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The Pronk Pops Show 878, April 21, 2017, Story 1: French Confirm Killing of Police Officer By Radical Islamic Terrorist Killer, Karim Cheurfi, Connected To Islamic State, — Videos — Story 2: Will Marine Le Pen Win In The First Round of French Presidential Election? First Round –Yes — — Making France Great Again — Second Round –Marine Le Pen May Be First Woman President or Emmannuel Marcon The Youngest — Videos — Story 3: Trump Administration Rolls Out New Tax Reform Plan and House Votes On Repeal and Replace Compromise Bill — By Day 100 — American People Want The FairTax And Full Repeal of Obamacare and Republican Establishment Wants Partial Repeal of Obamacare and Border Adjustment Tax — Stupid Party? — Videos — Story 4: Democrats Want To Shut-down Government Over Trump’s Wall — Republicans Pass Continuing Resolution — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Masked police officers were photographed standing on top of a vehicle on the Champs Elysees following an incident which left one officer deadEmmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.Image result for trump omb director mike mulveney

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Story 1: French Confirm Killing of Police Officer By Radical Islamic Terrorist Killer, Karim Cheurfi, Connected To Islamic State,  — Videos — 

ISIS Reportedly Claims Responsibility For Paris Attack That Left 1 Officer Dead | TODAY

Is Marine Le Pen the Donald Trump of France?

Paris shooting: Gunman was ‘focus of anti-terror’ probe – BBC News

Police search home of shooting suspect in Paris suburb

Raw: Memorial For Officer Killed In Paris Shooting

Geert Wilders message for Europe

Revealed: ISIS terrorist who shot dead cop in Paris attack was arrested TWO MONTHS ago for threatening to kill police and served 15 years for trying to murder two officers

  • Policeman Xavier Jugele, 37, was killed last night after being ‘targeted’ on the Champs Elysees in central Paris
  • The attacker was eventually shot dead after French police officers rushed to the scene in the heart of the city
  • The gunman’s Audi contained a pump action shotgun, knives and ID of known ‘extremist’ Karim Cheurfi 
  • Two other police officers were ‘seriously injured’ and a ‘female foreign tourist’ was wounded in the incident
  • A note declaring allegiance to ISIS was discovered on the Champs Elysees and is being investigated by police 

French security services are today facing troubling questions as to how they failed to prevent an ISIS gunman from slaughtering one policeman and wounding two other officers in Paris when he was arrested as recently as February.

Karim Cheurfi, 39, had served 15 years of a 20-year jail sentence for attempting to kill two officers in 2001, before his release last year.

In February, the terrorist tried to obtain weapons and made threats to kill police officers, but was let go in early March due to lack of evidence.

On Thursday night, the fanatic was killed by police after he got out of his Audi and opened fire at police who had stopped at a red light on Champs Elysees. His car was packed with more weapons, including a pump action shotgun and knives. A copy of the Koran was also found in the vehicle.

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele, 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police. A ricocheting bullet fired by the terrorist also wounded a female foreign tourist passing by.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and nicknamed the attacker ‘Abu Yousuf al-Belgiki’, which translates to ‘the Belgian’ in Arabic – a name which was listed in uncovered documents from the terror group last year.

A note declaring allegiance to ISIS was discovered on the Champs Elysees and is being investigated by police. Its presence and the speed at which ISIS claimed responsibility may suggest the attack was directed by the jihadist group rather than carried out by a lone supporter.

Karim Cheurfi

Pictured is the suspected ISIS gunman, who has been identified locally as 39-year-old father Karim Cheurfi

Pictured (left and right) is the suspected ISIS gunman, who has been identified locally as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi

The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi - who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 - parked his Audi and opened fire after police stopped at a red light on the world famous avenue. Pictured is his arrest warrant from last month, when he was detained for trying to obtain weapons 'to kill police'

The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi – who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 – parked his Audi and opened fire after police stopped at a red light on the world famous avenue. Pictured is his arrest warrant from last month, when he was detained for trying to obtain weapons ‘to kill police’

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele (pictured), 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele (pictured), 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police

Pictured is armed police crowded two other officers, believed to have been shot in the attack, on Champs Elysees on Thursday night

Pictured is armed police crowded two other officers, believed to have been shot in the attack, on Champs Elysees on Thursday night

French police leave the home of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi in the suburb of Chelles, in Paris, following last night's attack

French police leave the home of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi in the suburb of Chelles, in Paris, following last night’s attack

A woman places a flower near the spot on the Champs Elysees where the shooting occurred last night in the French capital

A woman places a flower near the spot on the Champs Elysees where the shooting occurred last night in the French capital

A body is removed from the scene after a traffic officer was killed by an ISIS gunman in central Paris last night

A body is removed from the scene after a traffic officer was killed by an ISIS gunman in central Paris last night

French police officers and forensic teams searched a vehicle which was close to the scene on the Champs Elysees in Paris

French police officers and forensic teams searched a vehicle which was close to the scene on the Champs Elysees in Paris

A police lorry seized the Audi which the attacker was driving, before he got out and shot at traffic officers last night

A police lorry seized the Audi which the attacker was driving, before he got out and shot at traffic officers last night

A still image from video footage shows police forensic investigators inspect the car used by the attacker in Paris last night

A still image from video footage shows police forensic investigators inspect the car used by the attacker in Paris last night

In the latest developments after the attack:

  • French police have this morning arrested three family members of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi 
  • Police are hunting a second suspect, who was brought to their attention by Belgian authorities 
  • A man whose image appeared on social media as ‘second suspect’ handed himself to police in Antwerp claiming he was not linked to the plot. Detectives have said this man had nothing to do with the attack 
  • Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called for all French terror suspects to be expelled
  • France’s government has reviewed its already extensive election security measures and says it is ‘fully mobilised’ and nothing will stop Sunday’s presidential vote
  • US President Donald Trump believes the attack will have a ‘big effect’ on the outcome of the election 
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has sent condolences to the French president following the latest attack but the pair have not spoken directly since last night 
  • Iran’s foreign secretary Bahram Ghasemi said France was feeling a blowback for its support of rebels in Syria 

French officials revealed that Cheurfi was detained in Meaux, 24 miles east of Paris, on February 23 this year, after it emerged he was trying to buy weapons ‘to kill police’.

On Friday night, but prosecutors tonight denied that he was on a security watch list and added the terrorist showed no signs of radicalisation before the attack.

He reportedly used the alias ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’ and reportedly made threats to murder officers using the social media app Telegram, an instant messaging service.

Despite having a long list of police-hating convictions, he was able to obtain a Kalashnikov, a pump action shotgun and several knives ahead of last night’s attack.

He had been jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen.  He opened fire five times with a .38 revolver following a car chase in 2001, leaving the officers and a third victim wounded. All three survived the attack in Roissy-en-Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne department of northern France.

An armed police officer hoists his weapon as they storm the streets of Paris after the latest terror attack to hit the city

An armed police officer hoists his weapon as they storm the streets of Paris after the latest terror attack to hit the city

Armed police outside a shop in central Paris after an ISIS gunman killed a traffic officer and injured three other people

Armed police outside a shop in central Paris after an ISIS gunman killed a traffic officer and injured three other people

Armed police officers on the streets of Paris after a gunman killed a traffic cop and seriously injured two others last night

Armed police officers on the streets of Paris after a gunman killed a traffic cop and seriously injured two others last night

Armed police officers stood guard after they rushed to the scene in the centre of the capital following the incident which left frightened witnesses sprinting for their lives 

Armed police officers stood guard after they rushed to the scene in the centre of the capital following the incident which left frightened witnesses sprinting for their lives

A team of forensic detectives examine the Audi, which the gunman was driving. ID of Karim Cheurfi was found in the vehicle

A team of forensic detectives examine the Audi, which the gunman was driving. ID of Karim Cheurfi was found in the vehicle

Cheurfi, who was born in France, was a recluse who blamed police for ruining his life, a friend of the family revealed today.

OFFICER SHOT DEAD GUARDED BATACLAN AT ITS REOPENING

By Sam Tonkin for MailOnline 

The policeman killed by an ISIS gunman on the Champs-Elysees was today named as Xavier Jugelé, a 37-year-old Paris officer who defiantly said ‘no to terrorists’ at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre last November.

He was shot in the head when the terrorist – identified today as French national Karim Cheurfi, 39 – launched his attack on three police officers at around 9pm last night.

Jugelé, who was a proud defender of gay rights, was named as the victim who died by French newspaper Le Parisien.

It has since emerged that Jugelé was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year - a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead.
Jugelé

It has since emerged that Jugelé (pictured left and right) was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year – a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead

It has since emerged that Jugelé was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year – a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead.

As British singer Sting marked the occasion with a performance at the concert hall, Jugelé defiantly told PEOPLE.com that he was there ‘to say no to terrorists’.

The policeman added: ‘I’m happy to be here. Glad the Bataclan is reopening. It’s symbolic.

‘We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.

‘It doesn’t feel strange, it feels important,’ he added. ‘Symbolic.’

He did not attend formal mosque prayer services and became fascinated by jihadist propaganda via the internet, a confident of his mother claimed.

‘Karim did not pray, he drank alcohol and watched jihadist propaganda,’ neighbour Hakim, 50, told MailOnline.

‘He was not a good Muslim, he was a lost soul. He had no friends, no girlfriend, he never went out. He stayed at home all day watching stuff on the internet.’

Another neighbour added: ‘Karim didn’t go to the mosque. He just stayed at home. You never saw him.’

Hakim continued: ‘Karim blamed the police for ruining his life. He fired (a pistol) at police during a burglary and got sentenced to 15 years prison.

‘He was only 20 at the time. He hated the police, he said they had ruined his life. He was ‘anti-cop’. He would swear at officers in the street, call them bastards. He didn’t care.’

Hakim, whose family is close to Cheurfi’s mother, said the gunman had only recently returned to the quiet residential street after spending years behind bars.

Cheurfi lived separately from his mother in a purpose-built apartment in the front of the property.

Hakim added: ‘He lived in the studio in the garden. The mother lived in the big house.’

Cheurfi’s Algerian-born mother had divorced his father and had married a Frenchman with who she had second son. She later divorced her second son.

Another neighbour said: ‘His parents split up but they stayed living at the same property.

‘The father Salat lived in the apartment in the front of the garden and the mother lived in the house at the back of the property.

‘The mother married again, to a Frenchman, and they had a son together but the father stayed living at the property.

‘So it was a bit complicated but that’s life. Karim got on well with his half brother who is called Stephane.

‘But he went to live in the apartment with his father when he got of prison.’

Another neighbor added: ‘The mother is not here. She is in Algeria. She goes there every few months to visit relatives. She’s not been well.’

Officers have been searching the home of Karim in east Paris and arrested three of his family members.

A French government spokesman said the ISIS gunman began firing against police using ‘a weapon of war’.

The fatal incident unfolded as presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, debated on a TV show nearby before Sunday’s election.

Paris police search the suspected Champs-Elysee attacker’s house

A French police officer has been shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) - just days before the French presidential election 

A French police officer has been shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) – just days before the French presidential election

People held their hands up as they walked towards officers close to the scene where a policeman was fatally shot in Paris

People held their hands up as they walked towards officers close to the scene where a policeman was fatally shot in Paris

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Pictured is the scene of a restaurant in Paris when the gunman opened fire on the streets outside. Diners are seen cowering on the ground in fear

Pictured is the scene of a restaurant in Paris when the gunman opened fire on the streets outside. Diners are seen cowering on the ground in fear

An armed policeman speaks to diners in a nearby Parisien restuarant, who cowered to the floor in fear of the ISIS gunman

An armed policeman speaks to diners in a nearby Parisien restuarant, who cowered to the floor in fear of the ISIS gunman

The gunman has been identified by police but they will not officially reveal his name until investigators determine whether he had accomplices, according to the Paris prosecutor.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said: ‘The identity of the attacker is known and has been checked. I will not give it because investigations with raids are ongoing.

‘The investigators want to be sure whether he had or did not have accomplices.’

The Interior Ministry spokesman said the officers were deliberately targeted and the police union added that the policeman was killed while sat in a car at a red light.

US President Donald Trump said: ‘It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It never ends.’

The attack which took place on the Champs Elysees (pictured) comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France's tense presidential election

The attack which took place on the Champs Elysees (pictured) comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election

A French police officer stood guard on the Champs Elysees in central Paris following the fatal shooting, which has been described as 'terrorist related' 

A French police officer stood guard on the Champs Elysees in central Paris following the fatal shooting, which has been described as ‘terrorist related’

Police officers secured the area after a gunman got of an Audi vehicle and targeted officers by firing an automatic gun towards them 

Police officers secured the area after a gunman got of an Audi vehicle and targeted officers by firing an automatic gun towards them

A man and a woman put their hands in the air as armed officers stood just yards away from them following the incident in the city 

A man and a woman put their hands in the air as armed officers stood just yards away from them following the incident in the city

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital 

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital

People were seen running away from the area after Thursday night's attack, which has been described as being 'terrorist related'

People were seen running away from the area after Thursday night’s attack, which has been described as being ‘terrorist related’

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday 

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday

The Audi which is believed to belong to the attacker was taken away from the scene on the back of a lorry as police rushed to the popular avenue 

The Audi which is believed to belong to the attacker was taken away from the scene on the back of a lorry as police rushed to the popular avenue

Forensic experts and police officers were seen examining evidence from a van on the Champs Elysees in central Paris 

Forensic experts and police officers were seen examining evidence from a van on the Champs Elysees in central Paris

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and dramatic video footage showed the immediate aftermath of the incident which left one policeman dead.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for the French Interior Ministry, confirmed that both injured officers in hospital were now ‘out of danger’ and ‘stable’, while the female tourist was far less badly hurt.

Mr Brandet did not name any of the victims, but praised the officers for ‘helping to avoid a bloodbath’ by ‘neutralising’ the attacker as quickly as possible.

French President Francois Hollande said the attack was ‘terrorist related’ and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings on Thursday evening.

Mr Hollande said a national tribute will be paid to the policeman and added that a ‘passerby was hit’ before the ‘assailant was neutralised’.

Conservative contender Francois Fillon, who has campaigned against ‘Islamic totalitarianism,’ said on France 2 television that he was canceling his planned campaign stops Friday.

Far-right candidate Le Pen, who campaigns against immigration and Islamic fundamentalism, took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers ‘once again targeted.’

She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his ‘full support’ to police against terrorism.

Le Pen and Francois Fillon announced that they have both cancelled their campaigning on Friday.

Paris gunman’s neighbour speaks out as police raid suspect’s home

French presidential election candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon (pictured) took part in the TV show just days before the election 

French presidential election candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon (pictured) took part in the TV show just days before the election

French presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen (pictured), took part in a key debate

French presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen (pictured), took part in a key debate

Mr Brandet said ‘all lines of investigation were being pursued’, while intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’.

This means he would have been under surveillance, because he was a known risk to the country.

An eyewitness, called Chelloug, said: ‘It was a terrorist. He came out with a Kalashnikov and started shooting, but he could’ve shot us on the pavement and killed more people with a spray of shots.

‘But he targeted the policemen and fortunately there were the policemen who killed him.’

Another witness said: ‘I saw someone shoot at the police officers. They returned fire, they killed him, he fell on the floor. And then the emergency services came.

‘It took place by Zara and there was a CRS (Republican Security Companies) van parked up and the man shot the police officers. He took out a weapon and shot them.

‘I think the police officer was killed on the spot and his colleagues fired back and killed the individual.’

The attack comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election.

A witness, identified only as Ines, told BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man’s body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

It comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.

Police officers quickly secured the area - which is popular with tourists and Parisians - after the attack and the road was on lockdown by 9pm 

Police officers quickly secured the area – which is popular with tourists and Parisians – after the attack and the road was on lockdown by 9pm

Police search the car reportedly used in Paris attack

Police officers took positions near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the gunman - who was known to the security services - launched the attack 

Police officers took positions near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the gunman – who was known to the security services – launched the attack

An armed soldier spoke to a man a told him to leave the area following the fatal shooting close to the Arc de Triomphe (pictured) 

An armed soldier spoke to a man a told him to leave the area following the fatal shooting close to the Arc de Triomphe (pictured)

French soldiers secure the Champs Elysees Avenue after a police officer was killed when a gunman opened fire in Paris

French soldiers secure the Champs Elysees Avenue after a police officer was killed when a gunman opened fire in Paris

French police officers searched the area after some of their colleagues were shot in the heart of Paris on Thursday evening

French police officers searched the area after some of their colleagues were shot in the heart of Paris on Thursday evening

French President Francois Hollande (pictured) said the attack was 'terrorist related' and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings

French President Francois Hollande (pictured) said the attack was ‘terrorist related’ and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings

‘Stay back, stay back!’ Police warn after shooting in Paris

LE PEN ACCUSED OF ‘EXPLOITING’ ATTACK FOR VOTES

By Thomas Burrows for MailOnline 

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has accused far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of ‘exploiting’ the Champs-Elysees terror attack to win votes ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.

In the wake of the shooting Le Pen called for foreign terror suspects to be expelled immediately and claimed France needed a ‘presidency which acts and protects us.’

Responding to that, Cazeneuve, a Socialist, said Le Pen’s National Front (FN) ‘after each attack, seeks to exploit it and use it for purely political means.’

Experts believe the shooting last night could boost Le Pen’s chances of getting elected just days before France goes to the polls.

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French

Voters could flock to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen following the latest terror attack

Voters could flock to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen following the latest terror attack

In last night’s attack a police officer was killed and two more were injured after a gunman opened fire close to the Champs-Elysees.

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French. The 39-year-old had used the war name ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’.

Officials confirmed the homegrown fanatic was a French national despite his nickname.

A manhunt is underway for the second suspect who travelled by train to France from Belgium.

The Champs-Elysees terror attack could boost far-right candidate Marine Le Pen's chances of getting elected, experts believe

The Champs-Elysees terror attack could boost far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s chances of getting elected, experts believe

The shooting took place just four days before the French election and experts believe it could bolster Le Pen’s chances of being elected.

Le Pen has made immigration and security the core part of her campaign. She has pledged to tighten French borders controls and build more jails, and claimed authorities were not doing enough to protect citizens from terror attacks.

More than half of police officers in France had already said they were voting for Le Pen because of her strong anti-terror stance, according to an IFOP poll.

Experts believe it could increase her chances of winning Sunday’s election.

Fredrik Erixon, director at the European Centre for International Political Economy, told CNBC: ‘[It could lead to] a greater performance of Marine Le Pen than otherwise would have been the case.

‘It’s difficult to see how this attack will not play into the hands of political forces that want this campaign to be focused only on issues around migration and terrorism.’

Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, added: ‘The Paris gunman attack may well swing support in her favor; and this may not be picked up by the polls in a timely manner.’

Armed police officers were quick on the scene and closed the world famous avenue following the incident which shocked the city

Armed police officers were quick on the scene and closed the world famous avenue following the incident which shocked the city

The world famous was shut at around 9pm and it is believed police are still searching for a second suspect in relation to the attack 

The world famous was shut at around 9pm and it is believed police are still searching for a second suspect in relation to the attack

Police officers blocked the access of a street near the Champs Elysees in Paris after the fatal shooting on Thursday, April 20

Police officers blocked the access of a street near the Champs Elysees in Paris after the fatal shooting on Thursday, April 20

Officers were wearing vests and helmets as they patrolled the area close to where the fatal shooting took. A 39-year-old man is believed to be responsible for the shooting 

Officers were wearing vests and helmets as they patrolled the area close to where the fatal shooting took. A 39-year-old man is believed to be responsible for the shooting

The world famous street was put on lockdown by 9pm and officers guarded the area in central Paris (pictured, the Eiffel Tower in the background) 

The world famous street was put on lockdown by 9pm and officers guarded the area in central Paris (pictured, the Eiffel Tower in the background)

A policeman attended the scene and was armed with a gun following the incident. Police have reportedly issued a warrant for a second attacker

A policeman attended the scene and was armed with a gun following the incident. Police have reportedly issued a warrant for a second attacker

Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.

For weeks, centrist former banker Le Pen has been out in front but opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round runoff on May 7.

Scandal-plagued conservative Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.

A COUNTRY UNDER SIEGE: TIMELINE OF FRANCE TERROR

By Rory Tingle for MailOnline 

March, 18, 2017 – Convicted criminal with links to radical Islam shouted ‘I am here to die for Allah, there will be deaths’ seconds before he was shot dead during an attack at Orly airport. The 39-year-old, named locally as career criminal Ziyed Ben Belgacem, was killed after wrestling a soldier’s gun from her and fleeing into a McDonald’s. He sent a text message to his brother and father stating ‘I shot the police’, shortly before he was killed.

February 3, 2017 – A man is shot five times outside the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris after attempting to storm the historic art gallery.

July 14, 2016 – Amid Bastille Day celebrations in the Riviera city of Nice, a large truck is driven into a festive crowd. Some 86 people from a wide variety of countries are killed. The driver is shot dead. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility for the attack. The state of emergency in France is extended and extra protection, including robust barriers to prevent similar attacks, is put in place at major sites in France.

June 13, 2016 – Two French police officers are murdered in their home in front of their 3-year-old son. Islamic State claims responsibility for the slaying, which was carried out by a jihadist with a prior terrorist conviction. He is killed by police on the scene.

Nov. 13, 2015 – Islamic State militants kill 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II. A series of suicide bomb and shooting attacks are launched on crowded sites in central Paris, as well as the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. Most of those killed are in a crowded theater where hostages are taken. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility and say it was in retaliation for French participation in airstrikes on the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq. It leads to the declaration of a state of emergency in France. Police powers are expanded.

Jan. 7, 2015 – Two brothers kill 11 people inside the Paris building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is headquartered in what Islamic State extremists claim is retaliation for the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. More are killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There are 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers are killed.

The UK Foreign Office said: ‘The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

‘You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.

‘If you’re in the area and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.’

 were photographed standing on top of a vehicle on the Champs Elysees following an incident which left one officer dead

French police officers reacted after the shooting which left one officer dead and two more seriously injured in Paris 

French police officers reacted after the shooting which left one officer dead and two more seriously injured in Paris

French soldiers were armed with guns (pictured) and stood guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysees in Paris

French soldiers were armed with guns (pictured) and stood guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysees in Paris

Heavily armed officers had flooded the area following the gunshots which were heard in a busy part of the French capital 

Heavily armed officers had flooded the area following the gunshots which were heard in a busy part of the French capital

Reports have suggested that two police officers have been killed on the Champs Elysees in central Paris (pictured) this evening

Reports have suggested that two police officers have been killed on the Champs Elysees in central Paris (pictured) this evening

It was originally believed the other officer was seriously wounded while the attacker was killed on the world famous avenue (pictured)

It was originally believed the other officer was seriously wounded while the attacker was killed on the world famous avenue (pictured)

The incident last night comes as France remains in a state of emergency following the Paris attacks in 2015 and the Bastille Day killings in Nice in 2016.

The shooting comes just hours after one of the busiest roads in Paris was closed off by police as officers dealt with a ‘suspicious package’.

Reports suggested that items were discovered by officers as Rue de Rivoli remained shut. Stunned witnesses described seeing a large police presence on the two-mile-long road.

Rue de Rivoli is a busy commercial street just north of the River Seine which is home to some of the most fashionable shops in the world.

CHAMPS-ELYSEES: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AVENUE IN THE WORLD

By Thomas Burrows for MailOnline 

The Champs-Elysees – the scene of Thursday night’s terror attack – is the beating historic heart of Paris.

It has been described as the ‘most beautiful avenue’ in the world and is visited by millions of tourists every year.

Tens of thousands of people daily throng the tree-lined 1.2 mile avenue that is home to luxury stores and chain stores, cafes, cinemas and high-end offices.

A tourist draw as famed as the Eiffel Tower just across the River Seine, the avenue, stretching from the Arc de Triomphe down to Concorde Square, was first laid out in 1670.

Over the decades people have gathered there to mark momentous moments in French history.

During the French Revolution in 1789 an angry mob set off from the avenue to march on Versailles, Louis XVI’s opulent retreat.

It was also the site chosen by General Charles de Gaulle to celebrate the August 25, 1944, liberation of Paris from the Germans during World War Two.

More recently, hundreds of thousands congregated along the avenue to celebrate France’s 1998 World Cup victory (sealed with a 3-0 win over Brazil) on home soil.

The Champs Elysees is famously the finish line for the world’s toughest cycling race, the Tour de France.

Thursday was not the first time violence has been visited on the avenue.

In 1986, it witnessed two attacks – the first, on February 3, seeing one death and eight injured at the Claridge shopping arcade.

A second attack on March 20 at the Point Show arcade killed two and injured 29. Both attacks were linked to Middle East terrorism.

On Bastille Day in 2002, president Jacques Chirac survived an assassination attempt by a right-wing extremist who fired off one shot from a rifle hidden in a guitar case before bystanders wrestled him to the ground.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4429938/Paris-terror-attack-video-shows-police-shoot-gunman.html#ixzz4evbT4kjq

Story 2: Will Marine Le Pen Win In The First Round of French Presidential Election? First Round –Yes — — Making France Great Again —  Second Round –Marine Le Pen May Be First Woman President or Emmanuel Marcon The Youngest President — Videos

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“Marine Le Pen will be the next French President” – Christopher Dickey

Dear French People | French Presidential Election 2017

Who will be France’s next leader? | DW English

France’s Presidential Election: What You Need to Know

French election 2017: Who’s who – BBC News

France’s presidential election: A populist front

French Presidential Election 2017 Explained

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and Europe’s far-right movement

Le Pen vs Macron

RT – Why Marine Le Pen is The Only Way to Save Europe #Frexit #EndEU

Le Pen destroys Merkel

Marine Le Pen will not put up with any nonsense from BBC reporter

Marine Le Pen gets poll boost after Paris attack as Donald Trump says her chances of victory have improved

Donald Trump Marine Le Pen

Donald Trump has said the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen’s presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.

The US president said the shooting would “probably help” Ms Le Pen in Sunday’s election, because she is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

“Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election,” he said.

Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally in Marseille
Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally in Marseille CREDIT: EPA

US presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Mr Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying: “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”

Cancelling visits and meetings on Friday, candidates traded blows across the airwaves as it emerged that the Isil-backed gunman had been kept in custody just 24 hours in February despite attempts to procure weapons to murder police.

Xavier Jugelé, 37, a policeman who had been deployed in the 2015 Bataclan attack, was killed in the shooting.

This undated image provided on Friday, April 21, 2017, by FLAG, an association of LGBT police officers, shows French police officer Xavier Jugele
This undated image provided on Friday, April 21, 2017, by FLAG, an association of LGBT police officers, shows French police officer Xavier Jugele CREDIT: FLAG VIA AP

Ms Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, blasted the mainstream “naive” Left and Right for failing to get tough on Islamism, calling for France to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.

François Fillon, the mainstream conservative candidate, pledged an “iron fist” in the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” – his priority if elected. “We are at war, it’s either us or them,” said the conservative, whose campaign has been weighed down by allegations he gave his British wife a “fake job”.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist, whom critics dismiss as a soft touch, hit back at claims shutting borders and filling French prisons would solve the problem, saying: “There’s no such thing as zero risk. Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful.”

Sticking to his campaign agenda, far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon told everyone to keep a “cool head” as he took part in a giant picnic.

A last-minute Odoxa poll taken after the attack suggested that Mr Macron was still on course to come first in Sunday’s first round, with Ms Le Pen just behind and through to the May 7 runoff.

However, Mr Fillon and Mr Mélenchon were still snapping at their heels.

The government on Friday announced elite units would join 50,000 police and troops to guard polling booths on Sunday in France’s first presidential election to be held in a state of emergency.

Matthieu Croissandeau, editor of Nouvel Obs magazine, said the French are now thicker-skinned after two years of bloodshed. “The French are unfortunately getting used to terror attacks on home soil and I don’t think this latest one created the shock and awe that might have made a significant difference,” he said.

Ms Le Pen has struggled to get the campaign to focus on her party’s pet issues of security, Islam and immigration. By contrast, she has been thrown on the defensive over her position to pull out of the eurozone.

After the attack, she called on the “notoriously feeble” socialist, President François Hollande, to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services. She said: “We cannot afford to lose this war. But for the past 10 years, Left-wing and Right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it.

“We need a presidency which acts and protects us,” she said from her Paris campaign headquarters. Elected French president, I would immediately, and with no hesitation, carry out the battle plan against Islamist terrorism and against judicial laxity.”

Marine Le Pen reacts to the terror attack in Paris
But Ms Le Pen was not the only one to issue stern pledges. Mr Fillon, who also talks tough on security, said the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the next president’s priority.

“It will require an unyielding determination and a cool head,” the former prime minister said. “We are at war, there is no alternative, it’s us or them.”

Mr Fillon, though knocked off his initial course towards victory by incessant allegations involving “fake job” payments to his British wife, promised to govern with “an iron fist”.

But the moderate Mr Macron, whom other candidates have portrayed as too inexperienced, took a different tack, warning against any attempts to use the shooting for political gain. “I think we must once and for all have a spirit of responsibility at this extreme time and not give in to panic and not allow it to be exploited, which some might try to do,” he told French radio.

Karim Cheurfi had been detained in February after reports that he had threatened police 
Karim Cheurfi had been detained in February after reports that he had threatened police 

Ms Le Pen’s solutions, he said, were woefully simplistic and “would not protect France”. And he added that to promise a “zero risk” scenario “is both irresponsible and deceitful”.

He also took a swipe at Mr Fillon, saying that intelligence had been depleted on his watch as the prime minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency.

Meanwhile, Bernard Cazeneuve, the Socialist prime minister, accused Le Pen of “shamelessly seeking to exploit fear and emotion”.

Footage shows moments after suspected terrorist is shot in Paris

00:24

Opinion polls have for months forecast that Le Pen would make it through to the run-off, but then lose in the final vote. Given the margin of error, none of the leading four candidates is a sure bet to reach the final. All hope to woo the third of French voters still undecided.

Previous terror attacks ahead of elections – such as the November 2015 attacks in Paris before regional ballots – did not effect those ballots.

Analyst Who Predicted Trump’s Ascendancy Bets on Le Pen Win

April 21, 2017, 3:41 AM CDT April 21, 2017, 5:42 AM CDT
  • Undecided voters bad news for Macron, says GaveKal’s founder
  • Recommends overweight sterling, large-caps; bond shorts
 How Will Markets React to Elections in France?

Don’t bank on a relief rally in the euro area anytime soon.

Markets are underpricing the prospect of Marine Le Pen emerging victorious in the French election as a sea of undecided voters throws into sharp relief pronounced apathy for center-leftist Emmanuel Macron — the front-runner by a whisker — and the backlash against the European Union project.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Charles Gave, founder of Hong-Kong based asset-allocation consultancy GaveKal Research, who predicted the triumph of Donald Trump in the U.S. election, and is now betting on a win for the anti-euro National Front candidate.

“Le Pen’s momentum is a slow-moving reaction against the men of Davos — as we have seen with Brexit and Trump — but markets don’t want to believe it,” he said by phone before the first round of the French poll on April 23.

Given the prospect of a Le Pen victory, Gave, who has been researching tactical asset allocation for more than 40 years, is advising clients to adopt long positioning in the pound as the U.K. would benefit from haven bids, and shorts on inflation-linked German bonds amid the risk of deflation in the euro area.

Safer Bet

The French economist also recommends bets on the likely outperformance of publicly-listed European multinationals, given their outsize share of income in foreign currencies. In effect, for investors obliged to invest liquidity in euros, Gave says a basket of high-quality stocks is a safer bet than euro-denominated government bonds.

“The market is talking about the nightmare scenario but it’s not pricing it in” said Mark Tinker, head of AXA Framlington Asia. Tinker’s a GaveKal client, and admirer of Gave’s tail-risk warnings over the past year. “After Sunday, we will have more information to make a considered risk-return wager to trade and hedge, but high-quality European companies and German bonds look like an attractive bet,” Tinker said.

Markets are pining for a scenario that would preserve the status quo: Macron, an independent candidate, defeating Le Pen in the second round on May 7. Thursday saw something of a French relief rally, with strong demand at a government debt auction, while France’s benchmark CAC 40 Index rose 1.5 percent aspolls showed Macron pulling marginally ahead of Le Pen.

The euro held steady on Friday and French bonds gained after a police officer was shot in Paris, which may influence the outcome of the first-round vote, according to some analysts. The CAC 40 dropped for the first time in three days, declining 0.5 percent.

The stars, however, appear to be aligning for the National Front candidate, said Gave. The fact two candidates for the runoff are likely to be determined by voters who have yet to make up their minds — as many as 40 percent — is a bad omen for the centrist contender, he said.

Momentum Curtailed

At least half of the far-left and half of the center-right won’t vote for Macron in the second round if he is pitted against Le Pen, believing he is“tainted” by his association with Francois Hollande’s government, and would rather abstain, Gave said.

Supporters of Francois Fillon, a center-right candidate whose momentum has been curtailed by graft charges, and a sizable chunk of Macron’s followers would probably rally to Le Pen’s cause if she were to face leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the final round, according to Gave. He sees only Fillon with a chance to defeat Le Pen in the run-off.

If she emerges victorious, the euro would tank as markets would price in the prospect of its dissolution, rather than focus on Le Pen’s legislative hurdles to exit the single-currency bloc. French and Italian bonds will be “unquotable” given vanishing bids, and the European banking system would be beset by seismic turmoil, he said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-21/analyst-who-predicted-trump-ascendancy-is-betting-on-le-pen-win

French Elections: Marine Le Pen Backed By Quiet Army of Women

Image: Marine Le Pen campaign rally in Paris

Le Pen waves at the audience after speaking at a rally in Paris on April 17. Christophe Petit Tesson / EPA

COGOLIN, France — Muslims preoccupy Jennifer Troin.

“I’m worried about my nieces having to wear the veil,” said the soft-spoken 29-year-old.

This fear has helped propel the young mother to the far-right of the political spectrum ahead of key presidential elections Sunday — and into the arms of the hard-line National Front party.

Troin sells children’s clothes at a store in Cogolin, a town of 11,000 a few miles from the jet-set resorts of the French Riviera. In 2014, Cogolin became one of a handful of communities nationwide to elect mayors from the National Front, which is also known by the acronym FN.

Image: Jennifer Troin, 29, is a sales assistant in a children's clothes store in Cogolin on April 13, 2017

Jennifer Troin, 29, is a sales assistant in a children’s clothes store in Cogolin, France on April 13, 2017.Saphora Smith / for NBC News

Troin told NBC News that it wasn’t just the FN’s stance on Islam and immigration that attracted her, but also the party’s populist take on the economy.

But most of all, it was the party’s charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, who captured Troin’s loyalty.

“She fights for women’s rights against Islam,” she said. “I vote because of Marine.”

Troin is part of a quiet army of female National Front supporters, who could well tip the balance of the election and give the presidency to the hard-right.

An FN victory would rewrite the continent’s political playbook, given the party’s pledge to take France out of the European Union. Were it to win, it would not have been an easy ride for a movement that peaked in 2002 when founder Jean Mari Le Pen — Marine Le Pen’s father — reached the second and final round of the presidential election.

French voters flocked to the polls in the runoff to ensure Le Pen did not win, instead electing former President Jacques Chirac with a resounding 78 percent of the vote. Most pollsters expect a similar outcome in May’s second-round vote, predicting moderate voters to rally once again to shut out the FN.

But few doubt that the party’s anti-immigrant and anti-establishment platform is resonating.

The Front’s anti-Islamic message is especially potent in France, whose 4.7 million Muslims make up around 7.5 percent of the population. Islamist militant attacks have killed more than 230 people over two years and plunged the country into a long-term state of emergency.

Play
Marine Le Pen: Mass Immigration Is a Tragedy for France 1:00

This anxiety deepened on the eve of the election after a gunman ambushed three Parisian police officers on the Champs-Elysees late Thursday, killing one and wounding two others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting and French President Francois Hollande said it was likely a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, the FN’s influence has spread from its heartlands along the Mediterranean coast and in the rust-belt north, into rural “forgotten” France.

‘Marine is different’

Polling institute Elabe recently predicted that 22 percent of women would vote for the National Front in the first round Sunday — almost 5 percent more than in 2012.

With just days to go, polls show the race is tightening. Centrist Emmanuel Macron is edging his way ahead on 24 percent and Le Pen is a fraction behind on 22.5 percent, according to Bloomberg polling.

Just below them, hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has enjoyed a late surge and scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon has hung in there despite a slew of allegations that he paid thousands of euros to his British-born wife for assistance she allegedly did not provide. A third of voters remain undecided.

Image: French far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen is kissed by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen
Front National leader Marine Le Pen is kissed by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen after being re-elected as president of the party on Nov. 30, 2014.Laurent Cipriani / AP, file

The FN’s ability to motivate French women could be decisive. Traditionally, it has struggled to attract female voters amid accusations of sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.

In its early years under Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party advocated a traditional image of women, opposed abortion rights and developed a reputation for a macho, strongman culture.

This bias showed. The FN was far less successful at attracting women than men. During Jean-Marie Le Pen’ time in charge, around 12 percent of French women supported the party compared with 17 percent of men, according toSciences Po Cevipof, a political institute based in Paris.

Marine Le Pen changed this.

Since taking over in 2011, she has softened the party’s image, steering the FN away from some of its overtly anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric in an effort to broaden its electoral base. In 2015, she expelled her father after he repeated his view that the Holocaust was a “detail of history.”

In the run up to the this year’s election, Le Pen dropped her last name from campaign handouts, referring to herself simply as Marine.

More recently, she specifically targeted the female vote. She has published special pamphlets and a campaign video that describes her as a woman and a mother and shows her flicking through family photo albums. She has also changed the party’s logo from a flame to a blue rose.

‘Hitler-like figure’

For Troin, the children’s clothes seller in Cogolin, her interest in the National Front has grown with Marine Le Pen’s rise. While immigration, job security and her fear of Islam remained underlying motivators, she was also attracted to the party’s re-brand.

For her, the former leader “was too outspoken, too offensive. He was a Hitler-like figure,” Troin said. “But Marine is different.”

In the last presidential election in 2012 — the first with Marine Le Pen as leader — the party’s gender gap closed to 1.5 percentage points. It’s what Cevipof professor and FN expert Nonna Mayer called the “Marine Le Pen effect.”

The party has long advocated clamping down on immigration and securing borders, and throughout her campaign Le Pen has consistently made the country’s Muslims a target.

Image: Marine Le Pen supporters cheer
Marine Le Pen supporters cheer at a rally in the southern city of Marseille on Wednesday.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

“In France we respect women, we don’t beat them, we don’t ask them to hide themselves behind a veil as if they were impure. We drink wine when we want, we can criticize religion and speak freely,” she said during a rally Monday night, comments clearly aimed at Muslims.

During the rally, Le Pen pledged to suspend all visas from non-European migrants hoping to join their families in France — often code for immigrants from mainly Muslim North Africa and the Middle East.

After Thursday night’s attack in Paris, she again singled out what she sees as the threat posed by Islam.

“It is a war in which there can be no retreat because all our population and all our territory are exposed,” she said.

And for all her rebranding, Marine Le Pen can also fall back into the older, harsher style of messaging.

Cathy, a 50-year-old dental assistant who was shopping for groceries in Cogolin, said she was all set to vote FN but was taken aback by Le Pen’s recent comments that the French were not to blame for the anti-Jewish policies of the government during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Referring to the “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of Jews by French police in July 1942, in which nearly 13,000 were detained and deported to concentration camps, Le Pen told French radio earlier this month she thought France was “not responsible.”

Cathy, who didn’t want to be identified by her second name, said Le Pen’s remarks had made her pause.

“Perhaps she has the same ideas as her father but they’re just hidden behind good PR skills,” she said. “So I’m still thinking.”

Others needed no time to reflect.

“The FN is xenophobic, racist and anti-feminist,” said retired teacher Mireille Escarrat. “For me it feels like the 1930s. We’re going backwards.”

‘I don’t talk politics here’

Many of the National Front supporters interviewed by NBC News were reluctant to admit it, and others were concerned about being named.

“I don’t talk politics here,” a local woman said, having led the way into a backroom of her business in the town. The 60-year-old asked not to be named or for her business to be described because she felt that admitting her loyalty to the FN would damage her reputation.

“I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t for my business,” she added, out of earshot of her customers. “But this is somewhere everyone can come whether you vote communist or for the right.”

Even in this town — where 53 percent of the population voted FN in 2014 — voting Le Pen still carries a social stigma. There’s no telling just how many closet female FN voters there may be.

The party’s marriage of socialist economic policy and right-wing identity politics is working in the town, which sits in the FN’s traditional southern heartland. With the decline of traditional industries and unemployment at 18 percent, locals worry Cogolin is being reduced to a seasonal economy dependent on rich resort communities.

Newly-converted women at the FN’s regional headquarters in neighboring Sainte-Maxime said Sunday’s election would be the first time they voted for the Front in a presidential race.

“We didn’t vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen because he scared us,” said Monique Guckert, 67, a retired shop assistant. “His ideas were too fascist, too racist. It was too much.”

Image: Mayor Marc Etienne Lansade sits at his desk
Cogolin’s mayor Marc Etienne Lansade sits at his desk.Saphora Smith / for NBC News

Even the FN mayor of Cogolin, Marc Etienne Lansade, admitted his mother would never have voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“He drove her crazy,” he said. “Women understand Marine Le Pen, she’s divorced, she has three children, she works — she’s a modern woman,” he added, sitting in his second-floor office in the town hall.

Still, not all women appreciate Le Pen’s message. On Monday, a topless protester carrying flowers charged the candidate during a rally northern Paris.

Le Pen does not try to make out that she is a feminist. Of her 144 manifesto pledges, only one addresses women’s issues. In it, she promises to defend women’s rights by fighting against Islam, implementing a plan for equal pay and combating social and job insecurity.

“She’s a fake feminist,” said Camille Froidevaux-Metterie, a political scientist and expert on women in politics at the University of Reims.

Asked if a Le Pen win would be a victory for women, she said that though symbolically “it would not be nothing.” She said it would mean France is ready for a female president but would have elected one on a non-feminist agenda.

“It’s a sort of paradox,” she said.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/french-elections-marine-le-pen-backed-quiet-army-women-n748136

French elections: New poll shows Macron’s lead over Le Pen is narrowing

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The Pronk Pops Show 876, April 19, 2017, Story 1: Murdoch Sons Killing Fox News — Talent Exits — Who is next? — Adorable Deplorable Audience Abandons Fox News — Going, Going, Gone — Life Is Not Fair! — Big Lie Media Dying — Videos — Story 2: Totalitarians of Lying Lunatic Left Attempt to Suppress Speech of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals — Nothing New — Go On Offense And Attack The Collectivist Totalitarians — Battle For Berkeley — Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge — Why the Right Won — Chief of Police Orders Berkeley Police To Stand Down — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Story 1: Murdoch Sons Killing Fox News — Talent Exits — Who is next? — Adorable Deplorable Audience Abandons Fox News — Going, Going, Gone — Life Is Not Fair! —  Big Lie Media Dying — Videos — 

Image result for bill o'reilly on media mattersImage result for media mattersImage result for media mattersImage result for cartoons on george soros

The Bonner group/A Super PAC and fundraiser for Hillary & DNC. The Campaign against Bill OReily is orchestrated by MM & BG.

Glenn Beck ✔ @glennbeck The Bonner group/A Super PAC and fundraiser for Hillary & DNC. The Campaign against Bill OReily is orchestrated by MM & BG. #Smearproof 5:58 AM – 19 Apr 2017 321 321 Retweets 232 232 likes

http://www.glennbeck.com/2017/04/19/exclusive-proof-that-liberals-are-working-to-remove-bill-oreilly-from-fox-news/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link

Bill O’Reilly Gets a $25M Copy of the Home Game Sayonara and “Hit the Road” Without Even a Goodbye

The Real Reason Bill O’Reilly Was Fired From Fox That Nobody’s Talking About

Bill O’Reilly’s Out at Fox | It Had Nothing to Do With Sexual Harassment | It Was Sponsors and Money

Mark Levin Reveals Why He Despised Bill O’Reilly

MARK LEVIN: I’m Not Gonna Defend Bill O’Reilly, But The Left Works As A CABAL

LIMBAUGH: Fox News Is Not Gonna Be The Way It Is For Long

Pitchfork and Torch Mob Crows Over O’Reilly’s Heave-Ho: Mum’s the Word As to Bill Clinton’s Victims

Ted Koppel tells Bill O’Reilly he’s ruined journalism

Bill O’Reilly Back On The Air After New Accuser Alleges Sexual Harassment | TODAY

Howard Stern Making Fun Of Bill O’Reilly Sexually Harassing Women 04/03/17

Sponsors split from FOX News over sexual harassment scandal

After Bill O’Reilly Blasts Megyn Kelly, She Insists: Ailes Made Fox Look Bad

Bill O’Reilly Calls His Critics “Hate Sites”

Bill O’Reilly Lashes Out At Media Matters And Salon For Highlighting His Anti-Immigration Coverage

Behold the Death Knell of Mainstream Corporate News Media

Megyn Kelly Flops and Folds at Fox and Faces a Career Stall at NBC Media Wasteland and Landfill

Why The Fake News Media Keeps Losing | Mike Cernovich and Stefan Molyneux

Sources: Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go

By Gabriel Sherman

The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.

Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.

According to sources, Fox News wants the transition to be seamless. Executives are currently debating possible replacement hosts. Names that have been discussed include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson, who would move from his successful 9 p.m. slot and create a need for a new host at that time. One source said Sean Hannity is happy at 10 p.m. and would not want to move.

The Murdochs’ decision to dump O’Reilly shocked many Fox News staffers I’ve spoken to in recent days. Late last week, the feeling inside the company was that Rupert Murdoch would prevail over his son James, who lobbied to jettison the embattled host. It’s still unclear exactly how the tide turned. According to one source, Lachlan Murdoch’s wife helped convince her husband that O’Reilly needed to go, which moved Lachlan into James’s corner. The source added that senior executives at other divisions within the Murdoch empire have complained that if O’Reilly’s allegations had happened to anyone else at their companies, that person would be gone already.

Spokespersons for 21st Century Fox and Fox News did not respond to requests for comment, nor did O’Reilly’s agent, Carole Cooper.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/sources-fox-news-has-decided-bill-oreilly-has-to-go.html

Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His ouster brings an abrupt and embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.

Bill O’Reilly’s Show Lost More Than Half Its Advertisers in a Week

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement.

Mr. O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Document: Fox Statement on Bill O’Reilly’s Departure

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Fox News’s chairman, Roger Ailes.

That put pressure on 21st Century Fox and the Murdoch family that controlled it. After the dismissal of Mr. Ailes, the company struck two settlements involving sexual harassment complaints against Mr. O’Reilly and also extended his contract, even as it was aware of the complaints about his behavior.

Last week, the Murdochs enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an investigation into Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior after one woman, who had detailed her allegations against Mr. O’Reilly to The Times, called the company’s hotline to report her complaints. Another complaint was reported on Tuesday, according to the lawyer who represents the woman making the allegations.

Mr. O’Reilly has denied the allegations against him.

Mr. O’Reilly, 67, has been an anchor at Fox News since he started at the network in 1996. He was the top-rated host in cable news, serving up defiant commentary every weekday at 8 p.m., with a message that celebrated patriotism and expressed scorn for political correctness. His departure is a significant blow to Fox News’s prime-time lineup, which in January lost another star, Megyn Kelly, from a lineup that dominated the prime-time cable news ratings.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/media/bill-oreilly-fox-news-allegations.html?_r=0

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone: “Even If Bill O’Reilly Stays, His Show Will Never Be As Profitable”

Carusone: Fox News Said It Themselves … ‘If You Have A Television Show And You Have Advertiser Problems, You No Longer Have A Television Show That Is Viable.”

Video ››› April 5, 2017 6:30 PM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

From the April 5 edition of Cheddar News:

KRISTEN SCHOLER (CO-HOST): We know that you’ve been following the developments in these sexual harassment claims against Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, and as of right now ABC reporting 22 advertisers pulling out of advertising at least temporarily on his show. How is this going to force Fox News to respond long term? We’ve heard the response short-term which is it’s working with these advertisers, but big picture what do you think this means?

ANGELO CARUSONE: One thing that at the top that I point out is, when we think about the number of advertisers that have dropped, that 22 number is the ones that have given public statements.  From just observing the program and his advertisers the last couple of weeks, and then what his advertising looked like last night, and just from my own experience of running and being involved in similar kinds of advertiser efforts, like against Glenn Beck, I suspect that many more advertisers have actually adjusted their ad buys but just haven’t given public statements yet. Because many of the advertisers that had been advertising on the program every single night for the past few weeks did not appear last night after this controversy blew up, and I don’t think they’ll be there tonight.

JON STEINBERG (CO-HOST): Angelo, at what point — because they’re sticking by this guy, because he brings in money. And they basically don’t care; they don’t care how  bad it is or what he’s done, he makes them so much money that they’re going to stick with him. At what point is it enough advertisers that the math — the problem is, this looks bad for them, and it could be even worse for them, they could have gotten ahead of this and been like, “this guy’s toxic, we’re done,” right? Instead they paid his settlements, stuck by him, now they’re going to lose money and now they’re going to have to pull the ripcord on him, at which point it looks like they’re just doing it for the money.

CARUSONE: And I think that’s the exact right question, which is at what point does it actually start to affect them? What happens during these kinds of flare-ups is that there’s an assumption on the public’s part that if O’Reilly was to leave the program in a couple of days, that everything was pointless and worth it and Fox News is totally fine and Bill O’Reilly is totally fine. That’s actually just not true, and during the Glenn Beck period, after he lost a wave of advertisers, his advertiser rates never recovered. He limped along for over a year. His advertiser rates were a quarter of what other Fox News programs were even though he had a million viewers than many other Fox News programs, comparable ones, during similar time slots. He was beating the programs around him by a million viewers but his advertiser rates for the same advertisers, and for the same commercials, were sometimes a fifth of what they were on just a program an hour later or an hour earlier. That’s because they fell precipitously after he lost a lot of advertisers. The market addressed that issue; once you started to see there’s a problem buying ads on that show, media buyers weren’t going to pay the same rates anymore, and they never did. So that’s the first thing that I would point out, that no matter what, even if Bill O’Reilly stays, his program will never be as profitable as it was three days ago. That is just a bottom-line fact.

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/04/05/media-matters-president-angelo-carusone-even-if-bill-oreilly-stays-his-show-will-never-be-profitable/215934

Political views of Bill O’Reilly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

American commentator Bill O’Reilly regularly expresses his point of view on a wide variety of political, social, and moral issues. He has personally labeled his political philosophytraditionalism.[1]The O’Reilly Factor, since its inception on the Fox News Channel in 1996, has been the primary outlet of his opinions. O’Reilly started his own radio program, The Radio Factor, a few years later. He has also written several non-fiction books detailing some of his beliefs. O’Reilly generally leans to the right on most issues,[citation needed] most notably the Bush administration’s War on Terror, but breaks from the conservative and Republican majority on such issues as the global warming controversy, gun control, gay marriage and the death penalty.

Political views

Political affiliation

On The O’Reilly Factor and on his former talk-radio program, Bill O’Reilly has focused on news and commentary related to politics and culture.[2] O’Reilly has long said that he does not identify with any political ideology, writing in his book The O’Reilly Factor that the reader “might be wondering if whether I’m conservative, liberal, libertarian, or exactly what…. See, I don’t want to fit any of those labels, because I believe that the truth doesn’t have labels. When I see corruption, I try to expose it. When I see exploitation, I try to fight it. That’s my political position.”[3] On December 6, 2000, the Daily News in New York reported, however, that he had been registered with the Republican Party in the state of New York since 1994. When questioned about this, he said that he was not aware of it and says he registered as an independent after the interview.[4] During a broadcast of The Radio Factor, O’Reilly said that there was no option to register as an independent voter; however, there was in fact a box marked “I do not wish to enroll in party.”[5] Despite being registered as an Independent, many view him as a conservative figure.[2] A Pew Research February 2009 poll found that 66% of his television viewers identify themselves as conservative, 24% moderate, and 3% liberal.[6] A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that O’Reilly was the second most trusted news personality after Rush Limbaugh.[7]

In a 2003 interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio, O’Reilly said:

I’m not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day I’m an independent thinker, an independent voter, I’m a registered independent… there are certain fundamental things that this country was founded upon that I respect and don’t want changed. That separates me from the secularists who want a complete overhaul of how the country is run.[8]

Domestic politics

O’Reilly has opined on many domestic issues. O’Reilly said the Bill Clintonimpeachment stemming from the Lewinsky scandal was “not about sex. This is about honesty and cruelty. For Mr. Clinton, it was about undermining the justice system.” In the same article he writes that Gary Condit, a moderate Democraticcongressman from California who had an extramarital affair with Chandra Levy prior to her disappearance and death, should be held to the same standard.[9]

According to the Newsmax publication, O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed that Clinton had the Internal Revenue Service audit him.[10] O’Reilly says that he was audited three times since his program debuted in 1996.

O’Reilly has been critical of former Attorney GeneralJanet Reno, calling her “perhaps the worst attorney general in history”, and that the FBI became a “disorganized mess” during her tenure. He later praised former Attorney General John Ashcroft for going after the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, as well as Enron, WorldCom, Sam Waksal of Imclone and Martha Stewart.[11]

In 2002, O’Reilly had criticized Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, stating that she would run for president in 2008. In an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, he said, “I just feel that Hillary is a socialist, and I’m paying enough tax. Hillary wants to take my money [and] your money… and give it to strangers. There’s something about that that offends me.” He said that she had voted for every single spending bill that year. In the same interview, he accused her of running as a political carpetbagger, and said that she intends to abolish the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote, claiming that it would be done only to give her an advantage in the presidential race.[12]

After criticizing the overturn of Snyder v. Phelps by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, O’Reilly offered on March 30, 2010 to help Snyder pay the US$16,510 in court costs while he prepared an appeal to the Supreme Court.[13][14]

2004 presidential election

During the lead up to the 2004 presidential election, O’Reilly said that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the “far-left” in a conversation with former Democratic Congressman Brad Carson.[15] Shortly following the election, O’Reilly ridiculed a message in which Democratic challenger John Kerry thanked his supporters for their support as well as opposing “the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio.”[16] O’Reilly shot back, calling Kerry a “sissy” six times.[17] Kerry himself stated publicly in a 2006 interview that he always felt he’d have a “fair shot” at conveying his views on The O’Reilly Factor and regrets not doing an interview prior to the election.[18]

Although O’Reilly has never officially endorsed any candidate, he did advise his audience not to support Democratic South Dakota senator Tom Daschle in his Senate re-election bid on his radio program, saying that, “[W]ith all due respect to the senator, we don’t have any respect for him at all. And we hope he loses in South Dakota. And I — really, I stay out of all these races, but you guys listening in South Dakota, vote for the other guy.”[19] Daschle would lose the 2004 Senate election in South Dakota to John Thune.[20]

2008 presidential election

In the 2008 Democratic primary, O’Reilly urged his viewers not to vote for a candidate, this time John Edwards, and called Edwards a “phony” regarding his public statements on poverty.[21] O’Reilly has, on many occasions, admitted to “having no respect for him”, and called him “arrogant” for keeping his campaign staffer Amanda Marcotte on after making remarks O’Reilly called offensive to Christians.[22]

O’Reilly has also criticized Republicans. When speaking to Ed Schulz in 2007, O’Reilly said that then-presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani had “terrible character judgement” with Bernard Kerik and felt that “disqualified him from being president.”[23]

“Culture War” and domestic politics

O’Reilly has taken to using the abbreviation “S-P”, for “SecularProgressive“, as a shorthand way of referring to a political category of people who want “drastic change” in the country.[citation needed] O’Reilly classifies the group as “far left”, and almost always refers to the group in a negative manner. However, he says that he is not equating the negative qualities he sees in “SPs” with a “liberal” political ideology, saying the SP camp is far more “libertine” with social values:

Liberal thought, however, can be a good thing. Progressive programs to help the poor, fight injustice and give working people a fair shake are all positive. But libertine actions damage a just society because actions have consequences. Kids who drink and take drugs are likely to hurt themselves and others. But obviously, the SPs do not make judgments like that.[24]

In his book Culture Warrior, O’Reilly called President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. examples of liberals who were also traditionalists, also citing current US Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Evan Bayh of Indiana as liberal/Democratic “traditionalists”.

Foreign politics

Immigration and border control

O’Reilly has supported stricter border controls, including placement of the National Guard troops on the US-Mexican border and has criticized President George W. Bush for not allocating enough resources to make border security effective. He also criticized Ronald Reagan‘s act of amnesty, claiming that it made the illegal immigration problem worse.[25] O’Reilly makes a distinction between criminal illegal immigrants and non-criminals by saying that criminal illegal immigrants should be deported immediately. O’Reilly criticizes the lack of cooperation between local sanctuary cities and the INS.[26]

The Iraq War

O’Reilly initially supported the invasion of Iraq. Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, O’Reilly promised that “If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it’s clean [of weapons of mass destruction]…I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again.”[27] In another appearance on the same program on February 10, 2004, O’Reilly responded to repeated requests for him to honor his pledge: “My analysis was wrong and I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’m not pleased about it at all.”[28] With regard to never again trusting the current U.S. government, he said, “I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at that time.”

O’Reilly has questioned the U.S. invasion of Iraq in hindsight, in particular the performance of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. However, he maintains that the United States “did a good thing by trying to liberate a country”.[citation needed] O’Reilly says the war effort should continue as long as progress is being made. He has also said that some anti-war activists are actively rooting for the United States to lose:

General McCaffrey says strong progress is being made. He believes the Sunnis have turned against Al Qaeda and that the Maliki government is neutralizing the Shi’ia death squads.

Again, I don’t know. With all America has sacrificed in Iraq, though, it seems reasonable to let the end game play out. If things are getting better, don’t derail the train.

But the anti-war crew is now fully invested in defeat. So the struggle at home is becoming even more vicious. Iraq is a shooting war. America’s a political war. Both are driven by hatred.[29]

O’Reilly called the Iraqi people a “prehistoric group”, citing a poll showing that only two percent of them viewed the U.S. Forces as liberators and 55 percent preferred that they leave. “We cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again”, he said. “What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them (…) no more ground troops, no more hearts and minds, ain’t going to work.”[30]

In an interview with White House Press Secretary (and former Fox News colleague) Tony Snow, O’Reilly said that the United States cannot win given the circumstances of Iraqis not supporting the effort:

You can’t win. No one could. No nation could unless the Iraqi people turn on all the terrorists. And they’re not. They’re not, Tony.

O’Reilly went on to say that the country was corrupt and compared the situation to the American support of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War:

It’s like South Vietnam. It’s the same thing. There were a lot of South Vietnamese helping us. A lot fought and died on our side but there wasn’t enough of them to prevent the communists which were more united.[31]

O’Reilly would go on to praise General David Petraeus for reducing American casualties and advancing American objectives with the 2007 troop surge:

The cost has been great. We all know that. In suffering and cash. And the Iraqi government is still a mess. But General Petraeus, backed by a brave and professional U.S. military, has restored much order, largely defeated the Iraqi Al Qaeda thugs, and at least given the good people of that country a chance to prosper. General David Petraeus is “The Factor” person of the year by a wide margin.[32]

During The Rumble with Jon Stewart, O’Reilly admitted that “We should not have gone to Iraq. Afghanistan we had to.”[33]

Terrorism

O’Reilly has endorsed an aggressive War on Terror policy.[34] He supports coercive measures to extract information from detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which he visited on two occasions. He has said that, in comparison to procedures used under the regimes of dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot, the U.S.’s tactics are not torture and are beneficial even when involving physical techniques,[35] claiming that “Torture is taking my fingers off, disfiguring me, taking my eye out — not keeping me in a cold room and uncomfortable with blaring rock music.”[36] O’Reilly cites waterboarding as a successful coercive measure that should not be classified as torture, citing that Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed have both given up valuable information after being subjected to the technique:

In my opinion, it is immoral to allow terrorists to kill people when you can stop them. If you capture someone who knows the inner workings of a terror outfit, you make life very uncomfortable for that person within boundaries set by Congress.

But let’s stop the nonsense here. America’s not a bad country because it waterboarded Zubaydah. The Bush administration has done its job. We haven’t been attacked since 9/11.

The liberal press, politicians, the ACLU can’t stop any wrongdoing. They’re all lost in a fog of misguided indignation, crazy with hatred for Bush, but we the people must take a stand here. This isn’t a game. This is life and death. And if you don’t believe it, I know scores of people right here in New York City that will tell you about their dead loved ones.

Waterboarding should be a last resort, but it must be an option.[37]

He has also said that detainees should be judged under military tribunals, but not protected under the Geneva Convention because the convention requires combatants to wear a uniform.[35]

He has been critical of politicians such as Democratic Speaker of the HouseNancy Pelosi and private citizens such as financier George Soros for wanting to try terror suspects in civilian courts.[38]

O’Reilly has said that both political parties in the United States are “playing games” with regards to the war on terrorism:

…both the right and the left are playing games to some extent. Certainly, Al Qaeda remains dangerous, but the only way to hit them is to invade Pakistan. Do the Democrats want to do that?

On the other hand, it would be a tragedy if after all the blood and treasure Americans have sacrificed, Al Qaeda has not been badly damaged.

America should be united in fighting these savages, but we’re not. Ideology has poisoned a reasoned, disciplined approach to defeating the jihadists. America’s great strength, diversity of thought, can also be a weakness. And Al Qaeda knows it.

The old saying goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Well, we’re divided.[39]

George Soros

O’Reilly has accused billionaire businessman, investor and political activist George Soros of trying to influence the 2008 election by donating to causes and organizations that O’Reilly calls the “radical left”, such as moveon.org, which regularly criticizes conservative politicians. O’Reilly said of Soros “If Mike Myers didn’t invent Dr. Evil, some would give Soros that moniker.”[40] O’Reilly also accused Media Matters for America of receiving funds from Soros;[41] although Media Matters denies having any funding directly or indirectly from Soros,[42] he and the group’s founder, David Brock, have raised money together to fund political advertisements challenging John McCain in the 2008 election for what politico.com called “attack ads”.[43] O’Reilly responded to the politico report by labeling Soros, Brock and Paul Begala an “American axis of evil” and saying

This, ladies and gentlemen, is ultra dangerous. Most Americans have no idea who Soros or Brock are. They will only know what they see on TV, smear stuff against McCain. And the pipeline extends directly to NBC News, which will publicize every piece of slime Brock can create. Only one word describes this: despicable.[44]

O’Reilly alleged that PBS personality Bill Moyers oversaw $500,000 worth of money transferred from the Shoeman Center Foundation (a group Soros donated to) to Media Matters.[45]

you know, you’ve got to admire Soros for coming up with this organization. I mean, you know, he’s made billions by doing this in business, by being in Curaçao and Bermuda and France, where he was convicted of a felony. And he knows how to do this. He knows how to move the money around and use it to gain influence. And now he’s set his sights on changing the basic fabric of this country.[46]

The organization to which O’Reilly refers is the Open Society Institute.[45]

ACLU

O’Reilly has been critical of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), calling it “the most dangerous organization in the United States of America” especially in their challenging of the Justice Department and the Department of Defense regarding the War on Terror. He has called them a “fascist” organization in response to their threatened lawsuit against Los Angeles County for failing to remove a cross from its official seal.[47]

O’Reilly alleged hypocrisy on the part of the ACLU for stating that New York City‘s random searches of bags in the public transportation as a breach of personal rights, but requiring people entering their New York headquarters to consent to a bag search.[48]

O’Reilly asserted that the ACLU is now a political organization rather than an advocacy group, taking positions and cases based on politics rather than free speech.

He has come down hard on the organization for its actions on behalf of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) which is currently under suspicion of involvement with the rape and murder of a young boy:

Now many of these people subscribe to a philosophy of relativism. That is a theory which says there’s no absolute right or wrong. All moral values are relative. What’s wrong for you is not wrong for your neighbor if he or she doesn’t think his or her actions are wrong. That’s what the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is all about. Those loons believe it’s OK to rape kids because they want to.[49]

The ACLU defends NAMBLA’s freedom of speech surrounding their publications and has said that the legal blame in the murder should go to who committed it.[50]

The ACLU has said that they sometimes have to defend “unpopular” speech or speech that they don’t agree with, including the Ku Klux Klan‘s, saying their only “client” is the Bill of Rights.[51] O’Reilly alleges the ACLU “cherry picks” its cases to promote a left wing agenda while not supporting causes of free speech that conservatives support in his criticism of the ACLU defending live sex shows in Oregon.[52]

O’Reilly decried the group’s criticism of The Minutemen, claiming the latter were only engaging in a form of protest, a right the ACLU defends. O’Reilly alleges that the organization is protesting the Minutemen because they are going against the ACLU’s agenda.[53][54]

O’Reilly accused the organization of having an anti-Christian bias when it protested the portrayal of the nativity scene in New York City Public Schools, but did not protest displayal of the Jewish menorah or the Islamic star and crescent.[55]

O’Reilly criticized the ACLU for suing San Diego County for renting property to the Boy Scouts of America in Balboa Park. The ACLU brought up a law claiming that the Boy Scouts discriminated against gays and atheists. O’Reilly criticized the San Diego City Council for voting 6-2 to vote the Scouts out before a ruling on the lawsuit was made.

It would be impossible for the Boy Scouts (search) or any children’s organization to admit avowed homosexuals because of the potential liability. Say the Scouts put openly gay and straight kids together and some sexual activity occurred. Well, parents could sue for millions, same way parents could sue if the Scouts put boys and girls together and underaged sex occurred. As far as the atheist issue is concerned, the Scouts say no specific belief in God is necessary, only an acknowledgement of a higher power. And that power could be nature. Come on. The whole discrimination thing is bogus.

Part of the Boy Scout Oath begins, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country” and the final point of the Scout Law reads, “A Scout is reverent,” with the Boy Scouts’ of America official explanation being that “a Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”[56] However, the bylaws of the organization specifically state that Scouts must “respect the religious beliefs of others” and “in no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.”[57]

O’Reilly argues this is a liberal definition of what God may be, allowing diversity for anyone believing in a higher power to join.

He went on to compare the ACLU to Nazis:

Now the ACLU is free to come to your town and sue the heck out of it. And believe me, that organization will. The ACLU doesn’t care about the law or the Constitution or what the people want. It’s a fascist organization that uses lawyers instead of Panzers. It’ll find a way to inflict financial damage on any concern that opposes its secular agenda and its growing in power.

He later went on to criticize the Boy Scout leadership for not standing up to the ACLU.[58]

On October 16, 2006 at Mount Pleasant High School in Michigan, a student stood up publicly in the cafeteria and called the principal of the school “a skank and a tramp.” In addition to this, the student called the school administrators Nazis and questioned the sexuality of the vice-principal. The school suspended the boy for 10 days, an action that brought a lawsuit by the ACLU. O’Reilly criticized the ACLU for defending the remarks as satire when he saw it as hate speech.[59]

Social views

Abortion

O’Reilly supported California Proposition 73 because it would have required parental notification of underage girls seeking an abortion. “[T]he left-wing media has been able to convince millions of Americans that the government knows what’s best for families, not the parents.”[60]

O’Reilly strongly condemns doctors who provide legal abortion services. Since 2005, he has repeatedly referred to physician and abortion doctor George Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on his Fox News prime time show, claiming that there must be “a special place in hell” for him. In May 2009, Tiller was murdered by anti-abortion gunman Scott Roeder.[61]

O’Reilly ardently condemns the practice of partial birth abortion. He has criticized the practice being done without explanations being made and has criticized human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for not condemning the practice:

Once again, this isn’t about a women’s [sic] right to choose or the New York Times plea for reproductive rights. This is about late term abortions for just about any reason.[62]

Education

O’Reilly supports the discussion (but not the advocation) of intelligent design in schools and considers the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science‘s opposition to such theories “fascist”.[63] O’Reilly has also suggested that Richard Dawkins‘ argument for how science should be taught in school is equivalent to fascism.[64] He said he supports teachers saying that some people, especially in religious groups, believe that Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution is wrong.

O’Reilly has said that there is a lack of leadership among the traditionalists and this has emboldened the secular-progressive cause. He consistently says that using religion to justify public policy is wrong:

Right now, religious people are the ones speaking out for traditional values. But America does not forge public policy based on religion. Thus as soon as God enters the debate, the secularists win.[65]

Gun rights

O’Reilly supports some forms of gun control, such as gun registration.[66][67]

Health care

O’Reilly opposed the nationalizedhealth care plan that filmmaker Michael Moore argues for in his film Sicko, saying it would create huge backlogs. He also said, however, that he thinks the government should perform more oversight functions on health care:

…[G]overnment-run health care would be a disaster, featuring long waits for treatment and an enormous rise in taxation. But there should be government oversight on private insurance companies and strict guidelines about abusing customers. There can be compromise and effective government control of medical care abuse in the USA. It is possible. But if Michael Moore’s plan ever gets traction, pray hard you never get sick.[68]

LGBT issues

O’Reilly’s stance on LGBT issues has been evolving.

On October 27, 2004, he was quoted saying: “I’ve been saying that all along, that if you open the door for gay marriage, then you have to have the polygamists and the triads and the commune people and everybody else, right?”[69]

O’Reilly supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but has said that nobody has the “right” to marry; he says that marriage, like driving a car, is a privilege, not a right. He has said that if the government felt marriage was a right, then it would not stop polygamists and incestuous couples from marrying.[70] O’Reilly further explained his position in his book Culture Warrior:

To this culture warrior, gay marriage is not a vital issue. I don’t believe the republic will collapse if Larry marries Brendan. However, it is clear that most Americans want heterosexual marriage to maintain its special place in American society. And as long as gays are not penalized in the civil arena, I think the folks should make the call at the ballot box. Traditional marriage is widely seen as a social stabilizer, and I believe that is true.[71]

On March 26, 2013, O’Reilly stated “I support civil unions, I always have. The gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or the other. I think the states should do it.” O’Reilly then said, “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals … ‘We’re Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.[72]

O’Reilly discussed a story surrounding around a teenage lesbian couple being elected as the “cutest couple” in their school yearbook. He stated that he believed that this couple was elected by the students to “tweak the adults” and to “cause trouble”. He explains further here:

High school kids, they experiment. They experiment all over the place, they have a chip on their shoulder. They do things just to get a reaction, just to rebel. Parents might say “We don’t want to normalize homosexuality in a public way in an academic setting among minors. We don’t think that reflects how we feel about it”.[73]

O’Reilly is known to favor adoption by a same-sex couple since 2002.[74]

O’Reilly is opposed to the School Success and Opportunity Act (Assembly Bill 1266), which extends gender identity and expression discrimination protection to transgender and gender-nonconforming K-12 students in public schools. O’Reilly described the law as “madness” and “anarchy” on Fox News Channel.[75]

Just before the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning homosexuals from serving in the military, he appeared on the Tonight Show and called the law “nonsense” and said he didn’t understand why the President, in his role as commander in chief of the armed forces, simply didn’t sign an executive order rescinding it.

US legal system

He regularly criticizes jurists in controversial cases as “activist judges.” He uses the issue of gay marriage as an example. “The folks decide that by voting and, in the case of gay marriage, the folks have decided. And that decision should be respected.”[76]

He has suggested convicted rapists, mass murderers, terrorists, and other people who commit crimes against humanity be sent to a gulag style prison in Alaska with strict rules and minimal privileges. He has said this would serve as a replacement for the death penalty, to which he is opposed.[77]

Jessica’s Law

O’Reilly is a self-professed proponent of stricter penalties for child molesters. He has fervently supported Jessica’s Law,[78] and criticized the law’s detractors.[79] He has given verbal support for Republican Doug Forrester in the 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election, suggesting that his opponent, Democrat Jon Corzine, would be less likely to support a national version of the law, though stopped short of actually endorsing Forrester.[80]

O’Reilly has been particularly critical of the Debra LaFave case, in which she was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy, but was only sentenced to house arrest and seven years probation.[81]

He criticizes many politicians who oppose mandatory minimum sentences for child molesters, and calls several states “child predator-friendly.”[81]

Entertainment media

Film industry

O’Reilly has been very critical of the U.S. film industry for producing films featuring violence and human suffering, such as the Saw series. He has compared this to the brutal displays of death in the Colosseums of ancient Rome.[82] O’Reilly has said that films like these are marketed to children and can have consequences on their personal development. He commented on Kill Bill: Volume 1:

It’s the most violent movie ever made, featuring brutal dismemberments and a scalping close-up. And you should see the raves this movie is getting from the pinhead critics. And who’s lining up to see it? Children, that’s who.[83]

O’Reilly severely chastized billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, for his support of Brian De Palma‘s film Redacted that portrayed the rape of an Iraqi girl by American soldiers. O’Reilly claimed that the film would be used as a recruiting tool by terrorists.[84]

Music industry

O’Reilly has criticized the rap and hip hop industry for promoting an “anti-social” culture. He has said he does not care if adults listen to the music, but argues that children are not able to process the information and determine it to be destructive behavior. He has gone after several rappers such as 50 Cent, Jay Z, Jadakiss, Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, Common, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, and Young Jeezy:

Every educator that I’ve talked to, and I’ve talked to hundreds, say that the kind of gangsta rap that Ludacris traffics in has debased the culture, made it more difficult for them to teach children and indeed, led children into anti-social behavior.[85]

In 2007, O’Reilly had a dispute with Nas after the rapper was hired to play a concert at Virginia Tech one year after the school had experienced the Virginia Tech massacre. “Having a rapper who trades in violence perform at Virginia Tech insults the victims, the university and the entire commonwealth,” declared Bill O’Reilly.[86]Nas subsequently called Bill O’Reilly a racist, and accused O’Reilly of going to extremes for publicity. He repeated this stance again in July 2008, when a dispute between Nas and O’Reilly led to Nas taking a petition to Fox News, and appearing on both Fox News, and the The Colbert Report. Also in 2008, Nas challenged Bill O’Reilly to a public debate, to which O’Reilly did not accept.

In May 2015, O’Reilly blamed the decline of American religion particularly the declining numbers of American Christians on hip hop music citing the genre as “pernicious entertainment” and an adducing factor for contributing to the decline. O’Reilly remarked that people of faith are being marginalized by a secular media and pernicious entertainment and rap industry often glorifies depraved behavior causing the minds of people who consume the music as the least likely to reject religion.”[87] American rapper Killer Mike subsequently criticized him for his remarks calling O’Reilly “full of s**t than an outhouse” and then mocked him while he was a guest Real Time with Bill Maher.[88]

Several rappers and hip hop producers have appeared on The O’Reilly Factor. Rapper Cam’ron and hip hop entrepreneur Damon Dash appeared on the program to defend their supposed corruption of young people, to which Damon Dash responded:

So, if you know there is negative in something, try to find the positive as opposed to always talking about the negative. That’s the thing I don’t understand, why we’re criticized so hard within hip-hop. No one talks about the jobs we create, no one talks about the things we do within our community, and no one talks about the businesses we’ve done, how we’ve opened the doors and shown people that it’s cool to be smart, it’s cool to be a CEO, and it’s cool to not take advantage but to reap the benefits of all your labor and to do it fairly.[89]

Bill O’Reilly has also interviewed Marilyn Manson on the topic of being a “dangerous” influence on U.S. youth. O’Reilly asked Manson if he thought his work encouraged kids to have sex, homosexuality, use drugs and profanity. He also asked Manson whether his songs encouraged suicide or not. Marilyn Manson answered that in his view the songs were about getting through those feelings, and that ultimately people make their own decisions.[90]

News media

O’Reilly believes the American news media is corrupt and often criticizes it for not reporting topics that hurt the liberal agenda. He has often stated that he is the only one in the media holding people accountable on both sides. In June 2007, Adweek Magazine sponsored a survey that asked participants who they trusted more as a source of political information between ABC News and O’Reilly. According to the poll, 36 percent believe that O’Reilly is a better source than ABC News, while 26 percent believe the opposite. According to the survey, 23 percent of Democrats believed that O’Reilly was a better source while 55 percent of Republicans believed the same.[91]

O’Reilly has criticized the media for not highlighting Rosie O’Donnell‘s controversial remarks saying the United States attacked itself on September 11th while they highlighted Ann Coulter‘s remarks about calling Senator John Edwards a “fag.” O’Reilly said in response to the situation:

Doing the math, Ms. O’Donnell says something 100 times more offensive than Ms. Coulter, in my opinion, yet there’s no coverage about it. But there’s no left wing media bias in this country. Oh no![92]

O’Reilly has criticized journalists who donate to political parties after a report stated that nine out of 10 journalists donated to Democrats or liberal causes; he has said this has resulted in news media tilting to the left.[93]

O’Reilly says that news coverage about positive improvements for American and Iraqi objectives in Iraq have been largely ignored. He conjectured that the ignoring of the positive news took place to help a Democrat win a presidential election.[94]

O’Reilly has asked his viewers and listeners to not patronize the following media outfits, saying those organizations “have regularly helped distribute defamatory, false or non-newsworthy information supplied by far-left websites”:[95]

Television news

In an interview with commentator Bill Maher, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather accused Fox News Channel of receiving “talking points” from the Republican controlledWhite House. O’Reilly criticized Rather heavily, responding that Rather did not offer any evidence to support the claim. O’Reilly cited his defense of Rather during the Memogate incident:

As you may remember, I defended Rather in the Bush National Guard debacle. I said Rather did not intentionally put on a bogus story. He just didn’t check it out, he was too anxious for the story to be true.

Now many of you criticized me for that defense, but I’m a fact-based guy. And there’s no evidence Dan Rather fabricated anything. It was sloppy reporting that did him in.

But now the fabrication word is in play again. If Dan Rather has evidence of White House dictums coming to FOX News employees, he needs to display that evidence. We are awaiting his appearance. We’ll let you know when it is.[96]

O’Reilly has gone after PBS personality Bill Moyers. O’Reilly criticized Moyers for having no balance in his presentations, citing a criticism by PBS’ own ombudsman. He also called Moyers dishonest for making disparaging remarks about O’Reilly to Rolling Stone and then later denying he made the remarks when confronted by one of O’Reilly’s producers.[97]

CNN journalists were prominent among those critical of O’Reilly when he stated that he “couldn’t get over the fact” that a largely African-American crowd at a Harlem restaurant behaved no differently than patrons of a white restaurant and garnered media coverage O’Reilly objected to CNN’s portrayal of his commentary, stating that CNN had been irresponsible in mischaracterizing his remark as racist, when in fact, he said, he was actually speaking against racism.[98]

O’Reilly scolded MSNBC and CNN for not providing coverage of the ceremony that awarded Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy the Medal of Honor during their primetime shows. O’Reilly said that “[O]n their prime-time broadcast last night, CNN and MSNBC just said no to Lieutenant Michael Murphy and his proud family,” that the networks “despise the Bush administration and believe anything positive like American heroes in war zones, detract from their negative assessment of the administration” and that they should not claim to support the troops and ignore their heroism.[99] MSNBC and CNN had covered the events during their daytime programs.[100][101]

NBC News and MSNBC

O’Reilly has criticized NBC News and their affiliated cable service MSNBC several times for their coverage of the war in Iraq, claiming that it is biased toward the war’s opponents.[102][103] He later called NBC News the most “anti-military news operation in the country,” when he cited an example of NBC correspondent William Arkin that called American troops “mercenaries.”[84]

He also criticized the network of trying to downplay the War on Terror in the wake of American casualties in Iraq.[104]

Robert Greenwald, who had directed the controversial documentary Outfoxed that criticized O’Reilly and the Fox News Channel, put together an event of homeless veterans criticizing O’Reilly for calling John Edwards dishonest when Edwards asserted that there were about 200,000 homeless veterans. O’Reilly denied Edwards claim, stating “They may be out there, but there are not many of them out there, OK. So if you know where there is a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it.”[105] After government statistics supported Edwards[citation needed], O’Reilly then said that there was no linkage between the economy and homeless veterans and claims that Veterans Affairs has up to 150,000 beds ready for them every night.[106] O’Reilly felt Greenwald’s event was a “contrived” situation after O’Reilly’s producers had interviewed some of the homeless veterans whom were protesting and found out that some did not actually hear O’Reilly’s comments. O’Reilly blasted NBC’s Steve Capus and the New York Daily News for covering the event and claimed that Capus did not know about the nature of the event.[107]

O’Reilly called NBC hypocritical for putting supporters of legalizing prostitution in the wake of Democratic Governor of New YorkEliot Spitzer resigning his post after allegedly engaging in the act in an effort and felt they would not be as defensive if a Republican had gotten in trouble.[108]

Although he praised the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert in the past,[109] O’Reilly criticized Russert for what he saw as a misinterpretation of what were seen as potentially racially insensitive comments by former President Bill Clinton. In his comments, Russert challenged Senator Hillary Clinton about her husband’s remarks regarding Senator Barack Obama, when Mr. Clinton referred to Obama’s position on Iraq as a “fairy tale.” O’Reilly said that Russert “should have known better” and realized the former President’s comments were regarding Obama’s Iraq policy and not his entire candidacy.[110]

Tape doctoring incidents

O’Reilly would join in the criticism of others when NBC News was found to have doctored tapes on multiple occasions. The first was about accused killer George Zimmerman that portrayed Zimmerman as having a racial motivation.[111] He also criticized veteran news correspondent Andrea Mitchell for her reporting of a doctored tape of Mitt Romney to portray him as out of touch.[112] After the Sandy Hook Shooting, O’Reilly and others criticized MSNBC’s Martin Bashir of dishonesty when Bashir only played a part of the entire tape that portrayed the father of a victim being heckled when the entire tape showed the audience only saying something after he made it clear he was looking for an answer.[111] O’Reilly criticized MSNBC host Rachel Maddow showed a tape of Senator John McCain portraying him as insensitive to the plight of a person who lost a family member to gun violence. Although Maddow did readily admit the tape may have been doctored, O’Reilly criticized her nonetheless for airing it knowing that it could have been edited.[113]

Press

O’Reilly has accused the print press of purposely misquoting him and using their hard news pages to further their editorial points of view. He has said that print media is too liberal and attacks opposing viewpoints.[114]

In 2003, O’Reilly criticized the Los Angeles Times for endorsing then-governor Gray Davis, who was running against Arnold Schwarzenegger and a whole field of different candidates, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, in a recall election. He said that he “has never seen a newspaper try to destroy someone as aggressively as the Times is doing.” He also criticized The New York Times on the same issue for referring to Schwarzenegger solely as a bodybuilder. He made the claim that Californians have canceled their subscriptions due to the “extreme left-wing bias” of the newspaper.[115]

O’Reilly has accused the media of being hypercritical of President Bush’s handling of North Korea and Iran pursuing nuclear weapons while not being critical of President Bill Clinton for what was the same course of action.[116]

The New York Times

O’Reilly frequently criticizes The New York Times, accusing them of omitting information that would be damaging to left-wing organizations and causes.[117]

On March 15, 2007, The New York Times ran an editorial titled “Immigration Misery” that had claimed a “screaming baby girl has been forcibly weaned from breast milk and taken dehydrated to an emergency room so that the nation’s borders will be secure.” Upon further investigation, the only two babies admitted to the hospital in the area of Bedford, Massachusetts (where the raid took place) were due to dehydration because of pneumonia and not as a result of being “forcibly weaned.” O’Reilly alleged that the information in the editorial was falsified and claimed The Times wanted to promote illegal immigration in order to make the illegal immigrants into legal US citizens and register them as Democrats.[118]

He accused The Times of promoting NBC News over ABC News.[119]

On June 2, 2007, Homeland Security stopped a plot by four terror suspects thought to be linked to Al Qaeda. Authorities have alleged that the suspects were trying to blow up an oil pipeline in the Howard Beach section of New York City that carries jet fuel to JFK Airport. O’Reilly went on his program and told his listeners that he expected The Times to report it as a featured story on its Sunday edition for June 3, but found that the story was on page 37[citation needed]. A story that occupied the front page talked about brick laying in India. O’Reilly accused the newspaper of burying the story not to highlight a successful foiled terror plot because it contradicts the paper’s editorial point of view.[104] O’Reilly claims that as polls show most Americans feel Republicans would do a better job of handling a terrorist threat than Democrats, The Times intentionally gave the news less exposure in hopes of influencing their readers’ focus away from issues that Democrats tend to poll weaker than Republicans in.[120] O’Reilly has also said that the paper would highlight any terrorist attack if one was to occur so they may criticize the Bush Administration:

So The Times wins both ways. The paper diminishes the War on Terror by putting it on page 37, but if something bad ever happened, it can attack President Bush.[121]

O’Reilly has accused the paper of being deceptive about television ratings for The O’Reilly Factor against that of MSNBC during the same time slot, citing that the paper felt that MSNBC was “competitive” with his program when O’Reilly’s ratings were significantly higher.[122]

O’Reilly has questioned the paper’s interpretation of violence statistics among veterans of the military. His contention is that the paper is out to disparage the military as being overly violent after returning home from deployment in the War on Terror.[123]

O’Reilly criticized the paper for running an article alleging Senator John McCain had an “inappropriate relationship” during the lobbyist controversy story the paper had. O’Reilly raised the question about why the paper had endorsed McCain on January 25, 2008 for the Republican nomination if they had information that alleged an inappropriate relationship.[124]

In May 2009, O’Reilly severely criticized the paper as “corrupt” for dropping a story about a possible violation of campaign laws by ACORN and the Obama campaign. O’Reilly claimed that sworn testimony before Congress by a former ACORN employee, Anita Moncrief corroborated the story. O’Reilly stated:

Strong evidence suggests the paper killed a story linking ACORN to some Obama people. Instead they ran a general piece stating ACORN has a left-wing bias, knowing that story would be largely ignored while the Obama connection would not be.[125]

In response, the New York Times ombudsman, Clark Hoyt stated it “was a normal and reasonable editorial decision” not to run the article. He said the Times had run four other stories on ACORN. The story in question had remained unpublished because Anita Moncrief had not provided independently verifiable proof. In addition, The Times ombudsman stated that Moncrief had not given sworn testimony to Congress as claimed by O’Reilly, and that she had credibility problems, having been fired from Acorn for employee theft.[126]

Internet medi

O’Reilly has accused a few liberal political websites of “distorting the truth” and “engaging in hatred”:

There are no rules. These people will do and say pretty much anything to harm people with whom they disagree politically. The trend started back in the ClintonLewinsky days, and now thousands of bloggers are operating, throwing dirt all over the place. Now they’re not all bad. Some of these bloggers are good, accurate watchdogs. But there are plenty of awful ones.[127]

He has criticized the Daily Kos website, accusing it of calling for increased attacks upon American troops in Iraq, and for Iran to attack Israel. O’Reilly has also alleged that Daily Kos bloggers have called the Pope a primate and evangelicals “nut cases”, that they wish for the success of any subsequent attempts at the assassination of Vice President Dick Cheney after he avoided an attempt on his life in Afghanistan during a 2007 visit, and have said that the world is “better off” without White House Press SecretaryTony Snow when Snow publicly said he had cancer.[128]

In summer of 2007, O’Reilly said that the entire field of 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates (aside from Senator Joseph Biden) went to the Yearly Kos convention that was sponsored by the Daily Kos. He has said that sites like the Kos are taking control of the Democratic Party through intimidation:

As we have been reporting, a group of far-left bloggers has succeeded in frightening most of the Democratic presidential candidates and moving the party significantly to the left, at least in the primary season. The lead intimidators are MoveOn, Media Matters and the vicious Daily Kos. These people savagely attack those with whom they disagree. And the politicians don’t want to become smear targets. So most of the Democratic candidates have agreed to speak at the Kos convention this coming weekend, something that is beyond shameful.[129]

O’Reilly has compared the Huffington Post to the Nazis and the KKK. He also called MoveOn.org the “new Klan.” In response, Arianna Huffington wrote that O’Reilly had confused bloggers with anonymous commentors and suggested he enroll in “How to Use the Internet 101.”[130] Huffington alleged that offensive comments are taken down from her site when confronted by one of O’Reilly’s producers. She also noted that offensive comments are posted by users of O’Reilly’s own site, billoreilly.com.[131] O’Reilly alleged that Huffington had no standards of conduct and did not remove comments about wishing Nancy Reagan had died after she fell that were written on her site. “She says it is down, but it is not. She does not tell the truth.”[132] O’Reilly later alleged that Huffington implied Pope Benedict XVI was a Nazi.[133] O’Reilly referred to a satirical article written by comedian Chris Kelly, which mocked O’Reilly on Huffington’s website.[134]

Environmental issues

O’Reilly generally supports the notion of a clean environment, although he has said that he is not entirely certain that fossil fuels are the cause of global warming. Nonetheless, he has expressed support for a long-term strategy to curb fossil fuel use. He has said he would not support the Kyoto Treaty for economic reasons, but supports the use of fewer polluting agents, more conservation, and “tons more innovation” such as tax credits for alternative fuels.[135] He has said that renewable energy is a waste of time because “God controls the climate” and that “nobody can control the climate except God, so give a little extra at mass”.[136]

Economic views

O’Reilly is a frequent critic of government welfare and poverty programs. He is also critical of the estate tax. However, he does not differentiate between the marginal tax rate (46 percent) and the effective tax rate (roughly nine percent ).[137]

O’Reilly has said French unemployment and subsequent riots are the “common effects of socialist thinking”. He claims the French unemployment rate is high because of entitlements sanctioned by the French government, and that these entitlements make employers hesitant to hire young employees for fear that they will be required to give benefits to underperforming workers.[138]

He says he supports income-based affirmative action as opposed to race-related affirmative action.[139]

Trade with hostile countries

O’Reilly has been critical of companies doing business with countries that are hostile to the United States. O’Reilly criticized General Electric for doing business with Iran. O’Reilly cited how NBC News‘ correspondent John Hockenberry did a report on Dateline highlighting GE’s business relationship with the Bin Laden family and was criticized by the company, who owns NBC, for the Dateline report.[140]

Free markets, profits, and the oil companies

O’Reilly questions the free market by suggesting that the oil companies need an excuse to raise prices thereby overlooking the fact that in a free market, oil companies have the right to increase prices so as to increase profits or for any other reason. Rather than praise oil companies for their record profits, O’Reilly has been critical of oil companies, claiming their record profits are evidence that they have price-gouged Americans with artificially high gas prices.[141] and has said he is personally boycotting products by Exxon-Mobil.[142] It therefore appears that O’Reilly does not recognize profit maximization as a virtue. He has often taken an opposing point of view to conservatives such as fellow Fox News analyst and commentator, Neil Cavuto.[141] During one discussion on The O’Reilly Factor, Cavuto accused O’Reilly of “push[ing] populist nonsense.”[143] He said blocking Brazilian ethanol imports was “awful” and has criticized both the Bush Administration and the Clinton Administration for not doing enough to stem the cost of oil from “foreign predators”.[142]

Protectionism

In a May 8, 2006 article published at the Jewish World Review, O’Reilly said, “There is no question that illegal workers deliver more profit to business than American workers do. A Harvard study says that the employment of illegal foreign workers has driven down wages among American high school dropouts, the lowest labor pool rung, by 7 percent.”[144]

Idyllic civilization

Bill O’Reilly on his show The O’Reilly Factor has expressed the view that “if everybody followed the teachings of Jesus Christ, […] we’d have peace on earth, […] everybody would love one another, and we’d almost be an idyllic civilization.”[145]

Ethanol

O’Reilly claims that the United States is not doing enough to make itself independent of foreign oil, stating that “There’s no way the ethanol industry could be dominated by five mega-companies. I mean corn and sugar cannot be carteled. The oil racket is simple: We control the marketplace, and you have to buy from us. … If Brazil can develop an ethanol industry that makes it completely independent of foreign oil, then the USA can.”[144]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_views_of_Bill_O%27Reilly

Story 2: Totalitarians of Lying Lunatic Left Attempt to Suppress Speech of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals — Nothing New — Go On Offense And Attack The Collectivist Totalitarians — Battle For Berkeley — Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge — Why the Right Won — Chief of Police Orders Berkeley Police To Stand Down — Videos

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Does Free Speech Offend You?

Ben Shapiro on Free Speech, College Campuses, and The Regressive Left

Ben Shapiro – Practical Tactics For Fighting The Left

UC Berkley Must Be Disciplined For Furthering Leftist Violence Against Conservatives

Amid Mounting Controversy, Media Matters Says It’s Time for Bill OReilly to Go | Cheddar

HIDDEN CAM: Media Matters Brags About Sabotaging Roger Stone

Published on Oct 28, 2016

Project Veritas Action has released the sixth video in a multi-part series that is sending shockwaves through the DNC and the Clinton campaign. In a new video released by Project Veritas Action, a PVA journalist exposes how his pay for play with Robert Creamer landed him a meeting with Bradley Beychock, the President of Media Matters For America, an organization that has been attacking James O’Keefe for years.

During the meeting, Beychock gave the PVA journalist a tour of their offices. He also proudly boasted about the Media Matters assault on conservative writer and political consultant Roger Stone.

Battle of Berkeley: Why the Right Won

Published on Apr 17, 2017

Berkeley erupted into political violence on April 15th, 2017, with leftwing radicals attacking the Freedom Rally hosted by Trump supporters. The Antifa thugs were roundly defeated by the Freedom Rally attendees, but where did this violence start? I discuss the events that lead up to this day and uncover the progression of leftwing violence that’s destroying a city that once celebrated free speech.

Lauren Southern And The Madness Behind The Battle Of Berkeley

THE BEAUTIFUL LAUREN SOUTHERN; ProudBoys and Some Ugly Antifa

The Battle of Berkeley in 81 seconds

Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge

Battle of Berkeley 3 FULL DAY[ANTIFA Vs FREE SPEECH PROTESTERS]Patriots Day Rally Ft. Based Stickman

Trump Supporters chase Antifa down the street at FREE SPEECH Rally in Berkeley

Battle of Berkeley 3 as Antifa circled the park

2017 The Battle for Berkeley LARP!

Patriot’s Day Riot in the Streets

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Ben Shapiro interviews Ann Coulter; Adios America; 7/13/2015; C-Span

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WARNING:TRUMP SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AT BERKELEY BY ANTI TRUMP PROTESTERS

Free Speech Battle For Berkeley, California! | Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux

Berkeley Mayor Connected to Antifa

Tucker Carlson Has UC Berkeley Protest Leader Yvette Felarca Explain Fascism

Lauren Southern Coverage of Antifa vs Trump Supporters Battle

Berkeley April 15,Based stick man Antifa smashing

ANTIFA VS America Compilation

Antifa Reddit Admits They Lost Berkeley Battle with Trump Supporters

Berkeley April 15,BAMN leader Yvette Felarca assaults patriots

Berkeley Leftists Riot Against Milo (Mini Documentary: Arrest Yvette Felarca Part 2)

Handicap Senior Citizen U.S Military Vet Stands Up & Cucks Antifa

Is It Wrong To Bash Antifa Leftist Scum?

Berkeley Police Refuse To Stop the Riots – When Told People are Being Beaten, Officer Says “…and?”

Steyn: Media annoyed someone has outfaked their fake news

BILL O’REILLY EXPOSES GEORGE SOROS

EXPOSED : George Soros Owned Media Matters Sabotages Pro Trump Media

George Soros Lost Interview Compilation – Left Wing Oligarch

George Soros exposed!

George Soros Warns The World About Fox News And How Dangerous IT Really Is

George Soros, Puppet Master

Mark Levin: Media Matters is “A Criminal Enterprise”!

Andrew Breitbart — Media War

Thomas Sowell — Dismantling America

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Andrew Breitbart Predicted and Warned us about George Soro’s Media Matters Controlling our Media

One World Government & Collectivism – G. Edward Griffin

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

The Mainstream Media Are Enemies of Freedom, Agents of Tyranny and Must Be Overthrown

Super rich are in a conspiracy to rule the world – G. Edward Griffin – 2007

Antifa and Conservatives Throw Down At ‘Battle Of Berkeley’…

battle of berkeley
In the course of history, there have been many great battles. Thermopylae. Gettysburg. Tupac and Biggie. The forces of good and douchebag have long utilized beating the crap out of each other to resolve their grievances. Well, last weekend, yet another battle was had. Conservative and leftist blood alike was shed at what shall henceforth be referred to as the Battle of Berkeley

For the third time this year, Trump supporters and Antifa clashed on the streets of Berkeley, California. The two forces met Saturday during the pro-Trump Patriot Day rally.

Berkeley Police have arrested at least 15 people this morning and afternoon, after antifascists met Trump supporters at a pro-Trump rally. Police attempted to maintain order with poles and fence mesh, but the barriers did not stop the two sides from violently engaging.

Trump supporters had organized a Patriot Day rally, starring Lauren Southern, a former reporter for conservative Canadian outlet The Rebel Media and Kyle Chapman, a man who achieved internet stardom as “Based Stickman” after assaulting a member of Antifa with a stick at the March 4 scuffle in Berkeley, among others.

Berkeley police have confiscated banned items such as knives, flagpoles, and sticks used as weapons.

https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/antifa-conservatives-battle-of-berkeley/

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The Pronk Pops Show 871, April 11, 2017, Story 1: Trump Rattling Cages (Sending Messages) in Syria and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) — Training Exercise — Trump Neoconed — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Sessions Enforces Immigration Law — The Trump Era — Videos

Posted on April 11, 2017. Filed under: American History, Breaking News, Business, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Federal Government, Government, Health, History, Human, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, North Korea, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Progressives, Rand Paul, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Success, Syria, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Trump Rattling Cages (Sending Messages) in Syria and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) —  Training Exercise — Trump Neoconed — Videos —

Image result for pipelines in middle east existing and plannedImage result for map north and south korea missilesImage result for pipelines in syria iran to europeImage result for map north and south korea japan us navy warships april 2017

Image result for map north and south korea missiles

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General James Mattis Delivers a THREAT at Defense Briefing at Pentagon on Russia, North Korea, China

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Alex Jones : We Must Stop Donald Trump and Globalists in Syria !

Rand Paul: Syria strikes ‘not in the national interest’

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HE’S UNBELIEVABLE! MATTIS JUST SCARED KIM JONG UN TO DEATH WITH THESE 5 WORDS!

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North Korea state media warns of nuclear strike if provoked as U.S. warships approach

* North Korea media warns of nuclear strike on U.S. if provoked

* U.S. warships head for Korean peninsula

* Trump says North Korea “looking for trouble”

* Russia “really worried” about possible U.S. attack on North (Adds Trump Tweet)

By Sue-Lin Wong

PYONGYANG, April 11 (Reuters) – North Korean state media on Tuesday warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of U.S. aggression as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed towards the western Pacific.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished neighbour, said in a Tweet North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without China’s help.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula with talk of military action by the United States gaining traction following its strikes last week against Syria and amid concerns the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.

For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.

North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country was prepared to respond to any aggression by the United States.

“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” it said.

South Korean acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea and ordered the military to intensify monitoring and to ensure close communication with the United States.

“It is possible the North may wage greater provocations such as a nuclear test timed with various anniversaries including the Supreme People’s Assembly,” said Hwang, acting leader since former president Park Geun-hye was removed amid a graft scandal.

Trump said in a Tweet a trade deal between China and the United States would be “far better for them if they solved the North Korea problem”.

“If China decides to help, that would be great,” he said. “If not, we will solve the problem without them!”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, met in Florida last week and Trump pressed Xi to do more to rein in North Korea.

The North convened a Supreme People’s Assembly session on Tuesday, one of its twice-yearly sessions in which major appointments are announced and national policy goals are formally approved. It did not immediately release details.

But South Korean officials took pains to quell talk in social media of an impending security crisis or outbreak of war.

“We’d like to ask precaution so as not to get blinded by exaggerated assessment about the security situation on the Korean peninsula,” Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said.

Saturday is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founding father and grandfather of current ruler, Kim Jong Un.

A military parade is expected in the North’s capital, Pyongyang, to mark the day. North Korea often also marks important anniversaries with tests of its nuclear or missile capabilities in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Men and women in colourful outfits were singing and dancing on the streets of Pyongyang, illuminated by better lighting than that seen in previous years, apparently practising for the parade planned.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent a message of congratulations to mark the event, lambasting “big powers” for their “expansionist” policy.

“The friendly two countries are celebrating this anniversary and, at the same time, conducting a war against big powers’ wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy and deprive them of their rights to self-determination,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted the message as saying.

The North’s foreign ministry, in a statement carried by KCNA, said the U.S. navy strike group’s approach showed America’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.

“We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said.

North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-state-media-warns-100014004.html

Coming to Terms With the American Empire

APRIL 14, 2015 | 07:54 GMT

 

By George Friedman

“Empire” is a dirty word. Considering the behavior of many empires, that is not unreasonable. But empire is also simply a description of a condition, many times unplanned and rarely intended. It is a condition that arises from a massive imbalance of power. Indeed, the empires created on purpose, such as Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany, have rarely lasted. Most empires do not plan to become one. They become one and then realize what they are. Sometimes they do not realize what they are for a long time, and that failure to see reality can have massive consequences.

World War II and the Birth of an Empire

The United States became an empire in 1945. It is true that in the Spanish-American War, the United States intentionally took control of the Philippines and Cuba. It is also true that it began thinking of itself as an empire, but it really was not. Cuba and the Philippines were the fantasy of empire, and this illusion dissolved during World War I, the subsequent period of isolationism and the Great Depression.

The genuine American empire that emerged thereafter was a byproduct of other events. There was no great conspiracy. In some ways, the circumstances of its creation made it more powerful. The dynamic of World War II led to the collapse of the European Peninsula and its occupation by the Soviets and the Americans. The same dynamic led to the occupation of Japan and its direct governance by the United States as a de facto colony, with Gen. Douglas MacArthur as viceroy.

The United States found itself with an extraordinary empire, which it also intended to abandon. This was a genuine wish and not mere propaganda. First, the United States was the first anti-imperial project in modernity. It opposed empire in principle. More important, this empire was a drain on American resources and not a source of wealth. World War II had shattered both Japan and Western Europe. The United States gained little or no economic advantage in holding on to these countries. Finally, the United States ended World War II largely untouched by war and as perhaps one of the few countries that profited from it. The money was to be made in the United States, not in the empire. The troops and the generals wanted to go home.

But unlike after World War I, the Americans couldn’t let go. That earlier war ruined nearly all of the participants. No one had the energy to attempt hegemony. The United States was content to leave Europe to its own dynamics. World War II ended differently. The Soviet Union had been wrecked but nevertheless it remained powerful. It was a hegemon in the east, and absent the United States, it conceivably could dominate all of Europe. This represented a problem for Washington, since a genuinely united Europe — whether a voluntary and effective federation or dominated by a single country — had sufficient resources to challenge U.S. power.

The United States could not leave. It did not think of itself as overseeing an empire, and it certainly permitted more internal political autonomy than the Soviets did in their region. Yet, in addition to maintaining a military presence, the United States organized the European economy and created and participated in the European defense system. If the essence of sovereignty is the ability to decide whether or not to go to war, that power was not in London, Paris or Warsaw. It was in Moscow and Washington.

The organizing principle of American strategy was the idea of containment. Unable to invade the Soviet Union, Washington’s default strategy was to check it. U.S. influence spread through Europe to Iran. The Soviet strategy was to flank the containment system by supporting insurgencies and allied movements as far to the rear of the U.S. line as possible. The European empires were collapsing and fragmenting. The Soviets sought to create an alliance structure out of the remnants, and the Americans sought to counter them.

The Economics of Empire

One of the advantages of alliance with the Soviets, particularly for insurgent groups, was a generous supply of weapons. The advantage of alignment with the United States was belonging to a dynamic trade zone and having access to investment capital and technology. Some nations, such as South Korea, benefited extraordinarily from this. Others didn’t. Leaders in countries like Nicaragua felt they had more to gain from Soviet political and military support than in trade with the United States.

The United States was by far the largest economic power, with complete control of the sea, bases around the world, and a dynamic trade and investment system that benefitted countries that were strategically critical to the United States or at least able to take advantage of it. It was at this point, early in the Cold War, that the United States began behaving as an empire, even if not consciously.

The geography of the American empire was built partly on military relations but heavily on economic relations. At first these economic relations were fairly trivial to American business. But as the system matured, the value of investments soared along with the importance of imports, exports and labor markets. As in any genuinely successful empire, it did not begin with a grand design or even a dream of one. Strategic necessity created an economic reality in country after country until certain major industries became dependent on at least some countries. The obvious examples were Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, whose oil fueled American oil companies, and which therefore — quite apart from conventional strategic importance — became economically important. This eventually made them strategically important.

As an empire matures, its economic value increases, particularly when it is not coercing others. Coercion is expensive and undermines the worth of an empire. The ideal colony is one that is not at all a colony, but a nation that benefits from economic relations with both the imperial power and the rest of the empire. The primary military relationship ought to be either mutual dependence or, barring that, dependence of the vulnerable client state on the imperial power.

This is how the United States slipped into empire. First, it was overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful. Second, it faced a potential adversary capable of challenging it globally, in a large number of countries. Third, it used its economic advantage to induce at least some of these countries into economic, and therefore political and military, relationships. Fourth, these countries became significantly important to various sectors of the American economy.

Limits of the American Empire

The problem of the American Empire is the overhang of the Cold War. During this time, the United States expected to go to war with a coalition around it, but also to carry the main burden of war. When Operation Desert Storm erupted in 1991, the basic Cold War principle prevailed. There was a coalition with the United States at the center of it. After 9/11, the decision was made to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq with the core model in place. There was a coalition, but the central military force was American, and it was assumed that the economic benefits of relations with the United States would be self-evident. In many ways, the post-9/11 wars took their basic framework from World War II. Iraq War planners explicitly discussed the occupation of Germany and Japan.

No empire can endure by direct rule. The Nazis were perhaps the best example of this. They tried to govern Poland directly, captured Soviet territory, pushed aside Vichy to govern not half but all of France, and so on. The British, on the other hand, ruled India with a thin layer of officials and officers and a larger cadre of businessmen trying to make their fortunes. The British obviously did better. The Germans exhausted themselves not only by overreaching, but also by diverting troops and administrators to directly oversee some countries. The British could turn their empire into something extraordinarily important to the global system. The Germans broke themselves not only on their enemies, but on their conquests as well.

The United States emerged after 1992 as the only global balanced power. That is, it was the only nation that could deploy economic, political and military power on a global basis. The United States was and remains enormously powerful. However, this is very different from omnipotence. In hearing politicians debate Russia, Iran or Yemen, you get the sense that they feel that U.S. power has no limits. There are always limits, and empires survive by knowing and respecting them.

The primary limit of the American empire is the same as that of the British and Roman empires: demographic. In Eurasia — Asia and Europe together — the Americans are outnumbered from the moment they set foot on the ground. The U.S. military is built around force multipliers, weapons that can destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys the relatively small force deployed. Sometimes this strategy works. Over the long run, it cannot. The enemy can absorb attrition much better than the small American force can. This lesson was learned in Vietnam and reinforced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is a country of 25 million people. The Americans sent about 130,000 troops. Inevitably, the attrition rate overwhelmed the Americans. The myth that Americans have no stomach for war forgets that the United States fought in Vietnam for seven years and in Iraq for about the same length of time. The public can be quite patient. The mathematics of war is the issue. At a certain point, the rate of attrition is simply not worth the political ends.

The deployment of a main force into Eurasia is unsupportable except in specialized cases when overwhelming force can be bought to bear in a place where it is important to win. These occasions are typically few and far between. Otherwise, the only strategy is indirect warfare: shifting the burden of war to those who want to bear it or cannot avoid doing so. For the first years of World War II, indirect warfare was used to support the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union against Germany.

There are two varieties of indirect warfare. The first is supporting native forces whose interests are parallel. This was done in the early stages of Afghanistan. The second is maintaining the balance of power among nations. We are seeing this form in the Middle East as the United States moves between the four major regional powers — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey — supporting one then another in a perpetual balancing act. In Iraq, U.S. fighters carry out air strikes in parallel with Iranian ground forces. In Yemen, the United States supports Saudi air strikes against the Houthis, who have received Iranian training.

This is the essence of empire. The British saying is that it has no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. That old cliche is, like most cliches, true. The United States is in the process of learning that lesson. In many ways the United States was more charming when it had clearly identified friends and enemies. But that is a luxury that empires cannot afford.

Building a System of Balance

We are now seeing the United States rebalance its strategy by learning to balance. A global power cannot afford to be directly involved in the number of conflicts that it will encounter around the world. It would be exhausted rapidly. Using various tools, it must create regional and global balances without usurping internal sovereignty. The trick is to create situations where other countries want to do what is in the U.S. interest.

This endeavor is difficult. The first step is to use economic incentives to shape other countries’ behavior. It isn’t the U.S. Department of Commerce but businesses that do this. The second is to provide economic aid to wavering countries. The third is to provide military aid. The fourth is to send advisers. The fifth is to send overwhelming force. The leap from the fourth level to the fifth is the hardest to master. Overwhelming force should almost never be used. But when advisers and aid do not solve a problem that must urgently be solved, then the only type of force that can be used is overwhelming force. Roman legions were used sparingly, but when they were used, they brought overwhelming power to bear.

The Responsibilities of Empire

I have been deliberately speaking of the United States as an empire, knowing that this term is jarring. Those who call the United States an empire usually mean that it is in some sense evil. Others will call it anything else if they can. But it is helpful to face the reality the United States is in. It is always useful to be honest, particularly with yourself. But more important, if the United States thinks of itself as an empire, then it will begin to learn the lessons of imperial power. Nothing is more harmful than an empire using its power carelessly.

It is true that the United States did not genuinely intend to be an empire. It is also true that its intentions do not matter one way or another. Circumstance, history and geopolitics have created an entity that, if it isn’t an empire, certainly looks like one. Empires can be far from oppressive. The Persians were quite liberal in their outlook. The American ideology and the American reality are not inherently incompatible. But two things must be faced: First, the United States cannot give away the power it has. There is no practical way to do that. Second, given the vastness of that power, it will be involved in conflicts whether it wants to or not. Empires are frequently feared, sometimes respected, but never loved by the rest of the world. And pretending that you aren’t an empire does not fool anyone.

The current balancing act in the Middle East represents a fundamental rebalancing of American strategy. It is still clumsy and poorly thought out, but it is happening. And for the rest of the world, the idea that the Americans are coming will become more and more rare. The United States will not intervene. It will manage the situation, sometimes to the benefit of one country and sometimes to another.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/coming-terms-american-empire

 

History of North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For history of Korea before its division, see History of Korea.
Part of a series on the
History of North Korea
Emblem of Emblem of North Korea
Soviet Civil Administration 1945–46
Provisional People’s Committee for North Korea 1946–48
Kim Il-sung’s rule 1948–94
Korean War 1950–53
Korean DMZ Conflict 1966–69
Juche 1972
Death and state funeral of Kim Il-sung 1994
Kim Jong-il’s rule 1994–2011
North Korean famine 1994–98
Songun 1998
Sunshine Policy 1998–2010
Six-party talks 2003
ROKS Cheonan sinking 2010
Death and state funeral of Kim Jong-il 2011
Kim Jong-un’s rule 2011–present
State Affairs Commission 2016
Flag of North Korea.svgNorth Korea portal

The history of North Korea began with the partition of Korea at the end of World War II in 1945, and the creation of the Communist-aligned Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) headed by the former guerrilla leader, Kim Il-sung. In 1950 the Korean War broke out. After much destruction, the war ended with the status quo being restored. The DPRK had failed to unify Korea under its leadership, and the US-led United Nations force had failed to conquer North Korea. The peninsula was divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and a US military force remained in South Korea.

Tension between the two sides continued. Kim Il-sung remained in power until his death in 1994. He developed a pervasive personality cult and steered the country on an independent course in accordance with the principle of Juche (or self-reliance). However, with natural disasters and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1991, North Korea went into a severe economic crisis. Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il, succeeded him, and was in turn succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. Amid international alarm, North Korea developed nuclear missiles.

Northern Korea before the division

From 1910 to the end of World War II, Korea was under Japanese rule. Most Koreans were peasants engaged in subsistence farming.[1] In the 1930s, Japan developed mines, hydro-electric dams, steel mills, and manufacturing plants in northern Korea and neighboring Manchuria.[2] The Korean industrial working class expanded rapidly, and many Koreans went to work in Manchuria.[3] As a result, 65% of Korea’s heavy industry was located in the north, but, due to the harshness of the terrain, only 37% of its agriculture.[4]

A Korean guerrilla movement emerged in the mountainous interior and in Manchuria, harassing the Japanese imperial authorities. One of the most prominent guerrilla leaders was the Communist Kim Il-sung.[5]

Northern Korea had very little exposure to modern, Western ideas.[6] One partial exception of this was the penetration of religion. Since the arrival of missionaries in the late nineteenth century, the northwest of Korea, and Pyongyang in particular, had been a stronghold of Christianity.[7]

Division of Korea

Main article: Division of Korea

At the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union promised to join its allies in the Pacific War within three months of victory in Europe. On August 8, 1945, after three months to the day, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.[8] Soviet troops advanced rapidly, and the US government became anxious that they would occupy the whole of Korea. On August 10, the US government decided to propose the 38th parallel as the dividing line between a Soviet occupation zone in the north and a US occupation zone in the south. The parallel was chosen as it would place the capital Seoul under American control.[9] The division placed sixteen million Koreans in the American zone and nine million in the Soviet zone.[10] To the surprise of the Americans, the Soviet Union immediately accepted the division. The agreement was incorporated into General Order No. 1 (approved on 17 August 1945) for the surrender of Japan.[11]

Soviet forces began amphibious landings in Korea by August 14 and rapidly took over the north-east of the country, and on August 16 they landed at Wonsan.[12] On August 24, the Red Army reached Pyongyang.[13] US forces did not arrive in the south until September 8.[10]

During August, People’s Committees sprang up across Korea, affiliated with the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence, which in September founded the People’s Republic of Korea. When Soviet troops entered Pyongyang, they found a local People’s Committee established there, led by veteran Christian nationalist Cho Man-sik.[14] Unlike their American counterparts, the Soviet authorities recognized and worked with the People’s Committees.[15][16] By some accounts, Cho Man-sik was the Soviet government’s first choice to lead North Korea.[17][18]

On September 19, Kim Il-sung and 36 other Korean Red Army officers arrived in Wonsan. They had fought the Japanese in Manchuria in the 1930s but had lived in the USSR and trained in the Red Army since 1941.[19] On October 14, Soviet authorities introduced Kim to the North Korean public as a guerrilla hero.[19]

In December 1945, at the Moscow Conference, the Soviet Union agreed to a US proposal for a trusteeship over Korea for up to five years in the lead-up to independence. Most Koreans demanded independence immediately, but Kim and the other Communists supported the trusteeship under pressure from the Soviet government. Cho Man-sik opposed the proposal at a public meeting on January 4, 1946, and disappeared into house arrest.[20][21] On February 8, 1946, the People’s Committees were reorganized as Interim People’s Committees dominated by Communists.[22] The new regime instituted popular policies of land redistribution, industry nationalization, labor law reform, and equality for women.[23]

Meanwhile, existing Communist groups were reconstituted as a party under Kim Il-sung’s leadership. On December 18, 1945, local Communist Party committees were combined into the North Korean Communist Party.[19] In August 1946, this party merged with the New People’s Party to form the Workers’ Party of North Korea. In December, a popular front led by the Workers Party dominated elections in the North.[22] In 1949, the Workers’ Party of North Korea merged with its southern counterpart to become the Workers’ Party of Korea with Kim as party chairman.[24]

Kim established the Korean People’s Army (KPA) aligned with the Communists, formed from a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later Nationalist Chinese troops. From their ranks, using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Before the outbreak of the Korean War, Joseph Stalin equipped the KPA with modern medium tanks, trucks, artillery, and small arms. Kim also formed an air force, equipped at first with ex-Soviet propeller-driven fighter and attack aircraft. Later, North Korean pilot candidates were sent to the Soviet Union and China to train in MiG-15 jet aircraft at secret bases.[25]

In 1946, a sweeping series of laws transformed North Korea on Stalinist lines. The “land to the tiller” reform redistributed the bulk of agricultural land to the poor and landless peasant population, effectively breaking the power of the landed class.[26] This was followed by a “Labor Law”, a “Sexual Equality Law”, and a “Nationalisation of Industry, Transport, Communications and Banks Law”.[27]

Kim Il-sung with Kim Koo in 1948

As negotiations with the Soviet Union on the future of Korea failed to make progress, the US took the issue to the United Nations in September 1947. In response, the UN established the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea to hold elections in Korea. The Soviet Union opposed this move. In the absence of Soviet co-operation, it was decided to hold UN-supervised elections in the south only.[28] In April 1948, a conference of organizations from the North and the South met in Pyongyang, but conference produced no results. The southern politicians Kim Koo and Kim Kyu-sik attended the conference and boycotted the elections in the South.[29] Both men were posthumously awarded the National Reunification Prize by North Korea.[30] The elections were held in South Korea on May 10, 1948. On August 15, the Republic of Korea formally came into existence.[31] A parallel process occurred in North Korea. A new Supreme People’s Assembly was elected in August 1948, and on September 3 a new constitution was promulgated. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was proclaimed on September 9, with Kim as premier.[32] On October 12, the Soviet Union declared that Kim’s regime was the only lawful government on the peninsula.[citation needed] On December 12, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly accepted the report of UNTCOK and declared the Republic of Korea to be the “only lawful government in Korea”.[31]

By 1949, North Korea was a full-fledged Communist state. All parties and mass organizations joined the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, ostensibly a popular front but in reality dominated by the Communists. The government moved rapidly to establish a political system that was partly styled on the Soviet system, with political power monopolised by the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK).

The Korean War (1950-1953)

Main article: Korean War

The consolidation of Syngman Rhee‘s government in the South with American military support and the suppression of the October 1948 insurrection ended North Korean hopes that a revolution in the South could reunify Korea, and from early 1949 Kim Il-sung sought Soviet and Chinese support for a military campaign to reunify the country by force. The withdrawal of most U.S. forces from South Korea in June 1949 left the southern government defended only by a weak and inexperienced South Korean army. The southern régime also had to deal with a citizenry of uncertain loyalty. The North Korean army, by contrast, had benefited from the Soviet Union‘s WWII-era equipment, and had a core of hardened veterans who had fought either as anti-Japanese guerrillas or alongside the Chinese Communists.[33] In 1949 and 1950 Kim traveled to Moscow with the South Korean Communist leader Pak Hon-yong to raise support for a war of reunification.[34]

InitiallyJoseph Stalin rejected Kim Il-sung’s requests for permission to invade the South, but in late 1949 the Communist victory in China and the development of Soviet nuclear weapons made him re-consider Kim’s proposal. In January 1950, after China’s Mao Zedong indicated that the People’s Republic of China would send troops and other support to Kim, Stalin approved an invasion.[35] The Soviets provided limited support in the form of advisers who helped the North Koreans as they planned the operation, and Soviet military instructors to train some of the Korean units. However, from the very beginning Stalin made it clear that the Soviet Union would avoid a direct confrontation with the U.S. over Korea and would not commit ground forces even in case of major military crisis.[36] The stage was set for a civil war between the two rival régimes on the Korean peninsula.

For over a year before the outbreak of war, the two sides had engaged in a series of bloody clashes along the 38th parallel, especially in the Ongjin area on the west coast.[37] On June 25, 1950, claiming to be responding to a South Korean assault on Ongjin, the Northern forces launched an amphibious offensive all along the parallel.[38] Due to a combination of surprise and military superiority, the Northern forces quickly captured the capital Seoul, forcing Syngman Rhee and his government to flee. By mid-July North Korean troops had overwhelmed the South Korean and allied American units and forced them back to a defensive line in south-east South Korea known as the Pusan Perimeter. During its brief occupation of southern Korea, the DPRK regime initiated radical social change, which included the nationalisation of industry, land reform, and the restoration of the People’s Committees.[39]According to the captured US General William F. Dean, “the civilian attitude seemed to vary between enthusiasm and passive acceptance”.[40][41]

The United Nations condemned North Korea’s actions and approved an American-led intervention force to defend South Korea. In September, UN forces landed at Inchon and retook Seoul. Under the leadership of US General Douglas Macarthur, UN forces pushed north, reaching the Chinese border. According to Bruce Cumings, the North Korean forces were not routed, but managed a strategic retreat into the mountainous interior and into neighboring Manchuria.[42] Kim Il-sung’s government re-established itself in a stronghold in Chagang Province.[43] In late November, Chinese forces entered the war and pushed the UN forces back, retaking Pyongyang in December 1950 and Seoul in January 1951. According to Bruce Cumings, the Korean People’s Army played an equal part in this counterattack.[44] UN forces managed to retake Seoul for South Korea. The war essentially became a bloody stalemate for the next two years.

2012 rehearsal in Pyongyang for Victory Day, marking the end of the war

American bombing included the use of napalm against populated areas and the destruction of dams and dykes, which caused devastating floods.[45][46] China and North Korea also alleged the US was deploying biological weapons.[47] As a result of the bombing, almost every substantial building and much of the infrastructure in North Korea was destroyed.[48][49] The North Koreans responded by building homes, schools, hospitals, and factories underground.[50] Economic output in 1953 had fallen by 75-90% compared with 1949.[51]

While the bombing continued, armistice negotiations, that had commenced in July 1951, wore on. North Korea’s lead negotiator was General Nam Il. The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. A ceasefire followed, but there was no peace treaty, and hostilities continued at a lower intensity.[52]

Postwar developments

Internal politics

Despite the failure of his attempt at unifying the nation under his rule, Kim Il-sung considered the war a victory in the sense that he remained in power. As a result, the North Korean media made the most of it by focusing entirely on the defeats suffered by the US and UN forces during the failed invasion of North Korea in late 1950. The armistice was celebrated in Pyongyang with a military parade in which Kim declared: “Despite their best efforts, the imperialist invaders were defeated with great loss in men and material.”[citation needed]

Kim began gradually consolidating his power. Up to this time, North Korean politics were represented by four factions: the Yan’an faction, made up of returnees from China; the “Soviet Koreans” who were ethnic Koreans from the USSR; native Korean communists led by Pak Hon-yong; and Kim’s Kapsan group who had fought guerrilla actions against Japan in the 1930s.[53][54]

When the Worker’s Party Central Committee plenum opened on 30 August 1953 Choe Chang-ik made a speech attacking Kim for concentrating the power of the party and the state in his own hands as well as criticising the party line on industrialisation which ignored widespread starvation among the North Korean people. However, Kim neutralised the attack on him by promising to moderate the regime, promises which were never kept. The majority in the Central Committee voted to support Kim and also voted in favour of expelling Choe and Pak Hon-yong from the Central Committee. Eleven of Kim’s opponents were convicted in a show trial. It is believed that all were executed. A major purge of the KWP followed, with members originating from South Korea being expelled.[55]

Pak Hon-yong, party vice chairman and Foreign Minister of the DPRK, was blamed for the failure of the southern population to support North Korea during the war, was dismissed from his positions in 1953, and was executed after a show-trial in 1955.[56][57] Most of the South Korean leftists and communist sympathizers who defected to the North in 1945–1953 were also accused of espionage and other crimes, and subsequently killed, imprisoned, or exiled to remote agricultural and mining villages. Potential rivals from other groups such as Kim Tu-bong were also purged.[citation needed]

The Party Congress in 1956 indicated the transformation that the party had undergone. Most members of other factions had lost their positions of influence. More than half the delegates had joined after 1950, most were under 40 years old, and most had limited formal education.[58]

In February 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made a sweeping denunciation of Stalin, which sent shock waves throughout the Communist world. Encouraged by this, members of the party leadership in North Korea began to criticize Kim’s dictatorial leadership, personality cult, and Stalinist economic policies. They were defeated by Kim at the August Plenum of the party.[59][60] By 1960, 70 per cent of the members of the 1956 Central Committee were no longer in politics.[61]

Kim Il-sung had initially been criticized by the Soviets during a previous 1955 visit to Moscow for practicing Stalinism and a cult of personality, which was already growing enormous. The Korean ambassador to the USSR, Li Sangjo, a member of the Yan’an faction, reported that it had become a criminal offense to so much as write on Kim’s picture in a newspaper and that he had been elevated to the status of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Stalin in the communist pantheon. He also charged Kim with rewriting history to appear as if his guerrilla faction had single-handedly liberated Korea from the Japanese, completely ignoring the assistance of the Chinese Communist Party. In addition, Li stated that in the process of agricultural collectivization, grain was being forcibly confiscated from the peasants, leading to “at least 300 suicides” and that Kim made nearly all major policy decisions and appointments himself. Li reported that over 30,000 people were in prison for completely unjust and arbitrary reasons as trivial as not printing Kim Il-sung’s portrait on sufficient quality paper or using newspapers with his picture to wrap parcels. Grain confiscation and tax collection were also conducted forcibly with violence, beatings, and imprisonment.[62] During Kim Il-sung’s Moscow visit, the Soviets recommended that he discard the personality cult, adhere to the ideas of collective leadership, remove falsified history accounts from textbooks, and work towards improving the living standards of the Korean people, which remained poor and below prewar standards. Foodstuffs during the initial postwar period were rationed and extremely expensive, as were consumer items. By comparison, South Korea, which had less of an industrial base than the DPRK, had a better food supply and was also flooded with American goods although it should be noted that the overall destruction there during the war was smaller.[citation needed]

In late 1968, known military opponents of North Korea’s Juche ideology such as Kim Chang-bong (minister of National Security), Huh Bong-hak (chief of the Division for Southern Intelligence) and Lee Young-ho(commander in chief of the DPRK Navy) were purged as anti-party/counter-revolutionary elements, despite their credentials as anti-Japanese guerrilla fighters in the past.[55]

Kim’s personality cult was modeled on Stalinism and his regime originally acknowledged Stalin as the supreme leader. After Stalin’s death in 1953, however, Kim was described as the “Great Leader” or “Suryong”. As his personality cult grew, the doctrine of Juche (or self-reliance) began to displace Marxism–Leninism. At the same time the cult extended beyond Kim himself to include his family in a revolutionary blood line.[63] In 1972, to celebrate Kim Il-sung’s birthday, the Mansu Hill Grand Monument was unveiled, including a 22-meter bronze statue of him.[64]

International relations

Like Mao in China, Kim Il-sung refused to accept Nikita Khrushchev‘s denunciation of Stalin and continued to model his regime on Stalinist norms.[65][66] At the same time, he increasingly stressed Korean independence, as embodied in the concept of Juche.[67] Kim told Alexei Kosygin in 1965 that he was not anyone’s puppet and “We…implement the purest Marxism and condemn as false both the Chinese admixtures and the errors of the CPSU”.[68]

Relations with China had worsened during the war. Mao Zedong criticized Kim for having started the whole “idiotic war” and for being an incompetent military commander who should have been removed from power. PLA commander Peng Dehuai was equally contemptuous of Kim’s skills at waging war.[69]

By some analysis, Kim Il-sung remained in power partially because the Soviets turned their attention to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that fall.[70] The Soviets and Chinese were unable to stop the inevitable purge of Kim’s domestic opponents or his move towards a one-man Stalinist autocracy and relations with both countries deteriorated in the former’s case because of the elimination of the pro-Soviet Koreans and the latter because of the regime’s refusal to acknowledge Chinese assistance in either liberation from the Japanese or the war in 1950-53.[71]

Stalin continued to be honored in North Korea long after his death in 1953, and a street in Pyongyang bore his name until 1980. By contrast, neighboring Chinese leader Mao Zedong was mostly ignored and Kim Il-sung rejected most of his policies such as the Hundred Flowers Campaign and (later) the Cultural Revolution.[citation needed]

The captured USS Pueblo being visited by tourists in Pyongyang

Tensions between North and South escalated in the late 1960s with a series of low-level armed clashes known as the Korean DMZ Conflict. In 1966, Kim declared “liberation of the south” to be a “national duty”.[72] In 1968, North Korean commandos launched the Blue House Raid, an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the South Korean President Park Chung-hee. Shortly after, the US spy ship Pueblo was captured by the North Korean navy.[73] The crew were held captive throughout the year despite American protests that the vessel was in international waters and finally released in December after a formal US apology was issued.[74] In April 1969 North Korea shot down an EC-121 aircraft, killing everyone on board. The Nixon administration found itself unable to react at all, since the US was heavily committed in Vietnam and had no troops to spare if the situation in Korea escalated. However, the Pueblo capture and EC-121 shootdown did not find approval in Moscow, as the Soviet Union did not want a second major war to erupt in Asia. China’s response to the USS Pueblo crisis is less clear.[75]

After Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as Soviet Leader in 1964, and with the incentive of Soviet aid, North Korea strengthened its ties with the USSR. Kim condemned China’s Cultural Revolution as “unbelievable idiocy”. In turn, China’s Red Guards labelled him a “fat revisionist”.[76][77] But by 1970, most of the storm clouds of the Cultural Revolution had blown away and relations with China quickly returned to normal. Chinese premier Zhou Enlai visited Pyongyang that year and apologized for the attacks made on Kim by the Red Guards. At the same time, the Soviets were again criticized by both Chinese and North Korean officials for being too soft on the United States. The Cultural Revolution was now viewed in North Korea as an excellent idea and “completely correct”.

In 1972, the first formal summit meeting between Pyongyang and Seoul was held, but the cautious talks did not lead to a lasting change in the relationship.[78]

With the fall of South Vietnam to the North Vietnamese on April 30, 1975, Kim Il-sung began to feel that the US had shown its weakness and that reunification of Korea under his regime was finally possible. Kim visited Beijing in May 1975 in the hope of gaining political and military support for this plan to invade South Korea again, but Mao Zedong refused.[79] Despite public proclamations of support, Mao privately told Kim that China would be unable to assist North Korea this time because of the lingering after-effects of the Cultural Revolution throughout China, and also because Mao had recently decided to restore diplomatic relations with the US. Afterwards, Kim went home empty-handed.[80]

Meanwhile, North Korea emphasized its independent orientation by joining the Non-Aligned Movement in 1975.[81] It promoted Juche as a model for developing countries to follow.[82] It developed strong ties with the regimes of Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Macias Nguema in Equatorial Guinea, Idi Amin in Uganda, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Gaddafi in Libya, and Ceausescu in Romania.[83]

Economic development

Reconstruction of the country after the war proceeded with extensive Chinese and Soviet assistance.[84][85] Koreans with experience in Japanese industries also played a significant part.[86]Land was collectivized between 1953 and 1958. Resistance appears to have been minimal as landlords had been eliminated by the earlier reforms or during the war.[87]

Although developmental debates took place within the Workers’ Party of Korea in the 1950s, North Korea, like all the postwar communist states, undertook massive state investment in heavy industry, state infrastructure and military strength, neglecting the production of consumer goods.[71]

The first Three Year Plan (1954–1956) introduced the concept of Juche or self-reliance.[88] The first Five Year Plan (1957-1961) consolidated the collectivization of agriculture and initiated mass mobilizations campaigns: the Chollima Movement, the Chongsan-ni system in agriculture and the Taean Work System in industry.[88][89] The Chollima Movement was influenced by China’s Great Leap Forward, but did not have its disastrous results.[88]Industry was fully nationalized by 1959.[90] Taxation on agricultural income was abolished in 1966.[91]

North Korea was placed on a semi-war footing, with equal emphasis being given to the civilian and military economies. This was expressed in the 1962 Party Plenum by the slogan, “Arms in one hand and a hammer and sickle in the other!”[92] At a special party conference in 1966, members of the leadership who opposed the military build-up were removed.[93]

On the ruins left by the war, North Korea had built an industrialized command economy. Che Guevara, then a Cuban government minister, visited North Korea in 1960, and proclaimed it a model for Cuba to follow. In 1965, the British economist Joan Robinson described North Korea’s economic development as a “miracle”.[94][95] As late as the 1970s, its GDP per capita was estimated to be equivalent to South Korea’s.[96][97][98][99] By 1968, all homes had electricity, though the supply was unreliable.[100] By 1972, all children from age 5 to 16 were enrolled in school, and over 200 universities and specialized colleges had been established.[101][102] By the early 1980s, 60–70% of the population was urbanized.[103]

Decline and crisis

North Korean village in the Yalu River delta

In the 1970s, expansion of North Korea’s economy, with the accompanying rise in living standards, came to an end.[104] Compounding this was a decision to borrow foreign capital and invest heavily in military industries. North Korea’s desire to lessen its dependence on aid from China and the Soviet Union prompted the expansion of its military power, which had begun in the second half of the 1960s. The government believed such expenditures could be covered by foreign borrowing and increased sales of its mineral wealth in the international market. North Korea invested heavily in its mining industries and purchased a large quantity of mineral extraction infrastructure from abroad. It also purchased entire petrochemical, textile, concrete, steel, pulp and paper manufacturing plants from the developed capitalist world.[105] This included a Japanese-Danish venture that provided North Korea with the largest cement factory in the world.[106] However, following the world 1973 oil crisis, international prices for many of North Korea’s native minerals fell, leaving the country with large debts and an inability to pay them off and still provide a high level of social welfare to its people. North Korea began to default in 1974 and halted almost all repayments in 1985. As a result, it was unable to pay for Western technology.[107]

Worsening this already poor situation, the centrally planned economy, which emphasized heavy industry had reached the limits of its productive potential in North Korea. Juche’s repeated demands that North Koreans learn to build and innovate domestically had run its course as had the ability of North Koreans to keep technological pace with other industrialized nations. By the mid to late-1970s some parts of the capitalist world, including South Korea, were creating new industries based around computers, electronics, and other advanced technology in contrast to North Korea’s Stalinist economy of mining and steel production.[108] Migration to urban areas stalled.[109]

Despite the emerging economic problems, the regime invested heavily on prestigious projects, such as the Juche Tower, the Nampo Dam, and the Ryugyong Hotel. In 1989, as a response to the 1988 Seoul Olympics it held the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang.[110][111] In fact, the grandiosity associated with the regime and its personality cult, as expressed in monuments, museums, and events, has been identified as a factor in the economic decline.[112]

In 1984 Kim visited Moscow during a grand tour of the USSR where he met Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko. Kim also made public visits to East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Soviet involvement in the North Korean economy increased, until 1988 when bilateral trade peaked at US$2.8 billion.[113] In 1986, Kim met the incoming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and received a pledge of support.[114]

However, Gorbachev’s reforms and diplomatic initiatives, the Chinese economic reforms starting in 1979, and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc from 1989 to 1991 increased North Korea’s isolation.[115] The leadership in Pyongyang responded by proclaiming that the collapse of the Eastern Bloc demonstrated the correctness of the policy of Juche.[116]

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 deprived North Korea of its main source of economic aid, leaving China as the isolated regime’s only major ally. Without Soviet aid, North Korea’s economy went into a free-fall. By this time in the early 1990s, Kim Jong-il was already conducting most of the day-to-day activities of running of the state. Meanwhile, international tensions were rising over North Korean’s quest for nuclear weapons. Former US president Jimmy Carter made a visit to Pyongyang in June 1994 in which he met with Kim and returned proclaiming that he had resolved the crisis.[117]

Succession by Kim Jong-il

Portraits of Kim Il-sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-il

Kim Il-sung died from a sudden heart attack on July 8, 1994, three weeks after the Carter visit. His son, Kim Jong-il, who had already assumed key positions in the government, succeeded as General-Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party. At that time, North Korea had no secretary-general in the party nor a president. Minimal legal procedure that had been established was summarily ignored. Although a new constitution appeared to end the war-time political system, it did not completely terminate the transitional military rule. Rather it legitimized and institutionalized military rule by making the National Defense Commission (NDC) the most important state organization and its chairman the highest authority. After three years of consolidating his power, Kim Jong-il became Chairman of the NDC on October 8, 1997, a position described by the NDC as the nation’s “highest administrative authority,” and thus North Korea’s de facto head of state. His succession had been foreshadowed in 1980, when he was introduced to the public at the Sixth Party Congress.[118] In 1982, Kim Jong-il had established himself as a leading theoretician with the publication of On the Juche Idea.[119] In 1984, he had been officially confirmed as his father’s successor.[120]

Meanwhile, the economy was in steep decline. In 1990-1995, foreign trade was cut in half, with the loss of subsidized Soviet oil being particularly keenly felt. The crisis came to a head in 1995 with widespread flooding that destroyed crops and infrastructure, leading to a famine that lasted till 1998.[121] At the same time, there appeared to be little significant internal opposition to the regime. Indeed, a great many of the North Koreans fleeing to China because of famine still showed significant support for the government as well as pride in their homeland. Many of these people reportedly returned to North Korea after earning sufficient money.[122]

In 1998 the government announced a new policy called “Songun“, or “Military First”. This suggested that the Korean People’s Army was now more powerful than the Korean Workers’ Party.[123]

President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea actively attempted to reduce tensions between the two Koreas under the Sunshine Policy, but this produced few immediate results. Since the election of George W. Bush as the President of the United States in 2000, North Korea has faced renewed external pressure over its nuclear program, reducing the prospect of international economic assistance.

In 2002, Kim Jong-il declared that “money should be capable of measuring the worth of all commodities”, followed by some small market-oriented measures, and the creation of the Kaesong Industrial Region with transport links to South Korea was announced.[citation needed] Experiments are under way to allow factory managers to fire underperforming workers and give bonuses. China’s investments increased to $200 million in 2004.[citation needed]

On October 9, 2006, North Korea has announced that it had successfully detonated a nuclear device underground at 10:36 am local time without any radiation leak. An official at South Korea’s seismic monitoring center confirmed a magnitude-3.6 tremor felt at the time North Korea said it conducted the test was not a natural occurrence.[124]

Additionally, North Korea was running a missile development program. In 1998, North Korea tested a Taepondong-1 Space Launch Vehicle, which successfully launched but failed to reach orbit. On July 5, 2006, they tested a Taepodong-2 ICBM that reportedly could reach the west coast of the U.S. in the 2-stage version, or the entire U.S. with a third stage. However, the missile failed shortly after launch, so it is unknown what its exact capabilities are or how close North Korea is to perfecting the technology.

North Korea’s advancements in weapons technology appear to give them leverage in ongoing negotiations with the United Nations and other countries. On February 13, 2007, North Korea signed an agreement with South Korea, the United States, Russia, China, and Japan, which stipulated North Korea would shut down itsYongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for economic and energy assistance. However, in 2009 the North continued its nuclear test program.

In 2010, the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, reportedly by a North Korean torpedo, escalated tensions between North and South.

Current situation

A computer lab classroom in the Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang, 2012

Kim Jong-Il died on December 17, 2011[125] and was quickly succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. Tensions between North Korea and other countries increased due to its rocket launches and nuclear bomb testing, and UN sanctions have been tightened.

In 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry accused the government of crimes against humanity.[126]

In 2015, North Korea adopted Pyongyang Standard Time (UTC+08.30), reversing the change to Japan Standard Time (UTC+9.00) which had been imposed by the Japanese Empire. As a result, North Korea was in a different time zone from South Korea.[127]

The 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held in 2016, where Kim Jong-Un further consolidated his control and power within the Workers’ Party of Korea and country.

See also

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 868, April 6, 2017, Story 1: Neoconservatives and Progressive Global Interventionists Elite Banging The War Drums For American Empire Warfare and Welfare State vs. We The People America First Non-interventionists For American Republic Peace and Prosperity Economy — American People Not Readily Accepting Big Lie Media Propaganda on Syria Chemical Gas Air Attack — Another False Flag — Sunni and Shia Have Being Killing Each Other For Hundreds of Years — Stop Being Imperial Umpire For A Religious Sectarian Civil War and Proxy War — National Interest — Oil and Gas — Videos

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Breaking News

Undeclared War!

President Trump Launches 59 Cruise Missile Attack From Two U.S. Destroyers Against Syrian Air Base 

President Trump Neoconned!

Trump Orders ATTACK on Syria – April 6, 2017 – FULL Press Conference

RAW USA launches cruise missile strike on Syria Regime Breaking News April 6 2017 

RAW USA launches cruise missiles strike on Syria RUSSIA IRAN backed ASSAD Regime after chemical Warfare weapons attack Breaking News April 6 2017

Neo-CONNED speech by Ron Paul

U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha’irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said. That’s the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that people were not targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps.y

Trump Speaks on Missile Strike in Syria 2:48

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” President Donald Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” said Trump, who called on other countries to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Related: Trump: Why I Launched a Missile Attack on Syria

Trump is in Florida for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng. Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster traveled to Florida with him.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster traveled to Florida with Trump. In Washington, Vice President Mike Pence returned to the White House after having gone home for dinner Thursday evening.

Syrian television characterized the missile strike “as American aggression” Friday morning. But Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it “welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people.”

Syria Crisis: Trump Given Military Options After Chemical Attack 2:25

Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have bluntly blamed Syria for the chemical weapons attack, whose victims included at least 25 children.

Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that “there is no doubt in our minds” that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack. And in a combative speech at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Haley warned: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”y

Tillerson on Assad Regime: He Has ‘No Role’ to Govern Syria0:58

NBC News reported Thursday that Defense Secretary James Mattis briefed President Donald Trump on U.S. military options, which included carrying out targeted strikes against those responsible for Tuesday’s attack.

There was no immediate reaction from Russia, which Tillerson and Haley have accused of turning a blind eye to Syria’s transgressions.

“Russia cannot escape responsibility for this,” Haley said at the United Nations. “They chose to close their eyes to the barbarity. They defied the conscience of the world.”

Thursday, Tillerson urged Russia to “consider carefully their continued support of the Assad regime.”

Story 1: Progressive Global Interventionists Elite Banging The War Drums For American Empire Warfare and Welfare State vs. We The People America First Non-interventionists For American Republic Peace and Prosperity Economy — American People Not Readily Accepting Big Lie Media Propaganda on Syria Chemical Gas Air Attack — Another False Flag — Sunni and Shia Have Being Killing Each Other For Hundreds of Years — Stop Being Imperial Umpire For A Religious Sectarian Civil War — National Interest — Oil and Gas — Videos

Image result for false flagImage result for false flagImage result for false flagImage result for map syria united states attack on syria air base april 2017Image result for map syria united states attack on syria air base april 2017Image result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for number killed in syrian civil war through 2016Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map idlib syriaImage result for syrian gas attack april 2017  Image result for syrian gas attack april 2017Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map

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President Trump may be considering military action in Syria

Gen. Keane on the possibility of US military action in Syria

Trump Orders Attack On Syria! Will Russia Respond? Is Trump Wrong?

Syria Gas Attack: Assad’s Doing…Or False Flag?

Streamed live on Apr 5, 2017

Just days after the US Administration changed course on Syrian President Assad, saying he could stay, an alleged chemical weapon attack that killed dozens of civilians has been blamed on the Syrian government. Did Assad sign his own death warrant with such an attack…or does some other entity benefit?

[youytube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LULzvg1gA5U]

Ron Paul: The Word That Best Defines Libertarianism Is Non-Intervention

Sen. John Barrasso Speaking on Trump Considering Military Action in Syria & North Korea

Cotton: President Trump struck the ‘right tone’ on Syria

Corker Comments on Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

Rubio, Cardin call for Assad, Putin to be held accountable for Syria chemical weapons attack

Will the U.S. take military action in Syria?

Do powerful people in Washington want to know the truth?

Syrian Chemical False Flag Exposed

Laura Ingraham Show PODCAST April 6, 2017 – Bob Costa: ‘Trump Has Always Used His Family In Business

Unconfirmed Syria Chemical Weapons Attack is Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction REDUX

What we know about the chemical attack in Syria

Syria Gas Attack: Assad’s Doing…Or False Flag?

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why?

Was Syrian Chemical Attack A False Flag?

Understanding the Refugee Crisis in Europe, Syria, and around the World

Aftermath of Syrian chemical attack sparks outrage

World leaders condemn the Syrian chemical attack

Syria nerve gas attack: Chemical weapons expert debunks Assad’s defense

War in Syria: Russia and West clash over Idlib gas attack (part 1)

Published on Apr 5, 2017

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On Tuesday in Idlib, a province in the Northwest of Syria, at least seventy people were killed, 20 of them children, in what appears to have been a chemical weapon attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Initial reports point to the nerve agent Sarin gas. Our panel of experts asks who was behind this attack. What explanations are being given, and do they stack up?
Click here for PART TWO.

Another suspected chemical weapons attack is latest chapter in brutal Syrian conflict

‘Assad Has Unleashed Horror in Syria’: World Reacts to Alleged Chemical Attack

Syria Gas Attack: Russia says chemical depot held by rebels bombed

Turkish President Erdogan calls chemical attack in Syria “inhuman and unacceptable”

“The Desperate BBC Propaganda Machine Blames Assad For Chemical Attack Before Any Investigation.”

Russia denies involvement in reported Syrian chemical attack

Children caught in Syria ‘chemical attack’- BBC News

Published on Apr 5, 2017

The UN Security Council has held an emergency session to discuss the suspected gas attack on a rebel-held town in Syria. The attack is believed to have killed more than 70 people, including children. The Syrian government has denied responsibility, while its ally Russia says the gas came from rebel weapons on the ground. But those claims have been widely rejected by western governments, as our Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet reports.

Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib kills 58 – BBC News

Published on Apr 4, 2017

At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating some of the survivors, medics and opposition activists said. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Condemns Russia, Iran After Chemical Attack In Syria | NBC News

UK: Chemical Attack Bears All Hallmarks of Assad

UNSC holds emergency meeting on Syria chemical attack

WATCH LIVE: U.N. Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting On Syria Chemical Attack | TIME

The TRUTH About the Syria Gas Attack

Hillary in Rat Line for Syria False Flag Sarin Gas Attack says Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part Two]

Published on Aug 10, 2016

Tariq Ali talks to investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, about his revelations concerning the chemical attack at Ghouta, Syria in August 2013.

Seymour Hersh Exposes Erdogan’s Chemical Adventure in Syria

Published on Apr 8, 2014

The US author reveals secret US reports warning that Al-Nusrah terrorist group affiliated with Qatar and Turkey, posses a chemical weapons cell. Worst threat since 9/11.

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part One]

Published on Aug 10, 2016

Tariq Ali talks to investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, about the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 and describes what the Americans and Pakistanis knew about his whereabouts.

Global Empire – Syria After Trump

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry-Picked” Intelligence on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike

Published on Dec 9, 2013

Writing in the London Review of Books, Hersh argues that the Obama administration “cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.” The administration failed to disclose it knew Syrian rebels in the al-Nusra Front had the ability to produce chemical weapons. Evidence obtained in the days after the attack was also allegedly distorted to make it appear it was gathered in real time.

Whose sarin? Seymour M. Hersh
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded — without assessing responsibility — had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order — a planning document that precedes a ground invasion — citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information — in terms of its timing and sequence — to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analyzed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” — Obama — “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”‘…()

Obama Was Lying!

President Obama’s Syria Address [FULL SPEECH]

Seymour Hersh’s Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad

Published on Dec 22, 2015

A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joints Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joints Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.

US, Russia Announce Syria Chemical Weapons Deal

U.S. Ship Begins Neutralizing Syrian Chemical Weapons

MV Cape Ray Storage Area Tour

MV Cape Ray Disposal Practice

MV Cape Ray FDHS

Published on Jul 2, 2014

As part of the U.N. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Mission to eliminate chemical materials from the Syrian Arab Republic, the U.S. will destroy approximately 700 metric tons of chemicals aboard the MV Cape Ray. Danish and Norwegian vessels will transport the chemicals to a yet-unnamed Italian port for transfer to the MV Cape Ray. The MV Cape Ray, part of the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Fleet, has been retrofitted with two field-deployable hydrolysis systems designed to neutralize the dangerous chemicals before disposal at a commercial facility.

MV Cape Ray’s Bridge

MV Cape Ray Command Post Tour

MV Cape Ray Laboratory Tour

False flag

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“False colors” redirects here. For the imaging technique, see False-color.

This US Douglas A-26 C Invader was painted in fake Cuban Air Force colors for the military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the CIA-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 in April 1961.

The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that activities appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them.[1]

Historically, the term “false flag” has its origins in naval warfare where the use of a flag other than the belligerent’s true battle flag before (but not while) engaging the enemy has long been accepted as a permissible ruse de guerre; by contrast, flying a false flag while engaging the enemy constitutes perfidy.[1]

Operations carried out during peace-time by civilian organizations, as well as covert government agencies, can (by extension) also be called false flag operations if they seek to hide the real organization behind an operation.[citation needed]

Use in warfare

In land warfare such operations are generally deemed acceptable in certain circumstances, such as to deceive enemies providing that the deception is not perfidious and all such deceptions are discarded before opening fire upon the enemy. Similarly in naval warfare such a deception is considered permissible provided the false flag is lowered and the true flag raised before engaging in battle:[2]auxiliary cruisers operated in such a fashion in both World Wars, as did Q-ships, while merchant vessels were encouraged to use false flags for protection.

Such masquerades promoted confusion not just of the enemy but of historical accounts: in 1914 the Battle of Trindade was fought between the British auxiliary cruiser RMS Carmania and the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Cap Trafalgar which had been altered to look like Carmania. (Contrary to some possibly mendacious accounts, the RMS Carmania had not been altered to resemble the Cap Trafalgar.)

Another notable example was the World War II German commerce raider Kormoran which surprised and sank the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney in 1941 while disguised as a Dutch merchant ship, causing the greatest recorded loss of life on an Australian warship. While Kormoran was fatally damaged in the engagement and its crew captured the outcome represented a considerable psychological victory for the Germans.[3]

Other examples from WWII included a Kriegsmarineensign in the St Nazaire Raid and captured a German code book: the old destroyer Campbeltown, which the British planned to sacrifice in the operation, was provided with cosmetic modifications that involved cutting the ship’s funnels and chamfering the edges to resemble a German Type 23torpedo boat.

By this ruse the British were able to get within two miles (3 km) of the harbour before the defences responded, where the explosive-rigged Campbeltown and commandos successfully disabled or destroyed the key dock structures of the port.[4][5]

Air warfare

In December 1922–February 1923, Rules concerning the Control of Wireless Telegraphy in Time of War and Air Warfare, drafted by a commission of jurists at the Hague regulates:[6]

Art. 3. A military aircraft must carry an exterior mark indicating its nationality and its military character.
Art. 19. The use of false exterior marks is forbidden.

This draft was never adopted as a legally binding treaty, but the ICRC states in its introduction on the draft that ‘To a great extent, [the draft rules] correspond to the customary rules and general principles underlying treaties on the law of war on land and at sea’,[7] and as such these two non–controversial articles were already part of customary law.[8]

Land warfare

In land warfare, the use of a false flag is similar to that of naval warfare: the trial of Otto Skorzeny, who planned and commanded Operation Greif, by a U.S. military tribunal at the Dachau Trials included a finding that Skorzeny was not guilty of a crime by ordering his men into action in American uniforms. He had relayed to his men the warning of German legal experts: that if they fought in American uniforms, they would be breaking the laws of war; however, they probably were not doing so simply by wearing the American uniforms. During the trial, a number of arguments were advanced to substantiate this position and the German and U.S. military seem to have been in agreement.

In the transcript of the trial,[9] it is mentioned that Paragraph 43 of the Field Manual published by the War Department, United States Army, on 1 October 1940, under the entry Rules of Land Warfare states “National flags, insignias and uniforms as a ruse – in practice it has been authorized to make use of these as a ruse. The foregoing rule (Article 23 of the Annex of the IVth Hague Convention), does not prohibit such use, but does prohibit their improper use. It is certainly forbidden to make use of them during a combat. Before opening fire upon the enemy, they must be discarded’.”

The American Soldiers’ Handbook was also quoted by Defense Counsel: “The use of the enemy flag, insignia, and uniform is permitted under some circumstances. They are not to be used during actual fighting, and if used in order to approach the enemy without drawing fire, should be thrown away or removed as soon as fighting begins.” Subsequently, the outcome of the trial has been codified in the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol I):

Article 37. – Prohibition of perfidy

1. It is prohibited to kill, injure, or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
(a) The feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
(b) The feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(c) The feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
(d) The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
2. Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict and which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. The following are examples of such ruses: the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and disinformation.

Article 38. – Recognized emblems

1. It is prohibited to make improper use of the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross, Red Crescent or Red Lion and Sun or of other emblems, signs or signals provided for by the Conventions or by this Protocol. It is also prohibited to misuse deliberately in an armed conflict other internationally recognized protective emblems, signs or signals, including the flag of truce, and the protective emblem of cultural property.
2. It is prohibited to make use of the distinctive emblem of the United Nations, except as authorized by that Organization.

Article 39. – Emblems of nationality

1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.
3. Nothing in this Article or in Article 37, paragraph 1 ( d ), shall affect the existing generally recognized rules of international law applicable to espionage or to the use of flags in the conduct of armed conflict at sea.

Cyber warfare

A false flag in the cyber domain is slightly different and easier to perpetrate than in other physical theaters of war. Cyber false flags refer to tactics used in covert cyber attacks by a perpetrator to deceive or misguide attribution attempts including the attacker’s origin, identity, movement, and/or code/exploitation. This misdirection tactic can cause misattribution (permitting response and/or counterattack as a condiciosine qua non under international law) or misperception which can lead to retaliation against the wrong adversary.

Cyber false flags can exist in the cyber domain when:

  1. Weaponized cyber exploits use recycled code/variants from previous attacks;
  2. Exploits are developed to mimic the scope and complexity of other malware;
  3. Exploits are procured rather than developed;
  4. Exploits are executed from new/unknown operator command servers;
  5. Malware calls out to or connects to known operator command servers;
  6. The action or attack is outsourced;
  7. The compromise is socially engineered to misguide investigations towards other operators;
  8. The audit trail or lack thereof conceals actual intent or actions with other exploits designed to mislead investigators.

As pretexts for war

Russo-Swedish War

In 1788, the head tailor at the Royal Swedish Opera received an order to sew a number of Russian military uniforms. These were then used by the Swedes to stage an attack on Puumala, a Swedish outpost on the Russo-Swedish border, on 27 June 1788. This caused an outrage in Stockholm and impressed the Riksdag of the Estates, the Swedish national assembly, who until then had refused to agree to an offensive war against Russia. The Puumala incident allowed King Gustav III of Sweden, who lacked the constitutional authority to initiate unprovoked hostilities without the Estates’ consent, to launch the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790).[10]

Second Sino-Japanese War

Japanese experts inspect the scene of the ‘railway sabotage’ on South Manchurian Railway

In September 1931, Japanese officers fabricated a pretext for invading Manchuria by blowing up a section of railway. Though the explosion was too weak to disrupt operations on the rail line, the Japanese nevertheless used this Mukden incident to seize Manchuria and create a puppet government for what they termed the “independent” state of Manchukuo.[11]

World War II

Gleiwitz incident

Alfred Naujocks

The Gleiwitz incident in 1939 involved Reinhard Heydrich fabricating evidence of a Polish attack against Germany to mobilize German public opinion for war and to justify the war with Poland. Alfred Naujocks was a key organiser of the operation under orders from Heydrich. It led to the deaths of Nazi concentration camp victims who were dressed as German soldiers and then shot by the Gestapo to make it seem that they had been shot by Polish soldiers. This, along with other false flag operations in Operation Himmler, would be used to mobilize support from the German population for the start of World War II in Europe.[12]

The operation failed to convince international public opinion of the German claims, and both Britain and France—Poland’s allies—declared war two days after Germany invaded Poland.[13]

Winter War

On November 26, 1939, the Soviet armyshelled Mainila, a Russian village near the Finnish border. Soviet authorities blamed Finland for the attack and used the incident as a pretext to invade Finland, starting the Winter War, four days later.[14]

Cuban Revolution

Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods memorandum (13 March 1962)[15]

The proposed, but never executed, 1962 Operation Northwoods plot by the U.S. Department of Defense for a war with Cuba involved scenarios such as fabricating the hijacking or shooting down of passenger and military planes, sinking a U.S. ship in the vicinity of Cuba, burning crops, sinking a boat filled with Cuban refugees, attacks by alleged Cuban infiltrators inside the United States, and harassment of U.S. aircraft and shipping and the destruction of aerial drones by aircraft disguised as Cuban MiGs.[16] These actions would be blamed on Cuba, and would be a pretext for an invasion of Cuba and the overthrow of Fidel Castro‘s communist government. It was authored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then rejected by President John F. Kennedy. The surprise discovery of the documents relating to Operation Northwoods was a result of the comprehensive search for records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by the Assassination Records Review Board in the mid-1990s.[17] Information about Operation Northwoods was later publicized by James Bamford.[18]

As a tactic to undermine political opponents

Reichstag fire

Main article: Reichstag fire

The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The fire started in the Session Chamber,[19] and, by the time the police and firemen arrived, the main Chamber of Deputies was engulfed in flames. Police searched the building and found Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutchcouncil communist and unemployed bricklayer, who had recently arrived in Germany to carry out political activities.[citation needed]

The fire was used as evidence by the Nazis that the Communists were beginning a plot against the German government. Van der Lubbe and four Communist leaders were subsequently arrested. Adolf Hitler, who was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany four weeks before, on 30 January, urged President Paul von Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the “ruthless confrontation of the Communist Party of Germany“.[20] With civil liberties suspended, the government instituted mass arrests of Communists, including all of the Communist parliamentary delegates. With their bitter rival Communists gone and their seats empty, the National Socialist German Workers Party went from being a plurality party to the majority; subsequent elections confirmed this position and thus allowed Hitler to consolidate his power.[citation needed]

Historians disagree as to whether Van der Lubbe acted alone, as he said, to protest the condition of the German working class, or whether the arson was planned and ordered by the Nazis, then dominant in the government themselves, as a false flag operation.[21][22]

Project TP-Ajax

On 4 April 1953, the CIA was ordered to undermine the government of Iran over a four-month period, as a precursor to overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.[23] One tactic used to undermine Mosaddegh was to carry out false flag attacks “on mosques and key public figures”, to be blamed on Iranian communists loyal to the government.[23]

The CIA project was code-named TP-Ajax, and the tactic of a “directed campaign of bombings by Iranians posing as members of the Communist party”,[24] involved the bombing of “at least” one well known Muslim’s house by CIA agents posing as Communists.[24] The CIA determined that the tactic of false flag attacks added to the “positive outcome” of Project TPAJAX.[23]

However, as “the C.I.A. burned nearly all of its files on its role in the 1953 coup in Iran”, the true extent of the tactic has been difficult for historians to discern.[25]

Pseudo-operations

Pseudo-operations are those in which forces of one power disguise themselves as enemy forces. For example, a state power may disguise teams of operatives as insurgents and, with the aid of defectors, infiltrate insurgent areas.[26] The aim of such pseudo-operations may be to gather short or long-term intelligence or to engage in active operations, in particularassassinations of important enemies. However, they usually involve both, as the risks of exposure rapidly increase with time and intelligence gathering eventually leads to violent confrontation. Pseudo-operations may be directed by military or police forces, or both. Police forces are usually best suited to intelligence tasks; however, military provide the structure needed to back up such pseudo-ops with military response forces. According to US military expert Lawrence Cline (2005), “the teams typically have been controlled by police services, but this largely was due to the weaknesses in the respective military intelligence systems.”[citation needed]

Charlemagne Péralte of Haiti was assassinated in 1919, after checkpoints were passed by military disguised as guerrilla fighters.

The State Political Directorate (OGPU) of the Soviet Union set up such an operation from 1921 to 1926. During Operation Trust, they used loose networks of White Army supporters and extended them, creating the pseudo-“Monarchist Union of Central Russia” (MUCR) in order to help the OGPU identify real monarchists and anti-Bolsheviks.[citation needed]

An example of a successful assassination was United States MarineSergeantHerman H. Hanneken leading a patrol of his HaitianGendarmerie disguised as enemy guerrillas in 1919. The Patrol successfully passed several enemy checkpoints in order to assassinate the guerilla leader Charlemagne Péralte near Grande-Rivière-du-Nord. Hanneken was awarded the Medal of Honor and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant for his deed.[citation needed]

During the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, captured Mau Mau members who switched sides and specially trained British troops initiated the pseudo-gang concept to successfully counter Mau Mau. In 1960 Frank Kitson, (who was later involved in the Northern Irish conflict and is now a retired British General), published Gangs and Counter-gangs, an account of his experiences with the technique in Kenya; information included how to counter gangs and measures of deception, including the use of defectors, which brought the issue a wider audience.[citation needed]

Another example of combined police and military oversight of pseudo-operations include the Selous Scouts in the former country Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), governed by white minority rule until 1980. The Selous Scouts were formed at the beginning of Operation Hurricane, in November 1973, by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Ronald Reid-Daly. As with all Special Forces in Rhodesia, by 1977 they were controlled by COMOPS (Commander, Combined Operations) Commander Lieutenant General Peter Walls. The Selous Scouts were originally composed of 120 members, with all officers being white and the highest rank initially available for black soldiers being colour sergeant. They succeeded in turning approximately 800 insurgents who were then paid by Special Branch, ultimately reaching the number of 1,500 members. Engaging mainly in long-range reconnaissance and surveillance missions, they increasingly turned to offensive actions, including the attempted assassination of Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army leader Joshua Nkomo in Zambia. This mission was finally aborted by the Selous Scouts, and attempted again, unsuccessfully, by the Rhodesian Special Air Service.[27]

Some offensive operations attracted international condemnation, in particular the Selous Scouts’ raid on a Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) camp at Nyadzonya Pungwe, Mozambique in August 1976. ZANLA was then led by Josiah Tongogara. Using Rhodesian trucks and armored cars disguised as Mozambique military vehicles, 84 scouts killed 1,284 people in the camp-the camp was registered as a refugee camp by the United Nations (UN). Even according to Reid-Daly, most of those killed were unarmed guerrillas standing in formation for a parade. The camp hospital was also set ablaze by the rounds fired by the Scouts, killing all patients.[28] According to David Martin and Phyllis Johnson, who visited the camp shortly before the raid, it was only a refugee camp that did not host any guerrillas. It was staged for UN approval.[29]

According to a 1978 study by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, 68% of all insurgent deaths inside Rhodesia could be attributed to the Selous Scouts, who were disbanded in 1980.[30]

If the action is a police action, then these tactics would fall within the laws of the state initiating the pseudo, but if such actions are taken in a civil war or during a belligerent military occupation then those who participate in such actions would not be privileged belligerents. The principle of plausible deniability is usually applied for pseudo-teams. (See the above section Laws of war). Some false flag operations have been described by Lawrence E. Cline, a retired US Army intelligence officer, as pseudo-operations, or “the use of organized teams which are disguised as guerrilla groups for long- or short-term penetration of insurgent-controlled areas.”[citation needed]

Pseudo Operations should be distinguished, notes Cline, from the more common police or intelligence infiltration of guerrilla or criminal organizations. In the latter case, infiltration is normally done by individuals. Pseudo teams, on the other hand, are formed as needed from organized units, usually military or paramilitary. The use of pseudo teams has been a hallmark of a number of foreign counterinsurgency campaigns.”[26]

Similar false flag tactics were also employed during the Algerian civil war, starting in the middle of 1994. Death squads composed of Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS) security forces disguised themselves as Islamist terrorists and committed false flag terror attacks. Such groups included the Organisation of Young Free Algerians (OJAL) or the Secret Organisation for the Safeguard of the Algerian Republic (OSSRA)[31] According to Roger Faligot and Pascal Kropp (1999), the OJAL was reminiscent of “the Organization of the French Algerian Resistance (ORAF), a group of counter-terrorists created in December 1956 by the Direction de la surveillance du territoire (Territorial Surveillance Directorate, or DST) whose mission was to carry out terrorist attacks with the aim of quashing any hopes of political compromise”.[32]

Espionage

Main article: False flag penetrator

In espionage the term “false flag” describes the recruiting of agents by operatives posing as representatives of a cause the prospective agents are sympathetic to, or even the agents’ own government. For example, during the Cold War, several female West German civil servants were tricked into stealing classified documents by agents of the East GermanStasi intelligence service, pretending to be members of West German peace advocacy groups (the Stasi agents were also described as “Romeos,” indicating that they also used their sex appeal to manipulate their targets, making this operation a combination of the false flag and “honey trap” techniques).[33]

The technique can also be used to expose enemy agents in one’s own service, by having someone approach the suspect and pose as an agent of the enemy. Earl Edwin Pitts, a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and an attorney, was caught when he was approached by FBI agents posing as Russian agents.[citation needed]

British intelligence officials in World War II allowed double agents to fire-bomb a power station and a food dump in the UK to protect their cover, according to declassified documents. The documents stated the agents took precautions to ensure they did not cause serious damage. One of the documents released also stated: “It should be recognised that friends as well as enemies must be completely deceived.”[34]

Civilian usage

While false flag operations originate in warfare and government, they also can occur in civilian settings among certain factions, such as businesses, special interest groups, religions, political ideologies and campaigns for office.[citation needed]

Businesses

In business and marketing, similar operations are being employed in some public relations campaigns (see Astroturfing). Telemarketing firms practice false flag type behavior when they pretend to be a market research firm (referred to as “sugging“). In some rare cases, members of an unsuccessful business will destroy some of their own property to conceal an unrelated crime (e.g., safety violations, embezzlement) but make it appear as though the destruction was done by a rival company.[citation needed]

Political campaigning

Political campaigning has a long history of this tactic in various forms, including in person, print media and electronically in recent years. This can involve when supporters of one candidate pose as supporters of another, or act as “straw men” for their preferred candidate to debate against. This can happen with or without the candidate’s knowledge. The Canuck letter is an example of one candidate creating a false document and attributing it as coming from another candidate in order to discredit that candidate.[citation needed]

In the final days of Florida’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign, Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles ran a false flag operation that paid for tens of thousands of calls to elderly voters using false organization names. The calls purported to be from Republican groups and told voters that Jeb Bush was against Social Security and seniors. Chiles denied his campaign was behind the calls. After winning re-election and facing an investigation, Chiles admitted the truth in November 1995.[35]

In 2006, individuals practicing false flag behavior were discovered and “outed” in New Hampshire[36][37] and New Jersey[38] after blog comments claiming to be from supporters of a political candidate were traced to the IP address of paid staffers for that candidate’s opponent.

On 19 February 2011, Indiana Deputy Prosecutor Carlos Lam sent a private email to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suggesting that he run a “‘false flag’ operation” to counter the protests against Walker’s proposed restrictions on public employees’ collective bargaining rights:

If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions … Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.[39][40]

The press had acquired a court order to access all of Walker’s emails and Lam’s email was exposed. At first, Lam vehemently denied it, but eventually admitted it and resigned.[40]

Ideological

A bomb threat forged by Scientology operatives.

Proponents of political or religious ideologies will sometimes use false flag tactics. This can be done to discredit or implicate rival groups, create the appearance of enemies when none exist, or create the illusion of organized and directed persecution. This can be used to gain attention and sympathy from outsiders, in particular the media, or to convince others within the group that their beliefs are under attack and in need of protection.

In retaliation for writing The Scandal of Scientology, some members of the Church of Scientology stole stationery from author Paulette Cooper‘s home and then used that stationery to forge bomb threats and have them mailed to a Scientology office. The Guardian’s Office also had a plan for further operations to discredit Cooper known as Operation Freakout, but several Scientology operatives were arrested in a separate investigation and the plan was exposed.[41]

See also

Concepts

Examples

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

42 FALSE-FLAG ATTACKS OFFICIALY ADMITTED TO

Mirrored from Washington’s Blog (due to their server being swamped)

Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror

In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or videos:

(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.

(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.

(3) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.

(4) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.

(5) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev all admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.

(6) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust to seek safety in Palestine, set up a fake group called “Defenders of Arab Palestine”, and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).

(7) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).

(8) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950’s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(9) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.

(10) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.

(11) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.

False flag attacks carried out pursuant to this program include – by way of example only:

(12) In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]”.

(13) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.

(14) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

(15) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.

(16) The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: “The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo.”

(17) The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war.

(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.

(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained: “In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque.” In response to the surprised correspondent’s incredulous look the general said, “I am giving an example”.

(20) A declassified 1973 CIA document reveals a program to train foreign police and troops on how to make booby traps, pretending that they were training them on how to investigate terrorist acts:

The Agency maintains liaison in varying degrees with foreign police/security organizations through its field stations ….

[CIA provides training sessions as follows:]

a. Providing trainees with basic knowledge in the uses of commercial and military demolitions and incendiaries as they may be applied in terrorism and industrial sabotage operations.

b. Introducing the trainees to commercially available materials and home laboratory techniques, likely to he used in the manufacture of explosives and incendiaries by terrorists or saboteurs.

c. Familiarizing the trainees with the concept of target analysis and operational planning that a saboteur or terrorist must employ.

d. Introducing the trainees to booby trapping devices and techniques giving practical experience with both manufactured and improvised devices through actual fabrication.

***

The program provides the trainees with ample opportunity to develop basic familiarity and use proficiently through handling, preparing and applying the various explosive charges, incendiary agents, terrorist devices and sabotage techniques.

(21) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted “escape tools” on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.

(22) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist trasmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.

(23) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing.

(24) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).

(25) The United States Army’s 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA’s “Dirty Wars“. And see this.

(26) Similarly, a CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.

(27) An Indonesian fact-finding team investigated violent riots which occurred in 1998, and determined that “elements of the military had been involved in the riots, some of which were deliberately provoked“.

(28) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).

(29) As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.

(30)  At the July 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, black-clad thugs were videotaped getting out of police cars, and were seen by an Italian MP carrying “iron bars inside the police station”.  Subsequently, senior police officials in Genoa subsequently  admitted that police planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer at the G8 Summit, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.

(31) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime, that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction. Despite previous “lone wolf” claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion. The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).

(32) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

(33) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.

(34) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.

(35) Police outside of a 2003 European Union summit in Greece were filmed planting Molotov cocktails on a peaceful protester

(36) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launchfake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”

(37) Similarly, in 2005, Professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School – a renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of ‘netwar’ – called for western intelligence services to create new “pseudo gang” terrorist groups, as a way of undermining “real” terror networks. According to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, Arquilla’s ‘pseudo-gang’ strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:

“Under Rumsfeld’s new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon’s commando capabilities, said, ‘We’re going to be riding with the bad boys.'”

(38) United Press International reported in June 2005:

U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

(39) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.

(40) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).

(41) A 2008 US Army special operations field manual recommends that the U.S. military use surrogate non-state groups such as “paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political ‘undesirables.'” The manual specifically acknowledged that U.S. special operations can involve both counterterrorism and “Terrorism” (as well as “transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions.”)

(42)  The former head of Secret Services and Head of State of Italy (Francesco Cossiga) advised the 2008 minister in charge of the police, on how to deal with protests from teachers and students:

He should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior … infiltrate the movement with agents provocateurs inclined to do anything …. And after that, with the strength of the gained population consent,  … beat them for blood and beat for blood also those teachers that incite them. Especially the teachers. Not the elderly, of course, but the girl teachers yes.

(43) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.

(44) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.

(45) Rioters who discredited the peaceful protests against the swearing in of the Mexican president in 2012 admitted that they were paid 300 pesos each to destroy everything in their path. According to Wikipedia, photos also show the vandals waiting in groups behind police lines prior to the violence.

(46) A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat.

(47) On November 20, 2014, Mexican agent provocateurs were transported by army vehicles to participate in the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping protests, as was shown by videos and pictures distributed via social networks.

(48) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists.

(49) High-level American sources admitted that the Turkish government – a fellow NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.

(50) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.

(51) Britain’s spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out “digital false flag” attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.

(52) U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants

(53) Similarly, police frame innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:

In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.

Newsweek reported in 1999:

Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a “throwdown”-police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot them during a stakeout.

Wikipedia notes:

As part of his plea bargain, Perez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division’s anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.

(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)

(54) A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:

Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.

(55) The head and special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said that most terror attacks are committed by the CIA and FBI as false flags.  Similarly, the director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom said:

By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ’78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.

(audio here).

(56) Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the “benefits” of of false flags to justify their political agenda:

Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

Postscript: Private parties – such as NBC News, as well as Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, African-Americans and Neo-Nazis – play this game as well.

www.whatreallyhappened.comhttp://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/42falseflags.php#ixzz4dVI2Q7La

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

bama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

4 April

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

Ghouta chemical attack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ghouta chemical attack
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Ghouta massacre1.JPG

Some of the victims of the Ghouta chemical attack
Location Ghouta, Syria
Coordinates Eastern Ghouta: within 750 meters (2,460 ft) from[1]
33.5238301°N 36.3566995°E
Western Ghouta: within 500 meters (1,600 ft) from[1]
33.4602966°N 36.1972287°E
Date 21 August 2013[2]
Attack type
Chemical attack
Deaths Various estimates:
at least 281 (French intelligence)[3]
at least 350 (UK intelligence)[4]
355 (MSF)[5]
494 (Damascus Media Office)[6]
502 (SOHR)[7]
635 (SRGC)[8]
923 (VDC)[9]
1,300 (SNC)[10]
1,338 (LCC)[11]
1,429 (United States)[12][13]
1,729 (FSA)[14]
Non-fatal injuries
3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in 3 hospitals supported by MSF[5]
Perpetrators Unknown

The Ghouta chemical attack occurred in Ghouta, Syria, during the Syrian Civil War in the early hours of 21 August 2013. Two opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs around Damascus, Syria were struck by rockets containing the chemical agent sarin. Estimates of the death toll range from at least 281 people[3] to 1,729.[14] The attack was the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the Iran–Iraq War.[15][16][17]

Inspectors from the United Nations Mission already in Syria to investigate an earlier alleged chemical weapons attack,[18](p6)[19] requested access to sites in Ghouta the day after the attack,[20][21][22][22][23][24] and called for a ceasefire to allow inspectors to visit the Ghouta sites.[20] The Syrian government granted the UN’s request on 25 August,[25][26][27] and inspectors visited and investigated Moadamiyah in Western Ghouta the next day, and Zamalka and Ein Tarma in Eastern Ghouta on 28 and 29 August.[18](p6)[28][29]

The UN investigation team confirmed “clear and convincing evidence” of the use of sarin delivered by surface-to-surface rockets,[18][30] and a 2014 report by the UN Human Rights Council found that “significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to manipulate safely large amount of chemical agents.”[31] It also stated that the chemical agents used in the Khan al-Assal chemical attack “bore the same unique hallmarks as those used in Al-Ghouta.”[32][31][33]

The Syrian opposition,[34] as well as many governments, the Arab League and the European Union[35][36][37] stated the attack was carried out by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[38] The Syrian and Russian governments blamed the opposition for the attack,[34] the Russian government calling the attack a false flag operation by the opposition to draw foreign powers into the civil war on the rebels’ side.[39]Åke Sellström, the leader of the UN Mission, characterized government explanations of rebel chemical weapons acquisition as unconvincing, resting in part upon “poor theories.”[40]

Several countries including France, the United Kingdom, and the United States debated whether to intervene militarily against Syrian government forces.[41][42][43][44] On 6 September 2013, the United States Senate filed a resolution to authorize use of military force against the Syrian military in response to the Ghouta attack.[45] On 10 September 2013, the military intervention was averted when the Syrian government accepted a US–Russian negotiated deal to turn over “every single bit” of its chemical weapons stockpiles for destruction and declared its intention to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.[46][47]

Background

The Ghouta area is composed of densely populated suburbs to the east and south of Damascus, part of the province of Rif Dimashq.[48] Ghouta is a primarily conservative Sunni region.[49] Since early in the civil war, civilians in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta have almost entirely sided with the opposition to Syria’s government.[50][51] The opposition has controlled much of Eastern Ghouta since 2012, partly cutting off Damascus from the countryside.[48]Muadamiyat al-Sham in Western Ghouta had been under government siege since April 2013.[52] Ghouta had been the scene of continuing clashes for more than a year before the chemical attack, with government forces launching repeated missile assaults trying to dislodge the rebels. The week of the attack, the Syrian government launched an offensive to capture opposition-held Damascus suburbs.[51]

The attack came one year and one day after US President Barack Obama‘s 20 August 2012 “red line” remarks, in which he warned: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”[53][54][55] Syria was one of five non-signatories to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention at the time. After the “red line” remarks, and before the chemical attack in Ghouta, chemical weapons were suspected to have been used in four attacks in the country.[56]

Khan al-Assal chemical attack

The Khan al-Assal chemical attack occurred on 19 March 2013, when a government-controlled area of Khan al-Asal, a district of Aleppo in northern Syria, was struck by a rocket containing the nerve agent sarin. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights the attack resulted in at least 26 fatalities, including 16 government soldiers and 10 civilians.[57] The Syrian government later reported to the United Nations that one soldier and 19 civilians died and that 17 soldiers and 107 civilians were injured.[2](p32) A medic at the local civilian hospital said he personally had witnessed Syrian army soldiers helping the wounded and dealing with fatalities at the scene.[58]

The sarin used in the Khan al-Assal attack “bore the same unique hallmarks” as the sarin used in the Ghouta attack.[32][31](p19)

Independent International Commission of Inquiry

The United Nations Human Rights Council established the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 August 2011 to investigate human rights violations during the Syrian civil war. One of the topics the commission investigated was possible use of chemical weapons. In early June 2013, the Fifth Report of the Commission of Inquiry stated that there were reasonable grounds to believe that limited amounts of toxic chemicals were used in four attacks, but more evidence was needed “to determine the precise chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrator.”[59](p21)[60][61] On 22 June, the head of the Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, said the UN could not determine who used chemical weapons in Syria based on evidence sent by the United States, Britain and France.[62]

Assessments prior to the attack

US assessment

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated on 25 April that US intelligence showed the Assad government had likely used sarin on a small scale.[63] However, the White House announced that “much more” work had to be done to verify the intelligence assessments.[64]

On 13 June 2013, the United States government publicly announced it had concluded that the Assad government had used limited amounts of chemical weapons on multiple occasions against rebel forces, killing 100 to 150 people. US officials stated that sarin was the agent used.[65] Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes did not say whether this showed that Syria had crossed the “red line” established by President Obama in August 2012. Rhodes stated: “The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has.”[66] The French government announced that its own tests confirmed US assertions.[67]

Russian assessment

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “the accusations of Damascus using chemical weapons put forth by the USA are not backed by credible facts.”[68] Lavrov further stated that the Syrian government had no motive to use chemical weapons since the government already maintained a military advantage over the rebel fighters.[69]

Attacks

The attacks affected two separate opposition-controlled districts in the Damascus suburbs, located 16 kilometres apart.[1](p1)

Eastern Ghouta attack

The first attack took place around 2:30 a.m. on 21 August 2013[70][71] in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb to the east of Damascus.[72] The area was on a rebel weapons supply route from Jordan and had been under siege by the Syrian military and Hezbollah for months.[73][74]

At least 8, and possibly 12, rockets struck within a 1500 by 500 meter area in the Zamalka and nearby Ein Tarma neighborhoods.[note 1] The rockets were all of the same improvised type, each with an estimated capacity to carry 50–60 liters (11–13 imp gal; 13–16 U.S. gal) of sarin.[1](p9)[18](p24) The rocket engine was similar in type and parameters to a 122 mm GRAD unguided surface-to-surface rocket, while the chemical warhead and the stabilization fin was of an artisan-type.[1][75] One (or both) of the labs examining the environmental samples taken from Zamalka (and Ein Tarma[18](pp28–29)) found at least traces of sarin in 14 of the 17 cases.[2](pp45–49) One of the labs described the sarin level as a “high level concentration” in 4 of the 17 samples.[2](pp45–49)

Western Ghouta attack

The second attack took place in the Western Ghouta area around 5:00 in the morning on 21 August. On 22 August, a witness who works for Moadamiya media center said he had counted seven rockets that fell in two areas of Moadamiya during the early morning of 21 August. He said four rockets hit next to the Rawda Mosque and another three in the area between Qahweh Street and Zeytouneh Street, which he said was approximately 500 meters to the east of the Rawda Mosque. He said all the rockets were of the same type.[1]

While no chemical warhead was ever found in the Western Ghouta area, one rocket engine has been identified as a 140mm M-14 unguided surface-to-surface rocket. This type of rocket can be fitted with three types of warheads: high explosive-fragmentation, white phosphorus smoke, or a chemical warhead containing 2 liters (0.44 imp gal; 0.53 U.S. gal) of sarin.[1](p5) None of the 13 environmental samples taken from Western Ghouta tested positive for sarin, although three had “degradation and/or by-products.”[2](pp43–45)

Chemical weapons capability

At the time of the attack, Syria was not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention,[76] which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons, although in 1968 it acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases. In 2012 Syria publicly stated it possessed chemical and biological weapons and would use them if it faced a foreign attack.[77]

According to French intelligence, the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) is responsible for producing toxic agents for use in war. A group named “Branch 450” is allegedly responsible for filling munitions with chemicals and maintaining security of the chemical agent stockpiles.[78] As of September 2013, French intelligence estimated the Syrian stockpile at 1,000 tonnes, including Yperite, VX and “several hundred tonnes of sarin.”[78]

The UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee publicly dismissed the possibility of rebel responsibility for the attack in Ghouta, stating that rebels are incapable of an attack of its scale.[79] The Committee stated that “there is no credible intelligence or evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition.”[80]

Åke Sellström, a Swedish scientist who led the UN mission to investigate the attacks, said it was difficult to see how rebels could have weaponized the toxins,[81] but admitted that he didn’t know who the perpetrator was.[40]According to the Associated Press, “chemical and biological weapons experts have been relatively consistent in their analysis, saying only a military force with access to and knowledge of missile delivery systems and the sarin gas suspected in Ghouta could have carried out an attack capable of killing hundreds of people.”[82]

Initial claims

Both the opposition and the Syrian government said a chemical attack was carried out in the suburbs around Damascus on 21 August 2013. Anti-government activists said the Syrian government was to blame for the attack, while the Syrian government said foreign fighters and their international backers were to blame.[71][83]

Opposition claims

On the day of the attack, George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Council, said 1,300 people had been killed as shells loaded with poisonous gas rained down on the capital’s eastern suburbs of Douma, Jobar, Zamalka, Arbeen and Ein Tarma.[84] A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, Qassim Saadeddine, said, “people are growing desperate as they watch another round of political statements and UN meetings without any hope of action.”[72]Ahmad Jarba, who was the president of the Syrian National Coalition at the time of the attack, called on the UN investigators to travel to “the site of the massacre” and for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting on the subject.[10] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack was committed by the Syrian regime and called on Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “to apply all pressure within his powers to pressure the Syrian regime.”[85][86]

The next day, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, Khaled al-Saleh, said at least six doctors died after treating victims, and that they didn’t yet have the number of dead first responders.[87]

Government claims

Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Qadri Jamil, said foreign fighters and their international backers were to blame for the attack.[83] Syrian state television, SANA, said the accusations were fabricated to distract a team of UN chemical weapons experts which had arrived three days before the attacks.[6] Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the claims that his government had used chemical weapons would go against elementary logic and that “accusations of this kind are entirely political.”[88][89]

UN investigation

On 19 March 2013, the Syrian government reported to the UN Security Council that the rebels had fired a rocket containing chemical materials into a government controlled part of Khan al-Asal, a district of Aleppo in northern Syria,[90] and requested a UN mission to investigate it.[91][92] As a response, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created the “United Nations Mission to Investigate Alleged Uses of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.”[92][93] The Syrian government first refused to allow the UN mission to be expanded to places outside Khan al-Assal,[94] but agreed in July 2013 to also allow investigation of the alleged attack in Sheikh Maqsood on 13 April 2013 and the alleged attack in Saraqib on 29 April 2013.[95][2](p7)

On 23 April 2013, the New York Times reported that the British and French governments had sent a confidential letter to the UN Secretary-General, stating there was evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Aleppo, Homs and perhaps Damascus. Israel also claimed that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on 19 March near Aleppo and Damascus.[96] On 24 April, Syria blocked UN investigators from entering Syria, while UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said this would not prevent an inquiry from being carried out.[97]

On 18 August 2013, three days before the Ghouta attack, a UN mission headed by Åke Sellström[18] arrived in Damascus with permission from the Syrian government to investigate earlier alleged chemical weapons use.[98] On the day of the attack, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “the need to investigate [the Ghouta incident as] soon as possible,” hoping for consent from the Syrian government.[98] The next day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged government and opposition forces to allow an investigation[99] and Ban requested the government provide immediate access.[25][100] On 23 August, clashes between rebel and government forces continued in and around Ghouta, government shelling continued and UN inspectors were denied access for a second day.[22][24]White House officials were convinced that the Syrian government was trying to hide the evidence of chemical weapons use by shelling the sites and delaying their inspection.[25] Ban called for a ceasefire to allow the inspectors to visit the attack sites.[20] On 25 August the government and various rebel factions agreed to a ceasefire for five hours each day from 26 to 29 August.[101][102]

Early in the morning of 26 August several mortars hit central Damascus, including one that fell near the Four Seasons Hotel where the UN inspectors were staying.[103] Later in the day the UN team came under sniper fire en route to Moadamiyah in western Ghouta (to the southwest of central Damascus), forcing them to return to their hotel and replace one of their vehicles before continuing their investigation four hours later.[104][105] The attack prompted a rebuke from Ban toward the fighters.[106][107] After returning to Moadamiyah the UN team visited clinics and makeshift field hospitals, collected samples and conducted interviews with witnesses, survivors and doctors.[104] The inspectors spoke with 20 victims of the attacks and took blood and hair samples, soil samples, and samples from domestic animals.[107] As a result of the delay caused by the sniper attack, the team’s time in Moadamiyah was substantially shortened, with the scheduled expiry of the daily cease-fire leaving them around 90 minutes on the ground.[102][107][108]

On 28 and 29 August the UN team visited Zamalka and Ein Tarma in Eastern Ghouta, east of central Damascus, for a total time of five-and-a-half hours.[18](p6) On 30 August the team visited a Syrian government military hospital in Mazzeh and collected samples.[109] The mission left Syria early on August 31,[110] promising to return to complete the original objective to investigate the previously alleged attack sites. The Syrian government wanted the mission to stay and investigate them at that time.[111]

UN Ghouta Area report

The UN report on the investigation into the Ghouta chemical attacks was published on 16 September 2013. The report stated: “the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”[18](p8)[30] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the findings “beyond doubt and beyond the pale,” and clear evidence of a war crime. “The results are overwhelming and indisputable,” he said. Ban stated a majority of the blood samples, environmental samples and rockets or rocket fragments recovered tested positive for sarin.[112] The report, which was “careful not to blame either side,” said that during the mission’s work in areas under rebel control, “individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.”[113] The UN investigators were accompanied by a rebel leader:

A leader of the local opposition forces … was identified and requested to take ‘custody’ of the Mission … to ensure the security and movement of the Mission, to facilitate the access to the most critical cases/witnesses to be interviewed and sampled by the Mission and to control patients and crowd in order for the Mission to focus on its main activities.[18](p13)

The British UN Ambassador stated that the report’s lead author, Åke Sellström, said the quality of the sarin used in the attack was higher than that used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war,[114] implying a purity higher than the Iraqi chemical weapons program‘s low purity of 45–60%.[115] (By comparison, Aum Shinrikyo used nearly pure sarin in the 1994 Matsumoto incident.[116])

Responses

According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of kilograms of sarin were used in the attack, which it said suggested government responsibility, as opposition forces were not known to possess significant amounts of sarin.[117]

The Russian government dismissed the initial UN report after it was released, calling it “one-sided” and “distorted.”[118] On 17 September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated his government’s belief that the opposition carried out the attacks as a “provocation.”[119] The United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said the inspection team would review Russia’s objections.[111]

An August 2013 Scientific American article described difficulties that could arise when attempting to identify the manufacturer of sarin from soil or tissue samples.[120]

An Iranian chemical weapons expert, Abbas Foroutan, said in October 2013 that the UN should publish more details about the investigation than were provided in the report, including victims’ pulse rates and blood pressure and their response to the atropine treatment, the victims’ levels of acetylcholinesterase (sarin is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) and more technical details on the lab testing process.[121][122]

Final UN Mission report

The UN inspection team returned to Syria to continue investigations into other alleged chemical attacks in late September 2013. A final report on Ghouta and six other alleged attacks (including three alleged to have occurred after the Ghouta attack) was released in December 2013.[111] The inspectors wrote that they “collected clear and convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.” The conclusion was based on:

  • Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain sarin;
  • Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by sarin;
  • The epidemiology of over fifty interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results;
  • A number of patients/survivors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound;
  • Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for sarin and sarin signatures.[2](p19)

UN Human Rights Council report

The 7th Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, a different group than the UN fact-finding mission, stated the sarin used in the Ghouta attack bore the “same unique hallmarks” as the sarin used in the Khan al-Assal attack. The report, dated 12 February 2014, also indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military. These conclusions were based on the fact-finding mission’s evidence, as the Commission of Inquiry did not conduct its own investigation of either chemical attack.[31]

Aftermath

The continuous fighting has severely limited the quality of medical care for injured survivors of the attack. A month after the attack, approximately 450 survivors still required medical attention for lingering symptoms such as respiratory and vision problems.[123] By early October 2013, the 13,000 residents of Moadhamiya, one of the places targeted in the August attack, had been surrounded by pro-government forces and under siege for five months. Severe malnourishment and medical emergencies become pressing as all supply lines had stopped.[124] Care for chronic symptoms of sarin exposure had become “just one among a sea of concerns.”[123]

As countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom debated their response to the attacks, they encountered significant popular and legislative resistance to military intervention. In particular, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s request to the House of Commons to use military force was declined by a 285–272 margin.[125][126] UK government policy subsequently focused on providing humanitarian assistance inside Syria and to refugees in neighboring countries.[127]

Within a month of the attacks, Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and allow all its stockpiles to be destroyed.[128]The destruction began under OPCW supervision on 6 October 2013.[129] On 23 June 2014, the last shipment of Syria’s declared chemical weapons was shipped out of the country for destruction.[130] By 18 August 2014, all toxic chemicals were destroyed aboard the US naval vessel MV Cape Ray.[131]

Nine months after the attack, there is evidence that mothers from the affected areas are giving birth to children with defects and as stillborn.[132][133]

Evidence

Witness statements and victim symptoms

Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, who was present in Eastern Ghouta, stated, “Hours [after the shelling], we started to visit the medical points in Ghouta to where injured were removed, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. I haven’t seen such death in my whole life. People were lying on the ground in hallways, on roadsides, in hundreds.”[134] Several medics working in Ghouta reported the administration of large quantities of atropine, a common antidote for nerve agent toxicity, to treat victims.[135][136]

Doctors Without Borders said the three hospitals it supports in Eastern Ghouta reported receiving roughly 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms” over less than three hours during the early morning of 21 August. Of those, 355 died.[137] The Local Coordination Committees of Syria claimed that of the 1,338 victims, 1,000 were in Zamalka, of which 600 bodies were transferred to medical points in other towns and 400 remained at a Zamalka medical center.[11] Some of the fatalities were rebel fighters.[138] The deadliness of the attack is believed to have been increased due to civilians reacting to the chemical attack as if it was typical government bombardment. For conventional artillery and rocket attacks, residents usually went to the basements of buildings, where in this case the heavier-than-air sarin sank into these below-ground, poorly ventilated areas.[139] Some of the victims died while sleeping.[72]

Abu Omar of the Free Syrian Army told The Guardian that the rockets involved in the attack were unusual because “you could hear the sound of the rocket in the air but you could not hear any sound of explosion” and no obvious damage to buildings occurred.[140] Human Rights Watch’s witnesses reported “symptoms and delivery methods consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents.”[19] Activists and local residents contacted by The Guardian said that “the remains of 20 rockets [thought to have been carrying neurotoxic gas] were found in the affected areas. Many [remained] mostly intact, suggesting that they did not detonate on impact and potentially dispersed gas before hitting the ground.”[141]

Child frothing at the mouth.

A child in Ghouta froths from the mouth, a medical condition “associated with exposure to nerve agents such as Sarin.”[142][143]

Doctors Without Borders also reported seeing a “large number of victims arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excessive saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress.”[144] Symptoms reported by Ghouta residents and doctors to Human Rights Watch included “suffocation, muscle spasms and frothing at the mouth.”[19]

Witness statements to The Guardian about symptoms included “people who were sleeping in their homes [who] died in their beds,” headaches and nausea, “foam coming out of [victims’] mouths and noses,” a “smell something like vinegar and rotten eggs,” suffocation, “bodies [that] were turning blue,” a “smell like cooking gas” and redness and itching of the eyes.[140]Richard Spencer of The Telegraph summarised witness statements, stating, “The poison … may have killed hundreds, but it has left twitching, fainting, confused but compelling survivors.”[145]

On 22 August, the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria published numerous testimonies. It summarised doctors’ and paramedics’ descriptions of the symptoms as “vomiting, foamy salivation, severe agitation, [pinpoint] pupils, redness of the eyes, dyspnea, neurological convulsions, respiratory and heart failure, blood out of the nose and mouth and, in some cases, hallucinations and memory loss”.[146]

Analysis of symptoms

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate for the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said the reported symptoms are a textbook case of nerve-agent poisoning.[144]

Médecins Sans Frontières Director of Operations Bart Janssens stated that MSF “can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack. However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events – characterised by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers – strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.”[5]

Gwyn Winfield, Editorial Director at CBRNe World, analysed some videos from the day of the attack and wrote on the magazine’s website: “It is difficult to define [an] agent by the signs and symptoms. Clearly respiratory distress, some nerve spasms and a half hearted washdown (involving water and bare hands?!), but it could equally be a riot control agent as a [chemical warfare agent].”[147]

Rockets

A RPU-14 multiple rocket launcher, of a type that may have launched M-14 munitions found by UN inspectors on 26 August at a site in Moadamiyah.[148]

Human Rights Watch reported that two types of rockets were used: in Western Ghouta, a 140mm rocket made in the Soviet Union in 1967 and exported to Syria;[1](p5) and in Eastern Ghouta, a 330mm rocket of unknown origin.[1](p9) HRW also reported that at the time of the attack, Syrian rebels were not known to be in possession of the rockets used.[1](p20)[149]

Seymour Hersh has suggested that the 330mm rockets may have been produced locally, and with a limited range.[150] Blogger Eliot Higgins has looked at the munitions linked to the attack and analysed footage of the putative launchers inside government territory.[151]

According to a study published in January 2014 by Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the rockets used in the attack had a range of about two kilometers, indicating the munitions could not have been fired from the ‘heart’ or from the Eastern edge of the Syrian Government Controlled Area shown in the Intelligence Map published by the White House on 30 August 2013.[75][152][153] A response from Higgins and Kaszeta included an observation that the Russian-language news site ANNA News had posted videos showing a Syrian government military operation running from June to August 2013 to clear positions between Jobar and Qaboun, a strip of land about 2 km away from the 21 August impact sites.[154] MIT Professor Theodore Postol contacted Dan Kaszeta and asked him how he came to the conclusion that Hexamine was the “smoking gun” regarding the alleged culpability of the Syrian Government. Åke Sellström told Postol that indeed “the presence of hexamine may mean that this substance was used as scavenger for protons when producing sarin” but that it was a common substance and not conclusive evidence implicating the Syrian government.[155]

Many of the munitions and their fragments had been moved; however, in two cases, the UN could identify the likely launch azimuths.[156] Triangulating rocket trajectories suggests that the origin of the attack may have been within government or rebel-held territory. Consideration of missile ranges influences calculations as to whether rockets originated from the government or rebel-held regions.[150][157]

Communications

Two purported intercepts of communications that appeared to implicate the Syrian government received prominent media coverage. One was a phone call allegedly between Syrian officials which Israel’s Unit 8200 was said to have intercepted and passed to the US.[158] The other was a phone call which the German Bundesnachrichtendienst said it had intercepted, between a high-ranking representative of Hezbollah and the Iranian embassy, in which the purported Hezbollah official said that poison gas had been used and that Assad’s order to attack with chemical weapons had been a strategic error.[159][160]

On 29 August the Associated Press reported that, according to two U.S. intelligence officials and two other U.S. officials, the U.S. intercept was a conversation between “low-level” Syrian officials with no direct link to the upper echelons of the government or military.[161]

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper subsequently reported that German intelligence indicated that Assad had likely not ordered the attacks.[162] According to Bild, “intelligence interception specialists” relying on communications intercepted by the German vessel Oker said that Syrian military commanders had repeatedly been asking permission to launch chemical attacks for around four months, with permission always being denied from the presidential palace. The sources concluded that 21 August attack had probably not been approved by Bashar al-Assad.[162][163][164]

Video

Murad Abu Bilal, Khaled Naddaf and other Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria and Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC) media staff went to Zamalka soon after the attacks to film and obtain other documentary evidence. Almost all the journalists died from inhalation of the neurotoxins, except Murad Abu Bilal, who was the only Zamalka LCC media member to survive.[165][166] The videos were published on YouTube, attracting worldwide media attention.[167]

Experts who have analysed the first video said it shows the strongest evidence yet consistent with the use of a lethal toxic agent. Visible symptoms reportedly included rolling eyes, foaming at the mouth, and tremors. There was at least one image of a child suffering miosis, the pin-point pupil effect associated with the nerve agent Sarin, a powerful neurotoxin reportedly used before in Syria. Ralph Trapp, a former scientist at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said the footage showed what a chemical weapons attack on a civilian area would look like, and went on to note “This is one of the first videos I’ve seen from Syria where the numbers start to make sense. If you have a gas attack you would expect large numbers of people, children and adults, to be affected, particularly if it’s in a built-up area.”[167]

Some experts, among them Jean Pascal Zanders, initially stated that evidence that sarin was used, as claimed by pro-rebel sources, was still lacking and highlighted the lack of second-hand contaminations typically associated with use of weapons-grade nerve agents: “I remain sceptical that it was a nerve agent like sarin. I would have expected to see more convulsions,” he said. “The other thing that seems inconsistent with sarin is that, given the footage of first responders treating victims without proper protective equipment, you would expect to see considerable secondary casualties from contamination – which does not appear to be evident.” However, after Zanders saw footage imminently after the attack, he changed his mind, saying: “The video footage and pictures this time are of a far better quality. You can clearly see the typical signs of asphyxiation, including a pinkish blueish tinge to the skin colour. There is one image of an adult woman where you can see the tell-tale blackish mark around her mouth, all of which suggests death from asphyxiation.”[167] Zanders however cautioned that these symptoms covered a range of neurotoxicants, including some available for civilian use as pest control agents, and said that until the UN reported its analysis of samples, “I can’t make a judgement. I have to keep an open mind.”[168]

According to a report by The Daily Telegraph, “videos uploaded to YouTube by activists showed rows of motionless bodies and medics attending to patients apparently in the grip of seizures. In one piece of footage, a young boy appeared to be foaming at the mouth while convulsing.”[84]

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of British Chemical and Biological counterterrorism forces,[169] told BBC that the images were very similar to previous incidents he had witnessed, although he could not verify the footage.[170]

Foreign government assessments

According to public statements, intelligence agencies in Israel,[171] the United Kingdom,[172] the United States,[12] France,[173]Turkey,[174] and Germany[175] concluded that the Syrian government was most likely responsible for the attacks. Western intelligence agencies agreed that video evidence is consistent with the use of a nerve agent, such as sarin. Laboratory tests showed traces of sarin, in blood and hair samples collected from emergency workers who responded to the attacks.[176]

Russia said there was no evidence tying the Syrian government to the attack and that it was likely carried out by an opposition group.[177]

France

On 2 September, the French government published a nine-page intelligence report blaming the Syrian government for the Ghouta attacks.[3][78][178] An unnamed French government official said that the analysis was carried out by the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) and Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM) based on satellite and video images, on-the-ground sources, and samples collected from two April attacks.[179] The report said analysis of samples collected from attacks in Saraqeb and Jobar in April 2013 had confirmed the use of sarin.[78]

The Guardian reported that French intelligence had images that showed rocket attacks on opposition neighborhoods from government-controlled areas to the east and west of Damascus. The report said that the government later launched conventional bombing of those neighborhoods in order to destroy evidence of a chemical attack.[180] Based on analysis of 47 videos, the report said at least 281 fatalities occurred. Using other sources and extrapolation a chemical attack model estimated the total number of death at approximately 1,500.[3]

Germany

The Bundesnachrichtendienst said it intercepted a phone call between a Hezbollah official and the Iranian Embassy in which the Hezbollah representative criticised Assad’s decision to attack with poison gas, apparently confirming its use by the Syrian government.[159][160] German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on 3 September that BND President Gerhard Schindler told them that based on the agency’s evidence, Germany now shared the United Kingdom, United States, and France’s view that the attacks were carried out by the Syrian government. However, they also said the attack may have been much more potent than intended, speculating that there may have been an error in mixing the chemical weapons used.[181][182]

Israel

Without going into detail, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said on 22 August 2013 that Israel’s intelligence assessment was that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the Damascus area.[171] Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the Syrian government had already used chemical weapons against the rebels on a smaller scale multiple times prior to the Ghouta attacks.[183]Fox News reported that Unit 8200 helped provide intelligence to the United States, Israel’s closest international ally, implicating the Syrian government in the attacks.[184] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the General debate of the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly that Syrian government used the chemical weapons against its own people.[185]

Russia

Russian officials said that there was no proof that the government of Syria had a hand in the chemical attacks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the American, British and French intelligence reports as “unconvincing”[186] and said at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius after the release of the United Nations report in mid-September that he continued to believe the rebels carried out the attack.[177]Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to see evidence that would make it “obvious” who used chemical weapons in Ghouta.[187]

In a commentary published in The New York Times on 11 September 2013, Putin wrote that “there is every reason to believe [poison gas] was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons,”.[39] Lavrov said on 18 September that “new evidence” given to Russia by the Syrian government would be forthcoming.[188]

Turkey

The Turkish government-run Anadolu Agency published an unconfirmed report on 30 August 2013, pointing to the Syrian 155th Missile Brigade and the 4th Armored Division as the perpetrators of the two attacks. It said the attack had involved 15 to 20 missiles with chemical warheads at around 02:45 on 21 August, targeting residential areas between Douma and Zamalka in Eastern Ghouta. It claimed that the 155th Missile Brigade had used 9K52 Luna-M missiles, M600 missiles, or both, fired from Kufeyte, while other rockets with a 15- to 70-kilometer range were fired by the 4th Armored Division from Mount Qasioun. The agency did not explain its source.[189]

United Kingdom

A report on the attacks by the United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) was published on 29 August 2013 prior to a vote on intervention by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The report said at least 350 people were killed and that it was “highly likely” that the attacks had been carried out by the Syrian government, resting in part on the firm view that the Syrian opposition was not capable of carrying out a chemical weapons attack on this scale, and on the JIC view that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war on a small scale on 14 previous occasions.[4] Analysis of the Ghouta attacks themselves was based largely on reviewing video footage and publicly available witness evidence. The report conceded problems with motivation for the attacks, saying there was “no obvious political or military trigger for regime use of CW on an apparently larger scale now.”[79][190][191][192] British officials said they believe the Syrian military used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition on at least 14 times prior to the Ghouta attacks and described “a clear pattern of regime use” of the nerve agent since 2012.[193]

The report was met with substantial scepticism in the British media, with the Daily Mail explicitly comparing it with the “dodgy dossier” the UK government had published in 2003 prior to the Iraq War.[194] A vote in the House of Commons to approve UK participation in military action against Syria was narrowly rejected, with some MPs arguing that the case for Syrian government culpability was not sufficiently strong to justify approving action.[195][196]Prime Minister David Cameron himself had been forced to concede that “in the end there is no 100 percent certainty about who is responsible.”[197][198]

United States

The map of “Areas of Influence” and “Areas Reportedly affected by the 21 August Chemical Attack” that was published by the White House on 30 August 2013.[12]

A controversial “US government assessment of the Ghouta attacks” was published by the White House on 30 August 2013, with a longer classified version made available to members of Congress. The report blamed the chemical attacks on the Syrian government, saying rockets containing a nerve agent were fired from government-held territory into neighborhoods in the early morning, impacting at least 12 locations. It stated 1,429 people were killed, including at least 426 children. It dismissed the possibility that evidence supporting the US government’s conclusion could have been manufactured by the opposition, stating it “does not have the capability” to fabricate videos, eyewitness accounts, and other information. The report also said that the US believed Syrian officials directed the attacks, based on “intercepted communications.”[12] A major element, as reported by news media, was an intercepted telephone call between a Syrian Ministry of Defense official and a Syrian 155th Brigade chemical weapons unit commander in which the former demanded answers for the attacks.[199] According to some reports, this phone intercept was provided to the U.S. by Israeli Intelligence CorpsUnit 8200.[158]

The U.S. government assessment suggested a motive for the attack, describing it as “a desperate effort to push back rebels from several areas in the capital’s densely packed eastern suburbs.” The report then states that evidence suggests “the high civilian death toll surprised and panicked senior Syrian officials, who called off the attack and then tried to cover it up.”[200] Secretary of State John Kerry later announced that hair, blood, soil, and cloth samples collected from the attack sites had tested positive for sarin or its immediate breakdown products.[201][202]

At least three members of Congress, including at least one member of President Barack Obama‘s Democratic Party, expressed skepticism about the US intelligence report, calling the evidence circumstantial and thin.[203][204][205][206] Obama’s request that Congress authorize military force was not put to a vote of either the House of Representatives or the Senate, and the president ultimately admitted that “I wouldn’t say I’m confident” that he could convince Congress to support strikes against Syria.[207]

Democratic Party Representative Alan Grayson offered some details regarding the classified report, which he described as 12 pages long, and criticized both the four-page public summary and the classified report. Grayson said the unclassified summary relied on “intercepted telephone calls, ‘social media’ postings and the like, but not o