U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran

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

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

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

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

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

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

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

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

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

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

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

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

Gidley on Iran agenda, Kavanaugh attacks, Lewandowski testimony

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

 

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

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quds-1 missile 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

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

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the source image

Trump Urgest Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Hemingway accuses NYT of hiding facts, using ‘gossip’ to smear Kavanaugh

Trump calls for NY Times staff to resign over Kavanaugh story

Sen. Tillis on New York Times Kavanaugh report

New York Times faces intense scrutiny over Kavanaugh article

Tucker: New York Times revives attacks on Kavanaugh

Ingraham: Democrats’ smash and smear campaign

Bongino blasts NYT’s ‘disgraceful’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Ben Shapiro blasts The New York Times’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Gowdy compares impeaching Kavanaugh to ‘political death penalty’

Gutfeld on the latest New York Times scandal

Trump demands DOJ ‘rescue’ Kavanaugh as fresh allegations emerge

Napolitano on new questions surrounding Kavanaugh accuser’s motivation

New video raises questions about Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

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

‘Squad’ member to introduce Kavanaugh impeachment resolution

Why the Times bungled so badly in its latest Kavanaugh smear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Urges Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

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

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

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

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

By Susan Crabtree – RCP Staff

September 17, 2019

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1293 July 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1291 July 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1281 June 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1273 June 12, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1264 May 24, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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

See the source image

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

See the source image

See the source image

Congress, White House Nearing Two-Year Debt Limit Deal

A budget agreement is ‘near final’, source says

White House projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion

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

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

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

Why the federal deficit is rising, despite economic growth

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

British-operated oil tanker seized by Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments on Monday:

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

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

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

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

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

Hunt plans European mission to protect ships

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

Jeremy Hunt speaks to the House of Commons today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran ‘arrests 17 CIA spies, several face execution’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Royal Navy ‘disgracefully short of ships’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Hunt

Liam Fox

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

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock

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

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

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

Johnson’s first crisis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Phil Diacon, for the Daily Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Pompeo dismisses Iran’s claim it arrested 17 CIA spies

Iran says it has captured 17 alleged US spies

Iran claims to have captured spies working for CIA

Iran crisis: ‘CIA spies’ sentenced to death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scroll down for video 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First picture inside captured tanker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to Group of Alleged CIA Spies

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

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

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

President Trump signs border aid bill

Border Wall Presentation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1283, July 1, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s Historic Short Step Into North Korea — Peace Maker Trump Building Trust To Stop Nuclear Proliferation — Negotiation Restarted — Videos — Story 2: President Trump at G-20 Summit Meeting Warns Putin Not To Meddle in U.S. Elections — Announces U.S. China Trade Truce — Videos — Story 3: Crazy Communist Ocasio Cortez Just Another Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Historic Short Step Into North Korea — Peace Maker Trump Building Trust To Stop Nuclear Proliferation — Negotiation Restarted — Videos —

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Trump and Kim Jong-un meet at Korean demilitarised zone – BBC News

Published on Jul 1, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met in Panmunjom, the so-called truce village inside the border zone, where negotiations between South and North Korea have often taken place. President Trump said: “Stepping across that line was a great honour”.

Trump is first sitting US president to step foot in North Korea

Trump’s historic moment in North Korea earns Democrat rage

Tim Ryan calls Trump’s historic DMZ visit an ‘appeasement tour’

FULL COVERAGE: [S. Korea-U.S Summit] Moon, Trump arrive at DMZ between two Koreas

What does Trump’s meeting with Kim mean for nuclear talks?

Obama warns North Korea against missile test

Trump takes historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory as he meets Kim Jong-un, who hails him as ‘courageous’ – and the president invites dictator to visit the U.S. and announces resumption of ‘concrete negotiations’

  • The president visited the DMZ on Sunday 
  • He shook hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
  • He walked across the demarcation line into North Korean territory 
  • Trump repeatedly touted a potential meeting starting Saturday
  • He stoked the drama saying nothing was ‘final’ until hours before it occurred 
  • Become the first U.S. president to step inside North Korea 
  • North Korea said at first said it was waiting for a formal invitation to meet Trump
  • It then called the idea an ‘interesting suggestion’ 
  • Trump and Kim ended up meeting for 50 minutes inside ‘Peace House’
  • No immediate sanctions relief 
  • Mentioned a Kim visit to the U.S. but with no date 
  • Trump tweeted on Saturday morning inviting Kim to ‘shake his hand and say Hello(?)!’  
  • South Korean leader said he could ‘truly feel the flower of peace was blossoming on the Korean peninsula’
  • Trump said he knows ‘for a fact’ DPRK’s main negotiator is alive 
  • Said he hopes the rest of the negotiators are too 

President Donald Trump has taken the historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory in order to embark on a meeting with dictator Kim Jong-un.

Shortly after the pair greeted each other with a handshake Sunday, Trump was hailed as ‘courageous’ by the North Korean leader. Trump in turn praised the ‘power’ of Kim’s voice – then criticized his predecessor and faulted the media for down-playing his achievements.

‘This has a lot of significance because it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future, so it’s a very courageous and determined act,’ Kim told Trump through a translator after smiling during their initial handshake greeting.

‘You’re the first U.S. president to cross this line,’ Kim told him, moments after Trump became the first American president to venture into North Korean territory. Trump announced after the meeting that in the ‘near future’ the two sides would be able to ‘get some good results after concrete negotiations’ – but with nothing tangible other than the commitment to resume talks.

During the key moment – filmed and photographed from both directions – Trump slowly approached the boundary, as Kim strode toward him, arms moving. The two leaders shook hands at 3:45 pm local time above the low concrete barrier that marks the line of demarcation.

'HISTORIC': President Trump stood waiting for Kim Jong Un ahead of their meeting today, Jong Un was seen marching towards Mr Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line

‘Good to see you again,’ Kim told his counterpart,’ whom he last saw during a summit in Hanoi that ended without agreement. ‘I never expected to meet you at this place.’

CNN reported that Trump on the spot invited Kim to visit the U.S. Trump later confirmed that, although with statements that were conflicting. He said the visit would happen ‘at the right time,’ but also said it could occur ‘any time’ Kim wanted.

‘I said you, know what, at the right time, you’re going to come over. We’re going to go over there,’ Trump told reporters after his meeting, held along the 38th parallel, which marks the dividing line set at the time of the 1953 Korean War Armistice.

‘I said any time he wants to do it,’ Trump said soon afterward. The president said of a web of sanctions imposed on the north: ‘I’m looking forward to taking them off,’ but that they remain in place. ‘At some point during the negotiation, things can happen,’ he added.

White House Senior Advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, walk in the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, alongside US President Donald J. Trump (L), at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, 30 June 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, alongside US President Donald J. Trump (L), at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, 30 June 2019

Photographers run as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump cross south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, after Trump briefly stepped over to the northern side, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019

Photographers run as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump cross south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, after Trump briefly stepped over to the northern side, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

NOT DEAD: People watch a TV screen showing an image of senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in a musical performance by the wives of Korean People's Army officers in North Korea during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday. Trump said he knew 'for a fact' that North Korea's top negotiator was alive

NOT DEAD: People watch a TV screen showing an image of senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers in North Korea during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday. Trump said he knew ‘for a fact’ that North Korea’s top negotiator was alive

Trump repeatedly pointed to previous U.S.-North Korean tensions under the Obama administration – while leaving out mention of the period during his own term when repeated missile tests prompted him to threaten ‘fire and fury’ and blast Kim as ‘Rocket Man’ at the UN.

‘You see the level of relationship as opposed to the way I came into office – when I came into office it was a fiery mess,’ Trump said.

Trump and Kim, their relationship, negotiations and diplomacy talks

Today President Trump met Kim Yong Un between North and South Korea, as they embarked on their third high-stakes meeting since they launched negotiations last year – but how progressive have they been?

March 2018: Kim says he is willing to discuss his nuclear arsenal with Trump and Trump agrees to meet him

April 2018: Trump praises North Korea for ‘big progress’ after it announces it has suspended nuclear and long range missile tests and is shifting its focus to improving the economy

May 2018: North Korea frees three Americans that were imprisoned following a visit from Mike Pompeo ahead of a meeting between Trump and Kim

June 2018: Trump and Kim meet in Singapore for the first summit between the leaders of the U.S and North Korea since the end of the Korean War

January 2019: Kim delivers his New Year speech which details that he will continue nuclear talks with Trump but says he would seek ‘new way’ if the U.S continued with sanctions 

February 2019: Meeting between the two collapses in Vietnam after Trump rejects Kim’s calls for sanction relief

April 2019: Kim agrees to meet Trump again, but sets a deadline to salvage democracy 

May 2019: North Korea fires two missiles into the sea in a bid to dial up pressure on Seol and Washington

June 29 2019: Trump urges Kim to shakes hands ahead of their meeting, with North Korea calling it an ‘interesting suggestion’

June 30 2019: Trump and Kim meet inside the DMZ and shake hands, making Trump the first president to cross over into North Korean territory 

Trump got asked about the status of Kim’s nuclear negotiators, after a thinly-sourced report out of South Korea that five top diplomats had been executed following the failure to reach a deal at the Hanoi summit in February.

‘I know for a fact he is [alive],’ Trump said of the DPRK’s top negotiator. As for others, Trump said, ‘I would hope the rest are too.’

Trump proclaimed his February summit, which failed to lead to an agreement, a ‘success,’ and says he told Kim as much.

‘I was telling Chairman Kim that actually to me Hanoi was a great success. The press reported it the opposite,’ Trump said.

During the initial meeting at the line of demarcation, a North Korean camera crew and photographers snapped images from Kim’s side, while American pool photographers and media came with Trump. White House handlers and a pool photographer urged them to hurry and stay out of the shots. ‘Get out of the way!’ someone could be heard yelling during the video feed of the scramble for position.

The two leaders then sat down inside the pastel blue Freedom House at the DMZ for what was to be a brief meeting.

Incoming White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham became bruised in a ‘scuffle’ with North Korean security as she tried to get press into position, CNNreported, with a source terming it an ‘all out brawl.’

Also there to witness some of the historic moment were first daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, who also were on hand for a series of Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders in Osaka.

Asked shortly after the end of the Trump-Kim meeting what it was like to visit North Korea, the president’s daughter replied: ‘Surreal.’

At that event, like the greeting carried on live TV in Korea and on cable networks internationally, Trump thanked Kim again, once more stressing their personal bond, after Kim first lauded Trump.

‘I want to thank you, chairman,’ Trump said. ‘You hear the power of that voice. Nobody’s heard that voice before. He doesn’t do few news conferences, in case you haven’t heard,’ Trump quipped – in one of his only references to the absolute power Kim wields in a regime known for mass starvation and use of a Stalinist-style gulag system to suppress opposition to his inherited rule.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019

AT THE DMZ: U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 30, 2019

AT THE DMZ: U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 30, 2019

‘When I put out the social media notification, if he didn’t show up the press was going to make me look very bad,’ Trump said, referencing his unexpected Saturday tweet proposing a meeting. ‘So you made us both look good and I appreciate it.’

Kim told the media that with the meeting, ‘This means we can feel at ease and meet each other with positive mindsets.’

Trump and Kim meet at the DMZ, but what is it and why was it created?

The demilitarised zone spits the Korean peninsula in half – subsequently creating a buffer zone between North and South Korea – and is the most militarised border in the world.

It incorporates territory on both sides of the cease-fire lines which existed at the end of the Korean War which took place between 1950 and 1953.

It was created in 1953 by an agreement between North Korea and the People’s Republic of China, along with the United Nations Command.

Trump and Kim met today in the DMZ

Trump and Kim met today in the DMZ

Located within the territory is the so-called ‘truce village’ of P’anmunjom – the rest of the land is relatively untouched and is one of the most undeveloped areas in Asia.

Over the years there have been occasional issue but no major conflicts and in 2007 a limited freight-train service as resumed across the zone.

‘President Trump and myself, we have an excellent relationship with each other,’ Kim said, stressing the same themes Trump has been hitting for days, as he met leaders ranging from China’s Xi Jinping to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. ‘If it wasn’t for that good relationship, it would not have been able to make this meeting possible,’ he said.

Kim said he hoped it could be ‘the foundation for better things in the future that people will be not expecting.’

‘This will be a very mysterious force that allows us to overcome many difficulties that existed in the past,’ Kim predicted.

As he did during a Saturday meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin when he brought up the ‘fake news,’ Trump joked with a strongman counterpart about the press.

‘When I put out the social media notification, if he didn’t show up the press was going to make me look very bad,’ Trump said in reference to Kim and his tweet. ‘So you made us both look good and I appreciate it,’ the president told him. At another point he told the media that had Kim decided not to show, ‘You would have hit me hard.’

When it was over, Trump visited Osan Air Base for an outdoor event that had the feel of a Trump political rally – complete with Marine One in the background, and an audio soundtrack including Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American’ and the Rolling Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What you Want.’

Trump even opted to attack Democrats during what became a diplomatic victory speech to the troops, after saying the military equipment was ‘sadly depleted’ two and a half years ago.

‘This is not a political speech, but the Democrats weren’t going to give it to you, that I can tell you,’ he told the servicemen and women. ‘They want open borders and the hell with the military,’ Trump claimed, in a comment that could have drawn a Hatch Act complaint if made by a government employee.

Describing his earlier event, Trump said: ‘I actually stepped in to North Korea, and they say it’s a very historic moment. Many people, I noticed, from Korea were literally in tears,’ he said.

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump, along with U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks to U.S. troops at the Osan Airbase on June 20, 2019 in Pyeongtaek

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump, along with U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks to U.S. troops at the Osan Airbase on June 20, 2019 in Pyeongtaek

Later he called Ivanka and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on stage. ‘Mike – Beauty and the beast, Mike,’ Trump quipped.

When he finally left the country – he made several comments about being ready to go back after an intense three-day trip – Trump tweeted: ‘Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!’

During the run-up to his Kim meeting, Trump flew from Seoul aboard Marine One to the DMZ. The president visited a border post, accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He then met with U.S. and South Korean forces stationed at the tense boundary.

A military service-member then proceeded to give him a brief tour, pointing out North Korean territory from a vista at the line of demarcation.

He arrived there after telling reporters about his decision to go to the DMZ to hold the historic handshake meeting with Kim. Then Trump took a shot at the media from the protected guard post.

‘I say that for the press. They have no appreciation for what is being done, none,’ Trump vented.

Trump made some brief comments, which were carried on live television amid anticipation of what would be his third meeting with Kim. As he did earlier Trump complained about doubters.

‘After our first summit all of the danger went away,’ he said of the nuclear capable nation. ‘When they say there’s been no difference, there’s been a tremendous difference,’ he said.

‘I was just thinking – hey, I’m here, let’s see whether or not we can say hello to Kim Jong-un,’ Trump told reporters at a press event here in Seoul Sunday afternoon.

‘He wanted to do it from the beginning and so did I,’ the president said of his North Korean counterpart.

Later, speaking to a group of troops at a border post he visited, Trump said the DMZ visit had been scheduled ‘a number of months ago.’

‘I said we have to see the DMZ. So this was scheduled for a long time ago and then yesterday I had the idea, maybe I’ll call Chairman Kim and see if he wants to say hello. So we didn’t give him much notice,’ Trump told them.

Commander of U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Robert Abrams then presented Trump with a gift – a monogramed pullover that he said he hoped the president ‘might find some utility for you on one of your golf courses.’

Trump said of Kim during the count-down to the meeting: ‘We respect each other – maybe even like each other.

Stoking the drama, Trump told troops he would be meeting Kim within four minutes, although the scheduled meeting blew through that timeline.

President Trump received a briefing while at the DMZ

He viewed an observation post in anticipation of a meeting with the North Korean dictator

He viewed an observation post in anticipation of a meeting with the North Korean dictator

Trump was accompanied by the South Korean president

Trump was accompanied by the South Korean president

HISTORIC MEETING: President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during his visit to the DMZ

HISTORIC MEETING: President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during his visit to the DMZ

President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019

President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019

President Donald Trump arrives at the DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-Un

President Donald Trump arrives at the DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-Un

Assessing the potential for another meeting with the hermetic regime, Trump said: ‘It’s just a step. It might be an important step and it might not. But what we’re doing today is a step. And probably it’s a step in the right direction.’   

‘There is a good feeling so it could be very good,’ said Trump.

He said the meeting would be brief, describing it as ‘just shake hands and say hello.’

South Korean leader Moon Jae-in first revealed the news at the start of a joint press event, with only a handful of reporters present.

‘The United States and North Korea will be meeting in Panmunjom for the first time in history – the leaders of the United States and North Korea will be standing face to face in Panmunjom the symbol of division,’ he said, through a translator during a joint press event with Trump in Seoul and referring to the Joint Security Area between north and south.

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in broke the news of the Kim meeting

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in broke the news of the Kim meeting

Trump also weaved in his North Korea policy with attacks on the 'fake news'

Trump also weaved in his North Korea policy with attacks on the ‘fake news’

The president called it a 'first step'

The president called it a ‘first step’

‘They’re trying to work it out,’ Trump said of his potential handshake meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

Basketball star Dennis Rodman tweeted about the meeting in advance

Basketball star Dennis Rodman tweeted about the meeting in advance

In this undated photo published on Sept. 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former NBA player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea

In this undated photo published on Sept. 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former NBA player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea

 In addition to meeting with Kim, Trump may step inside North Korean territory.

Asked about the prospect on Saturday, he said he would ‘feel very comfortable’ doing so. He said he would ‘have no problem’ becoming the first U.S. president to set foot there.

Trump weaved the news of a meeting with attacks on what he calls the ‘fake news,’ who he claims have diminished his achievements in tamping down the security threat, which included regular missile launches early in his presidency.

‘It’s always insulting,’ Trump said.

He also continued to describe his bond with the North Korean dictator in personal terms. ‘We understand each other. I think he understands me and I think I maybe understand him. Sometimes that can lead to very good things,’ Trump said.

Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, who has made news with his splashy trips to visit North Korea, tweeted about the news.

‘Wishing my friends, @RealDonaldTrump and Marshal Kim Jong Un a very good meeting… Much love to you both and keep up the wonderful progress!

The confirmation came after Trump spent the morning teasing the possibility of a meeting with Kim, building the drama with each media appearance throughout the day Sunday.

‘I understand that they want to meet and I’d love to say hello. It’s going to be very short but we are in territory that’s very close,’ Trump said, touting his trip hours before he was to visit the DMZ for the first time.

‘We don’t have to take long trips. We’ll see what happens. They’re trying to work it out,’ he said, adding it’s ‘not so easy.’

As for who might attend, Trump said: ‘I don’t’ know about beyond the two of us but I can say the two of us. But we’ll see how that goes.’

During meandering remarks at an event for business leaders, Trump said ‘nothing’s final’ about the meeting, which he floated Saturday morning.

But he touted his leadership on North Korea, and repeated his claim there would have been World War III if it weren’t for his election.

‘I’m really the opposite of a war-monger,’ Trump said.    

Trump ran through key events of a recent cooling in tensions, including the return of the remains of U.S. Korean War dead, and the return of Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after his return to the U.S. in a coma.

Trump made his remarks at a meeting with South Korean business leaders

Trump made his remarks at a meeting with South Korean business leaders

Ivanka Trump, second from left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, right, talk with people before the start of remarks from President Donald Trump to Korean business leaders in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ivanka Trump, second from left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, right, talk with people before the start of remarks from President Donald Trump to Korean business leaders in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019

Of the return of ‘our hostage,’ Trump said it was something ‘which we really appreciated from Jong-un, Chairman Kim.

Later, as he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Moon referenced Trump’s tweet about meeting Kim. ‘I could really feel that the flower of peace was really blossoming on the Korean peninsula,’ he said.

Moon, who has pushed to keep the peace process going, said if Trump and Kim could meet at the line of demarcation it would be a ‘historic event.’

Trump also delivered a message that the peninsula was much safer since he took office, and attacked the ‘fake news’ for not showing it while also poking at the ‘previous administration.’

‘North Korea and South Korea are both in much better places right now than they were two and a half years ago when I became president. There was tremendous danger,’ Trump said.

‘A lot of progress has been made. I watch some of the news. Fake news, it’s only fake news. They said well what’s been done? Well, it’s like the difference between day and night,’ Trump said.

‘So when I hear some of these fakers some of these people that aren’t honest reporters saying well what has Trump done, you’ve done a lot,’ Trump said.

He added: ‘It’s changed very, very rapidly. It’s very positive. A lot of positive things going on right now.’

 

North Korea said on Saturday that Trump’s offer was a ‘very interesting suggestion,’ brightening prospects for a third face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

The president tweeted from the G-20 in Osaka: ‘If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!’

It was later revealed he had told the Hill newspaper in an interview Monday he might go and meet come, but the paper held off publication in accordance with White House security concerns.

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pose for a photo during a visit to the tea house on the grounds of the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Saturday

The border between North and South Korea is seen from the South at the Panmunjom joint security area in the DMZ. The border is the line separating the brown dirt on the northern side from the grey gravel on the south, running between buildings used for peace talks

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their last meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019

Earlier Saturday, Trump invited Kim to shake hands during his planned visit to the DMZ, which has served as a de-facto border between the Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

‘All I did is put out a feeler if you’d like to meet,’ Trump said later of the invitation, saying he didn’t even know if Kim was in North Korea.

Trump and Kim held a historic first summit in Singapore in June, which concluded with a vague joint statement where Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization. Then they met in Hanoi in February, but talks broke down without any joint agreement as Kim pushed for sanctions relief and the U.S. pushed for denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump which he described as 'excellent' earlier this month

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, prepares to shake hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom last year

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7196873/Trump-wont-say-sure-Kim-Jong-trip-DMZ.html

 

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The Group of 20 summit in Osaka ended Saturday with lofty language from powerful world leaders, but it was eclipsed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who agreed to restart trade talks with China and extended a surprise invitation for North Korea’s leader to meet him Sunday.

Despite the focus on Trump, the summit’s host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, declared the gathering a success.

“The G-20 nations, as the countries that lead the world economy, have a responsibility to squarely face global problems and to come up with solutions through frank dialogue,” Abe said in concluding the meeting.

“Now, with this ‘Osaka Declaration,’ we should try to tenaciously find, not the differences, but common ground among us, and, we hope, to continue our effort to sustain global economic growth,” he said.

In striving for common ground, however, the summit declaration finessed differences and yielded no major new initiatives.

Still, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the fact that the leaders managed to hold the line on the issue of climate change, with 19 countries committing themselves to the Paris climate accord.

President Donald Trump attends the G-20 summit session on women's workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump attends the G-20 summit session on women’s workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Only the United States dissented, reiterating Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement “because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers.”

Merkel told reporters that “this process cannot be turned around.” She said some leaders in Osaka indicated they were willing to up commitments to curb greenhouse gases by aiming for “net zero” emissions by 2050.

Merkel also lauded the deal between the EU and the Latin American bloc MERCOSUR – also struck on the G-20 sidelines – to create the world’s largest free trade zone after 20 years of negotiations. The agreement includes a reference to the goals of the Paris accord.

Japan had pushed for the Osaka summit to become a landmark for progress on environmental issues, including tackling the global problem of plastic waste and recommitting to efforts to counter climate change.

Leaders said they’d “look into a wide range of clean technologies and approaches, including smart cities, ecosystem and community based approaches.”

The G-20 leaders have long sought to present a united front in promoting open markets and calling for smart policies to fend off threats to global economic growth. But the schisms over such issues as protectionism and migration are straining efforts to forge the usual consensus on a broad array of policy approaches and geopolitical issues.

The summit declaration did not take aim at protectionism but included a call for free, fair, non-discriminatory and open markets.

“Weren’t we originally seeking agreement on these principles? We need to go back to the original point so that we can remember what it was we were initially seeking,” Abe said. “This time, we managed to go back to this original point to come to agreeing on these important principles.”

Much of the spotlight of the two-day meeting focused on Trump.

Using Twitter, he raised a stir by inviting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to shake hands during a visit the he plans to make to the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas on Sunday. “If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”

North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui responded by saying it was a “very interesting suggestion,” and the meeting, if realized, would serve as “another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations.”

She said North Korea still hadn’t received an official proposal for the meeting from the United States.

Trump has at times found himself at odds with other leaders in such international events. China, meanwhile, has sought support for defending global trade agreements against Trump’s “America First” stance in gatherings like the G-20.

At the outset of their meeting, Trump told Xi he wants to “even it up in respect to trade,” and that he thought it would be very easy to do.

The two sides have levied billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other’s products, and talks on resolving the longstanding issues had stalled in May.

Afterward, Trump said the talks were “back on track.” He said he had decided to hold off on imposing more tariffs on Chinese exports, while China planned to buy more American farm products.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Xi and Trump had agreed to restart trade talks “on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

It’s unclear, however, if they have overcome the obstacles that brought the talks to a halt earlier.

“I think that realistically that the two sides, there are substantive issues that remain to be resolved – subsidies, state owned enterprise, reform, industrial policy in China – that go to the core of China’s economic system,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of U.S.-China Business Council China Operations.

“These are not issues that are going to be resolved quickly or overnight. And I think we have to expect that both sides are going to have to compromise a little bit. They can’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” Parker said.

Holding the summit in Osaka allowed Abe to perhaps raise his popularity among constituents in this manufacturing hub ahead of an election for the upper house of parliament in July. Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has suffered several setbacks in by-elections and his long tenure as prime minister is raising questions about who will succeed him.

While he upstaged his host, Trump did make a point of attending meetings like one early Saturday on women’s empowerment, where his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump spoke.

She and others noted that the world economy would get a boost of up to $28 trillion by 2025 if women were on an equal economic footing and described improving the status of women as “smart economic and defense policy.”

The G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Also attending the summit were the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Guinea, Senegal, Singapore and Vietnam.

Associated Press journalists Kaori Hitomi and Yves Dam Van in Osaka and Sam McNeil in Beijing contributed to this report.

President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, right, leans over to talk to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a G-20 summit event on women's empowerment in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. Ivanka Trump is in the middle. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)+17

President Donald Trump, right, leans over to talk to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a G-20 summit event on women’s empowerment in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. Ivanka Trump is in the middle. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, left, talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they arrive for the G-20 summit session on women's workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)+17

President Donald Trump, left, talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they arrive for the G-20 summit session on women’s workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center back, speaks during the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

Ivanka Trump, right, turns back to look at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, during a G-20 summit event on women's empowerment in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ivanka Trump, right, turns back to look at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, during a G-20 summit event on women’s empowerment in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, right, leans over to talk to Ivanka Trump as they sit next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a G-20 summit event on women's empowerment in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center back, speaks during the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)+17

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center back, speaks during the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, speaks during the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)+17

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, speaks during the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands prior to the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands prior to the session 3 at the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they arrive for the G-20 summit session on women's workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they arrive for the G-20 summit session on women’s workforce participation, future of work, and aging societies in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump, left, poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

 

 

Story 3: Crazy Communist Ocasio Cortez, Radical Extremist Democratic Socialist (REDS), Just Another Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser — Videos

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageDailyMail.com showed the CBP official this photo from a 2016 federal court filing, which depicts toilets inside a Phoenix CBP holding facility; the official confirmed that the Texas facilities have the same fixtures – which deliver clean drinking water from faucets above every toilet

See the source image

See the source image

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Raging AOC claims border agents make detainees drink from TOILETS, wage ‘psychological warfare’ on women and laughed at her during tour of facility – sparking a furious denial

  • ** GRAPHIC CONTENT ** 
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and at least one other Democrat claimed Customs and Border Protection agents were telling detainees to drink toilet water
  • Speaking outside a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, she raged: ‘There’s abuse in these facilities… This was CBP on their best behavior. Telling people to drink out of the toilet’
  • They visited two Texas border stations; one journalist reported two sources inside saying Ocasio-Cortez refused to tour one personally
  • A CBP official confirms that toilets at border facilities there all have sinks attached that deliver safe drinking water
  • After this story was published Ocasio-Cortez claimed the sink she saw didn’t work; she sent contradictory tweets about what she witnessed 
  • Her visit comes after a Facebook group for current and former border patrol agents erupted with anger after ‘AOC’ compared border facilities to Nazi concentration camps  
  • Group members posted Photoshopped illustrations of AOC engaging in oral sex with a migrant man and being forced into another sex act with Donald Trump 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Monday that illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers detained at a pair of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations she visited are ‘drinking out of toilets’ – a claim an agency official quickly denied.

Speaking outside a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, she raged: ‘There’s abuse in these facilities.’

‘This was them knowing a congressional visit was coming. This was CBP on their best behavior. Telling people to drink out of the toilet.’

AOC said she ‘forced’ herself into a cell with detainees and one woman told her officers were waging ‘psychological warfare’ and that the agents often called them ‘wh***s.’

The 29-year-old congresswoman claimed officers laughed at migrants drinking out of toilets.

The inflammatory statements – including the suggestion that she witnessed toilet-drinking herself – came hours after a news story established the existence of a private Facebook group where current and former CBP agents distributed lewd illustrations of the Democratic socialist congresswoman from New York.

But a CBP official said Monday in the early evening that plumbing fixtures at the locations Ocasio-Cortez visited are standard-issue jail appliances with sinks that dispense safe drinking water attached to toilets in a single unit.

‘Of course that’s what we have,’ the official said. ‘No one is drinking toilet water. They’re drinking potable water from the sink attached to the toilet. It’s what you would find in every municipal jail in the United States.’

A photo filed in a federal court case in 2016 illustrates the setup in a Tucson, Arizona CBP holding facility. The official confirmed that it’s identical to what detainees at Texas border stations have access to.

Fuming: AOC describes the conditions in a migrant detention center to members of the media after 15 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus gathered to tour Border Patrol facilities and migrant detention centers

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addresses the media after touring the Clint, TX Border Patrol Facility

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addresses the media after touring the Clint, TX Border Patrol Facility

Ocasio-Cortez said Monday that illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers detained at a pair of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations she visited are 'drinking out of toilets'

Ocasio-Cortez said Monday that illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers detained at a pair of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations she visited are ‘drinking out of toilets

The inflammatory statement – including the suggestion that she witnessed toilet-drinking herself – came hours after a news story established the existence of a private Facebook group where current and former CBP agents distributed lewd illustrations of the Democratic socialist congresswoman from New York

The inflammatory statement – including the suggestion that she witnessed toilet-drinking herself – came hours after a news story established the existence of a private Facebook group where current and former CBP agents distributed lewd illustrations of the Democratic socialist congresswoman from New York

After this story was published, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed on Twitter that ‘[t]his was in fact the type of toilet we saw in the cell.’

She also claimed ‘there was just one’ in the cell she saw, and the sink portion was not functioning,’ adding that Rep. Ayanna Pressley ‘smartly tried to open the faucet, and nothing came out. So the women were told they could drink out of the bowl.’

Her other tweets were contradictory, with some suggesting she witnessed guards offering a toilet as a source of drinking water and others intimating that she had only heard a story about it from a detainee. 

The claims were quickly rebutted by an official at CBP who said 'no one is drinking toilet water' at border holding facilities

The claims were quickly rebutted by an official at CBP who said ‘no one is drinking toilet water’ at border holding facilities

DailyMail.com showed the CBP official this photo from a 2016 federal court filing, which depicts toilets inside a Phoenix CBP holding facility; the official confirmed that the Texas facilities have the same fixtures – which deliver clean drinking water from faucets above every toilet

DailyMail.com showed the CBP official this photo from a 2016 federal court filing, which depicts toilets inside a Phoenix CBP holding facility; the official confirmed that the Texas facilities have the same fixtures – which deliver clean drinking water from faucets above every toilet

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in mid-afternoon that she didn’t have photos of what she saw because ‘CBP made us check our phones.’

She was one of more than a dozen Democratic members of Congress visiting the border facilities. At least one, Rep. Jouqin Castro of Texas, posted photos that he took inside.

A Washington Examiner reporter tweeted that two sources inside the building said Ocasio-Cortez ‘refused to tour the facility.’

The congresswoman had tweeted earlier that border agents were dismissive and ‘physically & sexually threatening’ toward her, and claimed in a statement to the press that women in the El Paso facility had no safe water to drink.

‘What we saw today was unconscionable,’ she told a waiting klatch of TV reporters. ‘No woman should ever be locked up in a pen, when they have done no harm to another human being. They should be given water. They should be given basic access to human rights.’

A reporter with the Washington Examiner wrote that two sources at the El Paso border station reported that Ocasio-Cortez refused to tour the facility in person on Monday

A reporter with the Washington Examiner wrote that two sources at the El Paso border station reported that Ocasio-Cortez refused to tour the facility in person on Monday

In her tweets she claimed ‘[o]fficers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.’

‘It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress,’ the 29-year-old Democratic socialist added in another tweet.

‘I brought it up to their superiors. They said ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability.’

She called the experience ‘horrifying’ and classed it as ‘systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.’

A second member of Congress claimed in an online video that a single detainee in El Paso had told her she was advised to drink toilet water.

‘One woman said that the border patrol agent told her to – if she wanted water, just to drink from the toilet, California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu said.

Chu’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

California Rep. Judy Chu repeated Ocasio-Cortez's claim in a video shot Monday, saying a detained woman had told the Democratic delegation that she was told to drink toilet water

California Rep. Judy Chu repeated Ocasio-Cortez’s claim in a video shot Monday, saying a detained woman had told the Democratic delegation that she was told to drink toilet water

Later Monday evening Ocasio-Cortez continued to tweet and share other people’s pictures of women inside the facilities.

‘Even if they let you in, these women told us CBP did a lot of ‘cleaning up’ before we arrived. They were moved into that room from outside tents before our arrival. They said they’d gone 15 days w/o a shower, & were allowed to start bathing 4 days ago (when visit was announced).

‘These officers felt brazen in there. While mgmt was telling us it was a ‘secure facility’ where *members of Congress* had to check their phones, we caught officers trying to sneak photos, laughing. CBP’s ‘good’ behavior was toxic. Imagine how they treat the women trapped inside.’

Alongside a photo of women inside a facility she wrote: ‘Here’s another photo from inside taken by @JoaquinCastrotx, where we’re trying to comfort women trapped in cells. This woman was telling me about her daughters who were taken from her – she doesn’t know where they’ve taken them. We held & listened to them. They were distraught.’

She later added: ‘Pro-concentration camp & Pro-Trump protestors tried to drown out our accounts. They yelled at Rashida Tlaib about pork when she talked about facilities. They called Joaquin Castro ‘traitor’ for denouncing family separation. @AyannaPressley was heroic, speaking truth to vitriol.’

‘And to these CBP officers saying they felt ‘threatened’ by me – They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked my on my tour. They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4′. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.’

AOC shared the above tweets and photos on Monday evening as she further explained her experiences at the facilities on Monday

 

AOC shared the above tweets and photos on Monday evening as she further explained her experiences at the facilities on Monday

The indignant New Yorker had begun Monday defending herself against slurs from a private Facebook group frequented by current and former border agents, where leaked images showed members sharing lewd pictures of her and suggesting a heart-rending photo of a drowned migrant and his toddler daughter was staged.

Screen captures of some postings include a Photoshopped image depicting her performing oral sex on a migrant man, and another portraying President Donald Trump forcing her head into his lap for another sex act.

The group, first noted by the news website Pro Publica, has 9,500 members.

In one message thread, a member posted a now-famous Associated Press photograph of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, face down in the Rio Grande after drowning during a failed attempt to reach the United States.

‘I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS,’ the person wrote, suggesting it could be ‘another edited photo. We’ve all seen the dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things.’

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in mid-afternoon that she didn't have photos of what she saw because 'CBP made us check our phones'

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in mid-afternoon that she didn’t have photos of what she saw because ‘CBP made us check our phones’

The congresswoman had tweeted earlier that border agents were dismissive and 'physically & sexually threatening' toward her, and claimed in a statement to the press that women in the El Paso facility had no safe water to drink

The congresswoman had tweeted earlier that border agents were dismissive and ‘physically & sexually threatening’ toward her, and claimed in a statement to the press that women in the El Paso facility had no safe water to drink

The nonprofit news service Pro Publica published this image, which it said was posted to the Facebook group and depicted Ocasio-Cortez being forced to engage in oral sex with President Donald Trump

 

The nonprofit news service Pro Publica published this image, which it said was posted to the Facebook group and depicted Ocasio-Cortez being forced to engage in oral sex with President Donald Trump

One member of the 'I am 10-15' group – it's named for the radio code used when an illegal immigrant is detained – suggested that a news photograph of a man and his toddler daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande was staged

One member of the ‘I am 10-15’ group – it’s named for the radio code used when an illegal immigrant is detained – suggested that a news photograph of a man and his toddler daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande was staged

When Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar announced a visit to a border station near El Paso, a group member proposed a bounty collected on GoFundMe for any agent willing to throw a burrito at them

The '10-15' group is described as a home for U.S. Border Patrol (BP) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents

The ’10-15′ group is described as a home for U.S. Border Patrol (BP) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents

Another post said: ‘Let’s start a go fund me for one CTX agent brave enough to thrown a 10-15 burrito at one of these b***hes,’ one member wrote. ‘Who ever does it takes the pot of $$.’

’10-15′ is the law enforcement radio code that refers to the apprehension of an illegal immigrant. The Facebook group is called ‘I’m 10-15.’

Another group member, who Pro Publica reported was ‘apparently a patrol supervisor,’ wrote, ‘F**k the hoes.’

A third wrote: ‘There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets.’

Ocasio-Cortez, a far-left lightning rod, had already angered Border Patrol agents last week by comparing their lockups to Nazi concentration camps.

The computer illustration of her fellating a migrant man was captioned: ‘Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC.’

The second image, which portrayed Trump forcing her to perform a sex act on him, was posted along a comment that read: ‘That’s right b***hes. The masses have spoken and today democracy won. I have returned. To everyone who knows the real me and had my back I say thank you. To everyone else? This is what I have to say.’

The young lawmaker responded on Twitter.

‘This isn’t about ‘a few bad eggs. This is a violent culture,’ she said, insisting that she would still visit the border patrol station Monday afternoon.

‘They’re threatening violence on members of Congress. How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?’ she wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez said in a separate tweet that the reported 9.500 members of the ‘racist & sexually violent’ Facebook group represented ‘almost half’ of the Customs & Border Protection agents in the United States.

Pro Publica reported, however, that the group was also open to former agents. It’s unknown how large that group might be.

Ocasio-Cortez erupted with anger after seeing herself made the butt of lewd jokes by the border agents she was traveling to oversee

Ocasio-Cortez erupted with anger after seeing herself made the butt of lewd jokes by the border agents she was traveling to oversee

US Police Department agents guard the Paso del Norte International Bridge checkpoint at the border with Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Monday

US Police Department agents guard the Paso del Norte International Bridge checkpoint at the border with Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Monday

CBP agents and Border Patrol agents participate in an operative to find illegal migrants at the International Bridge Paso del Norte-Santa Fe in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico, Monday+27

CBP agents and Border Patrol agents participate in an operative to find illegal migrants at the International Bridge Paso del Norte-Santa Fe in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico, Monday

Matthew Klein, CBP’s Assistant Commissioner in the Office of Professional Responsibility, said in a statement that the agency was ‘aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees.’

‘CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation,’ he said

Klein added that agency employees must adhere to strict standards of conduct ‘both on and off duty,’ which includes an order to ‘not make abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements or gestures, or engage in any other conduct evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice to or about one person or group on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability.’

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said: ‘Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7201939/Border-patrol-agents-shared-Photoshopped-images-AOC-performing-oral-sex-secret-Facebook-group.html

 

AOC says migrants forced to drink toilet water after tense border visit

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims Border Patrol agents are forcing migrants to drink out of toilets and live under other extreme conditions — while the officers sit back and laugh.

“I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me,” the congresswoman tweeted Monday after leaving a US Customs and Border Protection facility in Texas.

“Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets,” she said. “This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.”

The New York lawmaker was visiting a number of migrant detention centers scattered along the southern border on Monday with other congressional Democrats following reports of terrible conditions and repeated sexual assaults.

“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress.”

She added, “I brought it up to their superiors. They said ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability.”

Ocasio-Cortez claimed that she “forced” herself into a cell with a group of female migrants and began speaking to them.

“One of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as ‘psychological warfare’ – waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc,” she said. “Tell me what about that is due to a ‘lack of funding?’”

The freshman legislator was planning to visit detention facilities in Clint — where the Trump administration “was denying children toothpaste and soap,” she said.

“This has been horrifying so far,” Ocasio–Cortez concluded. “It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.”

A CBP official denied the toilet accusations on Monday, insisting that the locations Ocasio-Cortez visited have standard-issue jail-type appliances with sinks that dispense safe drinking water attached to toilets in a single unit.

“‘No one is drinking toilet water,” the official said. “They’re drinking potable water from the sink attached to the toilet.” It’s what you would find in every municipal jail in the United States.”

Ocasio-Cortez has accused CBP agents of making threats to her life on social media — saying a “secret Facebook group” of 9,500 officers discussed making a GoFundMe to harm her and the other Dems during their visits Monday.

“This isn’t about ​’​a few bad eggs,’” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted early Monday afternoon. “This is a violent culture.​”​

Rep. Judy Chu, of California, was among the congressional leaders who visited the centers with Ocasio-Cortez and also recounted what she saw on Twitter.

“‘If you want water, just drink from a toilet.’ That’s what border patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today’s #DemsAtTheBorder trip,” Chu tweeted, along with a video in which she described the conditions.

“What we saw was appalling and disgusting,” the congresswoman said. “There seriously has to be some changes.”

Monday’s border visit was met with outrage from local Trump supporters, who were caught on video heckling the Democratic lawmakers in both English and Spanish as they attempted to hold a press conference.

“Go take care of your country!” shouted one man, who repeatedly yelled “Trump 2020” with several others.

“You guys are retarded!” he added. “Cry me a river!”

Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke at the presser, got told to “go back to New York City” at one point.

“Nobody wants you here!” a heckler screamed.

“Did you bring your onion?!” another asked, blasting Ocasio-Cortez for shedding “fake tears.”

Videos from the presser were posted online by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Attempts to reach the group were not immediately successful.

https://nypost.com/2019/07/01/aoc-says-migrants-forced-to-drink-toilet-water-after-tense-border-visit/

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The Pronk Pops Show 1280, June 25, 2019, Story 1: Trump’s Red Line Message To Iran: Don’t Mess With America — No Exit Strategy With Iran — Consequences of Full Nuclear Conflict — New Ice Age and Global Starvation — Videos — Story 2: Chinese Communist Party Cyber Attack on United States — Escalation Risks — World Cyber War in Progress — Cyber Weapon Arms Race — Videos — Story 3 : Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) Temporarily Declines Due To Uncertainty About Tariffs As Measured By Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index from 131.3 in May to 121.5 in June — Videos– Story 4: Federal Reserve Chairman Powell U.S. Economy Facing More Uncertainties — Abolish The Federal Reserve or Bust Up The Banking Cartel For Failure To Maintain Price Stability — The U.S. Dollar Has Lost 99% of It Value Over 105 Years! — Videos

Posted on June 25, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Servers, Software, Spying on American People, Subversion, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Story 1: Trump’s Red Line Message To Iran: Don’t Mess With America — No Exit Strategy With Iran — Consequences of Full Nuclear Conflict — New Ice Age and Global Starvation — Videos —

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I’ve studied nuclear war for 35 years — you should be worried. | Brian Toon | TEDxMileHigh

Published on Feb 1, 2018

For the first time in decades, it’s hard to ignore the threat of nuclear war. But as long as you’re far from the blast, you’re safe, right? Wrong. In this sobering talk, atmospheric scientist Brian Toon explains how even a small nuclear war could destroy all life on earth — and what we can do to prevent it. A professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Brian Toon investigates the causes of the ozone hole, how volcanic eruptions alter the climate, how ancient Mars had flowing rivers, and the environmental impacts of nuclear war. He contributed to the U.N.’s Nobel Peace Prize for climate change and holds numerous scientific awards, including two NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He is an avid woodworker. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

PRESIDENT SLAMS IRAN: President Trump Takes On Iran at White House

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An exclusive look behind the scenes of the U.S. military’s cyber defense

Cyber Soldiers: Who protects your information?

Governments don’t understand cyber warfare. We need hackers | Rodrigo Bijou

Hackers: the internet’s immune system | Keren Elazari

TED

Published on Jun 10, 2014

The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Yes, some hackers are bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights. By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

Trump’s Iran Sanctions Won’t Make Any Difference, Former Ambassador Hill Says

Are US sanctions against Iran working?

National security analyst praises Trump’s ‘military restraint’

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‘Mom, Iran hit me!: Late-night hosts tackle Trump’s reaction to Iran threats

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US cyberattack disables Iranian missile launch systems

2018 Annual GWPF Lecture – Prof Richard Lindzen – Global Warming For The Two Cultures

Is Science Progressing? (featuring Richard Lindzen)

The truth about global warming

The link between evolution, science and progressivism

Professor Jordan Peterson on climate change and climate policy at the Cambridge Union

Story 2: Chinese Communist Party Cyber Attack on United States — Escalation Risks — World Cyber War in Progress — Cyber Weapon Arms Race — Videos —

Hackers targeted telecom networks to spy on high-profile people

Published on Jun 25, 2019

An ambitious group of state-backed hackers has been burrowing into telecommunications companies in order to spy on high-profile targets across the world, a U.S. cybersecurity firm said in a report published Tuesday. Boston-based Cybereason said the tactic gave hackers sweeping access to VIPs’ call records, location data and device information — effectively turning the targets’ cellular providers against them. Cybereason said that all the signs pointed to APT10 — the nickname often applied to a notorious China-linked cyberespionage group. Cybereason Chief Executive Lior Div said that because customers weren’t directly targeted, they might never discover their every movement was being monitored by a hostile power. The hackers had turned the affected telecoms into “a global surveillance system,” Div said in a telephone interview ahead of the report’s launch. “Those individuals don’t know they were hacked — because they weren’t.” Div, who is presenting his findings at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv, provided scant details about who was targeted in the hack, saying that Cybereason had been called in to help an unidentified cellular provider last year and discovered that the hackers had broken into the firm’s billing server, where call records are logged. 20 customers The hackers were using their access to extract the call data of “around 20” customers, Div said. Who those people were he declined to say, describing them as mainly coming from the world of politics and the military. He said the information was so sensitive he would not provide even the vaguest idea of where they or the telecom were located. “I’m not even going to share the continent,” he said. Cybereason said the compromise of its customer eventually led it to about 10 other firms that had been hit in a similar way, with hackers stealing data in 100 gigabyte chunks. Div said that, in some cases, the hackers appeared to be tracking non-phone devices, such as cars or smartwatches. The GSMA, which represents mobile operators worldwide, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. APT10 Who might be behind such hacking campaigns is often a fraught question in a world full of digital false flags, although Cybereason said signs pointed to China-linked APT10. But Div said the clues they found were so obvious he and his team sometimes wondered whether they might have been left on purpose. “I thought: ‘Hey, just a second, maybe it’s somebody who wants to blame APT10,'” he said. Chinese authorities have routinely denied responsibility for hacking operations. The Chinese Embassy in London did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Div said that it was unclear whether the ultimate targets of the espionage operation were warned, saying Cybereason had left it to the telecom firms to notify their customers. Div added that he had been in touch with “a handful” of law enforcement agency about the matter, although he did not say which ones.

Cell Service Providers Around The World Are Being Hacked, And They Don’t Even Know It

Hackers hit telecommunications firms Cybereason

Chinese hackers taregting US Navy: Report

State of the Hack: Trending 10 Years of Breach Response (RSAC #SendUsSwag)

Nation State Actors – Learn About Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

US Charges Chinese Hackers With Cyber Crimes: The Sequel | China Uncensored

CHINA ESCALATES HACKS AGAINST THE US AS TRADE TENSIONS RISE

Recent hacks against a submarine contractor and satellite firms show the cyber threat from China is heating up.
GETTY IMAGES

IN 2015, THE United States and China agreed to a digital truce that banned hacking private companies to steal trade secrets. And though the agreement has been touted as a success, it hasn’t stopped Chinese state-sponsored hackers from pushing the envelope of acceptable behavior. Moreover, it certainly hasn’t slowed types of hacking that fall outside the purview of the accord. Lately, it seems, that means defense intelligence gathering.

In recent weeks, Chinese hackers have reportedly breached a US Navy contractor that works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, stealing 614 GB of data about submarine and undersea weapons technology. Attacks in the last few months originating from China have also targeted US satellite and geospatial imaging firms, and an array of telecoms. The incidents highlight the clandestine but incessant hacking campaigns that continue reliably between the US and China.

“China’s actually backed off quite a bit on intellectual property theft, but when it comes to military trade secrets, military preparedness, military readiness, satellite communications, anything that involves the US’s ability to keep a cyber or military edge, China has been very heavily focused on those targets,” says David Kennedy, CEO of the threat tracking firm Binary Defense Systems, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps’ signal intelligence unit. “And the US does the same thing, by the way.”

‘They’ll use that as a first step instead of having to send fighter jets or something.’

DAVID KENNEDY, BINARY DEFENSE SYSTEMS

The submarine contractor breach, recently reported by the Washington Post, reflects this intense focus on bridging any technological advantage the US may have. It involved attacks in January and February that nabbed important data, albeit from an unclassified network. When taken together, though, the information would have amounted to a valuable snapshot of US cutting edge underwater weapons development, plus details on a number of related digital and mechanical systems.

The attack fits into a known pattern of Chinese hacking initiatives. “China will continue to use cyberespionage and bolster cyberattack capabilities to support [its] national security priorities,” US director of national intelligence Daniel Coats wrote in a February threat report. “The [Intelligence Community] and private-sector security experts continue to identify ongoing cyberactivity from China…Most detected Chinese cyberoperations against US private industry are focused on cleared defense contractors or IT and communications firms.”

This week, analysts from Symantec also published research on a series of attacks in the same category from November 2017 to April from a hacking group dubbed Thrip. Though Symantec does not go so far as to identify Thrip as Chinese state-sponsored hackers, it reports “with high confidence” that Thrip attacks trace back to computers inside the country. The group, which Symantec has tracked since 2013, has evolved to hide in plain site by mostly using prefab malware to infiltrate networks and then manipulating administrative controls and other legitimate system tools to bore deeper without setting off alarms. All of these off-the-shelf hacking tools and techniques have made Thrip harder to identify and track—which is likely the idea—but Symantec started to notice patterns in their anomaly detection scanners that ultimately gave these attacks away, and led the researchers to a unique backdoor that implicated Thrip.

The researchers found evidence of intrusions at some southeast Asian telecom firms, a US geospatial imagery company, a couple of private satellite companies including one from the US, and a US defense contractor. The breaches were all deliberate and targeted, and in the case of the satellite firms the hackers moved all the way through to reach the control systems of actual orbiting satellites, where they could have impacted a satellite’s trajectory or disrupted data flow.

“It is scary,” says Jon DiMaggio, a senior threat intelligence analyst at Symantec who leads the research into Thrip. “We looked at which systems they were interested in, where they spent the most time, and on the satellites it was command and control. And then they were also on the operational side for both the geospatial imagery and the telecom attacks.”

Though hacking for intelligence-gathering is a priority for all nations and can sometimes be mutually tolerated, Binary Defense Systems’ Kennedy points out that it can also serve as a way to make a statement when two countries are at odds. He notes that it’s not surprising to detect escalating hacking operations from China against the US given rising geopolitical tensions between the two countries about trade and increased tariffs. “Hacking can be used as a sign of force in a lot of cases to say ‘hey, we’re not happy and we’re going to make you feel some pain,'” Kennedy notes. “They’ll use that as a first step instead of having to send fighter jets or something.”

Though Chinese hacking was brought under control somewhat by the 2015 agreement, analysts say that China’s nation state hackers have reorganized and retooled over the last few years to be even more stealthy and effective in their digital espionage operations. And recent attacks indicate that they are optimizing their plans to get the most valuable information they can out of each victim.

“All of these pieces fit together,” Symantec’s DiMaggio says of Thrip. “It’s not targets of opportunity; it’s definitely a planned operation.”

https://www.wired.com/story/china-hacks-against-united-states/

Navy, Industry Partners Are ‘Under Cyber Siege’ by Chinese Hackers, Review Asserts

Hacking threatens U.S.’s standing as world’s leading military power, study says

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services last week. PHOTO: RON SACHS/CNP/ZUMA PRESS

WASHINGTON—The Navy and its industry partners are “under cyber siege” by Chinese hackers and others who have stolen national security secrets in recent years, exploiting critical weaknesses that threaten the U.S.’s standing as the world’s top military power, an internal Navy review concluded.

The assessment, delivered to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer last week and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, depicts a branch of the armed forces under relentless cyberattack by foreign adversaries and struggling in its response to the scale and sophistication of the problem.

Drawing from extensive research and interviews with senior officials across the Trump administration, the tone of the review is urgent and at times dire, offering a rare, unfiltered look at the military’s cybersecurity liabilities.

The 57-page document is especially scathing in its assessment of how the Navy has addressed cybersecurity challenges facing its contractors and subcontractors, faulting naval officials for failing to anticipate that adversaries would attack the defense industrial base and not adequately informing those partners of the cyber threat. It also acknowledges a lack of full understanding about the extent of the damage.

“For years, global competitors, and adversaries, have targeted and breached these critical contractor systems with impunity,” the audit says. “These enterprises, regardless of their relationship with the department, are under cyber siege.”

The Navy declined to comment on the review, which hasn’t been publicly released.

Chinese officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but in the past have denied engaging in cyberattacks.

The review presented the threat posed by China in particularly stark terms, arguing that its cyber espionage operations against the U.S. military, its suppliers and the private sector in general have shifted power dynamics between the world’s two biggest economies.

China has “derived an incalculable near- and long-term military advantage from it [the hacking], thereby altering the calculus of global power,” the report said.

The findings are of acute interest and concern within the Navy.

“We are under siege,” said a senior Navy official. “People think it’s much like a deathly virus—if we don’t do anything, we could die.”

John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at the U.S.-based cyber firm FireEye, said the hacking “appears to be preparation for great power conflict.”

Mr. Hultquist, whose firm has closely tracked China’s targeting of the Navy and maritime technology, added: “If you are a Navy leader, you have to see that these are the tools they could use to fight us decades down the road.”

FireEye last week renamed the Chinese hacking group believed to be behind the attacks on Navy contractors and research universities, from Temp.Periscope to Advanced Persistent Threat 40, or APT 40, a rare designation the firm reserves only for the most sophisticated hacking squads it has high confidence it has correctly identified.

One major breach of a Navy contractor, reported in June and attributed to Chinese hackers, involved the theft of secret plans to build a supersonic antiship missile planned for use by American submarines, according to officials.

The hackers targeted an unidentified company under contract with the Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I.

Coupled with that breach, a second breach last year prompted Mr. Spencer to request the internal review, Navy officials said.

The report repeatedly singles out China and Russia in the theft of military secrets, portraying their actions as calibrated to achieve strategic objectives while remaining below the threshold of armed conflict, a metered approach that the U.S. has struggled to defend against.

The review found flaws with the Navy’s longstanding approach to its own supply-chain security, which relies on contractors self-reporting vulnerabilities and breaches. “That after-the-fact system has demonstrably failed,” the review said.

According to U.S. officials and security researchers, hackers have stolen highly classified information about advanced military technology. Victims of Chinese attacks alone span large and small contractors, major universities that develop maritime technology and receive billions in federal research dollars, and the Navy itself.

“Only a very small subset of incidents are ‘known’ and of those known, an even…smaller set are fully investigated,” it said.

The report is unclassified and doesn’t provide specific details about individual breaches or tally recent intrusions. A separate classified document details some of the known breaches of the Navy or its contractors.

Navy officials declined to give even an estimate of incidents over the last 18 months other than to say they were “numerous.”

China is considered the biggest thief, officials said, but Russia is another source of concern. Iran also has breached Navy systems, an official said, but that occurred before the Trump administration, the official said.

“It’s not only the number of breaches but the magnitude of the loss that is so troubling,” said another Navy official.

When contractor breaches are investigated, information about the attacks “is often hyper classified and difficult to share, sometimes leading to an alarming lack of understanding and appreciation of the threat,” the review said.

The Journal reported last week that Chinese hackers had targeted and potentially compromised more than two dozen universities in the U.S. and around the globe as part of an elaborate scheme to steal advanced maritime technology secrets. Some of the schools, such as Penn State’s applied research laboratory, are under contract to the Navy.

In response to those revelations, Sen. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) sent letters Tuesday to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking questions about how their agencies protect research institutions from cyberattacks.

“In the era of great power competition, it should come as no surprise that Chinese hackers are targeting academic institutions ripe with valuable information about U.S. military capabilities,” Mr. Markey wrote.

The Navy review faulted the military branch’s culture as lacking an appreciation of the cybersecurity threats it faces, being unable to anticipate novel attacks and favoring compliance and governance over outcomes.

Among recommendations, the review urged identifying and better protecting essential data, selecting leaders to oversee a long-term cybersecurity strategy and installing new accountability measures on contractors to ensure they meet cybersecurity standards.

The national security implications of China’s cybertheft of advanced research from Navy contractors and universities are considered so severe that the issue has been mentioned in the presidential daily brief on multiple occasions, according to a person familiar with the matter. Some subcontractors have been breached by the same Chinese hacking group several times within the same year, despite warnings from investigators, the person said.

The Trump administration has sought in recent months to hold Beijing responsible for what officials have described as a relentless onslaught of intrusions into U.S. corporate and government networks. Chinese hackers stand accused of stealing hundreds of billions of dollars annually in intellectual property from U.S. businesses, and the Justice Department in recent months has announced a series of charges that have blamed Beijing for a variety of wide-ranging cyberattacks.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REVIEW

The Navy report’s authors conducted 31 site visits and interviewed 85 current senior military officers and civilians across both the Navy and wider Defense Department, as well as senior officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and White House National Security Council, among others. Here are their main conclusions:

  • The Navy and its industry partners are facing relentless cyber attacks that seek to steal sensitive national security data by a wide range of foes, with China and Russia the most adept and strategic.
  • The U.S. is at risk of losing global military and economic advantages due to cyberthefts of secrets and intellectual property.
  • Despite efforts to address the problem, the defense industrial base has suffered “a flood of breaches of significant data” and “continues to hemorrhage critical data.”
  • The Navy and Defense Department have only a limited understanding of the totality of losses they and their partners are suffering.
  • The Navy is focused on “preparing to win some future kinetic battle, while it is losing the current global, counter-force, counter-value, cyber war,” the review’s authors conclude.

Write to Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com and Dustin Volz at dustin.volz@wsj.com

Appeared in the March 13, 2019, print edition as ‘Chinese Hackers Attack Navy, Review Concludes.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/navy-industry-partners-are-under-cyber-siege-review-asserts-11552415553

The Advanced Persistent Threat is as Relevant as Ever

At FireEye, we’ve studied advanced persistent threat (APT) groups for fifteen years and published our annual M-Trends report for 10 of those now. In M-Trends, we have covered a variety of topics including attacker dwell times, attack trends, and offensive and defensive trends. Of all the industry measures, our global median dwell time statistic is one of the most anticipated. The dwell time statistic is important because it reflects the speed at which attacks within victim environments are identified. Swift identification of an attacker’s presence is critical to preventing an attacker for accomplishing their mission, whether it be data theft, disruption, or something else. Swift identification also reduces the cost of an investigation by contributing to reduce scope and breadth of attacker activity. The median global dwell time for the period from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018, continued its year over year decline reaching an all-time low of 78 days. This reduction in dwell time is evidence that organizations are continuing to improve their detection capabilities. That said, having an attacker in an environment for more than two months means there is room for improvement.

APT groups are typically those threat actors who receive direction and support from nation states, with objectives that traditionally include data theft, reconnaissance, disruption or destruction. These groups operate very similarly to other threat actors such as cyber criminals, but they are distinct in that they tend to adapt to defenses and may maintain a presence on systems for months or even years. 

In an age where data breaches and ransomware attacks make up the bulk of cyber coverage by major media, advanced persistent threats fall under the radar more than they should. That doesn’t mean that APT groups are forgotten, however. Far from it.

In 2018, FireEye promoted four threat groups to APT groups. In order to avoid complex naming mechanics and confusion, we simply refer to these groups as: APT37, APT38, APT39 and APT40. More extensive details on these groups can be found in our 2019 Mandiant M-Trends report, released today. Here is an abridged summary.

APT40 is a China-nexus espionage actor and the latest group to be promoted to APT – in fact, we just released the details today – the first full day of RSA Conference 2019. APT40 has operated in support of China’s overall defense and naval modernization effort since at least January 2013, targeting verticals including the maritime, aviation, engineering, chemical, R&D, government and technology industries. 

Operating since at least late-2014, APT39 is an Iranian espionage group that has primarily targeted the telecommunications sector. Other targets include the travel industry and supporting IT firms, and also the high-tech industry. This targeting suggests intent to perform monitoring, tracking or surveillance operations against specific individuals, to collect proprietary or customer data for commercial or operational purposes that serve strategic requirements related to national priorities, or to create additional accesses and vectors to facilitate future campaigns. 

APT37 and APT38 are both believed to be operating in support of North Korea, however they are not necessarily connected to each other. We assess APT37 has been carrying out covert intelligence gathering in support of North Korea’s strategic military, political and economic interests since at least 2012. Meanwhile, APT38 is a financially motivated group linked to North Korean cyber espionage operators that has attempted to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions since 2015. 

Sophisticated actors operating to further a nation’s interests will never go away. This is why advanced persistent threats will continue to be something we discuss in some way, shape or form in every M-Trends report. As threat actors continue to evolve and change, we expect that other nations will follow suit, potentially ushering in a new age of cyber operations.

Contributor: FireEye, Inc

https://www.rsaconference.com/blogs/the-advanced-persistent-threat-is-as-relevant-as-ever

Report: Chinese hackers stole US Navy data

Threats of cyber warfare

The Secret Cyberwar is Here: Director Alex Gibney on ‘Zero Days’ Documentary, Stuxnet & Cyberweapons

Published on Jul 8, 2016

“The potential for enormous destruction and loss of life is palpable when it comes to cyberweapons,” says Alex Gibney, director of the new film Zero Days, which delves into the creation, deployment, and implications of the Stuxnet virus. Stuxnet, a self-replicating cyberweapon launched by the U.S. and Israel into the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran, was an effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear progress by taking control of the plant’s centrifuges, spinning them until they would explode. “The reason it is hugely significant is it is the first time a computer code has crossed the threshold from the realm of cyber to the realm of the physical. So it is blowing stuff up.” “It was a brilliant and elegant weapon which achieved a goal of slowing down Iran’s path to being a nuclear power. However, as a precedent, it was extremely dangerous because it was an attack on critical infrastructure during peacetime. Had that been done to us we would have been within our rights to start a war.” While Zero Days unfolds as a detective story, following the cybersecurity experts at Symantec who discovered the Stuxnet virus, a good portion of the film portrays the continued secrecy of cyberwarfare, something Gibney finds both frustrating and dangerous. “We know that Stuxnet was launched by Israel and the United States against Iran. The United States won’t admit that. Israel won’t admit that,” says Gibney. “We have a situation now where the weapons have gone way beyond Stuxnet in terms of their sophistication and their destructive power. Yet by keeping that offensive cyber-capability secret we deprive everybody in this country–in a democracy–from having any kind of debate over how and when and why they should be used. So the secrecy is actually putting us in existential risk in this case.” Gibney sat down with Reason TV to discuss the film, whether cyber-weapons are analogous to nuclear weapons, and whether he considers himself a “conspiracy factualist.” Approximately 10:30 minutes. Produced and edited by Meredith Bragg. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Austin Bragg. Visit http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/07/08… for links, downloadable versions, and to read Kurt Loder’s review of the film. And subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live.

How Israel Rules The World Of Cyber Security | VICE on HBO

Who Unleashed Stuxnet?

How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust — time to act | Mikko Hypponen

Dissecting Stuxnet

Published on May 8, 2012

The Stuxnet computer worm is perhaps the most complicated piece of malicious software ever built; roughly 50 times the size of the typical computer virus. It leveraged an array of new techniques to spread and conceal itself while attacking Iranian nuclear enrichment centrifuges. Symantec Chief Architect Carey Nachenberg explains how the Stuxnet worm spread, evaded detection and ultimately accomplished its mission.

Hackers: the internet’s immune system | Keren Elazari

Understanding Stuxnet and Other Covert Responses to the Iranian Nuclear Program

Cyber War News Now – China says the United States is the Aggressor and Vows to Retaliate.

Cyberwar | Fault Lines

Cyber Warfare, Coercion, and Restraint

The Cato Institute

Published on May 21, 2019

Featuring Brandon Valeriano, Donald Bren Chair of Armed Politics, Marine Corps University; Benjamin Jensen, Associate professor, Marine Corps University; Scholar in Residence, American University School of International Service; Jacquelyn Schneider, Assistant professor in the Strategic and Operational Research Department, U.S. Naval War College; and Richard Harknett, Professor and head of the Department of Political Science, University of Cincinnati; moderated by John Glaser, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute. International security in the 21st century is increasingly characterized by the use of cyber operations. Concern over this still-developing domain of competition has led to inflated assessments of its dangers and greater support for a more aggressive U.S. posture on cyber security and cyber warfare. How do great powers like the United States, Russia, and China employ cyber capabilities? What threats does the United States currently face in this realm, and what is the most effective method of defense? What are the vulnerabilities of complacency, and, conversely, the risks of escalation?

Rep. Quigley Says U.S. Not Prepared for China Cyber Attacks

Hackers hit telecommunications firms in possible Chinese espionage campaign, researchers say

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Hackers broke into the systems of more than a dozen global telecommunications companies and taken large amounts of personal and corporate data, researchers from a cyber security company say.
  • U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity firm Cybereason says it identified links to previous Chinese cyber-espionage campaigns.
  • Western countries have moved to call out Beijing for its actions in cyberspace, warning that Chinese hackers have compromised companies and government agencies around the world.

Hackers have broken into the systems of more than a dozen global telecommunications companies and taken large amounts of personal and corporate data, researchers from a cyber security company said on Tuesday, identifying links to previous Chinese cyber-espionage campaigns.

Investigators at U.S.Israeli cyber security firm Cybereason said the attackers compromised companies in more than 30 countries and aimed to gather information on individuals in government, law-enforcement and politics.

The hackers also used tools linked to other attacks attributed to Beijing by the United States and its Western allies, said Lior Div, chief executive of Cybereason.

“For this level of sophistication it’s not a criminal group. It is a government that has capabilities that can do this kind of attack,” he told Reuters.

China has repeatedly denied involvement in any hacking activity.

Cybereason declined to name the companies affected or the countries they operate in, but people familiar with Chinese hacking operations said Beijing was increasingly targeting telcos in Western Europe.

Western countries have moved to call out Beijing for its actions in cyberspace, warning that Chinese hackers have compromised companies and government agencies around the world to steal valuable commercial secrets and personal data for espionage purposes.

Div said this latest campaign, which his team uncovered over the last nine months, compromised the internal IT network of some of those targeted, allowing the attackers to customize the infrastructure and steal vast amounts of data.

In some instances, they managed to compromise a target’s entire active directory, giving them access to every username and password in the organisation. They also got hold of personal data, including billing information and call records, Cybereason said in a blog post.

“They built a perfect espionage environment,” said Div, a former commander in Israel’s military intelligence unit 8200.

“They could grab information as they please on the targets that they are interested in.”

Cybereason said multiple tools used by the attackers had previously been used by a Chinese hacking group known as APT10.

The United States indicted two alleged members of APT10 in December and joined other Western countries in denouncing the group’s attacks on global technology service providers to steal intellectual property from their clients.

The company said on previous occasions it had identified attacks it suspected had come from China or Iran but it was never certain enough to name these countries.

Cybereason said: “This time as opposed to in the past we are sure enough to say that the attack originated in China.”

“We managed to find not just one piece of software, we managed to find more than five different tools that this specific group used,” Div said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/25/hackers-hit-telecommunications-firms-cybereason.html

What Are China’s Cyber Capabilities and Intentions?

Source: Getty
Summary:  Given that suspicion about China’s cyberwarfare capabilities and intentions could lead to conflict, it is necessary to examine China’s views of cyber warfare from a different perspective than most are familiar with.
News stories on the cyber threat that China poses appear on a regular basis. Most underscore a view that China is using cyber power to rise and ultimately win global dominance, and that the Chinese government is behind the scenes in many malicious cyber activities. Though many of the allegations focus on the tension between China and the United States on cyber espionage, these actions are unlikely to cause armed conflict since almost all capable actorsconduct cyber espionage.

Suspicions of intentions and capabilities of cyber warfare, however, could drag the US and China into arms races, and even hot wars, due to the role cyber tools can play in military operations. Given the risks, it is necessary to examine China’s views on cyber warfare from a narrative that is different from what most readers are familiar with.

CONTEXT FOR CHINA’S VIEWS ON CYBER WARFARE

China’s academic discussion of cyber warfare started in the 1990s when it was called “information warfare.” Impressed by how the US military benefited from the application of high technologies in the Gulf War—and subsequent operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq—China began to realize that there is no way to adequately defend itself without following the changes in the forms of war in which high technologies, mainly information technologies, play more critical roles.

Lyu Jinghua
Lyu Jinghua is a visiting scholar with Carnegie’s Cyber Policy Initiative. Her research focuses primarily on cybersecurity and China-U.S. defense relations.

In 1993, two years after the Gulf War, the Chinese military adjusted its military strategic guideline which set “winning local wars in conditions of modern technology, particularly high technology” as the basic aim of preparations for military struggle (PMS). In 2004, one year after the Iraq War, the military’s PMS was changed to “winning local wars under conditions of informationization.” The basic understanding, as elaborated in China’s National Defense in 2004, is that “informationization has become the key factor in enhancing the warfighting capability of the armed forces.”

The first time that the Chinese military publicly addressed cyber warfare from a holistic point of view was in the 2013 version of “The Science of Military Strategy”—a study by the Academy of Military Science. It emphasized that cyberspace has become a new and essential domain of military struggle in today’s world. A similar tone appeared in the 2015 Ministry of National Defense paper entitled “China’s Military Strategy.”

While the latter document modified the basic point for PMS to “winning informationized local wars,” it also addressed cybersecurity for the first time in an official military document. It defined cyberspace as a “new pillar of economic and social development, and a new domain of national security,” and declared clearly that “China is confronted with grave security threats to its cyber infrastructure” as “international strategic competition in cyberspace has been turning increasingly fiercer, quite a few countries are developing their cyber military forces.”

Based on the above approach that China is taking to cyberspace and its own national security, a few conclusions can be drawn. The first is that China has not developed its cyber capabilities in a vacuum. Rather, they have developed them as a response to the changing cyber warfare approaches and practices of other countries, especially those of the US and Russia. The second is that the Chinese government’s views on cyber warfare are consistent with its military strategy, which is modified according to the national security environment, domestic situation, and activities of foreign militaries.

CORE AIMS OF CHINA’S CYBER WARFARE

Though there is no commonly accepted conception of cyber warfare, one made by a RAND Corporation study is frequently quoted by Chinese military analysts: cyber warfare is strategic warfare in the information age, just as it was nuclear warfare in the 20th century. This definition serves as the foundation to argue that cyber warfare has much broader significance to national security and involves competition in areas beyond the military, such as the economy, diplomacy, and social development.

Again, China’s Military Strategy describes the primary objectives of cyber capabilities to include: “cyberspace situation awareness, cyber defense, support for the country’s endeavors in cyberspace, and participation in international cyber cooperation.” The strategy frames these objectives within the aims of “stemming major cyber crises, ensuring national network and information security, and maintaining national security and social stability.”

Of these objectives, an essential one is national security and social stability. As shown by several incidents, such as the protests after Iran’s 2009 presidential election, the Arab Spring, as well as Occupy Wall Street and the London Riots of 2011, social media plays a vital role in helping to plan and carry out such protests and movements. The Chinese government’s monitoring of the internet and social media is based on its potential use as a platform to disseminate information that could cause similar social unrest to spread, which could lead to large-scale social and political instability.

Another essential objective, in common with all states, is defending critical information infrastructure. China is more and more dependent on information networks in all aspects, including in defense. Although it has a large-scale technology industry and possesses the potential to compete with the US in some, most of its core network technologies and key software and hardware are provided by US companies.

China uses the term “eight King Kongs” to describe the top internet companies in its domestic supply chain: Apple, Cisco, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, and Qualcomm. Heavy dependence on these companies’ products makes it necessary to work towards developing the domestic technology industry and its capabilities, and to thereby make the country’s internal internet infrastructure more secure. It also makes China believe that its primary mission in cyberspace is to ensure information security of critical areas, which is inherently defensive and non-destructive.

Many, including the US government, have accused the Chinese government and military of cyberattacks in which intellectual property has been stolen. In this regard, there are several distinctions to make clear. The first is between those cyberattacks that aim to destroy, and cyber espionage for intelligence collection. The second is to make clear those forms of cyber espionage that are related to national security concerns and those for economic interests. And the last is between malicious cyber activities that one government or military should take responsibility for, and those that are attributed to a government or military based on less-than-reliable key indicators of where activities originate.

The implications of distinguishing clearly are great and there is a need for far lengthier analyses and studies. Looking at the issue briefly, most accusations levied at China are related to the latter distinction. Until today, there is no irrefutable evidence to show China has been involved in cyberattacks that aim to destroy or have destroyed. While cyber espionage for national security concerns is a common action conducted by most countries, cyber espionage for economic benefit is an accusation continually made against the Chinese government and military. However, there are reports indicating a notable decline in commercial cyber espionage allegedly attributed to Chinese sources, at least in the first few months following an agreement reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama in 2015.

The overall defensive perspective of the government is ultimately in line with China’s strategic guidelines and its understanding of the general characteristics of cyber warfare. China has consistently said that it adheres to the strategic guideline of Active Defense, as elaborated in the 2015 defense paper. Guided by these principles, the primary stated goal in cyber warfare is to enhance defense capabilities in order to survive and counter after suffering an offensive cyber strike.

Some observers may conclude that it is more worthwhile to invest resources into cyber offense since cyberspace is offense-dominant. However, the principle that the best defense is a good offense is not applicable in cyberspace. As argued by PLA Senior Colonel Li Daguang, after the first round of a cyberattack, the targeted side can respond with a precise counter-attack as long as it has a strong defense. The attacker will then suffer unfavorable outcomes if its defense is not good enough. From this perspective, it is wiser to make efforts in building up a strong defense.

IS CHINA’S CYBER CAPABILITY AS FORMIDABLE AS IMAGINED?

As mentioned, cyber warfare encompasses far more areas than the military and intelligence gathering. It is therefore logical to measure one country’s cyber capability by a more comprehensive evaluation, which at least includes: technological research and development (R&D) and innovation capabilities; information technology industry companies; internet infrastructure scale; influences of internet websites; internet diplomacy and foreign policy capabilities; cyber military strength; and comprehensiveness of cyberspace strategy. If evaluated along all these criteria, China’s cyber power largely lags behind that of the US.

Aside from China’s disadvantages in critical technological self-sufficiency as mentioned above, it is not as advanced in other aspects as well. According to the ICT Development Index (IDI), which is based on 11 indicators to monitor and compare developments in information and communication technology across countries, China respectively ranked 80th, 81st, and 82nd among 176 states in 2017, 2016, and 2015.

Part of China’s low influence on the global internet is due to the fact that its primary languages are not widely used on the internet outside the country. Though there are a massive number of Chinese speakers throughout the world, Chinese languages are only used by 1.7 percent of all websites, while 53.9 percent use English.

China’s internet is also one of the most regularly attacked. According to a report published in February 2019 by Beijing Knownsec Information Technology, China suffered the highest rate of distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS) in the world in 2018—an average of over 800 million a day. Scanning and backdoor intrusions made up the majority of the attacks and about 97 percent were conducted by domestic hackers. However, a growing percentage came from overseas, mostly from the US, South Korea, and Japan. Among all the attacks originating overseas, those that targeted government and financial websites largely outnumbered those on other targets.

Similar statistics can be found elsewhere. However, it is not the intention here to describe how vulnerable China is, but to emphasize that a more comprehensive and objective assessment of China’s cyber power is in urgent need. As Joseph Nye argued, exaggerated fears about growing Chinese power can become a cause of conflict. The same logic applies in cyberspace, especially at a time when China-US bilateral relations are seeing sharp twists and turns.

This article was originally published in the International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory.

https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/04/01/what-are-china-s-cyber-capabilities-and-intentions-pub-78734

Significant Cyber Incidents

This timeline records significant cyber incidents since 2006. We focus on cyber attacks on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars.


Download the Full Incidents List


 

Below is a summary of incidents from over the last year. For the full list, click the download link above.

May 2019.  Iran developed a network of websites and accounts that were being used to spread false information about the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

May 2019.  The Israeli Defense Forces launched a airstrike on the Hamas after they unsuccessfully attempted to hack Israeli targets.

May 2019.  Hackers affiliated with the Chinese intelligence service reportedly had been using NSA hacking tools since 2016, more than a year before those tools were publicly leaked.

April 2019.  Amnesty International’s Hong Kong office announced it had been the victim of an attack by Chinese hackers who accessed the personal information of the office’s supporters.

April 2019.  Ukrainian military and government organizations had been targeted was part of a campaign by hackers from the Luhansk People’s Republic, a Russia-backed group that declared independence from Ukraine in 2014.

April 2019.  Hackers used spoofed email addresses to conduct a disinformation campaign in Lithuania to discredit the Defense Minister by spreading rumors of corruption.

April 2019.  The Finnish police probed a denial of service attack against the web service used to publish the vote tallies from Finland’s elections.

April 2019.   Iranian hackers reportedly undertook a hacking campaign against banks, local government networks, and other public agencies in the UK.

April 2019.  Pharmaceutical company Bayer announced it had prevented an attack by Chinese hackers targeting sensitive intellectual property.

March 2019.  The Australian Signals Directorate revealed that it had conducted cyber attacks against ISIS targets in the Middle East to disrupt their communications in coordination with coalition forces.

March 2019.  An Iranian cyber espionage group targeted government and industry digital infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

March 2019.   state supported Vietnamese hackers targeted foreign automotive companies to acquire IP.

March 2019.   Iran’s intelligence service hacked into former IDF Chief and Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz’ cellphone ahead of Israel’s April elections.

March 2019.  North Korean hackers targeted an Israeli security firm as part of an industrial espionage campaign.

March 2019.  Russian hackers targeted a number of European government agencies ahead of EU elections in May.

March 2019.  Indonesia’s National Election Commission reported that Chinese and Russian hackers had probed Indonesia’s voter database ahead of presidential and legislative elections in the country.

March 2019.  Civil liberties organizations claimed that government-backed hackers targeted Egyptian human rights activists, media, and civil society organizations throughout 2019.

March 2019.  The UN Security Council reported that North Korea has used state-sponsored hacking to evade international sanctions, stealing $670 million in foreign currency and cryptocurrency between 2015 and 2018.

March 2019.  Iranian hackers targeted thousands of people at more than 200 oil-and-gas and heavy machinery companies across the world, stealing corporate secrets and wiping data from computers.

March 2019.  Following an attack on Indian military forces in Kashmir, Pakistani hackers targeted almost 100 Indian government websites and critical systems. Indian officials reported that they engaged in offensive cyber measures to counter the attacks.

March 2019.  U.S. officials reported that at least 27 universities in the U.S. had been targeted by Chinese hackers as part of a campaign to steal research on naval technologies.

February 2019.  The UN International Civil Aviation Organizations revealed that in late 2016 it was compromised by China-linked hackers who used their access to spread malware to foreign government websites.

February 2019.  Prior to the Vietnam summit of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, North Korean hackers were found to have targeted South Korean institutions in a phishing campaign using documents related to the diplomatic event as bait.

February 2019.  U.S. Cybercommand revealed that during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, it had blocked internet access to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company involved in information operations against the U.S. during the 2016 presidential election.

February 2019.  A hacking campaign targeted Russian companies linked to state-sponsored North Korean hackers.

February 2019. Hackers associated with the Russian intelligence services had targeted more than 100 individuals in Europe at civil society groups working on election security and democracy promotion.
February 2019.  State-sponsored hackers were caught in the early stages of gaining access to computer systems at the Australian Federal Parliament

February 2019.  European aerospace company Airbus reveals it was targeted by Chinese hackers who stole the personal and IT identification information of some of its European employees

February 2019.  Norwegian software firm Visma revealed that it had been targeted by hackers from the Chinese Ministry of State Security who were attempting to steal trade secrets from the firm’s clients

January 2019.  Hackers associated with the Russian intelligence services were found to have targeted the Center for Strategic and International Studies

January 2019.  The U.S. Department of Justice announced an operation to disrupt a North Korean botnet that had been used to target companies in the media, aerospace, financial, and critical infrastructure sectors.

January 2019.  Former U.S. intelligence personnel were revealed to be working for the UAE to help the country hack into the phones of activists, diplomats, and foreign government officials

January 2019.  U.S. prosecutors unsealed two indictments against Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou alleging crimes ranging from wire and bank fraud to obstruction of justice and conspiracy to steal trade secrets

January 2019.  Security researchers reveal that Iranian hackers have been targeting the telecom and travel industries since at least 2014 in an attempt to surveil and collect the personal information of individuals in the Middle East, U.S., Europe, and Australia

January 2019.  The U.S. Democratic National Committee revealed that it had been targeted by Russian hackers in the weeks after the 2018 midterm elections

January 2019.  South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced that unknown hackers had compromised computer systems at the ministry’s procurement office

January 2019.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a group of hackers from the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine with the 2016 breach of the SEC’s online corporate filing portal exploited to execute trades based on non-public information

January 2019.  Iran was revealed to have engaged in a multi-year, global DNS hijacking campaign targeting telecommunications and internet infrastructure providers as well as government entities in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

January 2019.  Hackers release the personal details, private communications, and financial information of hundreds of German politicians, with targets representing every political party except the far-right AfD.

December 2018.  North Korean hackers targeted the Chilean interbank network after tricking an employee into installing malware over the course of a fake job interview

December 2018.  Chinese hackers were found to have compromised the EU’s communications systems, maintaining access to sensitive diplomatic cables for several years

December 2018.  North Korean hackers stole the personal information of almost 1,000 North Korean defectors living in South Korea
 
December 2018.  The United States, in coordination with Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand, accused China for conducting a 12-year campaign of cyber espionage targeting the IP and trade secrets of companies across 12 countries. The announcement was tied to the indictment of two Chinese hackers associated with the campaign.

December 2018.  U.S. Navy officials report that Chinese hackers had repeatedly stolen information from Navy contractors including ship maintenance data and missile plans.

December 2018.  Security researchers discover a cyber campaign carried out by a Russia-linked group targeting the government agencies of Ukraine as well as multiple NATO members

December 2018.  Researchers report that a state-sponsored Middle Eastern hacking group had targeted telecommunications companies, government embassies, and a Russian oil company located across Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and North America

December 2018.  Italian oil company Saipem was targeted by hackers utilizing a modified version of the Shamoon virus, taking down hundreds of the company’s servers and personal computers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and India

December 2018.  North Korean hackers have reportedly targeted universities in the U.S. since May, with a particular focus on individuals with expertise in biomedical engineering

December 2018.  The Security Service of Ukraine blocked an attempt by the Russian special services to disrupt the information systems of Ukraine’s judicial authority

December 2018.  The Czech security service announced that Russian intelligence services were discovered to have been behind attacks against the Czech foreign ministry in 2017

December 2018.  Chinese hackers breached the systems of an American hotel chain, stealing the personal information of over 500 million customers

November 2018.  German security officials announced that a Russia-linked group had targeted the email accounts of several members of the German parliament, as well as the German military and several embassies

November 2018.  Security researchers report that Russia launched coordinated cyber attacks against Russian government and military targets before and during the attack on Ukrainian ships in late November

November 2018.  Researchers reveal that a Mexican government-linked group used spyware to target the colleagues of a slain journalist investigating drug cartels

November 2018.  Security researchers discover a cyberespionage campaign targeting government websites of Lebanon and the UAE

November 2018.  The U.S. Justice Department indicted two Iranians for the ransomware attack affecting Atlanta’s government earlier in 2018

November 2018.  Chinese state media reports that the country had been the victim of multiple attacks by foreign hackers in 2018, including the theft of confidential emails, utility design plans, lists of army units, and more

November 2018.  North Korean hackers were found to have used malware to steal tens of millions of dollars from ATMs across Asia and Africa

November 2018.  Security researchers report that Russian hackers impersonating U.S. State Department officials attempted to gain access to the computer systems of military and law enforcement agencies, defense contractors, and media companies

November 2018.  Ukraine’s CERT discovered malware in the computer systems of Ukraine state agencies believed to be implanted as a precursor for a future large-scale cyber attack

November 2018.  Researchers discover that a Chinese cyberespionage group targeted a UK engineering company using techniques associated with Russia-linked groups in an attempt to avoid attribution

November 2018.  The Pakistani Air Force was revealed to have been targeted by nation-state hackers with access to zero-day exploits

November 2018. Security researchers identify an Iranian domestic surveillance campaign to monitor dissent targeting Telegram and Instagram users

November 2018.  Australian defense shipbuilder Austal announced it had been the victim of a hack resulting in the theft of unclassified ship designs which were later sold online

October 2018.  The head of Iran’s civil defense agency announced that the country had recently neutralized a new, more sophisticated version of Stuxnet

October 2018.  The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Chinese intelligence officers and hackers working for them for engaging in a campaign to hack into U.S. aerospace companies and steal information

October 2018.  Security researchers link the malware used to attack a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia to a research institute run by the Russian government.

October 2018.  U.S. defense officials announced that Cyber Command had begun targeting individual Russian operatives to deter them from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

October 2018.  Media reports state than U.S. agencies warned President Trump that that China and Russia eavesdropped on call made form an unsecured phone.

October 2018.  News reports reveal that the Israel Defense Force requested that cybersecurity companies develop proposals for monitoring the personal correspondence of social media users.

October 2018.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announces that it has detected a growing volume of cyber activity targeting election infrastructure in the U.S. ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

October 2018.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that hackers had compromised a government computer system, gaining access to the personal data of  75,000 people ahead of the start of ACA sign-up season.

October 2018.  The Security Service of Ukraine announced that a Russian group had carried out an attempted hack on the information and telecommunication systems of Ukrainian government groups

October 2018.  The U.S. Justice Department announces criminal charges against seven GRU officers for multiple instances of hacking against organizations including FIFA, Westinghouse Electric Company, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agencies.

September 2018.  Security researchers found that a Russian hacking group had used malware to target the firmware of computers at government institutions in the Balkans and in Central and Eastern Europe.

September 2018.  In a letter to Senate leaders, Sen. Ron Wyden revealed that a major technology company had alerted multiple Senate offices of attempts by foreign government hackers to gain access to the email accounts of Senators and their staff

September 2018.  Researchers report that 36 different governments deployed Pegasus spyware against targets in at least 45 countries, including the U.S., France, Canada, and the UK.

September 2018.  The U.S. State Department suffers a breach of one of its unclassified email systems, exposing the personal information of several hundred employees.

September 2018.  Swiss officials reveal that two Russian spies caught in the Netherlands had been preparing to use cyber tools to sabotage the Swiss defense lab analyzing the nerve agent used to poison former Russian Agent Sergei Skripal.

September 2018.  Security researchers find that Iranian hackers have been surveilling Iranian citizens since 2016 as part of a mobile spyware campaign directed at ISIS supporters and members of the Kurdish ethnic group.

September 2018.  Russian hackers targeted the email inboxes of religious leaders connected to Ukraine amid efforts to disassociate Ukraine’s Orthodox church from its association with Russia.

September 2018.  The U.S. Department of Justice announces the indictment and extradition of a Russian hacker accused of participating in the hack of JP Morgan Chase in 2014, leading to the theft of data from over 80 million customers.

September 2018.  The U.S. Department of Justice announces the indictment of Park Jin Hyok, a North Korean Hacker allegedly involved in the 2014 Sony hack, the 2016 theft of $81 million from a Bangladeshi bank, and the WannaCry ransomware attacks.

September 2018.  Researchers reveal a new cyber espionage campaign linked to attacks against Vietnamese defense, energy, and government organizations in 2013 and 2014.

August 2018.  North Korean hackers stole $13.5 million from India’s Cosmos Bank after breaking into the bank’s system and authorizing thousands of unauthorized ATM withdrawals, as well as several illegal money transfers through the SWIFT financial network.

August 2018.  Security researchers report that Iranian hackers had targeted the websites and login pages of 76 universities in 14 countries.  The attackers stole the credentials of users who attempted to sign in, gaining access to library resources for the purposes of intellectual property theft.

August 2018.  Facebook identified multiple new disinformation campaigns on its platform sponsored by groups in Russia and Iran. The campaigns targeted users in the U.S., Latin America, Britain, and the Middle East, and involved 652 fake accounts, pages, and groups.

August 2018.  Microsoft announces that Russian hackers had targeted U.S. Senators and conservative think tanks critical of Russia.

July 2018.  Security researchers report that an Iranian hacking group had been targeting the industrial control systems of electric utility companies in the U.S., Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East.

July 2018.  The Department of Homeland Security reveal that a campaign by Russian hackers in 2017 had compromised the networks of multiple U.S. electric utilities and put attackers in a position where they could have caused blackouts.

July 2018.  Senator Claire McCaskill reveals that her 2018 re-election campaign was targeted by hackers affiliated with Russia’s GRU intelligence agency. Attackers unsuccessfully targeted staffers in the Senator’s office with phishing emails designed to harvest their passwords.

July 2018.  Researchers report that a hacking group linked to Iran has been active since early 2017 targeting energy, government, finance, and telecommunications entities in the Middle East.

July 2018.  Microsoft reveals that Russian hackers had targeted the campaigns of three Democratic candidates running for the 2018 midterm elections.

July 2018.  Russian hackers were found to have targeted the Italian navy with malware designed to insert a backdoor into infected networks.

July 2018.  Security researchers detect a spike in hacking attempts against IoT devices in Finland during the run-up President Trump’s summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. The majority of attacks originated in China.

July 2018. Singapore’s largest healthcare institution was targeted by state-sponsored hackers, leading to the leakage of personal information for 1.5 million patients, along with prescription details for 160,000 others.

July 2018.  Ukrainian intelligence officials claim to have thwarted a Russian attack on the network equipment of a chlorine plant in central Ukraine. The virus used in the attack is the same malware responsible for the infection of 500,000 routers worldwide in a campaign the FBI linked to state-sponsored Russian hackers.

July 2018.  The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for carrying out large-scale cyber operations against the Democratic Party in advance of the 2016 Presidential election.  The officers’ alleged crimes included the theft and subsequent leakage of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign, and the targeting of election infrastructure and local election officials in an attempt to interfere with the election.

July 2018.  Security researchers report that Chinese hackers had been actively spying on political actors on both sides of the upcoming Cambodian elections. Targets include the country’s National Election Commission, several government ministries, the Cambodian Senate, at least one Member of Parliament, and multiple media outlets and human rights activists.

July 2018.  Hackers targeted the campaigns of at least two local Democratic candidates during 2018’s primary season, reportedly using DDoS attacks to disrupt campaign websites during periods of active fundraising and positive news publicity.

July 2018.  Australian National University (ANU) was found to have been breached by Chinese hackers in an attack believed to be motivated by a desire to siphon intellectual property from the institution.

June 2018.  Marketing data firm Exactis suffered a data breach exposing the information of 340 million people, including their political preferences, browsing habits, and purchase data.

June 2018.  Ukraine police claim that Russian hackers have been systematically targeting Ukrainian banks, energy companies, and other organizations to establish backdoors in preparation for a wide-scale strike against the country.

June 2018.  Chinese hackers were found to be engaged in a cyber espionage campaign to collect data from satellite, telecom, and defense organizations in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

June 2018.  A Russian hacking group linked to disrupting the Peyongchang Olympics targeted individuals in France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Ukraine linked to a biochemical threat conference organized by a company involved in the investigation of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March 2018.

June 2018.  A Chinese hacking group targeted a national data center in a Central Asian country, preparing a watering hole attack to inject malicious code onto other government websites connecting to the data center.

June 2018.  Researchers reveal that North Korean hackers targeted a South Korean think tank focused on national security issues. The hackers used a zero-day exploit to compromise the organization’s website and insert a backdoor for injecting code.

June 2018.  The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against five Russian companies and three individuals for enabling Russian intelligence and military units to conduct cyberattacks against the U.S.

June 2018.  Chinese government hackers compromised the networks of a U.S. Navy contractor, stealing 614 GB of data related to weapons, sensor, and communication systems under development for U.S. submarines.

May 2018.  Cyber security researchers reported that North Korean hackers had been targeting defectors through compromised Android apps hosted through the Google Play market, stealing device information and allowing the insertion of executable code stealing photos, contact lists, and text messages.

May 2018.  Security researchers reveal that the Pakistani military used Facebook Messenger to distribute spyware to targets in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and India in an attempt to compromise government officials, medical professionals, and others.

May 2018.  Turkish government hackers were discovered to be using surveillance software FinFisher to infect Turkish dissidents and protesters.

May 2018.  An unknown group of hackers stole between $18 and $20 million dollars from Mexican banks by exploiting the SWIFT transfer system, submitting a series of false transfer orders to phantom accounts in other banks and emptying the accounts in dozens of branch offices.

May 2018.  Within 24 hours of President Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, security firms reported increases in Iranian hacking activity, including the sending of emails containing malware to diplomats in the Foreign Affairs ministries of US allies, as well as global telecommunication companies.

May 2018.  Researchers reveal that a hacking group connected to Russian intelligence services had been conducting reconnaissance on the business and ICS networks of electric utilities in the US and UK since May 2017.

April 2018.  Security researchers report that an Indian hacking group had been targeting government agencies and research institutions in China and Pakistan since 2013.

April 2018.  Cyber security researchers reveal that North Korean hackers targeted critical infrastructure, finance, healthcare, and other industries in 17 countries using malware resembling the code used in the 2014 Sony Pictures attack.

April 2018.  Israeli cyber researchers revealed that Hamas had planted spyware in mobile phones owned by members of Fatah, a rival Palestinian faction

April 2018.  Reports from cyber security researchers indicate that Chinese state-sponsored hacking groups have targeted Japanese defense companies in an attempt to gain information on Tokyo’s policies towards North Korea

April 2018.  US and UK officials issued a joint warning that Russia was deliberately targeting western critical infrastructure by compromising home and business routers

April 2018.  The director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) announced that the organization had been conducting offensive cyber operations against ISIS to suppress their propaganda, disrupt their coordination, and protect deployed military personnel

April 2018.  The chief of Germany’s domestic intelligence services accused Russia of being behind the December 2017 attack on the government’s computer networks

April 2018.  The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre released an advisory note warning that Russian state actors were targeting UK critical infrastructure by infiltrating supply chains

April 2018.  All government services of Sint. Maarten, a Caribbean island and constitute country of the Netherlands, were taken offline for a week after a cyber attack. According to local authorities, this is the third cyber attack the country has faced in just over a year.

April 2018.  The North Korean hacking group responsible for the SWIFT attacks was found to have targeted a Central American online casino in an attempt to siphon funds

March 2018.  Online services for the city of Atlanta were disrupted after a ransomware attack struck the city’s networks, demanding $55,000 worth of bitcoin in payment. The city would eventually spend approximately $2.6 million recovering from the attack.

March 2018.  Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system was taken down for 17 hours after a ransomware attack, forcing the city to revert to manual dispatching of emergency services

March 2018.  The US Departments of Justice and Treasury accused Iran in an indictment of stealing intellectual property from more than 300 universities, as well as government agencies and financial services companies.

March 2018.  The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint technical alert to warn of Russian cyber attacks against US critical infrastructure. Targets included energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and manufacturing facilities.

March 2018.  A data breach of the company Under Armor compromised the information of 150 million users of its fitness and nutrition tracking app MyFitnessPal

March 2018.  Cybersecurity researchers reveal that a Chinese hacking group used malware to attack the service provider for the UK government in an attempt to gain access to contractors at various UK government departments and military organizations

March 2018.  Cybersecurity researchers announce evidence that the same North Korean hacking group linked to the SWIFT financial network attacks has been targeting several major Turkish banks and government finance agencies.

March 2018.  A UN report details attempts by North Korean hackers to compromise email accounts of the members of a UN panel enforcing trade sanctions against North Korea.

February 2018.  German news reported that a Russian hacking group had breached the online networks of Germany’s foreign and interior ministries, exfiltrating at least 17 gigabytes of data in an intrusion that went undetected for a year.

February 2018.  The Justice Department indicted 13 Russians and three companies for their online efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections.

February 2018.  The US and UK formally blame Russia for the June 2017 NotPetya ransomware attack that caused billions of dollars in damages across the world.

February 2018.  A cyberattack on the Pyeongchang Olympic Games attributed to Russia took the official Olympic website offline for 12 hours and disrupted wifi and televisions at the Pyeongchang Olympic stadium.

February 2018.  Officials at the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Russian hackers successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several US states prior to the 2016 election.

January 2018. China denied that the computer network it supplied to the African Union allowed it access the AU’s confidential information and transfer it to China, or that it had bugged offices in the AU headquarters that it had built. 

January 2018. A Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange reveals that it lost $530 million worth of the cryptocurrency NEM in a hack, in what amounts to possibly the largest cryptocurrency heist of all time.

January 2018. Norwegian officials discover a “very professional” attempt to steal patient data from a Norwegian hospital system, in an attack they speculate was connected to the upcoming NATO Trident Juncture 18 military exercise.

January 2018.  A hacking group with ties to the Lebanese General Directorate of General Security was revealed to have been involved in a six-year campaign to steal text messages, call logs, and files from journalists, military officers, corporations, and other targets in 21 countries worldwide.

January 2018. The Unique Identification Authority of India and its Aadhaar system are hacked by unknown actors, resulting in the personal data of more than 1 billion people being available for purchase.

https://www.csis.org/programs/technology-policy-program/significant-cyber-incidents

 

The United States Is Already at War With China

Trump is accelerating a gratuitous cold war between the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases, leaving the rest of the world to suffer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a meeting in Beijing, China in May 2018.(Reuters / Thomas Peter / Pool)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.

To suggest this means reassessing our understanding of what constitutes war. From Allison’s perspective (and that of so many others in Washington and elsewhere), “peace” and “war” stand as polar opposites. One day, our soldiers are in their garrisons being trained and cleaning their weapons; the next, they are called into action and sent onto a battlefield. War, in this model, begins when the first shots are fired.

Well, think again in this new era of growing great-power struggle and competition. Today, war means so much more than military combat and can take place even as the leaders of the warring powers meet to negotiate and share dry-aged steak and whipped potatoes (as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping did at Mar-a-Lago in 2017). That is exactly where we are when it comes to Sino-American relations.

Consider it war by another name, or perhaps, to bring back a long-retired term, a burning new version of a cold war.

Even before Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, the US military and other branches of government were already gearing up for a long-term quasi-war, involving both growing economic and diplomatic pressure on China and a buildup of military forces along that country’s periphery. Since his arrival, such initiatives have escalated into Cold War-style combat by another name, with his administration committed to defeating China in a struggle for global economic, technological, and military supremacy.

This includes the president’s much-publicized “trade war” with China, aimed at hobbling that country’s future growth; a techno-war designed to prevent it from overtaking the United States in key breakthrough areas of technology; a diplomatic war intended to isolate Beijing and frustrate its grandiose plans for global outreach; a cyber war (largely hidden from public scrutiny); and a range of military measures as well. This may not be war in the traditional sense of the term, but for leaders on both sides, it has the feel of one.

WHY CHINA?

The media and many politicians continue to focus on US-Russian relations, in large part because of revelations of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 American presidential election and the ongoing Mueller investigation. Behind the scenes, however, most senior military and foreign policy officials in Washington view China, not Russia, as the country’s principal adversary. In eastern Ukraine, the Balkans, Syria, cyberspace, and in the area of nuclear weaponry, Russia does indeed pose a variety of threats to Washington’s goals and desires. Still, as an economically hobbled petro-state, it lacks the kind of might that would allow it to truly challenge this country’s status as the world’s dominant power. China is another story altogether. With its vast economy, growing technological prowess, intercontinental “Belt and Road” infrastructure project, and rapidly modernizing military, an emboldened China could someday match or even exceed US power on a global scale, an outcome American elites are determined to prevent at any cost.

Washington’s fears of a rising China were on full display in January with the release of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, a synthesis of the views of the Central Intelligence Agency and other members of that “community.” Its conclusion: “We assess that China’s leaders will try to extend the country’s global economic, political, and military reach while using China’s military capabilities and overseas infrastructure and energy investments under the Belt and Road Initiative to diminish US influence.”

To counter such efforts, every branch of government is now expected to mobilize its capabilities to bolster American—and diminish Chinese—power. In Pentagon documents, this stance is summed up by the term “overmatch,” which translates as the eternal preservation of American global superiority vis-à-vis China (and all other potential rivals). “The United States must retain overmatch,” the administration’s National Security Strategy insists, and preserve a “combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success,” while continuing to “shape the international environment to protect our interests.”

In other words, there can never be parity between the two countries. The only acceptable status for China is as a distinctly lesser power. To ensure such an outcome, administration officials insist, the United States must take action on a daily basis to contain or impede its rise.

In previous epochs, as Allison makes clear in his book, this equation—a prevailing power seeking to retain its dominant status and a rising power seeking to overcome its subordinate one—has almost always resulted in conventional conflict. In today’s world, however, where great-power armed combat could possibly end in a nuclear exchange and mutual annihilation, direct military conflict is a distinctly unappealing option for all parties. Instead, governing elites have developed other means of warfare—economic, technological, and covert—to achieve such strategic objectives. Viewed this way, the United States is already in close to full combat mode with respect to China.

TRADE WAR

When it comes to the economy, the language betrays the reality all too clearly. The Trump administration’s economic struggle with China is regularly described, openly and without qualification, as a “war.” And there’s no doubt that senior White House officials, beginning with the president and his chief trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, see it just that way: as a means of pulverizing the Chinese economy and so curtailing that country’s ability to compete with the United States in all other measures of power.

Ostensibly, the aim of President Trump’s May 2018 decision to impose $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports (increased in September to $200 billion) was to rectify a trade imbalance between the two countries, while protecting the American economy against what is described as China’s malign behavior. Its trade practices “plainly constitute a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy,” as the president put it when announcing the second round of tariffs.

An examination of the demands submitted to Chinese negotiators by the US trade delegation last May suggests, however, that Washington’s primary intent hasn’t been to rectify that trade imbalance but to impede China’s economic growth. Among the stipulations Beijing must acquiesce to before receiving tariff relief, according to leaked documents from US negotiators that were spread on Chinese social media:

  • halting all government subsidies to advanced manufacturing industries in its Made in China 2025 program, an endeavor that covers 10 key economic sectors, including aircraft manufacturing, electric cars, robotics, computer microchips, and artificial intelligence;
  • accepting American restrictions on investments in sensitive technologies without retaliating;
  • opening up its service and agricultural sectors—areas where Chinese firms have an inherent advantage—to full American competition.

In fact, this should be considered a straightforward declaration of economic war. Acquiescing to such demands would mean accepting a permanent subordinate status vis-à-vis the United States in hopes of continuing a profitable trade relationship with this country. “The list reads like the terms for a surrender rather than a basis for negotiation,” was the way Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University, accurately described these developments.

TECHNOLOGICAL WARFARE

As suggested by America’s trade demands, Washington’s intent is not only to hobble China’s economy today and tomorrow but for decades to come. This has led to an intense, far-ranging campaign to deprive it of access to advanced technologies and to cripple its leading technology firms.

Chinese leaders have long realized that, for their country to achieve economic and military parity with the United States, they must master the cutting-edge technologies that will dominate the 21st-century global economy, including artificial intelligence (AI), fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications, electric vehicles, and nanotechnology. Not surprisingly then, the government has invested in a major way in science and technology education, subsidized research in pathbreaking fields, and helped launch promising startups, among other such endeavors—all in the very fashion that the Internet and other American computer and aerospace innovations were originally financed and encouraged by the Department of Defense.

Chinese companies have also demanded technology transfers when investing in or forging industrial partnerships with foreign firms, a common practice in international development. India, to cite a recent example of this phenomenon, expects that significant technology transfers from American firms will be one outcome of its agreed-upon purchases of advanced American weaponry.

In addition, Chinese firms have been accused of stealing American technology through cybertheft, provoking widespread outrage in this country. Realistically speaking, it’s difficult for outside observers to determine to what degree China’s recent technological advances are the product of commonplace and legitimate investments in science and technology and to what degree they’re due to cyberespionage. Given Beijing’s massive investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at the graduate and post-graduate level, however, it’s safe to assume that most of that country’s advances are the result of domestic efforts.

Certainly, given what’s publicly known about Chinese cybertheft activities, it’s reasonable for American officials to apply pressure on Beijing to curb the practice. However, the Trump administration’s drive to blunt that country’s technological progress is also aimed at perfectly legitimate activities. For example, the White House seeks to ban Beijing’s government subsidies for progress on artificial intelligence at the same time that the Department of Defense is pouring billions of dollars into AI research at home. The administration is also acting to block the Chinese acquisition of US technology firms and of exports of advanced components and know-how.

In an example of this technology war that’s made the headlines lately, Washington has been actively seeking to sabotage the efforts of Huawei, one of China’s most prominent telecom firms, to gain leadership in the global deployment of 5G wireless communications. Such wireless systemsare important in part because they will transmit colossal amounts of electronic data at far faster rates than now conceivable, facilitating the introduction of self-driving cars, widespread roboticization, and the universal application of AI.

CYBERWARFARE

There would be much to write on this subject, if only it weren’t still hidden in the shadows of the growing conflict between the two countries. Not surprisingly, however, little information is available on US-Chinese cyberwarfare. All that can be said with confidence is that an intense war is now being waged between the two countries in cyberspace. American officials accuse China of engaging in a broad-based cyber-assault on this country, involving both outright cyber espionage to obtain military as well as corporate secrets and widespread political meddling. “What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing,” said Vice President Mike Pence last October in a speech at the Hudson Institute, though—typically on the subject—he provided not a shred of evidence for his claim.

Not disclosed is what this country is doing to combat China in cyberspace. All that can be known from available information is that this is a two-sided war in which the United States is conducting its own assaults. “­The United States will impose swift and costly consequences on foreign governments, criminals, and other actors who undertake significant malicious cyber activities,” the 2017 National Security Strategy affirmed. What form these “consequences” have taken has yet to be revealed, but there’s little doubt that America’s cyber warriors have been active in this domain.

DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY COERCION

Completing the picture of America’s ongoing war with China are the fierce pressures being exerted on the diplomatic and military fronts to frustrate Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions. To advance those aspirations, China’s leadership is relying heavily on a much-touted Belt and Road Initiative, a trillion-dollar plan to help fund and encourage the construction of a vast new network of road, rail, port, and pipeline infrastructure across Eurasia and into the Middle East and Africa. By financing—and, in many cases, actually building—such infrastructure, Beijing hopes to bind the economies of a host of far-flung nations ever closer to its own, while increasing its political influence across the Eurasian mainland and Africa. As Beijing’s leadership sees it, at least in terms of orienting the planet’s future economics, its role would be similar to that of the Marshall Plan that cemented US influence in Europe after World War II.

And given exactly that possibility, Washington has begun to actively seek to undermine the Belt and Road wherever it can—discouraging allies from participating, while stirring up unease in countries like Malaysia and Uganda over the enormous debts to China they may end up with and the heavy-handed manner in which that country’s firms often carry out such overseas construction projects. (For example, they typically bring in Chinese laborers to do most of the work, rather than hiring and training locals.)

“China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands,” National Security Adviser John Bolton claimed in a December speech on US policy on that continent. “Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption,” he added, “and do not meet the same environmental or ethical standards as US developmental programs.” Bolton promised that the Trump administration would provide a superior alternative for African nations seeking development funds, but—and this is something of a pattern as well—no such assistance has yet materialized.

In addition to diplomatic pushback, the administration has undertaken a series of initiatives intended to isolate China militarily and limit its strategic options. In South Asia, for example, Washington has abandoned its past position of maintaining rough parity in its relations with India and Pakistan. In recent years, it’s swung sharply towards a strategic alliance with New Dehli, attempting to enlist it fully in America’s efforts to contain China and, presumably, in the process punishing Pakistan for its increasingly enthusiastic role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In the Western Pacific, the US has stepped up its naval patrols and forged new basing arrangements with local powers—all with the aim of confining the Chinese military to areas close to the mainland. In response, Beijing has sought to escape the grip of American power by establishing miniature bases on Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea (or even constructing artificial islands to house bases there)—moves widely condemned by the hawks in Washington.

To demonstrate its ire at the effrontery of Beijing in the Pacific (once known as an “American lake”), the White House has ordered an increased pace of so-called freedom-of-navigation operations (FRONOPs). Navy warships regularly sail within shooting range of those very island bases, suggesting a US willingness to employ military force to resist future Chinese moves in the region (and also creating situations in which a misstep could lead to a military incident that could lead… well, anywhere).

In Washington, the warnings about Chinese military encroachment in the region are already reaching a fever pitch. For instance, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of US forces in the Pacific, described the situation there in recent congressional testimony this way: “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

A LONG WAR OF ATTRITION

As Admiral Davidson suggests, one possible outcome of the ongoing cold war with China could be armed conflict of the traditional sort. Such an encounter, in turn, could escalate to the nuclear level, resulting in mutual annihilation. A war involving only “conventional” forces would itself undoubtedly be devastating and lead to widespread suffering, not to mention the collapse of the global economy.

Even if a shooting war doesn’t erupt, however, a long-term geopolitical war of attrition between the US and China will, in the end, have debilitating and possibly catastrophic consequences for both sides. Take the trade war, for example. If that’s not resolved soon in a positive manner, continuing high US tariffs on Chinese imports will severely curb Chinese economic growth and so weaken the world economy as a whole, punishing every nation on Earth, including this one. High tariffs will also increase costs for American consumers and endanger the prosperity and survival of many firms that rely on Chinese raw materials and components.

This new brand of war will also ensure that already sky-high defense expenditures will continue to rise, diverting funds from vital needs like education, health, infrastructure, and the environment. Meanwhile, preparations for a future war with China have already become the number one priority at the Pentagon, crowding out all other considerations. “While we’re focused on ongoing operations,” acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan reportedly told his senior staff on his first day in office this January, “remember China, China, China.”

Perhaps the greatest victim of this ongoing conflict will be planet Earth itself and all the creatures, humans included, who inhabit it. As the world’s top two emitters of climate-altering greenhouse gases, the United States and China must work together to halt global warming or all of us are doomed to a hellish future. With a war under way, even a non-shooting one, the chance for such collaboration is essentially zero. The only way to save civilization is for the US and China to declare peace and focus together on human salvation.

Story 3 : Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Temporarily Declines Due To Uncertaintly About Tariffs As Measured By Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index from 131.3 in May to 121.5 in June — Videos —

 

Are Trump’s Fed comments an indirect threat against China?

Investopedia Video: Consumer Confidence Index

The Consumer Confidence Index is the result of a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households by the Conference Board that measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are about the economy’s current and future performance. When the index is high, consumers are expected to increase their spending on goods and services. When it is low, a decrease in spending is expected. Since consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of gross domestic product, consumer confidence is an important indicator of where the economy might be headed. The Consumer Confidence Index, or CCI, has a benchmark value of 100. Analysts can view CCI data by consumer age, income and census region. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, with expectations of future conditions comprising the remaining 60%. The board calculates a relative value for each question by dividing the total positive responses by the total positive and negative responses. These values are averaged and then compared against the benchmark value of 100 to create the current index value.

70. How To Interpret the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)

Consumer confidence index beats expectations

Here’s how consumer sentiment compares around the world

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Declined in June


NEWS PROVIDED BY

The Conference Board 

Jun 25, 2019, 10:00 ET


NEW YORKJune 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in June, following an increase in May. The Index now stands at 121.5 (1985=100), down from 131.3 in May. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased from 170.7 to 162.6. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – decreased from 105.0 last month to 94.1 this month.

“After three consecutive months of improvement, Consumer Confidence declined in June to its lowest level since September 2017 (Index, 120.6),” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decrease in the Present Situation Index was driven by a less favorable assessment of business and labor market conditions. Consumers’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook also retreated. The escalation in trade and tariff tensions earlier this month appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence. Although the Index remains at a high level, continued uncertainty could result in further volatility in the Index and, at some point, could even begin to diminish consumers’ confidence in the expansion.” 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 14.

Consumers’ appraisal of current-day conditions declined in June. Those claiming business conditions are “good” decreased from 38.4 percent to 36.7 percent, however, those saying business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 11.7 percent to 10.9 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also somewhat less upbeat. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 45.3 percent to 44.0 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 11.8 percent to 16.4 percent.

Consumers were less optimistic about the short-term outlook in June. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will be better six months from now decreased from 21.4 percent to 18.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen rose from 8.8 percent to 13.1 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 18.4 percent to 17.3 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 13.0 percent to 14.8 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased from 22.2 percent to 19.1 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease inched up from 7.8 percent to 8.0 percent.

Source: June 2019 Consumer Confidence Survey® 
The Conference Board

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org.

About NIELSEN
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

SOURCE The Conference Board

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Consumer confidence drops to lowest level since September 2017

 

Consumer confidence is on the decline.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index tumbled to 121.5 in June, dropping from a downwardly revised reading of 131.3 in May and snapping three consecutive months of improvements.

June’s results missed consensus expectations for a reading of 131.0, according to Bloomberg-compiled data, and marked the lowest level in nearly two years.

Indices tracking consumers’ assessments of current and future business conditions also sharply declined in June, the Conference Board reported. The Present Situations Index fell 8.1 points to 162.6 in June, while the Expectations Index decreased 10.9 points to 94.1.

The Conference Board’s report comes amid mounting friction between the U.S. and some of its major trade partners. These ongoing geopolitical concerns and the uncertainty over their resolution rattled consumers in June, according to the Conference Board.

“The decrease in the Present Situation Index was driven by a less favorable assessment of business and labor market conditions,” Lynn Franco, senior direct of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “The escalation in trade and tariff tensions earlier this month appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence.”

“Although the Index remains at a high level, continued uncertainty could result in further volatility in the Index and, at some point, could even begin to diminish consumers’ confidence in the expansion,” Franco added.

According to the Conference Board, the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve six months from now decreased by 3.3 percentage points in June to 18.1%. Those expecting business conditions to worsen rose 4.3 percentage points to 13.1%.

“It is a disappointing outcome given that expectations ought to have received a boost from the drop back in gasoline prices and renewed surge in the equity market back to record highs,” Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

However, the Conference Board’s steep decline in its June confidence index may be short-lived, according to other analysts.

The indices tracking consumers’ assessments of expectations and current conditions “are driven by different forces, with expectations responding to the stock market and gas prices, while current conditions tend to reflect the unemployment rate. So when both move sharply in the same month, it often indicates a response to other external forces,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, explained in a note.

Namely, the most recent survey encompassed part of the period from late May to early June during which the Trump administration threatened to impose tariffs on imports from Mexico. These plans were walked back on June 7.

“We’re guessing that the Mexico tariff fiasco, which also triggered steep drops in business surveys conducted while the tariff threat was live, is responsible,” he said. “If we’re right, the confidence index will rebound strongly in July, unless the Osaka [G20] summit is a disaster and the president imposes tariffs on imported Chinese consumer goods.”

“For now, note that the index remains very high by historical standards even after this decline, and it is no threat to our view that consumers’ spending will continue to rise at a solid pace,” he said.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/consumer-confidence-drops-to-lowest-level-since-september-2017-140725759.html

 

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)

 

What Is the Consumer Confidence Index?

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) Survey is an index by The Conference Board that measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are with respect to the economy in the near future. The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is based on the concept that if consumers are optimistic, they tend to purchase more goods and services. This increase in spending inevitably stimulates the whole economy.

Consumer Confidence Index

 

Understanding Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)

The index is released on the last Tuesday of every month. It is a barometer of the health of the U.S. economy and is based on consumers’ perceptions of current business and employment condition, and their expectations for business, employment, and income for the next six months. It is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics on consumers’ buying and watching habits.

The Consumer Confidence Index is based on the Consumer Confidence Survey, which is a survey of 5,000 households. The survey was first conducted in 1967 every two months. It changed to monthly tracking in 1977. There are five questions asked: two related to present economic conditions and three related to future expectations. Each response can be answered with one of three responses: positive, negative or neutral. There is also a Present Situation Index, which is an average of two questions related to current economic conditions. An Expectations Index is based on responses to the other three questions. The index was set to 100 in 1985.

 

A Leading Indicator

The CCI is a leading economic indicator for the U.S. economy. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) considers consumer confidence a leading indicator. Leading indicators provide qualitative information used to monitor the current economic situation and as a warning of turning points in economic activity.

In January 2018, The Conference Board announced that the Index was at 125.4 ( it was 100 in 1985), up from 123.1 in December of 2017. The Present Situation Index decreased slightly, from 156.5 to 155.3, while the Expectations Index increased from 100.8 in December 2017 to 105.5 in January 2018. Consumer confidence improved in January after declining in December and was strong overall.

 

The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association. It was formed in 1916 and its mission is to provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Board is designed to help its members understand and navigate the most critical issues of the present time. The Board also conducts research and forums where business leaders convene. These insights feed into its research and meeting agendas.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cci.asp

Conference Board Leading Economic Index

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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index is an American economic leading indicator intended to forecast future economic activity. It is calculated by The Conference Board, a non-governmental organization, which determines the value of the index from the values of ten key variables. These variables have historically turned downward before a recession and upward before an expansion.

A Federal Reserve Bank of New York report What Predicts U.S. Recessions? uses each component of the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI). That report said that the indicators signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle, and the aggregate index has been shown to drop ahead of recessions and rise before expansions.[1]

Revisions to the The Conference Board Leading Economic Index effective with the January 26, 2012 release began using the new Leading Credit Index TM (LCI) … etc.[2]

See also

References

External links

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

Story 4: Federal Reserve Chairman Powell U.S. Economy Facing More Uncertainties — Abolish The Federal Reserve or Bust Up The Banking Cartel For Failure To Maintain Price Stability — The U.S. Dollar Has Lost 99% of It Value Over 105 Years! — Videos

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Trump on the Federal Reserve

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WHILE WE SLEPT, TRUMP PUT THE FED IN CHECK, CUT OFF THE GREEDY GLOBAL BANKING FAMILIES & BEAT CHINA!

[youtub=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvZMCWMJ45I]

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Published on Nov 19, 2008

Recorded at the Mises Institute Supporters Summit, 1 November 2008; Auburn, Alabama. Includes a brief introduction by Mark Thornton. Lew Rockwell is the founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. ***NOTE: Beginning at the 1:11 mark, there are technical difficulties with the video feed. The audio, however, is complete and unaffected.

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This talk explores the fiscal origins of currency monopolies and the adverse consequences stemming from their establishment, including their tendency to promote booms and busts; reviews the origins of the doctrine that they should serve as “lenders of last resort”; and explains why last-resort lending tends in practice to generate moral hazard problems that lead to still greater financial instability. Some time is devoted to the special case of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. The speaker is George Selgin, director of the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Georgia.

Does Fractional Reserve Banking Endanger the Economy? A Debate

Published on Apr 27, 2018

Two free market economists debate a topic that has long divided libertarians: The standard banking practice of keeping only a portion of depositors’ money on hand and loaning out the rest. _____ Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/reasontv Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Reason.Magaz… Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/reason Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes: https://goo.gl/az3a7a Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines. _____ On April 16, 2018, two free market economists debated a topic that has long divided libertarians. Fractional reserve banking refers to banks’ standard practice of keeping only a portion of their depositors’ money on hand and loaning out the rest. In The Mystery of Banking (1983), the anarcho-capitalist economist Murray Rothbard called fractional reserve banking “a shell game, a Ponzi scheme, a fraud in which fake warehouse receipts are issued and circulate as equivalent to the cash supposedly represented by the receipts.” Other libertarian economists, such as Larry White and Steve Horwitz, have argued that the practice is perfectly defensible. At The Soho Forum, a debate series in New York City that is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, Robert Murphy debated George Selgin over the following resolution: “Fractional Reserve banking poses a threat to the stability of market economies.” Murphy, a research assistant professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, argued for the affirmative. He has a Ph.D. in economics from NYU has addiliations with the Institute for Energy Research, the Mises Institute, the Fraser Institute, and the Independent Institute. He has authored hundreds of articles and several books explaining economics to the layperson, including Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. Selgin, who opposed the resolution, is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Georgia. His research covers a broad range of topics within the field of monetary economics, including monetary history, macroeconomic theory, and the history of monetary thought. He is the author of The Theory of Free Banking, Bank Deregulation and Monetary Order, Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy, and most recently Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage. The Soho Forum runs Oxford-style debates, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event. The side that gains more ground is victorious. ​In this case, Selgin won by convincing 14 percent of the audience to switch over to his side.

Rothbardians vs. “Free Bankers” on Fractional Reserve Banking | Robert P. Murphy

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Powell says economy facing growing uncertainties

2 hours ago

1 of 3
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks on the economy outlook and monetary policy review at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday the outlook for the U.S. economy has become cloudier since early May, with rising uncertainties over trade and global growth causing the central bank to reassess its next move on interest rates.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Powell said the Fed is now grappling with the question of whether those uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and require action.

Powell did not commit to a rate cut but said the central bank will closely monitor incoming data and be prepared to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

Many economists believe the Fed could decide at its next meeting on July 30-31 to cut its key policy rate, something it has not done since 2008.

But markets showed disappointment with Powell’s comments, which suggested a rate cut was not certain. That followed separate comments Tuesday by James Bullard, head of the Fed’s St. Louis regional bank, who said that he believed a quarter-point cut in July would be sufficient as an insurance move against a possible severe economic slowdown.

The S&P 500 dropped 1% to 2,917, its biggest loss of the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 179 points or 0.7%, to 26,548.

In addition to disappointment with the Fed comments, reports showing a drop in consumer confidence and weakness in the housing market added to investor gloom.

In an interview with Bloomberg television, Bullard said an “insurance cut” of a quarter-point would be enough to protect against a sharper-than-expected slowdown in economic growth and a half-percentage point cut would be “overdone.” Bullard last week cast the lone dissent from the Fed’s decision to hold rates steady, favoring instead an immediate rate cut.

Trump on Monday tweeted that the Fed “blew it” by not cuttings rates at its meeting last week. At that session the Fed kept its policy rate unchanged in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% but dropped a previous pledge to be “patient” in changing rates in coming months.

Trump reportedly has considered either firing Powell or demoting him from the chairman’s job but has been told by the White House legal team that he does not have the power to do either.

Asked about the repeated criticism by Trump, Powell said, “We are human. We make mistakes. I hope not frequently but we will make mistakes. But we won’t make mistakes of integrity or character.”

Powell said that the Fed’s independence from direct political control had served the country well and when central banks do not have that protection “you see bad things happening.”

The baseline outlook for the U.S. economy remains favorable for continued growth, Powell said, but “the risks to this favorable baseline outlook appear to have grown.”

In early May, Trump more than doubled the tariffs on Chinese goods after U.S.-China trade talks broke down. The president has threatened to essentially hit all Chinse imports with tariffs if China does not meet the administration’s demands for greater protections for U.S. technology.

Trump’s moves sent financial markets tumbling because of concerns the trade conflict could end the current 10-year economic expansion, which in July will become the longest in U.S. history.

Trump is scheduled to meet Chinse President Xi Jinping later this week at the Group of 20 economic summit in Japan, a meeting that is being closely watched for signals that the two sides are prepared to resume talks in search of a trade deal.

In addition to rising trade tensions, Powell said since May incoming data has raised new concerns about the strength of the global economy, noting tentative signs that investment by U.S. businesses has slowed from earlier this year.

Many Fed officials believe the case for easier monetary policy has strengthened, but “we are also mindful that monetary policy should not overreact to any individual data point or short-term swing in sentiment,” he said.

Powell said that would risk adding even more uncertainty to the outlook.

Earlier this year, economists believed the Fed would keep its key policy rate unchanged all year long after four rate hikes last year. Now private economists believe from two to four rate cuts are possible this year, although some analysts think the Fed could keep policy unchanged if trade tensions are resolved without harming the economy.

https://apnews.com/36e95b56e88e444bb67d997b47b046d6

Federal Reserve

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Federal Reserve
Seal of the Federal Reserve System
Seal of the Federal Reserve System
Flag of the Federal Reserve System
Flag of the Federal Reserve System
Headquarters Eccles BuildingWashington, D.C., U.S.
Established December 23, 1913 (105 years ago)
Chairman Jerome Powell
Central bank of United States
Currency United States dollar
USD (ISO 4217)
Reserve requirements 0 to 10%
Bank rate 2.50%[1]
Interest rate target 2.00% to 2.25%[2]
Interest on reserves 2.20%[3]
Interest paid on excess reserves? Yes
Website federalreserve.gov Edit this at Wikidata
Federal Reserve
Agency overview
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Child agency
Key document

The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States of America. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises.[list 1] Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.[5][10][11]

The U.S. Congress established three key objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act: maximizing employment, stabilizing prices, and moderating long-term interest rates.[12] The first two objectives are sometimes referred to as the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate.[13] Its duties have expanded over the years, and currently also include supervising and regulating banks, maintaining the stability of the financial system, and providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions.[14] The Fed conducts research into the economy and provides numerous publications, such as the Beige Book and the FRED database.

The Federal Reserve System is composed of several layers. It is governed by the presidentially appointed board of governors or Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in cities throughout the nation, regulate and oversee privately owned commercial banks.[15][16][17] Nationally chartered commercial banks are required to hold stock in, and can elect some of the board members of, the Federal Reserve Bank of their region. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets monetary policy. It consists of all seven members of the board of governors and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, though only five bank presidents vote at a time (the president of the New York Fed and four others who rotate through one-year voting terms). There are also various advisory councils. Thus, the Federal Reserve System has both public and private components.[list 2] It has a structure unique among central banks, and is also unusual in that the United States Department of the Treasury, an entity outside of the central bank, prints the currency used.[22]

The federal government sets the salaries of the board’s seven governors, and it receives all the system’s annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks’ capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained. In 2015, the Federal Reserve earned net income of $100.2 billion and transferred $97.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury.[23] Although an instrument of the US Government, the Federal Reserve System considers itself “an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the board of governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.”[24]

Purpose

The Eccles Building in Washington, D.C., which serves as the Federal Reserve System’s headquarters

The primary motivation for creating the Federal Reserve System was to address banking panics.[5] Other purposes are stated in the Federal Reserve Act, such as “to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes”.[25] Before the founding of the Federal Reserve System, the United States underwent several financial crises. A particularly severe crisis in 1907 led Congress to enact the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. Today the Federal Reserve System has responsibilities in addition to ensuring the stability of the financial system.[26]

Current functions of the Federal Reserve System include:[14][26]

  • To address the problem of banking panics
  • To serve as the central bank for the United States
  • To strike a balance between private interests of banks and the centralized responsibility of government
    • To supervise and regulate banking institutions
    • To protect the credit rights of consumers
  • To manage the nation’s money supply through monetary policy to achieve the sometimes-conflicting goals of
    • maximum employment
    • stable prices, including prevention of either inflation or deflation[27]
    • moderate long-term interest rates
  • To maintain the stability of the financial system and contain systemic risk in financial markets
  • To provide financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system
    • To facilitate the exchange of payments among regions
    • To respond to local liquidity needs
  • To strengthen U.S. standing in the world economy

Addressing the problem of bank panics

Banking institutions in the United States are required to hold reserves‍—‌amounts of currency and deposits in other banks‍—‌equal to only a fraction of the amount of the bank’s deposit liabilities owed to customers. This practice is called fractional-reserve banking. As a result, banks usually invest the majority of the funds received from depositors. On rare occasions, too many of the bank’s customers will withdraw their savings and the bank will need help from another institution to continue operating; this is called a bank run. Bank runs can lead to a multitude of social and economic problems. The Federal Reserve System was designed as an attempt to prevent or minimize the occurrence of bank runs, and possibly act as a lender of last resort when a bank run does occur. Many economists, following Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, believe that the Federal Reserve inappropriately refused to lend money to small banks during the bank runs of 1929; Friedman argued that this contributed to the Great Depression.[28][29][30]

Check clearing system

Because some banks refused to clear checks from certain other banks during times of economic uncertainty, a check-clearing system was created in the Federal Reserve System. It is briefly described in The Federal Reserve System‍—‌Purposes and Functions as follows:[31]

By creating the Federal Reserve System, Congress intended to eliminate the severe financial crises that had periodically swept the nation, especially the sort of financial panic that occurred in 1907. During that episode, payments were disrupted throughout the country because many banks and clearinghouses refused to clear checks drawn on certain other banks, a practice that contributed to the failure of otherwise solvent banks. To address these problems, Congress gave the Federal Reserve System the authority to establish a nationwide check-clearing system. The System, then, was to provide not only an elastic currency‍—‌that is, a currency that would expand or shrink in amount as economic conditions warranted‍—‌but also an efficient and equitable check-collection system.

Lender of last resort

In the United States, the Federal Reserve serves as the lender of last resort to those institutions that cannot obtain credit elsewhere and the collapse of which would have serious implications for the economy. It took over this role from the private sector “clearing houses” which operated during the Free Banking Era; whether public or private, the availability of liquidity was intended to prevent bank runs.[32][33]

Fluctuations

Through its discount window and credit operations, Reserve Banks provide liquidity to banks to meet short-term needs stemming from seasonal fluctuations in deposits or unexpected withdrawals. Longer term liquidity may also be provided in exceptional circumstances. The rate the Fed charges banks for these loans is called the discount rate (officially the primary credit rate).

By making these loans, the Fed serves as a buffer against unexpected day-to-day fluctuations in reserve demand and supply. This contributes to the effective functioning of the banking system, alleviates pressure in the reserves market and reduces the extent of unexpected movements in the interest rates.[34] For example, on September 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized an $85 billion loan to stave off the bankruptcy of international insurance giant American International Group (AIG).[35][36]

Central bank

Obverse of a Federal Reserve $1 note issued in 2009

In its role as the central bank of the United States, the Fed serves as a banker’s bank and as the government’s bank. As the banker’s bank, it helps to assure the safety and efficiency of the payments system. As the government’s bank or fiscal agent, the Fed processes a variety of financial transactions involving trillions of dollars. Just as an individual might keep an account at a bank, the U.S. Treasury keeps a checking account with the Federal Reserve, through which incoming federal tax deposits and outgoing government payments are handled. As part of this service relationship, the Fed sells and redeems U.S. government securities such as savings bonds and Treasury bills, notes and bonds. It also issues the nation’s coin and paper currency. The U.S. Treasury, through its Bureau of the Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, actually produces the nation’s cash supply and, in effect, sells the paper currency to the Federal Reserve Banks at manufacturing cost, and the coins at face value. The Federal Reserve Banks then distribute it to other financial institutions in various ways.[37] During the Fiscal Year 2013, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing delivered 6.6 billion notes at an average cost of 5.0 cents per note.[38][39]

Federal funds

Federal funds are the reserve balances (also called Federal Reserve Deposits) that private banks keep at their local Federal Reserve Bank.[40][41] These balances are the namesake reserves of the Federal Reserve System. The purpose of keeping funds at a Federal Reserve Bank is to have a mechanism for private banks to lend funds to one another. This market for funds plays an important role in the Federal Reserve System as it is what inspired the name of the system and it is what is used as the basis for monetary policy. Monetary policy is put into effect partly by influencing how much interest the private banks charge each other for the lending of these funds.

Federal reserve accounts contain federal reserve credit, which can be converted into federal reserve notes. Private banks maintain their bank reserves in federal reserve accounts.

Bank regulation

The Federal Reserve regulates private banks. The system was designed out of a compromise between the competing philosophies of privatization and government regulation. In 2006 Donald L. Kohn, vice chairman of the board of governors, summarized the history of this compromise:[42]

Agrarian and progressive interests, led by William Jennings Bryan, favored a central bank under public, rather than banker, control. But the vast majority of the nation’s bankers, concerned about government intervention in the banking business, opposed a central bank structure directed by political appointees.

The legislation that Congress ultimately adopted in 1913 reflected a hard-fought battle to balance these two competing views and created the hybrid public-private, centralized-decentralized structure that we have today.

The balance between private interests and government can also be seen in the structure of the system. Private banks elect members of the board of directors at their regional Federal Reserve Bank while the members of the board of governors are selected by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

Government regulation and supervision

Ben Bernanke (lower-right), former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on February 10, 2009. Members of the board frequently testify before congressional committees such as this one. The Senate equivalent of the House Financial Services Committee is the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The Federal Banking Agency Audit Act, enacted in 1978 as Public Law 95-320 and 31 U.S.C. section 714 establish that the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks may be audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).[43]

The GAO has authority to audit check-processing, currency storage and shipments, and some regulatory and bank examination functions, however, there are restrictions to what the GAO may audit. Under the Federal Banking Agency Audit Act, 31 U.S.C. section 714(b), audits of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks do not include (1) transactions for or with a foreign central bank or government or non-private international financing organization; (2) deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters; (3) transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or (4) a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the board of governors and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to items (1), (2), or (3). See Federal Reserve System Audits: Restrictions on GAO’s Access (GAO/T-GGD-94-44), statement of Charles A. Bowsher.[44]

The board of governors in the Federal Reserve System has a number of supervisory and regulatory responsibilities in the U.S. banking system, but not complete responsibility. A general description of the types of regulation and supervision involved in the U.S. banking system is given by the Federal Reserve:[45]

The Board also plays a major role in the supervision and regulation of the U.S. banking system. It has supervisory responsibilities for state-chartered banks[46] that are members of the Federal Reserve System, bank holding companies (companies that control banks), the foreign activities of member banks, the U.S. activities of foreign banks, and Edge Act and “agreement corporations” (limited-purpose institutions that engage in a foreign banking business). The Board and, under delegated authority, the Federal Reserve Banks, supervise approximately 900 state member banks and 5,000 bank holding companies. Other federal agencies also serve as the primary federal supervisors of commercial banks; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency supervises national banks, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation supervises state banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System.

Some regulations issued by the Board apply to the entire banking industry, whereas others apply only to member banks, that is, state banks that have chosen to join the Federal Reserve System and national banks, which by law must be members of the System. The Board also issues regulations to carry out major federal laws governing consumer credit protection, such as the Truth in LendingEqual Credit Opportunity, and Home Mortgage Disclosure Acts. Many of these consumer protection regulations apply to various lenders outside the banking industry as well as to banks.

Members of the Board of Governors are in continual contact with other policy makers in government. They frequently testify before congressional committees on the economy, monetary policybanking supervision and regulationconsumer credit protectionfinancial markets, and other matters.

The Board has regular contact with members of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and other key economic officials. The Chair also meets from time to time with the President of the United States and has regular meetings with the Secretary of the Treasury. The Chair has formal responsibilities in the international arena as well.

There is a very strong economic consensus in favor of independence from political influence.[47]

Regulatory and oversight responsibilities

The board of directors of each Federal Reserve Bank District also has regulatory and supervisory responsibilities. If the board of directors of a district bank has judged that a member bank is performing or behaving poorly, it will report this to the board of governors. This policy is described in United States Code:[48]

Each Federal reserve bank shall keep itself informed of the general character and amount of the loans and investments of its member banks with a view to ascertaining whether undue use is being made of bank credit for the speculative carrying of or trading in securities, real estate, or commodities, or for any other purpose inconsistent with the maintenance of sound credit conditions; and, in determining whether to grant or refuse advances, rediscounts, or other credit accommodations, the Federal reserve bank shall give consideration to such information. The chairman of the Federal reserve bank shall report to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System any such undue use of bank credit by any member bank, together with his recommendation. Whenever, in the judgment of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, any member bank is making such undue use of bank credit, the Board may, in its discretion, after reasonable notice and an opportunity for a hearing, suspend such bank from the use of the credit facilities of the Federal Reserve System and may terminate such suspension or may renew it from time to time.

National payments system

The Federal Reserve plays a role in the U.S. payments system. The twelve Federal Reserve Banks provide banking services to depository institutions and to the federal government. For depository institutions, they maintain accounts and provide various payment services, including collecting checks, electronically transferring funds, and distributing and receiving currency and coin. For the federal government, the Reserve Banks act as fiscal agents, paying Treasury checks; processing electronic payments; and issuing, transferring, and redeeming U.S. government securities.[49]

In the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980, Congress reaffirmed that the Federal Reserve should promote an efficient nationwide payments system. The act subjects all depository institutions, not just member commercial banks, to reserve requirements and grants them equal access to Reserve Bank payment services. The Federal Reserve plays a role in the nation’s retail and wholesale payments systems by providing financial services to depository institutions. Retail payments are generally for relatively small-dollar amounts and often involve a depository institution’s retail clients‍—‌individuals and smaller businesses. The Reserve Banks’ retail services include distributing currency and coin, collecting checks, and electronically transferring funds through the automated clearinghouse system. By contrast, wholesale payments are generally for large-dollar amounts and often involve a depository institution’s large corporate customers or counterparties, including other financial institutions. The Reserve Banks’ wholesale services include electronically transferring funds through the Fedwire Funds Service and transferring securities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies, and certain other entities through the Fedwire Securities Service.

Structure

Organization of the Federal Reserve System

The Federal Reserve System has a “unique structure that is both public and private”[50] and is described as “independent within the government” rather than “independent of government“.[51] The System does not require public funding, and derives its authority and purpose from the Federal Reserve Act, which was passed by Congress in 1913 and is subject to Congressional modification or repeal.[52] The four main components of the Federal Reserve System are (1) the board of governors, (2) the Federal Open Market Committee, (3) the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, and (4) the member banks throughout the country.

District # Letter Federal Reserve Bank Branches Website President
1 A Boston http://www.bos.frb.org Eric S. Rosengren
2 B New York City http://www.newyorkfed.org John C. Williams
3 C Philadelphia http://www.philadelphiafed.org Patrick T. Harker
4 D Cleveland Cincinnati, Ohio
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
http://www.clevelandfed.org Loretta J. Mester
5 E Richmond Baltimore, Maryland
Charlotte, North Carolina
http://www.richmondfed.org Thomas Barkin
6 F Atlanta Birmingham, Alabama
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Nashville, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
http://www.frbatlanta.org Raphael Bostic
7 G Chicago Detroit, Michigan
Des Moines, Iowa
http://www.chicagofed.org Charles L. Evans
8 H St Louis Little Rock, Arkansas
Louisville, Kentucky
Memphis, Tennessee
http://www.stlouisfed.org James B. Bullard
9 I Minneapolis Helena, Montana https://www.minneapolisfed.org Neel Kashkari
10 J Kansas City Denver, Colorado
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Omaha, Nebraska
http://www.kansascityfed.org Esther George
11 K Dallas El Paso, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
http://www.dallasfed.org Robert Steven Kaplan
12 L San Francisco Los Angeles, California
Portland, Oregon
Salt Lake City, Utah
Seattle, Washington
http://www.frbsf.org Mary C. Daly

Board of governors

The seven-member board of governors is a federal agency. It is charged with the overseeing of the 12 District Reserve Banks and setting national monetary policy. It also supervises and regulates the U.S. banking system in general.[53] Governors are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate for staggered 14-year terms.[34] One term begins every two years, on February 1 of even-numbered years, and members serving a full term cannot be renominated for a second term.[54] “[U]pon the expiration of their terms of office, members of the Board shall continue to serve until their successors are appointed and have qualified.” The law provides for the removal of a member of the board by the president “for cause”.[55] The board is required to make an annual report of operations to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The chair and vice chair of the board of governors are appointed by the president from among the sitting governors. They both serve a four-year term and they can be renominated as many times as the president chooses, until their terms on the board of governors expire.[56]

List of members of the board of governors

Board of governors in April 2019, when two of the seven seats were vacant

The current members of the board of governors are as follows:[54]

Photo Governor Political party Entered office Term expires
Jerome H. Powell (cropped).jpg Jerome Powell
(Chairman)
Republican February 5, 2018 (as Chairman)
May 25, 2012 (as Governor)
June 16, 2014 (new term)
February 5, 2022 (as Chairman)
January 31, 2028 (as Governor)
Richard Clarida official photo (cropped).jpg Richard Clarida
(Vice Chairman)
September 17, 2018 (as Vice Chairman)
September 17, 2018
September 17, 2022 (as Vice Chairman)
January 31, 2022 (as Governor)
Randal Quarles official photo (cropped).jpg Randal Quarles
(Vice Chairman for Supervision)
October 13, 2017 (as Vice Chairman for Supervision)
October 13, 2017
October 13, 2021 (as Vice Chairman for Supervision)
January 31, 2032 (as Governor)
Lael Brainard cropped.jpg Lael Brainard Democratic June 16, 2014 January 31, 2026
Michelle Bowman (cropped).jpg Michelle Bowman Republican November 26, 2018 January 31, 2020
Vacant January 31, 2024*
Vacant January 31, 2030*

*Indicates the date of term expiration for the individual nominated to this vacant position.

Nominations, confirmations and resignations

In late December 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Jeremy C. Stein, a Harvard University finance professor and a Democrat, and Jerome Powell, formerly of Dillon ReadBankers Trust[57] and The Carlyle Group[58] and a Republican. Both candidates also have Treasury Department experience in the Obama and George H. W. Bush administrations respectively.[57]

“Obama administration officials [had] regrouped to identify Fed candidates after Peter Diamond, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, withdrew his nomination to the board in June [2011] in the face of Republican opposition. Richard Clarida, a potential nominee who was a Treasury official under George W. Bush, pulled out of consideration in August [2011]”, one account of the December nominations noted.[59] The two other Obama nominees in 2011, Janet Yellen and Sarah Bloom Raskin,[60] were confirmed in September.[61] One of the vacancies was created in 2011 with the resignation of Kevin Warsh, who took office in 2006 to fill the unexpired term ending January 31, 2018, and resigned his position effective March 31, 2011.[62][63] In March 2012, U.S. Senator David Vitter (RLA) said he would oppose Obama’s Stein and Powell nominations, dampening near-term hopes for approval.[64] However, Senate leaders reached a deal, paving the way for affirmative votes on the two nominees in May 2012 and bringing the board to full strength for the first time since 2006[65] with Duke’s service after term end. Later, on January 6, 2014, the United States Senate confirmed Yellen’s nomination to be chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; she is slated to be the first woman to hold the position and will become chair on February 1, 2014.[66] Subsequently, President Obama nominated Stanley Fischer to replace Yellen as the Vice Chair.[67]

In April 2014, Stein announced he was leaving to return to Harvard May 28 with four years remaining on his term. At the time of the announcement, the FOMC “already is down three members as it awaits the Senate confirmation of … Fischer and Lael Brainard, and as [President] Obama has yet to name a replacement for … Duke. … Powell is still serving as he awaits his confirmation for a second term.”[68]

Allan R. Landon, former president and CEO of the Bank of Hawaii, was nominated in early 2015 by President Obama to the board.[69]

In July 2015, President Obama nominated University of Michigan economist Kathryn M. Dominguez to fill the second vacancy on the board. The Senate had not yet acted on Landon’s confirmation by the time of the second nomination.[70]

Daniel Tarullo submitted his resignation from the board on February 10, 2017, effective on or around April 5, 2017.[71]

Federal Open Market Committee

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of 12 members, seven from the board of governors and 5 of the regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents. The FOMC oversees and sets policy on open market operations, the principal tool of national monetary policy. These operations affect the amount of Federal Reserve balances available to depository institutions, thereby influencing overall monetary and credit conditions. The FOMC also directs operations undertaken by the Federal Reserve in foreign exchange markets. The FOMC must reach consensus on all decisions. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is a permanent member of the FOMC; the presidents of the other banks rotate membership at two- and three-year intervals. All Regional Reserve Bank presidents contribute to the committee’s assessment of the economy and of policy options, but only the five presidents who are then members of the FOMC vote on policy decisions. The FOMC determines its own internal organization and, by tradition, elects the chair of the board of governors as its chair and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as its vice chair. Formal meetings typically are held eight times each year in Washington, D.C. Nonvoting Reserve Bank presidents also participate in Committee deliberations and discussion. The FOMC generally meets eight times a year in telephone consultations and other meetings are held when needed.[72]

There is very strong consensus among economists against politicising the FOMC.[47]

Federal Advisory Council

The Federal Advisory Council, composed of twelve representatives of the banking industry, advises the board on all matters within its jurisdiction.

Federal Reserve Banks

Map of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts, with the twelve Federal Reserve Banks marked as black squares, and all Branches within each district (24 total) marked as red circles. The Washington DC Headquarters is marked with a star. (Also, a 25th branch in Buffalo, NY had been closed in 2008.)

The twelve Reserve Banks buildings in 1936

There are 12 Federal Reserve Banks, each of which is responsible for member banks located in its district. They are located in BostonNew YorkPhiladelphiaClevelandRichmondAtlantaChicagoSt. LouisMinneapolisKansas CityDallas, and San Francisco. The size of each district was set based upon the population distribution of the United States when the Federal Reserve Act was passed.

The charter and organization of each Federal Reserve Bank is established by law and cannot be altered by the member banks. Member banks, do however, elect six of the nine members of the Federal Reserve Banks’ boards of directors.[34][73]

Each regional Bank has a president, who is the chief executive officer of their Bank. Each regional Reserve Bank’s president is nominated by their Bank’s board of directors, but the nomination is contingent upon approval by the board of governors. Presidents serve five-year terms and may be reappointed.[74]

Each regional Bank’s board consists of nine members. Members are broken down into three classes: A, B, and C. There are three board members in each class. Class A members are chosen by the regional Bank’s shareholders, and are intended to represent member banks’ interests. Member banks are divided into three categories: large, medium, and small. Each category elects one of the three class A board members. Class B board members are also nominated by the region’s member banks, but class B board members are supposed to represent the interests of the public. Lastly, class C board members are appointed by the board of governors, and are also intended to represent the interests of the public.[75]

Legal status of regional Federal Reserve Banks

The Federal Reserve Banks have an intermediate legal status, with some features of private corporations and some features of public federal agencies. The United States has an interest in the Federal Reserve Banks as tax-exempt federally created instrumentalities whose profits belong to the federal government, but this interest is not proprietary.[76] In Lewis v. United States,[77] the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that: “The Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA [the Federal Tort Claims Act], but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.” The opinion went on to say, however, that: “The Reserve Banks have properly been held to be federal instrumentalities for some purposes.” Another relevant decision is Scott v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City,[76] in which the distinction is made between Federal Reserve Banks, which are federally created instrumentalities, and the board of governors, which is a federal agency.

Regarding the structural relationship between the twelve Federal Reserve banks and the various commercial (member) banks, political science professor Michael D. Reagan has written that:[78]

… the “ownership” of the Reserve Banks by the commercial banks is symbolic; they do not exercise the proprietary control associated with the concept of ownership nor share, beyond the statutory dividend, in Reserve Bank “profits.” … Bank ownership and election at the base are therefore devoid of substantive significance, despite the superficial appearance of private bank control that the formal arrangement creates.

Plaque marking a bank as a member

Member banks

A member bank is a private institution and owns stock in its regional Federal Reserve Bank. All nationally chartered banks hold stock in one of the Federal Reserve Banks. State chartered banks may choose to be members (and hold stock in their regional Federal Reserve bank) upon meeting certain standards.

The amount of stock a member bank must own is equal to 3% of its combined capital and surplus.[79][80] However, holding stock in a Federal Reserve bank is not like owning stock in a publicly traded company. These stocks cannot be sold or traded, and member banks do not control the Federal Reserve Bank as a result of owning this stock. From the profits of the Regional Bank of which it is a member, a member bank receives a dividend equal to 6% of its purchased stock.[18] The remainder of the regional Federal Reserve Banks’ profits is given over to the United States Treasury Department. In 2015, the Federal Reserve Banks made a profit of $100.2 billion and distributed $2.5 billion in dividends to member banks as well as returning $97.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury.[23]

About 38% of U.S. banks are members of their regional Federal Reserve Bank.[81][82]

Accountability

An external auditor selected by the audit committee of the Federal Reserve System regularly audits the Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Banks. The GAO will audit some activities of the Board of Governors. These audits do not cover “most of the Fed’s monetary policy actions or decisions, including discount window lending (direct loans to financial institutions), open-market operations and any other transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee” …[nor may the GAO audit] “dealings with foreign governments and other central banks.”[83]

The annual and quarterly financial statements prepared by the Federal Reserve System conform to a basis of accounting that is set by the Federal Reserve Board and does not conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or government Cost Accounting Standards (CAS). The financial reporting standards are defined in the Financial Accounting Manual for the Federal Reserve Banks.[84] The cost accounting standards are defined in the Planning and Control System Manual.[84] As of 27 August 2012, the Federal Reserve Board has been publishing unaudited financial reports for the Federal Reserve banks every quarter.[85]

November 7, 2008, Bloomberg L.P. News brought a lawsuit against the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System to force the board to reveal the identities of firms for which it has provided guarantees during the financial crisis of 2007–2008.[86] Bloomberg, L.P. won at the trial court[87] and the Fed’s appeals were rejected at both the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. The data was released on March 31, 2011.[88][89]

Monetary policy

The term “monetary policy” refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. What happens to money and credit affects interest rates (the cost of credit) and the performance of an economy. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 gave the Federal Reserve authority to set monetary policy in the United States.[90][91]

Interbank lending

The Federal Reserve sets monetary policy by influencing the federal funds rate, which is the rate of interbank lending of excess reserves. The rate that banks charge each other for these loans is determined in the interbank market and the Federal Reserve influences this rate through the three “tools” of monetary policy described in the Tools section below. The federal funds rate is a short-term interest rate that the FOMC focuses on, which affects the longer-term interest rates throughout the economy. The Federal Reserve summarized its monetary policy in 2005:

The Federal Reserve implements U.S. monetary policy by affecting conditions in the market for balances that depository institutions hold at the Federal Reserve Banks…By conducting open market operations, imposing reserve requirements, permitting depository institutions to hold contractual clearing balances, and extending credit through its discount window facility, the Federal Reserve exercises considerable control over the demand for and supply of Federal Reserve balances and the federal funds rate. Through its control of the federal funds rate, the Federal Reserve is able to foster financial and monetary conditions consistent with its monetary policy objectives.[92]

Effects on the quantity of reserves that banks used to make loans influence the economy. Policy actions that add reserves to the banking system encourage lending at lower interest rates thus stimulating growth in money, credit, and the economy. Policy actions that absorb reserves work in the opposite direction. The Fed’s task is to supply enough reserves to support an adequate amount of money and credit, avoiding the excesses that result in inflation and the shortages that stifle economic growth.[93]

Tools

There are three main tools of monetary policy that the Federal Reserve uses to influence the amount of reserves in private banks:[90]

Tool Description
Open market operations Purchases and sales of U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities‍—‌the Federal Reserve’s principal tool for implementing monetary policy. The Federal Reserve’s objective for open market operations has varied over the years. During the 1980s, the focus gradually shifted toward attaining a specified level of the federal funds rate (the rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans of federal funds, which are the reserves held by banks at the Fed), a process that was largely complete by the end of the decade.[94]
Discount rate The interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions on loans they receive from their regional Federal Reserve Bank’s lending facility‍—‌the discount window.[95]
Reserve requirements The amount of funds that a depository institution must hold in reserve against specified deposit liabilities.[96]

Federal funds rate and open market operations

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

The Federal Reserve System implements monetary policy largely by targeting the federal funds rate. This is the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans of federal funds, which are the reserves held by banks at the Fed. This rate is actually determined by the market and is not explicitly mandated by the Fed. The Fed therefore tries to align the effective federal funds rate with the targeted rate by adding or subtracting from the money supply through open market operations. The Federal Reserve System usually adjusts the federal funds rate target by 0.25% or 0.50% at a time.

Open market operations allow the Federal Reserve to increase or decrease the amount of money in the banking system as necessary to balance the Federal Reserve’s dual mandates. Open market operations are done through the sale and purchase of United States Treasury security, sometimes called “Treasury bills” or more informally “T-bills” or “Treasuries”. The Federal Reserve buys Treasury bills from its primary dealers. The purchase of these securities affects the federal funds rate, because primary dealers have accounts at depository institutions.[97]

The Federal Reserve education website describes open market operations as follows:[91]

Open market operations involve the buying and selling of U.S. government securities (federal agency and mortgage-backed). The term ‘open market’ means that the Fed doesn’t decide on its own which securities dealers it will do business with on a particular day. Rather, the choice emerges from an ‘open market’ in which the various securities dealers that the Fed does business with‍—‌the primary dealers‍—‌compete on the basis of price. Open market operations are flexible and thus, the most frequently used tool of monetary policy.

Open market operations are the primary tool used to regulate the supply of bank reserves. This tool consists of Federal Reserve purchases and sales of financial instruments, usually securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, Federal agencies and government-sponsored enterprises. Open market operations are carried out by the Domestic Trading Desk of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under direction from the FOMC. The transactions are undertaken with primary dealers.

The Fed’s goal in trading the securities is to affect the federal funds rate, the rate at which banks borrow reserves from each other. When the Fed wants to increase reserves, it buys securities and pays for them by making a deposit to the account maintained at the Fed by the primary dealer’s bank. When the Fed wants to reduce reserves, it sells securities and collects from those accounts. Most days, the Fed does not want to increase or decrease reserves permanently so it usually engages in transactions reversed within a day or two. That means that a reserve injection today could be withdrawn tomorrow morning, only to be renewed at some level several hours later. These short-term transactions are called repurchase agreements (repos)‍—‌the dealer sells the Fed a security and agrees to buy it back at a later date.

Repurchase agreements

To smooth temporary or cyclical changes in the money supply, the desk engages in repurchase agreements (repos) with its primary dealers. Repos are essentially secured, short-term lending by the Fed. On the day of the transaction, the Fed deposits money in a primary dealer’s reserve account, and receives the promised securities as collateral. When the transaction matures, the process unwinds: the Fed returns the collateral and charges the primary dealer‘s reserve account for the principal and accrued interest. The term of the repo (the time between settlement and maturity) can vary from 1 day (called an overnight repo) to 65 days.[98]

Discount rate

The Federal Reserve System also directly sets the “discount rate”, which is the interest rate for “discount window lending”, overnight loans that member banks borrow directly from the Fed. This rate is generally set at a rate close to 100 basis points above the target federal funds rate. The idea is to encourage banks to seek alternative funding before using the “discount rate” option.[99] The equivalent operation by the European Central Bank is referred to as the “marginal lending facility“.[100]

Both the discount rate and the federal funds rate influence the prime rate, which is usually about 3 percentage points higher than the federal funds rate.

Reserve requirements

Another instrument of monetary policy adjustment employed by the Federal Reserve System is the fractional reserve requirement, also known as the required reserve ratio.[101] The required reserve ratio sets the balance that the Federal Reserve System requires a depository institution to hold in the Federal Reserve Banks,[92] which depository institutions trade in the federal funds market discussed above.[102] The required reserve ratio is set by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.[103] The reserve requirements have changed over time and some history of these changes is published by the Federal Reserve.