contact with the White House.”

But more importantly, while taking issue with that one aspect of the story, Sessions largely corroborated Comey’s account under oath — about how uncomfortable the then-FBI director felt with the president’s interactions with the FBI. Sessions is a Trump loyalist, the first US senator to endorse Trump, and the Trump administration’s attorney general — this only enhances his credibility as a witness whose testimony would harm Trump. (Of course, that relationship is now severely strained.) That Sessions recommended Comey’s firing as FBI director also, ironically, enhances his credibility as a corroboratory witness of Comey’s and against the president.

Rosenstein is yet to be heard from.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/3/16084246/mueller-obstruction-case-stronger-trump-surrogates

Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 20 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Trump Endorses Bill That Reduces Legal Immigration

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Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

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Immigration battle brewing in the GOP

Republicans are barreling toward a fight over immigration policy that could expose deep divisions in the party.

A renewed push by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) to crack down on legal immigration is threatening to pit President Trump, who endorsed their legislation, against GOP senators who want broader reforms.

The bill, which got a White House rollout on Wednesday, would fundamentally overhaul the immigration system. It would curtail the number of legal immigrants admitted into the country, cutting the total roughly in half.

The legislation, supporters say, would help enshrine a shift in Republican Party politics that was prominent in Trump’s campaign rhetoric, where he frequently warned that immigrants were taking American jobs.”As a candidate I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects American workers and tax payers,” Trump said at the White House while standing next to Cotton and Perdue.

The measure faces a difficult path to 60 votes in the Senate, which would require the support of at least eight Democrats, not to mention every GOP senator — a scenario that appears highly unlikely.

Pressed Wednesday about how the bill could pass Congress, White House aide Stephen Miller said the legislation represented a “major promise” to Americans.

“This is what President Trump campaigned on. He talked about it throughout the campaign, throughout the transition, and since coming into office,” said Miller, who was formerly a staffer for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the Senate’s most vocal immigration hawks who is now attorney general.

But many in the GOP are opposed to reshaping the party’s immigration policies in Trump’s image

Critics of Trump’s approach fear opposition to immigration reform will damage the party’s long-term electoral chances, given the nation’s growing Latino and Asian populations. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won 65 percent of the Latino and Asian vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to exit polling.

There are already early signs of pushback from multiple factions within the Senate GOP conference to the legal immigration limits, including members who are worried about the impact on businesses.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said there could be an “awful lot” in the bill that he could support but warned against limiting his state’s labor pool.

“Dairy farmers need migrant labors. … So we really need to take a look at the reality of the situation,” Johnson, who has close ties to the business community, told reporters. “I don’t want to limit what our economy needs.”

Cotton, responding to some of his colleague’s criticism, noted the legislation wouldn’t touch the guest worker program, which allows immigrants to temporarily come into the country.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), part of the “Gang of Eight” that helped craft the 2013 immigration bill, ripped the Cotton–Perdue proposal within hours of its White House rollout.

“If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant workforce,” Graham said.

He added he is worried the legislation “incentivizes more illegal immigration,” saying “after dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.”

Illustrating the wider disagreement in the GOP about immigration policy, Graham has worked on two bills this year with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would allow undocumented immigrants brought into country as children to remain here legally, at least temporarily.

GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have signed on to at least one of Graham’s bills. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is currently undergoing treatment for brain cancer, also signaled earlier this year that he was opposed to attempts to crack down on legal immigration.

The Cotton–Perdue bill seems likely to rekindle the long-running debate over which section of the party — those who want broader immigration reforms or the protectionist strain that rose to new prominence with Trump — has the public’s support.

The legislation would curb the number of green cards, which give immigrants permanent residence, issued each year and establishes a “merit-based” points system for individuals who want to come into the country.

Cotton and Perdue will have to walk a political tightrope to get their bill enacted. They will be under pressure from moderate GOP senators and Democrats to make fundamental revisions to their bill, but any move to make it more lenient toward or address undocumented immigration could erode conservative support.

Perdue said for the moment he is focused on trying to garner support for the legislation.

“We have had conversations with them. We’ve met with [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley. … We know we’re going to work it through committee and go regular order, obviously. What we’re trying to do right now is garner support inside the Senate,” he said, when asked if he has talked to GOP leadership.

The bill could face its first test in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have a two-seat advantage. Graham and Flake are both members of the committee and signaled concern about an earlier version of the legislation rolled out in February.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, is working on a border security bill that is expected to include some immigration components. That legislation is expected to unveiled on Thursday.

Asked if his legislation could be wrapped in with border security, Perdue said he wants the bill to move on its own.

“What we’ve done in the past with these immigration issues is we keep adding on and adding on and adding on. I think this one stands on its own merit,” he said.

Republican lawmakers have shown little appetite for another big debate on immigration.

But once Trump makes a decision on the 750,000 immigrants who are protected from deportation by former President Barack Obama‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, they might not be able to avoid one.

Johnson warned against trying to package the legislation into a broader immigration bill.

“I don’t think we do a very good job at it. … If you demand comprehensive, you pretty well limit what you can accomplish,” he said.

Moderate GOP senators and Democrats will also be under pressure from conservative outside groups, not to mention the White House, to support the Cotton–Perdue bill.

Perdue noted that while it was early, he was hopeful that he would be able to win some Democratic backing for the bill.

“We’re trying to now get coordinated and start moving out to develop Republican and Democratic support,” he said. “I just think that we’ve got an opportunity to get some bipartisan support.”

There are 10 Senate Democrats running for reelection in states Trump won in 2016, and those members could face pressure to support tougher immigration laws.

“Ultimately members of Congress will have a choice to make … and whatever happens as a result of that would be somewhat predictable,” Miller said.

But Democratic senators are showing no immediate signs of being willing to support the bill. The earlier version of the legislation, introduced in February, garnered zero cosponsors.

“Instead of focusing on xenophobic half measures, the Trump administration should support comprehensive immigration reform and help create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are our family members, neighbors, co-workers and friends,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“Still shocking to see senior WH staff misunderstand American values,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter. “I just realized I should be more specific. I’m talking about Miller.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/345052-immigration-battle-brewing-in-the-gop

RAISE Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAISE Act
Great Seal of the United States
Full title Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act
Introduced in 115th United States Congress
Introduced on February 13, 2017
Sponsored by Tom Cotton and David Perdue
Legislative history

The RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act is a bill introduced in the United States Senate in 2017. Co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the bill seeks to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery. The bill received the support of President Donald Trump, who promoted a revised version of the bill in August 2017, but was opposed by Democrats, immigrant rights groups, and some Republicans.

History

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who introduced the bill to the Senate on February 13, 2017, as S. 354.[1][2][3] The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[2]

On August 2, 2017, Cotton introduced a revised version of the bill, designated S. 1720; this bill was also referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] President Donald Trump, along with Cotton and Perdue, announced it at the White House.[5] Within the Trump White House, Trump advisers Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon promoted and helped shape the bill.[6] The odds of the bill being enacted are seen as remote.[3][7][6] The bill has not attracted any additional co-sponsors, and Republican leaders in Congress have no plans to vote on immigration in 2017.[8]

Provisions and analysis

The bill would cut the legal immigration by half, reducing the number of green cards from more than 1 million to about 500,000.[3] The bill would also remove pathways for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for permanent lawful residency status in the U.S., limiting the family path to spouses and minor children.[7] The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery.[3]

In promoting the legislation, Trump administration officials contend that the bill would increase economic growth and increase wages.[9][10][11] This contention was challenged by economists,[10] who “overwhelmingly predict” that cuts in immigration would have a negative impact on GDP growth.[11] In April 2017, a group of more than 1,400 economists, with views ranging across the political spectrum, sent an open letter to Trump noting the “near universal agreement” on “the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring” and urging him not to seek immigration cuts.[11] Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh said that the legislation “would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards. Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.”[3]

The “only evidence that the administration has cited as justifying its proposals” is the work of economist George Borjas,[12] who has defended the bill, arguing that it “makes sense” and that “low-skill immigration, which would likely suffer the largest cuts in the proposed bill, imposes costs on taxpayers and it imposes costs on low-skill workers already here.”[13] Other economists have sharply contested Borjas’s conclusions; economist Giovanni Peri stated that “The average American worker is more likely to lose than to gain from immigration restrictions” and “most studies put the negative impact on low-skilled wages closer to zero,”[12] and Michael Clemens argues that Borjas’s position is based on a study with critical flaws.[14][15]

Support and opposition

The bill and Trump’s support for it was hailed by groups favoring restrictive immigration policies, such as NumbersUSA[3] and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[16] The bill was also seen as likely to appeal to anti-immigration Republican base voters.[17]

The bill is opposed by Democrats as well as some Republicans.[7] Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said that “Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy.”[7] Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called the bill “nothing but a series of nativist talking points and regurgitated campaign rhetoric that completely fails to move our nation forward toward real reform.”[3] Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the proposal would be “devastating” to South Carolina’s economy.[18] The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigrant rights groups both condemned the legislation.[3]

The National Immigration Law Center called the bill “cruel and un-American” and issued a statement saying that it would “devastate families, eliminating the traditional and long-accepted means by which family members such as grandparents, mothers, fathers and siblings are able to reunite with their families who have emigrated to the United States.”[16] The technology industry immigration-policy advocacy group FWD.us said the bill, if enacted, “would severely harm the economy and actually depress wages for Americans.”[16] The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and NAFSA: Association of International Educators also oppose the bill, describing it as flawed and a step backward.[16] The Anti-Defamation League also opposed the legislation, calling it “cruel, anti-family and un-American.”[19]

References

 

 

  1. ADL slams Trump-backed GOP plan on immigration as ‘cruel, un-American’, Times of Israel/Associated Press (August 3, 2017).

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos — Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 932,  July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931,  July 19, 2017

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Image result for trump for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act

Image result for RAISE ACT immigration

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Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos —

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

President Trump signs new Russia sanctions, questions whether bill interferes with foreign policy 

BREAKING NEWS 8/2/17 PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL

January 3, 2017: Sen. Tom Cotton joined Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News

Trump Signs Sanctions Bill – Another Deep State Victory

Real Bipartisanship: Republicans And Democrats Unite For New Cold War

Germany growing sick of US sanctions on Russia

Russians See Sanctions Regime as a Blessing in Disguise

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

In a pair of statements, the president said parts of the law violate the Constitution.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill placing new sanctions on Russia — but in a statement, he claimed multiple aspects of the legislation violate the Constitution.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, limit the president’s power to lift the sanctions without congressional approval and were initially resisted by the administration.

In one of two statements released almost simultaneously Wednesday morning by the White House, Trump said he supports the law’s efforts to crack down on the actions of Iran, North Korea and Russia. But the White House protested what it sees as congressional encroachment on the president’s power in foreign affairs.

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said in one statement. “My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”

The president’s second statement included a stepped-up defense of his own administration’s foreign policy and input on the legislation. Trump said that “despite its problems,” he had signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.” The statement characterized the governments of Iran and North Korea as “rogue regimes,” a label he did not apply to the Russian government.

Even as he continues to label Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” the statement went further in acknowledging the intrusion than Trump has in the past.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” the statement said.

Still, Trump was quick to push back on what he views as congressional overreach.

“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said, in reference to congressional Republicans’ latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” the president continued. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a leading architect of the sanctions bill, told reporters he was not concerned about Trump’s statement, though he said he had not yet seen it.

“Both countries talk privately in ways that are very different from how they talk publicly,” the Tennessee Republican said of U.S.-Russia relations. “But this was a necessary step that we took, and I’m glad we took it.”

In addition to allowing lawmakers to handcuff Trump on any future changes to Russia sanctions, the legislation converts some existing sanctions from executive orders into law, making them more difficult to roll back, and imposes new sanctions focused on Moscow’s reported cyber-meddling in the November election. The legislation’s Iran and North Korea sanctions were broadly popular in both parties and with the Trump administration.

Although White House officials asserted that some of the preferred changes to the legislation were included before its final passage last week, the administration had long underscored its opposition to provisions that will impede Trump’s ability to warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way that they did, neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”

Still, Tillerson added, “we can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship” with Russia.

Even as Trump criticized the measure, he added that “I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s waiting periods to ensure that Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.”

That apparent concession by Trump did not assuage Democratic concerns about his signing statement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California warned in a statement that Trump’s interpretation of the sanctions bill “raises serious questions about whether his administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”

And some Republicans who played a key role in the sanctions package raised their own alarms.

“Look, whether it was President Bush, President Obama, or President Trump, I’ve never been a fan of signing statements,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. “I think they’re a way for any president to usurp the role of the legislative branch. And that’s why I’ve always been concerned, regardless of who issued them, on any matter.”

The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. The House passed the sanctions by a vote of 419-3, and the Senate cleared it 98-2 — making any presidential veto futile and sure to be overridden.

With multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, a veto also would have been politically disastrous.

After weeks of waffling, the White House confirmed over the weekend that Trump would sign the bill.

The White House still sought to characterize the bill as a win, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement on Friday that Trump “negotiated regarding critical elements of it” and decided to sign it “based on its responsiveness to his negotiations.”

The statement Wednesday also contained a warning — not to Russia, but to Congress.

“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President,” Trump said. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-signs-bipartisan-russia-sanctions-bill-241242

 

Furious Trump signs Russian sanctions into law – then issues tirade against ‘unconstitutional’ bill and boasts his billions show why Congress shouldn’t stop him making deals with Putin

  • President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran
  • The White House did not organize a ceremony of any kind for it
  • Trump said in a statement he signed the bill for the sake of ‘national unity’ 
  • The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill
  • It passed Congress overwhelmingly with veto-proof majorities
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and the president were not ‘very happy’ about the sanctions bill 

President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers – but at the same time issued a furious statement calling it ‘flawed’.

He signed the bill, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly said he wasn’t happy about, in private.

Then the White House sent out statement by the president revealing the depths of his unhappiness and boasting that his billions showed he was far better at deal-making than Congress.

Trump said despite some changes, ‘the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.’

He called parts of it ‘unconstitutional’ and signaled fresh tensions with Republicans by criticizing their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers

‘Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.

‘The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,’ Trump said in a statement.

‘Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.’

In a message to Congress in response to the bill, Trump singled out provisions his lawyers considers in conflict with Supreme Court case law – and asserts his own latitude to carry out the law as he sees fit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn't happy with the bill

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn’t happy with the bill

‘My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions,’ the president said in one point – in language certain to irk lawmakers who consider the law much more than a preference.

‘My administration … expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,’ he said.

The president also complained about what he said were ‘clearly unconstitutional provisions’ in the legislation relating to presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

 White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed the signing on Fox News.

The bill passed Congress by overwhelming margins sufficient to override a presidential veto. The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill.

The bill contains language meant to prevent the president from lifting them without approval from Congress – provisions that got drafted amid concerns Trump would lift or limit sanctions amid his frequent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and desire to improve ties between the two powers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters he shared misgivings with the president, as they try to improve relations with Russia.

‘Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,’ Tillerson said. ‘We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.’

The FBI and congressional intelligence panels are probing Trump campaign connections to Russians during the election.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Trump during the campaign repeatedly called for better relations with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government backed a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

Despite communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin capped off by two one-on-one meetings in Europe, Trump has struggled to meet his goal.

Putin said last weekend that Russia would expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions legislation.

I’M WORTH BILLIONS – I CAN MAKE BETTER DEALS THAN CONGRESS

Today, I signed into law the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,’ which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

In his statement about the bill, Trump highlighted a series of concerns about the legislation. Had he vetoed it, Congress could have easily overridden him.

‘Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies,’ Trump complained.

‘My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.’

 Russia hawk Sen. John McCain of Arizona responded in a statement: ‘I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The enactment of this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that the United States will hold nations accountable for aggressive and destabilizing behavior that threatens our national interests and those of our allies and partners.’

McCain also called out Trump’s signing statement. ‘The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice,’ he wrote.

“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4754014/President-Donald-Trump-signs-Russia-sanctions-bill.html#ixzz4ocylqTKe

 

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with President Trump for the first time during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this month. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

MOSCOW — The last time the Kremlin forced a sweeping reduction of local staff at the American Embassy in Moscow, a young diplomat named Steven Pifer found himself working four days a week on arms control, as usual. But on the fifth day, he navigated the capital in a big truck to move furniture or haul mammoth grocery loads.

The entire staff of the embassy, except the ambassador, was assigned one day each week to grunt work called All Purpose Duty, Mr. Pifer recalled in an interview on Monday, when they shed their dark suits and polished loafers to mow the lawns, fix the plumbing, cook in the cafeteria and even c