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

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Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

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Image result for president trump permitting process august 15, 2017 press conferenceImage result for branco cartoons president trump on infrastructure 2017Image result for branco cartoons on antifaImage result for branco cartoons president trump on infrastructure 2017Image result for jack web just the facts

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

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

 

Trump Says ‘Both Sides’ to Blame in Charlottesville Violence

Remarks at odds with day-earlier statement condemning white supremacists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

President Donald Trump: Saturday’s Statement On Charlottesville Was A ‘Fine Statement’ | CNBC

Jack Webb Schools Obama on Respect for Police

Jack Webb and Harry Morgan grill Obama on healthcare

Jack Webb | Red Nightmare (1962) [Drama]

Dragnet 1967 – The Big Explosion

Published on Feb 26, 2011

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

 

Story 3: Will Trump Cave To Critics of Bannion? — Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017, Story 1: Trump’s Fire and Fury Over The Nuclear Club’s New Member, North Korea — On The Brink of Nuclear Arms Race and Proliferation — Duck and Cover — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Golden Opportunity To Negotiate With Communist China — Destroy North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities Or Face A Total Trade and Investment Ban With The United States — China Enabled North Korea Now It Must Disable Their Nuclear and Missile Forces No Later Than 1 January 2018 — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895, May 17, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 893, May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892, May 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 890, May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888, May 8, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

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 Story 1: Trump’s Fire and Fury Over The Nuclear Club’s New Member, North Korea — On The Brink of Nuclear Arms Race and Proliferation — Duck and Cover — Videos

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President Trump THREATS North Korea with “FIRE & FURY Like the World’s Never Seen” 8/8/2017 video

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New Statement from James Mattis on North Korea!

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North Korea is a template for Trump: Mark Steyn

General J. Clapper Compares Donald Trump To Kim Jong Un after Latest Statement – Anderson Cooper

Ret. Gen. McInerney – We Should Respond By Destroying North Korea In 15 Minutes

Sebastian Gorka on North Korea and President Trump!

08/05/17 H.R. McMaster on MSNBC w/Hugh Hewitt – 1

08/05/17 – H.R. McMaster on MSNBC w/Hugh Hewitt – 2

08/05/17 – H.R. McMaster on MSNBC w/Hugh Hewitt – 3

08/05/17 – H.R. McMaster on MSNBC w/Hugh Hewitt – 4

‘North Korea would Lose in Nuclear War with USA’ Chief of Staff

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Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again (Dr. Strangelove Ending Updated)

Dr. Strangelove: The Hilarity of Nuclear Annihilation

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Trump warns North Korea threats ‘will be met with fire and fury’

  • President Donald Trump warns that threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
  • North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can fit in its missiles, according to NBC News and The Washington Post.

Jacob Pramuk

Trump: North korea will be met with fire and fury

President Trump: North Korea will be met with ‘fire and fury’  39 Mins Ago | 00:27

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea about facing “fire and fury” if the isolated nation makes more threats to the United States.

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening … and I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump told reporters during what he calls a “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club.

His comments came hours after revelations Pyongyang has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon designed to fit inside its missiles.

The development raises the stakes for Trump and other world leaders, who already faced difficult and limited options in dealing with North Korea’s aggression.

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously put new sanctions on North Korea over its continued missile tests. The country has tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles that landed off the coast of Japan this year. Some analysis has said one of those missiles could potentially reach the mainland United States.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/trump-warns-north-korea-threats-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury.html

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say

A confidential assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency says that North Korea has already developed a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can fit on top of an ICBM. (The Washington Post)
 August 8 at 12:09 PM
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.

While more than a decade has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, many analysts believed it would be years before the country’s weapons scientists could design a compact warhead that could be delivered by missile to distant targets. But the new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has already been reached.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially last year claimed to have done so.

The DIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.

Kim Jong Un is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, both China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion earnings.

The nuclear progress further raises the stakes for President Trump, who has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons. In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said. But McMaster said the administration would do everything short of war to “pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him, such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearize.” The options said to be under discussion ranged from new multilateral negotiations to reintroducing U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula, officials familiar with internal discussions said.

Determining the precise makeup of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has long been a difficult challenge for intelligence professionals because of the regime’s culture of extreme secrecy and insularity. The country’s weapons scientists have conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, the latest being a 20- to 30-kiloton detonation on Sept. 9, 2016, that produced a blast estimated to be up to twice that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

But producing a compact nuclear warhead that can fit inside a missile is a technically demanding feat, one that many analysts believed was still beyond North Korea’s grasp. Last year, state-run media in Pyongyang displayed a spherical device that government spokesmen described as a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but whether it was a real bomb remained unclear. North Korean officials described the September detonation as a successful test of a small warhead designed to fit on a missile, though many experts were skeptical of the claim.

Kim has repeatedly proclaimed his intention to field a fleet of nuclear-tipped ICBMs as a guarantor of his regime’s survival. His regime took a major step toward that goal last month with the first successful tests of a missile with intercontinental range. Video analysis of the latest test revealed that the missile caught fire and apparently disintegrated as it plunged back toward Earth’s surface, suggesting North Korea’s engineers are not yet capable of building a reentry vehicle that can carry the warhead safely through the upper atmosphere. But U.S. analysts and many independent experts believe that this hurdle will be overcome by late next year.

“What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along,” said Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and author of “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout,” published by the center this year. “There’s a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era.”

While few discount North Korea’s progress, some prominent U.S. experts warned against the danger of overestimating the threat. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the last known U.S. official to personally inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities, has calculated the size of North Korea’s arsenal at no more than 20 to 25 bombs. Hecker warned of potential risks that can come from making Kim into a bigger menace than he actually is.

“Overselling is particularly dangerous,” said Hecker, who visited North Korea seven times between 2004 and 2010 and met with key leaders of the country’s weapons programs. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy — a madman — and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.”

“The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”

In the past, U.S. intelligence agencies have occasionally overestimated the North Korean threat. In the early 2000s, the George W. Bush administration assessed that Pyongyang was close to developing an ICBM that could strike the U.S. mainland — a prediction that missed the mark by more than a decade. More recently, however, analysts and policymakers have been taken repeatedly by surprise as North Korea achieved key milestones months or years ahead of schedule, noted Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ East Asia Nonproliferation Program. There was similar skepticism about China’s capabilities in the early 1960s, said Lewis, who has studied that country’s pathway to a successful nuclear test in 1964.

“There is no reason to think that the North Koreans aren’t making the same progress after so many successful nuclear explosions,” Lewis said. “The big question is why do we hold the North Koreans to a different standard than we held [Joseph] Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China? North Korea is testing underground, so we’re always going to lack a lot of details. But it seems to me a lot of people are insisting on impossible levels of proof because they simply don’t want to accept what should be pretty obvious.”

Fifield reported from Krabi, Thailand. Yuki Oda in Tokyo contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.44fcf2bba791

 

The right way to play the China card on North Korea


The successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (Korean Central News Agency/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
 July 5

Jake Sullivan was national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and director of policy planning in the Obama administration. Victor Cha is former director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council and served as deputy head of the U.S. delegation for the six-party talks in the George W. Bush administration.

North Korea’s July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile test raises hard questions for the Trump administration: Is there any path forward that does not lead either to war or to living with a nuclear North Korea that can hit the continental United States? Can effective diplomacy prevent the “major, major conflict” that President Trump has talked about?

There is growing recognition that the old playbook won’t work. Reviving old agreements North Korea has already broken would be fruitless. The Chinese won’t deliver on meaningful pressure. And a military strike could lead to all-out war resulting in millions of casualties. We need to consider a new approach to diplomacy.

That means playing the China card, but not the way it has been played until now. It’s not enough to ask China to pressure Pyongyang to set up a U.S.-North Korea negotiation. China has to be a central part of the negotiation, too. China, rather than the United States, should be paying for North Korea to halt and roll back its nuclear and missile programs. Here’s the logic.

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The best option would be for China to agree to work with us and South Korea toward getting new leadership in North Korea that is less obsessed with weapons of mass destruction. But this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future for a litany of reasons: China’s historical ties to its little communist brother; its concerns about regime collapse; its uncertainty about alternative viable power centers to the Kim family; its mistrust of U.S. motives; and its strained relations with South Korea.

The next option would be for China to cut off, or at least severely curtail, its commerce with North Korea, which accounts for 85 to 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, to restrain Pyongyang. But as Trump has recognized in recent tweets, China is unlikely to go this far right now, for the same reasons.

So we are left with a less dramatic form of carrots-and-sticks diplomacy, backed by increasing pressure. But it can’t be a repeat of previous rounds.

In the past, China has largely left it to the United States to put inducements on the table. Together the nuclear agreements executed by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations cost the United States a half-billion dollars for denuclearization via monthly energy-assistance payments to Pyongyang. (Japan and South Korea also paid their fair share; China paid only a small amount in the Bush agreement.) Meanwhile, China continued to enjoy its trade relationship with North Korea, extracting mineral resources at a fraction of world market prices.

Now China is back, pushing us to the bargaining table, as evidenced by its statement with Russia after Tuesday’s missile test calling for the United States to give up military exercises in exchange for a missile-testing freeze.

According to a confidential assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year. (The Washington Post)

We should reject the freeze-for- freeze. But beyond that, we should tell China that it has to pay to play. The basic trade would be Chinese disbursements to Pyongyang, as well as security assurances, in return for constraints on North Korea’s program. China would be paying not just for North Korean coal, but for North Korean compliance.

In a Chinese freeze-and-rollback agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency would monitor compliance. If North Korea cheated, China would not be receiving what it paid for. The logical thing would be for it to withhold economic benefits until compliance resumed.

Of course, China might continue to fund the regime anyway. Or North Korea could very well reject such a deal from the start. But these scenarios would leave us no worse off than we are now. And it might well put us in a stronger position. Because China didn’t get what it paid for, or got the cold shoulder from Pyongyang, it might become more receptive to working with us and our allies on other options.

Why would China agree to this plan, given that it has never been willing to put its economic leverage to real use before?

Beijing wants a diplomatic off-ramp to the current crisis. President Xi Jinping is still seeking a good relationship with Trump in this critical year of China’s 19th Party Congress. Furthermore, Chinese frustrations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have grown after his execution of family members and regime figures close to China. All this may give the Trump administration marginally more leverage than its predecessors had.

We also have an important stick. If China refuses to proceed along these lines, we would be better positioned to pursue widespread secondary sanctions against Chinese firms doing business with North Korea beyond the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of a Chinese bank last week. We would be left with little choice.

Of course, this idea is no silver bullet. It doesn’t answer the question of how to get verifiable, enforceable, durable constraints on North Korea. It won’t go very far if what North Korea really cares about is extracting something from the United States. But North Korea is the land of lousy options. We should be looking for a strategy that gives us not only a better chance of success but also some advantages if it fails.

List of states with nuclear weapons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of nuclear-armed states of the world.

 NPT-designated nuclear weapon states (ChinaFranceRussian FederationUnited KingdomUnited States)
  Other states with nuclear weapons (IndiaNorth KoreaPakistan)
  Other states presumed to have nuclear weapons (Israel)
  States formerly possessing nuclear weapons (BelarusKazakhstanSouth AfricaUkraine)

There are eight sovereign states that have successfully detonated nuclear weapons.[1]Five are considered to be “nuclear-weapon states” (NWS) under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In order of acquisition of nuclear weapons these are: the United States, the Russian Federation (the successor state to the Soviet Union), the United KingdomFrance, and China.

Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted nuclear tests, namely IndiaPakistan, and North Korea. North Korea had been a party to the NPT but withdrew in 2003. Israel is also widely known to have nuclear weapons,[2][3][4][5][6] though it maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity regarding this (has not acknowledged it), and is not known definitively to have conducted a nuclear test.[7] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute‘s SIPRI Yearbook of 2014, Israel has approximately 80 nuclear warheads.[8]

According to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear Notebook, the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide is estimated at 9,920 in 2017.[9]

South Africa developed nuclear weapons but then disassembled its arsenal before joining the NPT.[10] Nations that are known or thought to have nuclear weapons are sometimes referred to informally as the nuclear club.

Statistics and force configuration

Countries by estimated total nuclear warhead stockpile.
According to the Federation of American Scientists.

The following is a list of states that have admitted the possession of nuclear weapons or are presumed to possess them, the approximate number of warheads under their control, and the year they tested their first weapon and their force configuration. This list is informally known in global politics as the “Nuclear Club”.[11] With the exception of Russia and the United States (which have subjected their nuclear forces to independent verification under various treaties) these figures are estimates, in some cases quite unreliable estimates. In particular, under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty thousands of Russian and U.S. nuclear warheads are inactive in stockpiles awaiting processing. The fissile material contained in the warheads can then be recycled for use in nuclear reactors.

From a high of 68,000 active weapons in 1985, as of 2016 there are some 4,000 active nuclear warheads and 10,100 total nuclear warheads in the world.[1] Many of the decommissioned weapons were simply stored or partially dismantled, not destroyed.[12]

It is also noteworthy that since the dawn of the Atomic Age, the delivery methods of most states with nuclear weapons has evolved with some achieving a nuclear triad, while others have consolidated away from land and air deterrents to submarine-based forces.

Country Warheads (Active/Total)[nb 1] Date of first test Test site of first test CTBT status Delivery methods
The five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT
United States 2,800 / 6,800[1] 16 July 1945 (“Trinity“) Alamogordo, New Mexico Signatory[13] Nuclear triad[14]
Russia 1,910 / 7,000[1] 29 August 1949 (“RDS-1“) SemipalatinskKazakhstan Ratifier[13] Nuclear triad[15]
United Kingdom 120 / 215[1] 3 October 1952 (“Hurricane“) Monte Bello IslandsAustralia Ratifier[13] Sea-based[16][nb 2]
France 280 / 300[1] 13 February 1960 (“Gerboise Bleue“) Sahara desert, French Algeria Ratifier[13] Sea- and air-based[17][nb 3]
China n.a. / 270[1] 16 October 1964 (“596“) Lop NurXinjiang Signatory[13] Suspected nuclear triad.[18][19]
Non-NPT nuclear powers
India n.a. / 110–120[1] 18 May 1974 (“Smiling Buddha“) Pokhran,Rajasthan Non-signatory[13] Nuclear triad[20][21][22][23][24]
Pakistan n.a. / 120–130[1] 28 May 1998 (“Chagai-I“) Ras Koh HillsBalochistan Non-signatory[13] Land and air-based.[25][26]
North Korea n.a. / 60 [1] 9 October 2006[27] KiljuNorth Hamgyong Non-signatory[13] Suspected land and sea-based.[28]
Undeclared nuclear powers
Israel n.a. / 80[1][29][30] 1960–1979[31] incl. suspected Vela Incident[32] Unknown Signatory[13] Suspected nuclear triad.[33][34]

Five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT

An early stage in the “Trinity” fireball, the first nuclear explosion, 1945

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2014

The mushroom cloud from the first Soviet Union atomic test “RDS-1” (1949).

French nuclear-powered aircraft carrierCharles de Gaulle (right) and the American nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise (left), each of which carries nuclear-capable warplanes

These five states are known to have detonated a nuclear explosive before 1 January 1967 and are thus nuclear weapons states under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, they also happen to be the UN Security Council‘s permanent members with veto power on UNSC resolutions.

United States

The United States developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II in cooperation with the United Kingdom and Canada as part of the Manhattan Project, out of the fear that Nazi Germany would develop them first. It tested the first nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945 (“Trinity“) at 5:30 am, and remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war, devastating the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the first nation to develop the hydrogen bomb, testing an experimental prototype in 1952 (“Ivy Mike“) and a deployable weapon in 1954 (“Castle Bravo“). Throughout the Cold War it continued to modernize and enlarge its nuclear arsenal, but from 1992 on has been involved primarily in a program of Stockpile stewardship.[35][36][37][38] The U.S. nuclear arsenal contained 31,175 warheads at its Cold War height (in 1966).[39] During the Cold War, the United States built approximately 70,000 nuclear warheads, more than all other nuclear-weapon states combined.[40][41]

Russian Federation (formerly part of the Soviet Union)

The Soviet Union tested its first nuclear weapon (“RDS-1“) in 1949, in a crash project developed partially with espionage obtained during and after World War II (see: Soviet atomic bomb project). The Soviet Union was the second nation to have developed and tested a nuclear weapon. The direct motivation for Soviet weapons development was to achieve a balance of power during the Cold War. It tested its first megaton-range hydrogen bomb (“RDS-37“) in 1955. The Soviet Union also tested the most powerful explosive ever detonated by humans, (“Tsar Bomba“), with a theoretical yield of 100 megatons, intentionally reduced to 50 when detonated. After its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet weapons entered officially into the possession of the Russian Federation.[42] The Soviet nuclear arsenal contained some 45,000 warheads at its peak (in 1986); the Soviet Union built about 55,000 nuclear warheads since 1949.[41]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon (“Hurricane“) in 1952. The UK had provided considerable impetus and initial research for the early conception of the atomic bomb, aided by the presence of refugee scientists working in British laboratories who had fled the continent. It collaborated closely with the United States and Canada during the Manhattan Project, but had to develop its own method for manufacturing and detonating a bomb as U.S. secrecy grew after 1945. The United Kingdom was the third country in the world, after the United States and Soviet Union, to develop and test a nuclear weapon. Its programme was motivated to have an independent deterrent against the Soviet Union, while also maintaining its status as a great power. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1957 (Operation Grapple), making it the third country to do so after the United States and Soviet Union.[43][44] The UK maintained a fleet of V bomberstrategic bombers and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) equipped with nuclear weapons during the Cold War. It currently maintains a fleet of four ‘Vanguard’ classballistic missile submarines equipped with Trident II missiles. In 2016, the UK House of Commons voted to renew the British nuclear deterrent with the Dreadnought-class submarine, without setting a date for the commencement of service of a replacement to the current system.

France

France tested its first nuclear weapon in 1960 (“Gerboise Bleue“), based mostly on its own research. It was motivated by the Suez Crisis diplomatic tension vis-à-vis both the Soviet Union and the Free World allies United States and United Kingdom. It was also relevant to retain great power status, alongside the United Kingdom, during the post-colonial Cold War (see: Force de frappe). France tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1968 (“Opération Canopus“). After the Cold War, France has disarmed 175 warheads with the reduction and modernization of its arsenal that has now evolved to a dual system based on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and medium-range air-to-surface missiles (Rafale fighter-bombers). However new nuclear weapons are in development[citation needed] and reformed nuclear squadrons were trained during Enduring Freedom operations in Afghanistan.[citation needed] France signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992.[45] In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac stated a terrorist act or the use of weapons of mass destruction against France would result in a nuclear counterattack.[46] In February 2015, President Francois Hollande stressed the need for a nuclear deterrent in “a dangerous world”. He also detailed the French deterrent as “less than 300″ nuclear warheads, three sets of 16 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 54 medium-range air-to-surface missiles” and urged other states to show similar transparency.[47]

China

China tested its first nuclear weapon device (“596“) in 1964 at the Lop Nur test site. The weapon was developed as a deterrent against both the United States and the Soviet Union. Two years later, China had a fission bomb capable of being put onto a nuclear missile. It tested its first hydrogen bomb (“Test No. 6“) in 1967, a mere 32 months after testing its first nuclear weapon (the shortest fission-to-fusion development known in history).[48] The country is currently thought to have had a stockpile of around 240 warheads, though because of the limited information available, estimates range from 100 to 400.[49][50][51] China is the only NPT nuclear-weapon state to give an unqualified negative security assurance due to its “no first use” policy.[52][53] China signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992.[45] On February 25, 2015 U.S. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy stated to the House Armed Services Committee‘s seapower subcommittee that the U.S. does not believe the PLAN currently deploys SLBMs on their submarine fleet.[54]

Other states declaring possession of nuclear weapons

Large stockpile with global range (dark blue), smaller stockpile with global range (medium blue), small stockpile with regional range (light blue)

India

India is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India tested what it called a “peaceful nuclear explosive” in 1974 (which became known as “Smiling Buddha“). The test was the first test developed after the creation of the NPT, and created new questions about how civilian nuclear technology could be diverted secretly to weapons purposes (dual-use technology). India’s secret development caused great concern and anger particularly from nations, such as Canada, that had supplied its nuclear reactors for peaceful and power generating needs.[citation needed]

Indian officials rejected the NPT in the 1960s on the grounds that it created a world of nuclear “haves” and “have-nots”, arguing that it unnecessarily restricted “peaceful activity” (including “peaceful nuclear explosives”), and that India would not accede to international control of their nuclear facilities unless all other countries engaged in unilateral disarmament of their own nuclear weapons. The Indian position has also asserted that the NPT is in many ways a neo-colonial regime designed to deny security to post-colonial powers.[55] Even after its 1974 test, India maintained that its nuclear capability was primarily “peaceful”, but between 1988 and 1990 it apparently weaponized two dozen nuclear weapons for delivery by air.[56] In 1998 India tested weaponized nuclear warheads (“Operation Shakti“), including a thermonuclear device.[57]

In July 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced plans to conclude an Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.[58] This came to fruition through a series of steps that included India’s announced plan to separate its civil and military nuclear programs in March 2006,[59] the passage of the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement by the U.S. Congress in December 2006, the conclusion of a U.S.–India nuclear cooperation agreement in July 2007,[60] approval by the IAEA of an India-specific safeguards agreement,[61] agreement by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to a waiver of export restrictions for India,[62] approval by the U.S. Congress[63] and culminating in the signature of U.S.–India agreement for civil nuclear cooperation[64] in October 2008. The U.S. State Department said it made it “very clear that we will not recognize India as a nuclear-weapon state”.[65] The United States is bound by the Hyde Act with India and may cease all cooperation with India if India detonates a nuclear explosive device. The US had further said it is not its intention to assist India in the design, construction or operation of sensitive nuclear technologies through the transfer of dual-use items.[66] In establishing an exemption for India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group reserved the right to consult on any future issues which might trouble it.[67] As of early 2013, India was estimated to have had a stockpile of around 90–110 warheads.[1]

Pakistan

Pakistan also is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan covertly developed nuclear weapons over decades, beginning in the late 1970s. Pakistan first delved into nuclear power after the establishment of its first nuclear power plant near Karachi with equipment and materials supplied mainly by western nations in the early 1970s. Pakistani President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto promised in 1971 that if India could build nuclear weapons then Pakistan would too, according to him: “We will develop Nuclear stockpiles, even if we have to eat grass.”

It is believed that Pakistan has possessed nuclear weapons since the mid-1980s.[68] The United States continued to certify that Pakistan did not possess such weapons until 1990, when sanctions were imposed under the Pressler Amendment, requiring a cutoff of U.S. economic and military assistance to Pakistan.[69] In 1998, Pakistan conducted its first six nuclear tests at the Ras Koh Hills in response to the five tests conducted by India a few weeks before.

In 2004, the Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, a key figure in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, confessed to heading an international black market ring involved in selling nuclear weapons technology. In particular, Khan had been selling gas centrifugetechnology to North Korea, Iran, and Libya. Khan denied complicity by the Pakistani government or Army, but this has been called into question by journalists and IAEA officials, and was later contradicted by statements from Khan himself.[70]

As of early 2013, Pakistan was estimated to have had a stockpile of around 100–120 warheads,[1] and in November 2014 it was projected that by 2020 Pakistan would have enough fissile material for 200 warheads.[71]

North Korea

North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but announced a withdrawal on January 10, 2003, after the United States accused it of having a secret uranium enrichment program and cut off energy assistance under the 1994 Agreed Framework. In February 2005, North Korea claimed to possess functional nuclear weapons, though their lack of a test at the time led many experts to doubt the claim. However, in October 2006, North Korea stated that due to growing intimidation by the United States, it would conduct a nuclear test to confirm its nuclear status. North Korea reported a successful nuclear test on October 9, 2006 (see 2006 North Korean nuclear test). Most U.S. intelligence officials believe that North Korea did, in fact, test a nuclear device due to radioactive isotopes detected by U.S. aircraft; however, most agree that the test was probably only partially successful.[72] The yield may have been less than a kiloton, which is much smaller than the first successful tests of other powers; boosted fission weapons may have an unboosted yield in this range, which is sufficient to start deuterium-tritium fusion in the boost gas at the center; the fast neutrons from fusion then ensure a full fission yield. North Korea conducted a second, higher yield test on 25 May 2009 (see 2009 North Korean nuclear test) and a third test with still higher yield on 12 February 2013 (see 2013 North Korean nuclear test). North Korea claimed to have conducted its first H-bomb test on 5 January 2016, though measurements of seismic disturbances indicate that the detonation was not consistent with a hydrogen bomb.[73]

Other states believed to possess nuclear weapons

Israel

Israel is widely known to have been the sixth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons, but has not acknowledged its nuclear forces. It had “rudimentary, but deliverable,” nuclear weapons available as early as 1967.[74] Israel is not a party to the NPT. Israel engages in strategic ambiguity, saying it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons into the region, but refusing to otherwise confirm or deny a nuclear weapons program or arsenal. This policy of “nuclear opacity” has been interpreted as an attempt to get the benefits of deterrence with a minimum political cost.[74][75] In 1968, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Yitzhak Rabin, affirmed to the United States State Department that Israel would “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.” Upon further questioning about what “introduce” meant in this context, however, he said that “he would not consider a weapon that had not been tested as a weapon,” and affirmed that he did not believe that “an unadvertised, untested nuclear device” was really “a nuclear weapon.” He also agreed, however, that an “advertised but untested” device would be considered “introduction.” This has been interpreted to mean that official Israeli policy was that the country could possess a nuclear weapon without technically “introducing” it, so long as it did not test it, and as long as it was “unadvertised”.[76][77]

In 1986, a former Dimona technician, Mordechai Vanunu, disclosed extensive information about the nuclear program to the British press, including photographs of the secret areas of the nuclear site, some of which depicted nuclear weapons cores and designs. Vanunu gave detailed descriptions of lithium-6 separation required for the production of tritium, an essential ingredient of fusion-boosted fission bombs, as well as information about the rate of plutonium production. Vanunu’s evidence was vetted by experienced technical experts before publication, and is considered to be among the strongest evidence for the advanced state of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[75][78]Theodore Taylor, a former U.S. nuclear device design expert and physicist leading the field[79] especially in small and efficient nuclear weapons, reviewed the 1986 Vanunu leaks and photographs in detail. Taylor concluded that Israel’s thermonuclear weapon designs appeared to be “less complex than those of other nations,” and at the time of the 1986 leaks “not capable of producing yields in the megaton or higher range.” Nevertheless, “they may produce at least several times the yield of fission weapons with the same quantity of plutonium or highly enriched uranium.” In other words, Israel could “boost” the yield of its nuclear fission weapons. According to Taylor, the uncertainties involved in the process of boosting required more than theoretical analysis for full confidence in the weapons’ performance. Taylor therefore concluded that Israel had “unequivocally” tested a miniaturized nuclear device. The Institute for Defense Analyses(IDA) concluded after reviewing the evidence given by Vanunu that as of 1987, “the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960.” and would require supercomputers or parallel computing clusters to refine their hydrogen bomb designs for improved yields without testing, though noting in 1987 they were already then developing the computer code base required.[80] Israel was first permitted to import US built supercomputers beginning in November 1995.[80]

In a paper by the USAF Counterproliferation Center researcher Lieutenant Colonel Warner D. Farr wrote that much lateral proliferation happened between pre-nuclear France and Israel stating “the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one—such was the depth of collaboration” and “the Israelis had unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data.” minimizing the need for early Israeli testing.[81] West Germany army magazine, Wehrtechnik (“military technology”), claimed that western intelligence documented that Israel had conducted an underground test in the Negev in 1963.[82] There is also speculation that Israel may have tested a nuclear weapon along with South Africa in 1979, but this has not been confirmed, and interpretation of the Vela Incident is controversial. The stated purpose of the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona is to advance basic nuclear science and applied research on nuclear energy.[83]

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, Israel likely possesses around 75–200 nuclear weapons.[29][84] The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Israel has approximately 80 intact nuclear weapons, of which 50 are for delivery by Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 are gravity bombs for delivery by aircraft. SIPRI also reports that there was renewed speculation in 2012 that Israel may also have developed nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missiles.[85]

Nuclear weapons sharing

U.S. nuclear weapons in host countries[86][87]
Country Air base Custodian Warheads
 Belgium Kleine Brogel 52nd Fighter Wing 10~20
 Germany Büchel 52nd Fighter Wing 20
 Italy Ghedi Torre 52nd Fighter Wing 40[88]
Aviano 31st Fighter Wing 50
 Netherlands Volkel 52nd Fighter Wing 22 [89]
 Turkey Incirlik 39th Air Base Wing 60~70
Total 202~222
  • BelgiumGermanyItalyNetherlandsTurkey

Under NATOnuclear weapons sharing, the United States has provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey to deploy and store.[90] This involves pilots and other staff of the “non-nuclear” NATO states practicing, handling, and delivering the U.S. nuclear bombs, and adapting non-U.S. warplanes to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs. However, since all U.S. nuclear weapons are protected with Permissive Action Links, the host states cannot easily arm the bombs without authorization codes from the U.S. Department of Defense.[91] Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga acknowledged the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Italy.[92] U.S. nuclear weapons were also deployed in Canada as well as Greece from 1963 to 1984. However, Canada withdrew three of the four nuclear-capable weapons systems by 1972. The single system retained, the AIR-2 Genie, had a yield 1.5 kilotons, was designed to strike enemy aircraft as opposed to ground targets, and might not have qualified as a weapon of mass destruction given its limited yield.[93]

Members of the Non-Aligned Movement have called on all countries to “refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements.”[94] The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) has criticized the arrangement for allegedly violating Articles I and II of the NPT, arguing that “these Articles do not permit the NWS to delegate the control of their nuclear weapons directly or indirectly to others.”[95] NATO has argued that the weapons’ sharing is compliant with the NPT because “the U.S. nuclear weapons based in Europe are in the sole possession and under constant and complete custody and control of the United States.”[96]

States formerly possessing nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons have been present in many nations, often as staging grounds under control of other powers. However, in only one instance has a nation given up nuclear weapons after being in full control of them. The fall of the Soviet Union left several former Soviet republics in physical possession of nuclear weapons, though not operational control which was dependent on Russian-controlled electronic Permissive Action Links and the Russian command and control system.[97][98]

Alleged Spare bomb casings from South Africa’s nuclear weapon programme. Their purpose is disputed.[99]

South Africa

South Africa produced six nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but dismantled them in the early 1990s.

In 1979, there was a detection of a putative covert nuclear test in the Indian Ocean, called the Vela incident. It has long been speculated that it was a test by Israel, in collaboration with and support of South Africa, though this has never been confirmed. South Africa could not have constructed such a nuclear bomb until November 1979, two months after the “double flash” incident. South Africa signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991.[100][101]

Former Soviet Republics

  • Belarus had 81 single warhead missiles stationed on its territory after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. They were all transferred to Russia by 1996. In May 1992, Belarus acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[102]
  • Kazakhstan inherited 1,400 nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union, and transferred them all to Russia by 1995. Kazakhstan has since acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[103]
  • Ukraine has acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine inherited about 5,000 nuclear weapons when it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, making its nuclear arsenal the third-largest in the world.[104] By 1996, Ukraine had agreed to dispose of all nuclear weapons within its territory, with the condition that its borders were respected, as part of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The warheads were disassembled in Russia.[105] Despite Russia’s subsequent and internationally disputed annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine reaffirmed its 1994 decision to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state.[106]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ All numbers are estimates from the Federation of American Scientists. The latest update was in April 2017. If differences between active and total stockpile are known, they are given as two figures separated by a forward slash. If specifics are not available (n.a.), only one figure is given. Stockpile number may not contain all intact warheads if a substantial amount of warheads are scheduled for but have not yet gone through dismantlement; not all “active” warheads are deployed at any given time. When a range of weapons is given (e.g., 0–10), it generally indicates that the estimate is being made on the amount of fissile material that has likely been produced, and the amount of fissile material needed per warhead depends on estimates of a country’s proficiency at nuclear weapon design.
  2. Jump up^ From the 1960s until the 1990s, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force maintained the independent capability to deliver nuclear weapons via its V bomber fleet.
  3. Jump up^ France formerly possessed a nuclear triad until 1996 and the retirement of its land-based arsenal.

References

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Embargo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Trade embargo)

An embargo (from the Spanish embargo, meaning hindrance, obstruction, etc. in a general sense, a trading ban in trade terminology and literally “distraint” in juridic parlance) is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country or a group of countries.[1] Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is imposed. Embargoes are similar to economic sanctions and are generally considered legal barriers to trade, not to be confused with blockades, which are often considered to be acts of war.[2]

Embargoes can mean limiting or banning export or import, creating quotas for quantity, imposing special tolls, taxes, banning freight or transport vehicles, freezing or seizing freights, assets, bank accounts, limiting the transport of particular technologies or products (high-tech) for example CoCom during the cold-war.[3]

In response to embargoes, an independent economy or autarky often develops in an area subjected to heavy embargo. Effectiveness of embargoes is thus in proportion to the extent and degree of international participation.

Business

Companies must be aware of embargoes that apply to the intended export destination.[4] Embargo check is difficult for both importers and exporters to follow. Before exporting or importing to other countries, firstly, they must be aware of embargoes. Subsequently, they need to make sure that they are not dealing with embargoed countries by checking those related regulations, and finally they probably need a license in order to ensure a smooth export or import business. Sometimes the situation becomes even more complicated with the changing of politics of a country. Embargoes keep changing. In the past, many companies relied on spreadsheets and manual process to keep track of compliance issues related to incoming and outgoing shipments, which takes risks of these days help companies to be fully compliant on such regulations even if they are changing on a regular basis. If an embargo situation exists, the software blocks the transaction for further processing.

Examples

An undersupplied U.S. gasoline station, closed during the oil embargo in 1973

The Embargo of 1807 was a series of laws passed by the U.S. Congress 1806–1808, during the second term of President Thomas Jefferson.[5] Britain and France were engaged in a major war; the U.S. wanted to remain neutral and trade with both sides, but neither side wanted the other to have the American supplies.[6] The American national-interest goal was to use the new laws to avoid war and force that country to respect American rights.[7]

One of the most comprehensive attempts at an embargo happened during the Napoleonic Wars. In an attempt to cripple the United Kingdom economically, the Continental System – which forbade European nations from trading with the UK – was created. In practice it was not completely enforceable and was as harmful if not more so to the nations involved than to the British.[8]

The United States imposed an embargo on Cuba on February 7, 1962.[9] Referred to by Cuba as “el bloqueo” (the blockade),[10] the US embargo on Cuba remains one of the longest-standing embargoes.[11] The embargo was embraced by few of the United States’ allies and apparently has done little to affect Cuban policies over the years.[12] Nonetheless, while taking some steps to allow limited economic exchanges with Cuba, President Barack Obamareaffirmed the policy, stating that without improved human rights and freedoms by Cuba’s current government, the embargo remains “in the national interest of the United States.”[13]

In 1973–1974, Arab nations imposed an oil embargo against the United States and other industrialized nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The results included a sharp rise in oil prices and OPEC revenues, an emergency period of energy rationing, a global economic recession, large-scale conservation efforts, and long-lasting shifts toward natural gasethanolnuclear and other alternative energy sources.[14][15]

In effort to punish South Africa for its policies of apartheid, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a voluntary international oil embargo against South Africa on November 20, 1987; that embargo had the support of 130 countries.[16]

List of countries under embargo

Former trade embargoes

See also

Notes

U.S. Ends Ban on China Trade; Items Are Listed

Curbs Lifted on Shipping to Red Bloc

By Carroll Kilpatrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 11, 1971

President Nixon opened another door to the resumption of more normal relations with China yesterday with an order permitting trade in a long list of nonstrategic items.

At the same time, the President cleared the way for larger farm exports to the Soviet bloc by terminating a requirement imposed by President Kennedy that half of grain and flour shipments to Communist countries be carried in American ships.

The President’s action lifts a 21-year-old embargo against trade with China permitting selected exports to China and the import of goods from China on the same basis goods from other Communist countries are admitted.

Following a series of other steps taken in recent months to improve relations with the Chinese, the President’s announcement is considered a prelude to an ending later this year of U.S. opposition to the seating of Peking in the United Nations, provided that Taiwan is not expelled.

Under the new order, U.S. exporters will be free to sell to China most farm, fish and forestry products, fertilizers, coal, selected chemicals and metals, passenger cards, agricultural, industrial and office equipment and certain electronic and communications equipment.

The President’s order does not remove the prohibition against the shipment of locomotives to China, one of the key items the Peking government is said to want, and of aircraft.

Defense department officials opposed lifting the ban on most heavy transportation equipment with the argument it could be used in helping Communist troops in Vietnam.

The President accepted the argument, but officials said that the list of goods still on the strategic list would be under constant review and that changes would be made from time to time.

An exporter may apply to the Commerce Department for a license to ship a locomotive or any other item on the strategic list, and the White House held out some hope that exceptions may be made from time to time.

“Items not on the open general list may be considered for specific licensing consistent with the requirements of U.S. national security,” the White House statement said.

The big surprise of the President’s announcement was his termination of the requirement that half of the shipment of grain and flour to Communist nations be carried in American ships.

AFL-CIO President George Meany promptly criticized the President’s decision, calling it a “breach of faith and an unwarranted blow at the livelihoods of American seafaring men.”

Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin cautioned that farmers should not expect big increases in grain exports immediately.

“We hope it will eventually result in meaningful trade for farm exports along with products from American industry,” Hardin said. “We do not anticipate significant trade developments with either China or the Soviet Union in the immediate future.”

But Hardin hailed the President’s action as a “constructive step” that will ultimately benefit American farmers.

U.S.-China trade was roughly $200 million annually in 1950 when President Truman imposed an embargo after China entered the Korean War on the North Korean side.

China’s total world trade now totals about $2 billion in exports and the same in imports with about $1.5 billion from non-Communist countries, the bulk of it from Japan.

White House press secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the President looks upon these new measures “as a significant step in improved communications with a land of 800 million people after a 20-year freeze in our relations.”

“The President will later consider the possibility of further steps in an effort to reestablish a broader relationship with a country and people having an important role for future peace in Asia.”

The list of strategic goods which may be freely shipped to Mainland China does not include such items as petroleum products, navigation and tele-communication equipment and machinery for wielding large pipes in addition to locomotives.

These goods may be shipped to the Soviet Union, however. They constitute the main difference between the list of goods available for export to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and those still requiring an export license as far as China is concerned.

Some experts have argued that Peking will not be responsive to the new possibilities of trade with the United States since the list is more favorable to the Soviet Union.

Administration officials were sensitive to this criticism and discounted the differences between the two lists as insignificant.

The President’s announcement said that he was taking “the first broad steps in termination of U.S. controls on a large list of non-strategic U.S. exports to the People’s Republic of China.”

In the future, products listed as non-strategic may be freely sold to China under open general export licenses without the need to obtain Department of Commerce permission for each specific transaction,” the statement said.

On April 14, Mr. Nixon announced a five-point program designed to “create broader opportunities for contacts between the Chinese and American peoples.” These included a promise to expedite the issuance of visas to permit Chinese visitors to the United States, a relaxation of currency controls to permit Peking’s use of American dollars and the removal of restrictions prohibiting American oil companies from providing fuel to Chinese merchant ships.

On April 19, in an interview at a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the President said the question of trade with the Chinese is “up to them.”

“If the want to trade … we are ready,” he said. “If they want to have Chinese come to the United States, we are ready. We are also ready for Americans to go there, Americans in all walks of life.

“But it take two, of course. We have taken several steps. They have taken one inviting the American table tennis team to Peking. We are prepared to take other steps in the trade field and also with regard to the exchange field, but each step must be taken one step at a time.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/flash/june/china71.htm

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017, Story 1: The American People Do Not Care About Phony Russian/Trump Collusion Conspiracy of The Lying Lunatic Left, Delusional Democrats and Big Lie Media — They’re Coming To Take You Away To The Funny Farm To Play with Your Ding-a-Ling — Videos — Story 2: Trump Should Read Saul Alinski Rules For Radicals To Understand What Is Going On — Then Have Department of Justice Investigate The Clinton Charitable Foundation For Public Corruption and  Obama Administration For Abuse of Power Using Intelligence Community for Political Purposes And Then  Fire Mueller For Conflicts of Interests — The Sooner The Better — Go On Offense Stop Playing Defense — Just Do It! — Videos

Posted on July 24, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bribery, Business, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Federal Government, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, James Comey, Law, Media, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, United States of America, War, Wealth, Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 933,  July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932,  July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931,  July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

 

Image result for they're coming to take me awayImage result for cartoons trump fires mueller

 

 

Story 1: The American People Do Not Care About Phony Russian/Trump Collusion Conspiracy of The Lying Lunatic Left, Delusional Democrats and Big Lie Media — They’re Coming To Take You Away To The Funny Farm To Play with Your Ding-a-Ling — Videos —

Image result for democrats play with their ding-ling

Russia collusion probe may last entire Trump presidency

“BOTTOM LINE IS WE HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE” – SEBASTIAN GORKA (FULL) INTERVIEW ON FOX AND FRIENDS

Jared Kushner statement following Russia Senate hearing

Kushner says he ‘did not collude with Russia’ during campaign

No One Cares About Jared Kushner Except the MSM and Soft Coup Fascist Deep Staters

Napoleon XIV: ‘They’re coming to take me away’

Chuck Berry – My Ding-A-Ling (1972)

 

STATEMENT OF JARED C. KUSHNER TO CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES

July 24, 2017

I am voluntarily providing this statement, submitting documents, and sitting for interviews in order to shed light on issues that have been raised about my role in the Trump for President Campaign and during the transition period.
I am not a person who has sought the spotlight. First in my business and now in public service, I have worked on achieving goals, and have left it to others to work on media and public perception. Because there has been a great deal of conjecture, speculation, and inaccurate information about me, I am grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight.
My Role in the Trump for President Campaign
Before joining the administration, I worked in the private sector, building and managing companies. My experience was in business, not politics, and it was not my initial intent to play a large role in my father-in-law’s campaign when he decided to run for President. However, as the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign, and took on more and more responsibility.
Over the course of the primaries and general election campaign, my role continued to evolve. I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams, as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials.
All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously. When I was faced with a new challenge, I would reach out to contacts, ask advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action. I was lucky to work with some incredibly talented people along the way, all of whom made significant contributions toward the campaign’s ultimate success. Our nimble culture allowed us to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances and make changes on the fly as the situation warranted. I share this information because these actions should be viewed through the lens of a fast-paced campaign with thousands of meetings and interactions, some of which were impactful and memorable and many of which were not.
It is also important to note that a campaign’s success starts with its message and its messenger. Donald Trump had the right vision for America and delivered his message perfectly. The results speak for themselves. Not only did President Trump defeat sixteen skilled and experienced primary opponents and win the presidency; he did so spending a fraction of what his opponent spent in the general election. He outworked his opponent and ran one of the best campaigns in history using both modern technology and traditional methods to bring his message to the American people.
Campaign Contacts with Foreign Persons
When it became apparent that my father-in-law was going to be the Republican nominee for President, as normally happens, a number of officials from foreign countries attempted to reach out to the campaign. My father-in-law asked me to be a point of contact with these foreign countries. These were not contacts that I initiated, but, over the course of the campaign, I had incoming contacts with people from approximately 15 countries. To put these requests in context, I must have received thousands of calls, letters and emails from people looking to talk or meet on a variety of issues and topics, including hundreds from outside the United States. While I could not be responsive to everyone, I tried to be respectful of any foreign government contacts with whom it would be important to maintain an ongoing, productive working relationship were the candidate to prevail. To that end, I called on a variety of people with deep experience, such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, for advice on policy for the candidate, which countries/representatives with which the campaign should engage, and what messaging would resonate. In addition, it was typical for me to receive 200 or more emails a day during the campaign. I did not have the time to read every one, especially long emails from unknown senders or email chains to which I was added at some later point in the exchange.
With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any. The first that I can recall was at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. in April 2016. This was when then candidate Trump was delivering a major foreign policy speech. Doing the event and speech had been my idea, and I oversaw its execution. I arrived at the hotel early to make sure all logistics were in order. After that, I stopped into the reception to thank the host of the event, Dimitri Simes, the publisher of the bi-monthly foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, who had done a great job putting everything together. Mr. Simes and his group had created the guest list and extended the invitations for the event. He introduced me to several guests, among them four ambassadors, including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. With all the ambassadors, including Mr. Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and I thanked them for attending the event and said I hoped they would like candidate Trump’s speech and his ideas for a fresh approach to America’s foreign policy. The ambassadors also expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the election. Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.
Reuters news service has reported that I had two calls with Ambassador Kislyak at some time between April and November of 2016. While I participated in thousands of calls during this period, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador. We have reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to identify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am highly skeptical these calls took place. A comprehensive review of my land line and cell phone records from the time does not reveal those calls. I had no ongoing relationship with the Ambassador before the election, and had limited knowledge about him then. In fact, on November 9, the day after the election, I could not even remember the name of the Russian Ambassador. When the campaign received an email purporting to be an official note of congratulations from President Putin, I was asked how we could verify it was real. To do so I thought the best way would be to ask the only contact I recalled meeting from the Russian government, which was the Ambassador I had met months earlier, so I sent an email asking Mr. Simes, “What is the name of the Russian ambassador?” Through my lawyer, I have asked Reuters to provide the dates on which the calls supposedly occurred or the phone number at which I supposedly reached, or was reached by, Ambassador Kislyak. The journalist refused to provide any corroborating evidence that they occurred.
The only other Russian contact during the campaign is one I did not recall at all until I was reviewing documents and emails in response to congressional requests for information. In June 2016, my brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. asked if I was free to stop by a meeting on June 9 at 3:00 p.m. The campaign was headquartered in the same building as his office in Trump Tower, and it was common for each of us to swing by the other’s meetings when requested. He eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time. As I did with most emails when I was working remotely, I quickly reviewed on my iPhone the relevant message that the meeting would occur at 4:00 PM at his office. Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as “Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.” No one else was mentioned.
I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting. Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” I had not met the attorney before the meeting nor spoken with her since. I thought nothing more of this short meeting until it came to my attention recently. I did not read or recall this email exchange before it was shown to me by my lawyers when reviewing documents for submission to the committees. No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted. Finally, after seeing the email, I disclosed this meeting prior to it being reported in the press on a supplement to my security clearance form, even if that was not required as meeting the definitions of the form.
There was one more possible contact that I will note. On October 30, 2016, I received a random email from the screenname “Guccifer400.” This email, which I interpreted as a hoax, was an extortion attempt and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information. I brought the email to the attention of a U.S. Secret Service agent on the plane we were all travelling on and asked what he thought. He advised me to ignore it and not to reply — which is what I did. The sender never contacted me again.
To the best of my recollection, these were the full extent of contacts I had during the campaign with persons who were or appeared to potentially be representatives of the Russian government.
Transition Contacts with Foreign Persons
The transition period after the election was even more active than the campaign. Starting on election night, we began to receive an incredible volume of messages and invitations from well-wishers in the United States and abroad. Dozens of messages came from foreign officials seeking to set up foreign leader calls and create lines of communication and relationships with what would be the new administration. During this period, I recall having over fifty contacts with people from over fifteen countries. Two of those meetings were with Russians, neither of which I solicited.
On November 16, 2016, my assistant received a request for a meeting from the Russian Ambassador. As I mentioned before, previous to receiving this request, I could not even recall the Russian Ambassador’s name, and had to ask for the name of the individual I had seen at the Mayflower Hotel almost seven months earlier. In addition, far from being urgent, that meeting was not set up for two weeks — on December 1. The meeting occurred in Trump Tower, where we had our transition office, and lasted twenty- thirty minutes. Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.), who became the President’s National Security Advisor, also attended. During the meeting, after pleasantries were exchanged, as I had done in many of the meetings I had and would have with foreign officials, I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations. Also, as I had done in other meetings with foreign officials, I asked Ambassador Kislyak if he would identify the best person (whether the Ambassador or someone else) with whom to have direct discussions and who had contact with his President. The fact that I was asking about ways to start a dialogue after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not aware of one that existed before Election Day.
The Ambassador expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address U.S. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn. The Ambassador said that would not be possible and so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the Inauguration. Nothing else occurred. I did not suggest a “secret back channel.” I did not suggest an on-going secret form of communication for then or for when the administration took office. I did not raise the possibility of using the embassy or any other Russian facility for any purpose other than this one possible conversation in the transition period. We did not discuss sanctions.
Approximately a week later, on December 6, the Embassy asked if I could meet with the Ambassador on December 7. I declined. They then asked if I could meet on December 6; I declined again. They then asked when the earliest was that I could meet. I declined these requests because I was working on many other responsibilities for the transition. He asked if he could meet my assistant instead and, to avoid offending the Ambassador, I agreed. He did so on December 12. My assistant reported that the Ambassador had requested that I meet with a person named Sergey Gorkov who he said was a banker and someone with a direct line to the Russian President who could give insight into how Putin was viewing the new administration and best ways to work together. I agreed to meet Mr. Gorkov because the Ambassador has been so insistent, said he had a direct relationship with the President, and because Mr. Gorkov was only in New York for a couple days. I made room on my schedule for the meeting that occurred the next day, on December 13.
The meeting with Mr. Gorkov lasted twenty to twenty-five minutes. He introduced himself and gave me two gifts — one was a piece of art from Nvgorod, the village where my grandparents were from in Belarus, and the other was a bag of dirt from that same village. (Any notion that I tried to conceal this meeting or that I took it thinking it was in my capacity as a businessman is false. In fact, I gave my assistant these gifts to formally register them with the transition office). After that, he told me a little about his bank and made some statements about the Russian economy. He said that he was friendly with President Putin, expressed disappointment with U.S.-Russia relations under President Obama and hopes for a better relationship in the future. As I did at the meeting with Ambassador Kislyak, I expressed the same sentiments I had with other foreign officials I met. There were no specific policies discussed. We had no discussion about the sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration. At no time was there any discussion about my companies, business transactions, real estate projects, loans, banking arrangements or any private business of any kind. At the end of the short meeting, we thanked each other and I went on to other meetings. I did not know or have any contact with Mr. Gorkov before that meeting, and I have had no reason to connect with him since.
To the best of my recollection, these were the only two contacts I had during the transition with persons who were or appeared to potentially be representatives of the Russian government.
Disclosure of Contacts on My Security Clearance Form
There has been a good deal of misinformation reported about my SF-86 form. As my attorneys and I have previously explained, my SF-86 application was prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials. Here are some facts about that form and the efforts I have made to supplement it.
In the week before the Inauguration, amid the scramble of finalizing the unwinding of my involvement from my company, moving my family to Washington, completing the paper work to divest assets and resign from my outside positions and complete my security and financial disclosure forms, people at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form. They sent an email to my assistant in Washington, communicating that the changes to one particular section were complete; my assistant interpreted that message as meaning that the entire form was completed. At that point, the form was a rough draft and still had many omissions including not listing any foreign government contacts and even omitted the address of my father-in-law (which was obviously well known). Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017.
That evening, when we realized the form had been submitted prematurely, we informed the transition team that we needed to make changes and additions to the form. The very next day, January 19, 2017, we submitted supplemental information to the transition, which confirmed receipt and said they would immediately transmit it to the FBI. The supplement disclosed that I had “numerous contacts with foreign officials” and that we were going through my records to provide an accurate and complete list. I provided a list of those contacts in the normal course, before my background investigation interview and prior to any inquiries or media reports about my form.
It has been reported that my submission omitted only contacts with Russians. That is not the case. In the accidental early submission of the form, all foreign contacts were omitted. The supplemental information later disclosed over one hundred contacts from more than twenty countries that might be responsive to the questions on the form. These included meetings with individuals such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray Caso and many more. All of these had been left off before.
Over the last six months, I have made every effort to provide the FBI with whatever information is needed to investigate my background. In addition, my attorneys have explained that the security clearance process is one in which supplements are expected and invited. The form itself instructs that, during the interview, the information in the document can be “update[d], clarif[ied], and explain[ed]” as part of the security clearance process. A good example is the June 9 meeting. For reasons that should be clear from the explanation of that meeting I have provided, I did not remember the meeting and certainly did not remember it as one with anyone who had to be included on an SF-86. When documents reviewed for production in connection with committee requests reminded me that meeting had occurred, and because of the language in the email chain that I then read for the first time, I included that meeting on a supplement. I did so even though my attorneys were unable to conclude that the Russian lawyer was a representative of any foreign country and thus fell outside the scope of the form. This supplemental information was also provided voluntarily, well prior to any media inquiries, reporting or request for this information, and it was done soon after I was reminded of the meeting.
****
As I have said from the very first media inquiry, I am happy to share information with the
investigating bodies. I have shown today that I am willing to do so and will continue to cooperate as I have nothing to hide. As I indicated, I know there has been a great deal of speculation and conjecture about my contacts with any officials or people from Russia. I have disclosed these contacts and described them as fully as I can recall. The record and documents I am providing will show that I had perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives out of thousands during the campaign and transition, none of which were impactful in any way to the election or particularly memorable. I am very grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight. I also have tried to provide context for my role in the campaign, and I am proud of the candidate that we supported, of the campaign that we ran, and the victory that we achieved.
It has been my practice not to appear in the media or leak information in my own defense. I have tried to focus on the important work at hand and serve this President and this country to the best of my abilities. I hope that through my answers to questions, written statements and documents I have now been able to demonstrate the entirety of my limited contacts with Russian representatives during the campaign and transition. I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.

Jared Kushner Details Russia Meetings, Denies Collusion

President’s son-in-law and adviser speaks with Senate panel about investigation into Russia

Kushner: ‘I Did Not Collude With Russia’
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied allegations that he colluded with Russian officials, following a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON— Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, said Monday he didn’t collude with any Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and rejected the suggestion that Moscow was responsible for the president’s victory.

Speaking outside the White House on Monday, Mr. Kushner said his actions over the last two years “were proper and occurred in the normal course of events in a very unique campaign.”

“I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else on the campaign who did so,” he said.

Mr. Kushner said Mr. Trump defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton because he had “a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.”

Mr. Kushner addressed the press Monday after concluding an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee, his first time speaking to congressional investigators who are probing Russian meddling in the election. Mr. Kushner said he would speak to a House panel on Tuesday.

Ahead of the interview on Monday, Mr. Kushner released an 11-page statement detailing his contacts with Russian officials and businesspeople in the two years since Mr. Trump launched his presidential campaign. In that statement, he said he had no improper interactions and that he hadn’t “relied” on Russian funds to “finance [his] business activities.”

A spokesman for Mr. Kushner didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether the statement meant no Russian funds were involved in his businesses.

The written statement included details of a previously undisclosed, brief meeting with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in April 2016. During the encounter—shortly before Mr. Trump would become the Republican party’s effective nominee—Mr. Kushner met ambassador Sergei Kislyak at an event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kushner said he was introduced to Mr. Kislyak and three other ambassadors by Dimitri Simes, the publisher of a foreign-policy magazine who was hosting the event, at a reception held directly before it.

Mr. Trump, who gave a speech addressing foreign policy at the event, also greeted Mr. Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors who came to a VIP reception, The Wall Street Journal reported in May 2016. Mr. Kushner’s account makes no mention of Mr. Trump being present at the reception. Attorney General Jeff Sessions—then a U.S. senator advising the Trump campaign—also attended the event, and said in sworn testimony before a Senate panel this past June that he couldn’t recall whether he had a passing encounter with Mr. Kislyak there.

“The ambassadors…expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the election,” Mr. Kushner wrote in his statement. “Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.”

A spokesman for Mr. Kushner had previously denied that Messrs. Kushner and Kislyak met privately at the event. A separate Kushner spokesman said Monday that the statement doesn’t contradict the previous denial because the two met at a reception, not one-on-one.

To underscore the brief nature of the interaction, Mr. Kushner referenced an email he wrote on Nov. 9 after the campaign received a note of congratulations from Russian President Vladimir Putin. “What is the name of the Russian ambassador?” Mr. Kushner asked in an email to Mr. Simes, an American born in Moscow, saying he wanted to verify that the Putin note was real.

In the statement, Mr. Kushner also denied trying to establish any “backchannel” with Russia, though he acknowledged that in a December meeting with Mr. Kislyak, Mr. Kushner proposed receiving information about military operations in Syria via a secure communications line at the Russian embassy, because the Trump transition team had no secure system of its own.

After Mr. Trump’s victory on Election Day, the White House repeatedly denied that there had been any contacts between his campaign and Russian officials. “It never happened,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Associated Press in November. “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”

Since then, it has emerged that several members of Mr. Trump’s campaign—some of whom now serve in his administration—did have contact with Russians. They include Mr. Sessions, former national security adviser Mike Flynn and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing a criminal probe for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as whether Trump associates colluded in any meddling.

Mr. Trump and his campaign aides have denied any collusion, and the president has said he questions the U.S. intelligence agencies’ consensus that Moscow sought to intervene during the campaign—a charge that Russian officials have denied.

The Russian Embassy announced on Twitter Saturday that Mr. Kislyak has concluded his assignment in Washington.

Sergei Kislyak, former Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Sergei Kislyak, former Russian ambassador to the U.S. PHOTO: CAROLYN KASTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The revelations of the Russia meetings come as Congress considers legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia as retribution for any interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The bill, which already passed the Senate on a rare and overwhelming bipartisan 98-2 vote, will pose a test for the president, who has expressed skepticism about the intelligence community’s assessment of Moscow’s role in the campaign, from hacking Democratic emails to promoting fake news. The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday said Mr. Trump was likely to support the legislation.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee has summoned Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for three months in 2016, and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, to a hearing on Wednesday, along with Russia sanctions activist Bill Browder and Glenn Simpson, the founder of a political intelligence firm in Washington called Fusion GPS. Mr. Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, was subpoenaed to appear before the committee on Friday.

Mr. Simpson’s attorneys have said they are prepared to fight the subpoena. The Judiciary Committee said Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Manafort are providing documents to the committee and are still negotiating the terms of their testimonies.

The new meeting disclosed on Monday comes on top of three previously confirmed meetings Mr. Kushner has held with Russians. He also disclosed that in October—days before the election—he reported to a Secret Service agent an email he received from someone under the name “Guccifer400” that threatened to “reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information.” The agent advised Mr. Kushner to ignore the email, and Mr. Kushner said he wasn’t contacted by the sender again.

In June 2016, Mr. Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Mr. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. in a meeting arranged by the younger Mr. Trump. Emails the president’s son released earlier this month showed the meeting was held to discuss allegedly damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton that the Trump campaign was told was being offered by the Russian government in support of the elder Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

In an email to the younger Mr. Trump dated June 3, 2016, a British publicist said that a top Russian prosecutor had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

The younger Mr. Trump responded: “[If] it’s what you say I love it.”

Mr. Kushner said Monday that he arrived late to the meeting and left early, sending his assistant an email that said: “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” He said that while he was there, the meeting didn’t discuss “anything about the campaign” and said there was no follow-up.

Mr. Kushner disclosed the meeting with Ms. Veselnitskaya earlier this year in a required form to obtain a security clearance. Mr. Kushner initially filed a disclosure that didn’t list any contacts with foreign government officials, but the next day submitted a supplemental disclosure saying that he had engaged in “numerous contacts with foreign officials.”

He said Monday that the omission of foreign contacts was an administrative error.

Mr. Kushner has since submitted information about “over 100 contacts from more than 20 countries,” he said. That information hasn’t been publicly disclosed, but Mr. Kushner said Monday the contacts included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Luis Videgaray Caso, the secretary of foreign affairs for Mexico.

White House officials also said earlier this year that Mr. Kushner met in December with Messrs. Kislyak and Flynn. Mr. Flynn resigned in February as national security adviser after it was disclosed he misled officials about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

During that meeting, Mr. Kushner said Monday, he asked Mr. Kislyak to “identify the best person…with whom to have direct discussions and who had contact with his president.” He also expressed a desire for a “fresh start in relations.”

Mr. Kushner subsequently had aide Avraham Berkowitz handle another meeting requested by Mr. Kislyak, during which the ambassador sought to arrange a meeting between Mr. Kushner and Sergei Gorkov, the head of Vneshekonombank, or VEB, the officials said. Mr. Kushner’s meeting with Mr. Gorkov took place in December at a location other than Trump Tower, a senior administration official said.

In 2014 the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Russian development bank, naming entities and individuals operating in Russia’s economy after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. The Treasury Department sanctions prohibit specified financial contacts with the bank and others on the list.

The White House’s account of that December meeting has differed from that of VEB, which said its leadership met with Mr. Kushner in his capacity as the head of the real-estate firm Kushner Cos. A senior administration official said earlier this year that Mr. Kushner didn’t know the bank was under sanction and “wasn’t there to discuss business.”

On Monday, Mr. Kushner said they discussed “no specific policies” and said Mr. Gorkov “told me a little about his bank and made some statements about the Russian economy.” Mr. Gorkov also said he was “friendly with” Mr. Putin.

In his statement Monday, Mr. Kushner acknowledged that he proposed receiving information about military operations in Syria via a secure communications line at the Russian embassy, but he denied trying to establish any “backchannel” and said his interest in talking to Russia via secure means was solely to obtain information about the conflict in Syria.

The idea to have direct contacts with Russia about Syria during the transition came from Mr. Kislyak, who said at the December meeting in Trump Tower that he wanted to relay information from Russian “generals” who couldn’t come to the U.S., Mr. Kushner said.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Mr. Kushner had discussed with the Russian ambassador the possibility of setting up a secure communications line with Russia during the transition and using equipment at the Russian embassy, according to a person familiar with the matters.

A mode of communication like that could have made it more difficult for U.S. intelligence agencies to intercept and listen to conversations. And two other people with knowledge of Mr. Kushner’s activities during the transition said his interest in creating what they described as a “backchannel” with Russia raised concerns among law enforcement and national-security officials about his and the team’s activities.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/jared-kushner-releases-details-on-previously-undisclosed-meeting-with-russian-ambassador-1500890433

Story 2: Trump Should Read Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals To Understand What Is Going On — Then Have Department of Justice Investigate The Clinton Charitable Foundation For Public Corruption and  Obama Administration For Abuse of Power In Office For Using Intelligence Community for Political Purposes And Then  Fire Mueller For Conflicts on Interests — The Sooner The Better — Go On Offense Stop Playing Defense — Just Do It! — Videos

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Trump’s media allies are making the case for firing Robert Mueller

Saturday Night Massacre, redux?

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel investigating matters related to Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign served to effectively quell the firestorm of criticism launched by Donald Trump’s decision to fire Mueller’s successor at the FBI. But what if Trump fires Mueller, too, as is his right under the law?

That’s exactly what a growing chorus of voices in pro-Trump media are arguing that he should do, with former House Speaker and leading Trump sycophant Newt Gingrich leading the charge.

Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.

It seems that the consensus that there’s a problem with Mueller is somewhat in advance of the consensus on what the problem exactly is. But Trump-friendly pundits are throwing a few different ideas out there.

Any such move would, of course, be politically explosive and draw direct parallels to Richard Nixon’s conduct. But if Republicans on Capitol Hill are willing to go along with it, there’s nobody else out there who can actually stop Trump.

There’s nothing to investigate

Ann Coulter offered the argument that since Comey testified that Trump was not personally under investigation, there is nothing to investigate, and thus no need for a special counsel.

Now that we FINALLY got Comey to admit Trump not under investigation, Sessions should fire Mueller. Why do we need a special counsel now?

The problem here is that even if the president is personally innocent of any wrongdoing, there can still be significant legal jeopardy for people in his orbit.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears to be in hot water regarding his secret sources of foreign income, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made false statements under oath regarding his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, senior adviser Jared Kushner seems to have made false sworn statements on his security clearance paperwork regarding meeting an executive at a Russian bank that’s widely seen as a front for Russian intelligence, and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is facing questions about possible money laundering.

That’s all the kind of thing you might want investigated by someone outside the normal Department of Justice chain of command.

There’s a conflict of interest

Byron York of the Washington Examiner floats a different account: Mueller can’t investigate Comey because they used to work together.

“Comey,” York writes, “is a good friend of special counsel Robert Mueller — such a good friend, for about 15 years now, that the two men have been described as ‘brothers in arms.’”

The idea that Mueller is unfit to investigate a Republican administration because he served alongside Comey as a high-level appointee in the previous Republican administration is too ridiculous for York to outright endorse, so instead he frames his article as a reporting mission in which he consults with experts on the question of whether or not there’s a conflict of interest. York is unable to find a single person willing to go on the record as supporting his conflict of interest theory.

But he does find four anonymous lawyers, three of whom worked at one point for the Justice Department, to say it’s inappropriate for Mueller to head an investigation that involves Comey as a witness.

Mueller’s team is biased

Gingrich’s argument is more straightforward: Mueller is biased and unfair.

This is a bit of a hard sell. Mueller won a bronze star as a Marine in the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan appointed him as US attorney for Massachusetts, George H.W. Bush appointed him an assistant attorney general, and George W. Bush as deputy attorney general and then later FBI director. He’s not a particularly partisan figure (he also served a couple of years as a Clinton-appointed US attorney, and Barack Obama extended his term as FBI director by two years,) but he’s generally regarded as a Republican, and has received Senate-confirmed appointments by each of the past five presidents.

But Gingrich’s suggestion that we “look at who he is hiring” and “check FEC reports” hints at the broad outline of a case.

  • Andrew Weissmann, the head of the DOJ Criminal Division’s fraud section, for example, has gone to work for Mueller. That seems natural enough since Weissmann served as general counsel of the FBI when Mueller was director. But FEC reports show that Weissmann donated about $2,300 to the Obama/Biden campaign in 2008.
  • Jeannie Rhee, a former Justice Department lawyer who’s now a colleague of Mueller’s at Wilmer Hale donated to Obama, to Hillary Clinton, and to a few of Democratic senate candidates over the years.
  • James Quarles, a Watergate prosecutor and longtime Wilmer Hale attorney, was also a donor to Obama in 2008 and Clinton in 2016.

An explosive move, but a tempting one

Obviously, to fire a well-regarded special prosecutor who is investigating your own administration would be an explosive political move.

When Richard Nixon did this in the Saturday Night Massacre it was a major scandal that, in many respects, kicked the Watergate investigation into overdrive. And, indeed, it was the political backlash to firing Comey that saddled Trump with the Mueller investigation in the first place. Prudent counselors might advise him that firing Mueller will only serve to further exacerbate his problems.

On the other hand, while firing Comey was not exactly well-received on Capitol Hill, the vast majority of congressional Republicans were eager to rally around the idea that Trump was within his legal rights to fire the FBI director. One clear takeaway from Comey’s public testimony last week is that congressional Republicans do not believe that asking an FBI director to stymie an investigation, then firing him when he doesn’t do it, then lying to the public about why you fired him constitutes obstruction of justice or abuse of power in the relevant sense.

Given that standard, they might well conclude that firing Mueller is okay too. Trump’s legal authority to do this, after all, is perfectly clear. The only check is political backlash on Capitol Hill, where Republicans hold majorities in both houses and have thus far shown little inclination to check Trump.

Last but by no means least, one advantage Trump has in Russia-related decision-making is that he knows more than either his allies or his antagonists in Congress about what the underlying facts of the case are. Trump is in a unique position to evaluate whether the political costs of a cover-up exceed the political costs of a thorough investigation. In the case of, for example, his still-secret tax returns and personal finances, Trump has decided that the cover-up is the wiser path — and it’s certainly possible he’ll reach the same conclusion with regard to Mueller.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/12/15782092/fire-robert-mueller

When Will President Trump Fire Robert Mueller?

The White House is threatening the special counsel and trying to dig up dirt on him, and the prospect that the president will try to fire him now seems very real.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The idea that Donald Trump might fire—or try to fire—Special Counsel Robert Mueller has bubbled up enough times to seem possible, but still improbable. For one thing (as Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, among others, can attest) press reports that this president might fire someone are frequently wrong. For another, it seemed that even Trump was prudent enough to avoid making the mistake that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency.Yet Trump has a knack for making the wildly implausible suddenly imminent.  In the last 36 hours, the idea of Mueller being fired—and the political crisis it would likely set off—has become distinctly real. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump all but said he would fire Mueller if his investigation went into places Trump didn’t like. Since then, several reports have suggested that Trump’s defense strategy, as investigations probe deeper into his life and administration, is to attack Mueller and attempt to discredit him. Increasingly, the operative question seems not to be whether Trump will try to fire Mueller, but when he will do so and what will push him over the edge.

Firing Mueller would likely create a reprise of the October 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre,” in which Richard Nixon tried to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. When the attorney general and his deputy both refused and resigned, Nixon eventually got Solicitor General Robert Bork to do the deed. But a judge ruled the firing illegal, Cox was replaced by Leon Jaworski, and Nixon had to resign within a year.

If Trump did fire Mueller, it would be the third time in his tenure that Trump tried to get a law-enforcement official who was investigating him or his associates to close a case and, having failed, fired the official.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was, according to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, investigating financial dealings involving Trump, his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and others. After winning the presidency, Trump told Bharara he intended to keep him in his job. Trump then worked to cultivate Bharara, placing repeated phone calls to him. Bharara refused to take the calls, saying they violated protocol. Trump then fired him, along with most other U.S. attorneys, in March. (Bloomberg reports Mueller has taken over the investigation Bharara started.)Something similar happened with FBI Director James Comey. Trump invited Comey to dinner in January, where, according to Comey, Trump asked him for loyalty; Comey offered only “honest loyalty.” The following month, after National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to step down for lying to Vice President Pence about conversations with the Russian ambassador, Trump asked Comey to find a way to let Flynn ago, according to memos Comey wrote at the time. Comey did not, and in May, Trump fired him—citing the Russia probe as the reason in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt.Mueller’s situation now looks eerily similar. The special counsel is known to be looking into Trump and his associates, both in their relations with Russia in the campaign and in their business dealings. Trump sent two of his lawyers to meet with Mueller, to ask him to wrap the investigation swiftly. Now, he has issued a warning to Mueller through the press. (His lawyers say they are cooperating with the investigation.) It’s difficult to believe that the special counsel will be intimidated. Mueller, himself a former FBI director, has a strong reputation for independence and doggedness. He might be even less susceptible to political pressure than Bharara and Comey, both of whom, while well-regarded for honesty, are sometimes accused of political ambition. (Mueller’s aversion to attention means it’s harder to know what’s going on inside his team, which doesn’t leak much.)
This places Trump and Mueller on a collision path. Either the president will have to fire the special counsel for doing exactly the same things that got Bharara and Comey axed, or he’ll have to sit and seethe as Mueller pokes into his taxes, his business, and who knows what else.In mid-June, Chris Ruddy, a friend of Trump’s and the CEO of Newsmax, told PBS’s NewsHour that Trump was considering firing Mueller, on the basis that he had spoken to Mueller about the job of FBI director days before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel. The president felt that created a conflict of interest, but cooler heads in the White House seem to have convinced him firing Mueller was unwise.Legal experts think Trump could fire Mueller in several ways. He could direct Rosenstein to do so, but Rosenstein would probably refuse unless there was a strong legal justification. Trump could also try to change the rules for firing, but that would also have to go through Rosenstein. Either path is fraught with likely firings or resignations at the Justice Department.Yet in the eye-popping Times interview Wednesday, reporter Michael Schmidt asked, “If Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia—is that a red line?” Trump said, “I would say yeah. I would say yes … I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company.” Trump wouldn’t actually commit to firing Mueller if he did, though: “I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Since then, the flood. The Washington Post reports that Trump is seeking ways to box in Mueller’s probe and limit its scope, as well as exploring the limits of his power to pardon aides, or, potentially, himself. “They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers,” the paper adds. The New York Times had a similar report.The Trump team seems to be targeting Mueller from two angles. The first is conflicts of interest. Trump seems to have little understanding of what constitutes a conflict; he has remained deeply entangled in his private business while serving as president, and accused multiple figures of conflicts of interest in his Times interview, even as he evinced no understanding of the conflict that forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from Russia matters. But the Justice Department has explicit rules for what constitutes an improper conflict. It doesn’t appear that what the Trump team has come up with so far—Mueller’s conversation with Trump, or political donations by members of his team—would meet the standards in that policy.The second tack is to try to prevent Mueller from moving into areas Trump doesn’t want him to explore. “The president’s making clear that the special counsel should not move outside the scope of the investigation,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Thursday. Yet any argument that the investigation must stay within its own scope begs the question: Who is to determine what the scope of the investigation is, after all? Rosenstein’s letter appointing Mueller seems to offer the prosecutor a great deal of leeway, including authorizing “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Take the Trump team’s warnings to Mueller to stick to Russia. The problem is that, as Trump surely knows, business doesn’t stop neatly at international borders. For example: Trump banks with Deutsche Bank, a German bank. Deutsche Bank works with Vnesheconombank, a state-owned Russian bank with whose chief executive Kushner had a questionable conversation in December. Or: Paul Manafort is reportedly being investigated for transactions through Cyprus, where Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev is chairman of the Bank of the Cyprus; Rybolovlev in 2015 bought a house in Florida from Trump for a huge profit. How does one draw a line between what is “Russian” and what is not?While Mueller is not speaking to the press, various reports have emerged about the scope of his investigation, and they suggest that Mueller intends to follow each thread as far as he can. The historical precedent, as I have written before, is the Whitewater investigation into the Clintons. That inquiry didn’t end up finding wrongdoing in the 1970s real-estate deal that gave the scandal its name, but once a special prosecutor begins combing over someone’s affairs, he tends to find something. In Clinton’s case, the end game was impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky case, an affair that hadn’t even begun when the investigation opened.Trump, who has made a career in business out of frequently bending or even simply breaking the rules, may have good reason to be concerned. The question is about what. The Post reports:

Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.

Trump has famously refused to release his taxes, breaking a precedent that has endured since Watergate. During the campaign, he claimed he couldn’t release the taxes because he was under audit (he never proved that, and the IRS said there was no reason he couldn’t release the returns anyway), but since winning election, he has made clear he actually has no intention of releasing them.

The complaint about tax returns suggests two possible worries. One is that he thinks his returns will reveal improprieties or illegal behavior. The other is that Trump’s taxes will show that he is not worth as much as he claims he is, or that they will show that his debt dwarfs his assets. Being revealed to be in debt, or less rich than claimed, might be a strange reason to risk blowing up one’s presidency and by extension reputation and legacy. But Trump has both consistently exaggerated his wealth, attributing huge value to intangible things, and has fought bitterly when anyone has questioned his figures.When journalist Tim O’Brien wrote that Trump was worth only $150 to $250 million, Trump sued him for libel in 2006, demanding $5 billion in damages. (That’s one way to build up net worth.) The suit didn’t go well. In a deposition for the case, Trump had to admit lying 30 times, and a judge dismissed the suit.It is impossible to predict what might happen if Trump did fire Mueller. Republicans in Congress have shown relatively little interest in aggressively holding the president accountable. As McKay Coppins reported this week, many of them are dubious that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. But the collapse of the health-care bill combined with Trump’s threats against Mueller has aroused new ire among members. Senator Susan Collins of Maine told CNN, “It would be catastrophic if the president were to fire the special counsel.” Others expressed grave concerns, though not attaching their name.
Yet talk now and action later are two different things. On the one hand, plenty of Republicans have been critical of Trump but continue to mostly go with the flow. On the other, congressional Republicans were slow to turn on Nixon, too. In the event of a firing, James Fallows writes, holding Trump accountable would hinge on finding three Republican senators willing to buck the White House.In some ways, Trump is already following in the steps of the 37th president. A friend of Donald Trump Jr. recently compared him to Nixon giving his famous 1952 Checkers speech, in which the then-vice presidential candidate defended himself against accusations of financial impropriety. That speech was a political triumph: It convinced Dwight Eisenhower to leave him on the ticket, Eisenhower won the presidency, and Nixon came back from the political dead, not for the last time. Biographer Jack Farrell notes that Nixon’s impetus for firing Cox was his fury that the special prosecutor had expanded the scope of his investigation past Watergate and into Nixon’s personal affairs. What is less remembered about the Checkers speech is that, as the Watergate investigation found, Nixon’s financial affairs really were dubious; he was wildly underpaying taxes. A politician can stave off the inevitable with public rhetoric and even firings for a time, but investigators often have the last word.https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/when-will-president-trump-fire-robert-mueller/534459/

Trump leaves Sessions twisting in the wind while berating him publicly


Attorney General Jeff Sessions walks down the stairs of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Monday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

July 24 at 7:15 PM

President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some confidants are floating prospects who could take his place were he to resign or be fired, according to people familiar with the talks.Members of Trump’s circle, including White House officials, have increasingly raised the question among themselves in recent days as the president has continued to vent his frustration with the attorney general, the people said.Replacing Sessions is seen by some Trump associates as potentially being part of a strategy to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and end his investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.The president took another swipe at Sessions on Monday, calling his attorney general “our beleaguered A.G.” and asking why Sessions was not “looking into Crooked Hillary’s crimes & Russia relations?”Both points are notable. Sessions was once considered one of Trump’s closest advisers and enjoyed access few others had. Now he is left to endure regular public criticism by his boss.

Trump’s attack on Sessions raises more questions about the Russia investigation

Trump’s suggestion, too, that his top law enforcement official investigate a former political rival is astounding, and even his allies have said in the past that such a move would be unheard of in the United States. Trump, after the election, had backed away from the idea of possibly prosecuting Hillary Clinton.

Sessions has seen his tight relationship with Trump and the White House unravel since he recused himself in March from the Russia probe. The president had privately complained about that decision for weeks, and in an interview with the New York Times last week he said he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general had he known in advance of the recusal.

After Sessions recused himself, he passed on the responsibility to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller as special counsel overseeing the Russia probe.

Trump could order Rosenstein — and then Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand — to fire Mueller. If they quit instead of doing so, he could appoint an acting attorney general who would. Trump could also appoint an acting attorney general with them in place — effectively passing over Rosenstein and Brand — and order that person to remove the special counsel.

Trump’s authority to jump Rosenstein and Brand, though, is murky. The Justice Department has issued opinions in the past saying both that such a move is and isn’t permissible. And his pick for an acting attorney general would have to have Senate confirmation and be serving elsewhere in the government or have worked in the Justice Department for 90 days within the past 365 and be at a certain senior pay level.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is “totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way” on July 20 after President Trump criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe. (The Washington Post)

Another scenario is that Trump could make a recess appointment, said University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck. Under that plan, Trump could choose an attorney general during the August recess who would serve until the end of the next Senate session, which could be early January. That person would have the same authority as someone who is confirmed by the Senate, Vladeck said.

Among the names being floated as possible Sessions replacements are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Giuliani dismissed a report floating his name as a possible attorney general and told CNN that Sessions “made the right decision under the rules of the Justice Department” to recuse himself. He did not return a message seeking comment.

Cruz had said previously that he “did not think it was necessary to appoint a special counsel,” but when Mueller was appointed, he praised him as “an excellent choice.” A spokesman for Cruz could not be reached for comment.

Some Trump advisers said that this process could be agonizing for the attorney general, with the president’s anger flaring but no decision being reached for weeks or maybe months, leaving Sessions isolated from the White House. Sessions was at the White House complex on Monday for a routine meeting but did not meet with the president.

But not all in Trump’s orbit share the view that Sessions’s days are numbered.

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, told CNN on Monday afternoon that Trump and Sessions “need to sit down face-to-face and have a reconciliation and a discussion of the future.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a vigorous Trump ally, said in an interview that he and Trump had talked about Sessions and that Trump had indicated “he was very unhappy both with the recusal and the fact that Jeff didn’t talk to him beforehand.” But Gingrich said he would “strongly oppose” the firing of Sessions, because “I think his base likes Sessions.”

“His base thinks that on things like [violent street gangs] and sanctuary cities that Sessions is doing a fine job, and I think his base would be confused,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich also said he believed Sessions could survive the president’s criticisms.

“He said he’s beleaguered, not failed, and he is a little beleaguered,” Gingrich said. “This whole thing has been a mess.”

Trump, though, continues to let Sessions twist in the wind. One person close to Trump said the president asked him about how firing Sessions “would play in the conservative media.” Trump also asked him whether it would help to replace Sessions “with a major conservative,” the person said.

For his part, Sessions shows no signs of stepping down.

On Friday, Sessions traveled to Philadelphia to meet with law enforcement officials. In his speech, he vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and on “sanctuary cities” that are not communicating with federal authorities about undocumented immigrants. He spoke of how hard he is working, despite having none of his U.S. attorneys in place and most of his senior officials still not confirmed by the Senate.

“I do my best every day,” Sessions said, “to fulfill the goals the president and I share.”

Several of Session’s Republican former colleagues on Capitol Hill have defended him in the face of the president’s criticism.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a close friend, said that Sessions was “doing just fine.” He also encouraged the president to try to patch up his relationship with his attorney general.

“They’re both adults, and they can work it out,” Cornyn said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-leaves-sessions-twisting-in-the-wind-while-berating-him-publicly/2017/07/24/ce3bf142-708b-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?utm_term=.05e68b29868f

Meet President Trump’s Outside Legal Team

June 24, 20177:00 AM ET

Marc Kasowitz, attorney for President Trump, departs after speaking at the National Press Club on June 8, responding to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump has brought on an eclectic team of outside lawyers to help him navigate the various investigations into Russian meddling in the election. At least six congressional committees are investigating. And, in addition to activities around the election, special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly now also looking into possible obstruction of justice by the president.

If you asked a Washington insider to come up with a legal dream team for a situation like this, it’s highly unlikely this is who they would come up with. But President Trump came into office as an outsider and continues to operate that way, and in a way his legal team is a reflection of that as well.

Here’s an introduction to the men representing Trump:

Marc Kasowitz

Shortly after former FBI Director James Comey finished testifying before a Senate committee, a white-haired man in a suit walked up to a lectern at the National Press Club and faced reporters.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Marc Kasowitz, president Trump’s personal lawyer,” he said, launching into prepared statement.

Kasowitz has represented Trump for 15 years in a wide range of cases related to Trump’s business and personal life — and now he’s leading the president’s outside legal team.

“The president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country and with this public cloud removed,” Kasowitz read, then promptly left without taking questions.

He hasn’t made any public remarks since.

Over the years, Kasowitz has represented Trump on real estate transactions, libel cases (Trump filed a lot of them) and in the Trump University fraud law suit, settled late last year for $25 million.

In the New York Times, he was described as “more of a scrappy upstart than a member of the city’s white-shoe legal machine … the Donald Trump of lawyering.”

Kasowitz founded his own law firm in 1993, bringing with him a valuable client, Celanese Chemicals, involved in long-term product liability litigation over pipes installed in more than 6 million homes that had begun leaking. The firm started small and has grown to have some 300 lawyers, with offices in nine U.S. cities. On its website, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP lists its primary focus as complex commercial litigation.

“He’s a general, and I mean that in a very complimentary way,” said Charles Barrett, an attorney at Neal & Harwell, who started his career at Kasowitz’s firm. “He’s very smart. He’s a really good leader and great tactician. He’s the one you want running point on an important operation.”

Barrett added Kasowitz is “tough, really tough.”

That description is one Kasowitz seems to savor, as the word “toughest” appears in the first line of his bio.

Perhaps his highest profile case came just a couple of years after establishing his firm. Kasowitz represented Liggett — the smallest of the big tobacco companies. At his suggestion, Liggett broke with the industry and began settling lawsuits filed by smokers and states seeking damages for smoking-related illnesses. Up until that point the tobacco companies had been united in denying that cigarettes were addictive or dangerous.

“Today for the first time one of the five major tobacco companies in the United States is prepared to break this conspiracy,” said Grant Woods, Arizona’s attorney general at the time, as he announced one of the settlements. “Liggett will now fully cooperate in every sense with these 22 attorneys general as we fight the other four tobacco companies in courts across this country.”

Liggett’s move ultimately forced the other tobacco companies to settle, too.

Another one of Kasowitz’s clients is Sberbank. As BuzzFeed has reported, Sberbank is fighting “claims that it helped a granite-mining company raid and kill off its main competitor in the Russian market.”

Kasowitz’s firm takes on cases other firms would shy away from — including whistleblower suits and going after big financial institutions.

But civil litigation and white-collar defense are two very different types of law.

“People who do real estate and commercial things really do not have the kind of experience that is useful when you’re dealing with any prosecutor and especially somebody with the experience of Bob Mueller,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a professor at the George Washington University Law School.

Saltzburg was part of the special prosecutor’s team during the Iran Contra investigation, so he’s seen one of these sorts of investigations from the inside. One thing Kasowitz does have going for him, Saltzburg said, is that the president knows him and respects him.

“He may be able to say something to the president that the president wouldn’t hear from another lawyer,” said Saltzburg.

And Kasowitz has brought on other lawyers.

Jay Sekulow

The face of Trump’s team has become Jay Sekulow. On Sunday, he appeared on four different network and cable shows. The next day he did at least three more TV appearances.

Jay Sekulow, a religious rights lawyer and a new member of the president’s legal team, introduces Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at Regent University in Florida in 2015.

Steve Helber/AP

“Let me be crystal clear so you — you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the United States, period,” said Sekulow on Fox News Sunday.

That appearance turned south, with Sekulow getting tied up by questioning from Chris Wallace.

Sekulow later admitted he can’t be sure the president isn’t being looked at as part of the special counsel investigation. The Washington Post reported on June 14 that Mueller’s team was looking into whether Trump obstructed justice and that investigators had reached out to national security officials for interviews.

For regular cable news viewers (like, say, President Trump), Sekulow is a familiar face. His specialty isn’t white-collar defense, but rather religious liberty. He’s argued 12 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, starting in 1987 in a case that pitted the Los Angeles airport against Jews for Jesus. He argued members of the group should be able to pass out literature at the airport.

“There is no justification for a sweeping ban on First Amendment activities which would subordinate cherished First Amendment freedoms,” he argued before facing a volley of questions from the justices.

Sekulow wasn’t just the lawyer for Jews for Jesus. He grew up Jewish in Long Island and came to believe Jesus is the messiah while attending a Baptist college. Around that time he was introduced to Jews for Jesus.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the group’s favor, helping Sekulow make a name for himself.

In 1990 he founded the American Center for Law and Justice, or ACLJ, with evangelical minister Pat Robertson. ACLJ was meant to be a Christian conservative answer to the American Civil Liberties Union. Not only does ACLJ pursue religious liberty cases, it fought the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan and even has a call-in show that airs on hundreds of stations nationwide. It’s called Jay Sekulow Live! and is hosted by Sekulow and his sons. A spokesman says he plans to continue hosting the show even as he now represents Trump.

On top of all that, Sekulow plays drums in a Christian rock band, The Jay Sekulow Band. One of his bandmates was the frontman for the popular rock band Kansas in the early 1980s. On Facebook, more than 110,000 people follow the band, which has numerous slickly produced performance videos.

John Dowd

John Dowd is best known as the author of the Dowd Report, which led to Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball for gambling on the game.

“I’m very, very happy and very proud of the commissioner of baseball for protecting the game,” Dowd told NPR two years ago, when Major League Baseball denied Rose’s request to be reinstated. “In this day and age, protecting the integrity of anything is a big deal.”

In 2011, Dowd represented Raj Rajaratnam in a major insider-trading case. Rajaratnam was convicted on all counts and walking out of the courtroom Dowd offered some choice words to a CNBC reporter, flipping off the camera.

Attorney John Dowd (left), who now is part of the legal team working for Trump, leaves U.S. District Court with his client Raj Rajaratnam after jury deliberations about an insider trading case in New York in 2011.

Kathy Willens/AP

But more to the point, Dowd is a seasoned Washington hand who represented Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the Keating Five scandal (McCain was cleared) and helped a retired Air Force colonel get immunity to testify in the Iran Contra scandal.

That’s experience that would be quite valuable if the president is in fact being investigated for obstruction of justice by the special counsel.

Michael Bowe

Michael Bowe is a partner at Kasowitz’s law firm and has worked on a number of high-profile cases. He went after a hedge fund that had been shorting his client Fairfax Financial. The deposition from that case played a prominent role in a Frontline documentary and also aided federal authorities in an investigation of that fund for insider trading.

His bio on the firm’s website says Bowe “has successfully litigated virtually every type of high-stakes business and personal case, on both the plaintiff and defense side, and at both the trial and appellate level. He has also navigated to safety many companies and high net worth individuals facing serious law enforcement and regulatory jeopardy. And he has provided sage crisis management advice during these periods of substantial duress.”

http://www.npr.org/2017/06/24/533785914/meet-president-trumps-outside-legal-team

Special Counsel Mueller Lets His Actions Do The Talking: 15 Hires, More to ComeJuly 8, 20177:00 AM ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a June 21 closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible connections to the Trump campaign.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Robert Mueller has made no public comment since he was named to lead the Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election.

Instead, he has let his actions do the talking. The former FBI director and decorated U.S. Marine has submitted a budget and quietly hired an all-star team that includes 15 Justice Department prosecutors. And, a spokesman for Mueller said, he’s not done bringing on new lawyers.

That has gotten the attention of supporters of President Trump, who recently made an attack ad calling the investigation a “rigged game” and blasting the special counsel for hiring at least four lawyers who have donated to Democrats.

Mueller has not described the scope of what his team will examine.

But members of Congress and other lawyers involved in the probe described the main lines of inquiry as: Russian meddling in the presidential election; whether anyone inside the United States conspired to help; and whether any wrongdoing has been committed in the surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey, who said he believed he was let go to relieve pressure on the Russia probe.

There’s no timetable or deadline for the job. Given that it’s the most sensitive Justice Department investigation in the last decade or more, it’s unlikely that prosecutors will rush.

And for someone like Mueller, the 2018 midterm elections are not going to be a factor.

Here are some of the attorneys Mueller has hired:

  • Zainab Ahmad, a top national security prosecutor on detail from U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.
  • Rush Atkinson, an attorney on detail from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section at the Department of Justice.
  • Michael Dreeben, an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General, described by former colleagues as one of the brightest criminal law experts of the past two generations.
  • Andrew Goldstein, a public corruption prosecutor on detail from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
  • Adam Jed, an appellate attorney on detail from DOJ’s Civil Division.
  • Lisa Page, an attorney on detail from the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel and a former trial attorney with the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.
  • Elizabeth Prelogar, an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General.
  • James Quarles, a former partner at WilmerHale and a former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
  • Jeannie Rhee, a former partner at WilmerHale who has served in the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
  • Brandon Van Grack, an attorney on detail from the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
  • Andrew Weissmann, who is on detail from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and who has served as general counsel at the FBI and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Aaron Zebley, a former partner at WilmerHale who has previously served with Mueller at the FBI and has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
  • Aaron Zelinsky, an attorney on detail from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland.

http://www.npr.org/2017/07/08/535813901/special-counsel-mueller-lets-his-actions-do-the-talking-15-hires-more-to-come

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The Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017, Story 1: Former FBI Director James Comey Answers Some Senator Questions And President Trump’s Lawyer Responds To Comey Testimony — Videos — Story 2: Prime Minister May Expected To Win Reelection But Could Lose Majority With A Hung Parliament — Videos

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Story 1: Former FBI Director James Comey Answers Some Senator Questions And President Trump’s Lawyer Responds To Comey Testimony — Videos —

 

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The ‘Independent’ Mr. Comey

His prepared testimony shows why he deserved to be fired.

The desk in the Hart Senate Office Building from which former FBI director James Comey will testify, June 7.

The desk in the Hart Senate Office Building from which former FBI director James Comey will testify, June 7. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The Senate Intelligence Committee released James Comey’s prepared testimony a day early on Wednesday, and it looks like a test of whether Washington can apprehend reality except as another Watergate. Perhaps the defrocked FBI director has a bombshell still to drop. But far from documenting an abuse of power by President Trump, his prepared statement reveals Mr. Comey’s misunderstanding of law enforcement in a democracy.

Mr. Comey’s seven-page narrative recounts his nine encounters with the President-elect and then President, including an appearance at Trump Tower, a one-on-one White House dinner and phone calls. He describes how he briefed Mr. Trump on the Russia counterintelligence investigation and what he calls multiple attempts to “create some sort of patronage relationship.”

But at worst Mr. Comey’s account of Mr. Trump reveals a willful and naive narcissist who believes he can charm or subtly intimidate the FBI director but has no idea how Washington works. This is not new information.

When you’re dining alone in the Green Room with an operator like Mr. Comey—calculating, self-protective, one of the more skilled political knife-fighters of modern times—there are better approaches than asserting “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Of course the righteous director was going to “memorialize” (his word) these conversations as political insurance.

Mr. Trump’s ham-handed demand for loyalty doesn’t seem to extend beyond the events of 2016, however. In Mr. Comey’s telling, the President is preoccupied with getting credit for the election results and resentful that the political class is delegitimizing his victory with “the cloud” of Russian interference when he believes he did nothing wrong.

Mr. Comey also confirms that on at least three occasions he told Mr. Trump that he was not a personal target of the Russia probe. But Mr. Comey wouldn’t make a public statement to the same effect, “most importantly because it would create a duty to correct” if Mr. Trump were implicated. This is odd because the real obligation is to keep quiet until an investigation is complete.

More interesting is that Mr. Trump’s frustration at Mr. Comey’s refusal raises the possibility that the source of Mr. Trump’s self-destructive behavior isn’t a coverup or a bid to obstruct the investigation. The source could simply be Mr. Trump’s wounded pride.

The most troubling part of Mr. Comey’s statement is his belief in what he calls “the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch,” which he invokes more than once. Independent? This is a false and dangerous view of law enforcement in the American system.

Mr. Comey is describing an FBI director who essentially answers to no one. But the police powers of the government are awesome and often abused, and the only way to prevent or correct abuses is to report to elected officials who are accountable to voters. A director must resist intervention to obstruct an investigation, but he and the agency must be politically accountable or risk becoming the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover.

Mr. Comey says Mr. Trump strongly suggested in February that he close the Michael Flynn file, but after conferring with his “FBI senior leadership” he decided not to relay the conversation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions or any other Justice Department superior. If he thought he was being unduly pressured he had a legal obligation to report, and in our view to resign, but he says he didn’t because “we expected” that Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from Russia involvement.

Well, how did he know? Mr. Sessions didn’t recuse himself until two weeks later. Mr. Comey also didn’t tell the acting Deputy AG, who at the time was a U.S. attorney whom Mr. Comey dismisses as someone “who would also not be long in the role.”

This remarkable presumptuousness is the Comey mindset that was on display last year. He broke Justice Department protocol to absolve Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material, without the involvement of Justice prosecutors or even telling then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Mr. Comey’s disregard for the chain of legal command is why Mr. Trump was right to fire him, whatever his reasons.

Also on Wednesday two leaders of the intelligence community told the Senate Wednesday that they had not been pressured to cover up anything. “I have never been pressured—I have never felt pressured—to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation,” said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers added that he never been asked “to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump announced that he is nominating respected Justice Department veteran Christopher Wray as the next FBI director. Let’s hope Mr. Wray has a better understanding of the FBI’s role under the Constitution than Mr. Comey does.

Appeared in the June 8, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-independent-mr-comey-1496878266

Comey: ‘Lordy, I Hope There are Tapes’
AP

COMEY SAYS HE WAS FIRED BECAUSE OF RUSSIA INVESTIGATION


AP Photo
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Director James Comey asserted Thursday that President Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey told the Senate intelligence committee in explosive testimony that threatened to undermine Trump’s presidency.

“I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified under oath. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”

Comey also accused the Trump administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple” about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing last month, declaring that the administration then “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI” by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership. And in testimony that exposed deep distrust between the president and the veteran lawman, Comey described intense discomfort about their one-on-one conversations, saying he decided he immediately needed to document the discussions in memos.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document,” Comey said. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI.”

The revelations came as Comey delivered his much anticipated first public telling of his relationship with Trump, speaking at a packed Senate intelligence committee hearing that brought Washington and parts of the country to a standstill as all eyes were glued to screens showing the testimony. The former director immediately dove into the heart of the fraught political controversy around his firing and whether Trump interfered in the bureau’s Russia investigation, as he elaborated on written testimony delivered Wednesday. In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.

Comey said that he declined to do so in large part because of the “duty to correct” that would be created if that situation changed. Comey also said in his written testimony that Trump, in a strange private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed him to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Comey the key question: “Do you believe this rises to obstruction of justice?”

“I don’t know. That’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out,” Comey responded, referring to the newly appointed special counsel who has taken over the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

In a startling disclosure, Comey revealed that after his firing he actually tried to spur the special counsel’s appointment by giving one of his memos about Trump to a friend of his to release to the press.

“My judgment was I need to get that out into the public square,” Comey said.

Trump’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey’s affirmation that he told Trump he was not personally under investigation. Though Comey said he interpreted Trump’s comments as a directive to shut down the Flynn investigation, Kasowitz also maintained in his written statement that Comey’s testimony showed that the president “never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go.'”

The Republican National Committee and other White House allies worked feverishly to lessen any damage from the hearing, trying to undermine Comey’s credibility by issuing press releases and even ads pointing to a past instance where the FBI had had to clean up the director’s testimony to Congress. Republicans and Trump’s own lawyer seized on Comey’s confirmation, in his written testimony, of Trump’s claim that Comey had told him three times the president was not directly under investigation.

Trump himself was expected to dispute Comey’s claims that the president demanded loyalty and asked the FBI director to drop the investigation into Flynn, according to a person close to the president’s legal team who demanded anonymity because of not being authorized to discuss legal strategy. The president has not yet publicly denied the specifics of Comey’s accounts but has broadly challenged his credibility, tweeting last month Comey “better hope there are no ‘tapes'” of the conversations.

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey remarked at one point Thursday, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over any claims from the president.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California asked the question that many Republicans have raised in the weeks since Comey’s firing as one media leak followed another revealing Comey’s claims about Trump’s inappropriate interactions with him.

Discussing the Oval Office meeting where Comey says Trump asked him to back off Flynn, Feinstein asked: “Why didn’t you stop and say, ‘Mr. President, this is wrong,’?”

“That’s a great question,” Comey said. “Maybe if I were stronger I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation I just took it in.”

The hearing unfolded amid intense political interest, and within a remarkable political context as Comey delivered detrimental testimony about the president who fired him, a president who won election only after Comey damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the final days of the campaign. Clinton has blamed her defeat on Comey’s Oct. 28 announcement that he was re-opening the investigation of her email practices. “If the election were on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said last month.

Thursday’s hearing included discussion of that email investigation, as Comey disclosed that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer to the issue as a “matter,” not an “investigation.”

“That concerned me because that language tracked how the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning,” Comey said. “We had an investigation open at the time so that gave me a queasy feeling.”

Many Democrats still blame Comey for Clinton’s loss, leading Trump to apparently believe they would applaud him for firing Comey last month. The opposite was the case as the firing created an enormous political firestorm that has stalled Trump’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill and taken over Washington.

Under questioning Thursday, Comey strongly asserted the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia did indeed meddle in the 2016 election.

“There should be no fuzz on this. The Russians interfered,” Comey stated firmly. “That happened. It’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

Trump has begrudgingly accepted the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia interfered with the election. But he has also suggested he doesn’t believe it, saying Russia is a “ruse” and calling the investigation into the matter a “witch hunt.”


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COMEY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-08-12-37-50

Former FBI Director James Comey’s planned testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday will provide President Trump’s opponents with plenty of opportunities to attack his conduct, while also giving his supporters the context they need to defend his actions.The seven-page opening statement Comey provided to the committee this week sheds new light on a series of private conversations and meetings between the president and the former FBI director that had previously been described only through anonymous leaks to the press.However, the statement contained few new revelations, and GOP allies — including the Republican National Committee quickly seized on the document to argue Trump had done nothing wrong.Here are seven takeaways from Comey’s opening statement, which he is slated to deliver before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning.

Comey really did tell Trump he was not under investigation three times.

In his letter last month asking Comey to resign, Trump thanked the former FBI director for telling him, on three occasions, that he was not personally the subject of an FBI probe.

On Jan. 6, according to Comey’s statement, the former FBI director sought permission from the bureau’s “leadership team” to inform the president-elect that he was not under investigation.

“That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him,” Comey wrote. He noted the team concluded that he should indeed tell Trump he was not under investigation “if circumstances warranted” during a “sensitive” conversation at Trump Tower about an unverified dossier of salacious allegations against the president-elect.

“During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance,” Comey wrote.

Then, during a Jan. 27 dinner at the White House, Comey cautioned Trump against calling publicly for an investigation of the salacious dossier by warning him that doing so “might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t.”

Finally, during a March 30 phone call, Comey again told the president he was not the subject of an investigation.

“I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that,” Comey noted.

The former FBI director noted, however, that counter-intelligence investigations and criminal investigations differ in their scope and methods.

Comey had far more contact with Trump than with Obama.

The former FBI director noted that he decided to document his conversations with Trump shortly after their first meeting on Jan. 6 at Trump Tower.

“Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward,” Comey wrote in the statement. “This had not been my practice in the past.”

Comey said he had spoken with former President Obama alone just two times throughout his presidency, and said he did not feel compelled to take notes about either encounter.

“I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone,” Comey wrote.

Comey did not perceive any interference on the Russia front.

After a Feb. 14 conversation with Trump in the Oval Office, Comey said he felt uncomfortable with comments the president made about his former national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn.

Trump asked Comey to “let this go,” referring to an investigation into whether Flynn made misleading statements to FBI agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, Comey said.

But the former FBI director clarified that he did not believe the president was asking him to abandon the bureau’s probe of Russian meddling in the presidential race.

“I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign,” Comey noted.

Comey never told Sessions about his concerns.

The former FBI director defended his decision not to alert the attorney general to his concerns in February about Trump by arguing that he did not expect Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the acting deputy attorney general beneath him to remain involved in the Russia investigation for much longer.

“We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two weeks later.),” Comey noted.

However, Sessions did not recuse himself until his campaign-era contact with the Russian ambassador surfaced in news reports.

Trump told Comey “it would be good” to find out whether his associates “did something wrong.”

Rather than press Comey to close an investigation of his more distant associates, Trump told the former FBI director he would prefer to learn whether any had committed a crime.

“The president went on to say that if there were some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him,” Comey wrote in his opening statement.

Several of Trump’s former campaign advisers — such as Carter Page, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort — have come under scrutiny for their activities during the presidential race. All three were dismissed from the campaign long before Trump won the White House in November 2016.

Yet one former campaign hand, Flynn, joined Trump in the administration and has since emerged as a top target of investigative focus. And the president did suggest Comey end his efforts to probe Flynn, although the former FBI director suggested the request fell short of obstruction.

Comey does not describe nearly half of his interactions with Trump.

Although the former FBI director claims he interacted one-on-one with Trump on nine separate occasions, his opening statement describes only five of those conversations.

Comey described all three in-person encounters in the statement he provided to the Senate. However, he described just two of the six phone calls he says he had with Trump between Jan. 6 and April 11, the day Comey said he last spoke with the president.

Comey feared Trump wanted a “patronage relationship.”

Comey said Trump’s unexpected move to host him for a private dinner at the White House on Jan. 27 “was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.”

The former FBI director based that assessment on “[m]y instincts.”

Comey went on to describe an “awkward” moment that occurred when the president described his desire for “loyalty.”

“[T]he president said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner,” Comey noted.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/7-takeaways-from-comeys-opening-statement/article/2625257

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Story 1: Seven Countries Break Off Diplomatic Ties With Qatar’s For Support of Radical Islamic Terrorists Including Islamic State, al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood — Will Saudi Arabia Invade and Annex Qatar? — No — Videos —

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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have said they are withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar because Doha had not implemented an agreement among Gulf Arab countries not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs.The three countries said the move was necessary “to protect their security and stability”. But Qatar called the move a “big mistake”.Al Jazeera speaks with Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the former Qatar ambassador to the UN and US.

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CNN Exclusive: US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis

Washington (CNN)US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.
Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.
The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.
US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.
It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”
The FBI and CIA declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Qatari embassy in Washington said the investigation is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed what he called CNN’s “fake” reporting Wednesday.
“It’s another lie that was published,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately, our colleagues from CNN again and again publish references to unnamed sources in unnamed agencies, etc, etc. These streams of information have no connection with the reality. It’s so far away from the reality. Fake is a fake.”
The Qatari government has said a May 23 news report on its Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether President Donald Trump would last in office.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.
“Whatever has been thrown as an accusation is all based on misinformation and we think that the entire crisis being based on misinformation,” the foreign minister told CNN’s Becky Anderson. “Because it was started based on fabricated news, being wedged and being inserted in our national news agency which was hacked and proved by the FBI.”
Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, director of the Qatari Government Communications Office, confirmed that Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is working with the FBI and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency on the ongoing hacking investigation of the Qatar News Agency.
“The Ministry of Interior will reveal the findings of the investigation when completed,” he told CNN.
Partly in reaction to the false news report, Qatar’s neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have cut off economic and political ties, causing a broader crisis.
The report came at a time of escalating tension over accusations Qatar was financing terrorism.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar’s foreign policy. He did not address the false news report.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
In his tweet, Trump voiced support for the regional blockade of Qatar and cited Qatar’s funding of terrorist groups. The Qataris have rejected the terror-funding accusations.
Hours after Trump’s tweets, the US State Department said Qatar had made progress on stemming the funding of terrorists but that there was more work to be done.
US and European authorities have complained for years about funding for extremists from Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Gulf region. Fifteen of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
Last year, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Obama administration officials raised the issue of Saudi funding to build mosques in Europe and Africa that are helping to spread an ultra-conservative strain of Islam.
US intelligence has long been concerned with what they say is the Russian government’s ability to plant fake news in otherwise credible streams, according to US officials.
That concern has surfaced in recent months in congressional briefings by former FBI Director James Comey.
Comey told lawmakers that one reason he decided to bypass his Justice Department bosses in announcing no charges in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server was the concern about an apparent fake piece of Russian intelligence. The intelligence suggested the Russians had an email that indicated former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had assured Democrats she wouldn’t let the Clinton probe lead to charges.
The FBI came to believe the email was fake, but still feared the Russians could release it to undermine the Justice Department’s role in the probe.

Gulf plunged into diplomatic crisis as countries cut ties with Qatar

Qatari diplomats ejected and land, air and sea traffic routes cut off in row over terror and regional stability

Saudi Arabia TV reports on cutting of ties with Qatar

The Gulf has been hit by its biggest diplomatic crisis in years after Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region with its support for Islamist groups.

The countries said they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, eject its diplomats and order Qatari citizens to leave the Gulf states within 14 days. Shoppers in the Qatari capital, Doha, meanwhile packed supermarkets amid fears the country, which relies on imports from its neighbours, would face food shortages after Saudi Arabia closed its sole land border.

Social media reports from Doha showed supermarket shelves empty as nervous consumers began to worry that stocks of food and water would run out. As much as 40% of Qatar’s food comes over the Saudi border.

The small but very wealthy nation, the richest in the world per capita, was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/2016/08/explainer-interactive/embed/embed.html?id=40daeb83-4c13-4fe9-a592-473d1f7eb53e

The coordinated move dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and its perceived tolerance of Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival, Iran. The dispute is the worst to hit the Gulf since the formation of the Gulf Co-operation Council in 1981.

Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry said the measures were unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions. As the Qatari stock market tumbled and oil prices rose, it accused its fellow Gulf states of violating its sovereignty.

“The state of Qatar has been subjected to a campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication,” a statement said. “It reveals a hidden plan to undermine the state of Qatar.”

Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties owing to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region”, including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic State and groups supported by Iran in Saudi Arabia’s restive eastern province of Qatif.

Egypt’s foreign ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” towards the country and said “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed”. It gave the Qatari ambassador 48 hours to leave Egypt, and ordered its own chargé d’affaires in Qatar to return to Cairo within 48 hours.

The tiny island nation of Bahrain blamed its decision on Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities, and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain”.

In a sign of Qatar’s growing isolation, Yemen’s internationally backed government – which no longer holds its capital and large portions of the country – joined the move to break relations, as did the Maldives and the government based in eastern Libya

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2017/06/qatar-zip/giv-3902pAcwKt0BiU60/

There effect on air travel in the region was immediate. Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers, said it was suspending all flights to Saudi Arabia. Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, said it would suspend flights to Qatar “until further notice”. Emirates, the Dubai-based carrier, announced it would suspend Qatar flights starting on Tuesday, and Dubai-based budget carrier flydubai said it would suspend flights to and from Doha from Tuesday.

Egypt announced its airspace will be closed to all Qatari airplanes from Tuesday.

Monday’s diplomatic moves came two weeks after four Arab countries blocked Qatar-based media over the appearance of comments attributed to the Qatari emir that praised Iran. Qatar said hackers had taken over the website of its state-run news agency and faked the comments.

A senior Iranian official said the decision to sever ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East. Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff for Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, tweeted: “The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders is over … it is not a way to resolve crisis. These countries have no other option but to start regional dialogue.”

The US military said it had “no plans to change our posture in Qatar” amid the diplomatic crisis. Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid airbase, which houses the US military’s central command and 10,000 American troops.

Qatar has long faced criticism from its Arab neighbours over its support of Islamists and Doha has long welcomed senior figures from Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saudi’s chief worry is the Muslim Brotherhood, the transnational Sunni Islamist political movement outlawed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which regards it as posing a threat to their system of hereditary rule.

Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia fell out with Qatar over its backing of the former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member, and in March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over the rift.

Diplomatic relations resumed eight months later when Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quieted others but the 2014 crisis did not involve a land and sea blockade, as is threatened now.

The Qatar Council issued a fresh statement on Monday afternoon seeking to reassure its citizens that it had taken the necessary steps to ensure normal life continued, including by keeping sea ports open for trade and making sure that air space with countries not involved in the boycott remained open. It said it would not expel the 300,000 Egyptians working in Qatar as a reprisal.

Saudi Arabia however kept up the pressure on Qatar by saying it was withdrawing al-Jazeera’s media licence and closing its Saudi office, saying the Qatar-funded broadcaster had promoted terrorist plots and supported the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

It also banned all Qatar flagged vessels from is ports and lorries due to enter Qatar over the Saudi border were blocked from doing so.

The Saudi aim is to apply pressure to make Qatar change its foreign policy, but questioning the legitimacy of a fellow monarch could prove to be a double edged sword for any Gulf ruler.

Since 2014, Qatar has repeatedly and strongly denied that it funds extremist groups. However, it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and has been the home of the exiled Hamas official Khaled Mashaal since 2012. One of the first signs of any compromise will be the withdrawal of Hamas leaders from Doha.

Western officials have also accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

The row comes only two weeks after the US president, Donald Trump, visited the Middle East to seal major defence contracts with Saudi Arabia worth $110bn, set up an anti-extremist institute in Riyadh and urge the Gulf states to build an alliance against Iran.

The Saudis are in part countering the allegation of funding extremism, frequently made in Washington and in the past by Trump himself, by pointing the finger at Qatar for backing terrorism.

Speaking in Australia, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, played down the seriousness of the diplomatic dispute and said it would not affect counter-terrorism efforts.

“I think what we’re witnessing is a growing list of irritants in the region that have been there for some time, and they’ve bubbled up so that countries have taken action in order to have those differences addressed,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/05/saudi-arabia-and-bahrain-break-diplomatic-ties-with-qatar-over-terrorism

 

7 Countries Break Off Ties With Qatar, Accuse It Of Funding ISIS & Al Qaeda

The Logical Indian Crew

June 5th, 2017

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Courtesy: BBC | Image Credit: 1tv

In an unprecedented and major diplomatic rift, six Arab countries (and seven countries overall) have broken ties with Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring terror groups and trying to destablise the Middle-east. Qatar has hit back at the allegations, calling them “unjustified” and having “no basis in fact”.

The development happened in Monday, 5 June, when Bahrain announced diplomatic withdrawal from Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Maldives swiftly followed suit.

Saudi state news agency SPA stated that the move was to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

The six Arab countries have accused Qatar of channeling funds to the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda, something Qatar repeatedly denied. The Qatari foreign minister said, “The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact … not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents.”

Qatar has a history of sympathy towards extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its state-owned media outlet, Al Jazeera, has been accused of furthering Islamist ideologies. Additionally, Qatar has always been seen with suspicion with its Sunni peers in the Middle-east because of its close ties with Iran.

While hostility between the Gulf countries is not a new concept, this sudden outburst of diplomatic breakdown was largely unforeseen. However, it must be noted that this happened only two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and two weeks after several Gulf nations blocked Qatari news sites.

Saudi Arabia has removed Qatar from the coalition fighting rebels in Yemen due to “practices that strengthen terrorism” and its support of extremist groups. The countries said that they have closed their airspace to Qatar Airways. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have given Qatari visitors two weeks’ time to leave their countries.

Meanwhile, the Qatari stock market has plunged. The situation is highly nuclear and unpredictable, with the Qatari government becoming increasingly isolated and the already low oil prices expected to be negatively affected further. There are also humanitarian concerns, especially with food supply as Qatar received 40% of its food supplies by truck from Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently in Australia, called for the parties involved to solve their disputes through constructive dialogue. Turkey reportedly conveyed that it was ready to mediate between Qatar and the Gulf states.

However, with borders closed and ties existent only with Oman and Kuwait in the region, Qatar struggles to make sense of recent events even as it economy is in freefall.

Qatar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 25°30′N 51°15′E

State of Qatar

دولة قطر (Arabic)
Dawlat Qatar
Flag of Qatar
Emblem of Qatar
Flag Emblem
Anthem: السلام الأميري
As Salam al Amiri  (transliteration)
Amiri Salute

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Location and extent of Qatar (dark green) on the Arabian Peninsula.

Location and extent of Qatar (dark green) on the Arabian Peninsula.
Capital
and largest city
Doha
25°18′N 51°31′E
Official languages Arabic
Ethnic groups(2010[1])
Religion Islam
Demonym Qatari
Government Unitary constitutionalmonarchy
• Emir
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
• Deputy Emir
Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani
Legislature Consultative Assembly
Establishment
18 December 1878
• Declared independence
1 September 1971
• Independence from the United Kingdom
3 September 1971
Area
• Total
11,586 km2(4,473 sq mi) (164th)
• Water (%)
0.8
Population
• 2016 estimate
2,675,522[a][2](142nd)
• 2010 census
1,699,435[3] (148th)
• Density
176/km2 (455.8/sq mi) (76th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$353.143 billion[4](49th)
• Per capita
$145,894[4] (1st)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
• Total
$185.395 billion[4]
• Per capita
$68,940[5] (4th)
Gini (2007) 41.1[6]
medium
HDI (2014) Increase 0.850[7]
very high · 32nd
Currency Riyal (QAR)
Time zone AST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right[8]
Calling code +974
ISO 3166 code QA
Internet TLD

Qatar (/ˈkætɑːr/,[9] Listeni/ˈkɑːtɑːr/, /ˈkɑːtər/ or Listeni/kəˈtɑːr/;[10] Arabic: قطر‎‎ Qatar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ˈɡɪtˤɑr]),[11][12] officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر‎‎ Dawlat Qatar), is a sovereign country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. An arm of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island country of Bahrain.

Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since the early 19th century. Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was the founder of the State of Qatar. Qatar is a hereditary monarchy and its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Whether it should be regarded as a constitutional[13][14] or an absolute monarchy[15][16][17][18] is a matter of opinion. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour.[19][20] In early 2017, Qatar’s total population was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates.[21]

Qatar is a high income economy, backed by the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves.[22] The country has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is the most advanced Arab state for human development.[23] Qatar is a significant power in the Arab world, supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network.[24][25][26] For its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power.[27][28] Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to do so.[29]

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, among other Gulf states, cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and labeled the country a terrorist state, causing the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Etymology

Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, documented the earliest account pertaining to the inhabitants of the Peninsula around the mid-first century AD, referring to them as the Catharrei, a designation which may have derived from the name of a prominent local settlement.[30][31] A century later, Ptolemy produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as Catara.[31][32] The map also referenced a town named “Cadara” to the east of the peninsula.[33] The term ‘Catara’ (or, alternatively, Cataraei)[34] was exclusively used until the 18th century, after which ‘Katara’ emerged as the most commonly recognised spelling.[33] Eventually, the modern derivative Qatar was adopted as the country’s name.[33]

In Standard Arabic, the name is pronounced [ˈqɑtˤɑr], while in the local dialect it is [ˈɡitˤar].[11]

History

Antiquity

Dot carvings at Jebel Jassassiyeh, dating to c. 4000 BC.

Human habitation of Qatar dates back to 50,000 years ago.[35] Settlements and tools dating back to the Stone Age have been unearthed in the peninsula.[35] Mesopotamian artefacts originating from the Ubaid period (ca. 6500–3800 BC) have been discovered in abandoned coastal settlements.[36] Al Da’asa, a settlement located on the western coast of Qatar, is the most important Ubaid site in the country and is believed to have accommodated a small seasonal encampment.[37][38]

Kassite Babylonian material dating back to the second millennium BC found in Al Khor Islands attests to trade relations between the inhabitants of Qatar and the Kassites in modern-day Bahrain.[39] Among the findings were 3,000,000 crushed snail shells and Kassite potsherds.[37] It has been suggested that Qatar is the earliest known site of shellfish dye production, owing to a Kassite purple dye industry which existed on the coast.[36][40]

In 224 AD, the Sasanian Empire gained control over the territories surrounding the Persian Gulf.[41] Qatar played a role in the commercial activity of the Sasanids, contributing at least two commodities: precious pearls and purple dye.[42] Under the Sasanid reign, many of the inhabitants in Eastern Arabia were introduced to Christianity following the eastward dispersal of the religion by Mesopotamian Christians.[43] Monasteries were constructed and further settlements were founded during this era.[44][45] During the latter part of the Christian era, Qatar comprised a region known as ‘Beth Qatraye’ (Syriac for “region of the Qataris”).[46] The region was not limited to Qatar; it also included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, and Al-Hasa.[47]

In 628, Muhammad sent a Muslim envoy to a ruler in Eastern Arabia named Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi and requested that he and his subjects accept Islam. Munzir obliged his request, and accordingly, most of the Arab tribes in the region converted to Islam.[48] After the adoption of Islam, the Arabs led the Muslim conquest of Persia which resulted in the fall of the Sasanian Empire.[49]

Early and late Islamic period (661–1783)

Abbasid Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 850.

Qatar was described as a famous horse and camel breeding centre during the Umayyad period.[50] In the 8th century, it started benefiting from its commercially strategic position in the Persian Gulf and went on to become a centre of pearl trading.[51][52]

Substantial development in the pearling industry around the Qatari Peninsula occurred during the Abbasid era.[50] Ships voyaging from Basra to India and China would make stops in Qatar’s ports during this period. Chinese porcelain, West African coins and artefacts from Thailand have been discovered in Qatar.[49] Archaeological remains from the 9th century suggest that Qatar’s inhabitants used greater wealth to construct higher quality homes and public buildings. Over 100 stone-built houses, two mosques, and an Abbasid fort were constructed in Murwab during this period.[53][54] However, when the caliphate’s prosperity declined in Iraq, so too did it in Qatar.[55]Qatar is mentioned in 13th-century Muslim scholar Yaqut al-Hamawi‘s book, Mu’jam Al-Buldan, which alludes to the Qataris’ fine striped woven cloaks and their skills in improvement and finishing of spears.[56]

Much of Eastern Arabia was controlled by the Usfurids in 1253, but control of the region was seized by the prince of Ormus in 1320.[57] Qatar’s pearls provided the kingdom with one of its main sources of income.[58] In 1515, Manuel I of Portugal vassalised the Kingdom of Ormus. Portugal went on to seize a significant portion of Eastern Arabia in 1521.[58][59] In 1550, the inhabitants of Al-Hasa voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Ottomans, preferring them to the Portuguese.[60] Having retained a negligible military presence in the area, the Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid tribe in 1670.[61]

Bahraini and Saudi rule (1783–1868)

A map of East Arabia in 1794.

In 1766, the Utub tribe of Al Khalifa migrated from Kuwait to Zubarah in Qatar.[62][63] By the time of their arrival, the Bani Khalid exercised weak authority over the peninsula, not withholding that the largest village was ruled by a distant kin of the Bani Khalid.[64] In 1783, Qatar-based Bani Utbah clans and allied Arab tribes invaded and annexed Bahrain from the Persians. The Al Khalifa imposed their authority over Bahrain and extended their area of jurisdiction to Qatar.[62]

A partially restored section of the ruined town of Zubarah.

Following the swearing in of Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz as crown prince of the Wahhabi in 1788, he moved to expand his empire eastward towards the Persian Gulf and Qatar. After defeating the Bani Khalid in 1795, the Wahhabi were attacked on two fronts. The Ottomans and Egyptians assaulted the western front, while the Al Khalifa in Bahrain and the Omanis launched an attack against the eastern front.[65][66] Upon being made aware of advancements by the Egyptians on the western frontier in 1811, the Wahhabi amir reduced his garrisons in Bahrain and Zubarah in order to re-position his troops. Said bin Sultan of Muscat capitalised on this opportunity and raided the Wahhabi garrisons on the eastern coast, setting fire to the fort in Zubarah. The Al Khalifa were effectively returned to power thereafter.[66]

As punishment for piracy, an East India Company vessel bombarded Doha in 1821, destroying the town and forcing hundreds of residents to flee. In 1825, the House of Thani was established with Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani as the first leader.[67]

Although Qatar had the legal status of a dependency, there was a popular sentiment of resentment against the Al Khalifa. In 1867, the Al Khalifa, along with the ruler of Abu Dhabi, sent a massive naval force to Al Wakrah in an effort to crush the Qatari rebels. This resulted in the maritime Qatari–Bahraini War of 1867–1868, in which Bahraini and Abu Dhabi forces sacked and looted Doha and Al Wakrah.[68] However, the Bahraini hostilities were in violation of the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty. The joint incursion, in addition to the Qatari counterattack, prompted British political agent Lewis Pelly to impose a settlement in 1868. His mission to Bahrain and Qatar and the resulting peace treaty were milestones because they implicitly recognised the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani. In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, the British protectorate asked to negotiate with a representative from Qatar, a role which Mohammed bin Thani was selected to fulfil. The results of the negotiations left the nation with a new-found sense of political identity, although it did not gain an official standing as a protectorate until 1916.

Ottoman rule (1871–1915)

Qatar in an 1891 Adolf Stieler map

Old city of Doha, January 1904.

Under military and political pressure from the governor of the Ottoman Vilayet of Baghdad, Midhat Pasha, the ruling Al Thani tribe submitted to Ottoman rule in 1871.[69] The Ottoman government imposed reformist (Tanzimat) measures concerning taxation and land registration to fully integrate these areas into the empire.[69] Despite the disapproval of local tribes, Al Thani continued supporting Ottoman rule. However, Qatari-Ottoman relations soon stagnated, and in 1882 they suffered further setbacks when the Ottomans refused to aid Al Thani in his expedition of Abu Dhabi-occupied Al Khor. In addition, the Ottomans supported the Ottoman subject Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab who attempted to supplant Al Thani as kaymakam of Qatar in 1888.[70] This eventually led Al Thani to rebel against the Ottomans, whom he believed were seeking to usurp control of the peninsula. He resigned as kaymakam and stopped paying taxes in August 1892.[71]

In February 1893, Mehmed Hafiz Pasha arrived in Qatar in the interests of seeking unpaid taxes and accosting Jassim bin Mohammed’s opposition to proposed Ottoman administrative reforms. Fearing that he would face death or imprisonment, Jassim retreated to Al Wajbah (10 miles west of Doha), accompanied by several tribe members. Mehmed’s demand that Jassim disband his troops and pledge his loyalty to the Ottomans was met with refusal. In March, Mehmed imprisoned Jassim’s brother and 13 prominent Qatari tribal leaders on the Ottoman corvette Merrikh as punishment for his insubordination. After Mehmed declined an offer to release the captives for a fee of 10,000 liras, he ordered a column of approximately 200 troops to advance towards Jassim’s Al Wajbah Fort under the command of Yusuf Effendi, thus signalling the start of the Battle of Al Wajbah.[49]

Effendi’s troops came under heavy gunfire by a sizable troop of Qatari infantry and cavalry shortly after arriving to Al Wajbah. They retreated to Shebaka fortress, where they were again forced to draw back from a Qatari incursion. After they withdrew to Al Bidda fortress, Jassim’s advancing column besieged the fortress, resulting in the Ottomans’ concession of defeat and agreement to relinquish their captives in return for the safe passage of Mehmed Pasha’s cavalry to Hofuf by land.[72] Although Qatar did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar’s emerging as an autonomous country within the empire.[73]

British rule (1916–1971)

Zubarah Fort built in 1938.

The Ottoman Empire fell into disorder after losing battles in different fronts in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. Qatar took part in the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. The revolt was successful and Ottoman rule in the country further declined. The United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire accorded their recognition to Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and his successors’ right to rule over the whole of the Qatari Peninsula. The Ottomans renounced all their rights to Qatar and, following the outbreak of the First World War, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (who was pro-British) forced them to abandon Doha in 1915.[74]

As a result of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916. On that day, the United Kingdom signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration. While Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British government, the British guaranteed the protection of Qatar from all aggression by sea.[74] On 5 May 1935, Abdullah signed another treaty with the British government which granted Qatar protection against internal and external threats.[74] Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. However, exploitation was delayed by World War II.

The sphere of influence of the British Empire started diminishing after World War II, particularly after the Independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. In the 1950s, oil began replacing pearling and fishing as Qatar’s main sources of revenue. Oil earnings began to fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar’s infrastructure. Pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf increased during the 1950s. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would politically disengage from the Persian Gulf in three years’ time, Qatar joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial States in a federation. Regional disputes, however, quickly compelled Qatar to resign and declare independence from the coalition which would eventually evolve into the United Arab Emirates.

Independence and aftermath (1971–present)

Traditional dhows in front of the West Bay skyline as seen from the Doha Corniche.

The State of Qatar entered into a general maritime truce with the United Kingdom in 1868. A General Treaty was concluded between the two on 3 November 1916. The General Treaty reserved foreign affairs and defence to the United Kingdom but allowed internal autonomy. On 3 September 1971, those “special treaty arrangements” that were “inconsistent with full international responsibility as a sovereign and independent state” were terminated.[75] This was done under an agreement reached between the Ruler of Qatar and the Government of the United Kingdom.[76][75]

In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the Gulf War, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town and provided fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units that were engaging Iraqi Army troops. Qatar allowed coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty and also permitted air forces from the United States and France to operate in its territories.[35]

In 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seized control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, with the support of the armed forces and cabinet, as well as neighbouring states[77] and France.[78] Under Emir Hamad, Qatar has experienced a moderate degree of liberalisation, including the launch of the Al Jazeera television station (1996), the endorsement of women’s suffrage or right to vote in municipal elections (1999), drafting its first written constitution (2005) and inauguration of a Roman Catholic church (2008). In 2010, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it the first country in the Middle East to be selected to host the tournament. The Emir announced Qatar’s plans to hold its first national legislative elections in 2013. They were scheduled to be held in the second half of 2013, but were postponed in June 2013 and may be delayed until 2019.

In 2003, Qatar served as the US Central Command headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the invasion of Iraq.[79] In March 2005, a suicide bombing killed a British teacher at the Doha Players Theatre, shocking the country, which had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian resident in Qatar who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[80][81] In 2011, Qatar joined NATO operations in Libya and reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups.[82] It is also currently a major funder of weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war.[83] Qatar is pursuing an Afghan peace deal and in January 2012 the Afghan Taliban said they were setting up a political office in Qatar to facilitate talks.

In June 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became the Emir of Qatar after his father handed over power in a televised speech.[84] Sheikh Tamim has prioritised improving the domestic welfare of citizens, which includes establishing advanced healthcare and education systems, and expanding the country’s infrastructure in preparation for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup.[85]

Qatar participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.[86]

In June 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing the country’s support of groups they considered to be extremist. [87]

Politics

Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with U.S. President Donald Trump in May 2017

Qatar is either a constitutional[13][14] or an absolute monarchy[16][18] ruled by the Al Thani family.[88][89] The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825.[1] In 2003, Qatar adopted a constitution that provided for the direct election of 30 of the 45 members of the Legislative Council.[1][90][91] The constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour.[19][20]

The eighth Emir of Qatar is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose father Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed power to him on 25 June 2013.[92] The supreme chancellor has the exclusive power to appoint and remove the prime minister and cabinet ministers who, together, constitute the Council of Ministers, which is the supreme executive authority in the country.[93] The Council of Ministers also initiates legislation. Laws and decrees proposed by the Council of Ministers are referred to the Advisory Council (Majilis Al Shura) for discussion after which they are submitted to the Emir for ratification.[93] A Consultative Assembly has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the Emir has final say on all matters.[1] The current Council is composed entirely of members appointed by the Emir,[1] as no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body.[1] Legislative elections have been postponed until at least 2019.[94]

Qatari law does not permit the establishment of political bodies or trade unions.[95]

Sharia law

According to Qatar’s Constitution, Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation.[96][97] In practice, Qatar’s legal system is a mixture of civil law and Sharia law.[98][99] Sharia law is applied to family law, inheritance, and several criminal acts (including adultery, robbery and murder). In some cases, Sharia-based family courts treat a female’s testimony as being worth half that of a man.[100] Codified family law was introduced in 2006. Islamic polygyny is permitted.[78]

Judicial corporal punishment is common in Qatar due to the Hanbali interpretation of Sharia Law. Flogging is employed as a punishment for alcohol consumption or illicit sexual relations.[101] Article 88 of Qatar’s criminal code declares that the penalty for adultery is 100 lashes,[102] and in 2006, a Filipino woman received that punishment.[102] In 2010, at least 18 people (mostly foreign nationals) were sentenced to receive between 40 and 100 lashes for offences involving “illicit sexual relations” or alcohol consumption.[103] In 2011, at least 21 people (mostly foreign nationals) were sentenced to between 30 and 100 lashes for the same reasons,[104] and in 2012, six expatriates were sentenced to either 40 or 100 lashes.[101] Only Muslims considered medically fit are liable to have such sentences carried out. It is unknown if the sentences were implemented.[105] In April 2013, a Muslim expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for alcohol consumption,[106][107][108] and in June 2014, a Muslim expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for consuming alcohol and driving under the influence.[109] Stoning is a legal punishment in Qatar,[110] and apostasy and homosexuality are crimes punishable by the death penalty.[111][112] Blasphemy can result in up to seven years in prison, while proselytising can incur a 10-year sentence.[111] Homosexuality is a crime punishable by the death penalty.

Alcohol consumption is partially legal in Qatar; some five-star luxury hotels are allowed to sell alcohol to their non-Muslim customers.[113][114] Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol, and those caught consuming it are liable to flogging or deportation. Non-Muslim expatriates can obtain a permit to purchase alcohol for personal consumption. The Qatar Distribution Company (a subsidiary of Qatar Airways) is permitted to import alcohol and pork; it operates the one and only liquor store in the country, which also sells pork to holders of liquor licences.[115][116] Qatari officials have also indicated a willingness to allow alcohol in “fan zones” at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[117]

Until 2011, restaurants on the Pearl-Qatar (a man-made island near Doha) were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks.[113][114] In December of that year, however, restaurants there were told to stop selling liquor.[113][118] No explanation was given for the ban,[113][114] but it was speculated that the government wanted to project a more pious image in advance of the country’s first election of a royal advisory body, and there were rumours of a financial dispute between the government and the resort’s developers.[118]

In 2014, a modesty campaign was launched to remind tourists of the country’s restrictive dress code.[119] Female tourists were advised not to wear leggings, miniskirts, sleeveless dresses, or short or tight clothing in public. Men were warned against wearing only shorts and singlets.[120]

Human rights

According to the U.S. State Department, expatriate workers from nations throughout Asia and parts of Africa voluntarily migrate to Qatar as low-skilled labourers or domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. Some of the more common labour rights violations include beatings, withholding of payment, charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible, restrictions on freedom of movement (such as the confiscation of passports, travel documents, or exit permits), arbitrary detention, threats of legal action, and sexual assault.[121] Many migrant workers arriving for work in Qatar have paid exorbitant fees to recruiters in their home countries.[121]

As of 2014, certain provisions of the Qatari Criminal Code allows punishments such as flogging and stoning to be imposed as criminal sanctions. The UN Committee Against Torture found that these practices constituted a breach of the obligations imposed by the UN Convention Against Torture.[122][123] Qatar retains the death penalty, mainly for threats against national security. Use of the death penalty is rare and no state executions have taken place in Qatar since 2003.[124] In Qatar, homosexual acts are illegal and can be punished by death.[125]

Under the provisions of Qatar’s sponsorship law, sponsors have the unilateral power to cancel workers’ residency permits, deny workers’ ability to change employers, report a worker as “absconded” to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country.[121]As a result, sponsors may restrict workers’ movements and workers may be afraid to report abuses or claim their rights.[121] According to the ITUC, the visa sponsorship system allows the exaction of forced labour by making it difficult for a migrant worker to leave an abusive employer or travel overseas without permission.[126] Qatar also does not maintain wage standards for its immigrant labourers. Qatar commissioned international law firm DLA Piper to produce a report investigating the immigrant labour system. In May 2014 DLA Piper released over 60 recommendations for reforming the kafala system including the abolition of exit visas and the introduction of a minimum wage which Qatar has pledged to implement.[127]

In May 2012, Qatari officials declared their intention to allow the establishment of an independent trade union.[128] Qatar also announced it will scrap its sponsor system for foreign labour, which requires that all foreign workers be sponsored by local employers.[128]Additional changes to labour laws include a provision guaranteeing that all workers’ salaries are paid directly into their bank accounts and new restrictions on working outdoors in the hottest hours during the summer.[129] New draft legislation announced in early 2015 mandates that companies that fail to pay workers’ wages on time could temporarily lose their ability to hire more employees.[130]

In October 2015 Qatar’s Emir signed into law new reforms to the country’s sponsorship system, with the new law taking effect within one year.[131] Critics claim that the changes could fail to address some labour rights issues.[132][133][134]

The country enfranchised women at the same time as men in connection with the 1999 elections for a Central Municipal Council.[90][135] These elections—the first ever in Qatar—were deliberately held on 8 March 1999, International Women’s Day.[90]

Foreign relations

Former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013.

As a small country with larger neighbours, Qatar seeks to project influence and protect its state and ruling dynasty.[136] The history of Qatar’s alliances provides insight into the basis of their policy. Between 1760 and 1971, Qatar sought formal protection from the high transitory powers of the Ottomans, British, the Al-Khalifa’s from Bahrain, the Arabians, and the Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia.[137][page needed] Qatar’s rising international profile and active role in international affairs has led some analysts to identify it as a middle power. Qatar was an early member of OPEC and a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It is a member of the Arab League. The country has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.[1]

Qatar also has bilateral relationships with a variety of foreign powers. Qatar hosts the Al Udeid Air Base, a joint U.S.-British base, which acts as the hub for all American and British air operations in the Persian Gulf.[138] It has allowed American and British forces to use an air base to send supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan.[139] Despite hosting this strategic military installation, Qatar is not always a strong Western ally. Qatar has allowed the Afghan Taliban to set up a political office inside the country and has close ties to Iran, including a shared natural gas field.[140] According to leaked documents published in The New York Times, Qatar’s record of counter-terrorism efforts was the “worst in the region”.[141] The cable suggested that Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals”.[141]

Qatar has mixed relations with its neighbours in the Persian Gulf region. Qatar signed a defence co-operation agreement with Iran,[142] with whom it shares the largest single non-associated gas field in the world. It was the second nation, the first being France, to have publicly announced its recognition of the Libyan opposition‘s National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya amidst the 2011 Libyan civil war.[143]

Qatar’s flag in Libya after the Libyan Civil War; Qatar played an influential role during the Arab Spring.

In 2014, Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates came to a boiling point over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood[77] and extremist groups in Syria.[144] This culminated in the three aforementioned countries withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar in March 2014.[145] When the ambassadors withdrew, the GCC was reportedly on the verge of a crisis linked to the emergence of distinct political blocs with conflicting interests. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain were engaged in a political struggle with Qatar, while Oman and Kuwait represent a non-aligned bloc within the GCC.[145] Relations between the countries improved after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE returned their diplomats to Qatar.[146] Islam Hassan, a researcher in Persian Gulf Studies at Qatar University, claims that, with the resolution of the GCC crisis, Qatar reached a new level of political maturity. He goes on to assert that Qatar managed to bring an end to the crisis without changing any of its foreign policy principles or abandoning its allies.[145]

According to the Al Jazeera America, “Numerous reports suggest that the Saudi-led coalition against opposition groups in Yemen has indiscriminately attacked civilians and used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas, in violation of international law.”[147]

In recent years, Qatar has been using Islamist militants in a number of countries including Egypt, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Mali to further its foreign policy. Courting Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood to Salafist groups has served as a power amplifier for the country, as it believes since the beginning of the Arab Spring that these groups represented the wave of the future.[141][136][148] David Cohen, the Under Secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, said that Qatar is a “permissive jurisdiction for terrorist financing.”[149]There is evidence that these groups supported by Qatar include the hard-line Islamic militant groups active in northern Syria.[141] As of 2015, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are openly backing the Army of Conquest,[150][151] an umbrella group of anti-government forces fighting in the Syrian Civil War that reportedly includes an al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and another Salafi coalition known as Ahrar ash-Sham.[149][152]

Qatar supported the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi with diplomatic support and the state-owned Al Jazeera network before he was deposed in a military coup.[153][154] Qatar offered Egypt a $7.5 billion loan during the year he was in power.[155]

Qatar’s alignment with Hamas, first reported in early 2012,[156] has drawn criticism from Israel, the United States, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, “who accuse Qatar of undermining regional stability by supporting Hamas.”[157]However, the Foreign Minister of Qatar has denied supporting Hamas, stating “We do not support Hamas but we support the Palestinians.”[158] Following a peace agreement, Qatar pledged $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza.[159]

Qatar has hosted academic, religious, political, and economic conferences. The 11th annual Doha Forum recently brought in key thinkers, professionals of various backgrounds, and political figures from all over the world to discuss democracy, media and information technology, free trade, and water security issues. In addition, the forum has featured the Middle East Economic Future conference since 2006.[160] In more recent times, Qatar has hosted peace talks between rival factions across the globe. Notable among these include the Darfur Agreement. The Doha Declaration is the basis of the peace process in Darfur and it has achieved significant gains on the ground for the African region. Notable achievements included the restoration of security and stability, progress made in construction and reconstruction processes, return of displaced residents and uniting of Darfur people to face challenges and push forward the peace process.[161] Qatar donated £88.5million in funds to finance recovery and reconstruction in Darfur.[162]

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen broke diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Qatar of supporting Islamist extremism and terrorism,[163] escalating a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement.[164] Saudi Arabia explained the move to be a necessary measure in protecting the kingdom’s security. Qatari troops were also removed from the military coalition in Yemen. Egypt closed its airspace and seaports to all Qatari transportation.[164][165]

Military

Qatar’s Dassault Mirage 2000 flying over Libya.

The Qatar Armed Forces are the military forces of Qatar. The country maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men, including an army (8,500), navy (1,800) and air force (1,500). Qatar’s defence expenditures accounted for approximately 4.2% of gross national product in 1993. Qatar has recently signed defence pacts with the United States and United Kingdom, as well as with France earlier in 1994. Qatar plays an active role in the collective defence efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council; the other five members are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. The presence of a large Qatari Air Base, operated by the United States and several other UN nations, provides a guaranteed source of defence and national security. In 2008 Qatar spent US$2.355 billion on military expenditures, 2.3% of the gross domestic product.[166] Qatari special forces have been trained by France and other Western countries, and are believed to possess considerable skill.[167] They also helped the Libyan rebels during the 2011 Battle of Tripoli.[167]

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that in 2010–14 Qatar was the 46th largest arms importer in the world. However, SIPRI writes, Qatar’s plans to transform and significantly enlarge its armed forces have accelerated. Orders in 2013 for 62 tanks and 24 self-propelled guns from Germany were followed in 2014 by a number of other contracts, including 24 combat helicopters and 3 AEW aircraft from the USA, and 2 tanker aircraft from Spain.[168]

Qatar’s military participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis. In 2015, Al Jazeera America reported: “Numerous reports suggest that the Saudi-led coalition against opposition groups in Yemen has indiscriminately attacked civilians and used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas, in violation of international law.”[169] Many civilians have been killed and the large parts of the infrastructure in this region is now destroyed.[170] Hospitals have also been bombed by the Saudis and those operating with them.[171][172]

Administrative divisions

Municipalities of Qatar since 2004

Since 2004, Qatar has been divided into seven municipalities (Arabic: baladiyah).[173]

  1. Madinat ash Shamal
  2. Al Khor
  3. Umm Salal
  4. Al Daayen
  5. Al Rayyan
  6. Doha
  7. Al Wakrah

For statistical purposes, the municipalities are further subdivided into 98 zones (as of 2010),[174] which are in turn subdivided into blocks.[175]

Geography

Desert Coast
Desert landscape in Qatar

The Qatari peninsula 160 kilometres (100 mi) protrudes into the Persian Gulf north of Saudi Arabia. It lies between latitudes 24° and 27° N, and longitudes 50° and 52° E. Most of the country consists of a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast lies the Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea“), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian Gulf. There are mild winters and very hot, humid summers.

The highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft)[1] in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcroppings running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border. The Jebel Dukhan area also contains Qatar’s main onshore oil deposits, while the natural gas fields lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.

Biodiversity and environment

Qatari Ostriches

Qatar signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 21 August 1996.[176] It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 18 May 2005.[177] A total of 142 fungal species have been recorded from Qatar.[178] A book recently produced by the Ministry of Environment documents the lizards known or believed to occur in Qatar, based on surveys conducted by an international team of scientists and other collaborators.[179]

For two decades, Qatar has had the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions in the world, at 49.1 metric tons per person in 2008.[180] Qataris are also some of the highest consumers of water per capita per day, using around 400 litres.[181]

In 2008 Qatar launched its National Vision 2030 which highlights environmental development as one of the four main goals for Qatar over the next two decades. The National Vision pledges to develop sustainable alternatives to oil-based energy to preserve the local and global environment.[182]

Climate

[hide]Climate data for Qatar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22
(72)
23
(73)
27
(81)
33
(91)
39
(102)
42
(108)
42
(108)
42
(108)
39
(102)
35
(95)
30
(86)
25
(77)
33.3
(91.9)
Average low °C (°F) 14
(57)
15
(59)
17
(63)
21
(70)
27
(81)
29
(84)
31
(88)
31
(88)
29
(84)
25
(77)
21
(70)
16
(61)
23
(73.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 12.7
(0.5)
17.8
(0.701)
15.2
(0.598)
7.6
(0.299)
2.5
(0.098)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2.5
(0.098)
12.7
(0.5)
71
(2.794)
Source: http://us.worldweatheronline.com/doha-weather-averages/ad-dawhah/qa.aspx

Economy

Graphical depiction of Qatar’s product exports in 28 color-coded categories (2011).

Commercial district in Doha.

Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. Report prepared by local governors of Ottoman Empire in 1892 states that total income from pearl hunting in 1892 is 2,450,000 kran.[68] After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar’s pearling industry crashed. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field.[183] The discovery transformed the state’s economy. Now, the country has a high standard of living for its legal citizens. With no income tax, Qatar (along with Bahrain) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%.[184] Corporate law mandates that Qatari nationals must hold 51% of any venture in the Emirate.[78]

As of 2016, Qatar has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund[5] It relies heavily on foreign labour to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers compose 86% of the population and 94% of the workforce.[185][186] Qatar has been criticised by the International Trade Union Confederation.[187] The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940.[188] Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.[167] In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years.[189] The country is a member state of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having joined the organisation in 1961.[190]

In 2012, Qatar retained its title of richest country in the world (according to per capita income) for the third time in a row, having first overtaken Luxembourg in 2010. According to the study published by the Washington based Institute of International Finance, Qatar’s per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world’s wealthiest nation. Luxembourg came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore third with per capita income of about $61,000. The research put Qatar’s GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012. The same study published that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.[191]

Established in 2005, Qatar Investment Authority is the country’s sovereign wealth fund, specialising in foreign investment.[192] Due to billions of dollars in surpluses from the oil and gas industry, the Qatari government has directed investments into United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific. As of 2013, the holdings were valued at $100 billion in assets. Qatar Holding is the international investment arm of QIA. Since 2009, Qatar Holding has received $30–40bn a year from the state. As of 2014, it has investments around the world in Valentino, Siemens, Printemps, Harrods, The Shard, Barclays Bank, Heathrow Airport, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Volkswagen Group, Royal Dutch Shell, Bank of America, Tiffany, Agricultural Bank of China, Sainsbury’s, BlackBerry,[193] and Santander Brasil.[194][195]

The country is free from taxes, however, authorities have announced plans to levy taxes on junk food and luxury items in the coming years. The taxes would be implemented on goods that harm the human body – for example fast food, tobacco products, and soft drinks. The roll out of these initial taxes is believed to be due to the fall in oil prices and a deficit that the country faced in the year 2016. Additionally, the country has seen job cuts in the year 2016 from its petroleum companies and other sectors in the government.[196] [197]

Energy

Qatar Airways Airbus A380, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s largest airlines, links over 150 international destinations from its base in Doha.

As of 2012, Qatar has proven oil reserves of 15 billion barrels and gas fields that account for more than 13% of the global resource. As a result, it is the richest state per-capita in the world. None of its 2 million residents live below the poverty line and less than 1% are unemployed.[198]

Qatar’s economy was in a downturn from 1982 to 1989. OPEC quotas on crude oil production, the lower price for oil, and the generally unpromising outlook on international markets reduced oil earnings. In turn, the Qatari government’s spending plans had to be cut to match lower income. The resulting recessionary local business climate caused many firms to lay off expatriate staff. With the economy recovering in the 1990s, expatriate populations, particularly from Egypt and South Asia, have grown again.

Oil production will not long remain at peak levels of 500,000 barrels (80,000 m³) per day, as oil fields are projected to be mostly depleted by 2023. However, large natural gas reserves have been located off Qatar’s northeast coast. Qatar’s proved reserves of gas are the third-largest in the world, exceeding 250 trillion cubic feet (7,000 km³). The economy was boosted in 1991 by completion of the $1.5-billion Phase I of North Field gas development. In 1996, the Qatargas project began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Further phases of North Field gas development costing billions of dollars are in various stages of planning and development.

Qatar’s heavy industrial projects, all based in Umm Said, include a refinery with a 50,000 barrels (8,000 m³) per day capacity, a fertiliser plant for urea and ammonia, a steel plant, and a petrochemical plant. All these industries use gas for fuel. Most are joint ventures between European and Japanese firms and the state-owned Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC). The US is the major equipment supplier for Qatar’s oil and gas industry, and US companies are playing a major role in North Field gas development.[198]

Qatar’s National Vision 2030 has made investment in renewable resources a major goal for the country over the next two decades.[182] Qatar pursues a vigorous programme of “Qatarisation“, under which all joint venture industries and government departments strive to move Qatari nationals into positions of greater authority. Growing numbers of foreign-educated Qataris, including many educated in the US, are returning home to assume key positions formerly occupied by expatriates. To control the influx of expatriate workers, Qatar has tightened the administration of its foreign manpower programmes over the past several years. Security is the principal basis for Qatar’s strict entry and immigration rules and regulations.[198]

Demographics

Skyline of Doha

The number of people in Qatar fluctuates considerably depending on the season, since the country relies heavily on migrant labour. In early 2017, Qatar’s total population was 2.6 million, of which 313,000 were Qatari citizens (12%) and 2.3 million were expatriates.[21] Non-Arab foreigners make up the vast majority of Qatar’s population; Indians are the largest community, numbering 650,000 in 2017,[21] followed by 350,000 Nepalis, 280,000 Bangladeshis, 260,000 Filipinos, 200,000 Egyptians, 145,000 Sri Lankans and 125,000 Pakistanis among many other nationalities.[21]

Qatar’s first demographic records date back to 1892, and were conducted by Ottoman governors in the region. Based on this census, which includes only the residents in cities, the total population in 1892 was 9,830.[68]

Populations
Year Pop. ±%
1904 27,000
1970 111,133 +311.6%
1986 369,079 +232.1%
1997 522,023 +41.4%
2004 744,029 +42.5%
2010 1,699,435 +128.4%
2013 1,903,447 +12.0%
2016 2,545,000 +33.7%
Source: Qatar Statistics Authority (1904–2004);[199]2010 Census;[3] 2013 est.[200][201] 2016[202]

The 2010 census recorded the total population at 1,699,435.[3] In January 2013, the Qatar Statistics Authority estimated the country’s population at 1,903,447, of which 1,405,164 were males and 498,283 females.[200] At the time of the first census, held in 1970, the population was 111,133.[199] The population has tripled in the decade to 2011, up from just over 600,000 people in 2001, leaving Qatari nationals as less than 15% of the total population.[201] The influx of male labourers has skewed the gender balance, and women are now just one-quarter of the population.

Projections released by Qatar Statistical Authority indicates that the total population of Qatar could reach 2.8 million by 2020. Qatar’s National Development Strategy (2011–16) had estimated that the country’s population would reach 1.78m in 2013, 1.81m in 2014, 1.84m in 2015 and 1.86m in 2016 – the yearly growth rate being merely 2.1%. But the country’s population has soared to 1.83 million by the end of 2012, showing 7.5% growth over the previous year.[203] Qatar’s total population hit a record high of 2.46 million in November 2015, an increase of 8.5% from the previous year, far exceeding official projections.[204]

Religion

Mosque in Qatar

Religion in Qatar (2010)[205][206]

  Islam (67.7%)
  Christianity (13.8%)
  Hinduism (13.8%)
  Buddhism (3.1%)
  Others (0.7%)
  Unaffiliated (0.9%)

Islam is Qatar’s predominant religion and enjoys official status.[207] Most Qatari citizens belong to the Salafi Muslim movement of Sunni Islam, about 20% of Muslims in Qatar follow Shia Islam with other Muslims sects being very small in number.[208][209][210][211] Qatar is 67.7% Muslim, 13.8% Christian, 13.8% Hindu and 3.1% are Buddhist– other religions and religiously unaffiliated people accounted for the remaining 1.6%.[212] Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation according to Qatar’s Constitution.[96][97]

The Christian population is composed almost entirely of foreigners. Since 2008, Christians have been allowed to build churches on ground donated by the government,[213] though foreign missionary activity is officially discouraged.[214] Active churches include the Mar Thoma Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Anglican Church of the Epiphany.[215][216][217] There are also two Mormon wards.[215][216][217]

Languages

Arabic is the official language of Qatar, with Qatari Arabic the local dialect. Qatari Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. English is commonly used as a second language,[218]and a rising lingua franca, especially in commerce, to the extent that steps are being taken to try to preserve Arabic from English’s encroachment.[219] English is particularly useful for communication with Qatar’s large expatriate community. Reflecting the multicultural make-up of the country, many other languages are also spoken, including Baluchi, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Pashto, Tamil, Telugu, Nepali, Sinhalese, Bengali, and Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia.[220]

In 2012, Qatar joined the international French-speaking organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) as a new associate member. However, in December 2013, the French daily Le Monde revealed that Qatar, which has very few native French speakers, had not yet paid any contribution to the OIF,[221] while the outgoing Administrator of the OIF complained in 2015 that Qatar had not kept any of the promises it made when it joined the organisation and had never paid its annual membership fees.[222]

Culture

Qatar’s culture is similar to other countries in Eastern Arabia, being significantly influenced by Islam. Qatar National Day, hosted annually on 18 December, has had an important role in developing a sense of national identity.[223] It is observed in remembrance of Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani‘s succession to the throne and his subsequent unification of the country’s various tribes.[224][225] Since 1 July 2008, Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari has been the Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar.

Arts and museums

Several senior members of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family are noted collectors of Islamic and contemporary art.

The Museum of Islamic Art, opened in 2008, is regarded as one of the best museums in the region.[226] This, and several other Qatari museums, like the Arab Museum of Modern Art, falls under the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) which is led by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the sister of the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar, and the prominent collector and art patron Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani.[227] The QMA also sponsors artistic events abroad, such as major exhibitions by Takahashi Murakami in Versailles (2010) and Damien Hirst in London (2012).

Qatar is the world’s biggest buyer in the art market by value.[228] The Qatari cultural sector is being developed to enable the country to reach world recognition to contribute to the development of a country that comes mainly from its resources from the gas industry.[229]

Media

The news desk of Al Jazeera English, a Qatari news channel

Qatar’s media was classified as “not free” in the 2014 Freedom of the Press report by Freedom House.[230] TV broadcasting in Qatar was started in 1970.[231] Al Jazeera is a main television network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera initially launched in 1996 as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel of the same name, but has since expanded into a global network of several speciality TV channels known collectively as the Al Jazeera Media Network.

It has been reported that journalists practice self-censorship, particularly in regards to the government and ruling family of Qatar.[232] Criticism of the government, Emir and ruling family in the media is illegal. According to article 46 of the press law “The Emir of the state of Qatar shall not be criticised and no statement can be attributed to him unless under a written permission from the manager of his office.”[233] Journalists are also subject to prosecution for insulting Islam.[230]

In 2014, a Cybercrime Prevention Law was passed. The law is said to restrict press freedom, and carries prison sentences and fines for broad reasons such as jeopardising local peace or publishing false news.[234] The Gulf Center for Human Rights has stated that the law is a threat to freedom of speech and has called for certain articles of the law to be revoked.[235]

Press media has undergone expansion in recent years. There are currently seven newspapers in circulation in Qatar, with four being published in Arabic and three being published in English.[236] There are also newspapers from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka with editions printed from Qatar.

In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Qatar is the highest ranked Middle Eastern country in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (NRI) – an indicator for determining the development level of a country’s information and communication technologies. Qatar ranked number 23 overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, unchanged from 2013.[237]

Music

The music of Qatar is based on Bedouin poetry, song and dance. Traditional dances in Doha are performed on Friday afternoons; one such dance is the Ardah, a stylised martial dance performed by two rows of dancers who are accompanied by an array of percussion instruments, including al-ras (a large drum whose leather is heated by an open fire), tambourines and cymbals with small drums.[238] Other percussion instruments used in folk music include galahs (a tall clay jar) and tin drinking cups known as tus or tasat, usually used in conjunction with a tabl, a longitudinal drum beaten with a stick.[239] String instruments, such as the oud and rebaba, are also commonly used.[238]

Sport

Association football is the most popular sport in Qatar, both in terms of players and spectators.[240] The Qatar national under-20 team finished runners-up to West Germany in the 1981 FIFA World Youth Championship after a 4–0 defeat in the final. In January 2011, the Asian Football Confederation’s fifteenth Asian Cup was held in Qatar. It was the second time Qatar had hosted the tournament, with the other instance being the 1988 edition.[241]

On 2 December 2010, Qatar won their bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite never previously qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Finals.[242] Local organisers are planning to build 9 new stadiums and expand 3 existing stadiums for this event. Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 World Cup was greeted enthusiastically in the Persian Gulf region as it was the first time a country in the Middle East had been selected to host the tournament. However, the bid has been embroiled in much controversy, including allegations of bribery and interference in the investigation of the alleged bribery. European football associations have also objected to the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar for a variety of reasons, from the impact of warm temperatures on players’ fitness, to the disruption it might cause in European domestic league calendars should the event be rescheduled to take place during winter.[243][244] In May 2014, Qatari football official Mohammed bin Hammam was accused of making payments totalling £3m to officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.[245] However, a FIFA inquiry into the bidding process in November 2014 cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing.[246]

The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper, produced a short documentary named “Abuse and exploitation of migrant workers preparing emirate for 2022”.[247] A 2014 investigation by The Guardian reports that migrant workers who have been constructing luxurious offices for the organisers of the 2022 World Cup have not been paid in over a year, and are now “working illegally from cockroach-infested lodgings.”[248] For 2014, Nepalese migrants involved in constructing infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup died at a rate of one every two days.[249] The Qatar 2022 organising committee have responded to various allegations by claiming that hosting the World Cup in Qatar would act as a “catalyst for change” in the region.[250]

Though football is the most popular sport, other team sports have experienced considerable success at senior level. In 2015, the national handball team emerged as runners-up to France in the World Men’s Handball Championship as hosts, however the tournament was marred by numerous controversies regarding the host nation and its team.[251] Further, in 2014, Qatar won the world championship in men’s 3×3 basketball.[252]

Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha hosted the WTA Tour Championships in women’s tennis between 2008 and 2010. Doha holds the WTA Premier tournament Qatar Ladies Open annually. Since 2002, Qatar has hosted the annual Tour of Qatar, a cycling race in six stages. Every February, riders are racing on the roads across Qatar’s flat land for six days. Each stage covers a distance of more than 100 km, though the time trial usually is a shorter distance. Tour of Qatar is organised by the Qatar Cycling Federation for professional riders in the category of Elite Men.[253]

The Qatar Army Skydiving Team has several different skydiving disciplines placing among the top nations in the world. The Qatar National Parachute team performs annually during Qatar’s National Day and at other large events, such as the 2015 World Handball Championship.[254] Doha four times was the host of the official FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship and three times host FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship. Doha one time Host Asian Volleyball Championship.[255]

Education

Qatar University, main area

Qatar University, east view

Qatar hired the RAND Corporation to reform its K–12 education system.[167] Through Qatar Foundation, the country has built Education City, a campus which hosts local branches of the Weill Cornell Medical College, Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Texas A&M’s School of Engineering, and other Western institutions.[167]

UNESCO Institute for Statistics Literacy Rate Qatar population plus 15 1985-2015

The illiteracy rate in Qatar was 3.1% for males and 4.2% for females in 2012, the lowest in the Arab-speaking world, but 86th in the world.[256] Citizens are required to attend government-provided education from kindergarten through high school.[257] Qatar University, founded in 1973, is the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education.[258][259]

In November 2002, emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani created The Supreme Education Council.[260] The Council directs and controls education for all ages from the pre-school level through the university level, including the “Education for a New Era” initiative which was established to try to position Qatar as a leader in education reform.[261][262] According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Qatar University (1,881st worldwide), Texas A&M University at Qatar (3,905th) and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (6,855th).[263]

In 2008, Qatar established the Qatar Science & Technology Park in Education City to link those universities with industry. Education City is also home to a fully accredited international Baccalaureate school, Qatar Academy. In addition, two Canadian institutions, the College of the North Atlantic (headquarters in Newfoundland and Labrador) and the University of Calgary, have inaugurated campuses in Doha. Other for-profit universities have also established campuses in the city.[264] In 2009, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Mozah Al Missned, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) was established with the aim of transforming education through innovation.

In 2012, Qatar was ranked third from the bottom of the 65 OECD countries participating in the PISA test of maths, reading and skills for 15- and 16-year-olds, comparable to Colombia or Albania, despite having the highest per capita income in the world.[265][266] As part of its national development strategy, Qatar has outlined a 10-year strategic plan to improve the level of education.[267] Furthermore, the government has launched educational outreach programs, such as Al-Bairaq. Al-Bairaq was launched in 2010 aims to provide high school students with an opportunity to experience a research environment in the Center for Advanced Materials in Qatar University. The program encompasses the STEM fields and languages.[268]

Healthcare

See also

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

Story 2: President Trump Meets With Republican Congressional Leaders About Passing Tax Reform and Repealing and Replacing Obamacare By Labor Day — Videos — 

Image result for republican leaders meet at white house June 6 2017

Trump Talks Health Care Bill with GOP Leaders

Trump and GOP leaders meet at White House

Trump tweets about congressional leader meeting

President Trump Meets with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell & GOP Leaders 6/6/17

White House wants healthcare vote this summer, tax reform in fall

By Ayesha Rascoe | WASHINGTON

The White House is hoping to kick-start its stalled legislative agenda with congressional action on healthcare reform this summer that will clear the way for lawmakers to begin work on a major tax bill after the Sept. 4 Labor Day holiday, an administration official said on Monday.

Senate Republicans will vote on their version of healthcare reform legislation before lawmakers’ August recess, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said. The House of Representatives passed a bill in May.

“There’s been a lot of discussions with staff,” Short told reporters at a briefing. “I think the text is pretty far along.”

Congress will then turn its focus to overhauling the tax code in September. While the administration would prefer that the effort not add to the national debt, Short stressed that the top priority would be cutting taxes.

“We want it to be revenue neutral, and we are still supportive of tax reform, but I am also saying to you that what we believe is most important to get the economy going is the tax cuts,” he said.

President Donald Trump will meet with the Republican leaders of the House and the Senate, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, on Tuesday to discuss the path forward for his agenda, said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Trump has pressed for quicker action in Congress, but his administration has also been hampered by investigations into alleged ties between Trump’s election campaign and Russia.

The Trump administration has outlined a broad plan that would cut tax rates for businesses and streamline the tax system for individuals. But, the proposal has been short on details — including the cost of the tax cuts and what loopholes would be closed.

The healthcare bill passed by the House could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, a conclusion that Republicans were quick to challenge. The bill would also reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026, according to the analysis.

Short said he believed that the Senate healthcare bill would be “similar” to the House package.

Senator John Cornyn, the No.2 Republican in the Senate, said Monday evening he thought there would be a vote on a healthcare bill in the Senate in July.

Short also said the White House expects for Congress to raise the government’s borrowing authority, also known as the debt limit, before the August recess.

(Additional reporting Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-congress-idUSKBN18X031

Story 3: NSA Contractor Pluribus International Employee Reality Winner Leaked NSA Top Secret Document To Intercept — Videos —

Image result for reality winnerImage result for reality winner

NSA Hacking Leak: Who is Reality Winner?

The TRUTH About Leaker Reality Winner

ACLJ’s Jay Sekulow on NSA Leaker “Reality Winner”

Accused leaker plugged: The case of Reality Winner

Varney & Co : Napolitano on NSA contractor who leaked classified Russia report : 6/6/2017

Published on Jun 6, 2017

A federal contractor was arrested for leaking a classified, top secret NSA report on Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election. Reality Leigh Winner appeared in U.S. District Court in Augusta, Ga., to face one charge of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

That Intel Leaker? Arrested! Plus More with Judge Nap!

The Latest on “Reality Winner” NSA Leaker Charged and Arrested!

Accused Leaker Shared Anti-Trump Opinions Before Arrest

Accused Leaker Reality Winner Criticized Trump On Twitter

NSA Leak: Should employees be vetted better?

LIMBAUGH: NSA Leaker ‘Reality Winner’ Has Been RADICALIZED By American Pop Culture

The Intercept Burns Reality Winner: Deep State NSA Dupe and Clueless Unwitting Shill

Reality Winner Psy-Op: The Intercept Rats Out Deep State NSA Contractor Shill and Top Secret Leaker

Deep State NSA Contractor “Reality Winner” Caught Leaking Top Secret Info

Augusta contractor charged with mishandling top-secret U.S. materials

The government announced Reality Leigh Winner’s arrest Monday, about an hour after The Intercept reported that it had obtained a top-secret National Security Agency report about Russia’s interference. The NSA report, according to The Intercept, says Russian military intelligence officials executed a cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before last November’s presidential election.

Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify Thursday before a Senate panel that is probing Russia’s interference in the presidential election. Comey was fired last month amid an FBI investigation into possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

In announcing the charge against Winner, the U.S. Justice Department did not identify the classified material — which was dated on or about May 5 — or the news outlet. But The Intercept reported the NSA document it received anonymously was dated May 5.

Trump has railed against leaks from his government, calling for a Justice Department investigation. While Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, described her as no fan of the president, she added, “she’s not an activist.”

Winner is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and is assigned to a U.S. government facility in Georgia, where she has held a top-secret clearance, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The government started investigating her after the news outlet contacted it on Tuesday about an upcoming story concerning the intelligence materials.

The news outlet provided federal officials a copy of the classified information. Federal investigators said the pages appeared “folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.” They quickly identified six people who had printed the materials, including Winner, and found she had email contact with the news agency.

While the Justice Department did not identify the material Winner allegedly mailed the news outlet, it did disclose it is classified at the “Top Secret level, indicating that its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security, and is marked as such.”

Winner’s attorney, Titus Nichols, said she is a U.S. Air Force veteran with no criminal convictions. Winner’s last station with the Air Force was at Fort Meade in Maryland, where the NSA is located. She was still in federal custody Monday, Nichols said, and a court hearing about her detention is set for Thursday. Nichols plans to argue for her release.

“We look forward to getting the evidence and reviewing it and working hard to resolve this matter so my client can put it behind her and so she can go back on with her life,” he said. “She is a good person.”

Monday, Winner-Davis, 51, of Kingsville, Texas, said she spoke to her daughter by phone after she was arrested Saturday.

“She was just in shock,” she said. “She was very quiet. She was scared.”

While Trump is “not her man,” Winner-Davis said, “she hasn’t gone to any riots or marches.” Her daughter was involved with an organization called Athletes Serving Athletes, and she would run with disabled children, helping them along. She also loves to paint and sketch and is fond of drawing Jesus Christ. Her photos on social media show her to be a fitness buff who enjoyed yoga and weightlifting.

“Reality is a beautiful person,” she said. “She’s kind and caring.”

Winner’s posts on Facebook and Twitter have been decidedly anti-Trump. She appeared to be acting on her strong political opinions, even recently visiting the office of a Republican U.S. senator. A Feb. 14 post on Facebook showed her standing outside the downtown Atlanta district office of U.S. Sen. David Perdue. She wrote, “A great American once told us to go out and have conversations with one another.”

One person posted a comment asking her how it went. She responded that she got a “private 30-minute meeting,” not specifying with whom, and said Perdue’s “state policy director is going to send me email updates on some of my concerns regarding climate change and what the state of Georgia is doing to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

“I was able to draw the parallel between the 2011 interview of President Bashar al Assad claiming utter ignorance of the human rights violations his citizens were protesting,” Winner wrote, “to Trump’s statement last week that the White House hadn’t received any calls about the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline), nor were there any protests before last week. They got the message.”

Since the news of her arrest broke, other Facebook users have hijacked many of her posts with angry messages. Below the post about her visit to Perdue’s office, someone wrote, “Hope they toss you in Ft. Leavenworth for the better part of a half century. You are a TRAITOR to your country and the Govt. should absolutely make an example out of you!”

Other recent comments: “Leakers wear prison sneakers” and “Enjoy life in prison you traitor.” Under a photo of Winner doing a pull-up someone posted: “Looks like you’ll have fun lifting weights in prison for the next 10-20 years.”

A few people offered messages of support, such as, “Hey girl we need to send you money for your defense fund.”

If convicted of the charge of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” Winner could face up to 10 years in prison, court records show.

“Exceptional law enforcement efforts allowed us quickly to identify and arrest the defendant,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a prepared statement. “Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”

Winner-Davis said she feels like she’s in a “whirlwind.” She traveled to Augusta and saw her daughter in court Monday but could not talk to her. They just exchanged glances.

“It’s hard not to cry,” she said.

Staff writers Johnny Edwards and Craig Schneider contributed to this story.

Read the FBI arrest application affidavit

http://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/augusta-contractor-charged-with-mishandling-top-secret-materials/VFqwwNvxTBe7w2BxkQaWNM/?icmp=AJC_internallink_06062017_digesttease_0606

‘My daughter served her country and ALWAYS does what’s right. But she is NOT a fan of Trump’ – NSA leaker Reality Winner’s parents say Air Force vet is ‘good girl’ being used for ‘political purposes’

  • Reality Winner charged with taking classified material from government facility
  • Her parents Billie-Jean and Gary Davis spoke at her Augusta, GA, home on Tuesday to tell of their concern and stress her good record
  • Her father Gary hinted at her defense tactic and said:  ‘We want her face out there rather than what’s being pulled for their own political purposes.’
  • The decorated former US Air Force linguist, who held Top Secret government clearance, made multiple posts on social media attacking Donald Trump
  • She tweeted ‘Trump is a c**t’ and a ‘piece of s**t’ in a series of posts and compared being white to terrorism
  • Her Nissan Cube was covered in bumper stickers including one saying ‘make America green again’ and the car had what looks like more NSA paper inside
  • Vegan, tattooed yoga instructor was fan of pollster Nate Silver, too ‘scared’ of climate change to have children and had signed picture of Anderson Cooper
  • If convicted of leaking intel, Winner could spend up to 10 years in a federal penitentiary 
  • Her case bears resemblance to Chelsea Manning, a former US Army soldier who leaked classified military documents to Wikileaks 

The mother of alleged NSA leaker Reality Leigh Winner told DailyMail.com today that her daughter always does what’s right, had served her country for six years and had never been in trouble with anyone.

Billie-Jean Davis said they didn’t know what was going on and wouldn’t know anything more until her daughter’s next hearing on Thursday.

‘We haven’t talked with her that much. We saw her only at the court hearing. I think she’s doing okay,’ she said. ‘I’m overwhelmed, I’m very worried about her. I never saw any of this coming.’

Mrs Davis spoke outside her daughter’s home alongside her husband Gary. He hinted at her defense by saying people were using her for ‘their own political purposes’.

If found guilty of breaching the Espionage Act by passing an NSA analysis of alleged Russian hacking to The Intercept, she faces up to ten years in prison.

Her father’s comments and Winner’s social media accounts, which is filled with loathing for Donald Trump, suggests she may try to claim her prosecution is politically-motivated and that she was acting as a whistleblower.

Reality Leigh Winner, a decorated former US Air Force linguist who held Top Secret government clearance, is accused of leaking NSA intelligence

Support: Billie-Jean Davis, Reality Winner's mother, and Gary Davis, her father, have flown from their home in Texas to be nearer their daughter, who will be arraigned on Thursday

Support: Billie-Jean Davis, Reality Winner’s mother, and Gary Davis, her father, have flown from their home in Texas to be nearer their daughter, who will be arraigned on Thursday

Right-on causes: Bumper stickers on the Bernie Sanders-supporting, Trump-hating alleged NSA leaker called for people to 'make America green again' and to 'pray for our priests'

Right-on causes: Bumper stickers on the Bernie Sanders-supporting, Trump-hating alleged NSA leaker called for people to ‘make America green again’ and to ‘pray for our priests’

Speaking outside the Augusta, Georgia, home where Winner was arrested on Saturday by ten car loads of FBI agents, her mother said her daughter had not been politically-minded growing up.

‘She’s a good girl, she’s a good person, she’s never been in trouble with anyone, the law or anything.

‘She always does what’s right. She served her country, she was in the Air Force for six years. She volunteers, she does whatever she can to make the community and the world better. That’s what she wants to do.’

Mrs Davis said that the 25-year-old did not share anything about her job with her parents but described her interests.

‘She’s very talented artist – she paints, she draws. She loves studying about anything and everything she can.

‘She taught herself Arabic before she even got in the Air Force. She’s a yoga instructor and very athletic. Loves to work out, that is her world.’

THE SAYINGS OF COMRADE REALITY WINNER

@realDonaldTrump the most dangerous entry to this country was the orange fascist we let into the white house 

– February 11, 2017

 TrumpIsAC***

– January 30, 2017

#notmypresident #Recount2016

– November 29, 2016 

@kanyewest you should make a shirt that says, ‘being white is terrorism’

– February 25, 2017 

You have got to be s****ing me right now. No one has called? The White House shut down their phone lines. There have been protests for months, at both the drilling site and and outside the White House. I’m losing my mind. If you voted for this piece of s***, explain this. He’s lying. He’s blatantly lying and the second largest supply of freshwater in the country is now at risk. #NoDAPL #NeverMyPresident #Resist 

-February 9, 2017 

 @altusda #NoUSDAblackout #RESISTANCE

– February 18, 2017

#F***ingWall

– January 26, 2017 

On people invading Augusta for Master’s week: They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,

– April 2, 2017 

Her mother said that her daughter, who speaks Farsi, Pashto and Dari – the principal languages of Iran and Afghanistan – was based solely in the U.S. for the Air Force and had not been sent overseas.

Mrs Davis said that Winner had called her father on Saturday. ‘She let him know that she was in trouble and that she had been arrested. She asked if we could come on up and take care of her animals.’

She said that her daughter had not appeared particularly upset about anything in relation to the Trump administration in recent months, despite her extensive social media postings.

‘Not anything more than our normal conversations. Not anything more than that. I never saw this coming.’

Her mother said her daughter did not have any association with any other hackers or groups.

‘Absolutely not,’ she said. ‘In fact if you look on her Facebook, she had posted that she actually went and met with the state representative here in Georgia, to have a sit-down talk with him about what was important to her.

‘[Their conversation] had to do with the climate and the North Dakota pipeline. That was her issue at that point.

‘She posted on Facebook, that instead of bashing people, do it the right way. That’s what kind of a girl she is.’

Her father, Gary Davis, added that they would be staying in Georgia ‘as long as we are needed. We want to make sure she is treated fairly and afforded all her rights.’

He added: ‘The side of Reality we know and love is not what’s being portrayed.

‘We want her face out there rather than what’s being pulled for their own political purposes. She’s a good kid and we are here to help her get through this.’

Neighbor Hank Thompson shared with DailyMail.com the scene on Saturday when Winner had been arrested.

He said that about ten cars with dark windows surrounded the house and had it cordoned off with police tape.

‘They were talking to her out on the step,’ he said. ‘She seemed nervous, I guess, with everything that’s going on.’

He said that she had only been at the property for a few months and was ‘pretty quiet’ in her comings and goings but that he occasionally saw a ‘tall, young man with a red pick-up truck’ at the house. He also said that the mail truck regularly stopped to deliver packages.

When she wasn't tweeting about Trump, Winner spent much of her free time working out

When she wasn’t tweeting about Trump, Winner spent much of her free time working out

Lots of paper: Reality Winner's car also housed other paperwork - it is unclear if these documents were connected with her work

Lots of paper: Reality Winner’s car also housed other paperwork – it is unclear if these documents were connected with her work

It has since been revealed that she was an outspoken opponent of Trump who once branded the president a c**t

It has since been revealed that she was an outspoken opponent of Trump who once branded the president a c**t

Winner’s posting show she was a Bernie Sanders supporter who hated Donald Trump. She even claimed that being white could be compared to terrorism.

It has since emerged the contractor who speaks four languages may have used her linguistics skills to work at a government ‘listening post’ which collects intelligence from the Middle East and Europe, The Daily Beast reported.

She is believed to have worked at the ‘Sweet Tea’ outpost in Fort Gordon, Georgia, where thousands of specialists allegedly work to translate and analyze intercepted messages.

The decorated former USAF linguist – who held Top Secret government clearance – made multiple posts on social media attacking Trump and joking about Russia’s influence in the election.

Under the alias Sara Winners, she made several tweets with the hashtag #NotMyPresident and #Recount 2016. She wrote that ‘Trump is a c**t’ and a ‘piece of s**t’ in a series of angry tweets over the past few months.

The outspoken Sanders supporter also posted a signed picture of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, thanking her for her service.

During the run-up to presidential election, Winner – a keen bodybuilder and fitness fanatic – had joked about the Kremlin’s influence, saying: ‘On a positive note, this Tuesday when we become the United States of the Russian Federation, Olympic lifting will be the national sport.’

After Trump was declared president, the apparently distraught 25-year-old wrote: ‘Well. People suck.’

She also posted a signed picture of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, thanking her for her service 

She also posted a signed picture of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, thanking her for her service

Bernie Sanders-supporting Reality Winner served as a linguist in the US Air Force since 2013 and spoke Pashto, Farsi and Dari. Pictured here in uniform with her mother Billie

Bernie Sanders-supporting Reality Winner served as a linguist in the US Air Force since 2013 and spoke Pashto, Farsi and Dari. Pictured here in uniform with her mother Billie

She also tweeted to Nate Silver, the ex-New York Times pollster whose confident predictions that Clinton had as high as an 85 per cent chance of winning made him a laughing stock – but not to Winner.

‘I listened to you daily, and your podcast kept me sane,’ Winner wrote at the FiveThirtyEight podcast on November 9. ‘What the heck #betrayed #disillusioned.’

‘Privjet Russia’  tweeted Winner the following day, which translates to ‘Hi Russia.’

She also retweeted Sanders’ statement calling the president racist and xenophobic.

Winner has also frequently trolled the president, tweeting at him directly.

In response to a Trump tweet about immigrants coming from seven Muslim-majority countries  being ‘SO DANGEROUS’, Winner asked: ‘have you ever even met an Iranian?’

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture began blacking out public information, Winner tweeted ‘#RESISTANCE’.

Her frustration appears to have come to a head in May when Winner, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation – a defense contractor that does work for the NSA – allegedly downloaded documents revealing that Russia had hacked an electoral voting machine.

She then posted the intel to online news site The Intercept who published the findings last month.

The leaked documents seemed to show Russia carried out cyber attacks on companies which produce software used during elections.

But the NSA were quickly able to link the leak back to Winner after The Intercept presented them with stolen documents for verification.

NSA officers were able to determine, by analyzing creases in the pages and a secret series of ‘tracking dots’ on the paper, that they had been printed at the NSA’s Augusta, Georgia offices.

Only six people had access to those printers so from there, it was simply a case of narrowing down the suspects. After agents found communication between Winner and the new site, she was arrested.

Winner is now facing up to ten years in jail if found guilty on charged of removing classified material from a government facility.

When Winner wasn’t posting about politics, her social media paints her as something of a loner.

Her life appears to have revolved around her frequent body building and work outs, her vegan diet, and her pets. She has countless selfies of herself working out at the gym, yet few photos of herself with friends.

The 25-year-old, who lists herself as ‘single’ recently held a ‘cativersary’ – complete with birthday cake for her cat Mina and regularly posted about her dog. She also revealed she had been ‘feeling so down.’

The intelligent US Air Force vet had just returned from a solo ‘spiritual journey’ to Belize in Central America when she was arrested.

In one of her vacation snaps, Winner – who appears to be very close with her family including sister Britty – revealed she had recently lost her step father Gary Winner who she considered her dad.

‘There is nothing that can fix the hole in my heart that you left behind,’ she wrote.

‘I still don’t know who I am without you here or how to keep moving forward without the one person who believed unconditionally in everything I want to do in life.

‘Old habits die hard, I still find myself making time to call you in the evenings or jotting down notes or stories to tell you next time we speak. It’s like I have a little piece of you here with me. I miss you, Dad.’

Billie Winner-Davis said that her daughter never discussed her work, and that her family didn’t know much information about her job as a government contractor.

She said Winner who had been a linguist for the U.S. Air Force and can speak middle eastern languages Farsi, Dari and Pashto.

Farsi is the principal language of Iran, while Dari and Pashto are the two most commonly-spoken languages of Afghanistan.

She won a commendation medal for he work as a Cryptologic Language Analyst before she left service in December 2016 at rank of senior airman.

 When she wasn't posting about politics, Winner's social media paints her as something of a loner whose main focus was on bodybuilding

 When she wasn’t posting about politics, Winner’s social media paints her as something of a loner whose main focus was on bodybuilding

Arrested: The government has charged Reality Leigh Winner (pictured), 25, a Georgia intelligence contractor, with passing secret documents to the media

Arrested: The government has charged Reality Leigh Winner (pictured), 25, a Georgia intelligence contractor, with passing secret documents to the media

She is the first person to have charges leveled against her in connection with leaks related to Russian election hacking

She is the first person to have charges leveled against her in connection with leaks related to Russian election hacking

Winner was employed by contractor Pluribus International Corporation in February, and had been working with access to top secret documents since then

Smarts appear to run in the family as her sister Britty is studying for a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University.

Winner was an employee at Pluribus International Corporation based out of Alexandria, Virginia. She was then posted to a government agency in Georgia. She worked at the facility since February 13, and held Top Secret security clearance.

Pluribus is an analytical and engineering service that provides its services to federal, defense, security and the intelligence community on a contractual basis. The company has 22 locations across the world, including three in the Republic of Korea.

Her mother revealed that she is unsure if her daughter will be able to seek bond and that she has a hearing on Thursday.

‘I don’t know what they’re alleging,’ she told told The Daily Beast. ‘I don’t know who she might have sent it to. [DOJ] were very vague.

 President Trump (above on Monday) has repeatedly railed against leaks, and administration members have called on congressional committees to focus on alleged Russian interference

 President Trump (above on Monday) has repeatedly railed against leaks, and administration members have called on congressional committees to focus on alleged Russian interference

An NSA document published by The Intercept reveals a Russian-backed effort to target local government officials and U.S. firms as part of the campaign

An NSA document published by The Intercept reveals a Russian-backed effort to target local government officials and U.S. firms as part of the campaign

‘They said she mishandled and released documents that she shouldn’t have, but we had no idea what it pertained to or who.’

Winner’s case has divided opinion, with some branding her a ‘traitor’ but others hailing her as a hero.

It bears some resemblance to the case of Chelsea Manning, a transgender US Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 for leaking nearly three-quarters of a million classified or sensitive military materials to Wikileaks.

She said at the time she’d been moved to release the secret information because she ‘believed I was going to help people’. She wanted to provide a real record of the realities of war, and give a human face to the casualties.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth but had her sentence commuted by then-President Obama to just seven years, and she was freed on May 17.

Just as with Winner, public reaction to news Manning leaked the document was mixed. Some hailed her as a 21st-century Tiananmen Square Tank Man after some believe the documents may have triggered the Arab Spring, while others denounced her as a traitor.

The Intercept report based on her leak has been largely overshadowed by her arrest.

It said a top secret NSA document revealed efforts by Russian military intelligence to conduct a spear phishing cyber attack on a company and on local voter registration.

The NSA document is titled ‘Spear-Phishing campaign TTPs used Against U.S. and Foreign Government Political Entities

It states that ‘It is unknown if the GRU (Russian military intelligence) was able to successfully compromise any of the entities targeted as part of this campaign. While this [redacted] cyber espionage program utilized some techniques that were similar to other Russian GRU cyber operations units, this activity demonstrated several characteristics that distinguish it from another major GRU spear-phishing program known as [redacted].’

‘Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors… executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions,’ according to the document the Intercept published.

‘The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to… launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.’

Previous analyses by the intelligence community have stated that Russia was behind hacking into the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair in an effort to impact the election, but have not provided evidence of a successful campaign to affect the vote count or voter rolls.

The feds got a warrant for Winner's arrest

The feds got a warrant for Winner’s arrest

The affidavit mentions a 'U.S. Government Agency' believed to be the NSA

The affidavit mentions a ‘U.S. Government Agency’ believed to be the NSA

Winner confessed to being the source quickly.

According to the FBI, ‘Winner agreed to talk with agents during the execution of the warrant. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a ‘need to know,’ and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified.’

Without a lawyer present, ‘Winner further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents,’ according to the government.

The prosecution documents do not name The Intercept, but sources said it was the outlet the leak was to.

An affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an arrest warrant states that on June 1, the FBI was notified by a government agency that it had been contacted by an unnamed news outlet in connection to a story.

After examining the Top Secret document, investigators found pages appeared to be folded or creased – indicating it was printed and carried out of a ‘secured space’ by hand.

An audit concluded that six individuals had printed the document – including Winner.

Upon being interviewed, Winner admitted printing it without having a ‘need to know.’

According to the Intercept, the NSA sought redactions after being contacted, some of which were accepted.

President Trump has repeatedly railed against leaks, and administration members have called on congressional committees to focus not just on alleged Russian interference, but ‘unmasking’ of individuals in leaked governments and leak investigations.

‘It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the media,’ Trump tweeted last week.

HOW THE INTERCEPT REPORT COINCIDES WITH CHARGES AGAINST REALITY WINNER

The charges against Reality Winner, 25, coincided with a report by The Intercept that a top secret NSA document revealed efforts by Russian military intelligence to conduct a spear phishing cyber attack on a company and on local voter registration. 

‘Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions,’ according to the document the Intercept published.

‘The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.’

The Intercept story states that the documents raise the possibility that Russian-based hackers ‘may have breached at least some elements of the voting system,’ bringing the investigation of election interference to a new level. 

According to the FBI, ‘Winner agreed to talk with agents during the execution of the warrant. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a ‘need to know,’ and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified.’

Without a lawyer present, ‘Winner further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents,’ according to the government.

An affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an arrest warrant states that on June 1, the FBI was notified by a government agency that it had been contacted by an unnamed news outlet in connection to a story.

After examining the Top Secret document, investigators found pages appeared to be folded or creased – indicating it was printed and carried out of a ‘secured space’ by hand.

An audit concluded that six individuals had printed the document – including Winner.

Upon being interviewed, Winner admitted printing it without having a ‘need to know.’ 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4578260/NSA-leaker-Reality-Winner-s-parents-say-served-country.html#ixzz4jKnlrQa5

 

Alleged NSA leaker met with Perdue staff months before arrest

Who is Reality Winner? The Accused NSA Leaker
The Augusta federal contractor who was charged Monday with leaking top-secret information to the press met with members of U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s staff earlier this year, the Republican’s office confirmed.

Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, posted a selfie with her eyebrows raised outside of the first-term senator’s Atlanta office to Facebook on Feb. 14.

“A great American once told us to go out and have conversations with one another,” Winner wrote in the post, in which she also wrote she was “feeling optimistic.”

A Perdue spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that aides from the senator’s Atlanta office indeed met with Winner in February to discuss “environmental issues.”

Then-Senator-elect David Perdue in November 2014. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Our team meets with hundreds of Georgians monthly to discuss issues important to them,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. She said Perdue’s office does not ask about employment in routine meetings with constituents and that Winner’s work as a federal contractor did not come up then.

“The allegations against Ms. Winner are very serious, and if true, directly threaten our national security,” the spokeswoman said. “I trust our Justice Department will get to the bottom of this and handle it appropriately.”

Using a pseudonym, Winner frequently posted to Twitter about her liberal political views and her revulsion to President Donald Trump and his policies. Her feeds show she was particularly passionate about climate change, refugees, Syria’s civil war and the citizens of Iran, one of the U.S.’ top adversaries.

After a friend asked about her meeting with Perdue’s staff, Winner said it went “really well.”

“I can’t believe I got a private 30 minute meeting, and his state policy director is going to send me email updates on some of my concerns regarding climate change and what the state of Georgia is doing to reduce dependency on fossil fuels,” she wrote.

Winner said she also told Perdue staffers that senators should “not be afraid to directly state when our president or his cabinet tell outright lies.” She said her suggestion was “well heard.”

“I was able to draw the parallel between the 2011 interview of President Bashar al Assad claiming utter ignorance of the human rights violations his citizens were protesting,” Winner wrote, “to Trump’s statement last week that the White House hadn’t received any calls about the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline), nor were there any protests before last week. They got the message.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/alleged-nsa-leaker-met-with-perdue-staff-months-before-arrest/3hkGgsRJhbN9mRl9gsy8aK/

Story 4: Wikileaks Julian Assange Critical Of Intercept and Reporter That Lead To Arrest of NSA Contractor Leaker Reality Winner –Videos

 

Image result for wikileaks julian assange critical reality winner leaker of classified documents

INTERCEPT BETRAYS WHISTLEBLOWER TO FEDS: Reporter Possibly Betrays Reality Leigh Winner

The Intercept Burns Reality Winner: Deep State NSA Dupe and Clueless Unwitting Shill

Reality Winner Psy-Op: The Intercept Rats Out Deep State NSA Contractor Shill and Top Secret Leaker

WikiLeaks Declares War on The Intercept

The FBI says a reporter led them to an NSA leaker. Julian Assange says that person, whom he suspects is an Intercept reporter, is a “menace” to sources, journalists, and democracy.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told The Daily Beast he holds reporters—not just the Trump administration—responsible for the arrest of a U.S. intelligence contractor charged with leaking classified information.On Monday, the Justice Department said Reality Winner, a 25-year-old National Security Agency contractor, sent top secret information to a news outlet. The announcement came shortly after The Intercept published a series of NSA documents claiming that Russian hackers targeted a voting-software supplier and local election officials just prior to Election Day.
According to the affidavit, reporters for the unnamed news organization provided a copy of the printed NSA report to the agency in order to seek comment. The NSA claimed six people had printed out the report including Winner, who the agency said had been in contact with an unnamed news outlet.

“If the FBI affidavit is accurate the reporter concerned must be named, shamed and fired by whomever they work for to maintain industry standards,” Assange said via Twitter direct message through the WikiLeaks account on Tuesday.

“Source burning reporters are a menace,” he said. “They chill trust in all journalists which impedes public understanding.”

WikiLeaks offered a $10,000 reward for information “leading to the public exposure & termination” of the reporter.

“It seems likely that the FBI affidavit refers to The Intercept, but not certain, hence we say ‘suspected Intercept reporter,’ said Assange. “But whomever this reporter was they are a menace not only to sources but to all journalists by decreasing the trust between sources and journalist and ultimately the public. Democracy dies in darkness.”

Assange’s defense of leaking NSA documents that accuse Russia of interfering in the U.S. election is in contrast to his agreement last year that he was “1,000 percent” confident Russia did not give WikiLeaks hacked Democratic National Committee emails. While Assange did not comment on the content of the leaks, he defended the alleged leaker Monday night.

It doesn’t matter why she did it or the quality the report. Acts of non-elite sources communicating knowledge should be strongly encouraged.

As for The Intercept, it said in a statement Tuesday that it has “no knowledge of the identity of the person who provided us with the document,” before adding “the U.S. government has told news organizations that Winner was that individual.”

“While the FBI’s allegations against Winner have been made public through the release of an affidavit and search warrant, which were unsealed at the government’s request, it is important to keep in mind that these documents contain unproven assertions and speculation designed to serve the government’s agenda and as such warrant skepticism,” The Intercept’s statement reads.

The Intercept added it will not make further comments at this time.

With President Donald Trump’s call to prosecute leakers, WikiLeaks and Assange find themselves opposing the man who once said, “I love WikiLeaks.”

“The Trump administration has already capitalized on the incompetence or treachery of this reporter by gloating about her arrest in press release hours after the Intercept story broke,” Assange said. “Such press releases are designed to deter future sources.”

On his personal Twitter account, Assange expressed support for Winner’s actions, saying “she is a young women [sic] accused of courage in trying to help us know.”

View image on Twitter

Alleged NSA whistleblower Reality Leigh Winner must be supported. She is a young women accused of courage in trying to help us know.

The Intercept was launched in 2014 initially for the purposes of publishing documents released by Edward Snowden. They have faced criticism from WikiLeaks before. In 2014, The Intercept published a story about the NSA’s recording of cell phone calls from the Bahamas and WikiLeaks took issue with the publication redacting Afghanistan in its report.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/wikileaks-declares-war-on-the-intercept

 

Did the Intercept Betray Its NSA Source?

By Jake Swearingen

Image
Alleged leaker Reality Leigh Winner. Photo: reezlie/Instagram

How, exactly, did the FBI zero in on alleged NSA leaker Reality Leigh Winner? Winner, a contractor for the NSA, was quietly arrested on Sunday and charged with leaking top secret documents. According to the Justice Department, she confessed to printing out classified information while authorities were searching her home and vehicle. Those documents are now confirmed to be the same documents published by the Intercept on Monday afternoon about a Russian cyberattack on U.S. voting machines and officials. About an hour after the Intercept published the story, the Justice Department revealed to the press that it already had Winner in custody, and would be prosecuting her under the Espionage Act. It was an effective bit of showmanship.

The Intercept, for obvious reasons, is saying very little. A statement posted to the site describes the claims made in the government search affidavit and the criminal complaint as “unproven assertions and speculation designed to serve the government’s agenda and as such warrant skepticism.” Naturally, any specific details revealed by the publication could be used to build a case against its sources.

The understandable silence from the Intercept, combined with the fragmented details provided by the court documents, has led to a significant amount of back and forth on Twitter on how much culpability the Intercept has in Winner’s arrest — whether the Intercept’s bad “opsec” led to the government charging Winner, or if Winner’s own missteps led to her arrest. The discussion is more than just a journalistic pissing match: Not only does the site’s reputation as a safe place for anonymous leaks hang in the balance, but journalists and their sources at all publications are nervous about the capabilities of a Trump administration that has declared war on leakers everywhere.

If you go strictly by what’s contained in the FBI’s search affidavit, there were three important pieces of circumstantial evidence that led the Feds to Winner.

The first is that Winner had previous contact with the Intercept. It’s important to note here that — contra the assumptions of many on Twitter — her contact had nothing to do with the story, and occurred months before she even allegedly accessed the report that was leaked. She emailed the site on March 30 from her private Gmail account, asking for a transcript of a podcast. She emailed the site again on March 31, confirming “subscription to the service,” (likely one of the Intercept’s newsletters).

The second is that on May 24, a reporter from the Intercept reached out to an unnamed government contractor, trying to determine the validity of the leak. During the exchange, the Intercept revealed that the leak had been mailed with a postmark of Augusta, Georgia, where Winner lives. (Checking with other sources about the validity of a leak is not necessarily bad opsec; revealing specific information about the leak almost certainly is — though it’s also probably more common than journalists would like to admit.) The contractor told the Intercept that they believed the leak to be fake; when the Intercept returned on June 1, saying that the leak’s authenticity had been confirmed, the original anonymous government contractor turned around and alerted the NSA to the matter — including the key detail that the document had been mailed from Augusta.

The third, and most glaring, is that the Intercept provided a copy of the report itself to the NSA on May 30. It’s unclear if the Intercept gave the NSA a scanned copy of the printed material it had received, or a retyped or otherwise altered version, but the NSA then turned the report over to the FBI for further investigation. According to the FBI’s affidavit, Feds noticed that pages of the intelligence reporting appeared “folded and/or creased,” thus alerting them that the information had been printed. Per the affidavit, the government then found that only six people had printed that report, and Winner had no reason to do so — the report was outside of her job duties.

The “crease” has been bandied about in the press, but there’s good reason to believe that the Feds had a more sophisticated way of figuring out that the document had been printed out. The Intercept’s PDF of the document also contains “tracking dots,” barely visible yellow dots available on printed pages that allow anyone to determine the serial number, model date, and date and time of printed material. You can see these for yourself: Just screenshot the top-left corner of any page of the PDF and invert the colors in an image-editing tool. The dots should become immediately apparent. The tracking dots on the documents from the Intercept show a print date of May 9 at 6:20 from a printer with model number 54, serial number 29535218. (The last page of the PDF has a different set of tracking dots — it’s unclear why.)

If this is the copy that the Intercept also provided to the NSA, then the government likely knew enough to determine which employee had used that specific printer at that specific time — no need to see “creases” at all. In fact, the crease may be pretext to avoid mentioning tracking dots (or another forensic method) used to determine that the document was printed — a prosecutorial technique known as “parallel construction” that avoids revealing how evidence on a case was actually gathered.

The problem with apportioning blame in this case is that we don’t know if the Intercept handed over to the NSA the original copy of the report that they’d received — which would have been a grave security error — or if it was a photocopy or reprint that nonetheless betrayed some evidence.

And it’s important to note that the FBI and NSA didn’t need to know that the pages had even been printed. All material classified “top secret” (the highest security rating a document can receive) are stored in a massive government intranet known as the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, or JWICS. As detailed by New York Magazine contributer Yashar Ali on Twitter, this system logs everyone who accesses top secret documents, as well as what they do with them. Even if the Intercept had verified the document without alerting the NSA, and then paraphrased the entire report, after it published its story, the government would have quickly moved to determine who had accessed the document — and Winner would have, eventually, come under the same scrutiny.

Nonetheless, it’s clear that there were serious mistakes made by both the Intercept and its leaker. It’s quite reasonable for the Intercept to seek confirmation that the document in question was real with third-party sources, and eventually the NSA. But revealing the Augusta, Georgia, postmark to the third-party source clearly helped the government build its case. Providing a copy of the report seems to have, in some way, added to the government’s pile of evidence. And the decision to publish the PDF with the tracker dots unobscured — especially considering the Intercept likely had no knowledge that Winner was the leaker, and she was already in custody — is a baffling unforced error from a site that hinges on being a secure place to send documents.

Assuming Winner is the leaker, too, she made a mistake in contacting the Intercept at work — though given that it happened months before she allegedly sent the report, it’s hard to blame her. Still, Winner, as a contractor for the NSA and an Air Force veteran with top secret clearance, would have known as well as anyone that her traffic would be logged, and would also likely have known that accessing top secret documents — even without printing them out — would have thrown up red flags in the aftermath of a leak.

It’s worth reiterating that the FBI has a strong incentive to cast the Intercept as incompetent handlers of sources. There’s a decent chance that the case was built against Winner in a completely different way — one that didn’t rely on mistakes by the journalists at all — and this particular parallel construction of the case is being put forward to cast aspersions on one of the most notorious investigative outfits online. But there’s no escaping that the mistakes made by the Intercept and Winner — small as they may have been — were enough to get a search warrant and indictment signed. If there’s any consolation for leakers and the journalists they rely on, it’s that the affidavit provides an object lesson in protecting sources.

http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/06/intercept-nsa-leaker-reality-winner.html

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