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The Pronk Pops Show 1320, September 16, 2019, Story 1: Oil Prices Spike After Iran Backed Houthi Rebel Drone Strike on Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Oil Refinery and Shut Down of Oil Production– United States Accuses Iran For The Drone Attack With Evidence — Videos — Story 2: Morally Bankrupt New York Times Smear Campaign of Lies Against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — No Victim and No Witnesses — Big Lie Media — Junk Journalism — Videos — Story 3: U.S. Federal Government Record Government Spending Exceeds $4 Trillion and Rising — Videos —

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Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on IranSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Story 1: Oil Prices Spike After Iran Backed Houthi Rebel Drone Strike on Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Oil Refinery and Oil Field and Shut Down of Oil Production– Videos

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

Senior U.S. official says missiles fired on Saudi oil plant were launched from Iran

President Trump: Looks like Iran was responsible for Saudi oil attack

US says Iran attacked Saudi oil refineries, Yemen rebels say they did – so who was it? | ABC News

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

Fears for global oil prices after drone attack on Saudi refineries | Nine News Australia

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa visits the White House amid Trump’s push for an international pressure campaign against Iran.

Gidley on Iran agenda, Kavanaugh attacks, Lewandowski testimony

Questions raised about whether Iran is to blame for Saudi Arabia attack

 

Pompeo: Iran to blame for Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

Yemen’s Houthi group vows to strike 300 targets in Saudi Arabia, UAE

Saudi Arabia: major fire at world’s largest oil refinery after drone attack

History of US-Iran Conflict Explained

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

Why Are Saudi Arabia And The U.S. Allies?

Israel and the Gulf: an unholy alliance?

Why the US and Iran are fighting over this tiny waterway

Can Iran Stop the US? A look at Irans Defenses

Iran vs Saudi Arabia – Who Would Win? (Military / Army Comparison)

Saudi Arabia’s Emergency Arab Summit

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

UNITED STATES vs ARAB LEAGUE – Military Power Comparison ✪ 2018

Crucifixion, beheading: Saudi Arabia carries out executions

Arab League States [Population/Economic/Military] Comparison (1960~2018)

 

Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities. 

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War. 

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications. 

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites. 

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile 

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

 

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

The technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market

Smoke billowed from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, where attacks sparked fires Saturday. PHOTO:-/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Saturday’s attack on a critical Saudi oil facility will almost certainly rock the world energy market in the short term, but it also carries disturbing long-term implications.

Ever since the dual 1970s oil crises, energy security officials have fretted about a deliberate strike on one of the critical choke points of energy production and transport. Sea lanes such as the Strait of Hormuz usually feature in such speculation. The facility in question at Abqaiq is perhaps more critical and vulnerable. The Wall Street Journal reported that 5.7 million barrels a day of output, or some 5% of world supply, had been taken offline as a result.

To illustrate the importance of Abqaiq in the oil market’s consciousness, an unsuccessful terrorist attack in 2006 using explosive-laden vehicles sent oil prices more than $2.00 a barrel higher. Saudi Arabia is known to spend billions of dollars annually protecting ports, pipelines and processing facilities, and it is the only major oil producer to maintain some spare output. Yet the nature of the attack, which Iranian-supported Houthi fighters from Yemen claimed was the result of an attack by their forces, shows that protecting such facilities may be far more difficult today. U.S. officials blamed Iran and U.S. and Saudi officials were investigating the possibility that another Iranian-backed group carried out all or part of the attack using cruise missiles launched from Iraq. Iranian officials on Sunday denied responsibility for the attacks.

There are countries that even today see their output ebb and flow as a result of militant activity, most notably Nigeria and Libya. Others, such as Venezuela, are in chronic decline due to political turmoil. Such news affects the oil price at the margin but is hardly shocking.

Deliberate attacks by actual military forces have been far rarer, with the exception of the 1980s “Tanker War” involving Iraq, Iran and the vessels of other regional producers such as Kuwait. When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, removing its production from the market and putting Saudi Arabia’s massive crude output under threat, prices more than doubled over two months.

Yet Saturday’s attack could be more significant than that. Technology from drones to cyberattacks are available to groups like the Houthis, possibly with support from Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran. That major energy producer, facing sanctions but still shipping some oil, has both a political and financial incentive to weaken Saudi Arabia. The fact that the actions ostensibly were taken by a nonstate actor, though, limits the response that the U.S. or Saudi Arabia can take. Attempting to further punish Iran is a double-edged sword, given that pinching its main source of revenue, also oil, would further inflame prices.

While the redundancies in Saudi oil infrastructure mean that output may be restored as soon as Monday, the attack could build in a premium to oil prices that has long been absent due to complacency. Indeed, traders may now need to factor in new risks that threaten to take not hundreds of thousands but millions of barrels off the market at a time. U.S. shale production may have upended the world energy market with nimble output, but the market’s reaction time is several months, not days or weeks, and nowhere near enough to replace several million barrels.

After the smoke clears and markets calm down, the technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-oil-attack-this-is-the-big-one-11568480576

Iran-backed militants admit drone swarm strike on world’s largest oil processing plant in Saudi and at second nearby facility sparking huge fires as tensions reach boiling point following tanker attacks

  • Drone attacks sparked fires at Aramco oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia today
  • Attacks took place at 4:00am at world’s largest oil processing plant Abqaiq
  • The Saudi interior ministry said the fires have now been brought under control 
  • Iran-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for attacks in Buqyaq and Khurais 
  • Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco's Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company's largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company’s largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14+26

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen's Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen’s Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Yahia Sarie announced that the Houthi’s were taking responsibility for the attacks on Saturday in a televised address carried by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel.

He said the Houthis sent 10 drones to attack an oil processing facility in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field, warning that attacks by the rebels against the kingdom would only get worse if the war in Yemen continues.

Sarie said: ‘The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us.’

Iran denies supplying the Houthis with weapons, although the U.N., the West and Gulf Arab nations say Tehran does. Drone models nearly identical to those used by Iran have been used in the conflict in Yemen.

The attacks highlight how the increasingly advanced weaponry of the Iran-linked Huthi rebels – from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones – poses a serious threat to oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter.

A military spokesman for Yemen's Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today's attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

Saudi Arabia’s oil production and exports have been disrupted, three sources familiar with the matter have said.

One of the sources said the attacks have impacted 5 million barrels per day of oil production – almost half the kingdom’s current output. The source did not elaborate.

Saudi Aramco operates the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilisation plant in the world at Abqaiq, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The plant has a crude oil processing capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day.

Authorities have not reported on casualties. A witness nearby said at least 15 ambulances were seen in the area and there was a heavy security presence around Abqaiq.

The attack will likely heighten tensions further across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq as ‘the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world.’

The facility, which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants.

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control+26

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7463189/Drone-attacks-spark-huge-fires-two-Saudi-oil-refineries.html

Saudi Arabia Shuts Down About Half Its Oil Output After Drone Strikes

Shutdown amounts to a loss of some five million barrels a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude

Smoke billowing after a fire at a Saudi Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. PHOTO: VIDEOS OBTAINED BY REUTERS/REUTERS

Coordinated drone strikes on the heart of the Saudi oil industry forced the kingdom to shut down half its crude production on Saturday, people familiar with the matter said, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.

Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of the kingdom’s national oil company.

President Trump called Saudi Arabia’s day-to-day ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Saturday and said the U.S. was ready to “cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability,” according to the Saudi Press Agency, the official news service.

Prince Mohammed told Mr. Trump that Saudi Arabia “is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” according to the agency.

The attacks happened a few days before world leaders are set to gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where President Trump has said he is interested in meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions. Iran didn’t react to the attacks on Saturday, and officials have said Mr. Rouhani won’t meet with Mr. Trump until the U.S. lifts sanctions imposed after the president pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal.

Saturday’s attack was the largest yet claimed by the Houthis in terms of its overall impact on the Saudi economy, thrusting the petroleum industry into crisis in the world’s largest exporter of oil. The attack hit hundreds of miles away from their Yemen stronghold.

“The attack has been quite surprising for the mere amount of damage it caused,” said Fabian Hinz, an arms researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“We have seen quite a few drone and missile attacks against Saudi infrastructure, but in most cases the actual damage caused has been quite minimal,” said Mr. Hinz.

The Saudi government called the strikes a terrorist attack and said it was investigating.

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen
Yemen’s Houthi rebels are using armed drones with startling success. WSJ reporters describe their increasing sophistication and recent confirmed attacks. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Analysts cautioned against accepting the Houthi claim of responsibility at face value. An attack in May on a Saudi oil-pumping station, which Saudi officials initially blamed on the Houthis and Iran, later turned out to have been launched by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

Saudi officials aren’t sure the attack emanated from Yemen and were discussing on Saturday the possibility that the attack came from the north, according to people familiar with the matter.

Saudi oil officials said they were rushing to contain the damage as fires raged in two major oil facilities. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, held an emergency board meeting on Saturday to manage the unfolding crisis, the people familiar with the matter said.

Disruptions in Saudi oil production could have ripple effects through the global economy, as the kingdom exports more crude petroleum than any other country.

Saudi officials are discussing drawing down their oil stocks to sell to foreign customers to ensure that world oil supplies aren’t disrupted, the people familiar with the matter said. The people said Saudi officials were trying to restore the production soon but gave no firm timetable.

The attacks hit Hijra Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, which produces about 1.5 million barrels a day. They also hit Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, processing seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, about 8% of the world’s total.

The damage at Abqaiq has knock-on effects throughout the kingdom’s oil fields because it is a collection point for much of its industry, turning crude oil into specific grades requested by customers. The Ghawar field, the world’s largest, and Shaybah, which produces one million barrels a day, also reported disruptions because of Abqaiq’s problems, said the people familiar with the matter.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2014 during a civil war. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has fought a war to unseat the Houthis and reinstate a government supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other regional powers.

In recent months the Houthis, along with Iranian-backed armed groups in Iraq, have intensified a campaign of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, launching more than a dozen attacks at Saudi airports, a desalination plant and oil infrastructure. Suspected Houthi ordnance originating from the Yemeni border is launched at Saudi Arabia several times a week, a U.S. official said.

The strikes have put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s air defenses, as the Saudi government says it has shot down multiple drones and missiles.

Big OilKhurais, which was disrupted in a drone strike,is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil fields.Oil field productionSource: International Energy Agency
GhawarSafaniyaKhuraisShaybahManifa0 million barrels a day2468

The increasing sophistication of the drone and missile attacks this year have shown deepening cooperation between the Houthis and Iran as Tehran has sought ways to apply pressure on their Saudi and American adversaries, according to U.S. officials and analysts. The Iranian government denies controlling the Houthi movement.

A U.N. panel last year said there were “strong indications” that Iran was the source of Houthi missile and drone technology but didn’t directly accuse the Tehran government of providing the weaponry itself. It said Iran has failed to take the necessary measures to prevent such transfers.

Saturday’s attack also came amid a sharp escalation of hostilities in neighboring Yemen after a Saudi airstrike killed more than 100 people at a detention center on Sept. 1.

“We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand and be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue,” a Houthi spokesman said Saturday.

The strikes complicate U.N. and U.S. efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people over the last four years. U.S. officials had quietly attempted to launch a back channel to the Houthis.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The drone attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. The country’s rulers recently replaced Aramco’s chairman and the kingdom’s oil minister.

Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

The damage to Aramco facilities could affect investor appetite to buy into the company and its ultimate valuation, said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh, a privately funded think tank.

But Aramco, the world’s most profitable firm, could also use this crisis to demonstrate its growing push for transparency and keep potential investors abreast of developments, said Mr. Sfakianakis, a former adviser to the kingdom’s finance ministry.

“There will be short term concern…The latest IPO announcement is being watched by all,” he said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/drone-strikes-spark-fires-at-saudi-oil-facilities-11568443375

Country comparison Iran vs Saudi Arabia

Gouvernement
Annual GDP [+] 2018 452,275M.$ chart 782,483M.$ 2018 Annual GDP [+]
GDP per capita [+] 2018 5,529$ chart 23,219$ 2018 GDP per capita [+]
Debt [+] 2017 170,342 chart 149,279 2018 Debt [+]
Debt (%GDP) [+] 2017 39.53% chart 19.08% 2018 Debt (%GDP) [+]
Debt Per Capita [+] 2017 2,092$ chart 4,430$ 2018 Debt Per Capita [+]
Deficit (M.$) [+] 2017 -7,828 chart -36,267 2018 Deficit (M.$) [+]
Deficit (%GDP) [+] 2017 -1.82% chart -4.64% 2018 Deficit (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 83,377.9 chart 274,773.5 2018 Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 16,325.6 chart 26,706.2 2008 Education Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2017 20.04% chart 19.26% 2008 Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+] 2016 17,868.7 chart 25,107.5 2016 Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+]
Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+] 2016 22.60% chart 10.06% 2016 Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+]
Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2018 12,064.5 chart 68,660.7 2018 Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2018 15.78% chart 24.59% 2018 Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Expenditure (%GDP) [+] 2017 19.35% chart 35.12% 2018 Expenditure (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure Per Capita [+] 2017 1,024$ chart 8,154$ 2018 Expenditure Per Capita [+]
Education Expenditure P.C [+] 2017 201$ chart 1,036$ 2008 Education Expenditure P.C [+]
Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+] 2016 226$ chart 778$ 2016 Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+]
Defence Expenditure P.C. [+] 2018 147$ chart 2,037$ 2018 Defence Expenditure P.C. [+]
A1 04/13/2018 Moody’s Rating [+]
A- 02/17/2016 S&P Rating [+]
Fitch Rating [+] 04/24/2006 B+ A+ 04/30/2019 Fitch Rating [+]
Corruption Index [+] 2018 28 chart 49 2018 Corruption Index [+]
Competitiveness Ranking [+] 2018 89º chart 39º 2018 Competitiveness Ranking [+]
Fragile States Index [+] 2018 84.3 chart 70.2 2018 Fragile States Index [+]
RTI Raking [+] 09/28/2018 99º
Innovation Ranking [+] 2018 65º chart 61º 2018 Innovation Ranking [+]
Labour
Unemployment rate [+] 2017Q1 12.5% chart 5.6% 2016Q2 Unemployment rate [+]
Unemployed [+] 2017Q1 3,199 m. chart 699 m. 2016Q2 Unemployed [+]
NMW [+] 2011 319.0 $ chart 800.0 $ 2013 NMW [+]
Human Capital Ranking [+] 2017 104º chart 82º 2017 Human Capital Ranking [+]
Markets
US Dollar exchange rate [+] 05/14/2018 42,000.0000 chart 3.7500 05/14/2018 US Dollar exchange rate [+]
1.28% 09/19/2019 Stock ExchangeYTD % [+]
Business
Doing Business [+] 2019 128º chart 92º 2019 Doing Business [+]
Passengers vehicles Year [+] December 2017 1,592,282 chart 438,421 December 2017 Passengers vehicles Year [+]
Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+] December 2017 21.11 chart 16.84 December 2017 Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+]
Motor vehicle production [+] 2018 1,342,000
Vehicles / 1,000 people [+] 2015 177.79 chart 212.79 2015 Vehicles / 1,000 people [+]
Taxes
5.00% 01/01/2018 Standard VAT [+]
0% 2018 Top tax rate + SSC [+]
Trade
Exports [+] 2017 91,000.0 M.$ chart 218,374.0 M.$ 2017 Exports [+]
Exports % GDP [+] 2017 21.13% chart 31.71% 2017 Exports % GDP [+]
Imports [+] 2017 49,000.0 M.$ chart 134,520.0 M.$ 2017 Imports [+]
Imports % GDP [+] 2017 11.38% chart 19.54% 2017 Imports % GDP [+]
Trade balance [+] 2017 42,000.0 M.$ chart 83,854.0 M.$ 2017 Trade balance [+]
Trade balance % GDP [+] 2017 9.75% chart 12.18% 2017 Trade balance % GDP [+]
Socio-Demography
Density [+] 2018 47 chart 16 2018 Density [+]
Global Peace Ranking [+] 2019 139º chart 129º 2019 Global Peace Ranking [+]
Remittance received (M.$) [+] 2017 1,378.8 chart 286.5 2017 Remittance received (M.$) [+]
% Immigrant [+] 2017 3.31% chart 37.43% 2017 % Immigrant [+]
% Emigrant [+] 2017 1.44% chart 0.86% 2017 % Emigrant [+]
Birth Rate [+] 2017 15.92‰ chart 19.19‰ 2017 Birth Rate [+]
Remittance sent (M.$) [+] 2017 296.0 chart 46,724.6 2017 Remittance sent (M.$) [+]
Crude death rate [+] 2017 4.49‰ chart 3.58‰ 2017 Crude death rate [+]
Fertility Rate [+] 2017 1.64 chart 2.49 2017 Fertility Rate [+]
Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+] 2015 4.12 chart 1.50 2015 Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+]
Population [+] 2018 81,800,269 chart 33,699,947 2018 Population [+]
Immigrant stock [+] 2017 2,699,155 chart 12,185,284 2017 Immigrant stock [+]
Emigrant stock [+] 2017 1,170,491 chart 278,912 2017 Emigrant stock [+]
HDI [+] 2017 0.798 chart 0.853 2017 HDI [+]
Gender Gap Ranking [+] 2018 142º chart 141º 2018 Gender Gap Ranking [+]
Life expectancy [+] 2017 76.15 chart 74.72 2017 Life expectancy [+]
Number of homicides [+] 2015 3,259 chart 472 2015 Number of homicides [+]
Energy and Environment
CO2 Tons per capita [+] 2017 8.27 chart 19.39 2017 CO2 Tons per capita [+]

196519651970197019751975198019801985198519901990199519952000200020052005201020102015201520,000,00020,000,00040,000,00040,000,00060,000,00060,000,00080,000,00080,000,000IranIranSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

Iran Saudi Arabia
1960 21,906,914 4,086,539
1961 22,480,372 4,218,853
1962 23,071,315 4,362,786
1963 23,680,258 4,516,533
1964 24,307,860 4,677,298
1965 24,954,873 4,843,635
1966 25,624,373 5,015,357
1967 26,317,783 5,195,135
1968 27,032,571 5,387,828
1969 27,764,924 5,599,904
1970 28,513,866 5,836,389
1971 29,281,591 6,100,626
1972 30,075,297 6,392,970
1973 30,905,707 6,711,923
1974 31,786,471 7,054,532
1975 32,729,772 7,419,493
1976 33,733,961 7,802,926
1977 34,803,045 8,207,697
1978 35,960,805 8,646,845
1979 37,237,137 9,137,927
1980 39,291,000 9,320,000
1981 40,826,000 9,786,000
1982 42,420,000 10,276,000
1983 44,077,000 10,790,000
1984 45,798,000 11,330,000
1985 47,587,000 11,897,000
1986 49,445,000 12,492,000
1987 50,662,000 13,118,000
1988 51,909,000 13,774,000
1989 53,187,000 14,463,000
1990 54,496,000 15,187,000
1991 55,837,000 15,947,000
1992 56,656,000 16,948,000
1993 57,488,000 17,277,000
1994 58,331,000 17,701,000
1995 59,187,000 18,136,000
1996 60,055,000 18,581,000
1997 61,070,000 19,037,000
1998 62,103,000 19,504,000
1999 63,152,000 19,983,000
2000 64,219,000 20,474,000
2001 65,301,000 20,976,000
2002 66,300,000 21,491,000
2003 67,315,000 22,020,000
2004 68,345,000 22,564,000
2005 69,390,000 23,330,000
2006 70,496,000 24,122,000
2007 71,366,000 24,941,000
2008 72,266,000 25,787,000
2009 73,196,000 26,661,000
2010 74,157,000 27,563,000
2011 75,150,000 28,376,000
2012 76,038,000 29,196,000
2013 76,942,000 29,994,000
2014 78,470,000 30,770,000
2015 79,476,000 31,016,000
2016 80,460,000 31,743,000
2017 81,423,000 32,552,000
2018 81,800,269 33,699,947
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

 

 

Story 2: Morally Bankrupt New York Time Smear Campaign of Lies Against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — No Victim and No Witnesses — Big Lie Media — Junk Journalism — — Videos —

See the source image

Trump Urgest Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

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Tucker: New York Times revives attacks on Kavanaugh

Ingraham: Democrats’ smash and smear campaign

Bongino blasts NYT’s ‘disgraceful’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Ben Shapiro blasts The New York Times’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Gowdy compares impeaching Kavanaugh to ‘political death penalty’

Gutfeld on the latest New York Times scandal

Trump demands DOJ ‘rescue’ Kavanaugh as fresh allegations emerge

Napolitano on new questions surrounding Kavanaugh accuser’s motivation

New video raises questions about Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

Graham: Kavanaugh impeachment based on this is ‘dead on arrival’

‘Squad’ member to introduce Kavanaugh impeachment resolution

Why the Times bungled so badly in its latest Kavanaugh smear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I wrote a column Sunday torching The New York Times for its latest attempt to attack Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I had no idea how quickly its story would fall apart. Explaining how and why is now in order.

The primary reason is that the anti-conservative bias within the Times organization is now so overwhelming that, at least on the continually troubled opinion side, there is simply no one in the loop who isn’t already positive Kavanaugh is a sexual predator — no one both able and willing (which, given today’s culture of fear regarding the #MeToo subject matter, may have been the more daunting hurdle) to express skepticism about a story that seeks to prove what everyone there already “knows” to be true.

I saw an obvious red flag before I even read the story. Liberals on Twitter were immediately excited by these “bombshell” revelations about Kavanaugh in an article that was innocuously titled as a piece on Yale University’s culture at the time when he and his “accuser” went there. That is obviously not how a story with legitimate new damning information would have been framed, even on a weekend.

As it turns out, there was very good reason why the two Times reporters, who are promoting a book about Kavanaugh’s past, were forced to go that very circuitous route to sneak in their extremely flimsy allegations.

It turns out the Times’ news editors had reportedly declined to run their “revelations” as a news story due to lack of evidence, just like The Washington Post had done, correctly, a year ago.

Then comes the issue of the “country club” aspect of an exclusive place like the Times filled with alleged journalistic elites. These two reporters are obviously respected colleagues of everyone in the decision-making roles, and they are naturally going to be given far wider latitude and trust than an outside author.

Surely that had to be part of the reason the Times somehow allowed one of the book’s authors to write a totally outrageous tweet for the outlet about her own story, which the paper had to then delete. That tweet, on its own, should discredit the book’s co-author, as it could not be more obvious evidence of someone who already had her conclusion about the case and simply went about desperately — and mostly unsuccessfully — trying to find some actual evidence to substantiate it.

Connected to this is the extraordinary arrogance of people who work at the Times. In my direct experience, they truly believe that if a story comes from a Times reporter that it must be the gospel truth, unless God herself declares it not to be, and even then they will only send it out for a quick fact-check.

Then there is the increasing challenge that, thanks to having gone to a subscription model and with the advent of Twitter, the Times is becoming beholden to its very liberal base of most passionate customers.

As several recent episodes have shown, the Times is now often edited by the whims of liberal Twitter, and surely anxiety over potentially pissing off this group by either censoring potentially negative Kavanaugh information, or, even worse, making him seem potentially innocent, had to play at least a subconscious role here.

This last point is likely the cause of one of the many egregious mistakes in the piece. While it has still not gotten widespread news media coverage, the Times absurdly censored its own story by omitting what is very likely the most substantive nugget of new information in their book.

It turns out that Leland Keyser, friend of Christine Ford (Kavanaugh’s first and primary accuser) — whom Ford claimed was the only other girl at the infamous pool party — gave the authors her first major interview.

Keyser, who was once married to Democratic operative Bob Beckel, told them that Ford’s story “makes no sense,” that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in the allegation and that she was targeted by Ford allies in an effort to get her to lie by backing up Ford’s uncorroborated account.

Now THAT is a real bombshell but one that clearly conflicts with the preferred liberal narrative of this entire fiasco in which both the Times and the two reporters are invested.

All of this has backfired spectacularly, and has given President Donald Trump yet another data point in his quest to paint every negative report about him and his administration “Fake News!”

Unless the culture at the Times and other mainstream outlets dramatically changes (spoiler alert: It will not), this kind of thing is only going to continue.

John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite.com, from which this was adapted.

https://nypost.com/2019/09/17/why-the-times-bungled-so-badly-in-its-latest-kavanaugh-smear/

Alleged Victim In New York Times Kavanaugh Story Denies Any Recollection Of Incident

New York Times reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly are out with a new book that attempts to buttress the unsubstantiated claims deployed last year against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation” is neither a look at the education of Brett Kavanaugh nor an investigation. They admit they found no evidence to support the claims made by Christine Blasey Ford or Debbie Ramirez, although they say their “gut reaction” to the allegations is that they are true. They generously concede that their “gut” tells them that Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick’s claims are not true, citing the lack of corroboration.

The “lack of corroboration” standard was unevenly held to by the authors. Blasey Ford’s four witnesses all denied knowledge of the party at which her alleged assault took place. Ramirez went from telling Ronan Farrow “I don’t have any stories about Brett Kavanaugh and sexual misconduct,” to telling friends of an incident for which she “couldn’t be sure” Kavanaugh was involved, to now being the centerpiece of the Pogebrin and Kelly book. Ramirez also had no eyewitness support for her story that allegedly took place at a well-attended party, even after friendly media outlets contacted some 75 classmates trying to find corroboration. Both women had the support of many friends and activists, however.

The only supposedly new claim made in the book isn’t new and comes from Democrat attorney Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s with whom he has a long and contentious history. In the words of the Yale Daily News, they were “pitted” against each other during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s when Kavanaugh worked for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Stier defended President Bill Clinton, whose legal troubles began when a woman accused him of exposing himself to her in hotel room she had been brought to. Clinton later settled with the woman for $850,000 and, due to a contempt of court citation for misleading testimony, ended up losing his law license for five years. Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.

In any case, Stier’s claim, which even two Democratic senators’ offices didn’t find particularly worthwhile, was that he had seen an inebriated Kavanaugh, pants-down, at a freshman-year party. Stier’s claim to the staffers, we’re told, was that other people at the party put Kavanaugh’s genitalia into the hands of a classmate. Another unnamed person alleged said that he or she might have remembered hearing that the female student had transferred out of her college because of Kavanaugh, “though exactly why was unclear.”

The reporters, who describe Democrats in glowing terms and Republicans otherwise, say that Stier is a “respected thought leader” in the defense of the federal bureaucracy. They don’t mention his history of working for the Clintons. As for the victim? They say she “has refused to discuss the incident, though several of her friends said she does not recall it.”

To repeat: Several of her friends said she does not recall it.

So to summarize, the only new claim in the new book is that a Democratic attorney told two senators that he saw an incident where a third party allegedly did something to Kavanaugh and the young woman. In their book, the authors are upset that this claim didn’t lead to a massive FBI investigation, although they don’t explain why they think it should have.

Pogebrin and Kelly left the victim’s denial out of their New York Times story. It is unclear why the reporters and editors allowed the story to be published without this salient fact that they conceded, albeit briefly, in their own book.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor.

The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, September 4, 2018. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The New York Times had a significant story to tell about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s this: In a new book, the Times reporters produced new evidence that profoundly undermined the central claims against Kavanaugh. Leland Keyser — Christine Blasey Ford’s friend and the person Ford herself testified was also at the party where Ford claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her — has stated on the record that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in Ford’s story.

Not only does she not recall the specific party at issue, she doesn’t recall “any others like it.” Moreover, Keyser maintains this recollection in spite of a determined effort by old friends to get her to change her testimony — a pressure campaign that Keyser admirably resisted.

In other words, “Never mind.” But even that editor’s note is incomplete. It turns out that Max Stier served as one of Bill Clinton’s lawyers during the Starr investigation, a fact that’s at least relevant to the existence of partisan bias.

But for sheer malice nothing can match the speed and ferocity with which reporters accepted the facially ludicrous rape story pushed by Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick. She claimed that she saw Kavanaugh “waiting his turn” for a gang rape and spiking punch to facilitate gang rapes. The story was never remotely plausible, but that didn’t stop media figures from shaming anyone who expressed public doubts on Twitter.

Trump Urges Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Perhaps the nadir of the whole affair is when Vox helped “explain the news” by publishing a piece arguing that the John Hughes movie Sixteen Candles provided “important context” for the Kavanaugh allegations. In the 1980s, you see, there was a different “cultural understanding” about gang rape.

Against this backdrop, the Democrats calling for impeaching Kavanaugh — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris — are disgracing themselves. The claims against Kavanaugh never stood up to scrutiny, and the evidence that has emerged since the hearings last fall has only served to undercut further the claims against him.

In a speech earlier this year, Ford’s attorney Debra Katz admitted to the partisanship that at least in part motivated her client: They wanted to put an “asterisk” next to his name. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade,” she said, “we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

By Susan Crabtree – RCP Staff

September 17, 2019

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

On Sunday, the New York Times walked back and significantly revised the latest incendiary allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but the unusual correction to a central part of its bombshell story seemed to mean little to the field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

Sen. Kamala Harris had “pinned” her weekend reaction to the story — a call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment — to the top of her Twitter page, the social media equivalent of running a banner headline about a position on a high-priority issue.

Harris’ Tweet was still there by Monday night, without qualification, despite a fierce bipartisan backlash against the Times’ initial reporting of the uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegation, and the Gray Lady’s clumsy efforts to correct its original reporting about it.

The controversy began Saturday when the Times ran a “news analysis” piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh.”

The wide-ranging story included a seemingly new allegation — that a Kavanaugh classmate at Yale, nonprofit CEO Max Stier, “saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”

Late Sunday, the Times updated the Kavanaugh story with an “editor’s note” acknowledging that the alleged victim of the incident had declined to be interviewed and several friends had said she did not recall the alleged misconduct.

The Times only added that note after The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway, who had an advance copy of the book, flagged the glaring omission in the Times reporting.

Pogrebin and Kelly on Monday night blamed their editors for cutting the critical pieces of exculpatory information from the story. They said they had included the details about the victim declining to be interviewed for the story and her friends saying she didn’t recall the incident, along with the woman’s name. Pogrebin said their editors decided against using the woman’s name and in “the haste” of trying to close the editorial process edited out all of the information about the woman, instead of just her name. The pair did not say why they didn’t object.

Pogrebin and Kelly are hardly new to the editing process. Pogrebin has been a Times reporter since 1995, and her mother, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, is a founding editor of Ms. magazine, a liberal feminist publication created in the early 1970s. Kelly has been covering business and finance for 20 years, including a decade at the Wall Street Journal.

“We certainly never intended to mislead in any way. We wanted to give as full a story as possible,” Pogrebin told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Monday evening.

But that wasn’t the only hole in the story. The piece also omitted relevant information about Stier’s work during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal as a member of Bill Clinton’s defense team at the law firm Williams & Connolly.

And it included a strangely constructed attribution that wouldn’t pass most major newsrooms’ standards when reporting on a sexual assault allegation against a major public figure. In the piece, the reporters wrote: “We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.” But they did not indicate what type of “officials,” government or otherwise, those sources are.

Several liberal commentators across a variety of media, from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to National Public Radio and at least one host on “The View,” spent Monday blasting the Times’ report as a particularly egregious example of journalistic malfeasance.

Despite the widespread criticism of the piece, Harris and other 2020 Democrats who spent the weekend calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment based on the new report, aren’t dialing back their demands or even acknowledging the Times’ correction of the very story that sparked those demands.

In fact, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer jumped into the fray to call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment on Monday after the Times issued the correction.

“The @GOP is so hell bent on guaranteeing a conservative court, they are willing to overlook serious allegations on sexual misconduct and perjury,” he tweeted Monday. “The system is broken.”

RealClearPolitics reached out to spokespersons for Harris, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, all of whom called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment over the weekend after the Times’ story broke. None of the campaigns responded.

In fact, Harris continued to attack Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Twitter Monday morning, the day after the Times issued its correction.

The Times also did not respond to an RCP inquiry on how it planned to restore its credibility, whether any reporter or editor would be fired over the failings and where the breakdown in journalistic standards occurred that allowed the seemingly new but uncorroborated allegation to be published.

Since the Times’ corrected the piece, President Trump has lambasted the paper, firing off multiple tweets calling the new efforts to force Kavanaugh off the court “lies and fake news,” and encouraging lawsuits against the paper.

At a campaign rally in New Mexico Monday night, he assailed the paper once again, calling for the resignation of “everybody at the New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh smear story.”

The president was in the rare position of following a bipartisan outpouring of outrage over the story, as well as the correction, which for some journalists raised more questions about the process that led to the material’s publication than it answered.

Early Monday, MSNBC’s anti-Trump host Joe Scarborough said it was a “stunning decision to leave that central [lack of corroboration] fact out of an article filled with damning accusations.”

Liberal Yale law professor Scott Shapiro called it an “outrageous omission” and appeared to promote a boycott of the paper over the issue.

“Would love to see my fellow liberals who routinely threaten to unsubscribe to the NYT to make the same threat now,” he tweeted.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik asserted that having the alleged victim corroborate the story was a central and necessary part of any reporting on the incident.

“One can argue that the failure to remember, given her intoxication, is not dispositive,” he tweeted. “One can’t argue, however, that that fact didn’t need to be in the Kavanaugh story from the outset.”

“The View’s” self-described moderate, Abby Huntsman, denounced the Times’ report as “sloppy and lazy” and congratulated the paper for helping Trump get re-elected.

Conservative media critics cited the Times’ reporting as proof that the media is working hand-in-glove with Democrats to relentlessly and falsely attack Republicans.

“Omitting these facts from the @nytimes story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice I can recall,” tweeted National Review’s John McCormack.

The controversy also played into the hands of some of Kavanaugh’s staunchest supporters. Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that reportedly spent $10 million backing the Supreme Court nominee last year, called the Times’ reporting of uncorroborated accusations a part of several “shameful attempts to reignite baseless smears about Kavanaugh.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who ran Kavanaugh’s tumultuous Judiciary Committee confirmation process last year, on Twitter pointed out that no one from the Times’ had reached out to his office for the story and his office had not received an allegation against Kavanaugh “like the one referenced over the weekend.”

The Iowa Republican later Monday disputed the references to the alleged incident as a “new allegation.” Instead, during a speech on the Senate floor he said the report amounts to “barely a third-hand rumor” and the type of reckless, uncorroborated reporting that is having a corrosive impact on the country’s democratic process.

“These writers – can you believe this? – these writers didn’t even speak to the man whom they claim originally recounted this rumor. What’s left are only layers and layers of decades-old hearsay. No more corroboration, no more verification, not even anything from the accuser himself.”

Referencing the New York Times’ slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” Grassley said journalism has hit a new, Trump-era low.

“When did this stuff I described become something fit to print by the supposed American paper of record?” he asked. “The sad consequences of this article are a misinformed public, a greater divide in our own discourse, and a deeper lack of faith in our news media.”

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ White House/national political correspondent.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/09/17/2020_dems_assail_kavanaugh_despite_nyt_story_correction__141272.html

 

Story 3: U.S. Federal Government Record Spending Exceeds $4 Trillion and Rising — Videos

$4,155,323,000,000: Federal Spending Sets Record Through August

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 13, 2019 | 12:48 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government spent a record $4,155,323,000,000 in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 (October through August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Thursday.

While spending a record $4,155,323,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $1,067,156,000,000.

The most the federal government had ever spent in the first eleven months of a fiscal year before this one was in fiscal 2018 when the Treasury spent $3,951,247,170,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).

Total federal tax revenues in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 equaled $3,088,167,000,00. That was more than the $3,037,420,180,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in total taxes in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018, but less than the $3,099,536,720,000 in total taxes (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2017.

The Treasury also collected less in individual income taxes in the first eleven months of this year ($1,534,886,000,000) than it did in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018 ($1,548,213,460,000 in constant August 2019 dollars).

According to Table 3 in the Monthly Treasury Statement, the Department of Health and Human Services spent the most of any federal agency in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 ($1,138,456,000,000), the Social Security Administration spent the second most ($1,013,175,000,000), and the Department of Defense-Military Programs spent the third most ($601,137,000,000).

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/4155323000000-federal-spending-sets-record-through-august

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1293, July 22, 2019, Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos — Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Joint United States and Israel Strike Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Systems Programs Deep in Mountains — Nuclear Weapons Required For Total Destruction — Videos — Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos — Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos

Posted on July 23, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Drones, Eating, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Subversion, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Trade Policy, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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See the source imageThe Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purposeSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Big Spending Democrat and Republican Parties Fail To Make Real Spending Cuts To Balance The Budget — Massive Budget Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 — Deficit To Exceed $1,000,000,000,000 For Fiscal Year 2019 — Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Big Government Spending Parties — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Congress, White House Nearing Two-Year Debt Limit Deal

A budget agreement is ‘near final’, source says

White House projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion

Trump reportedly plans to make massive cuts to federal spending in second term Daily Mail Online

Trump Running $1 TRILLION DEFICITS FOR YEARS TO COME, After Promising to Pay U.S. Debt in 8 years!

Funding the Government: The Budget Process and Omnibus Spending Bills [Article I Initiative]

Why the federal deficit is rising, despite economic growth

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday. Mrs. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks. PHOTO:REBECCA COOK/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate after the 2020 election.

The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels.

The agreement forgoes the steep spending cuts initially sought by the administration, providing for about $320 billion in spending over two years above limits set in a 2011 budget law that established automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, announced the deal on Twitter late Monday, citing all four congressional leaders. He added: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated the agreement for weeks, hoping to complete a deal before the House leaves Washington at the end of the week for August recess. Mr. Mnuchin had warned that the government could exceed its borrowing limit as soon as early September, before lawmakers return from recess. Talks continued throughout Monday.

In a joint statement Mrs. Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader, pledged that the House would bring the deal quickly to the floor. They stressed that the agreement increases both defense and domestic spending and said they had agreed to spending offsets that were part of an earlier bipartisan agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he was encouraged by the deal, adding that it “secures the resources we need to keep rebuilding our armed forces.” He said he intended to have the Senate vote on it before the chamber departs for recess.

The deal marked a victory for congressional leaders and Mr. Mnuchin, who had stressed that without action, the government could exhaust its ability to keep paying its bills in early September.

A key sticking point in the negotiations was how to pay for the cost of the spending increases. The deal extends small cuts to Medicare beyond fiscal year 2027 and extends fees collected by Customs and Border Protection, amounting to $77 billion worth of savings to offset the cost. Those routine budget accounting moves fall short of the $150 billion in spending cuts originally sought by the administration.

In spring of 2018, Mr. Trump threatened to veto an omnibus spending bill and late last year he rejected a bipartisan spending agreement negotiated in the Senate because it didn’t include billions of dollars in funding to construct a border wall, setting off the longest government shutdown in modern history.

Fiscal hawks panned reports of the proposed deal Monday before many of the details had been released, warning it could add trillions of dollars more to projected government debt levels over the next decade. The White House estimated this month that annual deficits are on track to exceed $1 trillion this fiscal year because of weaker federal revenue following the 2017 tax cut and higher government spending under the current budget agreement.

“This deal would amount to nothing short of fiscal sabotage,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Monday following reports of a two-year $320 billion deal. Ms. MacGuineas urged lawmakers to cancel recess and negotiate for a better deal.

Mrs. Pelosi has been clear that she wanted to reach an agreement before Congress leaves for summer break. She has said she wants the House to vote on the agreement on Thursday, before the chamber goes on recess on July 26. The Senate doesn’t take its break until Aug. 2.

Mr. Mnuchin took the lead negotiating on behalf of the administration, working closely with Mrs. Pelosi. That appeared to limit the roles of White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought.

Leaders of both parties sought to pair the debt limit vote with a broader spending agreement—a move that creates an impetus for Democrats to push for domestic spending increases and lets Republicans avoid a difficult, stand-alone vote on raising the borrowing limit.

An aide to the speaker said Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin spoke three times on Sunday and Mr. Schumer joined one of the calls. On Monday, they spoke in the morning and again in the late afternoon before Mr. Mnuchin held a conference call with the four congressional leaders to discuss any issues. During the call, Mr. Mnuchin told the leaders that the president would tweet on the deal within the hour.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left a meeting with top congressional leaders on a potential deal to raise the budget caps in May. PHOTO: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-and-congress-near-agreement-on-spending-debt-ceiling-11563799484

 

What to Know in Washington: Crunch Week for Debt, Spending Deal

Congress and the White House are closing in on a debt ceiling and budget deal but with time running short could resort to a short term extension of U.S. borrowing authority before the House recesses this week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued talks over the weekend by telephone. A key point under negotiation is the Trump administration’s initial demand for as much as $150 billion in long-term spending cuts to attach to the deal.

Mnuchin warned the U.S. risks missing debt payments in early September — before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington after a recess that begins for the House on Friday and the Senate a week later.

Both sides have offered assurances that Congress won’t let the U.S. run up against the debt limit and trigger a default, but lawmakers are still trying to include a budget agreement in the negotiation.

If the budget negotiations can’t be concluded in time, lawmakers may decide to pass a debt ceiling extension into October. That would avoid the risk of a default in the short-term but would extend uncertainty for markets.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have tentatively agreed on one part of the deal: to suspend the debt ceiling for about two and a half years, along with an increase in discretionary spending that’s estimated to cost $350 billion. Trump officials want to partially offset that spending increase for the military and domestic agency budgets with savings in entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are not subject to annual budget caps.

The White House late Thursday floated a menu of savings options worth $574 billion from which Pelosi could choose what to include in the deal. Pelosi resisted offsetting any of the spending increases, and any hope of a deal hinges on finding a compromise with the $150 billion that Trump officials want to save.

The White House offer also proposed extending caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending for 2021 and 2022 to save another $516 billion.

After administration officials sent the offer to Pelosi, President Donald Trump on Friday said he thought the talks were in “good shape.” However he’d still have to sign off on the final terms of a deal and he hasn’t publicly set out what he wants on spending or on cuts.

While the budget deal doesn’t have to be included with a measure to raise the debt limit, lawmakers want it to be addressed soon so Congress can pass appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Otherwise they’ll have to pass a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.

If Congress doesn’t lift the budget caps that limit government outlays, current law would trigger automatic cuts at the end of the calendar year. Read more from Erik Wasson.

https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-know-crunch-week-for-debt-spending-deal/

Story 2: Islamic Republic of Iran Desperate To Start War With United States and U. S. Allies — Careful What You Wish For — Videos

Stena Impero: Crew seen in first pictures from inside UK-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran

Iran on ‘dangerous path’ after British-flagged tanker seizure

Iran Ambassador says UK raising tensions would be ‘dangerous and unwise’

 

British-operated oil tanker seized by Iran

First pictures INSIDE the British tanker captured by Iran: Tehran taunts the UK by releasing photo of terrified crew huddled on board vessel after it was seized by Revolutionary Guard gunmen

  • British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz
  • First image taken inside vessel shows part of its 23-strong crew being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards
  • Video also shows Iranians talking to the crew around a table, and thanking them for their cooperation 
  • Tehran seized the tanker after Iranian-flagged vessel was stopped by marines off Gibraltar earlier this month
  • Downing Street today said UK ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’ but described the move as ‘escalatory’ 
  • Russia threw its backing behind ally Iran on Monday, saying its position ‘is much more convincing’ than UK 
  • Tehran also said it had arrested 17 suspected CIA spies and will put some to death, further increasing tensions

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker that it captured in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Tehran released video of some of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero sitting around a table speaking with one of their captors, alongside fresh images showing Revolutionary Guardsmen on board the Swedish-owned vessel.

The video shows seven of the crew wearing red jumpsuits and sitting around a table, as one Iranian guard can be heard thanking them for their cooperation. The cameraman can also be heard telling them not to look at him. Another video shows the crew laughing while standing around a coffee machine, and the ship’s cooks preparing food in an apparent attempt to show they are being treated well.

Pictures released by the semi-official Fars news agency earlier in the day show some of the crew – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians a Latvian and a Filipino – huddled cross-legged on the floor.

Standing over them in a Revolutionary Guardsman, while items of bedding and towels are scattered around the room. Their shoes have been taken off and piled in a corner.  Two others photos show an armed guardsman on the deck of the tanker, and the tanker being watched over by armed boats at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held.

The photos and videos are Iran’s latest taunt to Britain, after it also released video of its flag being raised over the vessel and the Islamic call to prayer being played through its speakers.

Iran seized the vessel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, weeks after Britain detained an Iranian vessel off the coast of Gibraltar. Iran says the US ordered the operation amid a standoff between the two countries, but the UK claims the tanker was violating EU sanctions.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

Other images showed the crew - which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino - laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Other images showed the crew – which included 18 Indians, three Russian, and Latvian and a Filipino – laughing and smiling. Tehran has previously said that the crew are well and are being looked after

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iran's state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

Iran’s state-affiliated Fars news agency released the first image inside the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on Monday, showing part of the 23-strong crew sitting cross-legged on the floor under the watch of a Revolutionary Guardsman while their shoes sit piled up nearby

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker - the Grace 1 - which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

In a second image, an armed guardsman is seen patrolling along the deck of the Imepero in the latest taunt to Britain. Iran is trying to secure the release of its tanker – the Grace 1 – which was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar earlier this month

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

 

A third image shows the Imepero being watched over by an armed Iranian vessel at the port of Bandar Abbas, where it is being held after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday last week

Speaking in the House of Commons this evening, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee on Monday to discuss the crisis, even though her leadership is expected to pass to Boris Johnson in the coming days, who now faces a baptism of fire to diffuse the situation.

The government was also criticised for cutting the size of the navy so that it is not capable of meeting the threat from Iran, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the responsibility for protecting British ships ‘falls to the United Kingdom.’

In other developments on Monday:

  • Russia waded in to take the side of its ally – Iran – accusing Britain of ‘piracy’ for seizing the Grace 1 tanker 
  • Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. Her spokesman said seizing the tanker was illegal and that officials had written to the UN to complain
  • Boris Johnson was urged to break his silence on the crisis, as he prepares to become Tory leader
  • Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran
  • Relatives of one of the crewmen were pictured weeping as they watched news of the tanker’s capture on TV
  • Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West led criticism that the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose and cannot protect British interests
  • Iran said it had captured 17 CIA spies and planned to put some of them to death

As Mrs May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, her spokesman said: ‘We are clear that the seizure of the British-flagged, Swedish owned Stena Impero on Friday was illegal under international law.

‘The ship was seized under false and illegal pretences and the Iranians should release it and its crew immediately.

‘The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to make this demand.

‘We do not seek confrontation with Iran but it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to seize a ship going about legitimate business through internationally recognised shipping lanes.’

Hunt plans European mission to protect ships

Speaking in Parliament today, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Iran to release the Stena and proposed a ‘European-led maritime protection mission’ to protect Middle East shipping.

British-flagged ships are advised to avoid Iranian waters and the Straits of Hormuz, and could receive convoys, although Mr Hunt said it would be impossible to protect every ship.

The European-led force would not be part of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign as Britain still wants to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Hunt said.

He said he would discuss how the new proposal would complement the American presence in the area.

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Condemning an ‘act of state piracy’, Mr Hunt called the capture a ‘flagrant breach of the principle of free navigation on which the global trading system and world economy ultimately depends’.

Under international law, Iran had ‘no right to obstruct the ship’s passage, let alone board her’, Mr Hunt said, adding that Britain ‘does not seek confrontation with Iran’.

He also rejected Iran’s attempt to draw a parallel between the capture of the Stena and Britain’s seizure of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on July 4.

‘There is simply no comparison between Iran’s illegal seizure of a vessel inside a recognised shipping lane, where the Stena Impero had every right to be, and the enforcement of EU sanctions against a tanker that had freely navigated into the waters of a British overseas territory,’ he said.

‘If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline.’

The Foreign Secretary will discover tomorrow whether he or Boris Johnson will be Britain’s new PM.

But Tehran hit back, saying the seizure was ‘a legal measure by Iran. Iran confronted the ship (to ensure) the region’s security.’

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference in Tehran: ‘To all the countries that are calling on Iran to release the tanker, we ask them to tell Britain the same thing.

‘Comparing the two seizures is an unfair reading’ of the situation, said the Iranian government spokesman.

‘When you illegally seize the ship in Gibraltar, we too are not bound to tolerate any more.’

While Mrs May is handling the crisis for now, Boris Johnson is expected to take over as Prime Minister on Wednesday, and diffusing the crisis will be his first challenge.

He was urged to speak out about the crisis Monday, even as critics attacked his record on negotiating with Iran – after he managed to have the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe extended while he was Foreign Secretary.

In a sign that Mr Johnson could opt to make his Tory leadership rival Mr Hunt the fall guy for the situation, Jacob Rees-Mogg today said it would be ‘vanity’ if the current Foreign Secretary refused to accept a demotion.

Meanwhile Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov insisted Iran was merely ‘taking care of ecology’ in the Gulf and said ‘Iran’s arguments are much more right than those of Gibraltar and London who are indulging in piracy’.

The tanker row – the latest in a series of threats to Middle East shipping – has sent tensions spiralling further amid furious exchanges of rhetoric over the crumbling nuclear deal with Iran.

Maritime industry publication Lloyd’s List said there are currently no U.K.-flagged ships heading to the Persian Gulf and eight U.K.-flagged vessels anchored there after a government advisory to such vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

Restoring the free flow of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is of critical importance to the world’s energy supplies because one-fifth of all global crude exports pass through the narrow waterway between Iran and Oman.

Yesterday the Iranian flag was hoisted over the Stena with Iranian armed forces patrolling the decks in the heavily-guarded port of Bandar Abbas.

The family of one of the crewmen - Deena and husband Pappachan - were pictured weeping at their home in Kochi, India, while watching news about the tanker on TV

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy's nickname for the strait is 'Chokepoint Charlie'. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Footage broadcast on Iranian state TV shows the seized British-registered oil tanker having an Iranian flag hoisted above it. The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Keeping watch: An Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat sails in front of the Stena Impero, the UK-flagged vessel which was seized by Iranian authorities on Friday

Flashpoint: The Stena Impero, the UK-flagged tanker at the centre of the latest Middle East tensions, is seen at a heavily guarded Iranian port

On deck: The Stena is seen with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat beside it after it was captured on Friday

Video footage released by Iran showed the  tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

In a radio exchange, an Iranian officer can be heard telling the tanker to change course.

‘You are ordered: change your course… immediately. If you obey, you will be safe,’ he said.

The British frigate HMS Montrose intervenes to inform the Stena its ‘passage must not be impaired, impeded, obstructed or hampered’ under international law.

The Iranians then tell the British warship: ‘No challenge is intended… I want to inspect the ship for security reason.’

The Montrose diverted to the Stena’s position but was around an hour away by the time it entered Iranian waters.

Iran ‘arrests 17 CIA spies, several face execution’

Seventeen alleged CIA spies have been arrested in Iran and some of them will face the death penalty, Tehran claimed today.

Iranian intelligence chiefs say they have broken up an American spy ring which had planted U.S. agents in nuclear, military and cyber facilities and allegedly tried to recruit spies in the UAE.

The suspects were all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranians as they applied to travel to America, Iran claims.

Accusation: An Iranian official tells a documentary how authorities in Tehran had struck a blow against American intelligence

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies were arrested during the Iranian calendar year that ended in March 2019.

‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

Meanwhile an Iranian television documentary aired on Monday purported to show a CIA officer recruiting an Iranian man in the United Arab Emirates.

The Press TV documentary claimed that Iran had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’, though it was unclear if it was describing the same arrests.

‘Because there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai. It is very dangerous… Iranian intelligence,’ a woman was shown telling an Iranian in the documentary.

Iran impounded the Stena on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, British charge d’affaires Jonathan Allen wrote that the vessel had been in Omani waters with its transponder switched on when it was approached.

Meanwhile T. V. Pappachan, the father of 26-year-old crew member Dijo Pappachan, said he is waiting anxiously for his son to be returned and called on Britain to guarantee his safety.

‘I am not speaking only for my son. All the 23 crew members set sail to foreign countries for work. They are onboard to make a living. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure they come back safe,’ he told the Kahleej Times.

I have complete trust in the government of India and our diplomatic strength. I understand that the issue is between countries and individuals cannot do much. We are all praying for the entire crew’s safe return.’

Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday amid concern over how Iran was able to capture the ship.

A second oil tanker, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, which is managed by Norbulk Shipping UK, veered off course towards the Iranian coast after it was boarded by armed guards at around 5.30pm on Friday.

The Mesdar’s Glasgow-based operator said communication had since been re-established with the ship and the crew were unharmed.

Britain has warned its ships to avoid the Straits of Hormuz, a chokepoint for about a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.

UK authorities intercepted the Grace 1 on July 4, saying it was violating EU sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.

A detachment of Royal Marines from 42 Commando boarded the vessel off Gibraltar in a joint operation with the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Gibraltar’s government said tests showed the supertanker was fully loaded with crude oil.

But Iran has insisted that the tanker was not headed for Syria.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood attempted to dispel criticism that the UK had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ by allowing the tanker to be captured.

He said the UK had vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day in the region, adding: ‘It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel.’

He also called for more money to be invested in the Royal Navy if Britain wants to continue to play a role on the international stage.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory party leader, added his voice to the critics – saying that Britain was offered help in guarding the vessels by the United States and refused it.

The Stena Impero was surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces at 4pm and ordered to head north on Friday. A second British-managed vessel, Mesdar, abruptly changed course towards Iran

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran's side over the tanker

Russian deputy foreign ministery Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) took Iran’s side over the tanker

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Footage showed troops wearing ski masks and carrying machine guns (pictured) rappelling to its deck from a helicopter before capturing the British-registered oil tanker on Friday night

Royal Navy ‘disgracefully short of ships’

Former heads of the navy and politicians are joining a chorus of criticism of the state of the Royal Navy – warning Britain’s fleet no longer has the power to protect British interests, following the seizure by Iran of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West said the Navy is ‘disgracefully short of ships’ while retired commander of UK maritime forces Rear Admiral Alex Burton said the Navy’s decline since 2005 ‘has had an impact on our ability to protect our interests around the globe’.

On Friday the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose arrived an hour too late to prevent Iranian Revolutionary guard commandos from seizing the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker.

The Royal Navy fleet is a fraction of its size three decades ago and many ships are currently out of commission undergoing maintenance or repair

They diverted the tanker and its mainly Indian crew to Iran, despite it sailing in Omani waters, in retaliation for the capture by British forces of an Iranian vessel earlier this month.

Politicians and military experts have asked why it was not accompanied by a Royal Navy convoy after the Iranian Grace One tanker, allegedly taking Iranian oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, was captured by UK forces off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman said yesterday: ‘I take the view that we have dropped the ball here … we did not put in place a chain where we asked all of our vessels to leave at a certain time under convoy.

‘So it was hardly a surprise when one of ours got taken.’

What does it mean for a ship to sail under a country’s flag?

While the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel, it is owned by Swedish shipping firm Stena AB – which is headquartered in Glasgow.

Being ‘British-flagged’ means the vessel is registered in the UK and is covered by the maritime laws of that country.

A vessel does not have to have any physical connection to the country in which it is registered and merely has to have an application accepted by that country’s shipping authorities.

A ship can only fly one flag at a time, but can change flags at any point.

As a result, some owners seek a so-called ‘flag of convenience’ which they believe will offer benefits.

Panama and the Marshall Islands are well-known for offering easy registrations and other benefits for those registering there, in the hopes of attracting business.

As a result, Panama has the largest ship register in the world, with the Marshall Islands second in the 2018 list.

Describing the grab by Tehran as a ‘major failure’ by the UK, he demanded to know why the offer of help was refused and said answers need to be offered ‘very quickly’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Tory European Research Group and a prominent supporter of Boris Johnson, suggested that leadership rival Jeremy Hunt’s Foreign Office should accept some of the blame for the current crisis in the Gulf.

Downing Street has denied that the US offered support to escort every single British ship through the Strait, with Theresa May’s official spokesman saying that the area is simply too large to provide that kind of assistance.

Meanwhile senior intelligence sources claimed that terrorists supported by Iran could strike Britain if tensions deepen between the two countries.

Agencies believe that the Islamic Republic has funded sleeper cells across Europe, including in the UK.

They rank the country behind only Russia and China as in terms of the threat it poses to national security.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is linked to radicals that are operating the terror cells, a source told the Daily Telegraph.

Counter-terror officers broke apart a cell in 2015 when they found it stockpiling explosives in London.

Britain only has the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose in the region plus four mine hunters, while the US as its Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain - which includes one aircraft carrier, one missile cruiser, five destroyers, two amphibious vessels and two or three submarines

Jeremy Hunt

Liam Fox

Senior Tory ministers including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (left) International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (right) arrived at an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee on Monday chaired by Theresa May
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter (left) and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock (right) both attended the Cobra meeting

The source told the paper: ‘Iran has Hezbollah operatives in position to carry out a terrorist attack in the event of a conflict. That is the nature of the domestic threat Iran poses to the UK.’

The current situation in the Gulf can be traced back to last year when President Trump’s administration tore up a nuclear deal signed under Obama.

Johnson’s first crisis?

Boris Johnson is expected to be crowned new Tory party leader Tuesday before taking the reins Wednesday, meaning he will take charge of managing the Iran crisis.

The former Foreign Secretary previously faced criticism after he managed to extend the jail term of Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran during his tenure, by suggesting that she was not on holiday, as had been previously claimed.

In just 48 hours, Mr Johnson could find himself negotiating the release of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero – which includes 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

He could also find himself doing so without the help of a Foreign Secretary, since his leadership rival is the man currently occupying the post -Jeremy Hunt.

While Mr Johnson has insisted the pair will ‘kiss and make up’ after the election is over, Mr Hunt may decide to follow one of his senior ministers – Sir Alan Duncan – and quit rather than serve under the new leader.

Mr Johnson has so far not spoken out over the crisis, despite mounting pressure to take a stand.

The deal guaranteed Iran economic benefits in return for curtailing its nuclear programme in a way which would not allow it to obtain nuclear weapons.

Trump reapplied stringent economic sanctions on Tehran, robbing the kingdom of much of its income, prompting the regime to walk back on its commitments.

As Iran tried to pressure European leaders to find a way to salvage the deal, tankers in the Gulf can under repeated attack, in explosions which Britain and America have blamed on Tehran.

A UAE investigation found four mysterious sabotage attacks on May 12 were linked to a ‘state actor’ but did not name Iran.

The attacks were carried out with limpet mines and were ‘part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation’, the report found.

The tanker attacks inflamed an already tense Middle East stand-off and prompted the U.S. to bolster its military presence in the region.

Matters worsened just four weeks later when another two ships were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman.

Forty-four sailors were forced to abandon their ships amid a huge fireball on the MT Front Altair and another blast on the Kokuka Courageous.

America again blamed Iran, releasing a video which purported to show Iranian revolutionary guard forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ships.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

 

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these 'ultra-fast' boats in 2010

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard uses a large number of high-speed small vessels to harass shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The regime launched these ‘ultra-fast’ boats in 2010

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

 

A tape has emerged of HMS Montrose (pictured in 2007) ordering the crew of the Stena Impero not to follow Iranian demands to change its course

Meanwhile tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions have also been heightening as Tehran moves ever further away from its 2015 nuclear deal. 

Iran has said that it could restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent.

But Major General Hossein Salami, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, denied Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a U.S. drone.

Today former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said the future of Iran’s nuclear deal could be a way to exert diplomatic pressure on Tehran.

‘We have one substantial card in our hands, which is that the Iranians have been trying to get the British and the Europeans to keep to the Iran nuclear deal,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘Therefore actually their attempt to interfere with a British-flagged ship is obviously wrong, not just in principle, but it’s obviously a political gamble for them.’

He added that the UK would have to make special arrangements to escort shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

‘Chokepoint Charlie’: Patrolled by 2,000 Iranian speedboats, why the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most chaotic and volatile shipping channels 

By Phil Diacon, for the Daily Mail

To grasp fully the crisis in the Strait of Hormuz, you need a clear picture of the chaotic and volatile scene in what is one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.

Up to 100 oil tankers pass through this narrow waterway every day, transporting close to 20 million barrels of oil – and that is only the activity we can most easily detect in these waters.

Hundreds of other boats and ships ply the same seas, which are not much wider than the English Channel between Dover and Boulogne, about 21 nautical miles.

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port today after being seized by Iran. Larger vessels in the strait are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft. It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway

The Royal Navy’s nickname for the strait is ‘Chokepoint Charlie’. It links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, a tight hairpin bend with Iran to the north and the headland of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south.

Larger vessels are obliged to transmit their position, but those rules do not apply to the numerous smaller craft.

I spent my formative years in the RAF before founding a maritime intelligence service. The high seas, I have come to learn, are not like the skies, where all aircraft must keep to a flight plan and comply with air traffic control.

Instead, ships such as fishing vessels and pleasure boats do not have to signal their identity or their plans – which makes the Navy’s job of spotting Iran’s military patrol boats extremely difficult.

It is, therefore, simply impossible for one British warship to have a full and detailed picture of all the activity in the Strait of Hormuz. You might as well ask a single police car to track every vehicle on a motorway.

Iran knows this. It has been building up its military strength in the strait for decades, aimed at countering the West’s navies. The crisis in the Strait of Hormuz is extremely volatile. Tehran has become a hungry tiger, backed into a corner with few options for escape.

Already it has stockpiled mines and missiles. And most worryingly of all, the naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has about 2,000 fast attack craft (FAC) to be used in swarm formations. These speedboats can appear anywhere in the strait within minutes. Armed with heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers, they can carry radar-guided anti-ship missiles capable of sinking a 1,500-ton target.

Though their forces are no match for conventional Western navies, they have developed their strength in ‘asymmetric techniques’. It would be difficult for any warship – let alone a tanker – to defend itself against an assault by a swarm of FACs, especially if they were assisted by mini-submarines with torpedoes.

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

The Stena Impero was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday around 4pm when it was stopped by IRGC boats, diverted into Iranian waters, and is now being held at the port of Bandar Abbas. Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose was an hour away at the time, leading to claims the Royal Navy is no longer fit for purpose

Analysts also believe that Iran has developed unmanned, remote-controlled sea-going drones called Ya Mahdi boats. These can be loaded with explosives and launched on high-speed attacks that are difficult to detect on radar.

Clearly, it would be extremely foolish of the UK to underestimate Iran’s military capabilities – or the country’s pride.

The Royal Navy sailors trying to protect British shipping in the Gulf face another headache. Such is the chaotic situation on the ground that it is by no means easy to say what is and isn’t a British ship.

When Iranian commandos stormed the Stena Impero on Friday evening, referred to by some as a ‘British tanker’ none of the 23 crew members taken hostage was, in fact, British. The vessel was sailing under the British flag or ‘red ensign’, but that was really a diplomatic nicety. The ship is owned in Sweden, not the UK – and companies from any number of nations might lay claim to portions of its cargo.

The Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith asked yesterday why Britain had not accepted US offers of naval assistance, but the problem is not a lack of warships: it is knowing what to do with them.

So how should the next Prime Minister navigate this treacherous strait? Let us hope that mediation and cool responses prevail. Putting more warships into the area would increase the likelihood of conflict. I do not believe, therefore, that sending US aircraft carriers and our own nuclear submarines to the region is the answer.

Neither is greater use of convoys. Convoys can move only as fast as their slowest member, and many of the ships in the strait have no reason to join any convoy because they do not perceive any threat.

As long as this stand-off continues, the situation will remain tense. No one should be craving further military action. But after a weekend of dire warnings and threatening rhetoric, Britain has very few viable next steps.

  • Phil Diacon is managing director of the maritime security experts Dryad Global

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271815/Russia-says-Irans-tanker-position-right-Britains.html

Story 3: Iran Says It Captured 17 Central Intelligence Agency Spies — Plans To Execute Some of Them — Videos

Pompeo dismisses Iran’s claim it arrested 17 CIA spies

Iran says it has captured 17 alleged US spies

Iran claims to have captured spies working for CIA

Iran crisis: ‘CIA spies’ sentenced to death

Iran releases the names and photos of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ it claims to have captured as Trump insists they have NOT been arrested and accuses Tehran of lying because it has ‘no idea what to do’ amid rising tensions with the West

  • The Iranian intelligence and security forces released photographs and the names of some of people they are are among the 17 on Monday 
  • Their identities have not been verified by any other government  
  • It  came as President Trump denied that any CIA agents had been arrested 
  • He accused Iran of lying because the country had become desperate
  • Iran claims to have arrested the spies sometime before March this year
  • It says it is only now publicizing their arrests as tensions with the West escalate 
  • All of the ‘suspects’ are Iranian nationals who were ‘lured’ by ‘US visa traps’, the Iranians claim  
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo retorted that Iran had a ‘history of lying’
  • Middle East tensions have been rising for weeks amid a series of tanker attacks
  • They have spiraled again in recent days after Iran seized a UK-flagged vessel 

An Iranian media outlet has released photographs of some of the 17 ‘CIA spies’ its government claims to have captured.

Photographs of some of the men were shared on Twitter on Monday by the Tasnim News Agency along with ‘details’ of their apparent work for the US.

The images and information were released by the Iranian intelligence and security forces, the agency reported.  They have not been verified by the US or any other government.

All of the ‘spies’ are Iranian nationals who the Iranian government claims were lured by the US with the promise of getting visas, according to Iran, which claims they were arrested in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March.

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Only now are their arrests being made public as the standoff between the West and Tehran intensifies.

As the photos emerged on Monday, President Trump denied that anyone had been arrested and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iran’s history of lying.

‘The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false,’ Trump wrote in a tweet.

Scroll down for video 

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the 'spies' names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar which ended in March

Iran released unmuzzed versions of these photographs along with some of the ‘spies’ names on Monday morning after claiming to have captured them in the Iranian calendar year which ended March

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government+27

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies' families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Some of the photographs included the alleged spies’ families. Iran says all are Iranian nationals but that they were lured into working for the US government

Another of the 'spies' Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US+27

Another of the ‘spies’ Tehran claims to have captured in retaliation against the US

Trump called the reports 'lies and propaganda' and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and 'has no idea what to do'

 

Trump called the reports ‘lies and propaganda’ and claimed Tehran is flailing amid a sinking economy and ‘has no idea what to do’

‘Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do.’

‘Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!’ Trump wrote.

Iran’s security chiefs said they smashed an American spy ring that had planted U.S. agents at ‘sensitive sites’ in the country’s nuclear, military and cyber facilities.

The 17 suspects are all Iranians, some of them recruited by a ‘visa trap’ in which the CIA would target Iranian nationals as they applied to visit America, Iran claims.

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'
The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the 'spies'

The news agency also shared photos of business cards, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles they say belong to some of the ‘spies’

A documentary that aired Monday on Iranian TV purports to show U.S. agents trying to recruit Iranian spies in the Middle East, although the footage has not been verified.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox news Channel interview that Iran’s mullahs can’t be taken at their word.

‘It’s part of their nature to lie to the world,’ Pompeo said. ‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions they’ve taken.’

Iran says the suspects were arrested in the 12 months ending March 2019, but the regime is now publicizing the case now, just as tensions spiral in the Persian Gulf.

Tehran has been feuding with the West for weeks over the crumbling nuclear deal and a series of threats to Middle East shipping, which heightened again last week when Iran’s revolutionary guards seized a British tanker in the Straits of Hormuz.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not commented on the claims specifically, but said Iran ‘has a long history of lying’.

An Iranian documentary which aired on Monday alluded to some form of strike on the US, particularly the CIA

This man was highlighted in an Iranian documentary about alleged U.S. intelligence work in Iran, as officials announced they had arrested 17 suspects. The footage has not been verified

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that 'there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai'

The TV documentary also shows one woman telling an Iranian that ‘there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a 'Fox & Friends' interview on Monday that 'it's part of their nature to lie to the world'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) said or Iran in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview on Monday that ‘it’s part of their nature to lie to the world’

Centre of attention: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bandar Abbas port on Friday after being seized by Iran

‘I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they’ve taken,’ he said in response to Iran’s claims.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post's bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country's government, chimed in on Monday to say Iran had learned little

Speaking in Florida, he added: ‘There’s a long list of Americans that we are working to get home from the Islamic Republic of Iran.’

On Monday, a documentary which aired in Iran claimed the country had ‘dealt a blow to the U.S. foreign intelligence service’.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian journalist and formerly the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tehran who was convicted of espionage in 2015 but has always maintained he was falsely accused by his country’s government, chimed in: ‘5 years ago today, my wife and I were abducted from our home in Tehran, beginning a long, terrible & unjust ordeal.

‘Officials in Iran have obviously learned little from that episode, as they continue their 40 year practice of hostage taking, glorifying it at every opportunity.’

In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said: ‘Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,’ an intelligence spokesman told Iranian media.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.’

First picture inside captured tanker

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker captured in the Straits of Hormuz on Friday.

A picture taken inside the Stena Impero shows part of the 23-strong crew huddled on the floor under the watchful eye of a Revolutionary Guardsman.

The men are seen sitting cross-legged on the bridge of the vessel having had their shoes removed and piled up nearby.

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table+27

Iran has today paraded the crew of the Stena Impero oil tanker, which sails under a British flag, after its Revolutionary Guards captured the vessel on Friday. Footage released on state TV channels showed part of the crew sitting around a table

The photo is the latest taunt by Iran to Britain after the regime also aired footage of their flag being raised over the vessel.

On Monday Iran also broadcast footage of the Muslim call to prayer being played from the tanker’s speakers.

Iran seized the ship in retaliation for its own vessel, the Grace 1, being stopped by Royal Marine off the coast of Gibraltar last month in which it says was an operation carried out on behalf of the US. Britain says the ship was violating EU sanctions.

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker's kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated+27

Chefs are also shown preparing food in the tanker’s kitchen in an attempt by Iranian authorities to prove that the crew are not being badly treated

Iranian officials said the suspects had been gathering classified information using ‘advanced equipment’.

‘Some were approached when they were applying for a visa, while others had visas from before and were pressured by the CIA in order to renew them,’ said the intelligence chief.

‘All of the network’s members, all the 17 people, were trained by CIA officers on how to set up safe communications.’

Iran said last month that it had dismantled a spy network linked to the CIA, but it was not clear if the latest announcement was part of the same operation.

Either way, the timing of the latest announcement has raised concerns that Tehran is hardening its position in its stand-off with Western powers.

A top security official alleged the CIA used special stone-like containers to send communications tools and identity documents to its network.

‘The forgery was clumsy, showing that it was done by the CIA itself,’ he said, adding that this ‘proves’ it was government-sanctioned.

‘After they were discovered, CIA officers ordered the spies to destroy all the documents,’ he added.

The intelligence official also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female spy working for the CIA.

The disc also included names of several U.S. Embassy staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with the recruited Iranian spies.

In April the regime said it had uncovered 290 U.S. spies in recent years.

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

The Ministry of Defence released this photo of HMS Montrose warding off Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats (circled) which harassed the UK-flagged tanker British Heritage on July 10

Middle East tensions mounted again at the weekend after Iran captured the UK-flagged Stena Impero, in retaliation for a British Royal Marine operation two weeks ago in which an Iranian vessel was seized off Gibraltar.

Video footage released by Iran showed the tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.

Authorities said they impounded the ship on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.

But Iran made the link between the two separate seizures this month explicit on Saturday.

‘The rule of reciprocal action is well-known in international law,’ said Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council.

The Stena’s crew is made up of 18 Indians, including the captain, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of ‘illegal interference’ and saying there was no evidence of a collision.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7271681/Iran-claims-arrested-17-CIA-spies.html

 

 

Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to Group of Alleged CIA Spies

Story 4: Where is The New Border Wall? — Where is Congressional Funding for New Border Barrier? — Congress Is Responsible for Crisis At The Border — New Improved Bipartisan Political Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” Including Open Border/Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Democrats and Republicans and  Deport All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in United States — It Is The Law — Enforce The Law — Videos Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Trump wall President addresses nation on border ‘crisis’ BBC News

Tucker Carlson Tonight 7/22/19 | Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News July 22, 2019

President Trump signs border aid bill

Border Wall Presentation

Major Decision Coming From The Supreme Court Over The Fate Of Trump’s Wall

Trump says Mexico has been helping the US a lot with the border crisis

Trump’s border wall still not built as US faces immigrant crisis | 60 Minutes Australia

Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office

The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise to construct a “big beautiful wall.”

In a statement last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency overseeing border barrier construction, confirmed that all the fencing completed since Trump took office is “in place of dilapidated designs” because the existing fence was in need of replacement.

The agency said that it had built 51 miles of steel bollard fence with funding that was set aside during fiscal 2017 and 2018. But while the funding was meant both to replace outdated walls and to place barriers where there previously had been none, the government has only completed the replacement projects. The projects to secure areas with no fence are still in the works.

The 50 miles of completed replacement barrier is a 10-mile gain since early April. In Trump’s two and a half years in office, his administration has installed an average 1.7 miles of barrier per month, and none of it in areas that did not previously have some sort of barrier. A total 205 miles of new and replacement barrier has been funded in the two and a half years since Trump took office.

A senior administration official told the Washington Examiner that Border Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers moved faster on replacement projects than the new ones because the approval process for environmental and zoning permits was far less extensive than areas of the border with no barrier.

A second senior official defended the administration’s progress and blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking funding for additional projects the White House has tried to move on.

Despite the lack of new barriers, Trump has applauded his administration for building more border wall. His 2020 campaign has made the border wall its primary messaging.

Trump’s 2020 campaign debuted the slogan “Finish the Wall” at his first rally of 2019 in El Paso, Texas. At one point during his speech, the crowd began cheering “build that wall.” Trump responded, “Now, you really mean ‘finish that wall,’ because we’ve built a lot of it,” though he did not share numbers with the thousands of people in attendance.

The White House initially persuaded Congress to fund replacement projects in 2017, then moved in 2018 to get more money for both replacement fencing and projects in parts of the border that have no barrier.

Congress in 2017 approved $341 million for 40 miles of replacement wall in San Diego, California; Santa Teresa, North Mexico; Calexico, California; and El Paso, Texas.

“To this date, CBP has completed the construction of approximately 99 percent of the 40 miles funded in fiscal year 2017. Additionally, construction of 35 gates to close gaps in current border infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley sector continues,” the Department of Homeland Security agency said in a statement.

In the 2018 omnibus government funding bill, lawmakers approved $1.375 billion for 80 miles of new and replacement wall in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, various regions of California, and Yuma, Arizona. CBP said it has finished roughly 10 miles of that portion, of which none has been new fencing.

Meanwhile, the administration maintains that significant portions of new wall will be finished in the time remaining in Trump’s term. Army Corps Commanding Gen. Todd T. Semonite said earlier this spring the Corps will put up 450 miles of wall by November 2020.

However, CBP reiterated this month it is only moving on the approximately 205 miles that have been funded as of 2019, including with Treasury Forfeiture Fund dollars Trump redirected through executive action in February. The remaining 85 miles that has already been funded was proposed this year and is intended for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas — some of which is meant to be new wall.

The Trump administration was sued earlier this spring after seizing $6.6 billion in military and other department funding to use for border wall construction. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the White House plan from going forward. The court is expected to rule in the next few weeks.

Roughly 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border has some sort of barrier as a result of the Secure Fence Act, which was passed by Congress during the George W. Bush administration. It was the first major piece of legislation that funded the construction of barriers along the southern border.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1291, July 19, 2019, Part 1 of 2 — Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos — Story 2: House of Representatives Bipartisan Vote of 332 to 94 Not To Impeach President Trump — Videos –Story 3: President Trump Rally in North Carolina — New Politically Correct Chant — Send Them All Home — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

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Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos —

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Ted Cruz Grills Top Google Exec on Censorship of PragerU

Dennis Prager Testifies Before the U.S. Senate on Big Tech Censorship

Big Tech Is Big Brother

The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know

What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Who Are the Racists?

Illegal Immigration: It’s About Power

Sen. Cruz Slams Google’s Monopoly, Calls It ‘Unprecedented’

Sen. Cruz Questions Victims of Censorship on Google’s Bias

Sen. Cruz Grills Google Executive on Alleged Censorship Bias

Behind PragerU’s fight against alleged Google censorship

Carolla and Prager ask: What if we all stopped apologizing?

GOOGLE CLASSIFIES CONSERVATIVE CONTENT AS PORNOGRAPHY, CLAIMS FOX NEWS GUEST DENNIS PRAGER

The founder of Prager University, an unaccredited conservative media organization, appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.

Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager appeared on Fox News Tuesday morning just hours before he is set to accuse Google of political bias in testimony before members of Congress in Washington. Prager claims the Silicon Valley tech giants, but specifically Google, are gaming their algorithms against conservative content. He said dozens of PragerU’s 5-minute videos on topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to the founding of Israel have been banned by the search giant and YouTube parent company as “pornography.” Prager claimed the group’s 300-plus videos get more than one billion views annually, but that about 60 of the wide variety of right-wing, historical videos are on Google’s “restricted” list.

“That means, if you block pornography you cannot see a discussion of Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg,” Prager told the Fox & Friends hosts Tuesday morning as an example of a topic in which he will testify. “It’s beyond belief.”

“Google classifies that as porno?” co-host Steve Doocy asked.

“Yes, yes, that is correct,” Prager said. “Why?” replied a stunned Ainsley Earhardt.

“Because we’re conservative,” Prager replied.

Prager University is not an accredited academic institution and offers no diplomas or certifications. It is, despite its name, a non-profit organization that creates frequently provocative political videos and advertisements from a conservative viewpoint.

Prager said a video describing how “human beings are even more precious than animals” was also placed on Google’s restricted list. “If you block pornography in your home you can’t see my video on why human life is precious. I’m not even talking about abortion, although that obviously should be allowed as well,” he said.

Another video featuring Fox News contributor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel is also on the restricted list, Prager added.

The 70-year-old Prager discussed freedom of speech more broadly, saying he is old enough to remember when “liberals were defending real Nazis,” citing the Supreme Court ruling between the heavily Jewish Illinois village of Skokie and the National Socialist Party of America in the 1970s. Prager said the U.S. is currently engaged in a “non-violent civil war … between the left and the rest of the country.”

“Liberals and the left have almost nothing in common but liberals are cowed by the left and that’s the tragedy,” he noted.

Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade both predicted how they think this week’s Big Tech “conservative bias” hearings will go, with Kilmeade warning Prager they’re bringing out the “big guns” in terms of legal teams. Doocy predicted, “You know what they’re going to say: the algorithm.”

“That’s fine, then you have a terrible algorithm, I mean that is hilarious,” Prager replied. He then compared that defense to the driver of an automatic transmission vehicle running over children and blaming the car. “It’s an absurdity if they say it’s the algorithm, they created the algorithm let them reveal the algorithm to the public.”

dennis prager university google pornography
The founder of the conservative, unaccredited Prager University organization appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.SCREENSHOT: FOX NEWS

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

vative Leader

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants Google to explain why it disbanded an advisory council after Google employees objected to including the president of The Heritage Foundation. Pictured: Cruz speaks Tuesday during his subcommittee hearing on Google and censorship. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out a Google vice president Tuesday afternoon for the tech giant’s decision to dissolve an advisory council on artificial intelligence after inviting Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to join the panel.

Cruz asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, about the worldwide internet company’s disbanding of the advisory council after Google employees objected to including the head of the leading conservative think tank.

“You worked at The Heritage Foundation, I believe you said,” Cruz told Bhatia during a hearing held by the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. “Do you consider The Heritage Foundation to be some fringe organization?”

Bhatia replied that he considered Heritage to be a conservative organization.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

“So 2,500 Google employees signed a petition to have Ms. James removed from the council and they said, quote, ‘By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of its inclusion in this decision making, this is unacceptable,’” Cruz said.

The formal name of Google’s short-lived panel was the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

The petition accused James of being “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant,” and said, “In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.”

“Google, in response to this, dissolved the entire committee,” Cruz said to Bhatia. “Do you understand when you see that kind of bias, saying, ‘A conservative African-American woman’s views are not valid and not worthy of inclusion,’ that the American people would say, ‘These guys are silencing voices they disagree with’?”

James, who is black, overcame racial discrimination in Virginia as a girl and eventually became an educator and top state and federal government official before being named president of The Heritage Foundation, where she had been a trustee for more than a decade.

Bhatia told Cruz, chairman of the subcommittee, that the 2,500 employees who objected to James did not make up a large percentage of the Google workforce.

“Senator, the 2,500 amounts to something around 2% of the Google employees,” Bhatia said.

“But Google acted on their recommendation. You dissolved the committee,” Cruz replied.

>>> Commentary: Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals

Bhatia disagreed.

“No, Senator, we did not,” he said. “What happened in that situation is that it’s a committee that consisted of a number of members; as time progressed, a number of members of the committee other than Ms. James decided to fall off the committee, to withdraw from the committee.”

Cruz continued to press the issue.

“Is this your testimony, Mr. Bhatia? Because I’m finding this difficult to credit. Is it your testimony that Google did not dissolve the committee because your employees were mad that anyone right of center was included?”

The Google vice president answered Cruz by saying the company pulled the plug on the advisory council because executives didn’t see it going anywhere.

“We dissolved the committee, Senator. I think we were clear at the end of the day that it was not going to be viable to continue the council given what we were seeing happen with other members of the committee,” Bhatia said.

Heritage’s James discussed the experience in an April op-ed for The Washington Post, writing that “the Google employees didn’t just attempt to remove me; they greeted the news of my appointment to the council with name-calling and character assassination.”

“They called me anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ and a bigot. That was an odd one, because I’m a 69-year-old black woman who grew up fighting segregation,” James added.

Referring to Google’s decision to end the panel, James wrote, “The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob.”

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

2 Senators Call for Investigation Into Big Tech’s Censorship

Two of the country’s staunchest big tech critics are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies’ perceived censorship practices.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter exercise lots of influence on Americans and they also use their tools to censor some content while amplifying others, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote in a letter Monday to the Federal Trade Commission. They are asking the agency to open a public probe into the impact such policies have on people.

dailycallerlogo“Companies that are this big and that have the potential to threaten democracy this much should not be allowed to curate content entirely without any transparency,” they wrote. “These companies can greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have not accountability to voters.”

They added: “They are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.” Cruz and Hawley are two of the biggest Republican critics of Google and Facebook, both of which are consistently accused of discriminating against conservative content.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

Hawley, for his part, introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act in June that aims to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies immunity only if they can show they are politically neutral. Section 230 was passed in 1996, when the internet was in its infancy.

Other Republicans are taking a more critical stance against big tech companies as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, is dinging Google for not doing enough to protect children.

“Things would change tomorrow if you could get sued,” Graham said during a congressional hearing on July 9 dealing with online dangers to kids. YouTube is under pressure to turn off its recommendation systems for videos featuring kids after reports showed potential predators were abusing the feature.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

 

Story 3: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina — New Improved Politically Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

Speech: Donald Trump Holds a Political Rally in Greenville, North Carolina – July 17, 2019

FULL RALLY: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina

President Trump delivers remarks on immigration, “The Squad,” during campaign rally

President Trump Talks About Antifa & Andy Ngo at NC Rally

WATCH LIVE: Trump holds campaign rally in North Carolina amid racist tweets controversy

Trump disavows ‘send her back’ chant at North Carolina rally

Trump rally in Greenville comes amid controversy

[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIDK7pwzTgE]

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1285, Story 1: President Trump Celebrated American Independence Day By A Patriotic History Address Praising America’s Achievements — America Haters, Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Critical of Speech With Predictable Progressive Propaganda — American People Salute America — Videos — Story 2: Millions March and Protest for Freedom and Independence From Chinese Communist Coercion and Tyranny — Totalitarian Tyranny –Every breath you take — Every move you make — Every bond you break — Every step you take — I’ll be watching you — Every single day — Every word you say — Every game you play — Every night you stay — I’ll be watching you — Oh can’t you see — You belong to me — Chinese Communist Party Social Credit System — Belt and Road Initiative — Videos — Story 3: Trump Warns Islamic Republic of Iran Drive For Nuclear Weapons — Race for 90% Enriched Uranium 235 For Nuclear Bombs — Videos — Story 4: July 2019 Jobs Report: 224,000 Non-farm Payroll Joys Created in June 2019 with U-3 Unemployment Rate of 3.7%, U-6 Unemployment Rate of 7.6%, 6 Million Unemployed, Labor Participation Rate of 62.9% and Not In Labor Force of 96,057,000 — Videos — Story 5: Faces of Fascism — Crazy Communist Clown Cortez  — House Speaker Socialist Slaps-down Cortez — Just Walk Away From Democratic Socialist Party — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: President Trump Celebrated American Independence Day By A Patriotic History Address Praising America’s Achievements — America Haters, Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Critical of Speech With Predictable Progressive Propaganda — American People Salute America — Videos

President Trump COMPLETE REMARKS at July 4th “Salute to America” (C-SPAN)

Trump’s Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ | Special coverage

Donald Trump delivers July 4th Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial

Watch All The Military Flyovers From President Donald Trump’s ‘Salute To America’ | NBC News

Watch Live: July 4th In Washington, Trump’s ‘Salute To America’ Military Event | NBC News

National Independence Day Parade: ABC News Live coverage

4th of July Parade in Washington D.C.

Trump’s July 4th speech heavy on history and military praise

Thousands Attend National 4th of July Parade in Washington D.C.

Full Show: Fireworks at 4th of July Celebration in Washington, DC 2019

4th of July fireworks light up sky in Washington, D.C.

4th of July Fireworks from Washington D.C.

Fourth of July fireworks from the Nation’s Capitol

Trump gets tanks, flyover for July 4th celebration

Trump reveals 4th of July celebration details

Left attacks first lady over reciting ‘The Lord’s Prayer’

Marc Thiessen says ‘Salute to America’ critics have ‘egg on their face’

Democratic hysteria proven wrong over Trump’s ‘Salute to America’

Proud Trump delivers patriotic July 4 speech invoking American exceptionalism as ‘one of the greatest stories ever told’ while he avoids politics amid a DC deluge and military flyovers and finishes with a spectacular fireworks display

  • Donald Trump braved rainy weather to deliver a speech at his Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ event in front of the Lincoln Memorial and behind a panel of bulletproof glass on Thursday evening in Washington, DC
  • The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that ‘our nation is stronger than it ever was before’ and ‘for Americans, nothing is impossible’
  • He recited a litany of American accomplishments over the nation’s history, including the moon landing 
  • Trump also praised each branch of the military, highlighting their history and their accomplishments 
  • He made the military the focal point of the night by bringing in tanks and organizing flyovers by Air Force B-2 stealth bombers, the US Navy Blue Angels, US Marine One and Air Force One
  • The event has been dampened by inclement weather as the sky opened up two hours before the event kicked off, sending thousands of revelers running for cover  under umbrellas and pitched tents    
  • Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades with thousands flocking to the capital
  • But military chiefs were rumored to be concerned this year could turn out to be an overtly political affair 
  • On Tuesday Trump had said ‘the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled’ to participate 
  • Thursday’s celebration had also been overshadowed by questions about how much it will cost taxpayers 
  • But the president has insisted it will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes 
  • SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE FULL SPEECH 

Donald Trump braved rainy weather to deliver a speech at his Fourth of July ‘Salute to America’ event from behind a panel of bulletproof glass.

The president welcomed crowds on the National Mall to a ‘very special’ Fourth of July holiday before launching in his pre-prepared remarks.

‘Today we come together as one nation with this very special Salute to America,’ he told the sea of red, white and blue-clad revelers.

Trump listed off a number of American accomplishments throughout the nation’s history – including the Revolutionary War, the women’s suffrage movement, the Civil Rights movement – and paid special tribute to each brand of the military, which he made the focal point of the festivities.

He offered a brief history of each branch and highlighted their accomplishments between cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.

‘We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag – the brave men and women of the United States military,’ he said.

As he paid tribute to each branch of the service, he also mentioned the branch he wants to see created under his presidency.

The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that 'our nation is stronger than it ever was before' and 'for Americans, nothing is impossible'

The president struck an inspirational tone as he read pre-prepared remarks from a teleprompter, declaring that ‘our nation is stronger than it ever was before’ and ‘for Americans, nothing is impossible’

The crowd erupted in cheers of 'U-S-A! U-S-A!' as Trump and Melania strutted onto the stage

The crowd erupted in cheers of ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’ as Trump and Melania strutted onto the stage

Trump's speech ended with the Blue Angels flying overhead

Trump’s speech ended with the Blue Angels flying overhead

The Navy's Blue Angels fly over the Lincoln Memorial with crowds watching big screens below

The president holds hands with the First Lady as he waves to spectators in front of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday

The president holds hands with the First Lady as he waves to spectators in front of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday

The president addressed the crowd on the Mall as the rain came down

Fireworks spell out USA over the Lincoln Memorial

The fireworks display capped off the evening in Washington D.C.'s Fourth of July celebration

The fireworks display capped off the evening in Washington D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration

A woman takes a picture from inside the Lincoln memorial as fireworks explode overhead on the National Mall

Planes from the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron perform a flyover during the celebrations

Planes from the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron perform a flyover during the celebrations

‘The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and, very soon, the Space Force,’ he said, ticking off America’s armed services.

He even vowed to soon ‘plant the American flag on Mars.’

‘I want you to know that we are going to be back on the moon very soon, and someday soon we will plant the American flag on Mars,’ he said when he paid tribute to the work of NASA.

AIRCRAFT AND MILITARY VEHICLES PARTICIPATING IN JULY FOURTH

Air Force One

Blue Angels (F-18 (6))

US Coast Guard Aircraft: MH-60 (1)/ MH-65 (1) / C-130 (1)

US Air Force Aircraft: B-2 (1) / F-22 (2)

US Marine Corps Aircraft: V-92 (1) / V-22 (2)

US Army: Aircraft: AH-64 (4)

US Navy: F-35 (2) / F-18 (2)

Other Equipment:

M1A2 Abrams Tanks (2)

M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (2)

M88 Recovery Vehicle (1)

Contact Truck with crew (1)

 – courtesy the White House

The president also incorporated flyovers into his remarks, timing it so the B-52 bomber, F-18 and F-35 fighter jets and osprey helicopters flew over as he paid tribute to the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The overhead flights particularly pleased the crowd, which cheered loudly when the aircraft appeared over head.

And, as he mentioned each military branch, a band played its theme song.

Critics charged the president with throwing a political rally on the nation’s birthday – a charge the White House fought back against.

But when Trump looked out at the crowd, he would see a similar sight to what he sees at his rally – a sea of red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, which was his 2016 campaign theme.

Some supporters waved Trump campaign signs. Venders sold Trump campaign merchandise.

And the president touted the crowd’s size after reports Republicans were worried about light turnout due to the rainy weather and late planning with some even saying they feared a ‘Trump Inauguration 2.0’ when a fight broke out between the White House and press over the crowd size.

‘A great crowd of tremendous Patriots this evening, all the way back to the Washington Monument!,’ the president tweeted after he left the National Mall and was back at the White House.

It was Trump’s idea to have a heavy military presence during his ‘Salute to America.’

He took a hand in planning the celebration – which he vowed would be the ‘show of a lifetime’ – pushing to have tanks on display and American military planes flying overhead – a feat he pulled off, capped with Blue Angels soaring over his head as he wrapped up his speech.

He also praised the Gold Star families in the audience, thanking them for their sacrifice, and asked people to remember law enforcement officials.

‘Our nation has always honored the heroes who serve our communities. The firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs, ICE, border patrol and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4th, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation,’ he said.

And he encouraged young people to join the service during his 45 minute remarks.

‘To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life,’ he said.

‘Our nation is its strongest today than it ever was before – it is its strongest now,’ he said to great applause, resulting in the crowds cheering: ‘USA, USA, USA.’

Trump wore a navy suit, a bright red tie, an American flag pin on his lapel and shiny black patent dress shoes while Melania tempted fate - given the weather - in a fresh white frock with rainbow stripes and hot pink pointed-toe pumps

Melania Trump (far left) joins Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen and the president's daughter Tiffany at the event

Melania Trump (far left) joins Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen and the president’s daughter Tiffany at the event

The president stuck to a patriotic theme in his remarks

People wave flags and take photos as they watch Trump's address on the National Mall under rainy weather

Trump offers a salute during his Fourth of July speech

Attendees cheered as the Blue Angels appeared

Trump's speech was projected on a giant screen on the National Mall

Trump’s speech was projected on a giant screen on the National Mall

QUOTES FROM TRUMP’S FOURTH OF JULY SPEECH

‘Today, we come together as ONE NATION with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag—the brave men and women of the United States Military!

As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we ALL share a truly extraordinary heritage.

That same American Spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history. To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of YOU.

As long as we stay true to our cause — as long as we remember our great history—and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future — then there will be NOTHING that America cannot do.’

His remarks were peppered with famous American names – including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, the Wright Brothers, Frederick Douglass and Amelia Earhart – as he sought to pay tribute to the country’s history while emphasizing its greatness today.

He quoted Abraham Lincoln’s famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ and said the U.S. has the government ‘of, for and by the people.’

Trump, who spoke from the Lincoln Memorial, noted this was also where Martin Luther King made his famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech.

He spoke of the greatness of America invention – noting Alexander Bell, Red Cross founder Clara Barton, and the accomplishment of other famous Americans, adding: ‘Nothing is impossible.’

Trump, who built his career on real estate, spoke of the America’s construction victories like skyscrapers and bridges.

‘Americans always take care of each other,’ he said.

He noted this year was the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote and paid tribute to the Civil Rights movement.

Trump spoke as rain trickled down from the sky onto his festivities. Crowds still swarmed the reflecting pool around the Lincoln Memorial and there was a heavy security presence – people waited up to six blocks to get through the mags.

The president, the first to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day in nearly seven decades, kept his remarks focused on patriotism after the White House defended his event as a celebration of America instead of a political rally.

‘That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history.’

‘To this date that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you.’

‘Today just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American Freedom rests on the shoulders of the men and women willing to defend it,’ he added.

Fireworks are lit near the White House during Fourth of July celebration

Fireworks capped off the evening

Fireworks capped off the evening

Trump got an enthusiastic greeting from the crowd, who yelled ‘USA, USA’ as he and the first lady walked on stage.

‘As long was we stay true to our cause – as long as we remember our great history – and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future – then there will e nothing that America cannot do,’ he said.

‘We will never forget that we are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny.’

At the end of his speech Trump invited the military band to play a formal rendition Lee Greenwood’s Proud To Be An American – one of his favorites — as a Navy Blue Angel plane flew overhead.

He shook hands with some military officials and waved before exiting the stage.

After Trump’s event, a Fourth of July concert featuring Carole King and cast members from Sesame Street took place down the National Mall at the U.S. Capitol building.

King sang ‘Natural Woman’ and John Stamos – the host of the ‘Capitol Fourth’ contest – had playful interactions with the puppet characters, which included Big Bird, Burt and Ernie.

Both events were followed by a firework display.

The display was not without controversy this year.

To accommodate the flyovers and the fireworks display, President Trump closed down Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport, causing several flight delays.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that flights would be grounded from National, which is close to the center of D.C., during the flypast, from 6.15pm to 7.15pm, and for the fireworks, from 9pm to 9.45pm.

It will be the first time the airport has ever been closed for the annual July 4 fireworks, whose launch site was moved closer to the airport to accommodate Trump’s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Instead of being launched from its traditional location alongside the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, the fireworks were launched from a barge in the Potomac.

 The firework display was twice as long this year after the White House got two fireworks companies to donate to the show.

Down the mall at the U.S. Capitol, 'A Capitol Fourth' host John Stamos took a selfie with Big Bird

Down the mall at the U.S. Capitol, ‘A Capitol Fourth’ host John Stamos took a selfie with Big Bird

The presidential Air Force One flew over the festivities as Trump arrived

The presidential Air Force One flew over the festivities as Trump arrived

Marine One did a flyover as the US Coast Guard sang

Marine One did a flyover as the US Coast Guard sang

A view of the National Mall during Trump's speech

A view of the National Mall during Trump’s speech

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen hold their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem

Trump reached his hand up to the sky inspecting falling raindrops as he and Melania made their way toward the stage

Trump reached his hand up to the sky inspecting falling raindrops as he and Melania made their way toward the stage

 

Both Trump and Melania’s tresses appeared soggy from the rain by the conclusion of the president’s speech

Melania Trump was on her husband’s arm as the President’s “Salute to America” got underway for the Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Washington, D.C. has always had Independence Day celebrations with plenty of concerts and fireworks. But this year was the first year in decades that a president has given a speech.

For her part, Melania chose to wear an American designer, Carolina Herrera, to celebrate the holiday. However, it wasn’t exactly a red-white-and-blue dress, but a multicolored striped flare dress on a white background with an off-the shoulder design. It was a summery choice.

Several attendees wore red 'Make America Great Again' caps

Several attendees wore red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps

The event has been dampened by inclement weather as the sky opened up two hours before it kicked off, sending thousands of revelers running for cover under umbrellas and pitched tents.

On Thursday morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC.

Despite the weather reports, loyal crowds still gathered on the Mall, excited to see the president’s promised ‘show of a lifetime’ that boasted tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal followers and protesters with the president’s ‘baby blimp’.

The rain dampened the parade festivities as visitors were seen camping out with dismal expressions as they struggled to keep dry in their plastic rain ponchos and umbrellas.

Protesters were out and about during the day.

At the White House, two people were arrested for burning a flag before Trump left to give his speech.

Political activist Gregory Lee ‘Joey’ Johnson was one of the people taken away in handcuffs during the demonstration outside of the White House two before the president’s celebration is set to kick off, someone confirmed on his Twitter account.

Johnson is a longtime member of the Revolutionary Communist Party – also known as RevCom – which organized Thursday’s protest outside of the White House, where the group chanted: ‘Imagine A World Without America. Fight For A World Without America!’

But, for Trump, the show went on.

Calling his event a ‘Salute to America’ honoring the armed forces, the president tweeted Thursday morning to say he is expecting many attendees for the event which will ‘be well worth the trip and wait.’

The president wrote: ‘Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!’

Officers extinguished the burning flag after breaking up the hoard of demonstrators

Officers extinguished the burning flag after breaking up the hoard of demonstrators

Two people have been arrested during a flag burning protest in front of the White House ahead of Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' Fourth of July celebration in Washington, DC, on Thursday

Don't rain on my parade! Rain has started to pour on the thousands lined up on Capitol Hill for Donald Trump's Fourth of July military parade that he boasted will be the 'show of a lifetime'. A sculpture of Trump sitting on a toilet as the downpour began pictured above

Don’t rain on my parade! Rain has started to pour on the thousands lined up on Capitol Hill for Donald Trump’s Fourth of July military parade that he boasted will be the ‘show of a lifetime’. A sculpture of Trump sitting on a toilet as the downpour began pictured above

Rain, rain go away: Fourth of July revelers decked out in red white and blue had no choice but to stand in the rain Thursday

Stormy weather: This morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC

Stormy weather: This morning the National Weather Service issued several severe thunderstorm warnings for various Maryland counties and a flash flood watch effective until 8pm in DC

Revelers sat down in in plastic rain ponchos in a feeble attempt to stay dry during Thursday’s deluge

This couple camped out on the ground and tried to keep dry under the shade of their umbrellas in the storm

Drenched: This couple took cover under an umbrella after the rain began to pound down

Drenched: This couple took cover under an umbrella after the rain began to pound down

Just a bit of drizzle! These people didn't let the rain stop their fun and took a smiling selfie in the storm

Just a bit of drizzle! These people didn’t let the rain stop their fun and took a smiling selfie in the storm

Poncho season! These people smiled for the camera as they sat in the rain and waited for Trump's speech

Poncho season! These people smiled for the camera as they sat in the rain and waited for Trump’s speech

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle pictured drenched with rain on Thursday in the deluge

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle pictured drenched with rain on Thursday in the deluge

Over it: This woman took cover in her red MAGA hat and blue Trump flag
Over it: This woman took cover in her red MAGA hat and blue Trump flag

Can't stop the party: Instead of going home these folks decided to camp out and wait for the rain to pass

Can’t stop the party: Instead of going home these folks decided to camp out and wait for the rain to pass

he rain may affect the parade, but it seems Trump’s televised speech will proceed as scheduled at 6pm

Revelers took cover under umbrellas and hats as the rain hit the Lincoln memorial

Revelers took cover under umbrellas and hats as the rain hit the Lincoln memorial

As marchers walked in the National Independence Day Parade, onlookers whipped out their umbrellas to block the rain

As marchers walked in the National Independence Day Parade, onlookers whipped out their umbrellas to block the rain

The show must go on! The Marine Silent Drill Team pictured performing in the rain on Thursday

The show must go on! The Marine Silent Drill Team pictured performing in the rain on Thursday

Storm's brewin! The sky turned an eerie shade Thursday afternoon amid the Fourth of July festivities

Storm’s brewin! The sky turned an eerie shade Thursday afternoon amid the Fourth of July festivities

Two Bradley fighting vehicles were also in place Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial, where Trump spoke.

In addition, two 60-ton Army Abrams battle tanks were sent to Washington by rail to be positioned on or near the National Mall, to the dismay of District of Columbia officials.

Soldiers have been pictured working on an armored tanks in front of the Lincoln Memorial as other military vehicles have been pictured in the area.

Workers spent this week constructing a stage around the Lincoln Memorial where Trump spoke, while tourists wandered in between the construction to see one of the most popular monuments in the city.

A balloon is carried in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC

A balloon is carried in ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC

People gather to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade'. The president tweeted to say he is expecting big crowds in DC Thursday evening, writing: 'Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!'

People gather to watch ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’. The president tweeted to say he is expecting big crowds in DC Thursday evening, writing: ‘Looks like a lot of people already heading to SALUTE TO AMERICA at Lincoln Memorial. It will be well worth the trip and wait. See you there at 6:00 P.M. Amazing music and bands. Thank you ARMY!’

A US Army soldier works on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall in Washington. The 'Salute to America' Fourth of July activities include remarks by US President Trump, a parade, military flyovers and fireworks

US Army soldiers position a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position. Trump has promised the 'show of a lifetime' to celebrate Fourth of July where the president is scheduled to speak

US Army soldiers position a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position. Trump has promised the ‘show of a lifetime’ to celebrate Fourth of July where the president is scheduled to speak

US Army soldiers walk by an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Not since 1951, when President Harry Truman spoke before a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has a commander in chief made an Independence Day speech to a sizable crowd on the Mall

US Army soldiers walk by an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Not since 1951, when President Harry Truman spoke before a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds to mark the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has a commander in chief made an Independence Day speech to a sizable crowd on the Mall

Protester Jim Girvan moves a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, as those opposed to the president are ready to make their voices heard on Fourth of July

Protester Jim Girvan moves a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, as those opposed to the president are ready to make their voices heard on Fourth of July

A Trump supporter stands alongside people gathered for the Independence Day parade ahead of the president's speech

Supporters of Trump join others to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

Supporters of Trump join others to watch ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue

People move a statue depicting U.S. President Donald Trump sitting on a golden toilet. Anti-war group Code Pink said, as part of its protest of the president's politicization of July Fourth, it would bring the Trump Baby Blimp ballon and this 16-foot statue

Miss Maryland, Mariela Pepin, rides in an open-top vehicle during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in D.C

Miss Maryland, Mariela Pepin, rides in an open-top vehicle during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in D.C

Crowds have lined the streets of DC for Trump's Fourth of July military parade after the president promised 'show of a lifetime' with tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal fans and protesters with the president's 'baby blimp'

Crowds have lined the streets of DC for Trump’s Fourth of July military parade after the president promised ‘show of a lifetime’ with tanks parked by the Lincoln Memorial, marching bands, loyal fans and protesters with the president’s ‘baby blimp’

In a sweltering capital threatened by storms, the traditional Fourth of July parade Thursday served as a warm-up act to a distinctly nontraditional evening event at the Lincoln Memorial, where President Donald Trump made plans to command the stage against the backdrop of a show of military muscle.

It’s been nearly seven decades since a president spoke there on Independence Day.

Trump tweeted Thursday to say he is expecting big crowds in DC ahead of his military spectacular

Trump tweeted Thursday to say he is expecting big crowds in DC ahead of his military spectacular

The U.S. was at war in Korea when Harry Truman addressed a large gathering on the Washington Monument grounds, marking the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Military chiefs are rumored to be concerned the July Fourth extravaganza could turn out to be an overtly political affair, putting them in violation of Defense Department policy.

On Tuesday Trump had said ‘the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled’ to participate.

Thursday’s celebration has also been shadowed by questions about how much it will cost taxpayers.

But the president has insisted that the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes.

‘We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,’ he said, referring to Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews, home for some of the planes that are to fly over the Mall on Thursday. ‘We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats.’

Thunderstorms have threatened the celebrations with periods of “torrential rain” forecast by the National Weather Service

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes. He sounded a defensive note Wednesday, tweeting the cost 'will be very little compared to what it is worth'

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes. He sounded a defensive note Wednesday, tweeting the cost ‘will be very little compared to what it is worth’

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers' adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that 'cast off the shackles of tyranny'

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that ‘cast off the shackles of tyranny’

Trump is promising the 'show of a lifetime' for the hundreds of thousands of revelers who flock to the National Mall every year. US Army soldiers are pictured positioning a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial

Trump is promising the ‘show of a lifetime’ for the hundreds of thousands of revelers who flock to the National Mall every year. US Army soldiers are pictured positioning a M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial

The tanks are in place for the display of military muscle, including this M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations

The tanks are in place for the display of military muscle, including this M1 Abrams main battle tank into position at the Lincoln Memorial for US Independence Day celebrations

Under White House direction, the Pentagon was arranging for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to conduct flyovers. Soldiers work on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Under White House direction, the Pentagon was arranging for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to conduct flyovers. Soldiers work on an armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display in front of the Lincoln Memorial

There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys

There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys

A crowd watches Independence Day celebrations in Washington. Trump set himself up to be the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day+92

A crowd watches Independence Day celebrations in Washington. Trump set himself up to be the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to 'HOLD THE DATE!' for this Fourth of July and the president's supporters have welcomed his stamp on the holiday+92

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to ‘HOLD THE DATE!’ for this Fourth of July and the president’s supporters have welcomed his stamp on the holiday

A participant in the the Independence Day parade holds an American flag and a picture of President Donald Trump

A participant in the the Independence Day parade holds an American flag and a picture of President Donald Trump

People prepare a balloon for the Independence Day parade. The president has insisted the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes+92

People prepare a balloon for the Independence Day parade. The president has insisted the event will cost very little given that the military already owns the tanks and planes

A jump rope team participates in 'America's Independence Day Parade'. The traditional Fourth of July parade Thursday served as a warm-up act to a distinctly nontraditional evening event at the Lincoln Memorial

Trump's original tweet with his 'Aircraft One' mistake pictured above

Trump’s original tweet with his ‘Aircraft One’ mistake pictured above

After he received a flood of comments calling him out for his blunder, he deleted the flub tweet and tweeted this correction calling it Air Force One

After he received a flood of comments calling him out for his blunder, he deleted the flub tweet and tweeted this correction calling it Air Force One

Protesters unimpressed by his ‘Salute to America’ program inflated a roly-poly balloon depicting Trump as an angry, diaper-clad baby.

In the shadow of the Washington Monument, the anti-war organization Codepink erected a 20-foot tall ‘Trump baby’ balloon to protest what it called the president’s co-opting of Independence Day.

But the president’s supporters welcomed Trump’s stamp on the holiday.

Rachel McKenna, a Trump supporter from McKinney, Texas, said her relatives have served in the military and she thought it was important to say ‘We love you guys, we appreciate everything you do, and I love the fact I can see that,’ as she pointed to the Bradley fighting vehicle positioned near the Lincoln Memorial.

‘I’ve never ever seen one,’ she said. ‘I just think it’s so cool.’

He was savagely mocked on Twitter Thursday morning for tweeting ‘Aircraft One’ instead of ‘Air Force One’ while touting the elaborate military parade plans.

The president tweeted that people would come from far and wide for the celebration ‘culminating with large scale flyovers of the most modern and advanced aircraft anywhere in the World. Perhaps even Aircraft One will do a low & loud sprint over the crowd’.

The president’s aircraft is known as Air Force One when he’s on it, not Aircraft One.

Twitter users eviscerated the president for the slip-up, joking that Aircraft One is the unofficial name of Putin’s jet.

Trump then deleted his flub tweet and posted a new one, this time calling the aircraft Air Force One.

In a message marking the 243rd anniversary of the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Trump called the document a milestone that ‘cast off the shackles of tyranny’.

A US Marine Corps unit participates in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

People carry U.S. flags as they take part in a parade during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C

People carry U.S. flags as they take part in a parade during Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps participate in 'America's Independence Day Parade' along Constitution Avenue

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps participate in ‘America’s Independence Day Parade’ along Constitution Avenue

Independence Day revellers pose in front of a Humvee parked on a street in Washington, DC

Two Bradley fighting vehicles were in place Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial, where Trump will speak. In addition, two 60-ton Army Abrams battle tanks were sent to Washington by rail to be positioned on or near the National Mall, to the dismay of District of Columbia officials

The presidential Air Force One and Marine One aircraft are also slated to make aerial appearances. White House officials have stressed that Trump’s remarks will be patriotic

Trump originally wanted a parade with military tanks and other machinery rolling through downtown Washington ever since he was enthralled by a two-hour procession of French military tanks and fighter jets in Paris on Bastille Day in July 2017

A giant inflatable blimp depicting Uncle Sam during Independence Day celebrations

A "Trump Baby" balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group as protesters also descend on the National Mall

A ‘Trump Baby’ balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group as protesters also descend on the National Mall

A supporter of Trump joins others to watch 'America's Independence Day Parade'. Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument

Trump originally wanted a parade with military tanks and other machinery rolling through downtown Washington ever since he was enthralled by a two-hour procession of French military tanks and fighter jets in Paris on Bastille Day in July 2017.

Later that year Trump said he’d have a similar parade in Washington on the Fourth of July, 2018, and would ‘top’ the Paris show. The event ended up being pushed to Veterans Day, which conflicted with one of Trump’s trips abroad, before it was scuttled after cost estimates exceeding $90 million were made public.

In February, Trump tweeted for the public to ‘HOLD THE DATE!’ for this Fourth of July.

Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument.

Trump altered the lineup by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning the tanks and warplanes.

READ TRUMP’S FULL SPEECH AT HIS SALUTE TO AMERICA ON JULY 4 AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL

Hello, America. Hello. The First Lady and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Independence Day on this truly historic Fourth of July.

Today we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag, the brave men and women of the United States military.

We are pleased to have with us Vice President Mike Pence and his wonderful wife, Karen. We’re also joined by many hard-working members of Congress, Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and many other members of my Cabinet and also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you.

Lieutenant General Daniel Hokanson of the National Guard, and distinguished leaders representing each branch of the United States armed forces: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and – very soon – the Space Force.

As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that all share a truly extraordinary heritage.

Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told: the story of America. It is the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right, and what they know is true. It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.

And it is the saga of 13 separate colonies that united to form the most just and virtuous Republic ever conceived. On this day, 243 years ago, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to declare independence and defend our God-given rights.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the words that forever changed the course of humanity: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

With a single sheet of parchment, and 56 signatures, America began the greatest political journey in human history.

But on that day the patriots, who would determine the ultimate success of the struggle, were 100 miles away in New York. There, the Continental Army prepared to make its stand commanded by the beloved General George Washington. As the delegates debated the Declaration in Philadelphia, Washington’s army watched from Manhattan as a massive British invading fleet loomed dangerously across New York harbor.

The British had come to crush the Revolution in its infancy. Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes, He wrote: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.” Days later, General Washington ordered the Declaration read aloud to the troops, the assembled soldiers just joined an excited crowd running down Broadway, they toppled a statue of King George and melted it into bullets for battle.

The faraway king would soon learn a timeless lesson about the people of this majestic land: Americans love our freedom, and no one will ever take it away from us. That same American spirit that emboldened our Founders has kept us strong throughout our history.

To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you here today.

It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world and our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now.

That same righteous American spirit forged our glorious constitution, that rugged American character led the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark on their perilous expedition across an untamed continent. It drove others to journey West and stake out their claim on the wild frontier. Devotion to our founding ideals led American patriots to abolish the evil of slavery, secure civil rights and expand the blessings of liberty to all Americans.

This is the noble purpose that inspired Abraham Lincoln to rededicate our nation to a new birth of freedom and to resolve that we will always have a government of, by and for the people. Our quest for greatness, unleashed a culture of discovery that led Thomas Edison to imagine his light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell to create the telephone, the Wright brothers to look to the sky, and see the next great frontier.

For Americans, nothing is impossible. Exactly 50 years ago this month, the world watched in awe as Apollo 11, astronauts launched into space with a wake of fire and nerves of steel, and planted our great American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later we are thrilled to have here tonight the famed NASA flight director, who led Mission Control during that historic endeavor, the renowned Gene Krantz.

Gene, I want you to know that we’re going to be back on the moon very soon and someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.It’s happening Gene, it’s happening.

Our nation’s creativity and genius lit up the lights of Broadway and the soundstages of Hollywood. It filled the concert halls and airwaves around the world with the sound of jazz, opera, country, rock n’roll, and rhythm and blues.

It gave birth to the musical, the motion picture, the Western, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the skyscraper, the suspension bridge, the assembly line and the mighty American automobile. It led our citizens to push the bounds of medicine and science to save the lives of millions. Here with us this evening is Dr. Emmanuel Freireich.

When Emmanuel began his work 99 percent of children with leukaemia died. Thanks largely to Dr. Freireich’s breakthrough treatments, currently 90 percent of those with the most common childhood leukaemias survive. Doctor, you are a great American hero, thank you.

Americans always take care of each other. That love and unity held together the first Pilgrims, it forged communities on the Great Plains, it inspired Clara Barton to found the Red Cross, and it keeps our nation thriving today.

Here tonight from the Florida Panhandle is Tina Belcher. Her selfless generosity over three decades has made her known to all as Mrs. Angel. Every time a hurricane strikes Mrs. Angel turns her tiny kitchen into a disaster relief center. On a single day after Hurricane Michael, she gave 476 people a warm meal. Mrs. Angel, your boundless heart inspires us all. Thank you. Thank you very much.

From our earliest days, Americans of faith have uplifted our nation. This evening we’re joined by Sister Deirdre Byrne.

Sister Byrne is a retired Army surgeon who served for nearly 30 years. On September 11, 2001, the sister raced to Ground Zero. Through smoke and debris, she administered first aid and comfort to all. Today Sister Byrne runs a medical clinic serving the poor in our nation’s capital. Sister, thank you for your lifetime of service. Thank you.

Our nation has always honored the heroes who serve our communities, the firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs, ICE, Border Patrol, and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation. We are deeply moved to be in the presence this evening of Gold Star families whose loved ones made the supreme sacrifice. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Throughout our history, our country has been made ever greater by citizens who risked it all for equality and for justice. One hundred years ago this summer, the women’s suffrage movement led Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

In 1960, a thirst for justice led African American students to sit down at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was one of the very first civil rights sit-ins and it started a movement all across our nation.

Clarence Henderson was 18 years old when he took his place in history. Almost six decades later he is here tonight in a seat of honor. Clarence, thank you for making this country a much better place for all America.

In 1963, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. stood here on these very steps and called on our nation to live out the true meaning of its creed, and let freedom ring for every citizen all across our land.

America’s fearless resolve has inspired heroes who defined our national character from George Washington, John Adams, and Betsy Ross, to Douglass, you know, Frederick Douglass, the great Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Jackie Robinson. And of course, John Glenn.

It has willed our warriors up mountains and across minefields. It has liberated continents split the atom, and brought tyrants and empires to their knees. Here with us this evening is Earl Morse. After retiring from the Air Force, Earl worked at a VA hospital in Ohio. Earl found that many World War Two veterans could not afford to visit their Memorial on the National Mall.

So Earl began the very first honor flights that have now brought over 200,000 World War two heroes to visit America’s monument. Earl, thank you. We salute you. Thank you. Thank you, Earl. Thank you.

Our warriors form a hallowed roll call of American patriots running all the way back to the first souls who fought and one American independence.

Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it. We are proudly joined tonight by heroes from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, including three recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you. They and thousands before us served with immense distinction, and they loved every minute of that service.

To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life, and you should do it.

We will now begin our celebration of the United States Armed Forces, honoring each branch’s unique culture, rich history, service song, and distinct legacy. I invite Acting Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman Dunford, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Please join me. In August of 1790, by request of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Congress established a fleet of 10 swift vessels to defend our shores. These Revenue cutters would fight pirates, stop smugglers and safeguard our borders.

They are the ancestors of our faithful Coast Guard. When our ships were seized and sailors kidnapped by foreign powers in 1812, it was a Revenue cutter the swift schooner Thomas Jefferson, that swept into capture the first British vessel of the war.

In 1897, when 265 whalers were trapped in ice and the ice fields of Alaska were closing up, courageous officers trekked 1,500 miles through the frozen frontier to rescue those starving men from certain death. In 1942, the Coast Guard manned landing craft for invasions in the Pacific

When the enemy attacked U.S. Marines from the shores of Guadalcanal Coast Guard Signalman First Class, Douglas Monroe, used his own boat to shield his comrades from pounding gunfire. Monroe gave his life. Hundreds of Marines were saved. As he lay dying on the deck, his final question embodied the devotion that sails with every Coast Guardsman: “Did they get off?”

On D Day the Coast Guards famous matchbox fleet served valiantly through every hour of the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of our country.

One coxswain said the water boiled with bullets like a mud puddle in hailstones, but still the Coast Guard braved death to put our boys on Utah and Omaha Beaches. Every Coast Guardsman is trusted to put service before all. Coasties plunge from helicopters and barrel through pouring rain and crashing waves to save American lives.

They secure our borders from drug runners and terrorists in rough seas at high speeds. Their sharpshooters take out smugglers’ engines with a single shot – they never miss. When the red racing stripes of a Coast Guard vessel break the horizon, when their chopper blades pierce the sky, those in distress know that the help is on their way and our enemies know their time has come.

These guardians of our waters stand Semper Peratus. They are always ready. They are the United States Coast Guard.

Representing the Coast Guard today you will soon see an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, based at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, along with an HH-65 Dolphin from Air Station Atlantic City and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Air Station Miami.

Thank you. Thank you to the Coast Guard.

On a cold December morning in 1903, a miracle occurred over the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when two bicycle makers from Ohio defied gravity with a 12 horsepower engine, wings made of cotton, and just a few dollars in their pockets. Just six years later, America was training its first pilots to take these magnificent machines up and over the field of battle.

In World War One, our Fly Boys rush the skies of Europe, and aces like Eddie Rickenbacker filled hearts and headlines with tales of daring duels in the clouds. General Billy Mitchell saw the promise of this technology and risked court-martial in his quest for an independent Air Force. He was proven right when empires across the oceans tried to carve up the world for themselves and America stood in the way – we wouldn’t let it happen.

After Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his Raiders flew B-25 bombers off a carrier deck in the deep Pacific in a daring feat of American resolve. And as President Roosevelt said, the Nazis built the fortress around Europe, but they forgot to put a roof on it. So we crushed them all from the air. 177 Liberator bombers flew dangerously low through broad daylight without fighter protection to cripple the Nazi war machine at Ploiești. 300 Airmen gave their lives to destroy the enemy oil refineries and five pilots were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions in that single raid.

It was Airman Chuck Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier. It was airmen like Gus Chris and Buzz Aldrin who traded their Sabrejets for rockets to the stars. And It is our incredible airmen today who will the most powerful weapon systems on the planet earth.

For over 65 years, no enemy air force has managed to kill a single American soldier because the skies belong to the United States of America. No enemy has attacked our people without being met by a roar of thunder. And the aesome of those who bid farewell to earth and soar into the wild blue yonder. They are the United States Air Force.

Representing the Air Force you will soon see beautiful brand new F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and one magnificent B-2 stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

What a great country.

In October of 1775, the Continental Congress ordered the construction of two swift sailing vessels, each carrying 10 cannons and 80 men to sail eastward. Our young fleet tested their sea legs against the most powerful Navy the world has ever seen.

John Paul Jones, America’s first great naval hero, said: ‘I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.’ He got his wish, many times, when a ship was shot into pieces off the coast of England by a British vessel and her four dozen guns. When demanded to surrender, Jones very famously declared: “I have not yet begun to fight.”

When our Navy begins fighting, they finish the job. In the War of 1812, Captain James Lawrence fell with his brothers on the USS Chesapeake.His dying command gained immortality: ‘Don’t give up the ship.’

In the Battle of Mobile Bay, Admiral David Farragut lashed himself to the rigging of his flagship to see beyond the cannon smoke, crying: ‘Damn the torpedoes Full speed ahead.’

In World War Two, it was aviators launched from the carrier Enterprise, Hornet, Yorktown, who filled the skies of Midway and turned the tide of the Pacific War. Nobody could beat us. Nobody could come close. On D-Day, SeaBee engineers came ashore to destroy blockades and barriers making way for the invasion.

Many lost their lives but they took the German defenses with them. And our men crashed upon the beaches like a mighty storm.

From the naval demolition units of World War Two arose a force that became famous in the Mekong Delta. They don’t want to see our force again. The very best of the very best, the Navy SEALs. It was the SEALs who delivered vengeance on the terrorists who planned the September 11 attack on our homeland. It was the SEALS who stand ready to bring righteous retribution in mountain, jungle, desert to those who do us harm.

America’s sailors are not born. They are forged by the sea. Their traditions are rich with the salt and blood of three centuries.

When Old Glory crests the waves of foreign shores, every friend and every phone knows that justice sails those waters. It sails with the United States Navy.

Representing our great Navy today will be two F-18 Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, along with two F-35 Lightnings from Naval Air Station Lamar in California.

So great.

In November of 1775, the Continental Congress created two battalions of a new kind of warrior, one who kept and would protect our ships and sailors and be at home both the shore and the mast, with musket in hand.

They’re versatile. It was proven in the War of Independence when 234 Continental Marines conducted their first amphibious raid, capturing the British supply of gunpowder and cannons at Fort Nassau. Ever since Marines have fought in every American war. Their legend has grown and grown and grown with each passing year.

It was the Marines who won America’s first overseas battle vanquishing Barbary pirates on the shores of Tripoli. Their high stiff collar, which shielded them from the pirate sword earned them the immortal name Leatherneck. It was the Marines who after two long days of battle marched through the halls of Montezuma, it was the Marines who took heavy casualties to kick the Kaiser’s troops out of Belleau Wood in World War I, earning the title Devil Dogs.

And it was the Marines who raised the flag on the black sands of Iwo Jima.

From The Chosin Reservoir to Khe Sanh from Helmand to Baghdad, Marines have struck fear into the hearts of our enemies and put solace into the hearts of our friends. Marines always lead the way.

After the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, which claimed the lives of 241 great U.S. servicemen, Marine Sergeant Jeffrey Nashton lay in bandages, so badly wounded, barely alive. When the Commandant of the Marine Corps came to visit his hospital, Sergeant Nashton had to feel for the General’s collar. He wanted to feel his four stars. He could not see and he could not speak. He signaled for pen and paper and with shaking hand he wrote two words: Semper Fi. That motto, Semper Fidelis, always faithful, burns in the soul of every Marine, a sacred promise the corps has kept since the birth of our country.

They are the elite masters of air and land and sea, on battlefields all across the globe. They are the United States Marines.

Representing the Marine Corps today will be a brand new VH-92, soon to serve as Marine One, along with two V-22 Ospreys from the famed HMX-1 helicopter squadron at Quantico, the Nighthawks.

In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

Our army manned the airs, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports it did everything it had to do. And at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came there, the star Spangled Banner waved defiant. At Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg, our soldiers gave the last full measure of devotion for the true unity of our nation and the freedom of all Americans.

In the trenches of World War One, an Army sergeant named Alvin York faced an inferno of enemy fire and refused to retreat. He said: “I won’t leave, I won’t stop.” He shot his rifle 18 times killing 18 of the enemy. When they fixed bayonets and charged, he killed seven more. The entire German machine gun battalion surrendered because of one man: Alvin York.

A generation later, the Army returned to Europe and embarked upon a great crusade with knives and rifles in hand. The Rangers scaled the cliffs of Normandy, the 101st Airborne leapt into the danger from above, illuminated only by enemy flares, explosions and burning aircraft. They threw back the Nazi empire with lightning of their own from the turrets of Sherman tanks and the barrels of the M-1 rifle. In the darkness of the Battle of the Bulge, with Nazis on every side, one soldier is reported to have said: “They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.”

Outnumbered American warriors fought through the bunkers of Pork Chop Hill, and held the line of civilization in Korea. In the elephant grass of Vietnam, the First Cavalry made its stand amid a forest consumed in flame with enemies at every single turn.

The army brought America’s righteous fury down to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and cleared the bloodthirsty killers from their caves. They liberated Fallujah and Mosul and helped liberate and obliterate the ISIS caliphate just recently in Syria – 100 percent gone. Through centuries, our soldiers have always pointed toward home proclaiming: ‘We will defend.’

They live by the creed of Douglas MacArthur in World War: ‘There is no substitute for victory.’ They are the greatest soldiers on Earth.

Nearly 250 years ago, a volunteer army of farmers and shopkeepers, blacksmiths, merchants and militiamen risked life and limb to secure American liberty, and self-government. This evening, we have witnessed the noble might of the warriors who continue that legacy.

They guard our birthright with vigilance and fierce devotion to the flag and to our great country. Now, we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never, ever, stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America can not do. Thank you.

We will always be the people who defeated a tyrant, crossed a continent, harnessed science, took to the skies and soared into the heavens, because we will never forget that we are Americans, and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny. We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart. And we are all made by the same Almighty God. From the banks of the Chesapeake, to the cliffs of California, from the humming shores of the Great Lakes, to the sand dunes of the Carolinas, from the fields of the heartland, to the Everglades of Florida, the spirit of American independence will never fade, never fail, but will reign forever and ever and ever.

So once more, to every citizen throughout our land, have a glorious Independence Day. Have a great Fourth of July. I want to thank the Army Band, the National Park Service, the Interior Department, the incredible pilots overhead, and those who are making possible the amazing fireworks display later this evening.

Now as the band plays the Battle Hymn of the Republic, I invite the First Lady, Vice President and Mrs. Pence, the service secretaries and military leaders to join me on stage for one more salute to America by the famous, incredible, talented Blue Angels. God Bless you. God bless the military, and God bless America. Happy Fourth of July.

 

The real reason why the left was against Donald Trump’s July 4 speech

Now we know why the Democrats were so upset about President Trump speaking on the Fourth of July.

It was not because it was political or partisan. It was patriotic and that is what annoys the left the most.

Several days before the speech, we heard that Trump was hijacking Independence Day and turning it into a campaign rally. But Trump never mentioned the 2020 campaign in his speech.

We heard that Trump’s desire to have tanks on the National Mall was an out-and-out authoritarian performance art. But that wasn’t really the issue. Neither was the fake outrage over the cost.

There was no mention of political opponents and no mention of the fake news media. And this wasn’t Trump co-opting the nation’s birthday to celebrate himself. In fact, for a man who loves to talk about his accomplishments, he never mentioned himself.

No, Trump did something far more dangerous to the left. He gave America a strong dose of patriotism. He gave Americans a history lesson on the great people, heroes and their great accomplishments over the last 243 years.

Earlier in the week, The New York Times ran a video arguing America isn’t the greatest nation on Earth, “the U.S. is really just O.K.”

Without mentioning The Times or the video, Trump proceeded to tell us about America’s greatness for nearly an hour interrupted only by applause, flyovers and military songs. At one point, I thought “who is this guy and what have they done with President Trump?”

“Today, we come together as One Nation with this very special Salute To America,” said Trump. “We celebrate our history, our people and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States Military!”

More from Gary Varvel: Face facts, America, Donald Trump is a success. Let’s count the ways.

Donald Trump is the president I didn’t want, but now I know we need

And boy, did he. Starting with the story of America’s war for independence, Trump quoted the words and deeds of Americans that have long been forgotten but need to be remembered.

Trump told the story of Gen. George Washington as he readied his troops to fight the British invasion. Trump said, “Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes, He wrote, ‘The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army, we have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.’”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/07/05/donald-trumps-patriotic-4th-july-speech-military-legends-tradition-column/1654859001/

With all of the partisan political fights, it was nice to be reminded of American’s amazing heritage. It was inspiring and that’s what we need.

 

United States Declaration of Independence

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United States Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence.jpg

1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy
Created June–July 1776
Ratified July 4, 1776
Location Engrossed copy: National Archives and Records
Administration
 Rough draft: Library of Congress
Author(s) Thomas Jefferson et al.
Signatories 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress
Purpose To announce and explain separation from Great Britain[1]

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New HampshireMassachusetts BayRhode IslandConnecticutNew YorkNew JerseyPennsylvaniaMarylandDelawareVirginiaNorth CarolinaSouth Carolina, and Georgia.

The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes. The Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready when Congress voted on independence. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document,[2] which Congress edited to produce the final version. The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America”[3] – although Independence Day is actually celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved.

After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson’s hand.[4] Jefferson’s original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson’s notes of changes made by Congress. The best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy that is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and which is popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy (finalized, calligraphic copy) was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed primarily on August 2.[5][6]

The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution. Its original purpose was to announce independence, and references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since then, it has become a well-known statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language”,[7] containing “the most potent and consequential words in American history”.[8] The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.[9]

The Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It also served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa (Liberia) and Oceania (New Zealand) during the first half of the 19th century.[10]

Contents

Background

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration

Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.

— Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1775[11]

By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year. Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire.[12]

Many colonists, however, had developed a different conception of the empire. The colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, and colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament’s authority in the colonies.[13] The orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, and so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional.[14] In the colonies, however, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not even Parliament.[15] After the Townshend Acts, some essayists even began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all.[16]Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth,[17] by 1774 American writers such as Samuel AdamsJames Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson were arguing that Parliament was the legislature of Great Britain only, and that the colonies, which had their own legislatures, were connected to the rest of the empire only through their allegiance to the Crown.[18]

Congress convenes

The issue of Parliament’s authority in the colonies became a crisis after Parliament passed the Coercive Acts (known as the Intolerable Acts in the colonies) in 1774 to punish the colonists for the Gaspee Affair of 1772 and the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Many colonists saw the Coercive Acts as a violation of the British Constitution and thus a threat to the liberties of all of British America, so the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in September 1774 to coordinate a response. Congress organized a boycott of British goods and petitioned the king for repeal of the acts. These measures were unsuccessful because King George and the ministry of Prime Minister Lord North were determined to enforce parliamentary supremacy in America. As the king wrote to North in November 1774, “blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent”.[19]

Most colonists still hoped for reconciliation with Great Britain, even after fighting began in the American Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord in April 1775.[20] The Second Continental Congress convened at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia in May 1775, and some delegates hoped for eventual independence, but no one yet advocated declaring it.[21] Many colonists no longer believed that Parliament had any sovereignty over them, yet they still professed loyalty to King George, who they hoped would intercede on their behalf. They were disappointed in late 1775 when the king rejected Congress’s second petition, issued a Proclamation of Rebellion, and announced before Parliament on October 26 that he was considering “friendly offers of foreign assistance” to suppress the rebellion.[22] A pro-American minority in Parliament warned that the government was driving the colonists toward independence.[23]

Toward independence

Thomas Paine‘s pamphlet Common Sense was published in January 1776, just as it became clear in the colonies that the king was not inclined to act as a conciliator.[24] Paine had only recently arrived in the colonies from England, and he argued in favor of colonial independence, advocating republicanism as an alternative to monarchy and hereditary rule.[25] Common Sense made a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration in the American colonies. Paine connected independence with Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, thereby stimulating public debate on a topic that few had previously dared to openly discuss,[26] and public support for separation from Great Britain steadily increased after its publication.[27]

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence

Some colonists still held out hope for reconciliation, but developments in early 1776 further strengthened public support for independence. In February 1776, colonists learned of Parliament’s passage of the Prohibitory Act, which established a blockade of American ports and declared American ships to be enemy vessels. John Adams, a strong supporter of independence, believed that Parliament had effectively declared American independence before Congress had been able to. Adams labeled the Prohibitory Act the “Act of Independency”, calling it “a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire”.[28] Support for declaring independence grew even more when it was confirmed that King George had hired German mercenaries to use against his American subjects.[29]

Despite this growing popular support for independence, Congress lacked the clear authority to declare it. Delegates had been elected to Congress by 13 different governments, which included extralegal conventions, ad hoc committees, and elected assemblies, and they were bound by the instructions given to them. Regardless of their personal opinions, delegates could not vote to declare independence unless their instructions permitted such an action.[30] Several colonies, in fact, expressly prohibited their delegates from taking any steps towards separation from Great Britain, while other delegations had instructions that were ambiguous on the issue;[31] consequently, advocates of independence sought to have the Congressional instructions revised. For Congress to declare independence, a majority of delegations would need authorization to vote for it, and at least one colonial government would need to specifically instruct its delegation to propose a declaration of independence in Congress. Between April and July 1776, a “complex political war”[32] was waged to bring this about.[33]

Revising instructions

In the campaign to revise Congressional instructions, many Americans formally expressed their support for separation from Great Britain in what were effectively state and local declarations of independence. Historian Pauline Maieridentifies more than ninety such declarations that were issued throughout the Thirteen Colonies from April to July 1776.[34] These “declarations” took a variety of forms. Some were formal written instructions for Congressional delegations, such as the Halifax Resolves of April 12, with which North Carolina became the first colony to explicitly authorize its delegates to vote for independence.[35] Others were legislative acts that officially ended British rule in individual colonies, such as the Rhode Island legislature declaring its independence from Great Britain on May 4, the first colony to do so.[36] Many “declarations” were resolutions adopted at town or county meetings that offered support for independence. A few came in the form of jury instructions, such as the statement issued on April 23, 1776, by Chief Justice William Henry Drayton of South Carolina: “the law of the land authorizes me to declare … that George the Third, King of Great Britain … has no authority over us, and we owe no obedience to him.”[37] Most of these declarations are now obscure, having been overshadowed by the declaration approved by Congress on July 2, and signed July 4.[38]

Some colonies held back from endorsing independence. Resistance was centered in the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.[39] Advocates of independence saw Pennsylvania as the key; if that colony could be converted to the pro-independence cause, it was believed that the others would follow.[39] On May 1, however, opponents of independence retained control of the Pennsylvania Assembly in a special election that had focused on the question of independence.[40] In response, Congress passed a resolution on May 10 which had been promoted by John Adams and Richard Henry Lee, calling on colonies without a “government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs” to adopt new governments.[41] The resolution passed unanimously, and was even supported by Pennsylvania’s John Dickinson, the leader of the anti-independence faction in Congress, who believed that it did not apply to his colony.[42]

May 15 preamble

This Day the Congress has passed the most important Resolution, that ever was taken in America.

—John Adams, May 15, 1776[43]

As was the custom, Congress appointed a committee to draft a preamble to explain the purpose of the resolution. John Adams wrote the preamble, which stated that because King George had rejected reconciliation and was hiring foreign mercenaries to use against the colonies, “it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed”.[44] Adams’s preamble was meant to encourage the overthrow of the governments of Pennsylvania and Maryland, which were still under proprietary governance.[45] Congress passed the preamble on May 15 after several days of debate, but four of the middle colonies voted against it, and the Maryland delegation walked out in protest.[46] Adams regarded his May 15 preamble effectively as an American declaration of independence, although a formal declaration would still have to be made.[47]

Lee’s resolution

On the same day that Congress passed Adams’s radical preamble, the Virginia Convention set the stage for a formal Congressional declaration of independence. On May 15, the Convention instructed Virginia’s congressional delegation “to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain”.[48] In accordance with those instructions, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a three-part resolution to Congress on June 7.[49] The motion was seconded by John Adams, calling on Congress to declare independence, form foreign alliances, and prepare a plan of colonial confederation. The part of the resolution relating to declaring independence read:

Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.[50]

Lee’s resolution met with resistance in the ensuing debate. Opponents of the resolution conceded that reconciliation was unlikely with Great Britain, while arguing that declaring independence was premature, and that securing foreign aid should take priority.[51] Advocates of the resolution countered that foreign governments would not intervene in an internal British struggle, and so a formal declaration of independence was needed before foreign aid was possible. All Congress needed to do, they insisted, was to “declare a fact which already exists”.[52] Delegates from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York were still not yet authorized to vote for independence, however, and some of them threatened to leave Congress if the resolution were adopted. Congress, therefore, voted on June 10 to postpone further discussion of Lee’s resolution for three weeks.[53] Until then, Congress decided that a committee should prepare a document announcing and explaining independence in the event that Lee’s resolution was approved when it was brought up again in July.

The final push

This idealized depiction of (left to right) Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson working on the Declaration was widely reprinted (by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1900).[54]

Support for a Congressional declaration of independence was consolidated in the final weeks of June 1776. On June 14, the Connecticut Assembly instructed its delegates to propose independence and, the following day, the legislatures of New Hampshire and Delaware authorized their delegates to declare independence.[55] In Pennsylvania, political struggles ended with the dissolution of the colonial assembly, and a new Conference of Committees under Thomas McKean authorized Pennsylvania’s delegates to declare independence on June 18.[56] The Provincial Congress of New Jersey had been governing the province since January 1776; they resolved on June 15 that Royal Governor William Franklin was “an enemy to the liberties of this country” and had him arrested.[57] On June 21, they chose new delegates to Congress and empowered them to join in a declaration of independence.[58]

Only Maryland and New York had yet to authorize independence towards the end of June. Previously, Maryland’s delegates had walked out when the Continental Congress adopted Adams’s radical May 15 preamble, and had sent to the Annapolis Convention for instructions.[59] On May 20, the Annapolis Convention rejected Adams’s preamble, instructing its delegates to remain against independence. But Samuel Chase went to Maryland and, thanks to local resolutions in favor of independence, was able to get the Annapolis Convention to change its mind on June 28.[60] Only the New York delegates were unable to get revised instructions. When Congress had been considering the resolution of independence on June 8, the New York Provincial Congress told the delegates to wait.[61] But on June 30, the Provincial Congress evacuated New York as British forces approached, and would not convene again until July 10. This meant that New York’s delegates would not be authorized to declare independence until after Congress had made its decision.[62]

Draft and adoption

Political maneuvering was setting the stage for an official declaration of independence even while a document was being written to explain the decision. On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five” to draft a declaration, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. The committee took no minutes, so there is some uncertainty about how the drafting process proceeded; contradictory accounts were written many years later by Jefferson and Adams, too many years to be regarded as entirely reliable—although their accounts are frequently cited.[63] What is certain is that the committee discussed the general outline which the document should follow and decided that Jefferson would write the first draft.[64] The committee in general, and Jefferson in particular, thought that Adams should write the document, but Adams persuaded them to choose Jefferson and promised to consult with him personally.[2] Considering Congress’s busy schedule, Jefferson probably had limited time for writing over the next 17 days, and he likely wrote the draft quickly.[65] He then consulted the others and made some changes, and then produced another copy incorporating these alterations. The committee presented this copy to the Congress on June 28, 1776. The title of the document was “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.”[66]

Portable writing desk that Jefferson used to draft and write the Declaration of Independence

Congress ordered that the draft “lie on the table”[67] and then methodically edited Jefferson’s primary document for the next two days, shortening it by a fourth, removing unnecessary wording, and improving sentence structure.[68] They removed Jefferson’s assertion that Great Britain had forced slavery on the colonies in order to moderate the document and appease persons in Great Britain who supported the Revolution. Jefferson wrote that Congress had “mangled” his draft version, but the Declaration that was finally produced was “the majestic document that inspired both contemporaries and posterity,” in the words of his biographer John Ferling.[68]

Congress tabled the draft of the declaration on Monday, July 1 and resolved itself into a committee of the whole, with Benjamin Harrison of Virginia presiding, and they resumed debate on Lee’s resolution of independence.[69] John Dickinson made one last effort to delay the decision, arguing that Congress should not declare independence without first securing a foreign alliance and finalizing the Articles of Confederation.[70] John Adams gave a speech in reply to Dickinson, restating the case for an immediate declaration.

A vote was taken after a long day of speeches, each colony casting a single vote, as always. The delegation for each colony numbered from two to seven members, and each delegation voted amongst themselves to determine the colony’s vote. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against declaring independence. The New York delegation abstained, lacking permission to vote for independence. Delaware cast no vote because the delegation was split between Thomas McKean, who voted yes, and George Read, who voted no. The remaining nine delegations voted in favor of independence, which meant that the resolution had been approved by the committee of the whole. The next step was for the resolution to be voted upon by Congress itself. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was opposed to Lee’s resolution but desirous of unanimity, and he moved that the vote be postponed until the following day.[71]

“Declaration House”, the boarding house at Market and S. 7th Street where Jefferson wrote the Declaration

On July 2, South Carolina reversed its position and voted for independence. In the Pennsylvania delegation, Dickinson and Robert Morris abstained, allowing the delegation to vote three-to-two in favor of independence. The tie in the Delaware delegation was broken by the timely arrival of Caesar Rodney, who voted for independence. The New York delegation abstained once again since they were still not authorized to vote for independence, although they were allowed to do so a week later by the New York Provincial Congress.[72] The resolution of independence was adopted with twelve affirmative votes and one abstention, and the colonies officially severed political ties with Great Britain.[73]John Adams wrote to his wife on the following day and predicted that July 2 would become a great American holiday[74] He thought that the vote for independence would be commemorated; he did not foresee that Americans would instead celebrate Independence Day on the date when the announcement of that act was finalized.[75]

I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.[76]

Congress next turned its attention to the committee’s draft of the declaration. They made a few changes in wording during several days of debate and deleted nearly a fourth of the text. The wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776 and sent to the printer for publication.

The opening of the original printing of the Declaration, printed on July 4, 1776 under Jefferson’s supervision. The engrossed copy was made later (shown at the top of this article). Note that the opening lines differ between the two versions.[77]

There is a distinct change in wording from this original broadside printing of the Declaration and the final official engrossed copy. The word “unanimous” was inserted as a result of a Congressional resolution passed on July 19, 1776:

Resolved, That the Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile of “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,” and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress.[78]

Historian George Billias says:

Independence amounted to a new status of interdependence: the United States was now a sovereign nation entitled to the privileges and responsibilities that came with that status. America thus became a member of the international community, which meant becoming a maker of treaties and alliances, a military ally in diplomacy, and a partner in foreign trade on a more equal basis.[79]

Annotated text of the engrossed declaration

The declaration is not divided into formal sections; but it is often discussed as consisting of five parts: introductionpreambleindictment of King George III, denunciation of the British people, and conclusion.[80]

Introduction

Asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and ought to be explained.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Preamble

Outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies revolution when government harms natural rights.[80]

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Indictment

A bill of particulars documenting the king’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the Americans’ rights and liberties.[80]

“Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

“He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

“He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

“He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

“He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

“He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

“He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

“He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

“He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

“For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

“For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

“For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

“For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

“For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

“For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

“He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

“He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Denunciation

This section essentially finishes the case for independence. The conditions that justified revolution have been shown.[80]

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Conclusion

The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions and, by necessity, the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Signatures

The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) and a father and great-grandfather of two other presidents (Benjamin Harrison V) were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26) was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows (from north to south):[81]

Influences and legal status

English political philosopher John Locke (1632–1704)

Historians have often sought to identify the sources that most influenced the words and political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence. By Jefferson’s own admission, the Declaration contained no original ideas, but was instead a statement of sentiments widely shared by supporters of the American Revolution. As he explained in 1825:

Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.[82]

Jefferson’s most immediate sources were two documents written in June 1776: his own draft of the preamble of the Constitution of Virginia, and George Mason‘s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Ideas and phrases from both of these documents appear in the Declaration of Independence.[83] They were, in turn, directly influenced by the 1689 English Declaration of Rights, which formally ended the reign of King James II.[84] During the American Revolution, Jefferson and other Americans looked to the English Declaration of Rights as a model of how to end the reign of an unjust king.[85] The Scottish Declaration of Arbroath (1320) and the Dutch Act of Abjuration (1581) have also been offered as models for Jefferson’s Declaration, but these models are now accepted by few scholars.[86]

Jefferson wrote that a number of authors exerted a general influence on the words of the Declaration.[87] English political theorist John Locke is usually cited as one of the primary influences, a man whom Jefferson called one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived”.[88] In 1922, historian Carl L. Becker wrote, “Most Americans had absorbed Locke’s works as a kind of political gospel; and the Declaration, in its form, in its phraseology, follows closely certain sentences in Locke’s second treatise on government.”[89] The extent of Locke’s influence on the American Revolution has been questioned by some subsequent scholars, however. Historian Ray Forrest Harvey argued in 1937 for the dominant influence of Swiss jurist Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, declaring that Jefferson and Locke were at “two opposite poles” in their political philosophy, as evidenced by Jefferson’s use in the Declaration of Independence of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” instead of “property”.[90] Other scholars emphasized the influence of republicanism rather than Locke’s classical liberalism.[91] Historian Garry Wills argued that Jefferson was influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly Francis Hutcheson, rather than Locke,[92] an interpretation that has been strongly criticized.[93]

Legal historian John Phillip Reid has written that the emphasis on the political philosophy of the Declaration has been misplaced. The Declaration is not a philosophical tract about natural rights, argues Reid, but is instead a legal document—an indictment against King George for violating the constitutional rights of the colonists.[94] As such, it follows the process of the 1550 Magdeburg Confession, which legitimized resistance against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in a multi-step legal formula now known as the doctrine of the Lesser magistrate.[95] Historian David Armitage has argued that the Declaration was strongly influenced by de Vattel’s The Law of Nations, the dominant international law treatise of the period, and a book that Benjamin Franklin said was “continually in the hands of the members of our Congress”.[96] Armitage writes, “Vattel made independence fundamental to his definition of statehood”; therefore, the primary purpose of the Declaration was “to express the international legal sovereignty of the United States”. If the United States were to have any hope of being recognized by the European powers, the American revolutionaries first had to make it clear that they were no longer dependent on Great Britain.[97] The Declaration of Independence does not have the force of law domestically, but nevertheless it may help to provide historical and legal clarity about the Constitution and other laws.[98][99][100][101]

Signing

The signed copy of the Declaration is now badly faded because of poor preserving practices in the 19th century. It is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The Syng inkstand was used at both the signing of the Declaration and the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution.

The Declaration became official when Congress voted for it on July 4; signatures of the delegates were not needed to make it official. The handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence that was signed by Congress is dated July 4, 1776. The signatures of fifty-six delegates are affixed; however, the exact date when each person signed it has long been the subject of debate. Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams all wrote that the Declaration had been signed by Congress on July 4.[102] But in 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not then present, including several who were not even elected to Congress until after that date.[103]

The Declaration was transposed on paper, adopted by the Continental Congress, and signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress, on July 4, 1776, according to the 1911 record of events by the U.S. State Departmentunder Secretary Philander C. Knox.[104] On August 2, 1776, a parchment paper copy of the Declaration was signed by 56 persons.[104] Many of these signers were not present when the original Declaration was adopted on July 4.[104] Signer Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire was seated in the Continental Congress in November; he asked for and received the privilege of adding his signature at that time, and signed on November 4, 1776.[104]

On July 4, 1776, Continental Congress President John Hancock‘s signature authenticated the United States Declaration of Independence.

Historians have generally accepted McKean’s version of events, arguing that the famous signed version of the Declaration was created after July 19, and was not signed by Congress until August 2, 1776.[105] In 1986, legal historian Wilfred Ritz argued that historians had misunderstood the primary documents and given too much credence to McKean, who had not been present in Congress on July 4.[106] According to Ritz, about thirty-four delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, and the others signed on or after August 2.[107] Historians who reject a July 4 signing maintain that most delegates signed on August 2, and that those eventual signers who were not present added their names later.[108]

Two future U.S. presidents were among the signatories: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who presumably signed first as President of Congress.[109]Hancock’s large, flamboyant signature became iconic, and the term John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for “signature”.[110] A commonly circulated but apocryphal account claims that, after Hancock signed, the delegate from Massachusetts commented, “The British ministry can read that name without spectacles.” Another apocryphal report indicates that Hancock proudly declared, “There! I guess King George will be able to read that!”[111]

Various legends emerged years later about the signing of the Declaration, when the document had become an important national symbol. In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now “all hang together”, and Benjamin Franklin replied: “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The quotation did not appear in print until more than fifty years after Franklin’s death.[112]

The Syng inkstand used at the signing was also used at the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.

Publication and reaction

Johannes Adam Simon Oertel‘s painting Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, N.Y.C., ca. 1859, depicts citizens destroying a statue of King George after the Declaration was read in New York City on July 9, 1776.

After Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration on July 4, a handwritten copy was sent a few blocks away to the printing shop of John Dunlap. Through the night, Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides for distribution. Before long, it was being read to audiences and reprinted in newspapers throughout the 13 states. The first formal public readings of the document took place on July 8, in Philadelphia (by John Nixon in the yard of Independence Hall), Trenton, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania; the first newspaper to publish it was the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6.[113] A German translation of the Declaration was published in Philadelphia by July 9.[114]

President of Congress John Hancock sent a broadside to General George Washington, instructing him to have it proclaimed “at the Head of the Army in the way you shall think it most proper”.[115] Washington had the Declaration read to his troops in New York City on July 9, with thousands of British troops on ships in the harbor. Washington and Congress hoped that the Declaration would inspire the soldiers, and encourage others to join the army.[113] After hearing the Declaration, crowds in many cities tore down and destroyed signs or statues representing royal authority. An equestrian statue of King George in New York City was pulled down and the lead used to make musket balls.[116]

William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, freed his slave believing that he could not both fight for liberty and own a slave.

British officials in North America sent copies of the Declaration to Great Britain.[117] It was published in British newspapers beginning in mid-August, it had reached Florence and Warsaw by mid-September, and a German translation appeared in Switzerland by October. The first copy of the Declaration sent to France got lost, and the second copy arrived only in November 1776.[118] It reached Portuguese America by Brazilian medical student “Vendek” José Joaquim Maia e Barbalho, who had met with Thomas Jefferson in Nîmes.

The Spanish-American authorities banned the circulation of the Declaration, but it was widely transmitted and translated: by Venezuelan Manuel García de Sena, by Colombian Miguel de Pombo, by Ecuadorian Vicente Rocafuerte, and by New Englanders Richard Cleveland and William Shaler, who distributed the Declaration and the United States Constitution among Creoles in Chile and Indians in Mexico in 1821.[119] The North Ministry did not give an official answer to the Declaration, but instead secretly commissioned pamphleteer John Lind to publish a response entitled Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress.[120] British Tories denounced the signers of the Declaration for not applying the same principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to African Americans.[121] Thomas Hutchinson, the former royal governor of Massachusetts, also published a rebuttal.[122][123] These pamphlets challenged various aspects of the Declaration. Hutchinson argued that the American Revolution was the work of a few conspirators who wanted independence from the outset, and who had finally achieved it by inducing otherwise loyal colonists to rebel.[124] Lind’s pamphlet had an anonymous attack on the concept of natural rights written by Jeremy Bentham, an argument that he repeated during the French Revolution.[125] Both pamphlets asked how the American slaveholders in Congress could proclaim that “all men are created equal” without freeing their own slaves.[126]

William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who had fought in the war, freed his slave Prince Whipple because of revolutionary ideals. In the postwar decades, other slaveholders also freed their slaves; from 1790 to 1810, the percentage of free blacks in the Upper South increased to 8.3 percent from less than one percent of the black population.[127] All Northern states abolished slavery by 1804.

History of the documents

The official copy of the Declaration of Independence was the one printed on July 4, 1776, under Jefferson’s supervision. It was sent to the states and to the Army and was widely reprinted in newspapers. The slightly different “engrossed copy” (shown at the top of this article) was made later for members to sign. The engrossed version is the one widely distributed in the 21st century. Note that the opening lines differ between the two versions.[77]

The copy of the Declaration that was signed by Congress is known as the engrossed or parchment copy. It was probably engrossed (that is, carefully handwritten) by clerk Timothy Matlack.[128] A facsimile made in 1823 has become the basis of most modern reproductions rather than the original because of poor conservation of the engrossed copy through the 19th century.[128] In 1921, custody of the engrossed copy of the Declaration was transferred from the State Department to the Library of Congress, along with the United States Constitution. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the documents were moved for safekeeping to the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox in Kentucky, where they were kept until 1944.[129] In 1952, the engrossed Declaration was transferred to the National Archives and is now on permanent display at the National Archives in the “Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom“.[130]

The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives building

The document signed by Congress and enshrined in the National Archives is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, but historian Julian P. Boyd argued that the Declaration, like Magna Carta, is not a single document. Boyd considered the printed broadsides ordered by Congress to be official texts, as well. The Declaration was first published as a broadside that was printed the night of July 4 by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides, of which 26 are known to survive. The 26th copy was discovered in The National Archives in England in 2009.[131]

In 1777, Congress commissioned Mary Katherine Goddard to print a new broadside that listed the signers of the Declaration, unlike the Dunlap broadside.[128][132] Nine copies of the Goddard broadside are known to still exist.[132] A variety of broadsides printed by the states are also extant.[132]

Several early handwritten copies and drafts of the Declaration have also been preserved. Jefferson kept a four-page draft that late in life he called the “original Rough draught”.[133] It is not known how many drafts Jefferson wrote prior to this one, and how much of the text was contributed by other committee members. In 1947, Boyd discovered a fragment of an earlier draft in Jefferson’s handwriting.[134] Jefferson and Adams sent copies of the rough draft to friends, with slight variations.

During the writing process, Jefferson showed the rough draft to Adams and Franklin, and perhaps to other members of the drafting committee,[133] who made a few more changes. Franklin, for example, may have been responsible for changing Jefferson’s original phrase “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.[135] Jefferson incorporated these changes into a copy that was submitted to Congress in the name of the committee.[133] The copy that was submitted to Congress on June 28 has been lost and was perhaps destroyed in the printing process,[136] or destroyed during the debates in accordance with Congress’s secrecy rule.[137]

On April 21, 2017, it was announced that a second engrossed copy had been discovered in the archives at West Sussex County Council in Chichester, England.[138] Named by its finders the “Sussex Declaration”, it differs from the National Archives copy (which the finders refer to as the “Matlack Declaration”) in that the signatures on it are not grouped by States. How it came to be in England is not yet known, but the finders believe that the randomness of the signatures points to an origin with signatory James Wilson, who had argued strongly that the Declaration was made not by the States but by the whole people.[139][140]

Legacy

The Declaration was given little attention in the years immediately following the American Revolution, having served its original purpose in announcing the independence of the United States.[141] Early celebrations of Independence Day largely ignored the Declaration, as did early histories of the Revolution. The act of declaring independence was considered important, whereas the text announcing that act attracted little attention.[142] The Declaration was rarely mentioned during the debates about the United States Constitution, and its language was not incorporated into that document.[143] George Mason’s draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights was more influential, and its language was echoed in state constitutions and state bills of rights more often than Jefferson’s words.[144] “In none of these documents”, wrote Pauline Maier, “is there any evidence whatsoever that the Declaration of Independence lived in men’s minds as a classic statement of American political principles.”[145]

Influence in other countries

Many leaders of the French Revolution admired the Declaration of Independence[145] but were also interested in the new American state constitutions.[146] The inspiration and content of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) emerged largely from the ideals of the American Revolution.[147] Its key drafts were prepared by Lafayette, working closely in Paris with his friend Thomas Jefferson. It also borrowed language from George Mason‘s Virginia Declaration of Rights.[148][149] The declaration also influenced the Russian Empire. The document had a particular impact on the Decembrist revolt and other Russian thinkers.

According to historian David Armitage, the Declaration of Independence did prove to be internationally influential, but not as a statement of human rights. Armitage argued that the Declaration was the first in a new genre of declarations of independence that announced the creation of new states.

Other French leaders were directly influenced by the text of the Declaration of Independence itself. The Manifesto of the Province of Flanders (1790) was the first foreign derivation of the Declaration;[150] others include the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence (1811), the Liberian Declaration of Independence (1847), the declarations of secession by the Confederate States of America (1860–61), and the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence (1945).[151] These declarations echoed the United States Declaration of Independence in announcing the independence of a new state, without necessarily endorsing the political philosophy of the original.[152]

Other countries have used the Declaration as inspiration or have directly copied sections from it. These include the Haitian declaration of January 1, 1804, during the Haitian Revolution, the United Provinces of New Granada in 1811, the Argentine Declaration of Independence in 1816, the Chilean Declaration of Independence in 1818, Costa Rica in 1821, El Salvador in 1821, Guatemala in 1821, Honduras in (1821), Mexico in 1821Nicaragua in 1821, Peru in 1821, Bolivian War of Independence in 1825, Uruguay in 1825, Ecuador in 1830, Colombia in 1831, Paraguay in 1842, Dominican Republic in 1844, Texas Declaration of Independence in March 1836, California Republic in November 1836, Hungarian Declaration of Independence in 1849, Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand in 1835, and the Czechoslovak declaration of independence from 1918 drafted in Washington D.C. with Gutzon Borglum among the drafters. The Rhodesian declaration of independence, ratified in November 1965, is based on the American one as well; however, it omits the phrases “all men are created equal” and “the consent of the governed“.[119][153][154][155] The South Carolina declaration of secession from December 1860 also mentions the U.S. Declaration of Independence, though it, like the Rhodesian one, omits references to “all men are created equal” and “consent of the governed”.

Revival of interest

Interest in the Declaration was revived in the 1790s with the emergence of the United States’s first political parties.[156] Throughout the 1780s, few Americans knew or cared who wrote the Declaration.[157] But in the next decade, Jeffersonian Republicans sought political advantage over their rival Federalists by promoting both the importance of the Declaration and Jefferson as its author.[158] Federalists responded by casting doubt on Jefferson’s authorship or originality, and by emphasizing that independence was declared by the whole Congress, with Jefferson as just one member of the drafting committee. Federalists insisted that Congress’s act of declaring independence, in which Federalist John Adams had played a major role, was more important than the document announcing it.[159] But this view faded away, like the Federalist Party itself, and, before long, the act of declaring independence became synonymous with the document.

A less partisan appreciation for the Declaration emerged in the years following the War of 1812, thanks to a growing American nationalism and a renewed interest in the history of the Revolution.[160] In 1817, Congress commissioned John Trumbull‘s famous painting of the signers, which was exhibited to large crowds before being installed in the Capitol.[161] The earliest commemorative printings of the Declaration also appeared at this time, offering many Americans their first view of the signed document.[162] Collective biographies of the signers were first published in the 1820s,[163] giving birth to what Garry Wills called the “cult of the signers”.[164] In the years that followed, many stories about the writing and signing of the document were published for the first time.

When interest in the Declaration was revived, the sections that were most important in 1776 were no longer relevant: the announcement of the independence of the United States and the grievances against King George. But the second paragraph was applicable long after the war had ended, with its talk of self-evident truths and unalienable rights.[165] The Constitution and the Bill of Rights lacked sweeping statements about rights and equality, and advocates of groups with grievances turned to the Declaration for support.[166] Starting in the 1820s, variations of the Declaration were issued to proclaim the rights of workers, farmers, women, and others.[167] In 1848, for example, the Seneca Falls Convention of women’s rights advocates declared that “all men and women are created equal”.[168]

John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence (1817–1826)

About 50 men, most of them seated, are in a large meeting room. Most are focused on the five men standing in the center of the room. The tallest of the five is laying a document on a table.

John Trumbull‘s famous paintingis often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress.[169]

John Trumbull‘s painting Declaration of Independence has played a significant role in popular conceptions of the Declaration of Independence. The painting is 12-by-18-foot (3.7 by 5.5 m) in size and was commissioned by the United States Congress in 1817; it has hung in the United States Capitol Rotunda since 1826. It is sometimes described as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but it actually shows the Committee of Five presenting their draft of the Declaration to the Second Continental Congress on June 28, 1