Fast and Furious

The Pronk Pops Show 863, March 29, 2017, Story 1: Obama Administration Requested The Unmasking of American Citizens Names From National Security Agency Documents –Big Brother Is Spying On You — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Focus On Republican Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes Instead of Invasion of Privacy of American People By Former Democratic President Barack Obama — Obamagate — Videos

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Story 1: Obama Administration Requested The Unmasking of American Citizens Names From National Security Agency Documents –Big Brother Barack Was Spying On You — Videos — 

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Obama’s rule changes opened door for NSA intercepts of Americans to reach political hands

by John Solomon and Sara Carter

As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.

The NSA is expected to turn over logs as early as this week to congressional committees detailing who consumed reports with unmasked Americans’ identities from their intercepts since the summer of 2016.

This information is likely to become a primary focus of the Russia counterintelligence probe of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Circa confirmed the unmasking procedures through interviews with intelligence professionals and by reviewing previously classified documents it obtained that described the loosening of privacy requirements.

To intelligence professionals, the public revelations affirm an undeniable reality.

Over the last decade, the assumption of civil liberty and privacy protections for Americans incidentally intercepted by the NSA overseas has been eroded in the name of national security.

Today, the power to unmask an American’s name inside an NSA intercept — once considered a rare event in the intelligence and civil liberty communities — now resides with about 20 different officials inside the NSA alone. The FBI also has the ability to unmask Americans’ names to other intelligence professionals and policymakers.

And the justification for requesting such unmasking can be as simple as claiming “the identity of the United States person is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance,” according to a once-classified document that the Obama administration submitted in October 2011 for approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It laid out specifically how and when the NSA could unmask an American’s identity.

A U.S. intelligence official directly familiar with the procedures told Circa that while the unmasking requirements have been eased and the availability of intercepts widened, the NSA still regards protecting Americans’ privacy as essential.

“When [the NSA] uses their authority to unmask them we have very stringent rules,” the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity due to secret nature of the NSA’s work. “We have very strict oversight from all three branches of government — the executive, judicial and legislative.

Spokesmen for Obama, Brennan, Lynch and Rice did not immediately return calls Tuesday seeking comment. However, when questioned recently about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ allegations that Obama administration officials had access to unmasked American intercepts of Trump associates at the end of the Obama presidency, Rice said she knew of no reason for concern.

“I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today,” Rice told PBS.

“There may be very good reasons for some political appointees to need access to a non-minimized intelligence reporting but we don’t know and given the breadth of unmasked sharing that went on, there is the strong possibility of abusive or excessive access that harmed Americans’ privacy,” said an intel source familiar with the data. Added another: “Wholesale access to unmasked incidental NSA intercepts essentially created the potential for spying on Americans overseas after the fact, which is exactly what our foreign intelligence arms are not supposed to be doing.”

The ACLU, an ally of Obama on many issues, issued a statement a few months ago warning that the president’s loosened procedures governing who could request or see unmasked American intercepts by the NSA were “grossly inadequate” and lacked “appropriate safeguards.”

Nunes, the House intelligence panel chairman who was not interviewed for this story, alleged in the last week he has received evidence that Obama administration political figures gained access to unmasked American identities through foreign intercepts involving the Trump transition team between November and January.

The FBI and House and Senate intelligence committee will also try to determine if that access led to the leaking of sensitive intelligence, such as the media reports that Trump National Security adviser Mike Flynn was intercepted last December by the FBI having contact with the Russian ambassador.

The NSA is strictly forbidden from targeting Americans for surveillance while carrying out is perfectly legal and essential mission to spy on foreign powers, encoded in FISA’s Section 702.

The NSA, however, was granted dispensation from any penalty if it wiretaps or collects information of an American accidentally, an event known as an incidental collection.

The number of senior government officials who could approve unmasking had been limited to just a few, like the NSA director himself.

One of those relaxations came in 2011 when Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memo to the FISA court laying out the rules for sharing unmasked intercepts of Americans captured incidentally by the NSA. The court approved the approach.

In 2015, those rules were adapted to determine not only how the FBI got access to unmasked intelligence from NSA or FISA intercepts but also other agencies. One of the requirements, the NSA and FBI had to keep good records of who requested and gained access to the unredacted information.

And in his final days in office, Obama created the largest ever expansion of access to non-minimized NSA intercepts, creating a path for all U.S. intelligence to gain access to unmasked reports by changes encoded in a Reagan-era Executive Order 12333.

The government officials who could request or approve an exception to unmask a U.S. citizen’s identity has grown substantially. The NSA now has 20 executives who can approve the unmasking of American information inside intercepts, and the FBI has similar numbers.

And executives in 16 agencies — not just the FBI, CIA and NSA — have the right to request unmasked information.

Even when an American’s name isn’t included in a report, the NSA’s intercept information could be so specific that it identifies them.

In one hypothetical example offered by an intelligence professional, “if NSA included a day-after-the-election intercept of foreign leaders congratulating an American on his election to the presidency, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out the intercepted person was Donald Trump in 2016 or Barack Obama back in 2008.”

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Executive Order 12333

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Executive Order 12333 was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981.

On December 4, 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, an Executive Order intended to extend powers and responsibilities of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information.[1] This executive order was entitled United States Intelligence Activities.

It was amended by Executive Order 13355: Strengthened Management of the Intelligence Community, on August 27, 2004. On July 30, 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13470[2] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI.[3][4]

Part 1

“Goals, Direction, Duties and Responsibilities with Respect to the National Intelligence Effort” lays out roles for various intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury.

Part 2

“Conduct of Intelligence Activities” provides guidelines for actions of intelligence agencies.

Collection of Information

Part 2.3 permits collection, retention and dissemination of the following types of information along with several others.

“(c) Information obtained in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, international narcotics or international terrorism investigation”[1]

“(i) Incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local or foreign laws”[1]

Proscription on assassination

Part 2.11 of this executive order reiterates a proscription on US intelligence agencies sponsoring or carrying out an assassination. It reads:[5]

No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

Previously, EO 11905 (Gerald Ford) had banned political assassinations and EO 12036 (Jimmy Carter) had further banned indirect U.S. involvement in assassinations.[6] As early as 1998, this proscription against assassination was reinterpreted, and relaxed, for targets who are classified by the United States as connected to terrorism.[7][8]

Impact

Executive Order 12333 has been regarded by the American intelligence community as a fundamental document authorizing the expansion of data collection activities.[9] The document has been employed by the National Security Agency as legal authorization for its collection of unencrypted information flowing through the data centers of internet communications giants Google and Yahoo!.[9]

In July 2014 chairman David Medine and two other members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government oversight agency, indicated a desire to review Executive Order 12333 in the near future, according to a report by journalist Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian.[9]

In July 2014, former State Department official John Tye published an editorial in The Washington Post, citing his prior access to classified material on intelligence-gathering activities under Executive Order 12333, and arguing that the order represented a significant threat to Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.[10]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Ronald Reagan, “Executive Order 12333—United States Intelligence Activities,” US Federal Register, Dec. 4, 1981.
  2. Jump up^ “Executive Order 13470”. Fas.org. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul”, by Associated Press, July 31, 2008
  4. Jump up^ Executive Order: Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, White House, July 31, 2008
  5. Jump up^ “Executive Orders”. Archives.gov. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  6. Jump up^ CRS Report for Congress Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333: A Brief Summary January 4, 2002
  7. Jump up^ Walter Pincus (February 15, 1998). “Saddam Hussein’s Death Is a Goal, Says Ex-CIA Chief”. The Washington Post. p. A36. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  8. Jump up^ Barton Gellman (October 21, 2001). “CIA Weighs ‘Targeted Killing’ Missions: Administration Believes Restraints Do Not Bar Singling Out Individual Terrorists”. The Washington Post. p. A01. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c Spencer Ackerman, “NSA Reformers Dismayed after Privacy Board Vindicates Surveillance Dragnet: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Endorses Agency’s So-called ‘702’ Powers, Plus Backdoor Searches of Americans’ Information”, ‘The Guardian (London), July 2, 2014.
  10. Jump up^ Farivar, Cyrus (August 20, 2014). “Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower”. Ars Technica.

Further reading

Full text

External links

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Security Advisor Susan Rice and President Barack Obama speaking on secure phones in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility after the 2016 Brussels bombings

A Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced “skiff”) in United States military, national security/national defense and intelligence parlance, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information.

SCI is usually only briefed, discussed, and stored in an accredited SCIF.[citation needed]

Access

Access to SCIFs is normally limited to those individuals with appropriate security clearances.[1] Non-cleared personnel in SCIF must be under the constant oversight of cleared personnel and all classified information and material removed from view in order to prevent unauthorized access to said information and material;[2] as part of this process, non-cleared personnel are also typically required to surrender all recording, photographic and other electronic media devices.[3] All of the activity and conversation inside is presumed restricted from public disclosure.

Construction

Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is secure. A SCIF can also be located in an air, ground or maritime vehicle, or can be established on a temporary basis at a specific site. The physical construction, access control, and alarming of the facility has been defined by various directives, including Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs) 1/21 and 6/9, and most recently (2011) by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 705, signed by the Director of National Intelligence. ICD 705 is a three-page capstone document that implements Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) 705-1, ICS 705-2 and the TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT OF SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION FACILITIES or “Tech Specs.” The latest version of the Tech Specs was published in September 2015 (Version 1.3).

Computers operating within such a facility must conform to rules established by ICD 503. Computers and telecommunication equipment within must conform to TEMPEST emanations specification as directed by a Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA).

See also

References

External links

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 853, March 8, 2017, Story 1: Republicans United For Clean Repeal of Obamacare and Divided On Obamacare Replacement — Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians Oppose House Rollover Republican Ryancare — CATO Institute, Club for Growth, Freedom Works Heritage Foundation and House Freedom Caucus, Republican Study Committee and American People All Oppose Obamacare 2.0 Lite — Support Senator Rand Paul’s Bill and Freedom Caucus — Negotiate — Negotiate — Negotiate — Videos — Story 2: Wikileaks Vault 7 Release Reveals CIA’s Collection of Hacking Tools and Malware of Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) — Intelligence Community Are Listening and Watching — George Orwell Was An Optimist — Two Party Turnkey Tyranny — Videos -_

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Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

 

Story 1: Republicans United For Clean Repeal of Obamacare and Divided On Obamacare Replacement — Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians Oppose House Rollover Republican Ryancare — CATO Institute, Club for Growth, Freedom Works Heritage Foundation and House Freedom Caucus,  Republican Study Committee and American People  All Oppose Obamacare 2.0 Lite — Support Senator Rand Paul’s Bill and Freedom Caucus — Negotiate — Negotiate — Negotiate — Videos — 

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Conservative Freedom Caucus Torpedoes GOP Obamacare Replacement

MAJOR: Paul Ryan Introduces American Health Care Act, House GOP’s Obamacare Replacement

SABOTAGE! WHAT PAUL RYAN JUST DID TO TRUMPCARE PROVES HE’S A TRAITOR TO THE PRESIDENT

Speaker Paul Ryan: There isn’t chaos in GOP-led Congress

SEAN HANNITY INTERVIEWS TOM PRICE ABOUT TRUMP’S NEW HEALTHCARE PLAN – 3/7/17

Trump’s HHS Secretary On Obamacare Replacement Bill

Ingraham takes issue with GOP’s health care replacement bill

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President Trump Holds Meeting On Obamacare Replacement with House Deputy Whip Team 3/7/17

GOP releases Obamacare replacement details

York: Fate of GOP health care bill lies with Freedom Caucus

Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement

Trump backs healthcare tax credit amid conservative opposition

Sen. Rand Paul unveils ObamaCare replacement plan

Conservatives lash out at House GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill

March 7 at 3:01 PM
Influential conservative lawmakers and activist groups panned health-care legislation drafted by House Republican leaders Tuesday, throwing the GOP’s plan to undo the Affordable Care Act in serious doubt less than 24 hours after it was released.Those groups dubbed the House bill, backed by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), as “Obamacare Lite,” “RyanCare” or “RINOcare” — a reference to “Republican in name only,” a popular conservative epithet for establishment politicians.The Ryan-backed bill offers a more conservative vision for the nation’s health-care system, replacing federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual tax credits and phasing out most of the ACA’s taxes. But key lawmakers and outside groups, who can rile up the party’s base against legislative plans, said the legislation does not go far enough in pulling back elements of President Barack Obama’s overhaul.“The House Republican proposal released last night not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them,” Michael Needham, the head of Heritage Action for America, said in a statement Tuesday. “Congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system.”Two other groups, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, decried the plans Tuesday as a betrayal of campaign promises.

A day after House Republicans released a plan to supplant the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) outlined the issues he has with their proposal, indicating it might be unconstitutional. (Alice Li, Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)

“If this warmed-over substitute for government-run health care remains unchanged, the Club for Growth will key vote against it,” said the group’s president, David McIntosh, referring to a process in which lawmakers are graded on their votes, the better to use them as ammunition on the campaign trail.

The dilemma Republican congressional leaders face is, if they change the legislation to appease hard-line conservatives, they are likely to alienate more-moderate members who are wary of disrupting insurance markets and taking coverage away from those who gained it under the ACA.

The margin for dissent is slim: Assuming no Democrats break ranks to support the bill, for the overhaul to pass, Republicans can lose only 21 votes in the House and two votes in the Senate.

CONTENT FROM WELLS FARGO ADVISORS
Keep these factors in mind when planning for retirement
Understanding the risks that can come between you and the retirement you want is an important step toward meeting your goals.

Four key Republicans in the Senate have expressed worries about the plan’s possible impact on lower-income people who received Medicaid coverage through the ACA’s expansion of that program. The four senators are split on exactly what proposals would meet their standards, but none are likely to support the course of action favored by many conservatives — passing a 2015 bill that repealed key ACA provisions without immediately including replacement provisions.

There were some signs of hope for the House plan Tuesday. President Trump offered an early boost to GOP leaders with a morning tweet: “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster — is imploding fast!”

Vice President Pence attended a Senate Republican policy luncheon Tuesday and, in a break with normal practice, joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders at a news conference afterward to defend the House approach as “the framework for reform.”

“We are certainly open to improvements and recommendations in the legislative process, but this is the bill, and the president supports the American Health Care Act,” he said. “We are looking forward to working very directly with leadership in the House and the Senate in the weeks ahead. We are very confident that the American Health Care Act, with their help, will be on the president’s desk.”

In another sign of the administration’s support, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sent a letter Tuesday to the chairmen of the two House committees processing the legislation, calling it a “necessary and important first step toward fulfilling our promises to the American people.”

But Price, who authored a similar ACA replacement proposal when he served in the House, said that achieving all of Trump’s health-care goals “will require more than what is possible” in the current legislation, which is limited in its scope to take advantage of special budget rules allowing for easier Senate passage.

He specifically mentioned allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, pharmaceutical cost reductions and “medical legal reforms,” an apparent reference to long-standing GOP proposals to limit malpractice liability.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered measured support for the proposed legislation and said he would bring it to the Senate floor should it pass the House.

“I encourage every member to review [the legislation] because I hope to call it up when we receive it from the House,” McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve got a lot further to go, but we’re making significant progress. Working arm in arm with the House and the new administration, we’re going to keep our promise to the American people.”

While some of the fiercest criticism came from hard-right activist groups that have dogged Republican congressional leaders for years, other more establishment-minded organs joined the chorus of dissent.

National Review published an editorial Tuesday that said the legislation was “a disappointment” and has “serious flaws even as a first step toward full repeal and replacement.”

Republicans, the influential conservative magazine said, “would be better off rallying behind a bill in which they really believe, even if Democrats kill it with a filibuster,than trying and failing to enact a bill that they support only tepidly.”

Leaders involved in drafting the bills sought to defend their plan against the onslaught of criticism, describing it as the product of months of internal discussions and saying its details could still change.

“We now have a bill that’s available for all to read,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which helped craft one of them, at a news conference Tuesday. “I’d encourage them to do it. I’d encourage them to look against their own bills and what they’ve supported in the past. And then let’s have a thoughtful legislative discussion.”

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which produced the other bill, said: “As Republicans, we have a choice. We can act now, or we can keep fiddling around and squander this opportunity to repeal Obamacare and begin a new chapter of freedom for the American people. House Republicans are choosing to act now.”

Still, agitation among conservatives was evident Monday night and poured into Tuesday.

CONTENT FROM WELLS FARGO ADVISORS
Keep these factors in mind when planning for retirement
Understanding the risks that can come between you and the retirement you want is an important step toward meeting your goals.

“Keep the ‘Cadillac’ tax in place? Keep Medicaid in place until 2020?” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, referring to high-priced health-care plans. “We didn’t have Medicaid expansion in the bill we sent to President Obama, but we have it in the one we send to President Trump? That makes no sense to me.”

“Obamacare 2.0,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a libertarian who frequently breaks with GOP leadership.

Under two bills drafted by separate House committees, the government would no longer penalize Americans for failing to have health insurance but would try to encourage people to maintain coverage by allowing insurers to impose a 30 percent surcharge for those who do not have continuous coverage.

The legislation would preserve two of the most popular features of the 2010 health-care law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with preexisting medical problems. It would also target Planned Parenthood, rendering the women’s health organization ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family -planning grants — a key priority for antiabortion groups.

Taken together, the bills introduced Monday represent the Republicans’ first attempt — and best shot to date, with an ally in the White House — to translate into action seven years of talking points about demolishing the ACA.

At the same time, major aspects of the House GOP plan reflect the treacherous terrain that Republicans face to win enough votes within their own conferences in the GOP-controlled House and Senate.

The bills must address concerns of both conservatives worried about the plan’s cost and the notion it might enshrine a new federal entitlement, as well as more moderate members who want to ensure that their constituents, including those who received coverage under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, retain access to affordable health care.

The Freedom Caucus, a block of roughly 30 House hard-liners who criticized earlier versions of the bill, is set to meet Tuesday night to discuss the health-care bill and perhaps develop a list of demands to present to GOP leaders.

Members of the Republican Study Committee, a larger conservative group, were already critical of key elements of the plan. “This is a Republican welfare entitlement,” reads an RSC analysis distributed late Monday, addressing the inclusion of refundable tax credits in the plan.

With no Democrats expected to vote to pass the bill and four House GOP seats vacant, Republicans can afford to lose no more than 21 members in the lower chamber.

In recognition of the close vote that is expected, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and several deputy whips are expected to visit the White House Tuesday afternoon to discuss the health-care bill with Trump administration officials.

On Tuesday morning, Trump signaled the work on the proposal was not completely finished, referring to selling insurance across state lines and saying that change would come in “phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout.” The president also said he was “working on new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry” that will lead prices to “come way down.”

Conservative critics of the measure had noted the plan’s exclusion of selling insurance across state lines. “The problems with this bill are not just what’s in it, but also what’s missing,” said McIntosh.

Yet attacks from the right were not the only challenge facing Republican leaders.

Four key Republican senators, all from states that opted to expand Medicaid under the ACA, said they would oppose any new plan that would leave millions of Americans uninsured.

“We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) wrote in a letter to McConnell on Monday.

The plan from House Republicans would substantially redesign Medicaid with the goal of balancing the GOP’s antipathy toward the ACA’s expansion of the program against the concerns of a significant cadre of Republican governors — and the lawmakers from their states — who fear losing millions of dollars that the law has funneled to help insure low-income residents.

Democrats, meanwhile, have given no indication that they intend to work with Republicans, and top party leaders decried the GOP plan Monday as a betrayal of everyday Americans. “Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In particular, the plan to target Planned Parenthood has already generated fierce pushback from Democrats and doubts from some Republicans who have noted that federal funds are already barred from funding abortions and that Planned Parenthood provides routine medical care to millions of American women.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-leaders-brace-for-the-task-ahead-selling-obamacare-lite/2017/03/07/ab2f721e-02e5-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html?utm_term=.b64bbc38491c

A Disappointing Start

by THE EDITORS March 7, 2017 12:45 PM We believe that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with policies that enable Americans to make their own decisions about what sort of health insurance to

We believe that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with policies that enable Americans to make their own decisions about what sort of health insurance to buy, and that their options should include low-premium coverage that protects them against the risk of major financial setbacks resulting from health care. The legislation released last night by House Republicans is, even on the most charitable reading, only a first step toward that goal.

It does not repeal all of Obamacare, leaving many of its regulations in place. The apparent rationale for this omission is that eliminating the regulations would subject the legislation to a fatal Senate filibuster. We have recommended that Republicans defang the regulations by replacing Obamacare’s subsidies with a simple new tax credit that people could use to buy insurance governed by a new, lighter regulatory regime. That way Obamacare’s regulations would stay on the books but no longer hinder consumer choice. But Republicans shrank from this option, too.

We disagree with this tactical decision, which places Senate parliamentary rules — or, rather, places guesses about how those rules would operate — ahead of good health policy and making good on longstanding party promises. It also seems to us that Republicans would be better off rallying behind a bill in which they really believe, even if Democrats kill it with a filibuster, than trying and failing to enact a bill that they support only tepidly. That second outcome may now take place.

Moreover, the legislation has some serious flaws even as a first step toward full repeal and replacement. It eliminates Obamacare’s fines on people who go without insurance, but in their place creates a new surcharge for people who let their insurance lapse and then try to purchase a new policy. The goal is to keep healthy people from leaving the insurance rolls and thus destabilizing insurance markets.

The surcharge is a heavy-handed instrument: Insurers would be obligated to impose it regardless of their preferences. Yet the surcharge might not achieve its goal. A lot of healthy people might well decide to go without insurance and run the risk of paying a surcharge if they get sick later. The surcharge even undermines its own goal, since it would discourage healthy people who had already left the insurance rolls from getting back on them.

The bill has its good points. If the surcharge works, the deregulation in the bill would lower premiums. Many of Obamacare’s taxes would be repealed. Obamacare’s tax credits create high effective marginal tax rates for people in the lower middle class; the bill’s replacement tax credits would avoid this problem. Permissible contributions to and limits on health savings accounts would be loosened. Federal contributions to Medicaid would be capped, ending the perverse incentives that have for decades enabled the growth of the program. All in all, though, the bill is a disappointment. And it is not too late to get a second opinion.

All in all, though, the bill is a disappointment. And it is not too late to get a second opinion.

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445558/obamacare-replacement-republican-plan-house-representatives-disappointing

Story 2: Wikileaks Vault 7 Release Reveals CIA’s Collection of Hacking Tools and Malware of Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) — Intelligence Community Are Listening and Watching — George Orwell Was An Optimist — Two Party Turnkey Tyranny — Videos — 

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Wikileaks Unveils ‘Vault 7’: “The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents”; Another Snowden Emerges

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WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA. It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of ‘Vault 7’, a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA’s Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley, and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released:

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of ‘Year Zero’, the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said that ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program,” including “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, “would rock the technology world“, the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect “audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”

Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in “false flag” cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant. Discussing the CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks’ source notes that it “collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

“With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.”

As Kim Dotcom summarizes this finding, “CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state. It turns DNC/Russia hack allegation by CIA into a JOKE

CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state. It turns DNC/Russia hack allegation by CIA into a JOKE

But perhaps what is most notable is the purported emergence of another Snowden-type whistleblower: the source of the information told WikiLeaks in a statement that they wish to initiate a public debate about the “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”  Policy questions that should be debated in public include “whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency,” WikiLeaks claims the source said.

The FAQ section of the release, shown below, provides further details on the extent of the leak, which was “obtained recently and covers through 2016”. The time period covered in the latest leak is between the years 2013 and 2016, according to the CIA timestamps on the documents themselves. Secondly, WikiLeaks has asserted that it has not mined the entire leak and has only verified it, asking that journalists and activists do the leg work.

Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As Kim Dotcom chimed in on Twitter, “CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones” and added ” CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update”

BREAKING: CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones.

Dotcom also added that “Obama accused Russia of cyberattacks while his CIA turned all internet enabled consumer electronics in Russia into listening devices. Wow!”

Obama accused Russia of cyberattacks while his CIA turned all internet enabled consumer electronics in Russia into listening devices. Wow!

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Key Highlights from the Vault 7 release so far:

  • “Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
  • Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
  • By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook.
  • The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
  • Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Snowden 2.0?

  • In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

CIA targets iPhones, Androids, smart TVs:

  • CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).
  • The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

Also cars, suggesting that the CIA may have a role in the death of Michael Hastings:

  • As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.
  • The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

And computers:

  • The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Hoarding of Zero Day exploits:

  • In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days” to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
  • Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

Proliferation of leaked/hacked Cyberwar programs:

  • While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber ‘weapons’, once developed, are very hard to retain. Cyber ‘weapons’ are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
  • Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
  • Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

The U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base

  • In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( “Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe” or CCIE) are given diplomatic (“black”) passports and State Department cover.
  • The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany’s counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: “Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport”

Examples of CIA projects

  • The CIA’s Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by “Year Zero”) each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools. The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation (“implanting”), control, and exfiltration.
  • Umbrage: The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation. With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
  • Fine Dining:  Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency’s OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically “exfiltrating” information from computer systems) for specific operations.  Among the list of possible targets of the collection are ‘Asset’, ‘Liason Asset’, ‘System Administrator’, ‘Foreign Information Operations’, ‘Foreign Intelligence Agencies’ and ‘Foreign Government Entities’. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals.
  • ‘Improvise’; a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor).
  • HIVE: HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants. The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.

And some key sections from the FAQ:

  • What time period is covered? The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA’s creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
  • What is “Vault 7” “Vault 7” is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
  • What is the total size of “Vault 7”? The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
  • When was each part of “Vault 7” obtained?: Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
  • Is each part of “Vault 7” from a different source? Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
  • How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of “Vault 7”? Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
  • Isn’t WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series? No. That would be certainly counter-productive.

* * *

PREVIOUSLY

As a reminder, last night Wikileaks announced that it has released an encrypted torrent file which reportedly contains information on the mysterious “Vault 7”, and which we now know is the biggest “collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.publication in history.” It can be downloaded now at the following URL, and accessed using the password “SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds”

Wikileaks had previously announced that it would hold an 8am Eastern press conference, as part of the unveiling.

ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks press conference in under five hours at 8am ET / 1pm UTC / 14:00 CET. Streamed live.

However, there appeared to have been some complications, with Wikileaks tweeting that “the press conference is under attack: Facebook+Periscope video used by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange have been attacked. Activating contingency plans”

Press conf under attack: Facebook+Periscope video used by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange have been attacked. Activating contingency (1/2)

Wikileaks then announced that “As Mr. Assange’s Perscipe+Facebook video stream links are under attack his video press conference will be rescheduled.”

NOTICE: As Mr. Assange’s Perscipe+Facebook video stream links are under attack his video press conference will be rescheduled.

In a separate tweet, Wikileaks has just released the passphrase to decrypt the torrent file: RELEASE: CIA Vault 7 Year Zero decryption passphrase:

SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds

RELEASE: CIA Vault 7 Year Zero decryption passphrase:

SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds

As a result, since Assange appears to have been unable to launch his previously scheduled press conference, he has gone ahead and issued the press release on Vault 7 Part 1 “Year Zero, which is titled: Inside the CIA’s global hacking force:

Press Release

Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency’s hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the “Year Zero” disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in “Year Zero” for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in “Vault 7” part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

* * *

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).

The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.

The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.

Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA’s arsenal includes numerous local and remote “zero days” developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA’s Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as “Assassin” and “Medusa”.

Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA’s Network Devices Branch (NDB).

The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools, which are described in the examples section below.

CIA ‘hoarded’ vulnerabilities (“zero days”)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days” to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.

Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

The U.S. government’s commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.

“Year Zero” documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration’s commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in “Year Zero” is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities (“zero days”) possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

‘Cyberwar’ programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber ‘weapons’ are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber ‘weapons’, once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber ‘weapons’ are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such ‘weapons’ is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same ‘weapons’ against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global “vulnerability market” that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such ‘weapons’. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such ‘weapons’ sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling ‘hacking’ services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-07/wikileaks-hold-press-conference-vault-7-release-8am-eastern

WikiLeaks Posts Thousands of Purported CIA Cyberhacking Documents

Records show CIA able to spy on smartphones, internet TVs

WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and files Tuesday that it said exposed hacking tools the Central Intelligence Agency uses.

WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and files Tuesday that it said exposed hacking tools the Central Intelligence Agency uses.PHOTO: LARRY DOWNING/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and files Tuesday that it said exposed tools the Central Intelligence Agency uses to hack smartphones, computer operating systems, messenger applications and internet-connected televisions.

The unauthorized disclosure—the first part of which WikiLeaks said consisted of 8,761 documents and files from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence—confronts President Donald Trump with a threat from the very organization that leaked documents on his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential campaign.

WikiLeaks named the series of files “Vault 7” and called the unauthorized disclosure the “largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency,” saying it exposed the malware and exploits the agency amassed to hack smartphones and turn some televisions into covert microphones.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment “on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”

An intelligence source said some of the information does pertain to tools that the CIA uses to hack computers and other devices. This person said disclosing the information would jeopardize ongoing intelligence-gathering operations and the revelations were far more significant than the leaks of Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency who exposed active surveillance programs in 2013.

Mr. Snowden’s leaks revealed names of programs, companies that assist the NSA in surveillance and in some cases the targets of American spying. But the recent leak purports to contain highly technical details about how surveillance is carried out. That would make them far more revealing and useful to an adversary, this person said.

In one sense, Mr. Snowden provided a briefing book on U.S. surveillance, but the CIA leaks could provide the blueprints.

WikiLeaks said in its statement that it was not publishing such information as computer source code that could be used to replicate the tools it claims to have exposed. But the group left open the possibility of publishing those crucial details if “a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should [sic] analyzed, disarmed and published.”

Mr. Snowden said in a tweet Tuesday, “Still working through the publication, but what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic.”

WikiLeaks said the CIA recently “lost control” of the majority of its hacking arsenal. “This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA,” the site said in a statement. “The archive appears to have been circulating among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”

The website put out what it called the first installment in a series of planned leaks on Tuesday, calling it “Year Zero.” It said the first installment “introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products.”

WikiLeaks said the information on CIA hacking came from an unidentified source who believes the spy agency’s hacking authorities “urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.”

Much of what WikiLeaks posted Tuesday appeared to be a kind of internal Wikipedia for U.S. cyber-warfare developers to collaborate, post and access information about available hacking tools. In many instances, WikiLeaks has redacted entries that appear to link to specific executable files. The documents show, for example, what capabilities exist to bypass antivirus software, with a different entry for each antivirus company.

The revelations are sure to fuel an ongoing debate over whether intelligence agencies that discover security flaws in popular technology should disclose them, so that the users can defend themselves from hackers, or keep that information secret for use in intelligence operations.

One document claims that the CIA has discovered numerous ways to hack into versions of Apple’s iOS, the mobile operating system used on iPhones. In general, hacking tools for the iPhone are considered especially valuable because the technology is so widely used, experts said. One particular hacking tool appears to remain on an iPhone even after it has been rebooted, which would make it particularly valuable to an intruder.

“These documents, which appear to be authentic, show that the intelligence community has deliberately maintained vulnerabilities in the most common devices used by hundreds of millions of people,” Ben Wizner, the director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

“Those vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and governments around the world. The government has the capacity and obligation to help technology companies fix vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered,” Mr. Wizner said.

This is the latest high-profile leak of information by WikiLeaks, which last fall published emails stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian government hackers stole those emails and provided them to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks said the documents show the CIA’s ability to bypass the encryption of popular messenger applications, including WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and Confide by hacking the smartphones they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before the applications encrypt the user’s texts.

The site said the documents also show how the CIA developed other mobile hacking technologies, including the ability to activate the camera and microphone of a target’s smartphone covertly and surreptitiously retrieve a target’s geolocation, audio and text communications.

WikiLeaks said one of the documents also shows how the CIA developed a program to hack internet-connected televisions in conjunction with British intelligence. The attacks can place Samsung smart TVs in a fake off mode, so the owner believes the television is switched off, while in reality it is functioning as a bug and recording conversations in the room, WikiLeaks said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/wikileaks-posts-thousands-of-purported-cia-cyberhacking-documents-1488905823

WikiLeaks publishes massive trove of CIA spying files in ‘Vault 7’ release

Julian Assange claims that documents are the most comprehensive CIA release ever and are far larger than the Snowden files

The Independent Tech

WikiLeaks has published a huge trove of what appear to be CIA spying secrets.

The files are the most comprehensive release of US spying files ever made public, according to Julian Assange. In all, there are 8,761 documents that account for “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA”, Mr Assange claimed in a release, and the trove is just the first of a series of “Vault 7” leaks.

Already, the files include far more pages than the Snowden files that exposed the vast hacking power of the NSA and other agencies.

 In publishing the documents, WikiLeaks had ensured that the CIA had “lost control of its arsenal”, he claimed. That included a range of software and exploits that if real could allow unparalleled control of computers around the world.

It includes software that could allow people to take control of the most popular consumer electronics products used today, claimed WikiLeaks.

“‘Year Zero’ introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones,” the organisation said in a release.

The public files don’t include the cyber weapons themselves, according to a statement. The organisation will refrain from distributing “armed” software “until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published”, it said.

The files were made available by a source who intended for them to start a conversation about whether the CIA had gained too much power, according to the organisation.

“In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency,” a release read. “The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”

It also redacts the details of some of the names, locations and targets that are identified in the documents.

The organisation had teased the release in advance with strange messages about the release being “Year Zero”, and references to “Vault 7”. It had planned to release the files later on but that plan was thrown off when its press conference came under cyber attack, Mr Assange claimed.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/wikileaks-cia-vault-7-julian-assange-year-zero-documents-download-spying-secrets-a7616031.html

WikiLeaks releases ‘entire hacking capacity of the CIA’

Gutfeld: ‘Day Without a Woman’ strike sends wrong message

WikiLeaks on Tuesday released what it said is the full hacking capacity of the CIA in a stunning 8,000-plus page disclosure the anti-secrecy website contends is “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.”

The 8,761 documents and files — released as “Vault 7 Part 1” and titled “Year Zero” — were obtained from an “isolated, high-security network” at the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Va., a press release from the website said. The trove had been “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors,” one of whom “recently” gave the archive to WikiLeaks. The CIA allegedly employs more than 5,000 people in its cyber spying operation and had produced more than 1,000 programs as of 2016.

“We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents,” a CIA spokesperson told Fox News.

The collection of purported intelligence documents includes information on CIA-developed malware — bearing names such as “Assassin” and “Medusa” — intended to target iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs and Microsoft, Mac and Linux operating systems, among others. An entire unit in the CIA is devoted to inventing programs to hack data from Apple products, according to WikiLeaks.

WIKILEAKS OFFERS REWARD FOR INFO ON OBAMA MISDEEDS

Some of the remote hacking programs can allegedly turn numerous electronic devices into recording and transmitting stations to spy on their targets, with the information then sent back to secret CIA servers. One document appears to show the CIA was trying to “infect” vehicle control systems in cars and trucks for unspecified means.

WikiLeaks hinted that the capabilites revealed in Tuesday’s disclosure could have even darker utility than simply spying.

“It would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” the release stated.

WikiLeaks confirms CIA can effectively bypass Signal + Telegram + WhatsApp + Confide encryptionhttps://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1 

FLASHBACK: WIKILEAKS REVEALS CLINTON ‘HITS’ FILE ON SANDERS

The site said the CIA additionally failed to disclose security vulnerabilities and bugs to major U.S. software manufacturers, violating an Obama administration commitment made in January 2014. Instead, the agency used the software vulnerabilities — which could also be exploited by rival agencies, nations and groups — for its own ends, WikiLeaks said.

CIA hackers celebrated what they saw as the financial largesse of Obama towards them with “Make It Rain” gifhttps://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/files/makeitrain.gif 

“As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in ‘Year Zero’ is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts,” the WikiLeaks release stated.

Digital rights non-profit Access Now said in a statement on Tuesday it was “fantasy to believe only the ‘good guys'” would be able to use the discovered vulnerabilities.

“Today, our digital security has been compromised because the CIA has been stockpiling vulnerabilities rather than working with companies to patch them,” Senior Legislative Manager Nathan White said.

The CIA allegedly also maintains a database of malware created in other nations — WikiLeaks specifically cites Russia — in order to disguise its own hacking attempts as the work of another group.

In what is described by WikiLeaks as “one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory,” the CIA is said to have made most of its programs unclassified to avoid legal consequences for transmitting classified information through the Internet — a move that increased the risk of outside groups pirating the cyber spying tools.

WikiLeaks also revealed the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a hacking base, and the website provided the methods by which agents obfuscate customs officers to gain entry to Germany, pretending to provide technical consultation.

WikiLeaks said its source released the files because they believed questions surrounding the CIA’s reach “urgently need to be debated in public,” echoing the motives of many previous leakers.

PSA: This incorrectly implies CIA hacked these apps / encryption. But the docs show iOS/Android are what got hacked – a much bigger problem. https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/839120909625606152 

Still working through the publication, but what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic.

One such former leaker, Edward Snowden, tweeted Tuesday afternoon about the WikiLeaks release.

“Still working through the publication, but what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic,” wrote Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia as he seeks to avoid criminal prosecution in the U.S.

Some of the WikiLeaks files include redacted information, such as tens “of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/07/wikileaks-releases-entire-hacking-capacity-cia.html

Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

  • Releases
  • Documents

Press Release

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency’s hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the “Year Zero” disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in “Year Zero” for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in “Vault 7” part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).

The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.

The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.

Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA’s arsenal includesnumerous local and remote “zero days” developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA’s Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as “Assassin” and “Medusa”.

Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA’s Network Devices Branch (NDB).

The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools, which are described in the examples section below.

CIA ‘hoarded’ vulnerabilities (“zero days”)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days” to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.

Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

The U.S. government’s commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.

“Year Zero” documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration’s commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in “Year Zero” is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities (“zero days”) possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

‘Cyberwar’ programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber ‘weapons’ are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber ‘weapons’, once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber ‘weapons’ are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such ‘weapons’ is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same ‘weapons’ against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global “vulnerability market” that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such ‘weapons’. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such ‘weapons’ sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling ‘hacking’ services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base

In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( “Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe” or CCIE) are given diplomatic (“black”) passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany’s counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: “Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport”

Your Cover Story (for this trip)
Q: Why are you here?
A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate.

Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.

Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area — including France, Italy and Switzerland.

A number of the CIA’s electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.

How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks

In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of “Vault 7” — the CIA’s weaponized malware (implants + zero days), Listening Posts (LP), and Command and Control (C2) systems — the agency has little legal recourse.

The CIA made these systems unclassified.

Why the CIA chose to make its cyberarsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the ‘battlefield’ of cyber ‘war’.

To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet. If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet. Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution. This means that cyber ‘arms’ manufactures and computer hackers can freely “pirate” these ‘weapons’ if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.

Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts. Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator’s intent.

Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams. For instance, attempted “malware injections” (commercial jargon) or “implant drops” (NSA jargon) are being called “fires” as if a weapon was being fired. However the analogy is questionable.

Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its ‘target’. CIA malware does not “explode on impact” but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target’s device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target’s devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target. To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers. But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.

A successful ‘attack’ on a target’s computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization’s leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system. If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target’s territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.

Evading forensics and anti-virus

A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks.

“Tradecraft DO’s and DON’Ts” contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the “CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies” in “forensic review”. Similar secret standards cover the use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf), describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) as well as executing payloads (pdf) and persisting (pdf) in the target’s machines over time.CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeats, Personal Security Products, Detecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance. For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window’s “Recycle Bin”. While Comodo 6.x has a “Gaping Hole of DOOM”.

CIA hackers discussed what the NSA’s “Equation Group” hackers did wrong and how the CIA’s malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

Examples

The CIA’s Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by “Year Zero”) each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.

The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation (“implanting”), control, and exfiltration.

Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants; special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.

Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks’ “Year Zero”.

UMBRAGE

The CIA’s hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a “fingerprint” that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.

This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible. As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.

The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch‘s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

Fine Dining

Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency’s OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically “exfiltrating” information from computer systems) for specific operations. The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff. The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.

Among the list of possible targets of the collection are ‘Asset’, ‘Liason Asset’, ‘System Administrator’, ‘Foreign Information Operations’, ‘Foreign Intelligence Agencies’ and ‘Foreign Government Entities’. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The ‘Case Officer’ is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types. The ‘menu’ also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained. This information is used by the CIA’s ‘JQJIMPROVISE’ software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.

Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)

‘Improvise’ is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor). Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools based on requirements from ‘Fine Dining’ questionairies.

HIVE

HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.

The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.

Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider. The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a ‘Blot’ server that handles actual connection requests from clients. It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the ‘Honeycomb’ toolserver that communicates with the implant; if a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.

The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.

Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.

See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?

WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready.

In Febuary the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a “Cyberwar” review to be prepared within 30 days.

While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.

Redactions

Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete.

  1. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
  2. Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
  3. Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, …) are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
  4. Attachments with other binary content are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
  5. The tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
  6. Binary files of non-public origin are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.

Organizational Chart

The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.

Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.

Wiki pages

“Year Zero” contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian. Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.

The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).

What time period is covered?

The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).

WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA’s creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.

What is “Vault 7”

“Vault 7” is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.

When was each part of “Vault 7” obtained?

Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.

Is each part of “Vault 7” from a different source?

Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.

What is the total size of “Vault 7”?

The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.

How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of “Vault 7”?

Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.

Isn’t WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?

No. That would be certainly counter-productive.

Has WikiLeaks already ‘mined’ all the best stories?

No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They’re there. Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.

Won’t other journalists find all the best stories before me?

Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.

https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions press conference. Mar 2. 2017.

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Democrats & GOP War Hawks Align in Lunatic Russia Manipulation of American People

Published on Mar 3, 2017

Sources & Links Below, Click SHOW MORE:
Despite not producing ONE piece of tangible, objective evidence that Russia interfered with our elections, Democrats have aligned with Neo-conservative War Hawks to launch five investigation into Trump/Russia campaign connections. The Russia narrative has been one of the UGLIEST and most dishonest political manipulations in modern political history. Taking down Trump by promoting war and covering for their own corruption is traitorous behavior. Put quite plainly, this is lunatic.
Corporate Media’s FREE Campaign to Donald Trump:
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/up…
Pied Piper Email:
http://www.salon.com/2016/11/09/the-h…
Glenn Greenwald Five Points on Russia Article:
https://theintercept.com/2017/02/28/t…
Full Article on How No Real Case Has Been Made On Russia:
https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/h…
https://t.co/sAwvNAtUh6
These are Sane Progressive Videos Covering the Russia Spin/Each has a LONG list of sources in description relevant to today’s content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh0EA…
On the Election Hacking & Dem Primary Fraud:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOpkN…
On John McCain & the Lie of Russia Hacking Grid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9zwJ…
Michael Flynn Story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsF-t…
On the Geo-Political Motivations of Russia Sanctions by Obama:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRuFu…
On Hillary Clinton’s Russia Connections MUCH Deeper than Trumps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBxr…
Example of Absurdity of Russia Insanity, Russia was GOing to Frame Clinton for Election Fraud from Washington Post:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0kA2…
Russia Lies were Used to Unconstitutionally Place Elections Under Critical Infrastructure of Department of Homeland Security:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN-cY…

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 Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
 Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. CREDIT: CLIFF OWEN/AP

President Donald Trump branded Democrats “hypocrites” over calls for an investigation into his administration’s contacts with Russia, posting a photograph on the internet of one of the opposition party’s leaders sharing doughnuts and coffee with Vladimir Putin.

It came after half a dozen Trump officials and advisers were revealed to have met Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, in the six months before the president took office.

Mr Trump responded by posting the picture on Twitter showing Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the US Senate, smiling alongside Mr Putin during his trip to New York in 2003.

The president said: “We should start an immediate investigation into Senator Schumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!”

View image on Twitter

We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!

Not satisfied with that, then president then pointed the finger at Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/nancy-pelosi-sergey-kislyak-meeting-235653 

Photo published for Photo contradicts Pelosi's statement about not meeting Kislyak

Photo contradicts Pelosi’s statement about not meeting Kislyak

The Democratic House leader sat with the Russian ambassador and other officials in 2010.

politico.com

Mr Schumer said he would “happily talk under oath” about his encounter with Mr Putin, and asked Mr Trump: “Would you?”

It came as Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser,became the latest figure drawn into the web of entanglements with Russian officials that has plagued the new administration.

The 36-year-old husband of Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, was present at a previously undisclosed meeting between Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s former national security adviser, and Mr Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York in December.

Mr Flynn resigned last month after it emerged he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his communications with Mr Kislyak. In the December meeting the Russian diplomat reportedly entered Trump Tower by a back entrance and spoke for between 10 and 20 minutes.

The White House said the intention was to “establish a line of communication” with the Russian government. One official called it an “inconsequential hello” and said Mr Kushner had not met Mr Kislyak since.

On Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any future investigation examining communications between Trump officials and Moscow.

He did so after it was revealed he had himself spoken twice to Mr Kislyak and not revealed it during the confirmation hearing for his new post.

Mr Sessions was accused of “lying under oath” by Democrats in Congress who called on him to resign.

Several other Trump campaign advisers – national security advisers JD Gordon and Walifd Phares, and former foreign policy adviser Carter Page – also spoke with Mr Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July, it emerged.

Mr Gordon said there was nothing inappropriate about them having done so.

The Kremlin indicated its disappointment and frustration at how the uproar was blocking progress on US-Russian relations, including on the issues of Syria and combating terrorism.

It furiously denied allegations that Mr Kislyak, who emerged as the central figure in a controversy, was a spy. Senior intelligence officials told CNN the amiable career diplomat, at one time the Russian envoy to Nato, was suspected of being one of Russia’s top espionage recruiters in Washington.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by saying: “Recruiting? Oh my God! Stop spreading lies and false news. He is a well-known, world-class diplomat.

“I’ll open a military secret for you – it’s the diplomats’ jobs to have contacts in the country they are posted to.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Mr Kislyak was doing his job meeting senior US officials.

He added: “This strongly resembles a witch hunt or the times of McCarthyism which we thought were long over in the United States as a civilised country.”

Steve Hall, former former chief of Russian operations for the CIA, said: “Ambassador Kislyak is clearly an aggressive guy, getting out there and talking to as many people as he possibly can, that’s what Vladimir Putin wants him to do.”

Mr Hall added: “It’s an interesting effect he had on people. They have meetings with him and then they forget. It’s pretty amazing.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/03/donald-trump-brands-democrats-hypocrites-russian-links/

Story 2: Who Are Real Red Russian Agents of Influence?  — Who Lost The Crimea To Russia? — Who Gave Iran A Pathway To Nuclear Weapons? — Obama and Jarrett — Videos —

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Agent of influence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An agent of influence is an agent of some stature who uses his or her position to influence public opinion or decision making to produce results beneficial to the country whose intelligence service operates the agent.[1] Agents of influence are often the most difficult agents to detect, as there is seldom material evidence that connects them with a foreign power,[2] but they can be among the most effective means of influencing foreign opinion and actions as they hold considerable credibility among the target audience.[3] Most commonly they serve the interests of a foreign power in one of three ways: either as a controlled agent directly recruited and controlled by a foreign power; as a “trusted contact” that consciously collaborates to advance foreign interests but are not directly recruited or controlled by a foreign power; or as a “useful idiot” that is completely unaware of how their actions further the interests of a foreign power.[4]

The term “agent of influence” is often used to describe both individuals and organizations engaged in influence operations. Individuals engaged in this type of influence operation may serve in the fields of journalism, government, art, labor, academia, or a number of other professional fields.[5] Cultural opinion makers, nationalists, and religious leaders have also been targeted to serve as individual agents of influence.[6]

In addition to individual agents of influence, front organizations can serve the interests of a foreign power in this capacity.[7] Some Cold War examples of front organizations serving as agents of influence, focusing largely on the Soviet side, were many “peace” groups: the Christian Peace Conference, the International Organization of Journalists, the World Federation of Scientific Workers, the World Federation of Trade Unions, the International Institute for Peace, and the World Peace Council.[8] When individuals join such organizations in good faith but are in fact serving the interests of a foreign elite, their affiliation becomes infiltration, and cumulatively the organization serves as an agent of influence.[9]

U.S. government definitions

  • An agent of some stature who uses his or her position to influence public opinion or decision making to produce results beneficial to the country whose intelligence service operates the agent (Air Force Office of Special Investigations Manual 71-142).[10]
  • A person who is directed by an intelligence organization to use his or her position to influence public opinion or decision-making in a manner that will advance the objective of the country for which that organization operates (Counterintelligence Glossary—Terms & Definitions of Interest for Department of Defense Counterintelligence Professionals).[10]
  • An individual who acts in the interest of an adversary without open declaration of allegiance and attempts to exercise influence covertly, but is not necessarily gathering intelligence or compromising classified material, is known as an agent of influence (Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence).[10]
  • An agent operating under intelligence instructions who uses his or her officialdom or public position, and other means, to exert influence on policy, public opinion, the course of particular events, the activity of political organizations and state agencies in target countries (KGB Lexicon: The Soviet Intelligence Officer’s Handbook, edited by KGB archivist Vasiliy Mitrokhin).[10]
  • The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was enacted in 1938, and 22 U.S.Code § 611 et seq provides detailed definitions of what constitutes an agent of influence.[11]

Characteristics

text

Leon Trotsky, who popularized the term “fellow traveller” in 1924. Trotsky would state: “As regards a ‘fellow-traveller’, the question always comes up—how far will he go?”[12]

The primary characteristic that distinguishes agents of influence from spies is the lack of absolute control exercised by the foreign power on an agent of influence. According to Angelo Codevilla, the work of an agent of influence “can be far more valuable, subtle, and dangerous than that of a mere spy”.[13] As witnessed in the Cold War through “fellow travelers“, the best agents of influence were those whose interests paralleled that of the aggressor’s and needed little if any coordination.[14] A foreign power can rarely exercise complete control over an agent of influence, as these agents possess their own preferences and motivations; the most proven way to cultivate the desired results is for a foreign power to choose and develop an agent of influence whose interests already align with their own.[14]Overlooking an agent of influence’s different motivations can have negative consequences, as witnessed in World War I, when German political warfare strategists sent Vladimir Lenin back to St. Petersburg in an effort to foster domestic instability and get Russia out of the war in 1917.[14] Since Lenin had different motivations and interests than the German government at the time, he acted in a manner not suited to German interests, and grew so powerful that his party was instrumental to bringing down Imperial Germany.[14]

Excessive efforts to control or exploit agents of influence can also have negative consequences. Such agents are best seen as strategic or tactical allies, and efforts to exercise too much control over them may result in the loss of an influence asset.[14] Excessive exploitation of these agents can lead to their exposure by forcing them to take questionably one-sided positions, as witnessed in the exposure of Norwegian Arne Treholt.[15] Because these agents exercise influence, their positions and opinions are not wholly secret, but the level to which they coordinate activities with a hostile power is likely to be kept secret.[16]

Agents of influence are most effective because they bring with them a sense of credibility among the target audience, and they use this credibility to convey a story or manipulate a situation in favor of the foreign power with which they share common preferences and motivations.[3] This credibility makes agents of influence so effective that, according to Angelo Codevilla, using these agents is an act of war “in the same sense that armies crashing across border or airplanes dropping bombs are acts of war because their results can be as intrusive or conclusive as the results of armies or bombs.”[17]

Known Agents Of Influence

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Accused agent of influence and convicted spy Arne Treholt

Individuals operating as an agent of influence may serve in the fields of journalism, government, art, labor, academia, or a number of other professional fields.[5] Cultural opinion makers, nationalists, and religious leaders have also been targeted to serve as individual agents of influence.[6] The following are some notable individuals that have been accused of being foreign agents of influence. The list is not exhaustive but is meant to show the wide range in which such agents can operate. As previously noted, proving someone is an agent of influence is among the most difficult endeavors, even for the most skilled counterintelligence officers.[2]

  • Alger Hiss – an agent of influence and spy.[18] At the time of his exposure he had significant support among US politicians and only went to jail for lying under oath about passing documents to the Soviet Union.[18]
  • Harry Hopkins – debate continues today over whether enough evidence persists to accuse him of being a Soviet agent of influence, but he was largely responsible for fostering pro-Soviet views within the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.[19]
  • Arne Herløv Petersen – used as a Soviet agent of influence in Norway for over 10 years, he mainly focused on various means of manipulating Danish public opinion.[20]
  • Arne Treholt – he was exposed as a result of overuse as an agent of influence in taking blatantly one-sided arguments over Norway’s northern border.[15]
  • Rose O’Neal Greenhow – Confederate spy and accused agent of influence working among the British.[21]
  • William Stephenson – assumed British agent of influence working in the US in the era of World War II.[22]
  • Harry Dexter White – According to confessed spies and FBI informants Whitaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley, Harry Dexter White was accused of being a Soviet agent of influence working in the US as an Assistant Secretary of Treasury.[23] He was accused of fostering animosity between the US and Japan in an effort to advance Russian interests.[24] He was also accused of influencing the climate so that Russia could gain disproportional representation in the United Nations and delaying aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek in an effort to facilitate the communist takeover of the government.[24]In his book Treasonable Doubt, R. Bruce Craig questions whether this accusation is true, largely relying on the White’s pivotal role in the founding of the Bretton Woods system to point that some key achievements of his career were staunchly anti-Communist in nature.[23] As mentioned earlier, however, it is among the most difficult tasks to prove someone is an agent of influence.[2] As noted by Dr. James C. Van Hool, joint historian of the US Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency, debate over White’s status as an agent of influence continues to this day.[23]
  • Peter Matthiessen Writer and former covert CIA operative who admittedly established the Paris Review as a front for his agency activities.[25][26]

Organizational functioning

Main article: Communist front

In addition to individual agents of influence, front organizations can serve the interests of a foreign power in this capacity.[7] When individuals join such organizations in good faith but are in fact serving the interests of a foreign elite, their affiliation becomes infiltration, and cumulatively the organization serves as an agent of influence.[9] It is important to note, however, that not all front organizations focus exclusively on influence operations, as some have more specific objectives (intelligence collection, etc.). The Cold War is a recent example of increased use of not only front organizations, but of front organizations being used as agents of influence to alter the target nation’s belief system and policies on the international stage.[27]

The use of organizations as agents of influence during the Cold War is a recent example that serves to illustrate how frequently front organizations were used in an attempt to alter the perceptions and actions of a foreign nation and its public. A Communist front organization is an organization identified to be a front organization under the effective control of a Communist party, the Communist International or other Communist organizations.[28] Lenin originated the idea in his manifesto of 1902, “What Is to Be Done?“. Since the party was illegal in Russia, he proposed to reach the masses through “a large number of other organizations intended for wide membership and, which, therefore, can be as loose and as public as possible.”[29] Generally called “mass organizations” by the Communists themselves,[30] these groups were prevalent from the 1920s through the 1950s, with their use accelerating during the Popular Front period of the 1930s.

Starting in 1939, Attorney General Biddle began compiling a list of Fascist and Communist front organizations. It was called “Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations” (AGLOSO), but was not at first made public.[31]Political pressures from Congress forced President Harry S. Truman to act.[32] Truman’s Attorney General Tom C. Clark expanded the list, which was officially authorized by presidential Executive Order 9835 in 1947 and was administered by the new Loyalty Review Board. The Board became part of the Civil Service Commission.[33] The list was used by federal agencies to screen appointments during the Truman Administration. The program investigated over 3 million government employees, of whom 300 were dismissed as security risks. Adverse decisions could be appealed to the Loyalty Review Board, a government agency set up by President Truman.[34][35]

The Loyalty Review Board publicized the previously secret Attorney General’s list in March 1948 as a “List of Communist classified organizations.” The list gave the name and date founded, and (for active groups) the headquarters, and chief officers.[36]

text

This is a picture of the Ministry of Finance in East Berlin, adorned for a session of the World Peace Council on May 24, 1954. The German Federal Archive notes that the original caption, which describes the “extraordinary” session, may in retrospect be “erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.”

In 1955, SSIS published a list of what it described as the 82 most active and typical sponsors of communist fronts in the United States; some of those named had literally dozens of affiliations with groups that had either been cited as Communist fronts or had been labelled “subversive” by either the subcommittee or the House Committee on Un-American Activities.[39]

See also

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

BOMBSHELL: BARACK OBAMA CONCLUSIVELY OUTED AS CIA CREATION

The Story of Obama: All in The CompanyPREFACEAlex Jones & Aaron Dykes
Infowars.com
August 18, 2010

“Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father — my grandfather — was a cook, a domestic servant to the British. But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.”
– Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

Far from being the mere ‘son of a goat herder’ (as he deceptively paraded during and even before his candidacy), strong evidence has emerged that President Barack Obama is the product of the intelligence community. Investigative reporter and former NSA employee Wayne Madsen has put together an extensive three-part (and growing) series with conclusive proof and documentation that Barack Obama Sr., Stanley Ann Dunham, Lolo Soetoro and President Barack Obama himself all hold deep ties to the CIA and larger intelligence community. And that’s just the beginning.

After his election, President Obama quickly moved to seal off his records via an executive order. Now, after two years of hints and clues, there is substantial information to demonstrate that what Obama has omitted is that his rare rise to power can only be explained by his intelligence roots. However, this is more than the story of one man or his family. There is a long-term strategic plan to recruit promising candidates into intelligence and steer these individuals and their families into positions of influence and power. Consider that it is now declassified former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was recruited into MI5 before becoming a labour leader, or that George H. W. Bush not only became CIA director in 1976 but had a deeper past in the organization. While we may never know many pertinent details about these matters, one thing that is certain is that the American people have never been told the truth about who holds the real power, nor who this president– and likely many others– really is. Thus, we urge everyone to read Wayne Madsen’s deep report and seek the truth for yourself.

——————-

The Story of Obama: All in The Company (In Three Parts)

Wayne Madsen
Wayne Madsen Report
August 18, 2010

PART 1: The Story of Obama: All in The Company (Part I)

Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen has discovered CIA files that document the agency’s connections to institutions and individuals figuring prominently in the lives of Barack Obama and his mother, father, grandmother, and stepfather. The first part of his report highlights the connections between Barack Obama, Sr. and the CIA-sponsored operations in Kenya to counter rising Soviet and Chinese influence among student circles and, beyond, to create conditions obstructing the emergence of independent African leaders.

JPEG - 26.4 kb
From 1983-84, Barack Obama worked as Editor at Business Internation Corporation, a Business International Corporation, a known CIA front company.

President Obama’s own work in 1983 for Business International Corporation, a CIA front that conducted seminars with the world’s most powerful leaders and used journalists as agents abroad, dovetails with CIA espionage activities conducted by his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham in 1960s post-coup Indonesia on behalf of a number of CIA front operations, including the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ford Foundation. Dunham met and married Lolo Soetoro, Obama’s stepfather, at the East-West Center in 1965. Soetoro was recalled to Indonesia in 1965 to serve as a senior army officer and assist General Suharto and the CIA in the bloody overthrow of President Sukarno.

Barack Obama, Sr., who met Dunham in 1959 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii, had been part of what was described as an airlift of 280 East African students to the United States to attend various colleges — merely “aided” by a grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, according to a September 12, 1960, Reuters report from London. The airlift was a CIA operation to train and indoctrinate future agents of influence in Africa, which was becoming a battleground between the United States and the Soviet Union and China for influence among newly-independent and soon-to-be independent countries on the continent.

The airlift was condemned by the deputy leader of the opposition Kenyan African Democratic Union (KADU) as favoring certain tribes — the majority Kikuyus and minority Luos — over other tribes to favor the Kenyan African National Union (KANU), whose leader was Tom Mboya, the Kenyan nationalist and labor leader who selected Obama, Sr. for a scholarship at the University of Hawaii. Obama, Sr., who was already married with an infant son and pregnant wife in Kenya, married Dunham on Maui on February 2, 1961 and was also the university’s first African student. Dunham was three month’s pregnant with Barack Obama, Jr. at the time of her marriage to Obama, Sr.

JPEG - 26.7 kb
The CIA allegedly recruited Tom M’Boya in a heavily funded “selective liberation” programme to isolate Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta, who the American spy agency labelled as “unsafe.”

KADU deputy leader Masinda Muliro, according to Reuters, said KADU would send a delegation to the United States to investigate Kenyan students who received “gifts” from the Americans and “ensure that further gifts to Kenyan students are administered by people genuinely interested in Kenya’s development.’”

Mboya received a $100,000 grant for the airlift from the Kennedy Foundation after he turned down the same offer from the U.S. State Department, obviously concerned that direct U.S. assistance would look suspicious to pro-Communist Kenyan politicians who suspected Mboya of having CIA ties. The Airlift Africa project was underwritten by the Kennedy Foundation and the African-American Students Foundation. Obama, Sr. was not on the first airlift but a subsequent one. The airlift, organized by Mboya in 1959, included students from Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland.

Reuters also reported that Muliro charged that Africans were “disturbed and embittered” by the airlift of the selected students. Muliro “stated that “preferences were shown to two major tribes [Kikuyu and Luo] and many U.S.-bound students had failed preliminary and common entrance examinations, while some of those left behind held first-class certificates.”

Obama, Sr. was a friend of Mboya and a fellow Luo. After Mboya was assassinated in 1969, Obama, Sr. testified at the trial of his alleged assassin. Obama, Sr. claimed he was the target of a hit-and-run assassination attempt after his testimony.

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CIA-airlifted to Hawaii, Barack Obama Sr., with leis, stands with Stanley Dunham, President Obama’s grandfather, on his right.

Obama, Sr., who left Hawaii for Harvard in 1962, divorced Dunham in 1964. Obama, Sr. married a fellow Harvard student, Ruth Niedesand, a Jewish-American woman, who moved with him to Kenya and had two sons. They were later divorced. Obama, Sr. worked for the Kenyan Finance and Transport ministries as well as an oil firm. Obama, Sr. died in a 1982 car crash and his funeral was attended by leading Kenyan politicians, including future Foreign Minister Robert Ouko, who was murdered in 1990.

CIA files indicate that Mboya was an important agent-of-influence for the CIA, not only in Kenya but in all of Africa. A formerly Secret CIA Current Intelligence Weekly Summary, dated November 19, 1959, states that Mboya served as a check on extremists at the second All-African People’s Conference (AAPC) in Tunis. The report states that “serious friction developed between Ghana’s Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah and Kenyan nationalist Tom Mboya who cooperated effectively last December to check extremists at the AAPC’s first meeting in Accra.” The term “cooperated effectively” appears to indicate that Mboya was cooperating with the CIA, which filed the report from field operatives in Accra and Tunis. While “cooperating” with the CIA in Accra and Tunis, Mboya selected the father of the president of the United States to receive a scholarship and be airlifted to the University of Hawaii where he met and married President Obama’s mother.

An earlier CIA Current Intelligence Weekly Summary, secret, and dated April 3, 1958, states that Mboya “still appears to be the most promising of the African leaders.” Another CIA weekly summary, secret and dated December 18, 1958, calls Mboya the Kenyan nationalist an “able and dynamic young chairman” of the People’s Convention party who was viewed as an opponent of “extremists” like Nkrumah, supported by “Sino-Soviet representatives.”

In a formerly Secret CIA report on the All-Africa Peoples Conference in 1961, dated November 1, 1961, Mboya’s conservatism, along with that of Taleb Slim of Tunisia, are contrasted to the leftist policies of Nkrumah and others. Pro-communists who were elected to the AAPC’s steering committee at the March 1961 Cairo conference, attended by Mboya, are identified in the report as Abdoulaye Diallo, AAPC Secretary General, of Senegal; Ahmed Bourmendjel of Algeria; Mario de Andrade of Angola; Ntau Mokhele of Basutoland; Kingue Abel of Cameroun; Antoine Kiwewa of Congo (Leopoldville); Kojo Botsio of Ghana; Ismail Toure of Guinea; T. O. Dosomu Johnson of Liberia; Modibo Diallo of Mali; Mahjoub Ben Seddik of Morocco; Djibo Bakari of Niger; Tunji Otegbeya of Nigeria; Kanyama Chiume of Nyasaland; Ali Abdullahi of Somalia; Tennyson Makiwane of South Africa, and Mohamed Fouad Galal of the United Arab Republic.

The only attendees in Cairo who were given a clean bill of health by the CIA were Mboya, who appears to have been a snitch for the agency, and Joshua Nkomo of Southern Rhodesia, B. Munanka of Tanganyika, Abdel Magid Shaker of Tunisia, and John Kakonge of Uganda.

Nkrumah would eventually be overthrown in a 1966 CIA-backed coup while he was on a state visit to China and North Vietnam. The CIA overthrow of Nkrumah followed by one year the agency’s overthrow of Sukarno, another coup that was connected to President Obama’s family on his mother’s side. There are suspicions that Mboya was assassinated in 1969 by Chinese agents working with anti-Mboya factions in the government of Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta in order to eliminate a pro-U.S. leading political leader in Africa. Upon Mboya’s death, every embassy in Nairobi flew its flag at half-mast except for one, the embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

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Jomo Kenyatta, first President of Kenya.

Mboya’s influence in the Kenyatta government would continue long after his death and while Obama, Sr. was still alive. In 1975, after the assassination of KANU politician Josiah Kariuki, a socialist who helped start KANU, along with Mboya and Obama, Sr., Kenyatta dismissed three rebellious cabinet ministers who “all had personal ties to either Kariuki or Tom Mboya.” This information is contained in CIA Staff Notes on the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, formerly Top Secret Umbra, Handle via COMINT Channels, dated June 24, 1975. The intelligence in the report, based on its classification, indicate the information was derived from National Security Agency intercepts in Kenya. No one was ever charged in the assassination of Kariuki.

The intecepts of Mboya’s and Kariuki’s associates are an indication that the NSA and CIA also maintain intercepts on Barack Obama, Sr., who, as a non-U.S. person, would have been lawfully subject at the time to intercepts carried out by NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

(Continued below)

PART 2: Special Report. The Story of Obama: All in The Company – Part II

In Part I of this WMR special report, we revealed the connections between Barack Obama, Sr. and the CIA-affiliated Airlift Africa project to provide college degrees to and gain influence over a group of 280 eastern and southern African students from soon-to-be independent African nations to counter similar programs established by the Soviet Union and China. Barack Obama Sr. was the first African student to attend the University of Hawaii. Obama Sr. and Obama’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham met in a Russian language class in 1959 and they married in 1961.

The African airlift program was administered by Kenyan nationalist leader Tom Mboya, a fellow Luo tribe mentor and friend of the senior Obama. According to CIA documents described in Part I, Mboya also served the CIA in ensuring that pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese African nationalists were stymied in their attempt to dominate pan-African nationalist political, student, and labor movements.

One of Mboya’s chief opponents was Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, who was ousted in a CIA-inspired coup in 1966, one year before to Obama Sr’s son, Barack Obama, Jr. and his mother joined Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian who Obama’s mother met at the University of Hawaii in 1965, when President Obama was four years old.

In 1967, Obama and his mother joined her husband in Jakarta. In 1965, Lolo Soetoro had been called back from Hawaii by General Suharto to serve as an officer in the Indonesian military to help launch a bloody CIA-backed genocide of Indonesian Communists and Indonesian Chinese throughout the expansive country. Suharto consolidated his power in 1966, the same year that Barack Obama, Sr.’s friend, Mboya, had helped to rally pro-U.S. pan-African support for the CIA’s overthrow of Nkrumah in Ghana in 1966.

East-West Center, University of Hawaii,  and CIA coup against Sukarno

Ann Dunham met Soetoro at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. The center had long been affiliated with CIA activities in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1965, the year that Dunham met and married Soetoro, the center saw a new chancellor take over. He was Howard P. Jones who served a record seven years, from 1958 to 1965, as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia. Jones was present in Jakarta as Suharto and his CIA-backed military officers planned the 1965 overthrow of Sukarno, who was seen, along with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), as allies of China.

When Jones was chancellor of the East-West Center, he wrote an article for the Washington Post, dated October 10, 1965, in which he defended Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno. Jones was “invited” by the Post to comment on the Suharto coup, described as a “counter-coup” against the Communists. Jones charged that Suharto was merely responding to an earlier attempted Communist-led coup against Sukarno launched by Lt. Col. Untung, “a relatively unknown battalion commander in the palace guard.”

Jones’s article, which mirrored CIA situation reports from the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, continued by stating that the alleged leftist coup on September 30 “came within an inch of succeeding through the assassination of six of the top military command. It might well have succeeded had not Defense Minister Nasution and a number of other senior generals also maked for assassination acted fast in a dramatic counter-coup.” Of course, what Jones did not inform the Post’s readers was that the Suharto “counter-coup” had been assisted with the strong help of the CIA.

Sukarno never blamed the Communists for the assassination of the army generals nor did the Indonesian Cabinet, where the second= and third-ranking leaders of the PKI were present. The possibility that the assassination of the generals was a CIA/Suharto “false flag” operation to affix blame on the PKI cannot be ruled out. Two days after Suharto’s coup, a CIA “rent-a-mob” burned down the PKI headquarters in Jakarta. As they marched past the U.S. Embassy, which was also the site of the CIA station, they yelled out, “Long live America!”

Untung later said that when he became aware that Suharto and the CIA were planning a coup on October 5, 1965 — Indonesian Armed Forces Day — forces loyal to him and Sukarno moved first. Jones described this as “typical Communist propaganda.” Suharto moved against Sukarno on October 1. Jones iterated that “there was not an iota of truth . . . in the accusation that the CIA was working against Sukarno.” History has proven otherwise. Jones accused the Communists of taking advantage of Sukarno’s failing health to beat out the other candidates to succeed him. The goal, according to Jones, was to have PKI boss D.N. Aidit succeed Sukarno. Sukarno did not die until 1970, while under house arrest.

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A CIA paper, formerly classified Secret and undated, states “Sukarno would like to return to the status quo ante-coup. He has refused to condemn the PKI or the 30th September Movement [of Lt. Col. Untung]; instead, he calls for unity of Indonesia and asks that no vengeance be taken by one group against the other. But, he has not succeeded in forcing the Army to abandon its anti-PKI activities and, on the other hand, he has bowed to their demand by appointing its single candidate General Suharto as head of the Army.” Suharto and Barry Obama Soetoro’s step-father Lolo Soetoro would ignore Sukarno’s call for no vengeance, as hundreds of thousands of Indonesians would soon discover.

The mass murder by Suharto of Indonesian Chinese is seen in the CIA paper’s description of the Baperki Party: “the leftist Baperki Party, with its major strength in rural areas, is largely Chinese-Indonesian in membership.” A CIA Intelligence Memorandum, dated October 6, 1966 and formerly classified Secret, shows the extent of the CIA’s monitoring of the anti-Sukarno coup from various CIA agents assigned as liaisons to Suharto’s army units surrounding the Presidential Palace in Bogor and at various diplomatic posts around the country, including the U.S. Consulate in Medan, which was keeping track of leftists in that Sumatran city and, which, in an October 2, 1965, Intelligence Memo, reported to the CIA that the “Soviet consul-general in Medan has a plane standing by that could be used for evacuation of Soviet citizens from Sumatra.” The October 6 memo also warns against allowing Untung from developing a following in Central Java.

A CIA formerly Secret “Weekly Summary Special Report” on Indonesia, dated August 11, 1967, and titled “The New Order in Indonesia,” reports that in 1966, Indonesia re-aligned its economy in order to receive International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance. The CIA reports its is happy with the new triumvirate ruling Indonesia in 1967: Suharto, Foreign Minister Adam Malik, and the Sultan of Jogjakarta, who served as minister for economics and finance. The report also rejoices in the outlawing of the PKI, but states it “retains a significant following in East and Central Java,” where Ann Dunham Soetoro would largely concentrate her later efforts on behalf of USAID, the World Bank, and the Ford Foundation, all front activities for the CIA to “win the hearts and minds” of the Javanese farmers and artisans.

A CIA Intelligence Memorandum, formerly Secret and dated July 23, 1966, clearly sees the Muslim Nahdatul Ulama party {NU), the largest party in Indonesia and Muslim, as a natural ally of the United States and the Suharto regime. The report states that helped Suharto put down the Communists in the post-coup time frame, especially where the NU was strongest: East Java, where Obama’s mother would concentrate her activities, and North Sumatra and parts of Borneo. An April 29, 1966, formerly Secret CIA Intelligence Memorandum on the PKI states: “Moslem extremists in many instances outdid the army in hunting down and murdering members of the party [PKI] and its front groups.”

Dunham and Barry Soetoro in Jakarta and USAID front activities

Having A Supply Of Healthy Foods That Last Just Makes Sense

Dunham dropped out of the University of Hawaii in 1960 while pregnant with Barack Obama. Barack Obama Sr. left Hawaii in 1962 to study at Harvard. Dunham and Obama divorced in 1964. In the fall of 1961, Dunham enrolled at the University of Washington while caring for her infant son. Dunham was re-enrolled at the University of Hawaii from 1963 to 1966. Lolo Soetoro, who Dunham married in March 1965, departed Hawaii for Indonesia on July 20, 1965, some three months prior to the CIA’s coup against Sukarno. Soetoro, who served Suharto as an Army colonel, was clearly called back from the CIA-connected East-West Center to assist in the coup against Sukarno, one that would eventually cost the lives of some one million Indonesian citizens. It is a history that President Obama would like the press to ignore, which it certainly did during the 2008 primary and general election.

In 1967, after arriving in Indonesia with Obama, Jr., Dunham began teaching English at the American embassy in Jakarta, which also housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia and had significant satellite stations in Surabaya in eastern Java and Medan on Sumatra. Jones left as East-West Center chancellor in 1968.

In fact, Obama’s mother was teaching English for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which was a major cover for CIA activities in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Laos, South Vietnam, and Thailand. The USAID program was known as Lembaga Pendidikan Pembinaan Manajemen. Obama’s mother, painted as a free spirit and a “sixties child” by President Obama and people who claimed they knew her in Hawaii and Indonesia, had a curriculum vitae in Indonesia that contradicts the perception that Ann Dunham Soetoro was a “hippy.”

Dunham Soetoro’s Russian language training at the University of Hawaii may have been useful to the CIA in Indonesia. An August 2, 1966, formerly Secret memorandum from the National Security Council’s Executive Secretary Bromley Smith states that, in addition to Japan, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the Suharto coup was welcomed by the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies because its created a non-aligned Indonesia that “represents an Asian counterweight to Communist China.” Records indicate that a number of CIA agents posted in Jakarta before and after the 1965 coup were, like Dunham Soetoro, conversant in Russian.

Dunham Soetoro worked for the elitist Ford Foundation, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Bank Rakyat (the majority government-owned People’s Bank of Indonesia), and the CIA-linked USAID while she lived in Indonesia and later, Pakistan.

USAID was involved in a number of CIA covert operations in Southeast Asia. The February 9, 1971, Washington Star reported that USAID officials in Laos were aware that rice supplied to the Laotian Army by USAID was being re-sold to North Vietnamese army divisions in the country. The report stated that the U.S. tolerated the USAID rice sales to the North Vietnamese since the Laotian Army units that sold the rice found themselves protected from Communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese attack. USAID and the CIA also used the supply of rice to force Laotian Meo tribesmen to support the United States in the war against the Communists. USAID funds programmed for civilians injured in the war in Laos and public health care were actually diverted for military purposes.

In 1971, the USAID-funded Center for Vietnamese Studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale was accused of being a CIA front. USAID-funded projects through the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) — comprising the Universities of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan State — were accused of being CIA front projects, including those for “agricultural education” in Indonesia, as well as other “projects” in Afghanistan, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand, and South Vietnam. The charge was made in 1971, the same year that Ann Dunham was working for USAID in the country.

In a July 10, 1971, New York Times report, USAID and the CIA were accused of “losing” $1.7 billion appropriated for the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program in South Vietnam. CORDS was part of the CIA’s Operation Phoenix program, which involved CIA assassination and torture of South Vietnamese village elders and Buddhist clerics. USAID money was also directed to the CIA’s proprietary airline in Southeast Asia, Air America. In Thailand, USAID funds for the Accelerated Rural Development Program in Thailand were actually masking a CIA anti-Communist counter-insurgency operation. USAID funds programmed for public works projects in East Pakistan in 1971 were used for East Pakistan’s military fortifications on its border with India, in the months before the outbreak of war with India, in contravention of U.S. law that prohibited USAID money for military purposes.

In 1972, USAID administrator Dr. John Hannah admitted to Metromedia News that USAID was being used as a cover for CIA covert operations in Laos. Hannah only admitted to Laos as a USAID cover for the CIA. However, it was also reported that USAID was being used by the CIA in Indonesia, Philippines, South Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea. USAID projects in Southeast Asia had to be approved by the Southeast Asian Development Advisory Group (SEADAG), an Asia Society group that was, in fact, answerable to the CIA.

The U.S. Food for Peace program, jointly administered by USAID and the Department of Agriculture, was found in 1972 to be used for military purposes in Cambodia, South Korea, Turkey, South Vietnam, Spain, Taiwan, and Greece. In 1972, USAID funneled aid money only to the southern part of North Yemen, in order to aid North Yemeni forces against the government of South Yemen, then ruled by a socialist government opposed to U.S. hegemony in the region.

One of the entities affiliated with the USAID work in Indonesia was the Asia Foundation, a 1950s creation formed with the help of the CIA to oppose the expansion of communism in Asia. The East-West Center guest house in Hawaii was funded by the Asia Foundation. The guest house is also where Barack Obama Sr. first stayed after his airlift from Kenya to Hawaii, arranged by the one of the CIA’s major agents of influence in Africa, Mboya.

Dunham would also travel to Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Thailand working on micro-financing projects. In 1965, Barack Obama Sr. returned to Kenya from Harvard, with another American wife. The senior Obama linked up with his old friend and the CIA’s “golden boy” Mboya and other fellow Luo politicians. The CIA station chief in Nairobi from 1964 to 1967 was Philip Cherry. In 1975, Cherry was the CIA station chief in Dacca, Bangladesh. Cherry was linked by the then-U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, Eugene Booster, to the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh’s first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and members of his family.

The hit on “Sheikh Mujib” and his family was reportedly ordered by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Bangladesh was also on the micro- and macro-financing travel itinerary of CIA-linked Ann Dunham.

CIA banking and Hawaii

Meanwhile, Dunham Soetoro’s mother, Madelyn Dunham, who raised young Obama when he returned to Hawaii in 1971 while his mother stayed in Indonesia, was the first female vice president at the Bank of Hawaii in Honolulu. Various CIA front entities used the bank. Madelyn Dunham handled escrow accounts used to make CIA payments to U.S.-supported Asian dictators like Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu, and President Suharto in Indonesia. In effect, the bank was engaged in money laundering for the CIA to covertly prop up its favored leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

One of the CIA’s major money laundering fronts in Honolulu was the firm of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong (BBRDW). After the CIA allowed the firm to collapse in 1983  amid charges that BBRDW was merely a Ponzi scheme, Senator Daniel Inouye of the US Senate Intelligence Committee said the CIA’s role in the firm “wasn’t significant.” It would later be revealed that Inouye, who was one of the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’s best friends in the Senate, was lying. In fact, BBRDW was involved heavily in funding covert CIA programs throughout Asia, including economic espionage against Japan, providing arms for Afghan mujaheddin guerrillas in their war against the Soviets and covertly supplying weapons to Taiwan. One of BBRDW’s principals was John C. “Jack” Kindschi, who, before he retired in 1981, was the CIA station chief in Honolulu. BBRDW’s chairman Ron Rewald had a counterfeit college degree certificate provided for the wall of his office by the CIA’s forgery experts and his name was inserted in university records as an alumnus.

A false history for BBRDW was concocted by the CIA claiming the firm had operated in Hawaii since it was a territory. President Obama is currently plagued by allegations that he has fake college and university transcripts, a phony social security number issued in Connecticut, and other padded resume items. Did Hawaii’s fake BBRDW documents portend today’s questions about Obama’s past?

BBRDW conducted its business in the heart of Honolulu’s business district, where the Bank of Hawaii was located and where Obama grandmother Madelyn Dunham ran the escrow accounts. The bank would handle much of BBRDW’s covert financial transactions.

Obama/Soetoro and the “years of living dangerously” in Jakarta

It is clear that Dunham Soetoro and her Indonesian husband, President Obama’s step-father, were closely involved in the CIA’s operations to steer Indonesia away from the Sino-Soviet orbit during the “years of living dangerously” after the overthrow of Sukarno. WMR has discovered that some of the CIA’s top case officers were assigned to various official and non-official cover assignments in Indonesia during this time frame, including under the cover of USAID, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA).

One of the closest CIA contacts for Suharto was former CIA Jakarta embassy officer Kent B. Crane. Crane was so close to Suharto after “retiring” from the CIA, he was reportedly one of the only “private” businessmen given an Indonesian diplomatic passport by Suharto’s government. Crane’s company, the Crane Group, was involved in supplying small arms to the military forces of the United States, Indonesia, and other nations. A foreign policy adviser to Vice President Spiro Agnew, Crane was later nominated as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia by President Ronald Reagan but the nomination was dead-on-arrival because of Crane’s dubious links to Suharto. The ambassadorship would instead go to John Holdridge, a close colleague of Kissinger. Holdridge was succeeded in Jakarta by Paul Wolfowitz.

Suharto’s cronies, who included Mochtar and James Riady of the Lippo Group, would later stand accused of funneling over $1 million of illegal foreign contributions to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

President Obama has twice postponed official state visits to Indonesia, perhaps fearful of the attention such a trip would bring to the CIA connections of his mother and Indonesian step-father.

In the 1970s and 80s, Dunham was active in micro-loan projects for the Ford Foundation,  the CIA-linked East-West Center, and USAID in Indonesia. One of the individuals assigned to the U.S. embassy and helped barricade the compound during a violent anti-U.S. student demonstration during the 1965 Suharto coup against Sukarno was Dr. Gordon Donald, Jr. Assigned to the embassy’s Economic Section, Donald was responsible for USAID micro-financing for Indonesian farmers, the same project that Dunham Soetoro would work on for USAID in the 1970s, after her USAID job of teaching English in Indonesia. In a 1968 book, “Who’s Who in the CIA,” published in West Berlin, Donald is identified as a CIA officer who was also assigned to Lahore, Pakistan, where Dunham would eventually live for five years in the Hilton International Hotel while working on microfinancing for the Asian Development Bank.

Another “Who’s Who in the CIA” Jakarta alumnus is Robert F. Grealy, who later became the director for international relations for the Asia-Pacific for J P Morgan Chase and a director for the American-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. J P Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon is being mentioned as a potential replacement for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whose father, Peter Geithner, was the Ford Foundation’s Asia grant-selector who funneled the money to Ann Dunham’s Indonesian projects.

CIA Black Projects and Hawaii

While in Pakistan, Dunham’s son Barack visited her in 1980 and 1981. Obama visited Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderabad, India during his south Asia visits. It was during the time period that the CIA was beefing up its anti-Soviet operations in Afghanistan from Pakistan.

A January 31, 1958, heavily-redacted formerly Secret NOFORN [no foreign dissemination] memorandum for CIA Director Allen Dulles from the Deputy Assistant Director of the CIA for Research and Reports [name redacted] reports on a fact-finding mission to the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East from November 17 through December 21, 1957.

The CIA Office of Research and Reports (ORR) chief reports a meeting with the staff of retired Army General Jesmond Balmer, a senior CIA official in Hawaii, about requests by the Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) for “a number of detailed, time-consuming research studies.” The ORR chief then reports about a CIA “survey of students at the University of Hawaii who have both Chinese language and research ability.” The ORR chief also reports that at a South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) Counter Subversion Seminar at Baguio, Philippines held from November 26-29, 1957, the Economic Subcommittee discussed an “economic development fund” to combat “Sino-Soviet Bloc subversive activities in the area and a consideration of possible counter-measures which might be employed.”

The Thailand and Philippines delegations were pushing hard for U.S. funding for an economic development fund, which may have provided the impetus for later USAID projects in the region, including those with which Peter Geithner and Obama’s mother were intimately involved.

Although CIA geo-political covert operations at the University of Hawaii are well-documented, the agency’s darker side of research and MK-UKTRA type operations has not generally been associated with the University of Hawaii.

A series of formerly Confidential CIA memoranda, dated May 15, 1972, points to the involvement of both the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the CIA, and the University of Hawaii in the CIA’s behavioral science program. The memos are signed by then-Deputy Director of the CIA Bronson Tweedy, the chief of the Intelligence Community’s Program Review Group (PRG) [name redacted], and CIA Director Richard Helms. The subject of the memos is “ARPA Supported Research Relating to Intelligence Product,” The memo from the PRG chief discusses a conference held on May 11, 1972, attended by Lt. Col. Austin Kibler, ARPA’s Director of Behavioral Research. Kibler was the chief for ARPA research into behavior modification and remote viewing. Others mentioned in the PRG chief’s memo include CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence Edward Proctor, the CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology Carl Duckett, and Director of the Office of National Estimates John Huizenga.

In 1973, after CIA Director James Schlesinger ordered a review of all CIA programs, the CIA developed a set of documents on various CIA programs collectively called the “Family Jewels.” Most of these documents were released in 2007 but it was also revealed that Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA’s director of MKULTRA, the agency’s behavior modification, brainwashing, and drug testing component, had been ordered by Helms, before he resigned as CIA director, to be destroyed. Duckett, in one memo from Ben Evans of the CIA to CIA Director William Colby, dated May 8, 1973, conveys that he “thinks the Director would be ill-advised to say he is acquainted with this program,” meaning Gottlieb’s drug testing program under MKULKTRA.

Senior Gerald Ford administration officials, including Chief of Staff Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ensured that after the production of the “Family Jewels” documents, no CIA revelations were made about CIA psychological behavior-altering programs, including MKULTRA and Project ARTICHOKE.

The May 15, 1972, set of memos appears to be related to the CIA’s initial research, code named SCANATE, in 1972 into psychic warfare, including the use of psychics for purposes of remote viewing espionage and mind control. The memo discussed Kibler from ARPA and “his contractor,” which was later discovered to be Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California.

In a memo from CIA Director Helms to, among others, Duckett, Huizenga, Proctor, and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which later inherited reote viewing from the CIA under the code name GRILL FLAME, Helms insists that ARPA had been supporting research into behavioral science and its potential for intelligence production “for a number of years” at “M.I.T., Yale, the University of Michigan, U.C.L.A., and University of Hawaii and other institutions as well as in corporate research facilities.”

The role of the University of Hawaii in CIA psych-war operations continues to this day.  The chief of research for DIA’s Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC) Behavioral Sciences Program, Dr. Susan Brandon, who was reportedly involved in a covert program run by the American Psychological Association (APA), Rand Corporation, and the CIA to employ “enhanced interrogation” techniques, including sleep and sensory deprivation, intense pain, and extreme isolation on prisoners held at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and other “black prisons,” received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Hawaii. Brandon also served as assistant director of Social, Behavioral, and Educational Sciences for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the George W. Bush White House.

The CIA’s close connections to the University of Hawaii continued to the late 1970s, when the former President of the University of Hawaii from 1969 to 1974, Harlan Cleveland, was a special invited speaker at CIA headquarters on May 10, 1977. Cleveland served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1961 to 1965 and Lyndon Johnson’s ambassador to NATO from 1965 to 1969 before taking up his position at the University of Hawaii.

A CIA Director of Training memo dated May 21, 1971, reports on the active recruitment of a U.S. Marine officer who was entering graduate school at the University of Hawaii.

The Family of Obama and the CIA

There are volumes of written material on the CIA backgrounds of George H. W. Bush and CIA-related activities by his father and children, including former President George W. Bush. Barack Obama, on the other hand, cleverly masked his own CIA connections as well as those of his mother, father, step-father, and grandmother (there is very little known about Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, who was supposedly in the furniture business in Hawaii after serving in Europe during World War II). Presidents and vice presidents do not require security background checks, unlike other members of the federal government, to hold office. That job is left up to the press. In 2008, the press failed miserably in its duty to vet the man who would win the White House. With the ties of Obama’s parents to the University of Hawaii and its links to MKULTRA and ARTICHOKE, a nagging question remains: Is Barack Obama a real-life “Manchurian Candidate?”

(Continued below)

PART 3: August 19, 2010 — SPECIAL REPORT. The Story of Obama: All in the Company — Add one more Obama family member to the CIA payroll. Part III

WMR previously reported on the CIA links of President Obama’s mother, father, step-father, grandmother to the CIA. Not much is known about Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, who Obama mistakenly referred to as “his father” in two speeches, one recently to the Disabled American Veterans.

What is officially known about Stanley Armour Dunham is that he served with the 9th Air Force in Britain and France prior to and after the D-Day invasion. After the war, Dunham and his wife, Madelyn and his daughter Stanley Ann — Obama’s mother — moved to Berkeley, California; El Dorado, Kansas; Seattle; and Honolulu. Armour Dunham is said to have worked for a series of furniture stores.

Obama maintains that his mother and father first met in a Russian-language class at the University of Hawaii in 1959. However, a photograph has emerged of Stanley Armour welcoming Barack Obama, Sr., complete with traditional Hawaiian welcoming leis, from Kenya. Obama, Sr. was the only Kenyan student airlifted to Hawaii as part of the CIA-inspired Airlift Africa project that saw Obama and 279 other students from British eastern and southern African colonies brought to the United States for college degrees prior to their homelands gaining independence from Britain. The students were selected by Kenyan nationalist leader Tom Mboya who would later conduct surveillance for the CIA at pan-African nationalist meetings. Mboya was particularly focused on two African leaders who were seen as too close to the Sino-Soviet bloc, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Sekout Toure of Guinea.

Stanley Armour Dunham with Barack Obama, Sr. at welcoming ceremony to Hawaii. The presence of two US Navy personnel indicates the plane may have landed at Hickam Air Force Base, an indication of the U.S. government’s and CIA’s role in the Airlift Africa project.

The photograph of Armour Dunham with Barack Obama, Sr., indicates that the “furniture salesman” in Hawaii was, in fact, working with a CIA-funded project to rapidly educate aspiring politicians to serve in post-independence African governments to counter Soviet- and Chinese-backed political leaders in the region.

There is a strong reason to believe that Armour Dunham worked in the 1950s for the CIA in the Middle East. An FBI file on Armour Dunham existed but the bureau claimed it destroyed the file on May 1, 1997. Considering the sour relations between the FBI and CIA during the Cold War, it is likely that Armour Dunham was being monitored by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the same manner as a number of other CIA officials and agents were being surveilled. Similarly, the pre-1968 passport records of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, were destroyed by the State Department.

There is a photographic clue that the Dunhams may have been assigned by the CIA to Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1950s. A photograph of Obama’s mother and grandparents has emerged that shows Stanley Ann Dunham wearing what may be a school uniform with the insignia of “NdJ,” which stands for the College Notre-Dame de Jamhour, a private Jesuit Catholic French language school in Beirut, Lebanon. Graduates of the school include three former presidents of Lebanon, Amine Gemayel, Bashir Gemayel, and Charles Helou, all of whom maintained close relations with Washington.

Did Obama’s mother [left] go to a private school in Lebanon in the early 1950s while her father [middle] worked for the CIA in Beirut?

There is also the curious nature of President Obama’s Social Security Number, issued in Connecticut, a state where there is no other evidence of his ever being a resident. Adding to the mystery is a New York City address for a “male” named Stanley Ann Dunham,  235 E. 40th St Apt 8F, New York NY 10016-1747. The address is a few blocks away from the address of the Ford Foundation. Ann Dunham did work briefly in New York for the Ford Foundation.

On August 9, 2010, WMR reported, “In a December 19, 1971, article in the Boston Globe by Dan Pinck, [a historian and former OSS officer] titled ‘Is everyone in the CIA?’ it is alleged that identifying US Agency for International Development (USAID) officers as CIA agents was a ‘reasonably accurate accounting of certain leading operatives and associates of the CIA.’ President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro worked for USAID in rural Java in Indonesia. Pinck’s article was a review of a 1968 book, ‘Who’s Who in the CIA’ published in Berlin.”

WMR has obtained a rare copy of “Who’s Who in the CIA,” from England. The book, published in West Berlin in 1968, lists some 3,000 CIA agents and agents-of-influence around the world.

The book also contains a reference to one CIA operative whose area of primary place of operation was Mercer Island, Washington. He was retired Air Force General Don Zabriskie Zimmermann, who was the Chief Engineer for the Boeing Company in Seattle. Before retiring from the Air Force, Zimmermann was the Air Force Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Development in Foreign Countries. Ann Stanley Dunham reportedly graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1960 and met Obama later that year in a Russian language class after  her parents moved to Hawaii. Stanley Ann’s mother, Madelyn Dunham, worked at a Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas during World War II.

The book lists the number of CIA agents in countries during the 1950s and 60s where Obama’s father, mother, step-father Lolo Soetori, and allegedly, his grandmother and grandfather worked:

Indonesia  

Jakarta   64

Surabaya  12

Medan  8

Hollandia  1

Kenya

Nairobi  19

Mombassa  2

Lebanon

Beirut  61     (including one agent also assigned to Jakarta, Lahore, and Karachi and another assigned to Lahore)

Hawaii

Honolulu   6  (one agent also assigned to Canton Island and another was fluent in French, Stanley Ann Dunham spoke French, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesian, and she studied Javanese at the University of Hawaii, in addition to Russian).

COMMENT: We commend Wayne Madsen for his vast exposé of Barack Obama’s true background. Madsen will appear on the Alex Jones Show tomorrow THURSDAY AUGUST 19 at 1 PM EST / 12 NOON CST, to reveal even more bombshell details of his deep research into this matter. Tune in for this vital info and visit the Wayne Madsen Report for further details.

http://www.infowars.com/bombshell-barack-obama-conclusively-outed-as-cia-creation/

Story 3: Real News, Real Crimes of Destruction of Government Document, Mishandling of Classified Documents, Obstruction of Justice, Conspiracy, Public Corruption of Hillary Clinton — Awaiting Trump Telephone To Attorney General Jeff Session To Appoint Special Prosecutor — Videos 

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Trump vows to get special prosecutor to investigate Clinton

When Jeff Sessions called for special prosecutor on Fox

Trey Gowdy on Hillary Clinton’s Scandal She will Be In Jail this 2017

Hillary Clinton’s MASSIVE MELTDOWN If that f ing bastard wins, we all hang from nooses!

Special prosecutor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A special prosecutor generally is a lawyer from outside the government appointed by an attorney general or, in the United States, by Congress to investigate a government official for misconduct while in office. A reasoning for such an appointment is that the governmental branch or agency may have political connections to those it might be asked to investigate. Inherently, this creates a conflict of interest and a solution is to have someone from outside the department lead the investigation. The term “special prosecutor” may have a variety of meanings from one country to the next, from one government branch to the next within the same country, and within different agencies within each government branch. Critics of the use of special prosecutors argue that these investigators act as a “fourth branch” to the government because they are not subject to limitations in spending, nor do they have deadlines to meet[citation needed].

United States[edit]

Attorneys carrying out special prosecutor functions in either federal or state courts of the United States are typically appointed ad hoc with representation limited to one case or a delineated series of cases that implicate compelling governmental interests, such as: Fraud (SEC, Complex, Cybercrime, Mortgages), Public Corruption, Money Laundering & Asset Forfeiture, Civil Rights, Racketeering Across State lines, Environmental Protection, National Security, Tax & Bankruptcy, Organized Crime, or International cases where the US is a party).see, USDOJ (SDNY) website.

Federal appointment[edit]

Special prosecutors in courts of the United States may either be appointed formally by one of the three branches of government in a criminal proceeding, or when dictated by federal law or regulation, or informally in civil proceedings, and also by one of the three branches of government, or by a non-governmental entity to prosecute alleged unlawful conduct by government agents. When appointed by the judicial branch to investigate and, if justified, seek indictments in a particular judicial branch case, the attorney is called special prosecutor.[1] When appointed/hired particularly by a governmental branch or agency to investigate alleged misconduct within that branch or agency, the attorney is called independent counsel.[2] When appointed/hired by the state or political subdivision to assist in a particular judicial branch case when the public interest so requires, the attorney is called special counsel.[2] When appointed/hired by an organization, corporation, person or other non-governmental entity to investigate and, if justified, seek indictments against one or more government officials for acts committed under color of law, the attorney may be called special counsel or special prosecutor, but not independent counsel.[2]

On January 3, 1983, the United States federal government substituted the term independent counsel for special prosecutor.[3] Archibald Cox was one of the most notable special prosecutors. However, special prosecutor Archibald Cox today would be called independent counsel Archibald Cox in the United States.

The term is sometimes used as a synonym for independent counsel, but under the former law authorizing the independent counsel, the appointment was made by a special panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Ethics in Government Act expired in 1999, and was effectively replaced by Department of Justice regulation 28 CFR Part 600, under which Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to look into the Plame affair.

State appointment[edit]

Special prosecutors are required and utilized by local State governments in circumstances similar to those requiring their need in federal jurisdictions, but are appointed at the state level with greater frequency and often in cases where a conflict of interest arises, and at times to avoid even the mere appearance that one or more conflict of interests exists. Special prosecutors in local state governments may be appointed by a judge, government official, organization, company or citizens to prosecute governmental malfeasance and seek indictments for individual acts taken under color of state law.[4] Unlike courts with federal jurisdiction where terms such as “special counsel” and “independent counsel” specifically appear and are uniformly defined by law & regulations, in state jurisdictions where legal terms & definitions inherently vary from state to state, the umbrella term special prosector is generally accepted and the term most often used by state courts and tribunals.

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) Prosecutor.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) Counsel.
  3. Jump up^ United States Public Law 97-409 (January 3, 1983) as enacted from A bill to change the coverage of officials and the standards for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the special prosecutor provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, and for other purposes.
  4. Jump up^ Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) Prosecutor.

Further reading[edit]

  • Doyle, James (1977). Not Above the Law: the battles of Watergate prosecutors Cox and Jaworski. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-03192-7.

External links[edit]

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The Pronk Pops Show 844, February 22, 2017, Story 1: The Coming Purge of Criminal Illegal Aliens and Radical Islamist Fanatics — First From America and Then From Europe — Exposing The Totalitarianism of Progressism/Socialism and Wahhabism/Salafism — Making America Safe Again — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Benghazi, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Education, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Fast and Furious, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Middle East, Obama, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Success, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Story 1: The Coming Purge of Criminal Illegal Aliens and Radical Islamist Fanatics — First From America and Then From Europe — Exposing The Totalitarianism of Progressism/Socialism and Wahhabism/Salafism —   Making America Safe Again —  Videos

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LEFTISTS IN GERMANY WANT TO GIVE REFUGEES THE VOTE

Economist suggests move would trigger “internal civil war”

Leftists in Germany want to give non-citizens, including refugees, the right to vote in elections, according to a new survey.

Supporters of Germany’s major political parties were asked if electoral laws should be changed to allow non-EU citizens living permanently in Germany to vote.

Among supporters of the Social Democrats (SPD), 63.7% supported the proposal, along with 64.8% of Green Party voters. Among centrist parties, there was moderate opposition to the proposal, whereas supporters of the anti-immigration AfD party opposed the idea by a 96.9% margin.

Latest polls show that Social Democrats leader Martin Schultz would beat Chancellor Angela Merkel if balloting was based on a direct leadership vote. The German federal election takes place on September 24 this year.

This means that if elected Schultz would have the backing of the majority of his supporters should he wish to try and enact the measure.

The obvious benefit to the left of giving non-citizens the vote is that they will overwhelmingly vote for left-wing parties who will reward them by maintaining and expanding the welfare state.

“Essentially, they want to give the refugees a right to vote. They need not be an EU citizen nor do they need to pay taxes. The mere right to vote is you happen to be there at the time,” writes economist Martin Armstrong.

“Can you imagine letting everyone from Mexico come into the USA and then vote if the United States should petition Mexico to join them? It seems the left is just totally insane. They will do absolutely anything to win and that means they will allow all of the Middle East to enter Germany and then outnumber the Germans in their own election?! Where is the logic here?”

Armstrong predicts that if the SPD tried to move ahead with allowing refugees to vote, it would set off an “internal German civil war”.

http://www.infowars.com/leftists-in-germany-want-to-give-refugees-the-vote/

Progressivism in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Progressivism in the United States is a broadly based reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th century and is generally considered to be middle class and reformist in nature. It arose as a response to the vast changes brought by modernization, such as the growth of large corporations and railroads, and fears of corruption in American politics. In the 21st century, progressives continue to embrace concepts such as environmentalism and social justice.[1]Social progressivism, the view that governmental practices ought to be adjusted as society evolves, forms the ideological basis for many American progressives.

Historian Alonzo Hamby defined progressivism as the “political movement that addresses ideas, impulses, and issues stemming from modernization of American society. Emerging at the end of the nineteenth century, it established much of the tone of American politics throughout the first half of the century.”[2]

Progressive Era

Main article: Progressive Era

Historians debate the exact contours, but generally date the “Progressive Era” from the 1890s to either World War I or the onset of the Great Depression, in response to the perceived excesses of the Gilded Age.[3]

Many of the core principles of the Progressive Movement focused on the need for efficiency in all areas of society. Purification to eliminate waste and corruption was a powerful element,[4] as well as the Progressives’ support of worker compensation, improved child labor laws, minimum wage legislation, a support for a maximum hours that workers could work for, graduated income tax and allowed women the right to vote.[3]

According to historian William Leuchtenburg:

The Progressives believed in the Hamiltonian concept of positive government, of a national government directing the destinies of the nation at home and abroad. They had little but contempt for the strict construction of the Constitution by conservative judges, who would restrict the power of the national government to act against social evils and to extend the blessings of democracy to less favored lands. The real enemy was particularism, state rights, limited government.[5]

Purifying the electorate

Progressives repeatedly warned that illegal voting was corrupting the political system. It especially identified big-city bosses, working with saloon keepers and precinct workers, as the culprits in stuffing the ballot box. The solution to purifying the vote included prohibition (designed to close down the saloons), voter registration requirements (designed to end multiple voting), and literacy tests (designed to minimize the number of ignorant voters).[6]

All the Southern states (and Oklahoma) used devices to disenfranchise black voters during the Progressive Era.[7][8] Typically the progressive elements in those states pushed for disenfranchisement, often fighting against the conservatism of the Black Belt whites.[9] A major reason given was that whites routinely purchased black votes to control elections, and it was easier to disenfranchise blacks than to go after powerful white men.[10]

In the North, Progressives such as William U’Ren and Robert La Follette argued that the average citizen should have more control over his government. The Oregon System of “Initiative, Referendum, and Recall” was exported to many states, including Idaho, Washington, and Wisconsin.[11] Many progressives, such as George M. Forbes, president of Rochester’s Board of Education, hoped to make government in the U.S. more responsive to the direct voice of the American people when he said:

[W]e are now intensely occupied in forging the tools of democracy, the direct primary, the initiative, the referendum, the recall, the short ballot, commission government. But in our enthusiasm we do not seem to be aware that these tools will be worthless unless they are used by those who are aflame with the sense of brotherhood…The idea [of the social centers movement is] to establish in each community an institution having a direct and vital relation to the welfare of the neighborhood, ward, or district, and also to the city as a whole[12]

Philip J. Ethington seconds this high view of direct democracy saying:

initiatives, referendums, and recalls, along with direct primaries and the direct election of US Senators, were the core achievements of ‘direct democracy’ by the Progressive generation during the first two decades of the twentieth century.[13]

Women marching for the right to vote, 1912

Progressives fought for women’s suffrage to purify the elections using supposedly purer female voters.[14] Progressives in the South supported the elimination of supposedly corrupt black voters from the election booth. Historian Michael Perman says that in both Texas and Georgia, “disfranchisement was the weapon as well as the rallying cry in the fight for reform”; and in Virginia, “the drive for disfranchisement had been initiated by men who saw themselves as reformers, even progressives.”[15]

While the ultimate significance of the progressive movement on today’s politics is still up for debate, Alonzo L. Hamby asks:

What were the central themes that emerged from the cacophony [of progressivism]? Democracy or elitism? Social justice or social control? Small entrepreneurship or concentrated capitalism? And what was the impact of American foreign policy? Were the progressives isolationists or interventionists? Imperialists or advocates of national self-determination? And whatever they were, what was their motivation? Moralistic utopianism? Muddled relativistic pragmatism? Hegemonic capitalism? Not surprisingly many battered scholars began to shout ‘no mas!’ In 1970, Peter Filene declared that the term ‘progressivism’ had become meaningless.[16]

Municipal administration

The Progressives typically concentrated on city and state government, looking for waste and better ways to provide services as the cities grew rapidly. These changes led to a more structured system, power that had been centralized within the legislature would now be more locally focused. The changes were made to the system to effectively make legal processes, market transactions, bureaucratic administration, and democracy easier to manage, thus putting them under the classification of “Municipal Administration”. There was also a change in authority for this system; it was believed that the authority that was not properly organized had now given authority to professionals, experts, and bureaucrats for these services. These changes led to a more solid type of municipal administration compared to the old system that was underdeveloped and poorly constructed.[17][18][19][20][21]

The Progressives mobilized concerned middle class voters, as well as newspapers and magazines, to identify problems and concentrate reform sentiment on specific problems. Many Protestants focused on the saloon as the power base for corruption, as well as violence and family disruption, so they tried to get rid of the entire saloon system through prohibition. Others (like Jane Addams in Chicago) promoted Settlement Houses.[22] Early municipal reformers included Hazen S. Pingree (mayor of Detroit in the 1890s)[23] and Tom L. Johnson in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1901, Johnson won election as mayor of Cleveland on a platform of just taxation, home rule for Ohio cities, and a 3-cent streetcar fare.[24] Columbia University President Seth Low was elected mayor of New York City in 1901 on a reform ticket.[25]

Efficiency

Many progressives such as Louis Brandeis hoped to make American governments better able to serve the people’s needs by making governmental operations and services more efficient and rational. Rather than making legal arguments against ten-hour workdays for women, he used “scientific principles” and data produced by social scientists documenting the high costs of long working hours for both individuals and society.[26] The progressives’ quest for efficiency was sometimes at odds with the progressives’ quest for democracy. Taking power out of the hands of elected officials and placing that power in the hands of professional administrators reduced the voice of the politicians and in turn reduced the voice of the people. Centralized decision-making by trained experts and reduced power for local wards made government less corrupt but more distant and isolated from the people it served. Progressives who emphasized the need for efficiency typically argued that trained independent experts could make better decisions than the local politicians. Thus Walter Lippmann in his influential Drift and Mastery (1914), stressing the “scientific spirit” and “discipline of democracy,” called for a strong central government guided by experts rather than public opinion.[27]

One example of progressive reform was the rise of the city manager system, in which paid, professional engineers ran the day-to-day affairs of city governments under guidelines established by elected city councils. Many cities created municipal “reference bureaus” which did expert surveys of government departments looking for waste and inefficiency. After in-depth surveys, local and even state governments were reorganized to reduce the number of officials and to eliminate overlapping areas of authority between departments. City governments were reorganized to reduce the power of local ward bosses and to increase the powers of the city council. Governments at every level began developing budgets to help them plan their expenditures (rather than spending money haphazardly as needs arose and revenue became available). Governor Frank Lowden of Illinois showed a “passion for efficiency” as he streamlined state government.[28]

Movements to eliminate governmental corruption

Corruption represented a source of waste and inefficiency in the government. William U’Ren in Oregon, and Robert M. La Follette Sr. in Wisconsin, and others worked to clean up state and local governments by passing laws to weaken the power of machine politicians and political bosses. In Wisconsin, La Follette pushed through an open primary system that stripped party bosses of the power to pick party candidates.[29] The Oregon System, which included a “Corrupt Practices Act”, a public referendum, and a state-funded voter’s pamphlet among other reforms was exported to other states in the northwest and Midwest. Its high point was in 1912, after which they detoured into a disastrous third party status.[30]

Education

Early progressive thinkers such as John Dewey and Lester Ward placed a universal and comprehensive system of education at the top of the progressive agenda, reasoning that if a democracy were to be successful, its leaders, the general public, needed a good education.[31] Progressives worked hard to expand and improve public and private education at all levels. Modernization of society, they believed, necessitated the compulsory education of all children, even if the parents objected. Progressives turned to educational researchers to evaluate the reform agenda by measuring numerous aspects of education, later leading to standardized testing. Many educational reforms and innovations generated during this period continued to influence debates and initiatives in American education for the remainder of the 20th century. One of the most apparent legacies of the Progressive Era left to American education was the perennial drive to reform schools and curricula, often as the product of energetic grass-roots movements in the city.[32]

Since progressivism was and continues to be ‘in the eyes of the beholder,’ progressive education encompasses very diverse and sometimes conflicting directions in educational policy. Such enduring legacies of the Progressive Era continue to interest historians. Progressive Era reformers stressed ‘object teaching,’ meeting the needs of particular constituencies within the school district, equal educational opportunity for boys and girls, and avoiding corporal punishment.[33]

Gamson (2003) examines the implementation of progressive reforms in three city school districts—Seattle, Washington, Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado—during 1900–28. Historians of educational reform during the Progressive Era tend to highlight the fact that many progressive policies and reforms were very different and, at times, even contradictory. At the school district level, contradictory reform policies were often especially apparent, though there is little evidence of confusion among progressive school leaders in Seattle, Oakland, and Denver. District leaders in these cities, including Frank B. Cooper in Seattle and Fred M. Hunter in Oakland, often employed a seemingly contradictory set of reforms: local progressive educators consciously sought to operate independently of national progressive movements; they preferred reforms that were easy to implement; and they were encouraged to mix and blend diverse reforms that had been shown to work in other cities.[34]

The reformers emphasized professionalization and bureaucratization. The old system whereby ward politicians selected school employees was dropped in the case of teachers and replaced by a merit system requiring a college-level education in a normal school (teacher’s college).[35] The rapid growth in size and complexity the large urban school systems facilitated stable employment for women teachers and provided senior teachers greater opportunities to mentor younger teachers. By 1900 in Providence, Rhode Island, most women remained as teachers for at least 17.5 years, indicating teaching had become a significant and desirable career path for women.[36]

Regulation of large corporations and monopolies

“The Bosses of the Senate”, a cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicting corporate interests–from steel, copper, oil, iron, sugar, tin, and coal to paper bags, envelopes, and salt–as giant money bags looming over the tiny senators at their desks in the Chamber of the United States Senate.[37]

Many progressives hoped that by regulating large corporations they could liberate human energies from the restrictions imposed by industrial capitalism. Yet the progressive movement was split over which of the following solutions should be used to regulate corporations.

Trust busting

Pro-labor progressives such as Samuel Gompers argued that industrial monopolies were unnatural economic institutions which suppressed the competition which was necessary for progress and improvement.[38][39]United States antitrust law is the body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behavior (monopoly) and unfair business practices. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft supported trust-busting. During their presidencies, the otherwise-conservative Taft brought down 90 trusts in four years while Roosevelt took down 44 in 7 1/2 years in office.[40]

Regulation

Progressives such as Benjamin Parke De Witt argued that in a modern economy, large corporations and even monopolies were both inevitable and desirable.[41] With their massive resources and economies of scale, large corporations offered the U.S. advantages which smaller companies could not offer. Yet, these large corporations might abuse their great power. The federal government should allow these companies to exist but regulate them for the public interest. President Theodore Roosevelt generally supported this idea and was later to incorporate it as part of his “New Nationalism“.

Social work

Progressives set up training programs to ensure that welfare and charity work would be undertaken by trained professionals rather than warm-hearted amateurs.[42]

Jane Addams of Chicago’s Hull House typified the leadership of residential, community centers operated by social workers and volunteers and located in inner city slums. The purpose of the settlement houses was to raise the standard of living of urbanites by providing adult education and cultural enrichment programs.[43]

Enactment of child labor laws

A poster highlighting situation of child labor in US in early 20th century

Child labor laws were designed to prevent the overuse of children in the newly emerging industries. The goal of these laws was to give working class children the opportunity to go to school and to mature more institutionally, thereby liberating the potential of humanity and encouraging the advancement of humanity. Factory owners generally did not want this progression because of lost workers. They used Charles Dickens as a symbol that the working conditions spark imagination. This initiative failed, with child labor laws being enacted anyway.[44][45][46]

Support for the goals of organized labor

Labor unions grew steadily until 1916, then expanded fast during the war. In 1919 a wave of major strikes alienated the middle class; the strikes were lost, which alienated the workers. In the 1920s the unions were in the doldrums; in 1924 they supported La Follette’s Progressive party, but he only carried his base in Wisconsin. The American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers after 1907 began supporting the Democrats, who promised more favorable judges. The Republicans appointed pro-business judges. Theodore Roosevelt and his third party also supported such goals as the eight-hour work day, improved safety and health conditions in factories, workers’ compensation laws, and minimum wage laws for women.[47]

Prohibition

Most progressives, especially in rural areas, adopted the cause of prohibition.[48] They saw the saloon as political corruption incarnate, and bewailed the damage done to women and children. They believed the consumption of alcohol limited mankind’s potential for advancement.[49] Progressives achieved success first with state laws then with the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919. The golden day did not dawn; enforcement was lax, especially in the cities where the law had very limited popular support and where notorious criminal gangs, such as the Chicago gang of Al Capone made a crime spree based on illegal sales of liquor in speakeasies. The “experiment” (as President Hoover called it) also cost the treasury large sums of taxes and the 18th amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1933.[50]

Conservation

During the term of the progressive President Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909), and influenced by the ideas of ‘philosopher-scientists’ such as George Perkins Marsh, John Wesley Powell, John Muir, Lester Frank Ward and W. J. McGee,[51] the largest government-funded conservation-related projects in U.S. history were undertaken:

National parks and wildlife refuges

On March 14, 1903, President Roosevelt created the first National Bird Preserve, (the beginning of the Wildlife Refuge system), on Pelican Island, Florida. In all, by 1909, the Roosevelt administration had created an unprecedented 42 million acres (170,000 km²) of United States National Forests, 53 National Wildlife Refuges and 18 areas of “special interest”, such as the Grand Canyon.

Reclamation

In addition, Roosevelt approved the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902, which gave subsidies for irrigation in 13 (eventually 20) western states. Another conservation-oriented bill was the Antiquities Act of 1906 that protected large areas of land by allowing the President to declare areas meriting protection to be National Monuments. The Inland Waterways Commission was appointed by Roosevelt on March 14, 1907 to study the river systems of the United States, including the development of water power, flood control, and land reclamation.[52]

National politics

In the early 20th century, politicians of the Democratic and Republican parties, Lincoln–Roosevelt League Republicans (in California) and Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Progressive (“Bull Moose”) Party all pursued environmental, political, and economic reforms. Chief among these aims was the pursuit of trust busting, the breaking up very large monopolies, and support for labor unions, public health programs, decreased corruption in politics, and environmental conservation.[53]

The Progressive Movement enlisted support from both major parties (and from minor parties as well). One leader, Democrat William Jennings Bryan, had won both the Democratic Party and the Populist Party nominations in 1896. At the time, the great majority of other major leaders had been opposed to Populism. When Roosevelt left the Republican Party in 1912, he took with him many of the intellectual leaders of progressivism, but very few political leaders.[54] The Republican Party then became notably more committed to business-oriented and efficiency oriented progressivism, typified by Taft and Herbert Hoover.[55]

Culture

The foundation of the progressive tendency was indirectly linked to the uniquely American[dubious ] philosophy of pragmatism, which was primarily developed by John Dewey and William James.[56][57]

Equally significant to progressive-era reform were the crusading journalists, known as muckrakers. These journalists publicized, to middle class readers, economic privilege, political corruption, and social injustice. Their articles appeared in McClure’s Magazine and other reform periodicals. Some muckrakers focused on corporate abuses. Ida Tarbell, for instance, exposed the activities of the Standard Oil Company. In The Shame of the Cities (1904), Lincoln Steffens dissected corruption in city government. In Following the Color Line (1908), Ray Stannard Baker criticized race relations. Other muckrakers assailed the Senate, railroad companies, insurance companies, and fraud in patent medicine.[58]

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle exposed Americans to the horrors of the Chicago meatpacking plants

Novelists, too, criticized corporate injustices. Theodore Dreiser drew harsh portraits of a type of ruthless businessman in The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914). In The Jungle (1906), SocialistUpton Sinclair repelled readers with descriptions of Chicago’s meatpacking plants, and his work led to support for remedial food safety legislation.

Leading intellectuals also shaped the progressive mentality. In Dynamic Sociology (1883) Lester Frank Ward laid out the philosophical foundations of the Progressive movement and attacked the laissez-faire policies advocated by Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner.[59] In The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Thorstein Veblen attacked the “conspicuous consumption” of the wealthy. Educator John Dewey emphasized a child-centered philosophy of pedagogy, known as progressive education, which affected schoolrooms for three generations.[60]

Progressivism in the 21st century

Mitigating Income Inequality

Income inequality in the United States has been on the rise since 1970, as the wealthy continue to hold more and more wealth and income.[61] For example, 95% of income gains from 2009 to 2013 went to the top 1% of wage earners in the United States.[62] Progressives have recognized that lower union rates, weak policy, globalization, and other drivers have caused the gap in income.[63][64][65] The rise of income inequality has led Progressives to draft legislation including, but not limited to, reforming Wall Street, reforming the tax code, reforming campaign finance, closing loopholes, and keeping domestic work.[66]

Wall Street Reform

Progressives began to demand stronger Wall Street regulation after they perceived deregulation and relaxed enforcement as leading to the financial crisis of 2008. Passing the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act in 2010 provided increased oversight on financial institutions and the creation of new regulatory agencies, but many Progressives argue its broad framework allows for financial institutions to continue to take advantage of consumers and the government.[67]Bernie Sanders, among others, has advocated to reimplement Glass-Steagall for its stricter regulation and to break up the banks because of financial institutions’ market share being concentrated in fewer corporations than progressives would like.[68][69]

Health Care Reform

In 2009, the Congressional Progressive Caucus outlined five key healthcare principles they intended to pass into law. The CPC mandated a nationwide public option, affordable health insurance, insurance market regulations, an employer insurance provision mandate, and comprehensive services for children.[70] In March 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was intended to increase the affordability and efficiency of the United States healthcare system. Although considered a success by progressives, many argued that it didn’t go far enough in achieving healthcare reform, as exemplified with the Democrats’ failure in achieving a national public option.[71] In recent decades, Single-payer healthcare has become an important goal in healthcare reform for progressives. In the 2016 Democratic Primary, progressive Democratic Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders raised the issue of a single-payer healthcare system, citing his belief that millions of Americans are still paying too much for health insurance, and arguing that millions more don’t receive the care they need.[72] In 2016, an effort was made to implement a single-payer healthcare system in the state of Colorado, known as ColoradoCare (Amendment 69). Senator Bernie Sanders held rallies in Colorado in support of the Amendment leading up to the vote.[73] Despite high profile support, Amendment 69 failed to pass, with just 21.23% of voting Colorado residents voting in favor, and 78.77% against.[74]

Minimum Wage

Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 (in 2014 dollars).[75] Progressives believe that stagnating wages perpetuate income inequality and that raising the minimum wage is a necessary step to combat inequality.[65] If the minimum wage grew at the rate of productivity growth in the United States, it would be $21.72 an hour, nearly three times as much as the current $7.25 an hour.[76] Popular progressives, such as socialist Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison, have endorsed a federally mandated wage increase to $15 an hour.[77] The movement has already seen success with its implementation in California with the passing of bill to raise the minimum wage $1 every year until reaching $15 an hour in 2021.[78] New York workers are lobbying for similar legislation as many continue to rally for a minimum wage increase as part of the Fight for $15 movement.[79]

Other progressive parties

Following the first progressive movement of the early 20th century, two later short-lived parties have also identified as “progressive”.

Progressive Party, 1924

In 1924, Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette ran for president on the “Progressive party” ticket. La Follette won the support of labor unions, Germans and Socialists by his crusade. He carried only Wisconsin and the party vanished outside Wisconsin.[80]

There, it remained a force until the 1940s.

Progressive Party, 1948

A third party was initiated in 1948 by former Vice President Henry A. Wallace as a vehicle for his campaign for president. He saw the two parties as reactionary and war-mongering, and attracted support from left-wing voters who opposed the Cold War policies that had become a national consensus. Most liberals, New Dealers, and especially the CIO unions, denounced the party because it was increasingly controlled by Communists. It faded away after winning 2% of the vote in 1948.[81]

See also

Footnotes

Wahhabism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية‎‎, al-Wahhābiya(h)) or Wahhabi mission[1] (/wəˈhɑːbi, wɑː/;[2]Arabic: الدعوة الوهابية‎‎, ad-Da’wa al-Wahhābiya(h) ) is a sect,[3][4][5][6]religious movement or branch of Islam.[7][8][9][10] It has been variously described as “ultraconservative”,[11] “austere”,[7] “fundamentalist”,[12] or “puritan(ical)”[13][14] and as an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship” (tawhid) by devotees,[15] and as a “deviant sectarian movement”,[15] “vile sect”[16] and a distortion of Islam by its opponents.[7][17] The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid.[18][19][20] The movement emphasises the principle of tawhid[21] (the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God).[22] It claims its principal influences to be Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855) and Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), both belonging to the Hanbali school,[23] although the extent of their actual influence upon the tenets of the movement has been contested.[24][25]

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and activist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[26] He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[27] advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the intercession of saints, and the visitation to their tombs, both of which were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid’ah).[9][22]Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saud offering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement mean “power and glory” and rule of “lands and men.”[28]

The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud’s successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam[7][29] in Saudi Arabia.[30] With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports[31] (and other factors[32]), the movement underwent “explosive growth” beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[7] The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism.[33]

The “boundaries” of Wahhabism have been called “difficult to pinpoint”,[34] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are often used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[35][36][37] However, Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”,[38] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[39][40] Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).[30][41]

The majority of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide strongly disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism and consider it a “vile sect”.[16]Islamic scholars, including those from the Al-Azhar University, regularly denounce Wahhabism with terms such as “Satanic faith”.[16] Wahhabism has been accused of being “a source of global terrorism”,[42][43]inspiring the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),[44] and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labelling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates[45] (takfir) and justifying their killing.[46][47][48] It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic shrines of saints, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.[49][50][51]

Definitions and etymology

Definitions

Some definitions or uses of the term Wahhabi Islam include:

  • “a corpus of doctrines”, and “a set of attitudes and behavior, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist who lived in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century” (Gilles Kepel)[52]
  • “pure Islam” (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters’ definition),[17] that does not deviate from Sharia law in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. (King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia)[53]
  • “a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam’s capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances” (David Commins, paraphrasing opponents’ definition)[17]
  • “a conservative reform movement … the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide” (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world)[54]
  • “a sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar” with footholds in “India, Africa, and elsewhere”, with a “steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in the tradition of Ibn Hanbal” (Cyril Glasse)[21]
  • an “eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society”, “founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab” (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).[55]
  • originally a “literal revivification” of Islamic principles that ignored the spiritual side of Islam, that “rose on the wings of enthusiasm апd longing and then sank down into the lowlands of pharisaic self-righteousness” after gaining power and losing its “longing and humility” (Muhammad Asad)[56]
  • “a political trend” within Islam that “has been adopted for power-sharing purposes”, but cannot be called a sect because “It has no special practices, nor special rites, and no special interpretation of religion that differ from the main body of Sunni Islam” (Abdallah Al Obeid, the former dean of the Islamic University of Medina and member of the Saudi Consultative Council)[34]
  • “the true salafist movement”. Starting out as a theological reform movement, it had “the goal of calling (da’wa) people to restore the ‘real’ meaning of tawhid (oneness of God or monotheism) and to disregard and deconstruct ‘traditional’ disciplines and practices that evolved in Islamic history such as theology and jurisprudence and the traditions of visiting tombs and shrines of venerated individuals.” (Ahmad Moussalli)[57]
  • a term used by opponents of Salafism in hopes of besmirching that movement by suggesting foreign influence and “conjuring up images of Saudi Arabia”. The term is “most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority” of the Muslim community but “have made recent inroads” in “converting” the local population to Salafism. (Quintan Wiktorowicz)[18]
  • a blanket term used inaccurately to refer to “any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith” (Natana J. DeLong-Bas)[58]

Etymology

According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who “first labelled Abdul Wahhab’s school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism”. The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East.[59]

Naming controversy: Wahhabis, Muwahhidun, and Salafis

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term. Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person’s name to label an Islamic school.[18][46][60]

According to Robert Lacey “the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them” and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians).[61] Another preferred term was simply “Muslims” since their creed is “pure Islam”.[62] However, critics complain these terms imply non-Wahhabis are not monotheists or Muslims,[62][63] and the English translation of that term causes confusion with the Christian denomination (Unitarian Universalism).

Other terms Wahhabis have been said to use and/or prefer include ahl al-hadith (“people of hadith”), Salafi Da’wa or al-da’wa ila al-tawhid[64] (“Salafi preaching” or “preaching of monotheism”, for the school rather than the adherents) or Ahl ul-Sunna wal Jama’a (“people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah”),[38] Ahl al-Sunnah (“People of the Sunna”),[65] or “the reform or Salafi movement of the Sheikh” (the sheikh being ibn Abdul-Wahhab).[66] Early Salafis referred to themselves simply as “Muslims”, believing the neighboring Ottoman Caliphate was al-dawlah al-kufriyya (a heretical nation) and its self-professed Muslim inhabitants actually non-Muslim.[45][67][68][69] The prominent 20th-century Muslim scholar Nasiruddin Albani, who considered himself “of the Salaf,” referred to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s activities as “Najdi da’wah.”[70]

Many, such as writer Quinton Wiktorowicz, urge use of the term Salafi, maintaining that “one would be hard pressed to find individuals who refer to themselves as Wahhabis or organizations that use ‘Wahhabi’ in their title, or refer to their ideology in this manner (unless they are speaking to a Western audience that is unfamiliar with Islamic terminology, and even then usage is limited and often appears as ‘Salafi/Wahhabi’).”[18] A New York Times journalist writes that Saudis “abhor” the term Wahhabism, “feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith.”[71] Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for example has attacked the term as “a doctrine that doesn’t exist here (Saudi Arabia)” and challenged users of the term to locate any “deviance of the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of the Quran and Prophetic Hadiths“.[72][73]Ingrid Mattson argues that, “‘Wahhbism’ is not a sect. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries.”[74]

On the other hand, according to authors at Global Security and Library of Congress the term is now commonplace and used even by Wahhabi scholars in the Najd,[9][75] a region often called the “heartland” of Wahhabism.[76]Journalist Karen House calls Salafi, “a more politically correct term” for Wahhabi.[77]

In any case, according to Lacey, none of the other terms have caught on, and so like the Christian Quakers, Wahhabis have “remained known by the name first assigned to them by their detractors.”[61]

Wahhabis and Salafis

Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. According to American scholar Christopher M. Blanchard,[78] Wahhabism refers to “a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia,” while Salafiyya is “a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world.”[46]

However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi.[79][80] Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.”[81] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.[57]

Hamid Algar lists three “elements” Wahhabism and Salafism had in common.

  1. above all disdain for all developments subsequent to al-Salaf al-Salih (the first two or three generations of Islam),
  2. the rejection of Sufism, and
  3. the abandonment of consistent adherence to one of the four or five Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh).

And “two important and interrelated features” that distinguished Salafis from the Wahhabis:

  1. a reliance on attempts at persuasion rather than coercion in order to rally other Muslims to their cause; and
  2. an informed awareness of the political and socio-economic crises confronting the Muslim world.[82]

Hamid Algar and another critic, Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue Saudi oil-export funding “co-opted” the “symbolism and language of Salafism”, during the 1960s and 70s, making them practically indistinguishable by the 1970s,[83]and now the two ideologies have “melded”. Abou El Fadl believes Wahhabism rebranded itself as Salafism knowing it could not “spread in the modern Muslim world” as Wahhabism.[35]

History

The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist movement in the remote, arid region of Najd. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. After the discovery of petroleum near the Persian Gulf in 1939, it had access to oil export revenues, revenue that grew to billions of dollars. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a “preeminent position of strength” in Islam around the world.[84]

In the country of Wahhabism’s founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a “trade-off” doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.[85]

However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi “credibility” in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.[86]

In each case the Wahhabi establishment was called on to support the dynasty’s efforts to suppress religious dissent – and in each case it did[86] – exposing its dependence on the Saudi dynasty and its often unpopular policies.[87][88]

In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.[89]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

The founder of Wahhabism, Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, was born around 1702-03 in the small oasis town of ‘Uyayna in the Najd region, in what is now central Saudi Arabia.[90] He studied in Basra,[91] in what is now Iraq, and possibly Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his home town of ‘Uyayna in 1740. There he worked to spread the call (da’wa) for what he believed was a restoration of true monotheistic worship (Tawhid).[92]

The “pivotal idea” of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching was that people who called themselves Muslims but who participated in alleged innovations were not just misguided or committing a sin, but were “outside the pale of Islam altogether,” as were Muslims who disagreed with his definition. [93]

This included not just lax, unlettered, nomadic Bedu, but Shia, Sunnis such as the Ottomans.[94] Such infidels were not to be killed outright, but to be given a chance to repent first.[95] With the support of the ruler of the town – Uthman ibn Mu’ammar – he carried out some of his religious reforms in ‘Uyayna, including the demolition of the tomb of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, one of the Sahaba (companions) of the prophet Muhammad, and the stoning to death of an adulterous woman. However, a more powerful chief (Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr) pressured Uthman ibn Mu’ammar to expel him from ‘Uyayna.[citation needed]

Alliance with the House of Saud

Further information: First Saudi State

The First Saudi state 1744–1818

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unification in 1932

The ruler of nearby town, Muhammad ibn Saud, invited ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab to join him, and in 1744 a pact was made between the two. [96] Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, while ibn Abdul Wahhab “would support the ruler, supplying him with ‘glory and power.'” Whoever championed his message, ibn Abdul Wahhab promised, “will, by means of it, rule the lands and men.” [28] Ibn Saud would abandon un-Sharia taxation of local harvests, and in return God might compensate him with booty from conquest and sharia compliant taxes that would exceed what he gave up.[97] The alliance between the Wahhabi mission and Al Saud family has “endured for more than two and half centuries,” surviving defeat and collapse.[96][98] The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years and in today’s Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e., a descendent of Ibn Abdul Wahhab.[99]

According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of praying to saints, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.[47][63][95][100]

One academic disputes this. According to Natana DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was restrained in urging fighting with perceived unbelievers, preferring to preach and persuade rather than attack.[101][102][103] It was only after the death of Muhammad bin Saud in 1765 that, according to DeLong-Bas, Muhammad bin Saud’s son and successor, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, used a “convert or die” approach to expand his domain,[104] and when Wahhabis adopted the takfir ideas of Ibn Taymiyya.[105]

However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that “the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by DeLong-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact”.[106] Conquest expanded through the Arabian Peninsula until it conquered Mecca and Medina the early 19th century.[107][108] It was at this time, according to DeLong-Bas, that Wahhabis embraced the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya, which allow self-professed Muslim who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.[105]

One of their most noteworthy and controversial attacks was on Karbala in 1802. There, according to a Wahhabi chronicler `Uthman b. `Abdullah b. Bishr: “The Muslims” – as the Wahhabis referred to themselves, not feeling the need to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, since they did not believe them to be Muslims –

scaled the walls, entered the city … and killed the majority of its people in the markets and in their homes. [They] destroyed the dome placed over the grave of al-Husayn [and took] whatever they found inside the dome and its surroundings … the grille surrounding the tomb which was encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and other jewels … different types of property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver, precious copies of the Qur’an.”[109][110]

Wahhabis also massacred the male population and enslaved the women and children of the city of Ta’if in Hejaz in 1803.[111]

Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud managed to establish his rule over southeastern Syria between 1803 and 1812. However, Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire and led by Ibrahim Pasha, were eventually successful in counterattacking in a campaign starting from 1811.[112] In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, executing the Al-Saud emir, exiling the emirate’s political and religious leadership,[98][113] and otherwise unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well.[114] A second, smaller Saudi state (Emirate of Nejd) lasted from 1819–1891. Its borders being within Najd, Wahhabism was protected from further Ottoman or Egyptian campaigns by the Najd’s isolation, lack of valuable resources, and that era’s limited communication and transportation.[115]

By the 1880s, at least among townsmen if not Bedouin, Wahhabi strict monotheistic doctrine had become the native religious culture of the Najd.[116]

Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud

Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia
Further information: History of Saudi Arabia

In 1901, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendent of Muhammad ibn Saud,[117] began a military campaign that led to the conquest of much of the Arabian peninsula and the founding of present-day Saudi Arabia, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[118] The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates.[119][120][121][122]

Under the reign of Abdul-Aziz, “political considerations trumped religious idealism” favored by pious Wahhabis. His political and military success gave the Wahhabi ulama control over religious institutions with jurisdiction over considerable territory, and in later years Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws concerning social affairs, and shaped the kingdom’s judicial and educational policies.[123] But protests from Wahhabi ulama were overridden when it came to consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa, avoiding clashes with the great power of the region (Britain), adopting modern technology, establishing a simple governmental administrative framework, or signing an oil concession with the U.S. [124] The Wahhabi ulama also issued a fatwa affirming that “only the ruler could declare a jihad”[125] (a violation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching according to DeLong-Bas.[102])

As the realm of Wahhabism expanded under Ibn Saud into areas of Shiite (Al-Hasa, conquered in 1913) and pluralistic Muslim tradition (Hejaz, conquered in 1924–25), Wahhabis pressed for forced conversion of Shia and an eradication of (what they saw as) idolatry. Ibn Saud sought “a more relaxed approach”.[126]

In al-Hasa, efforts to stop the observance of Shia religious holidays and replace teaching and preaching duties of Shia clerics with Wahhabi, lasted only a year.[127]

In Mecca and Jeddah (in Hejaz) prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and listening to music on the phonograph was looser than in Najd. Over the objections of Wahhabi ulama, Ibn Saud permitted both the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia at hajj.[128]

Enforcement of the commanding right and forbidding wrong, such as enforcing prayer observance and separation of the sexes, developed a prominent place during the second Saudi emirate, and in 1926 a formal committee for enforcement was founded in Mecca.[21][129][130]

While Wahhabi warriors swore loyalty to monarchs of Al Saud, there was one major rebellion. King Abdul-Aziz put down rebelling Ikhwan – nomadic tribesmen turned Wahhabi warriors who opposed his “introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph” and his “sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt)”. [131] Britain had aided Abdul-Aziz, and when the Ikhwan attacked the British protectorates of Transjordan, Iraq and Kuwait, as a continuation of jihad to expand the Wahhabist realm, Abdul-Aziz struck, killing hundreds before the rebels surrendered in 1929.[132]

Connection with the outside

Before Abdul-Aziz, during most of the second half of the 19th century, there was a strong aversion in Wahhabi lands to mixing with “idolaters” (which included most of the Muslim world). Voluntary contact was considered by Wahhabi clerics to be at least a sin, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and “approved of their religion”, an act of unbelief.[133] Travel outside the pale of Najd to the Ottoman lands “was tightly controlled, if not prohibited altogether”.[134]

Over the course of its history, however, Wahhabism has become more accommodating towards the outside world.[135] In the late 1800s, Wahhabis found Muslims with at least similar beliefs – first with Ahl-i Hadith in India,[136]and later with Islamic revivalists in Arab states (one being Mahmud Sahiri al-Alusi in Baghdad).[137] The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyya‘s thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation.[138] In the 1920s, Rashid Rida, a pioneer Salafist whose periodical al-Manar was widely read in the Muslim world, published an “anthology of Wahhabi treatises,” and a work praising the Ibn Saud as “the savior of the Haramayn [the two holy cities] and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule”.[139][140]

In a bid “to join the Muslim mainstream and to erase the reputation of extreme sectarianism associated with the Ikhwan,” in 1926 Ibn Saud convened a Muslim congress of representatives of Muslim governments and popular associations.[141] By the early 1950s, the “pressures” on Ibn Saud of controlling the regions of Hejaz and al-Hasa – “outside the Wahhabi heartland” – and of “navigating the currents of regional politics” “punctured the seal” between the Wahhabi heartland and the “land of idolatry” outside.[142][143]

A major current in regional politics at that time was secularnationalism, which, with Gamal Abdul Nasser, was sweeping the Arab world. To combat it, Wahhabi missionary outreach worked closely with Saudi foreign policy initiatives. In May 1962, a conference in Mecca organized by Saudis discussed ways to combat secularism and socialism. In its wake, the World Muslim League was established.[144] To propagate Islam and “repel inimical trends and dogmas”, the League opened branch offices around the globe.[145] It developed closer association between Wahhabis and leading Salafis, and made common cause with the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Islami, combating Sufism and “innovative” popular religious practices[144] and rejecting the West and Western “ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values.”[146] Missionaries were sent to West Africa, where the League funded schools, distributed religious literature, and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. One result was the Izala Society which fought Sufism in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[147]

An event that had a great effect on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia[148] was the “infiltration of the transnationalist revival movement” in the form of thousands of pious, Islamist Arab Muslim Brotherhood refugees from Egypt following Nasser’s clampdown on the brotherhood[149] (and also from similar nationalist clampdowns in Iraq[150] and Syria[151]), to help staff the new school system of (the largely illiterate) Kingdom.[152]

The Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology differed from the more conservative Wahhabism which preached loyal obedience to the king. The Brotherhood dealt in what one author (Robert Lacey) called “change-promoting concepts” like social justice, and anticolonialism, and gave “a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist” to the Wahhabi values Saudi students “had absorbed in childhood”. With the Brotherhood’s “hands-on, radical Islam”, jihad became a “practical possibility today”, not just part of history.[153]

The Brethren were ordered by the Saudi clergy and government not to attempt to proselytize or otherwise get involved in religious doctrinal matters within the Kingdom, but nonetheless “took control” of Saudi Arabia’s intellectual life” by publishing books and participating in discussion circles and salons held by princes.[154] In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries,[155] and had influence on education curriculum.[156] An Islamic university in Medina created in 1961 to train – mostly non-Saudi – proselytizers to Wahhabism,[157] became “a haven” for Muslim Brother refugees from Egypt.[158] The Brothers’ ideas eventually spread throughout the kingdom and had great effect on Wahhabism – although observers differ as to whether this was by “undermining” it[148][159] or “blending” with it.[160][161]

Growth

In the 1950s and 60s within Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi ulama maintained their hold on religious law courts, and presided over the creation of Islamic universities and a public school system which gave students “a heavy dose of religious instruction”.[162] Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became “less combative” toward the rest of the Muslim world. In confronting the challenge of the West, Wahhabi doctrine “served well” for many Muslims as a “platform” and “gained converts beyond the peninsula.”[162][163]

A number of reasons have been given for this success. The growth in popularity and strength of both Arab nationalism (although Wahhabis opposed any form of nationalism as an ideology, Saudis were Arabs, and their enemy the Ottoman caliphate was ethnically Turkish),[32] and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf);[32] the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics;[164] the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925.[32]

Not least in importance was the money Saudi Arabia earned from exporting oil.[84]

Petroleum export era

See also: Petro-Islam

The pumping and export of oil from Saudi Arabia started during World War II, and its earnings helped fund religious activities in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom’s wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo.[165] Tens of billions of US dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques.[166][167][168] During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a “preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam.”[84]

Afghanistan jihad

The “apex of cooperation” between Wahhabis and Muslim revivalist groups was the Afghan jihad.[169]

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Muslim Brother cleric with ties to Saudi religious institutions,[170] issued a fatwa[171] declaring defensive jihad in Afghanistan against the atheist Soviet Union, “fard ayn”, a personal (or individual) obligation for all Muslims. The edict was supported by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (highest religious scholar), Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, among others.[172][173]

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 of these volunteers came from Saudi Arabia.[174] Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad — $600 million a year by 1982.[175]

By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed.[citation needed]

This Saudi/Wahhabi religious triumph further stood out in the Muslim world because many Muslim-majority states (and the PLO) were allied with the Soviet Union and did not support the Afghan jihad.[176] But many jihad volunteers (most famously Osama bin Laden) returning home to Saudi and elsewhere were often radicalized by Islamic militants who were “much more extreme than their Saudi sponsors.”[176]

“Erosion” of Wahhabism

Grand Mosque seizure

Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure

In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of “end time“. The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details,[177] but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent’s leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).[178] Their seizure of Islam‘s holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world[179] and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as “custodians” of the mosque.

The incident also damaged all the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them.[180] But Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents.[181] In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren’s ideas were given freer rein. Their ideology was also thought more likely to compete with the recent Islamic revolutionism/third-worldism of the Iranian Revolution.[181]

Although the insurgents were motivated by religious puritanism, the incident was not followed by a crackdown on other religious purists, but by giving greater power to the ulama and religious conservatives to more strictly enforce Islamic codes in myriad ways[182] – from the banning of women’s images in the media to adding even more hours of Islamic studies in school and giving more power and money to the religious police to enforce conservative rules of behaviour.[183][184][185]

1990 Gulf War

In August 1990 Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. Concerned that Saddam Hussein might push south and seize its own oil fields, Saudis requested military support from the US and allowed tens of thousands of US troops to be based in the Kingdom to fight Iraq.[186]

But what “amounted to seeking infidels’ assistance against a Muslim power” was difficult to justify in terms of Wahhabi doctrine.[187][188]

Again Saudi authorities sought and received a fatwa from leading Wahhabi ulama supporting their action. The fatwa failed to persuade many conservative Muslims and ulama who strongly opposed US presence, including the Muslim Brotherhood-supported the Sahwah “Awakening” movement that began pushing for political change in the Kingdom.[189] Outside the kingdom, Islamist/Islamic revival groups that had long received aid from Saudi and had ties with Wahhabis (Arab jihadists, Pakistani and Afghan Islamists) supported Iraq, not Saudi.[190]

During this time and later, many in the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (such as Osama bin Laden) not only no longer looked to the Saudi monarch as an emir of Islam, but supported his overthrow, focusing on jihad (Salafist jihadists) against the US and (what they believe are) other enemies of Islam.[191][192] (This movement is sometimes called neo-Wahhabi or neo-salafi.[57][193])

After 9/11

The 2001 9/11 attacks on Saudi’s putative ally, the US, that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage[194] were assumed by many, at least outside the kingdom, to be “an expression of Wahhabism”, since the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.[195] A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion that came to be considered by “some … a doctrine of terrorism and hate.”[89]

Inside the kingdom, Crown Prince Abdullah addressed the country’s religious, tribal, business and media leadership following the attacks in a series of televised gatherings calling for a strategy to correct what has gone wrong. According to author Robert Lacey, the gatherings and later articles and replies by a top cleric, Abdullah Turki, and two top Al Saud princes, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, served as an occasion to sort out who had the ultimate power in the kingdom – the Al Saud dynasty and not the ulema. It was declared that it has always been the role of executive rulers in Islamic history to exercise power and the job of the religious scholars to advise, never to govern.[196]

In 2003–04, Saudi Arabia saw a wave of Al-Qaeda-related suicide bombings, attacks on Non-Muslim foreigners (about 80% of those employed in the Saudi private sector are foreign workers[197] and constitute about 30% of the country’s population[198]) and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants. One reaction to the attacks was a trimming back of the Wahhabi establishment’s domination of religion and society. “National Dialogues” were held that “included Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women.”[199] In 2009, as part of what some called an effort to “take on the ulema and reform the clerical establishment”, King Abdullah issued a decree that only “officially approved” religious scholars would be allowed to issue fatwas in Saudi Arabia. The king also expanded the Council of Senior Scholars (containing officially approved religious scholars) to include scholars from Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence other than the HanbalimadhabShafi’i, Hanafi and Maliki schools.[200]

Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood have deteriorated steadily. After 9/11, the then interior minister Prince Nayef, blamed the Brotherhood for extremism in the kingdom,[201] and he declared it guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and “the source of all problems in the Islamic world”, after it was elected to power in Egypt.[202] In March 2014 the Saudi government declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”.[186]

In April 2016, Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious police, who enforce Islamic law on the society and known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), from their power to follow, chase, stop, question, verify identification, or arrest any suspected persons when carrying out duties. They are asked to only report suspicious behaviour to regular police and anti-drug units, who will decide whether to take the matter further.[203][204]

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher

A widely circulated but discredited apocryphal description of the founding of Wahhabism[205][206] known as Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (other titles have been used),[207] alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for creation of Wahhabism. In the “memoir”, Hempher corrupts Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, manipulating him[208] to preach his new interpretation of Islam for the purpose of sowing dissension and disunity among Muslims so that “We, the English people, … may live in welfare and luxury.”[207]

Practices

As a religious revivalist movement that works to bring Muslims back from what it believes are foreign accretions that have corrupted Islam,[209] and believes that Islam is a complete way of life and so has prescriptions for all aspects of life, Wahhabism is quite strict in what it considers Islamic behavior. As a result, it has been described as the “strictest form of Sunni Islam”.[210]

This does not mean however, that all adherents agree on what is required or forbidden, or that rules have not varied by area or changed over time. In Saudi Arabia the strict religious atmosphere of Wahhabi doctrine is visible in the conformity in dress, public deportment, and public prayer,[211] and makes its presence felt by the wide freedom of action of the “religious police“, clerics in mosques, teachers in schools, and judges (who are religious legal scholars) in Saudi courts.[212]

Commanding right and forbidding wrong

Wahhabism is noted for its policy of “compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers”, and for “enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere”.[213]

While other Muslims might urge abstention from alcohol, modest dress, and salat prayer, for Wahhabis prayer “that is punctual, ritually correct, and communally performed not only is urged but publicly required of men.” Not only is wine forbidden, but so are “all intoxicating drinks and other stimulants, including tobacco.” Not only is modest dress prescribed, but the type of clothing that should be worn, especially by women (a black abaya, covering all but the eyes and hands) is specified.[75]

Following the preaching and practice of Abdul Wahhab that coercion should be used to enforce following of sharia, an official committee has been empowered to “Command the Good and Forbid the Evil” (the so-called “religious police”)[213][214] in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious[citation needed] dominate many aspects of the Kingdom’s life. Committee “field officers” enforce strict closing of shops at prayer time, segregation of the sexes, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol, driving of motor vehicles by women, and other social restrictions.[215]

A large number of practices have been reported forbidden by Saudi Wahhabi officials, preachers or religious police. Practices that have been forbidden as Bida’a (innovation) or shirk and sometimes “punished by flogging” during Wahhabi history include performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction (both are considered forms of lying), dissecting cadavers (even in criminal investigations and for the purposes of medical research), recorded music played over telephones on hold or the sending of flowers to friends or relatives who are in the hospital.[121][216][217][218][219][220] Common Muslim practices Wahhabis believe are contrary to Islam include listening to music in praise of Muhammad, praying to God while visiting tombs (including the tomb of Muhammad), celebrating mawlid (birthday of the Prophet),[221] the use of ornamentation on or in mosques.[222] The driving of motor vehicles by women is allowed in every country but Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia[223] and the famously strict Taliban practiced dream interpretation is discouraged by Wahhabis.[224]

Wahhabism emphasizes “Thaqafah Islamiyyah” or Islamic culture and the importance of avoiding non-Islamic cultural practices and non-Muslim friendship no matter how innocent these may appear,[225][226] on the grounds that the Sunna forbids imitating non-Muslims.[227] Foreign practices sometimes punished and sometimes simply condemned by Wahhabi preachers as unIslamic, include celebrating foreign days (such as Valentine’s Day[228] or Mothers Day[225][227]) shaving, cutting or trimming of beards,[229] giving of flowers,[230] standing up in honor of someone, celebrating birthdays (including the Prophet’s), keeping or petting dogs.[219] Wahhabi scholars have warned against taking non-Muslims as friends, smiling at or wishing them well on their holidays.[71]

Wahhabis are not in unanimous agreement on what is forbidden as sin. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin. Several wahhabis have declared football forbidden for a variety of reasons including it is a non-Muslim, foreign practice, because of the revealing uniforms and because of the foreign non-Muslim language used in matches.[231][232] The Saudi Grand Mufti, on the other hand has declared football permissible (halal). [233]

Senior Wahhabi leaders in Saudi Arabia have determined that Islam forbids the traveling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband’s permission – permission which may be revoked at any time – on the grounds that the different physiological structures and biological functions of the different genders mean that each sex is assigned a different role to play in the family.[234] As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women. Sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with beheading[235] although sex out of wedlock is permissible with a slave women (Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the product of “a brief encounter” between his father Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz – the Saudi defense minister for many years – and “his slave, a black servingwoman”),[236] or was before slavery was banned in Saudi Arabia in 1962.[237]

Despite this strictness, senior Wahhabi scholars of Islam in the Saudi kingdom have made exceptions in ruling on what is haram. Foreign non-Muslim troops are forbidden in Arabia, except when the king needed them to confront Saddam Hussein in 1990; gender mixing of men and women is forbidden, and fraternization with non-Muslims is discouraged, but not at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Movie theaters and driving by women are forbidden, except at the ARAMCO compound in eastern Saudi, populated by workers for the company that provides almost all the government’s revenue. The exceptions made at KAUST are also in effect at ARAMCO.[238]

More general rules of what is permissible have changed over time. Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud imposed Wahhabi doctrines and practices “in a progressively gentler form” as his early 20th-century conquests expanded his state into urban areas, especially the Hejab.[239] After vigorous debate Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia allowed the use of paper money (in 1951), the abolition of slavery (in 1962), education of females (1964), and use of television (1965).[237] Music, the sound of which once might have led to summary execution, is now commonly heard on Saudi radios. [239] Minarets for mosques and use of funeral markers, which were once forbidden, are now allowed. Prayer attendance which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.[240]

Appearance

The uniformity of dress among men and women in Saudi Arabia (compared to other Muslim countries in the Middle East) has been called a “striking example of Wahhabism’s outward influence on Saudi society”, and an example of the Wahhabi belief that “outward appearances and expressions are directly connected to one’s inward state.”[222] The “long, white flowing thobe” worn by men of Saudi Arabia has been called the “Wahhabi national dress”.[241]Red-and-white checkered or white head scarves known as Ghutrah are worn. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers every part of their body other than hands and eyes.

A “badge” of a particularly pious Salafi or Wahhabi man is a robe too short to cover the ankle, an untrimmed beard,[242] and no cord (Agal) to hold the head scarf in place.[243] The warriors of the Ikhwan Wahhabi religious militia wore a white turban in place of an agal.[244]

Wahhabiyya mission

Wahhabi mission, or Dawah Wahhabiyya, is to spread purified Islam through the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. [245] Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it. Tens of thousands of volunteers[174] and several billion dollars also went in support of the jihad against the atheist communist regime governing Muslim Afghanistan.[175]

Regions

Wahhabism originated in the Najd region, and its conservative practices have stronger support there than in regions in the kingdom to the east or west of it.[246][247][248] Glasse credits the softening of some Wahhabi doctrines and practices on the conquest of the Hejaz region “with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate”.[239]

The only other country “whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed”, is the small gulf monarchy of Qatar,[249][250] whose version of Wahhabism is notably less strict. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar made significant changes in the 1990s. Women are now allowed to drive and travel independently; non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol and pork. The country sponsors a film festival, has “world-class art museums”, hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 football World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. Qatari’s attribute its different interpretation of Islam to the absence of an indigenous clerical class and autonomous bureaucracy (religious affairs authority, endowments, Grand Mufti), the fact that Qatari rulers do not derive their legitimacy from such a class.[250][251]

Views[edit]

Adherents to the Wahhabi movement identify as Sunni Muslims.[252] The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid),[22][253] and opposition to shirk (violation of tawhid – “the one unforgivable sin”, according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab).[254] They call for adherence to the beliefs and practices of the salaf (exemplary early Muslims). They strongly oppose what they consider to be heteredox doctrines, particularly those held by the vast majority of Sunnis and Shiites,[255] and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). Wahhabism has been associated with the practice of takfir (labeling Muslims who disagree with their doctrines as apostates). Adherents of Wahhabism are favourable to derivation of new legal rulings (ijtihad) so long as it is true to the essence of the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the salaf.[256]

Theology

In theology Wahhabism is closely aligned with the Athari (traditionalist) school, which represents the prevalent theological position of the Hanbali school of law.[257][258] Athari theology is characterized by reliance on the zahir (apparent or literal) meaning of the Quran and hadith, and opposition to the rational argumentation in matters of belief favored by Ash’ari and Maturidi theology.[259][260] However, Wahhabism diverges in some points of theology from other Athari movements.[261] These include a zealous tendency toward takfir, which bears a resemblance to the Kharijites.[261][262] Another distinctive feature is a strong opposition to mysticism.[261] Although it is typically attributed to the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, Jeffry Halverson argues that Ibn Taymiyyah only opposed what he saw as Sufi excesses and never mysticism in itself, being himself a member of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order.[261] DeLong-Bas writes that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not denounce Sufism or Sufis as a group, but rather attacked specific practices which he saw as inconsistent with the Quran and hadith.[263]

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered some beliefs and practices of the Shia to violate the doctrine of monotheism.[264] According to DeLong-Bas, in his polemic against the “extremist Rafidah sect of Shiis”, he criticized them for assigning greater authority to their current leaders than to Muhammad in interpreting the Quran and sharia, and for denying the validity of the consensus of the early Muslim community.[264] He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.[264]

David Commins describes the “pivotal idea” in Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching as being that “Muslims who disagreed with his definition of monotheism were not … misguided Muslims, but outside the pale of Islam altogether.” This put Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching at odds with that of most Muslims through history who believed that the “shahada” profession of faith (“There is no god but God, Muhammad is his messenger”) made one a Muslim, and that shortcomings in that person’s behavior and performance of other obligatory rituals rendered them “a sinner”, but “not an unbeliever.”

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one’s standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. … any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God’s power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother.[265]

In Ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s major work, a small book called Kitab al-Tawhid, he states that worship in Islam is limited to conventional acts of worship such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting for Ramadan (Sawm); Dua (supplication); Istia’dha (seeking protection or refuge); Ist’ana (seeking help), and Istigatha to Allah (seeking benefits and calling upon Allah alone). Worship beyond this – making du’a or tawassul – are acts of shirk and in violation of the tenets of Tawhid (montheism).[266][page needed][267]

Ibn Abd al-Wahahb’s justification for considering majority of Muslims of Arabia to be unbelievers, and for waging war on them, can be summed up as his belief that the original pagans the prophet Muhammad fought “affirmed that God is the creator, the sustainer and the master of all affairs; they gave alms, they performed pilgrimage and they avoided forbidden things from fear of God”. What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that “they sacrificed animals to other beings; they sought the help of other beings; they swore vows by other beings.” Someone who does such things even if their lives are otherwise exemplary is not a Muslim but an unbeliever (as Ibn Abd al-Wahahb believed). Once such people have received the call to “true Islam”, understood it and then rejected it, their blood and treasure are forfeit.[268][269]

This disagreement between Wahhabis and non-Wahhabi Muslims over the definition of worship and monotheism has remained much the same since 1740, according to David Commins,[265] although, according to Saudi writer and religious television show host Abdul Aziz Qassim, as of 2014, “there are changes happening within the [Wahhabi] doctrine and among its followers.”[53]

According to another source, defining aspects of Wahhabism include a very literal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and a tendency to reinforce local practices of the Najd.[270]

Whether the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included the need for social renewal and “plans for socio-religious reform of society” in the Arabian Peninsula, rather than simply a return to “ritual correctness and moral purity”, is disputed.[271][272]

Jurisprudence (fiqh)

Of the four major sources in Sunni fiqh – the Quran, the Sunna, consensus (ijma), and analogical reasoning (qiyas) – Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings emphasized the Quran and Sunna. He used ijma only “in conjunction with its corroboration of the Quran and hadith”[273] (and giving preference to the ijma of Muhammad’s companions rather than the ijma of legal specialists after his time), and qiyas only in cases of extreme necessity.[274] He rejected deference to past juridical opinion (taqlid) in favor of independent reasoning (ijtihad), and opposed using local customs.[275] He urged his followers to “return to the primary sources” of Islam in order “to determine how the Quran and Muhammad dealt with specific situations”,[276] when using ijtihad. According to Edward Mortimer, it was imitation of past juridical opinion in the face of clear contradictory evidence from hadith or Qur’anic text that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab condemned.[277] Natana DeLong-Bas writes that the Wahhabi tendency to consider failure to abide by Islamic law as equivalent to apostasy was based on the ideology of Ibn Taymiyya rather than Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s preaching and emerged after the latter’s death.[278]

According to an expert on law in Saudi Arabia (Frank Vogel), Ibn Abd al-Wahhab himself “produced no unprecedented opinions”. The “Wahhabis’ bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions”.[279] Scholar David Cummings also states that early disputes with other Muslims did not center on fiqh, and that the belief that the distinctive character of Wahhabism stems from Hanbali legal thought is a “myth”.[280]

Some scholars are ambivalent as to whether Wahhabis belong to the Hanbali legal school. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World maintains Wahhabis “rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur’an and the hadith”.[281] Cyril Glasse’s New Encyclopedia of Islam states that “strictly speaking”, Wahhabis “do not see themselves as belonging to any school,”[282] and that in doing so they correspond to the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, and thus they can be said to be of his ‘school’.[283][284] According to DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab never directly claimed to be a Hanbali jurist, warned his followers about the dangers of adhering unquestionably to fiqh, and did not consider “the opinion of any law school to be binding.”[285] He did, however, follow the Hanbali methodology of judging everything not explicitly forbidden to be permissible, avoiding the use of analogical reasoning, and taking public interest and justice into consideration.[285]

Loyalty and disassociation

According to various sources—scholars,[47][286][287][288][289][290] former Saudi students, [291] Arabic-speaking/reading teachers who have had access to Saudi text books, [292] and journalists[293] – Ibn `Abd al Wahhab and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. According to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, “loyalty and disassociation”), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was “imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims”, and that this “enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal”.[294][295] Even as late as 2003, entire pages in Saudi textbooks were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation,[292] although, according to one source (Hamid Algar) Wahhabis have “discreetly concealed” this view from other Muslims outside Saudi Arabia “over the years”.[287][296]

In reply, the Saudi Arabian government “has strenuously denied the above allegations”, including that “their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education.”[297]

Politics

According to ibn Abdal-Wahhab there are three objectives for Islamic government and society: “to believe in Allah, enjoin good behavior, and forbid wrongdoing.” This doctrine has been sustained in missionary literature, sermons, fatwa rulings, and explications of religious doctrine by Wahhabis since the death of ibn Abdal-Wahhab.[75] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab saw a role for the imam, “responsible for religious matters”, and the amir, “in charge of political and military issues”.[298] (In Saudi history the imam has not been a religious preacher or scholar, but Muhammad ibn Saud[299] and subsequent Saudi rulers.[64][300])

He also taught that the Muslim ruler is owed unquestioned allegiance as a religious obligation from his people so long as he leads the community according to the laws of God. A Muslim must present a bayah, or oath of allegiance, to a Muslim ruler during his lifetime to ensure his redemption after death.[75][301] Any counsel given to a ruler from community leaders or ulama should be private, not through public acts such as petitions, demonstrations, etc. [302][303] (This strict obedience can become problematic if a dynastic dispute arises and someone rebelling against the ruler succeeds and becomes the ruler, as happened in the late 19th century at the end of the second al-Saud state.[304] Is the successful rebel a ruler to be obeyed, or a usurper?[305])

While this gives the king wide power, respecting shari’a does impose limits, such as giving qadi (Islamic judges) independence. This means not interfering in their deliberations, but also not codifying laws, following precedents or establishing a uniform system of law courts – both of which violate the qadi’s independence.[306]

Wahhabis have traditionally given their allegiance to the House of Saud, but a movement of “Salafi jihadis” has developed among those who believe Al Saud has abandoned the laws of God.[191][192] According to Zubair Qamar, while the “standard view” is that “Wahhabis are apolitical and do not oppose the State”, there is/was another “strain” of Wahhabism that “found prominence among a group of Wahhabis after the fall of the second Saudi State in the 1800s”, and post 9/11 is associated with Jordanian/Palestinian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and “Wahhabi scholars of the ‘Shu’aybi‘ school”.[307]

Wahhabis share the belief of Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic dominion over politics and government and the importance of dawah (proselytizing or preaching of Islam) not just towards non-Muslims but towards erroring Muslims. However Wahhabi preachers are conservative and do not deal with concepts such as social justice, anticolonialism, or economic equality, expounded upon by Islamist Muslims.[308] Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s original pact promised whoever championed his message, ‘will, by means of it, rule and lands and men.'”[28]

Population

One of the more detailed estimates of religious population in the Arabic Gulf is by Mehrdad Izady who estimates, “using cultural and not confessional criteria”, only 4.56 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region, about 4 million from Saudi Arabia, (mostly the Najd), and the rest coming overwhelmingly from the Emirates and Qatar.[30] Most Sunni Qataris are Wahhabis (46.9% of all Qataris)[30] and 44.8% of Emiratis are Wahhabis,[30] 5.7% of Bahrainis are Wahhabis, and 2.2% of Kuwaitis are Wahhabis.[30] They account for roughly 0.5% of the world’s Muslim population.[309]

Notable leaders

There has traditionally been a recognized head of the Wahhabi “religious estate”, often a member of Al ash-Sheikh (a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) or related to another religious head. For example, Abd al-Latif was the son of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan.

  • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) was the founder of the Wahhabi movement.[310][311]
  • Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1752–1826) was the head of Wahhabism after his father retired from public life in 1773. After the fall of the first Saudi emirate, Abd Allah went into exile in Cairo where he died.[310]
  • Sulayman ibn Abd Allah (1780–1818) was a grandson of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and author of an influential treatise that restricted travel to and residing in land of idolaters (i.e. land outside of the Wahhabi area).[310]
  • Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1780–1869) was head of the religious estate in the second Saudi emirate.[310]
  • Abd al-Latif ibn Abd al-Rahman (1810–1876) Head of religious estate in 1860 and early 1870s.[310]
  • Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Latif Al ash-Sheikh (1848–1921) was the head of religious estate during period of Rashidi rule and the early years of King Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud.[310]
  • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al ash-Sheikh (1893–1969) was the head of Wahhabism in mid twentieth century. He has been said to have “dominated the Wahhabi religious estate and enjoyed unrivaled religious authority.”[312]
  • Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya was a female military leader who defended Mecca against recapture by Ottoman forces.

In more recent times, a couple of Wahhabi clerics have risen to prominence that have no relation to ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

  • Abdul Aziz Bin Baz (1910–1999), has been called “the most prominent proponent” of Wahhabism during his time.[313]
  • Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen (1925–2001), another “giant”. According to David Dean Commins, no one “has emerged” with the same “degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment” since their deaths.[313]

International influence and propagation

Explanation for influence

Khaled Abou El Fadl attributed the appeal of Wahhabism to some Muslims as stemming from

  • Arab nationalism, which followed the Wahhabi attack on the Ottoman Empire
  • Reformism, which followed a return to Salaf (as-Salaf aṣ-Ṣāliḥ);
  • Destruction of the Hejaz Khilafa in 1925;
  • Control of Mecca and Medina, which gave Wahhabis great influence on Muslim culture and thinking;
  • Oil, which after 1975 allowed Wahhabis to promote their interpretations of Islam using billions from oil export revenue.[314]

Scholar Gilles Kepel, agrees that the tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974–1980 period, provided the source of much influence of Wahhabism in the Islamic World.

… the financial clout of Saudi Arabia had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation’s astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia’s puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam. Saudi Arabia’s impact on Muslims throughout the world was less visible than that of Khomeini]s Iran, but the effect was deeper and more enduring. …. it reorganized the religious landscape by promoting those associations and ulemas who followed its lead, and then, by injecting substantial amounts of money into Islamic interests of all sorts, it won over many more converts. Above all, the Saudis raised a new standard – the virtuous Islamic civilization – as foil for the corrupting influence of the West.[84]

Funding factor

Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”;[315] between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year);[316] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.[317]

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith”, throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[318] It extended to young and old, from children’s madrasas to high-level scholarship.[319] “Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[320] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[167] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.[316][321]

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[318] and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”[322]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation—or the “gold standard” of Islam—in many Muslims’ minds.[323][324]

Militant and political Islam

According to counter-terrorism scholar Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni extremists perpetrated about 700 terror attacks killing roughly 7,000 people from 1981–2006.[325] What connection, if any, there is between Wahhabism and the Jihadi Salafis such as Al-Qaeda who carried out these attacks, is disputed.

Natana De Long-Bas, seniorresearch assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues:

The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden’s lifetime. However “unrepresentative” bin Laden’s global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.[326]

Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the “deeply conservative” Wahhabis and what he calls the “followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s,” such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were “the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists” during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders because of their belief that “the decision to wage jihad lay with the ruler, not the individual believer”.[327]

Karen Armstrong states that Osama bin Laden, like most extremists, followed the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, not “Wahhabism”.[328]

More recently the self-declared “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been described as both more violent than al-Qaeda and more closely aligned with Wahhabism.

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[329]

According to scholar Bernard Haykel, “for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself.” Wahhabism is the Islamic State’s “closest religious cognate.”[329]

The Sunni militant groups worldwide that are associated with the Wahhabi ideology include:Al-Shabaab,Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS.[citation needed]

Criticism and controversy

Criticism by other Muslims

Among the criticism, or comments made by critics, of the Wahhabi movement are:

  • That it is not so much strict and uncompromising as aberrant,[330] going beyond the bounds of Islam in its restricted definition of tawhid (monotheism), and much too willing to commit takfir (declare non-Muslim and subject to execution) Muslims it found in violation of Islam[331] (in the second Wahhabi-Saudi jihad/conquest of the Arabian peninsula, an estimated 400,000 were killed or wounded according to some estimates[119][120][121][122]);
  • That bin Saud’s agreement to wage jihad to spread Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s teachings had more to do with traditional Najd practice of raiding – “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre” – than with religion;[332]
  • That it has no connection to other Islamic revival movements;[333]
  • That unlike other revivalists, its founder Abd ul-Wahhab showed little scholarship – writing little and making even less commentary;[334]
  • That its rejection of the “orthodox” belief in saints, which had become a cardinal doctrine in Sunni Islam very early on,[335][336][337] represents a departure from something which has been an “integral part of Islam … for over a millennium.”[338][339] In this connection, mainstream Sunni scholars also critique the Wahhabi citing of Ibn Taymiyyah as an authority when Ibn Taymiyyah himself adhered to the belief in the existence of saints;[340]
  • That its contention towards visiting the tombs and shrines of prophets and saints and the seeking of their intercession, violate tauhid al-‘ibada (directing all worship to God alone) has no basis in tradition, in consensus or in hadith, and that even if it did, it would not be grounds for excluding practitioners of ziyara and tawassul from Islam;[331]
  • That its use of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al-Qayyim, and even Ibn Taymiyyah‘s name to support its stance is inappropriate, as it is historically known that all three of these men revered many aspects of Sufism, save that the latter two critiqued certain practices among the Sufis of their time. Those who criticize this aspect of Wahhabism often refer to the group’s use of Ibn Hanbal’s name to be a particularly egregious error, arguing that the jurist’s love for the relics of Muhammad, for the intercession of the Prophet, and for the Sufis of his time is well established in Islamic tradition;[341]
  • That historically Wahhabis have had a suspicious willingness to ally itself with non-Muslim powers (specifically America and Britain), and in particular to ignore the encroachments into Muslim territory of a non-Muslim imperial power (the British) while waging jihad and weakening the Muslim Caliphate of the Ottomans;[342][343] and
  • That Wahhabi strictness in matters of hijab and separation of the sexes has led not to a more pious and virtuous Saudi Arabia, but to a society showing a very un-Islamic lack of respect towards women.

Initial opposition

The first people to oppose Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were his father Abd al-Wahhab and his brother Salman Ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was an Islamic scholar and qadi. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s brother wrote a book in refutation of his brother’s new teachings, called: “The Final Word from the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab”, also known as: “Al-Sawa`iq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya” (“The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School”).[344]

In “The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745–1932”,[344] Hamadi Redissi provides original references to the description of Wahhabis as a divisive sect (firqa) and outliers (Kharijites) in communications between Ottomans and Egyptian Khedive Muhammad Ali. Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).

Shi’a opposition

Al-Baqi’ mausoleum reportedly contained the bodies of Hasan ibn Ali (a grandson of Muhammad) and Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad).

In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and destroyed the tombs of Husayn ibn Ali who is the grandson of Muhammad, and Ali (Ali bin Abu Talib), the son-in-law of Muhammad (see: Saudi sponsorship mentioned previously). In 1803 and 1804 the Saudis captured Mecca and Madinah and demolished various tombs of Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah, ancient monuments, ruins according to Wahhabis, they “removed a number of what were seen as sources or possible gateways to polytheism or shirk” – such as the tomb of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad. In 1998 the Saudis bulldozed and poured gasoline over the grave of Aminah bint Wahb, the mother of Muhammad, causing resentment throughout the Muslim World.[345][346][347]

Shi’a Muslims complain that Wahhabis and their teachings are a driving force behind sectarian violence and anti-Shia targeted killings in many countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen. Worldwide Saudi run, sponsored mosques and Islamic schools teach Wahhabi version of the Sunni Islam that labels Shia Muslims, Sufis, Christians, Jews and others as either apostates or infidels, thus paving a way for armed jihad against them by any means necessary till their death or submission to the Wahhabi doctrine. Wahhabis consider Shi’ites to be the archenemies of Islam.[348][349]

Wahhabism is a major factor behind the rise of such groups as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, while also inspiring movements such as the Taliban.[350][351][352]

Sunni opposition

The historical Ajyad Fortress of the Ottoman Empire above was razed in 2002 to in order to permit the construction of the Abraj Al Bait hotel complex in Mecca below.

One early rebuttal of Wahhabism, (by Sunni jurist Ibn Jirjis) argued that “Whoever declares that there is no god but God and prays toward Mecca is a believer”, supplicating the dead is permitted because it is not a form of worship but merely calling out to them, and that worship at graves is not idolatry unless the supplicant believes that buried saints have the power to determine the course of events. These arguments were specifically rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi leader at the time. [353]

The Syrian professor and scholar Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti criticises the Salafi movement in a few of his works.[354]

Malaysia’s largest Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council, has described Wahhabism as being against Sunni teachings, Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the National Fatwa Council, said Wahhabi followers were fond of declaring Muslims of other schools as apostates merely on the grounds that they did not conform to Wahhabi teachings.[355]

Among Sunni Muslims, the groups and organizations worldwide that oppose the Wahhabi ideology include: Al Ahbash, Al-Azhar, Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, Barelvi, Nahdlatul Ulama, Gülen movement, and Ansar dine.[citation needed]

The SufiIslamic Supreme Council of America founded by the Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani classify Wahhabism as being extremist and heretical based on Wahhabism’s role as a terrorist ideology and labelling of other Muslims, especially Sufis as polytheists, a practice known as Takfir.[356][357][358][359]

Non-religious motivations

According to at least one critic, the 1744–1745 alliance between Ibn Abdul Wahhab and the tribal chief Muhammad bin Saud to wage jihad on neighboring allegedly false-Muslims, was a “consecration” by Ibn Abdul Wahhab of bin Saud tribe’s long standing raids on neighboring oases by “renaming those raids jihad.” Part of the Najd’s “Hobbesian state of perpetual war pitted Bedouin tribes against one another for control of the scarce resources that could stave off starvation.” And a case of substituting fath, “the ‘opening’ or conquest of a vast territory through religious zeal”, for the “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre.” [332]

Wahhabism in the United States

A study conducted by the NGOFreedom House found Wahhabi publications in mosques in the United States. These publications included statements that Muslims should not only “always oppose” infidels “in every way”, but “hate them for their religion … for Allah’s sake”, that democracy “is responsible for all the horrible wars… the number of wars it started in the 20th century alone is more than 130 wars,” and that Shia and certain Sunni Muslims were infidels.[360][361] In a response to the report, the Saudi government stated, “[It has] worked diligently during the last five years to overhaul its education system” but “[o]verhauling an educational system is a massive undertaking.”[362]

A review of the study by the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated[363]Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) complained the study cited documents from only a few mosques, arguing most mosques in the U.S. are not under Wahhabi influence.[364] ISPU comments on the study were not entirely negative however, and concluded:

American-Muslim leaders must thoroughly scrutinize this study. Despite its limitations, the study highlights an ugly undercurrent in modern Islamic discourse that American-Muslims must openly confront. However, in the vigor to expose strains of extremism, we must not forget that open discussion is the best tool to debunk the extremist literature rather than a suppression of First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.[364]

Concern has been expressed over the fact that U.S. university branches, like the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the Northwestern school of Journalism, housed in the wahabbi country of Qatar, are exposed to the extremist propaganda espoused by wahabist imams who preach at the Qatar Foundation mosque in Education City. Education City, a large campus where U.S. and European universities reside, hosted a series of religious prayers and lectures as part of a month-long annual Ramadan program in 2015. The prayers and lectures were held at the new lavish mosque in Doha’s Education City, which shares the same campus as prestigious schools in the U.S. like Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon. Among those who attended the lectures was a Saudi preacher who has described the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris as “the sequel to the comedy film of 9/11 “and another cleric who says, “Jews and their helpers must be destroyed.”[365] The mosque in education city has also been known to host extremist anti-semeticwahabbi preachers who speak against “Zionist aggressors” in their sermons and called upon Allah “to count them in number and kill them completely, do not spare a [single] one of them.”[365] There are further allegations which suggest that Qatar sent professors back to America for being Jewish[366] and that students attending American Universities in Qatar are required to dress in a manner that is respectful to Wahhabism.[367]

European expansion

There has been much concern, expressed in both American and European media and scholarship, over the fact that Wahhabi countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been financing mosques and buying up land all over Europe. Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy have all noted the growing influence that these Wahhabi countries have over territory and religion in Europe.[368]

The concern resonates at a local level in Europe as well. In 2016, the citizens of Brussels, Belgium overturned a 2015 decision to build a 600-person mosque next to the Qatari embassy. Fear largely emanates from the fact that Belgian citizens see the mosque as an opportunity for a Wahhabi country to exert control over Muslims in Europe, thus spreading the more extreme sect of Islam.[368]

Several articles have been written that list the Cork Islamic Cultural Center as an example of one of many properties throughout Europe, paid for by the Qatari government, in an effort to spread an extreme and intolerant form of Islam known as Wahhabism.[369][370]

The Assalam Mosque is located in Nantes, France was also a source on some controversy. Construction on the mosque began in 2009 and was completed in 2012. It is the largest mosque in its region in France. The mosque is frequently listed among examples of Qatar’s efforts to export Wahhabism, their extreme and often intolerant version of Islam, throughout Europe.[368][369]

Some of the initiatives of the Cultural Islamic Center Sesto San Giovanni in Italy, funded by Qatar Charity, have also raised concerns due to its ties to Wahhabbism. The Consortium Against Terrorist Finance (CATF) said that the mosque has a history of affiliation and cooperation with extremists and terrorists.[371] CATF notes that Qatar Charity “was named as a major financial conduit for al-Qaeda in judicial proceedings following the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania”, supported al-Qaeda operatives in Northern Mali, and was “heavily involved in Syria.”[371]

Munich Forum for Islam (MFI), also known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIEM), was another controversial initiative largely financed by the Wahhabi Gulf country of Qatar.[368] In 2013 German activists filed a lawsuit in opposition to the construction of the mosque. These activists expressed fear that the Qatari government aimed to build Mosques all over Europe to spread Wahhabism. But the government squashed the lawsuit. In addition to this 2014 ruling, another court ordered an anti-mosque protester to pay a fine for defaming Islam when the protester claimed that Wahhabi Islam is incompatible with democracy.[372]

The Islamic Cultural Center in Luxembourg was also funded by Qatar in what some note is an attempt by Qatar to spread Wahhabism in Europe.[373]

Destruction of Islam’s early historical sites

The Wahhabi teachings disapprove of “veneration of the historical sites associated with early Islam”, on the grounds that “only God should be worshiped” and “that veneration of sites associated with mortals leads to idolatry“.[374]However, critics point out that no Muslims venerate buildings or tombs as it is a shirk. Muslims visiting the resting places of Ahl al-Bayt or Sahabah still pray to Allah alone while remembering the Prophet’s companions and family members. Many buildings associated with early Islam, including mazaar, mausoleums and other artifacts have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia by Wahhabis from the early 19th century through the present day.[49][50] This practice has proved controversial and has received considerable criticism from Sufi and Shia Muslims and in the non-Muslim world.

Ironically, despite Wahhabi destruction of many Islamic, non-Islamic, and historical sites associated with the first Muslims, Prophet’s family, his companions and a strict prohibition of visiting such (including mosques), Saudis renovated the tomb of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, turning his birthplace into a major tourist attraction and an important place of visitation within the kingdom’s modern borders.[375]

See also

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

Salafi movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Salafism)
Not to be confused with Salaf.

Salafi mosque in Payyanur, India.

The Salafi movement or Salafist movement or Salafism is an ultra-conservative[1] reform[2] branch[3][4] or movement within SunniIslam[5] that developed in Arabia in the first half of the 18th century against a background of European colonialism. It advocated a return to the traditions of the “devout ancestors” (the salaf). Some scholars define this movement as Modernist Salafism.

This movement emerged as a liberal one, in the later 18th century in Egypt[6] – this variant is nowadays qualified as Modernist Salafism – before taking its contemporary orientation in the 1920s,[7] which ascribes itself in the ideology lineage of Ibn Taymiyya and has merged with the wahhabism which is now considered as synonymous.[8]

Some 21st-century scholars have suggested there was a medieval form of Salafism, but there is little evidence of this. Generally scholars believe the Modernist form has been superseded since the mid-20th century by what is called Purist Salafism.

The Salafist doctrine can be summed up as taking “a fundamentalist approach to Islam, emulating Muhammad and his earliest followers – al-salaf al-salih, the ‘pious forefathers’.”[9]“They reject religious innovation or bid’ah, and support the implementation of sharia (Islamic law).”[9] The movement is often divided into three categories: the largest group are the purists (or quietists), who avoid politics; the second largest group are the activists, who get involved in politics; and the smallest group are jihadists, who form a small minority.[9]

The Salafi movement is often described as being synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term “Wahhabi” to be derogatory.[10] At other times, Salafism has been described as a hybrid of Wahhabism and other post-1960s movements.[11] Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam. Particularly in the West it is associated with Salafi jihadists, who espouse jihad as a legitimate expression of Islam against those they deem to be enemies of Islam.[12][page needed] Traditional Salafism concentrated in Saudi Arabia is opposed to the newer groups calling themselves people of Salafism, such as the Muslim Brotherhood concentrated in Egypt, whose leaders such as Sayyid Qutb call for revolutions and secularism in deep contrast with Saudi Arabia historically.

In legal matters, Salafis are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four Sunni schools of law (madhahib), and others who remain faithful to these.[13]

Etymology

Salafism takes its name from the Arabic term salaf (“predecessors”, “ancestors”), used to identify the earliest Muslims, who, its adherents believe, provide the epitome of Islamic practice.[citation needed] They consider a hadith that quotes Muhammad saying, “The best of my community are my generation, the ones who follow them and the ones who follow them.”[14] as a call to Muslims to follow the example of those first three generations, known collectively as the salaf.[15] or “pious Predecessors” (السلف الصالحas-Salaf as-Ṣāliḥ). The salaf are believed to include Muhammad himself,[16] the “Companions” (Sahabah), the “Followers” (Tabi‘un), and the “Followers of the Followers” (Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in).

Since the fifth Muslim generation or earlier, Sunni theologians have used the examples of the Salaf to understand the texts and tenets of Islam. At times they have referred to the hadith to differentiate the creed (Aqidah) of the first Muslims from subsequent variations in creed and methodology (see Madhab), to oppose religious innovation (bid‘ah) and, conversely, to defend particular views and practices.[17]

Tenets

According to Bernard Haykel, “temporal proximity to the Prophet Muhammad is associated with the truest form of Islam” among many Sunni Muslims.[18]

Salafis view the Salaf as an eternal model for all succeeding Muslim generations in their beliefs, exegesis, method of worship, mannerisms, morality, piety and conduct: the Islam they practiced is seen as pure, unadulterated and, therefore, the ultimate authority for the interpretation of the Sunnah.[19][better source needed]

Salafis believe that the Qur’an, the Hadith and the consensus (ijma) of approved scholarship (ulama), along with the understanding of the Salaf us-salih, are sufficient guidance for the individual Muslim.[citation needed] The Salafi da’wa is a methodology, but it is not a madh’hab in fiqh (jurisprudence) as is commonly misunderstood. Salafis may be influenced by the Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali or the Hanafi schools of Sunni fiqh.[20]

Salafis condemn certain common practices among Muslims such as polytheism (shirk) and tawassul of religious figures. In North African cultures for instance, historically there were practices to venerate the graves of Islamic prophets and saints, and to use amulets to seek protection.[citation needed]

Salafis place great emphasis on practicing actions in accordance with the known sunnah, not only in prayer but in every activity in daily life. For instance, many are careful always to use three fingers when eating, to drink water in three pauses, and to hold it with the right hand while sitting.[21]

Views on Taqlid (scholarly authority)

In legal matters, Salafis are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four schools of law (madhahib) and others who remain faithful to these.[13][22] Salafi scholars from Saudi Arabia are generally bound by Hanbalifiqh and advocate following an Imam rather than having individuals try to interpret and understand scripture alone.[13][23]

Other Salafi scholars, however, believe that taqlid is unlawful. From their perspective, Muslims who follow a madhab without searching personally for direct evidence may be led astray.[24] The latter group of scholars include Rashid Rida,[25] al-Khajnadee, Muhammad Abduh,[26] Saleem al-Hilali and Nasir al-Din al-Albani.[27]

At the far end of the spectrum of belief, some Salafis hold that adhering to taqlid is an act of polytheism.[28]

Opposition to the use of kalam

Modern-day proponents of the Athari school of theology largely come from the Salafi (or Wahhabi) movement; they uphold the athari works of Ibn Taymiyyah.[29] For followers of the Salafi movement, the “clear” (i.e. zahir, apparent, exoteric or literal) meaning of the Qur’an, and especially the prophetic traditions, has sole authority in matters of belief. They believe that to engage in rational disputation (kalam), even if one arrives at the truth, is absolutely forbidden.[30]

Atharis engage in an amodal reading of the Qur’an, as opposed to one engaged in Ta’wil (metaphorical interpretation). They do not attempt to conceptualize the meanings of the Qur’an rationally, and believe that the “real” modality should be consigned to God alone (tafwid).[31] In essence, they accept the meaning without asking “how” or Bi-la kaifa. Salafi scholars strongly oppose the practice of kalam, dialectics, or speculative philosophy in theology. They believed that these practices are heretical innovations in Islam that oppose the fundamental aspiration to follow the original methodology of the Salaf us-Saliheen with regards to Aqidah.[citation needed]

History

Historians and academics date the emergence of Salafism to late 19th-century Egypt.[32][33][34][35] Salafis believe that the label “Salafiyya” existed from the first few generations of Islam and that it is not a modern movement.[34] To justify this view, Salafis rely on a handful of quotes from medieval times where the term Salafi is used. However, these quotes provide dubious and weak evidence for their claim[36] since the term “Salafiyya” and its derivatives are not commonplace in medieval and pre-modern literature.[37]

One of the quotes used as evidence and widely posted on Salafi websites is from the genealogical dictionary of al-Sam’ani (d. 1166), who wrote a short entry about the surname “al-Salafi” (the Salafi): “According to what I heard, this [surname indicates one’s] ascription to the pious ancestors and [one’s] adoption of their doctrine [madhhabihim].”[38][39] The scholar Lauzière comments that, “al-Sam’ani could only list two individuals—a father and his son—who were known by it. Plus, the entry contains blank spaces in lieu of their full names, presumably because al-Sam’ani had forgotten them or did not know them.”[39] Further, he states that “al-Sam’ani’s dictionary suggests that the surname was marginal at best, and the lone quotation taken from al-Dhahabi, who wrote 200 years later, does little to prove Salafi claims.”[40]

In the modern era, however, many Salafis adopt the surname “al-Salafi” and refer to the label “Salafiyya” in various circumstances to evoke a specific understanding of Islam that is supposed to differ from that of other Sunnis in terms of creed, law, morals, and behavior.[40]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

Modern Salafists consider the 18th-century scholar Muhammed bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab and many of his students to have been Salafis.[citation needed] He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd.[41] He advocated purging practices such as shrine and tomb visitation, which were widespread among Muslims. ‘Abd al-Wahhab considered this practice to be idolatry, representative of impurities and inappropriate innovations in Islam.[20][42] He evangelized in areas in the Arabian Peninsula during the 18th century, calling for a return to the practices of the early Muslims. His works, especially Kitab at-Tawhid, are still widely read by Salafis around the world today. The majority of Salafi scholars still cite them frequently.[citation needed]

Trends within Salafism

Some who have observed trends in the Salafist movement have divided Salafis into three groups – purists, activists, and jihadis.[8][43] Purists focus on education and missionary work to solidify the tawhid; activists focus on political reform and re-establishing a caliphate through the means of evolution, but not violence (sometimes called Salafist activism); and jihadists share similar political goals as the politicians, but engage in violent Jihad (sometimes called Salafi jihadism and/or Qutbism).[8]

Purists

“Purists” are Salafists who focus on non-violent da’wah (preaching of Islam), education, and “purification of religious beliefs and practices”. They dismiss politics as “a diversion or even innovation that leads people away from Islam”.[44]

They never oppose rulers. Madkhalism, as an example, is a strain of Salafists viewed as supportive of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.[45][46][47] Taking its name from the controversial Saudi Arabian cleric Rabee al-Madkhali, the movement lost its support in Saudi Arabia proper when several members of the Permanent Committee (the country’s clerical body) denounced Madkhali personally.[48] Influence of both the movement and its figureheads have waned so much within the Muslim world that analysts have declared it to be a largely European phenomenon.[48]

Activists

Activists are another strain of the global Salafi movement, but different from the Salafi jihadists in that they eschew violence and different from Salafi purists in that they engage in modern political processes.[49] Due to numerical superiority, the movement has been referred to as the mainstream of the Salafist movement at times.[47] This trend, who some call “politicos”, see politics as “yet another field in which the Salafi creed has to be applied” in order to safeguard justice and “guarantee that the political rule is based upon the Shari’a”.[44]Al–Sahwa Al-Islamiyya (Islamic Awakening), as example, has been involved in peaceful political reform. Safar Al-Hawali and Salman al-Ouda are representatives of this trend. Because of being active on social media they have earned some support among more educated youth.[50][51]

It’s very simple. We want sharia. Sharia in economy, in politics, in judiciary, in our borders and our foreign relations.

— Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel-Rahman, Time magazine. October 8, 2012[52]

Salafi jihadists

Main article: Salafi jihadism

“Salafi Jihadism” was a term invented by Gilles Kepel[53][54] to describe those self-claiming Salafi groups who began developing an interest in (armed) jihad during the mid-1990s. Practitioners are often referred to as “Salafi jihadis” or “Salafi jihadists”. Journalist Bruce Livesey estimates Salafi jihadists constitute less than 1.0 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims (i.e., less than 10 million).[53]

Another definition of Salafi jihadism, offered by Mohammed M. Hafez, is an “extreme form of SunniIslamism that rejects democracy and Shia rule.” Hafez distinguished them from apolitical and conservative Salafi scholars (such as Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz and Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh), but also from the sahwa movement associated with Salman al-Ouda or Safar Al-Hawali.[55]

An analysis of the Caucasus Emirate, a Salafi jihadist group, was made in 2014 by Darion Rhodes.[56] It analyzes the group’s strict observance of tawhid and its rejection of shirk, taqlid, ijtihad and bid‘ah, while believing that jihad is the only way to advance the cause of Allah on the earth.[56]

Despite some similarities, the different contemporary self-proclaimed Salafist groups often strongly disapprove of one another and deny the other’s Islamic character.[57]

Views on extremism

In recent years, the Salafi methodology has come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians. The European Parliament, in a report commissioned in 2013 claimed that Wahhabi and Salafi groups are involved, mainly via Saudi charities, in the support and supply arms to rebel groups around the world.[58] Some Salafi scholars appear to support extremism and acts of violence. The Egyptian Salafi cleric Mahmoud Shaaban “appeared on a religious television channel calling for the deaths of main opposition figures Mohammed ElBaradei – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.”[59][60] The popular salafi preacher Zakir Naik speaking of Osama bin Laden, said that he would not criticise bin Laden because he had not met him and did not know him personally. He added that, “If bin Laden is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him,” and that “If he is terrorizing America – the terrorist, biggest terrorist – I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorizing the terrorist, he is following Islam. Whether he is or not, I don’t know, but you as Muslims know that, without checking up, laying allegations is also wrong.”[61]

Other salafis have rejected the use of violence. The Saudi scholar, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen considered suicide bombing to be unlawful[62][63] and the scholar Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad wrote a treatise entitled: According to which intellect and Religion is Suicide bombings and destruction considered Jihad?.[62]Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani stated that “History repeats itself. Everybody claims that the Prophet is their role model. Our Prophet spent the first half of his message making dawah, and he did not start it with jihad”.[64]

Salafism is sponsored globally by Saudi Arabia and this ideology is used to justify the violent acts of Jihadi Salafi groups that include Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Al-Shabaab.[65][66] In addition, Saudi Arabia prints textbooks for schools and universities to teach Salafism as well as recruit international students from Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Africa and the Balkans to help spreading Salafisim in their local communities.[65][66]

Some other Islamic groups, particularly some Sufis, have also complained about extremism among some Salafi. It has been noted that the Western association of Salafi ideology with violence stems from writings “through the prism of security studies” that were published in the late 20th century and that continue to persist.[67]

Regional groups and movements

Saudi Arabia (Wahhabism)

Main article: Wahhabism

Wahhabism is a more strict, Saudi form of Salafism,[68][69] according to Mark Durie, who states that Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.”[70] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree with the view that Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.[71]

However, many scholars and critics distinguish between the old form of Saudi Salafism (termed as Wahhabism) and the new Salafism in Saudi Arabia. Stéphane Lacroix, a fellow and lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris, also affirmed a distinction between the two: “As opposed to Wahhabism, Salafism refers […] to all the hybridations that have taken place since the 1960s between the teachings of Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab and other Islamic schools of thought”. Hamid Algar and Khaled Abou El Fadl believe, during the 1960s and 70s, Wahhabism rebranded itself as Salafism knowing it could not “spread in the modern Muslim world” as Wahhabism.[72][73]

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith”, throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[74] It extended to young and old, from children’s madrasas to high-level scholarship.[75] “Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[76] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[77] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools” [78] at a cost of around $2–3bn annually since 1975.[79] To put the number into perspective, the propaganda budget of the Soviet Union was about $1bn per annum.[79]

This spending has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[74] and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”[80]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation – or the “gold standard” of Islam – in many Muslims’ minds.[81][82]

Salafis are often called Wahhabis, which they consider to be a derogatory term.[83]

Indian subcontinent (Ahl-i Hadith movement)

Main article: Ahl-i Hadith

Ahl-i Hadith is a religious movement that emerged in Northern India in the mid-nineteenth century.[84] Adherents of Ahl-i-Hadith regard the Quran, sunnah, and hadith as the sole sources of religious authority and oppose everything introduced in Islam after the earliest times.[85] In particular, they reject taqlid (following legal precedent) and favor ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) based on the scriptures.[84] The movement’s followers call themselves Salafi, while others refer to them as Wahhabi,[86] or consider them a variation on the Wahhabi movement.[87][88] In recent decades the movement has expanded its presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.[84][85]

Syed Nazeer Husain from Delhi and Siddiq Hasan Khan of Bhopal are regarded as the founder of the movement. Folk Islam and Sufism, commonly popular with the poor and working class in the region, are anathema to Ahl-i Hadith beliefs and practices. This attitude toward Sufism has brought the movement into conflict with the rival Barelvi movement even more so than the Barelvis’ rivals, the Deobandis.[89] Ahl-i Hadith followers identify with the Zahiri madhhab.[90] The movement draws both inspiration and financial support from Saudi Arabia.[91][92]

Egypt

There are 5 to 6 million Salafis in Egypt.[93] Salafis in Egypt are not united under a single banner or unified leadership. The main Salafi trends in Egypt are Al-Sunna Al-Muhammadeyya Society, The Salafist Calling, al-Madkhaliyya Salafism, Activist Salafism, and al-Gam’eyya Al-Shar’eyya.[94] Since 2015 the Egyptian government has banned books associated with the Salafi movement.[95]

Al-Sunna Al-Muhammadeyya Society, also known as Ansar Al-Sunna, was founded in 1926 by Sheikh Mohamed Hamed El-Fiqi (d.), a 1916 graduate of Al-Azhar and a student of the famed Muslim reformer Muhammed Abduh. It is considered the main Salafi group in Egypt. El-Fiqi’s ideas were resentful of Sufism. But unlike Muhammed Abduh, Ansar Al-Sunna follows the tawhid as preached by Ibn Taymiyyah.[94]

Salafist Call is another influential Salafist organisation. It is the outcome of student activism during the 1970s. While many of the activists joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a faction led by Mohammad Ismail al-Muqaddim, influenced by Salafists of Saudi Arabia established the Salafist Calling between 1972 and 1977.[96]

Salafist Call created the Al-Nour Party after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. It has an ultra-conservative Islamist ideology, which believes in implementing strict Sharia law.[97] In the 2011–12 Egypt parliamentary elections, the Islamist Bloc led by Al‑Nour party received 7,534,266 votes out of a total 27,065,135 correct votes (28%). The Islamist Bloc gained 127 of the 498 parliamentary seats contested,[98] second-place after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Al‑Nour Party itself won 111 of the 127 seats. From January 2013 the party gradually distanced itself from Mohammad Morsi‘s Brotherhood government, and came to join the opposition in the July 2013 coup which ousted Morsi.[99] A lawsuit against the party was dismissed on 22 September 2014 because the court indicated it had no jurisdiction.[100] A case on the dissolution of the party was adjourned until 17 January 2015.[101] Another court case that was brought forth to dissolve the party[102] was dismissed after the Alexandria Urgent Matters Court ruled on 26 November 2014 that it lacked jurisdiction.[103]

According to Ammar Ali Hassan of al-Ahram, while Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood agree on many issues such as the need to “Islamize” society and restricting private property rights by legally requiring all Muslims to give alms, the former has nevertheless rejected the flexibility of the latter on the issue of whether women and Christians should be entitled to serve in high office, as well as its relatively tolerant attitude towards Shia Iran.[104]

France

In France, in 2015 police say that salafism is represented in 90 out of 2500 investigated religious communities, which is double the number compared to five years earlier.[105]

Germany

Salafism is a growing movement in Germany and estimates by German security police show that it grew from 3800 members in 2011 to 7500 members in 2015.[106] In Germany, most of the recruitment to the movement is done on the Internet and also on the streets,[106] a propaganda drive which mostly attracts youth.[106] There are two ideological camps, one advocates political salafism and directs its recruitment efforts towards non-Muslims and non-salafist Muslims to gain influence in society.[106] The other and minority movement, the jihadist salafism, advocates gaining influence by the use of violence and nearly all identified terrorist cells in Germany came from salafist circles.[106]

In 2015, Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, spoke out, saying “We need Saudi Arabia to solve the regional conflicts, but we must at the same time make clear that the time to look away is past. Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities.”[107]

In November 2016, nationwide raids were conducted on the Salafist True Religion (Islamist organization).[108][109][110]

China

Main article: Sailaifengye

Salafism is opposed by a number of HuiMuslims Sects in China such as by the Gedimu, Sufi Khafiya and Jahriyya, to the extent that even the fundamentalist Yihewani (Ikhwan) Chinese sect, founded by Ma Wanfu after Salafi inspiration, condemned Ma Debao and Ma Zhengqing as heretics when they attempted to introduce Salafism as the main form of Islam. Ma Debao established a Salafi school, called the Sailaifengye (Salafi), in Lanzhou and Linxia. It is completely separate from other Muslim sects in China.[111] Muslim Hui avoid Salafis, even if they are family members.[112] The number of Salafis in China are not included on percentage lists of Muslim sects in China.[113] The Kuomintang Sufi Muslim General Ma Bufang, who backed the Yihewani (Ikhwan) Muslims, persecuted the Salafis and forced them into hiding. They were not allowed to move or worship openly. The Yihewani had become secular and Chinese nationalists; they considered the Salafiyya to be “heterodox” (xie jiao) and people who followed foreigners’ teachings (waidao). After the Communists took power, Salafis were allowed to worship openly again.[114]

Vietnam

An attempt at Salafist expansion among the Muslim Chams in Vietnam has been halted by Vietnamese government controls, however, the loss of the Salafis among Chams has been to be benefit of Tablighi Jamaat.[115]

Sweden

Representatives from the mosque in Gävle are promoting this variant of Islam, which in Sweden is considered extreme. According to researcher Aje Carlbom at Malmö University. The organisation behind the missionary work is Swedish United Dawah Center, abbreviated SUDC.[116] SUDC is characterised as a salafist group by a researcher of religious history at Stockholm University and it has many links to British Muslim Abdur Raheem Green.[116]According to professor Mohammed Fazlhashemi, salafists are opposed to rational theology and hate shia Muslims above all.[116] Further Fazlhashemi states that salafism requires women to be relegated to second class citizens as they would be forbidden from leaving the home without a male companion as well as being excluded from education and the workplace.[116] Three Muslim community organisations in Malmö invited reportedly antisemitic and homophobic salafist lecturers such as Salman al-Ouda. One of the organisations, Alhambra which is a student society Malmö University, was reported to have been taken over by salafists in 2016.[117][undue weight? ]

Qatar

Similar to Saudi Arabia, most citizens of Qatar adhere to a strict sect of Salafism referred to as Wahhabism.[118] The national mosque of Qatar is the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque named after the founder of Wahhabism.[119] Similar to Saudi Arabian sponsorship of Salafism, Qatar has also funded the construction of mosques that promote the Wahhabi Salafism.[120]

Unlike the strict practice of Wahhabi Salafism in Saudi Arabia, Qatar has demonstrated an alternative view of Wahhabism. In Qatar, women are allowed by law to drive, non-Muslims have access to pork and liquor through a state-owned distribution center, and religious police do not force businesses to close during prayer times.[121] Also, Qatar hosts branches of several American universities and a “Church City” in which migrant workers may practice their religion.[122][123] The adoption of a more liberal interpretation of Wahhabism is largely credited to Qatar’s young Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Yet, Qatar’s more tolerant interpretation of Wahhabism compared to Saudi Arabia has drawn backlash from Qatari citizens and foreigners. The Economist reported that a Qatari cleric criticized the state’s acceptance of un-Islamic practices away from the public sphere and complained that Qatari citizens are oppressed.[121] Although Qatari gender separation is less strict than that found in Saudi Arabia, plans to offer co-ed lectures were put aside after threats to boycott Qatar’s segregated public university.[121] Meanwhile, there have been reports of local discontent with the sale of alcohol in Qatar.[124]

Qatar has also drawn widespread criticism for attempting to spread its fundamental religious interpretation both through military and non-military channels. Militarily, Qatar has been criticized for funding rebel Islamist extremist fighters in the Libyan Crisis and the Syrian Civil War. In Libya, Qatar funded allies of Ansar al-Sharia, the jihadist group thought to be behind the killing of former U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, while channeling weapons and money to the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham group in Syria.[125] In addition, Qatar-based charities and online campaigns, such as Eid Charity and Madid Ahl al-Sham, have a history of financing terrorist groups in Syria.[126][127] Qatar has also repeatedly provided financial support to the Gaza government led by the militant Hamas organization while senior Hamas officials have visited Doha and hosted Qatari leaders in Gaza.[128][129] Qatar also gave approximately $10 billion to the government of Egypt during Mohamed Morsi‘s time in office.[130]

Non-militarily, Qatar state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera has come under criticism for selective reporting in coordination with Qatar’s foreign policy objectives.[131] In addition, reports have condemned Qatar’s financing of the construction of mosques and Islamic centers in Europe as attempts to exert the state’s Salafist interpretation of Islam.[132] Reports of Qatar attempting to impact the curriculum of U.S. schools and buy influence in universities have also spread.[133][134] The nearby Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have been among the countries that have condemned Qatar’s actions. In 2014, the three Gulf countries withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar referencing Qatar’s failure to commit to non-interference in the affairs of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.[135] Saudi Arabia has also threatened to block land and sea borders with Qatar.[136]

Statistics

Worldwide there are roughly 50 million Salafists,[137] including roughly 20 to 30 million Salafis in India,[138] 5 to 6 million Salafis in Egypt,[93] 27.5 million Salafis in Bangladesh[citation needed] and 1.6 million Salafis in Sudan.[139] Salafi communities are smaller elsewhere, including roughly 10,000 in Tunisia, 17,000 in Morocco, 7,000 in Jordan, 17,000 in France and 5,000 in Germany.[140]

It is often reported from various sources, including the German domestic intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst), that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.[141][142][143][144]

Other usage

Modernist Salafism

Main article: Islamic modernism

As opposed to the traditionalist Salafism discussed throughout this article, academics and historians have used the term “Salafism” to denote modernists, “a school of thought which surfaced in the second half of the 19th century as a reaction to the spread of European ideas” and “sought to expose the roots of modernity within Muslim civilization.”[145][146] They are also known as Modernist Salafis.[147][148][149][150] However contemporary Salafis follow “literal, traditional […] injunctions of the sacred texts”, looking to Ibn Taymiyyah rather than the “somewhat freewheeling interpretation” of 19th-century figures Muhammad Abduh, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, and Rashid Rida.[151][152]

The origins of contemporary Salafism in the modernist “Salafi Movement” of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh is noted by some,[153][154] while others say Islamic Modernism only influenced contemporary Salafism.[155] However, the former notion has been rejected by majority.[156][157][158] According to Quintan Wiktorowicz:

There has been some confusion in recent years because both the Islamic modernists and the contemporary Salafis refer (referred) to themselves as al-salafiyya, leading some observers to erroneously conclude a common ideological lineage. The earlier salafiyya (modernists), however, were predominantly rationalist Asharis.[8]

Inspired by Islamic modernists, groups like Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami etc. are called Salafis in this context.[159]Muslim Brotherhoodinclude the term salafi in the “About Us” section of its website.[160]

In this context “in terms of their respective formation, Wahhabism and Salafism were quite distinct. Wahhabism was a pared-down Islam that rejected modern influences, while Salafism sought to reconcile Islam with modernism. What they had in common is that both rejected traditional teachings on Islam in favor of direct, ‘fundamentalist’ reinterpretation. Although Salafism and Wahhabism began as two distinct movements, Faisal’s embrace of Salafi (Muslim Brotherhood) pan-Islamism resulted in cross-pollination between ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teachings on tawhid, shirk and bid‘ah and Salafi interpretations of ahadith (the sayings of Muhammad). Some Salafis nominated ibn Abd al-Wahhab as one of the Salaf (retrospectively bringing Wahhabism into the fold of Salafism), and the Muwahideen began calling themselves Salafis.”[161]

In the broadest sense

In a broad sense, Salafi (follower of Salaf) means any reform movement that calls for resurrection of Islam by going back to its origin. In line with Wahhabism, Muslim Brotherhood,[162] reformism of Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad Iqbal[157] and even the Islamism of Taliban is totally irrelevant when Salafism is considered.[clarification needed]

Criticism

Scholars from Al-Azhar University of Cairo produced a work of religious opinions entitled al-Radd (The Response) to refute the views of the Salafi movement.[163]Al-Radd singles out numerous Salafi aberrations – in terms of ritual prayer alone it targets for criticism the following Salafi claims:[164]

  • The claim that it is prohibited to recite God’s name during the minor ablution [Fatwa 50]
  • The claim that it is obligatory for men and women to perform the major ablution on Friday [Fatwa 63]
  • The claim that it is prohibited to own a dog for reasons other than hunting [Fatwa 134]
  • The claim that it is prohibited to use alcohol for perfumes [Fatwa 85].

One of the authors of al-Radd, the Professor of Law Anas Abu Shady states that, “they [the Salafis] want to be everything to everyone. They’re interested not only in the evident (al-zahir), although most of their law goes back to the Muhalla [of the Ẓāhirī scholar Ibn Hazm], but they also are convinced that they alone understand the hidden (al-batin)!”[165]

The Syrian scholar Mohamed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti wrote a number of works refuting Salafism including Al-La Madhhabiyya (Abandoning the Madhhabs) is the most dangerous Bid‘ah Threatening the Islamic Shari’a (Damascus: Dar al-Farabi 2010) and Al-Salafiyyawas a blessed epoch, not a school of thought (Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 1990).[163] The latter is perhaps the most famous refutation of Salafism in the twentieth century.[166]

Numerous academic rebuttals of Salafism have been produced in the English language by Khaled Abou El Fadl of the UCLA School of Law, Timothy Winter of Cambridge University and G.F. Haddad.[163] El Fadl argues that fanatical groups such as al-Qaeda “derive their theological premises from the intolerant Puritanism of the Wahhabi and Salafi creeds”.[167] He also suggests that the extreme intolerance and even endorsement of terrorism manifest in Wahhabism and Salafism represents a deviation from Muslim historical traditions.[167] El-Fadl also argues that the Salafi methodology “drifted into stifling apologetics” by the mid-20th century, a reaction against “anxiety” to “render Islam compatible with modernity,” by its leaders earlier in the century.[168]

According to the As-Sunnah Foundation of America, the Salafi and Wahhabi movements are strongly opposed by a long list of Sunni scholars.[clarification needed (like whom?)][169] The Saudi government has been criticised for damaging Islamic heritage of thousands of years in Saudi Arabia. For example, there has been some controversy that the expansion projects of the mosque and Mecca itself are causing harm to early Islamic heritage. Many ancient buildings, some more than a thousand years old, have been demolished to make room not only for the expansion of the Masjid al-Haram, but for new malls and hotels.[170][171][172][173]