The Pronk Pops Show 1361, November 18, 2019, Story 1: Bolivia Victim of A Military Coup? After 14 Years in Power President Evo Morales Resigns and Flees To Mexico — Videos — Story 2: Democrat Trump Madness Should End Thursday After Attempted Second Coup Fails To Gain American People’s Support — No Evidence President Trump Did Anything Improper — No Crime — No Real Witnesses — Feelings, Hearsay, Opinions — Not Evidence — Big Lie Media — Videos — Story 3: Protests in Hong Kong –Videos

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Story 1: Bolivia Victim of A Military Coup? Morales Resigns and Flees To Mexico — Videos —

What Is A Coup d’État And How Common Are They?

Turkey’s failed military coup, explained

The Heat: Bolivia crisis Pt 1

Tracing the key events in Bolivia’s political crisis

Bolivia’s Mesa denies coup d’etat took place

Mexico: Government says Bolivia experienced a ‘coup’

Is Bolivia’s Evo Morales the victim of a coup? | UpFront (Feature)

News Wrap: Bolivia’s ousted Morales goes into exile in Mexico

Evo Morales resigns: Is Bolivia facing a coup d’etat?

Police join protesters as Bolivia’s president calls it ‘coup attempt’

Evo Morales

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Evo Morales
Morales looking to the side

Morales in 2017
President of Bolivia
In office
January 22, 2006 – November 10, 2019[a]
Vice President Álvaro García Linera
Preceded by Eduardo Rodríguez
Succeeded by Jeanine Áñez (interim)
President pro tempore of CELAC
In role
January 14, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Preceded by Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Succeeded by Position vacant
President pro tempore of UNASUR
In role
April 17, 2018 – April 16, 2019
Preceded by Mauricio Macri
Succeeded by Position vacant
Leader of the Movement for Socialism
Assumed office
January 1, 1998
Preceded by Party established
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
for Cochabamba
In office
August 6, 1997 – January 24, 2002
Personal details
Born
Juan Evo Morales Ayma

October 26, 1959 (age 60)
Isallavi, Bolivia

Political party Movement for Socialism
Children 2
Parents Dionisio Morales Choque
María Ayma Mamani
Residence Mexico City
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Bolivia Bolivia
Branch/service Logo del Ejército de Bolivia..jpg Bolivian Army
Years of service 1977–1978
Unit Fourth Ingavi Cavalry Regiment

Juan Evo Morales Ayma (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeβo moˈɾales]; born October 26, 1959) is a Bolivian politician and former cocalero activist who served as the President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Widely regarded as the country’s first president to come from the indigenous population,[b] his administration focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. A socialist, he is the head of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

Born to an Aymara family of subsistence farmers in Isallawi, Orinoca Canton, Morales undertook a basic education before mandatory military service, in 1978 moving to Chapare Province. Growing coca and becoming a trade unionist, he rose to prominence in the campesino (“rural laborers”) union. In that capacity, he campaigned against U.S. and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as part of the War on Drugs, denouncing these as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture. His involvement in anti-government direct action protests resulted in multiple arrests. Morales entered electoral politics in 1995, became the leader of the MAS, and was elected to Congress in 1997. Coupled with populist rhetoric, his campaign focused on issues affecting indigenous and poor communities, advocating land reform, and the redistribution of gas wealth. He gained increased visibility through the Cochabamba Water Protests and gas conflict. In 2002, he was expelled from Congress for encouraging anti-government protesters, although he came second in that year’s presidential election.

Once elected in 2005, Morales increased taxation on the hydrocarbon industry to bolster social spending and emphasized projects to combat illiteracy, poverty, racism, and sexism. Vocally criticizing neoliberalism and reducing Bolivia’s dependence on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, his administration oversaw strong economic growth while following a policy termed “Evonomics” which sought to move from a liberal economic approach to a mixed economy. Scaling back U.S. influence in the country, he built relationships with leftist governments in the Latin American pink tide and signed Bolivia into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Attempting to moderate the left-indigenous activist community, his administration also opposed the right-wing autonomist demands of Bolivia’s eastern provinces. Winning a recall referendum in 2008, he instituted a new constitution that established Bolivia as a plurinational state and was re-elected in 2009. His second term witnessed the continuation of leftist policies and Bolivia’s joining of the Bank of the South and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; he was again reelected in the 2014 general election. Following the disputed 2019 general election and the ensuing unrestMorales agreed to military calls for his resignation. He was then granted political asylum in Mexico.

Morales has been praised for unprecedented economic growth, significantly reducing poverty and illiteracy in Bolivia and has been internationally decorated with various awards. His supporters have lauded him as a champion of indigenous rights, that were enshrined in the constitution, anti-imperialism, and environmentalism. Alternately, a number of leftist, indigenous, and environmentalist critics have accused him of failing to live up to many of his espoused values, and opponents have accused him of being excessively radical and authoritarian and have claimed that his defence of coca contributes to illegal cocaine production.

Early life and activism

Childhood, education, and military service: 1959–78

Aymara in traditional dress (left); Poopó Lake was the dominant geographical feature around Morales’s home village of Isallawi (right).[9]

Morales was born in the small rural village of Isallawi in Orinoca Canton, part of western Bolivia’s Oruro Department, on October 26, 1959 to a family from the indigenous Aymara people.[10][11] One of seven children born to Dionisio Morales Choque and his wife María Ayma Mamani,[12] only he and two siblings, Esther and Hugo, survived past childhood.[13] His mother almost died from a postpartum haemorrhage following his birth.[9] In keeping with Aymara custom, his father buried the placenta produced after his birth in a place specially chosen for the occasion.[9] His childhood home was a traditional adobe house,[14] and he grew up speaking the Aymara language, although later commentators would remark that by the time he had become president he was no longer an entirely fluent speaker.[15]

Morales’s family were farmers; from an early age, he helped them to plant and harvest crops and guard their herd of llamas and sheep, taking a homemade soccer ball to amuse himself.[16] As a toddler, he briefly attended Orinoca’s preparatory school, and at five began schooling at the single-room primary school in Isallawi.[17] Aged 6, he spent six months in northern Argentina with his sister and father. There, Dionisio harvested sugar cane while Evo sold ice cream and briefly attended a Spanish-language school.[18] As a child, he regularly traveled on foot to Arani province in Cochabamba with his father and their llamas, a journey lasting up to two weeks, in order to exchange salt and potatoes for maize and coca. [19] A big fan of soccer, at age 13 he organised a community soccer team with himself as team captain. Within two years, he was elected training coach for the whole region, and thus gained early experience in leadership.[20]

After finishing primary education, Morales attended the Agrarian Humanistic Technical Institute of Orinoca (ITAHO), completing all but the final year.[21] His parents then sent him to study for a degree in Oruro; although he did poorly academically, he finished all of his courses and exams by 1977, earning money on the side as a brick-maker, day labourer, baker and a trumpet player for the Royal Imperial Band. The latter position allowed him to travel across Bolivia.[22] At the end of his higher education he failed to collect his degree certificate.[21] Although interested in studying journalism, he did not pursue it as a profession.[23] Morales served his mandatory military service in the Bolivian army from 1977 to 1978. Initially signed up at the Centre for Instruction of Special Troops (CITE) in Cochabamba, he was sent into the Fourth Ingavi Cavalry Regiment and stationed at the army headquarters in the Bolivian capital La Paz.[24] These two years were one of Bolivia’s politically most unstable periods, with five presidents and two military coups, led by General Juan Pereda and General David Padilla respectively; under the latter’s regime, Morales was stationed as a guard at the Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace).[25]

Early cocalero activism: 1978–83

Following his military service, Morales returned to his family, who had escaped the agricultural devastation of 1980’s El Niño storm cycle by relocating to the Tropics of Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands.[26] Setting up home in the town of Villa 14 de Septiembre, El Chapare, using a loan from Morales’s maternal uncle, the family cleared a plot of land in the forest to grow rice, oranges, grapefruit, papaya, bananas and later on coca.[27] It was here that Morales learned to speak Quechua, the indigenous local language.[28] The arrival of the Morales family was a part of a much wider migration to the region; in 1981 El Chapare’s population was 40,000 but by 1988 it had risen to 215,000. Many Bolivians hoped to set up farms where they could earn a living growing coca, which was experiencing a steady rise in price and which could be cultivated up to four times a year; a traditional medicinal and ritual substance in Andean culture, it was also sold abroad as the key ingredient in cocaine.[29] Morales joined the local soccer team, before founding his own team, New Horizon, which proved victorious at the August 2 Central Tournament.[29] The El Chapare region remained special to Morales for many years to come; during his presidency he often talked of it in speeches and regularly visited.[30]

Morales policy was “Coca Yes, Cocaine No”. A Bolivian man holding a coca leaf, (left); Coca tea, traditional infusion of Andean culture (right).

In El Chapare, Morales joined a trade union of cocaleros (coca growers), being appointed local Secretary of Sports. Organizing soccer tournaments, among union members he earned the nickname of “the young ball player” because of his tendency to organize matches during meeting recesses.[29] Influenced in joining the union by wider events, in 1980 the far-right General Luis García Meza had seized power in a military coup, banning other political parties and declaring himself president; for Morales, a “foundational event in his relationship with politics” occurred in 1981, when a campesino (coca grower) was accused of cocaine trafficking by soldiers, beaten up, and burned to death.[31] In 1982 the leftist Hernán Siles Zuazo and the Democratic and Popular Union (Unidad Democrática y Popular – UDP) took power in representative democratic elections, before implementing neoliberal capitalist reforms and privatizing much of the state sector with US support; hyperinflation came under control, but unemployment rose to 25%.[32] Becoming increasingly active in the union, from 1982 to 1983, Morales served as the General Secretary of his local San Francisco syndicate.[33] However, in 1983, Morales’s father Dionisio died, and although he missed the funeral he temporarily retreated from his union work to organize his father’s affairs.[34]

Fighting their War on Drugs, the U.S. government hoped to stem the cocaine trade by preventing the production of coca; they pressured the Bolivian government to eradicate it, sending troops to Bolivia to aid the operation.[35] Bolivian troops would burn coca crops and in many cases beat up coca growers who challenged them.[36] Angered by this, Morales returned to cocalero campaigning; like many of his comrades, he refused the US$2,500 compensation offered by the government for each acre of coca he eradicated. Deeply embedded in Bolivian culture, the campesinos had an ancestral relationship with coca and did not want to lose their most profitable means of subsistence. For them, it was an issue of national sovereignty, with the U.S. viewed as imperalists; activists regularly proclaimed “Long live coca! Death to the Yankees!” (“Causachun coca! Wañuchun yanquis!“).[33]

General Secretary of the Cocalero Union: 1984–94

The Wiphala, flag of the Aymara.

From 1984 to 1985 Morales served as Secretary of Records for the movement,[33] and in 1985 he became General Secretary of the August Second Headquarters.[33] From 1984 to 1991 the sindicatos embarked on a series of protests against the forced eradication of coca by occupying local government offices, setting up roadblocks, going on hunger strike, and organizing mass marches and demonstrations.[37] Morales was personally involved in this direct activism and in 1984 was present at a roadblock where 3 campesinos were killed.[38] In 1988, Morales was elected to the position of Executive Secretary of the Federation of the Tropics.[33] In 1989 he spoke at a one-year commemoratory event of the Villa Tunari massacre in which 11 coca farmers had been killed by agents of the Rural Area Mobile Patrol Unit (Unidad Móvil Policial para Áreas Rurales – UMOPAR).[38] The following day, UMOPAR agents beat Morales up, leaving him in the mountains to die, but he was rescued by other union members.[39] To combat this violence, Morales concluded that an armed cocalero militia could launch a guerrilla war against the government, but he was soon persuaded on an electoral path to change instead.[40] In 1992, he made various international trips to champion the cocalero cause, speaking at a conference in Cuba,[41] and also traveling to Canada, during which he learned of his mother’s death.[42]

In his speeches, Morales presented the coca leaf as a symbol of Andean culture that was under threat from the imperialist oppression of the U.S. In his view, the U.S. should deal with their domestic cocaine abuse problems without interfering in Bolivia, arguing that they had no right trying to eliminate coca, a legitimate product with many uses which played a rich role in Andean culture.[43] In a speech on this issue, Morales told reporters “I am not a drug trafficker. I am a coca grower. I cultivate coca leaf, which is a natural product. I do not refine (it into) cocaine, and neither cocaine nor drugs have ever been part of the Andean culture.”[6] On another, he asserted that “We produce our coca, we bring it to the main markets, we sell it and that’s where our responsibility ends.”[44]

Morales presented the coca growers as victims of a wealthy, urban social elite who had bowed to U.S. pressure by implementing neoliberal economic reforms.[43] He argued that these reforms were to the detriment of Bolivia’s majority, and thus the country’s representative democratic system of governance failed to reflect the true democratic will of the majority.[43] This situation was exacerbated following the 1993 general election when the centrist Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario – MNR) won the election and Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada became President. He adopted a policy of “shock therapy“, implementing economic liberalization and widescale privatization of state-owned assets.[45] Sánchez also agreed with the U.S. DEA to relaunch its offensive against the Bolivian coca growers, committing Bolivia to eradicating 12,500 acres (5,100 ha) of coca by March 1994 in exchange for $20 million worth of US aid, something Morales claimed would be opposed by the cocalero movement.[46]

In August 1994 Morales was arrested; reporters present at the scene witnessed him being beaten and accosted with racial slurs by civil agents. Accused of sedition, in jail he began a dry hunger strike to protest his arrest.[47] The following day, 3000 campesinos began a 360-mile (580 km) march from Villa Tunari to La Paz. Morales would be freed on September 7, and soon joined the march, which arrived at its destination on September 19, where they covered the city with political graffiti.[48] He was again arrested in April 1995 during a sting operation that rounded up those at a meeting of the Andean Council of Coca Producers that he was chairing on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Accusing the group of plotting a coup with the aid of Colombia’s FARC and Peru’s Shining Path, a number of his comrades were tortured, although no evidence of a coup was brought forth and he was freed within a week.[49] He proceeded to Argentina to attend a seminar on liberation struggles.[50]

Political rise

The ASP, IPSP, and MAS: 1995–99

Members of the sindicato social movement first suggested a move into the political arena in 1986. This was controversial, with many fearing that politicians would co-opt the movement for personal gain.[51] Morales began supporting the formation of a political wing in 1989, although a consensus in favor of its formation only emerged in 1993.[52] On March 27, 1995, at the 7th Congress of the Unique Confederation of Rural Laborers of Bolivia (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia – CSUTCB), a “political instrument” (a term employed over “political party”) was formed, named the Assembly for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Asamblea por la Sobernía de los Pueblos – ASP).[53] At the ASP’s 1st Congress, the CSUTCB participated alongside three other Bolivian unions, representing miners, peasants and indigenous peoples.[52] In 1996, Morales was appointed chairman of the Committee of the Six Federations of the Tropics of Cochabamba, a position that he retained until 2006.[54]

Bolivia’s National Electoral Court (Corte Nacional Electoral – CNE) refused to recognize the ASP, citing minor procedural infringements.[52] The coca activists circumvented this problem by running under the banner of the United Left (IU), a coalition of leftist parties headed by the Communist Party of Bolivia (Partido Comunista Boliviano – PCB).[55] They won landslide victories in those areas which were local strongholds of the movement, producing 11 mayors and 49 municipal councilors.[52] Morales was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the National Congress as a representative for El Chapare, having secured 70.1% of the local vote.[54] In the national elections of 1997, the IU/ASP gained four seats in Congress, obtaining 3.7% of the national vote, with this rising to 17.5% in the department of Cochabamba.[56] The election resulted in the establishment of a coalition government led by the right-wing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN), with Hugo Banzer as President; Morales lambasted him as “the worst politician in Bolivian history”.[57]

MAS-IPSP partisans celebrate the 16th anniversary of the IPSP party’s founding in SacabaCochabamba.

Rising electoral success was accompanied by factional in-fighting, with a leadership contest emerging in the ASP between the incumbent Alejo Véliz and Morales, who had the electoral backing of the social movement’s bases.[56] The conflict led to a schism, with Morales and his supporters splitting to form their own party, the Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos – IPSP).[58] The movement’s bases defected en masse to the IPSP, leaving the ASP to crumble and Véliz to join the centre-right New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana – NFR), for which Morales denounced him as a traitor to the cocalero cause.[59] Continuing his activism, in 1998 Morales led another cocalero march from El Chapare to la Paz,[60] and came under increasing criticism from the government, who repeatedly accused him of being involved in the cocaine trade and mocked him for how he spoke and his lack of education.[61]

Morales came to an agreement with David Añez Pedraza, the leader of a defunct yet still registered party named the Movement for Socialism (MAS); under this agreement, Morales and the Six Federaciónes could take over the party name, with Pendraza stipulating the condition that they must maintain its own acronym, name and colors. Thus the defunct right wing MAS became the flourishing left wing vehicle for the coca activist movement known as the Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples.[62] The MAS would come to be described as “an indigenous-based political party that calls for the nationalization of industry, legalization of the coca leaf … and fairer distribution of national resources.”[63] The party lacked the finance available to the mainstream parties, and so relied largely on the work of volunteers in order to operate.[64] It was not structured like other political parties, instead operating as the political wing of the social movement, with all tiers in the movement involved in decision making; this form of organisation would continue until 2004.[65] In the December 1999 municipal elections, the MAS secured 79 municipal council seats and 10 mayoral positions, gaining 3.27% of the national vote, although 70% of the vote in Cochabamba.[62]

Cochabamba protests: 2000–02

In 2000, the Tunari Waters corporation doubled the price at which they sold water to Bolivian consumers, resulting in a backlash from leftist activist groups, including the cocaleros. Activists clashed with police and armed forces, in what was dubbed “the Water War“, resulting in 6 dead and 175 wounded. Responding to the violence, the government removed the contract from Tunari and placed the utility under cooperative control.[66] In ensuing years further violent protests broke out over a range of issues, resulting in more deaths both among activists and law enforcement. Much of this unrest was connected with the widespread opposition to economic liberalization across Bolivian society, with a common perception that it only benefited a small minority.[67]

In the Andean High Plateau, a cocalero group launched a guerrilla uprising under the leadership of Felipe Quispe; an ethnic separatist, he and Morales disliked each other, with Quispe considering Morales to be a traitor and an opportunist for his willingness to cooperate with White Bolivians.[68] Morales had not taken a leading role in these protests, but did use them to get across his message that the MAS was not a single-issue party, and that rather than simply fighting for the rights of the cocalero it was arguing for structural change to the political system and a redefinition of citizenship in Bolivia.[69]

Evo Morales (right) with French labor union leader José Bové in 2002

In August 2001, Banzer resigned due to terminal illness, and Jorge Quiroga took over as President.[70] Under U.S. pressure, Quiroga sought to have Morales expelled from Congress. To do so, he claimed that Morales’s inflammatory language had caused the deaths of two police officers in Sacaba near Cochabamba, however was unable to provide any evidence of Morales’s culpability. 140 deputies voted for Morales’s expulsion, which came about in 2002. Morales asserted that it “was a trial against Aymara and Quechas”, [71] while MAS activists interpreted it as evidence of the pseudo-democratic credentials of the political class.[72]

The MAS gained increasing popularity as a protest party, relying largely on widespread dissatisfaction with the existing mainstream political parties among Bolivians living in rural and poor urban areas.[73] Morales recognized this, and much of his discourse focused on differentiating the MAS from the traditional political class.[74] Their campaign was successful, and in the 2002 presidential election the MAS gained 20.94% of the national vote, becoming Bolivia’s second largest party, being only 1.5% behind the victorious MNR, whose candidate, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, became President.[75] They won 8 seats in the Senate and 27 in the Chamber of Deputies.[76] Now the leader of the political opposition, Morales focused on criticising government policies rather than outlining alternatives. He had several unconstructive meetings with Lozada, but met with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez for the first time.[77]

Bolivia’s U.S. embassy had become publicly highly critical of Morales; just prior to the election, the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha issued a statement declaring that U.S. aid to Bolivia would be cut if MAS won the election. However, exit polls revealed that Rocha’s comments had served to increase support for Morales.[78] Following the election, the U.S. embassy maintained this critical stance, characterising Morales as a criminal and encouraging Bolivia’s traditional parties to sign a broad agreement to oppose the MAS; Morales himself began alleging that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was plotting to assassinate him.[79]

Rise to power: 2003–05[edit]

Graffiti roughly translating into “Gas is not for sale, dammit!”, with an indigenous woman in the foreground.

In 2003, the Bolivian gas conflict broke out as activists – including coca growers – protested against the privatization of the country’s natural gas supply and its sale to U.S. companies below the market value. Activists blocked off the road into La Paz, resulting in clashes with police. 80 were killed and 411 injured, among them officers, activists, and civilians, including children.[80] Morales did not take an active role in the conflict, instead traveling to Libya and Switzerland, there describing the uprising as a “peaceful revolution in progress.”[81] The government accused Morales and the MAS of using the protests to overthrow Bolivia’s parliamentary democracy with the aid of organised crime, FARC, and the far-left governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Libya.[82]

Morales led calls for President Sánchez de Lozada to step down over the death toll, gaining widespread support from the MAS, other activist groups, and the middle classes; with pressure building, Sánchez resigned and fled to MiamiFlorida.[83] He was replaced by Carlos Mesa, who tried to strike a balance between U.S. and cocalero demands, but whom Morales mistrusted.[84] In November, Morales spent 24 hours with Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana,[85] and then met Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner.[86] In the 2004 municipal election, the MAS became the country’s largest national party, with 28.6% of all councilors in Bolivia. However, they had failed to win the mayoralty in any big cities, reflecting their inability to gain widespread support among the urban middle-classes.[87] In Bolivia’s wealthy Santa Cruz region, a strong movement for autonomy had developed under the leadership of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee (Comite Pro Santa Cruz). Favorable to neoliberal economics and strongly critical of the cocaleros, they considered armed insurrection to secede from Bolivia should MAS take power.[88]

In March 2005, Mesa resigned, citing the pressure of Morales and the cocalero road blocks and riots.[89] Amid fears of civil war,[90] Eduardo Rodríguez became President of a transitional government, preparing Bolivia for a general election in December 2005.[91] Hiring the Peruvian Walter Chávez as its campaign manager, the MAS electoral campaign was based on Salvador Allende‘s successful campaign in the 1970 Chilean presidential election.[92] Measures were implemented to institutionalize the party structure, giving it greater independence from the social movement; this was done to allow Morales and other MAS leaders to respond quickly to new developments without the lengthy process of consulting the bases, and to present a more moderate image away from the bases’ radicalism.[93] Although he had initially hoped for a female running mate, Morales eventually chose Marxist intellectual Álvaro García Linera as his Vice Presidential candidate,[94] with some Bolivian press speculating as to a romantic relationship between the two.[95] MAS’ primary opponent was Jorge Quiroga and his center-right Social and Democratic Power, whose campaign was centered in Santa Cruz and which advocated continued neo-liberal reform; Quiroga accused Morales of promoting the legalization of cocaine and being a puppet for Venezuela.[96]

With a turnout of 84.5%, the election saw Morales gain 53.7% of the vote, while Quiroga came second with 28.6%; Morales’s was the first victory with an absolute majority in Bolivia for 40 years.[97] Given that he was the sixth self-described leftist president to be elected in Latin America since 1998, his victory was identified as part of the broader regional pink tide.[98] Becoming president elect, Morales was widely described as Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, at a time when around 62% of the population identified as indigenous; political analysts therefore drew comparisons with the election of Nelson Mandela to the South African Presidency in 1994.[99] This resulted in widespread excitement among the approximately 40 million indigenous people in the Americas, particularly those of Bolivia.[100] However, his election caused concern among the country’s wealthy and landowning classes, who feared state expropriation and nationalisation of their property, as well as far-right groups, who claimed it would spark a race war.[100] He traveled to Cuba to spend time with Castro, before going to Venezuela, and then on tour to Europe, China, and South Africa; significantly, he avoided the U.S.[101] In January 2006, Morales attended an indigenous spiritual ceremony at Tiwanaku where he was crowned Apu Mallku (Supreme Leader) of the Aymara, receiving gifts from indigenous peoples across Latin America. He thanked the goddess Pachamama for his victory and proclaimed that “With the unity of the people, we’re going to end the colonial state and the neo-liberal model.”[102]

Presidency

First presidential term: 2006–09

Evo Morales in 2006

In the world there are large and small countries, rich countries and poor countries, but we are equal in one thing, which is our right to dignity and sovereignty.

— Evo Morales, Inaugural Speech, 22 January 2006.[103]

Morales’s inauguration took place on January 22 in La Paz. It was attended by various heads of state, including Argentina’s Kirchner, Venezuela’s Chávez, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, and Chile’s Ricardo Lagos.[104] Morales wore an Andeanized suit designed by fashion designer Beatriz Canedo Patiño,[105] and gave a speech that included a minute silence in memory of cocaleros and indigenous activists killed in the struggle.[104] He condemned Bolivia’s former “colonial” regimes, likening them to South Africa under apartheid and stating that the MAS’ election would lead to a “refoundation” of the country, a term that the MAS consistently used over “revolution”.[106] Morales repeated these views in his convocation of the Constituent Assembly.[107]

In taking office, Morales emphasized nationalism, anti-imperialism, and anti-neoliberalism, although did not initially refer to his administration as socialist.[108] In what was widely termed a populist act, he immediately reduced both his own presidential wage and that of his ministers by 57% to $1,875 a month, also urging members of Congress to do the same.[109][110][111] Morales gathered together a largely inexperienced cabinet made up of indigenous activists and leftist intellectuals,[112] although over the first three years of government there was a rapid turnover in the cabinet as Morales replaced many of the indigenous members with trained middle-class leftist politicians.[113] By 2012 only 3 of the 20 cabinet members identified as indigenous.[114]

Economic program

At Morales’s election, Bolivia was South America’s poorest nation.[115] Morales’s government did not initiate fundamental change to Bolivia’s economic structure,[116] and in their National Development Plan (PDN) for 2006–10, adhered largely to the country’s previous liberal economic model.[117] Bolivia’s economy was based largely on the extraction of natural resources, with the nation having South America’s second largest reserves of natural gas.[118] As per his election pledge, Morales took increasing state control of this hydrocarbon industry with Supreme Decree 2870; previously, corporations paid 18% of their profits to the state, but Morales symbolically reversed this, so that 82% of profits went to the state and 18% to the companies. The oil companies threatened to take the case to the international courts or cease operating in Bolivia, but ultimately relented. Thus, where Bolivia had received $173 million from hydrocarbon extraction in 2002, by 2006 they received $1.3 billion.[119] Although not technically a form of nationalization, Morales and his government referred to it as such, resulting in criticism from sectors of the Bolivian left.[120] In June 2006, Morales announced his desire to nationalize mining, electricity, telephones, and railroads, and in February 2007 nationalized the Vinto metallurgy plant, refusing to compensate Glencore, which the government asserted had obtained the contract illegally.[121] Although the FSTMB miners’ federation called for the government to nationalise the mines, the government did not do so, instead stating that any transnational corporations operating in Bolivia legally would not be expropriated.[122]

Under Morales, Bolivia experienced unprecedented economic strength, resulting in the increase in value of its currency, the boliviano.[123] His first year in office ended with no fiscal deficit; the first time this had happened in Bolivia for 30 years,[124] while during the global financial crisis of 2007–08 it maintained some of the world’s highest levels of economic growth.[125] Such economic strength led to a nationwide boom in construction,[123] and allowed the state to build up strong financial reserves.[123] Although the levels of social spending were increased, they remained relatively conservative, with a major priority being placed on constructing paved roads, as well as community spaces such as soccer fields and union buildings.[126] In particular, the government focused on rural infrastructure improvement, to bring roads, running water, and electricity to areas that lacked them.[127]

The government’s stated intention was to reduce Bolivia’s most acute poverty levels from 35% to 27% of the population, and moderate poverty levels from 58.9% to 49% over five years.[128] The welfare state was expanded, as characterized by the introduction of non-contributory old-age pensions and payments to mothers provided their babies are taken for health checks and that their children attend school. Hundreds of free tractors were also handed out. The prices of gas and many foodstuffs were controlled, and local food producers were made to sell in the local market rather than export. A new state-owned body was also set up to distribute food at subsidized prices. All these measures helped to curb inflation, while the economy grew (partly because of rising public spending), accompanied by stronger public finances which brought economic stability.[129]

During Morales’s first term, Bolivia broke free of the domination of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) which had characterised previous regimes by refusing their financial aid and connected regulations.[clarification needed][130] In May 2007, it became the world’s first country to withdraw from the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, with Morales asserting that the institution had consistently favored multinational corporations in its judgments; Bolivia’s lead was followed by other Latin American nations.[131] Despite being encouraged to do so by the U.S., Bolivia refused to join the Free Trade Area of the Americas, deeming it a form of U.S. imperialism.[132]

A major dilemma faced by Morales’s administration was between the desire to expand extractive industries in order to fund social programs and provide employment, and to protect the country’s environment from the pollution caused by those industries.[133] Although his government professed an environmentalist ethos, expanding environmental monitoring and becoming a leader in the voluntary Forest Stewardship Council, Bolivia continued to witness rapid deforestation for agriculture and illegal logging.[134] Economists on both the left and right expressed concern over the government’s lack of economic diversification.[125] Many Bolivians opined that Morales’s government had failed to bring about sufficient job creation.[116]

ALBA and international appearances

Morales with regional allies, at the Fórum Social Mundial for Latin America: President of Paraguay Lugo, President of Brasil Lula, President of Equador Correa and President of Venezuela Chavez.

Morales’s administration sought strong links with the far-left governments of Cuba and Venezuela.[135] In April 2005 Morales traveled to Havana for knee surgery, there meeting with the two nations’ presidents, Castro and Chávez.[136] In April 2006, Bolivia agreed to join Cuba and Venezuela in founding the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), with Morales attending ALBA’s conference in May, at which they initiated with a Peoples’ Trade Agreement (PTA).[137] Meanwhile, his administration became “the least US-friendly government in Bolivian history”.[138] In September Morales visited the U.S. for the first time to attend the UN General Assembly, where he gave a speech condemning U.S. President George W. Bush as a terrorist for launching the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War, and called for the UN Headquarters to be moved out of the country. In the U.S., he met with former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and with Native American groups.[139] Relations were further strained between the two nations when in December Morales issued a Supreme Decree requiring all U.S. citizens visiting Bolivia to have a visa.[140] His government also refused to grant legal immunity to U.S. soldiers in Bolivia; hence the U.S. cut back their military support to the country by 96%.[132]

In December 2006, he attended the first South-South conference in Abuja, Nigeria, there meeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose government had recently awarded Morales the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.[141] Morales proceeded straight to Havana for a conference celebrating Castro’s life, where he gave a speech arguing for stronger links between Latin America and the Middle East to combat U.S. imperialism.[142] Under his administration, diplomatic relations were established with Iran, with Morales praising Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a revolutionary comrade.[143] In April 2007 he attended the first South American Energy Summit in Venezuela, arguing with many allies over the issue of biofuel, which he opposed.[144] He had a particularly fierce argument with Brazilian President Lula over Morales’s desire to bring Bolivia’s refineries – which were largely owned by Brazil’s Petrobrás – under state control. In May, Bolivia purchased the refineries and transferred them to the Bolivian State Petroleum Company (YPFB).[145]

Social reform

Morales with Brazilian President Lula

Morales’s government sought to encourage a model of development based upon the premise of vivir bien, or “living well”.[115] This entailed seeking social harmony, consensus, the elimination of discrimination, and wealth redistribution; in doing so, it was rooted in communal rather than individual values and owed more to indigenous Andean forms of social organization than Western ones.[115]

Upon Morales’s election, Bolivia’s illiteracy rate was at 16%, the highest in South America.[146] Attempting to rectify this with the aid of far left allies, Bolivia launched a literacy campaign with Cuban assistance, while Venezuela invited 5000 Bolivian high school graduates to study in Venezuela for free.[147] By 2009, UNESCO declared Bolivia free from illiteracy,[148] although the World Bank claimed that it had only declined by 5%.[149] Cuba also aided Bolivia in the development of its medical care, opening ophthalmological centres in the country to treat 100,000 Bolivians for free per year, and offering 5000 free scholarships for Bolivian students to study medicine in Cuba.[150] The government sought to expand state medical facilities, opening twenty hospitals by 2014, and increasing basic medical coverage up to the age of 25.[151] Their approach sought to utilise and harmonise both mainstream Western medicine and Bolivia’s traditional medicine.[152]

Morales and vice-president Álvaro García Linera in 2006 shining the shoes of shoeshine boys.

The 2006 Bono Juancito Pinto program provided US$29 per month to poor families for every young child that they had,[153] while 2008’s Renta Dignidad initiative provided around $344 per month to low-income citizens over 60.[154] 2009’s Bono Juana Azurduy program offered cash transfers to uninsured mothers to improve their likelihood of seeking medical care.[155] Conservative critics of Morales’s regime claimed that these measures were simply designed to buy off the poor and ensure continued support for the government.[156]

Morales announced that one of the top priorities of his government was to eliminate racism against the country’s indigenous population.[157] To do this, he announced that all civil servants were required to learn one of Bolivia’s three indigenous languages, Quechua, Aymara, or Guaraní, within two years.[158] His government encouraged the development of indigenous cultural projects,[159] and sought to encourage more indigenous people to attend university; by 2008, it was estimated that half of the students enrolled in Bolivia’s 11 public universities were indigenous,[160] while three indigenous-specific universities had been established, offering subsidized education.[161] In 2009, a Vice Ministry for Decolonization was established, which proceeded to pass the 2010 Law against Racism and Discrimination banning the espousal of racist views in private or public institutions.[162] Various commentators noted that there was a renewed sense of pride among the country’s indigenous population following Morales’s election.[163] Conversely, the opposition accused Morales’s administration of aggravating racial tensions between indigenous, white, and mestizo populations,[164] with some non-indigenous Bolivians feeling that they were now experiencing racism.[165]

On International Workers’ Day 2006, Morales issued a presidential decree undoing aspects of the informalization of labor which had been implemented by previous neoliberal governments; this was seen as a highly symbolic act for labor rights in Bolivia.[166] In 2009 his government put forward suggested reforms to the 1939 labor laws, although lengthy discussions with trade unions hampered the reforms’ progress.[167] Morales’s government increased the legal minimum wage by 50%,[168] and reduced the pension age from 65 to 60, and then in 2010 reduced it again to 58.[169]

While policies were brought in to improve the living conditions of the working classes, conversely many middle-class Bolivians felt that they had seen their social standing decline,[170] with Morales personally mistrusting the middle-classes, deeming them fickle.[171] A 2006 law reallocated state-owned lands,[172] with this agrarian reform entailing distributing land to traditional communities rather than individuals.[173] In 2010, a law was introduced permitting the formation of recognised indigenous territories, although the implementation of this was hampered by bureaucracy and contesting claims over ownership.[174] Morales’s regime also sought to improve women’s rights in Bolivia.[175] In 2010, it founded a Unit of Depatriarchalization to oversee this process.[113] Further seeking to provide legal recognition and support to LGBT rights, it declared June 28 to be Sexual Minority Rights Day in the country,[176] and encouraged the establishment of a gay-themed television show on the state channel.[177]

Adopting a policy known as “Coca Yes, Cocaine No”,[178] Morales’s administration ensured the legality of coca growing, but also introduced measures to regulate the production and trade of the crop.[179] In 2007, they announced that they would permit the growing of 50,000 acres of coca in the country, primarily for the purposes of domestic consumption,[180] with each family being restricted to the growing of one cato (1600 metres squared) of coca.[181]

A social control program was implemented whereby local unions took on responsibility for ensuring that this quota was not exceeded; in doing so, they hoped to remove the need for military and police intervention, and thus stem the violence of previous decades.[182] Measures were implemented to ensure the industrialization of coca production, with Morales inaugurating the first coca industrialization plant in Chulumani, which produced and packaged coca and trimate tea; the project was primarily funded through a $125,000 donation from Venezuela under the PTA scheme.[179]

These industrialization measures proved largely unsuccessful given that coca remained illegal in most nations outside Bolivia, thus depriving the growers of an international market.[183] Campaigning against this, in 2012 Bolivia withdrew from the UN 1961 Convention which had called for global criminalisation of coca, and in 2013 successfully convinced the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to declassify coca as a narcotic.[184] The U.S. State Department criticised Bolivia, asserting that it was regressing in its counter-narcotics efforts, and dramatically reduced aid to Bolivia to $34 million to fight the narcotics trade in 2007.[185] Nevertheless, the number of cocaine seizures in Bolivia increased under Morales’s government,[186] as they sought to encourage coca growers to report and oppose cocaine producers and traffickers.[187] However, high levels of police corruption surrounding the illicit trade in cocaine remained a continuing problem for Bolivia.[188]

Morales’s government also introduced measures to tackle Bolivia’s endemic corruption; in 2007, he used a presidential decree to create the Ministry of Institutional Transparency and Fight Against Corruption.[189] However, critics highlighted that MAS members were rarely prosecuted for the crime, the main exception being YPFB head Santos Ramírez, who was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for corruption in 2008. Conversely, a 2009 law that permitted the retroactive prosecution for corruption led to legal cases being brought against a number of opposition politicians for alleged corruption in the pre-Morales period; many fled abroad to avoid standing trial.[190]

Domestic unrest and the new constitution

During his presidential campaign, Morales had supported calls for regional autonomy for Bolivia’s departments. As president, he changed his position, viewing the calls for autonomy – which came from Bolivia’s four eastern departments of Santa Cruz, BeniPando, and Tarija – as an attempt by the wealthy bourgeoisie living in these regions to preserve their economic position.[191] He nevertheless agreed to a referendum on regional autonomy, held in July 2006; the four eastern departments voted in favor of autonomy, but Bolivia as a whole voted against it by 57.6%.[192] In September, autonomy activists launched strikes and blockades across eastern Bolivia, resulting in violent clashes with MAS activists.[193] In January 2007, clashes in Cochabamba between activist groups led to fatalities, with Morales’s government sending in troops to maintain the peace. The left-indigenous activists formed a Revolutionary Departmental Government, but Morales denounced it as illegal and continued to recognise the legitimacy of right-wing departmental head Manfred Reyes Villa.[194]

In July 2006, an election to form a Constitutional Assembly was held, which saw the highest ever electoral turnout in the nation’s history. MAS won 137 of its 255 seats, after which the Assembly was inaugurated in August.[195] The Assembly was the first elected parliamentary body in Bolivia which features strong campesino and indigenous representation.[196] In November, the Assembly approved a new constitution, which converted the Republic of Bolivia into the Plurinational State of Bolivia, describing it as a “plurinational communal and social unified state”. The constitution emphasized Bolivian sovereignty of natural resources, separated church and state, forbade foreign military bases in the country, implemented a two-term limit for the presidency, and permitted limited regional autonomy. It also enshrined every Bolivians’ right to water, food, free health care, education, and housing.[197] In enshrining the concept of plurinationalism, one commentator noted that it suggested “a profound reconfiguration of the state itself” by recognising the rights to self-determination of various nations within a single state.[198]

Morales in 2008

In May 2008, the eastern departments pushed for greater autonomy, but Morales’s government rejected the legitimacy of their position.[199] They called for a referendum on recalling Morales, which saw an 83% turnout and in which Morales was ratified with 67.4% of the vote.[200] Unified as the National Council for Democracy (CONALDE), these groups – financed by the wealthy agro-industrialist, petroleum, and financial elite – embarked on a series of destabilisation campaigns to unseat Morales’s government.[201] Unrest then broke out across eastern Bolivia, as radicalized autonomist activists established blockades, occupied airports, clashing with pro-government demonstrations, police, and armed forces. Some formed paramilitaries, bombing state companies, indigenous NGOs, and human rights organisations, also launching armed racist attacks on indigenous communities, culminating in the Pando Massacre of MAS activists.[202] The autonomists gained support from some high-ranking politicians; Santa Cruz Governor Rubén Costas lambasted Morales and his supporters with racist epithets, accusing the president of being an Aymara fundamentalist and a totalitarian dictator responsible for state terrorism.[203] Amid the unrest, foreign commentators began speculating on the possibility of civil war.[204]

After it was revealed that USAID‘s Office of Transition Initiatives had supplied $4.5 million to the pro-autonomist departmental governments of the eastern provinces, in September 2008 Morales accused the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, of “conspiring against democracy” and encouraging the civil unrest, ordering him to leave the country.[205][206]. The U.S. government responded by expelling Bolivian ambassador to the U.S., Gustavo Guzman.[207]. Bolivia subsequently expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the country, while the U.S. responded by withdrawing their Peace Corps.[208] Chávez stood in solidarity with Bolivia by ordering the U.S. ambassador Patrick Duddy out of his country and withdrawing the Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S.[209] The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) convened a special meeting to discuss the Bolivian situation, expressing full support for Morales’s government.[210]

Morales meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009

Although unable to quell the autonomist violence, Morales’s government refused to declare a state of emergency, believing that the autonomists were attempting to provoke them into doing so.[211] Instead, they decided to compromise, entering into talks with the parliamentary opposition. As a result, 100 of the 411 elements of the Constitution were changed, with both sides compromising on certain issues.[212] Nevertheless, the governors of the eastern provinces rejected the changes, believing it gave them insufficient autonomy, while various Indianist and leftist members of MAS felt that the amendments conceded too much to the political right.[213] The constitution was put to a referendum in January 2009, in which it was approved by 61.4% of voters.[214]

Following the approval of the new Constitution, the 2009 general election was called. The opposition sought to delay the election by demanding a new biometric registry system, hoping that it would give them time to form a united front against MAS.[215] Many MAS activists reacted violently against the demands, and attempting to prevent this. Morales went on a five-day hunger strike in April 2009 to push the opposition to rescind their demands. He also agreed to allow for the introduction of a new voter registry, but insisted that it was rushed through so as not to delay the election.[216] Morales and the MAS won with a landslide majority, polling 64.2%, while voter participation had reached an all-time high of 90%.[217] His primary opponent, Reyes Villa, gained 27% of the vote. The MAS won a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.[218] Morales notably increased his support in the east of the country, with MAS gaining a majority in Tarija.[219] In response to his victory, Morales proclaimed that he was “obligated to accelerate the pace of change and deepen socialism” in Bolivia, seeing his re-election as a mandate to further his reforms.[220]

Second presidential term: 2009–2014

During his second term, Morales began to speak openly of “communitarian socialism” as the ideology that he desired for Bolivia’s future.[221] He assembled a new cabinet which was 50% female, a first for Bolivia,[222] although by 2012, that had dropped to a third.[175] One of the main tasks that faced his government during this term was the aim of introducing legislation that would cement the extension of rights featured in the new constitution.[223] In April 2010, the departmental elections saw further gains for MAS.[224] In 2013, the government passed a law to combat domestic violence against women.[225]

Morales at an international conference in 2012

In December 2009, Morales attended the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he blamed climate change on capitalism and called for a financial transactions tax to fund climate change mitigation. Ultimately deeming the conference to have been a failure, he oversaw the World’s People Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth outside of Cochabamba in April 2010.[226]

Following the victories of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, relations between Bolivia and the U.S. improved slightly, and in November 2009 the countries entered negotiations to restore diplomatic relations.[227] After the U.S. backed the 2011 military intervention in Libya by NATO forces, Morales condemned Obama, calling for his Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked.[228] The two nations restored diplomatic relations in November 2011,[229] although Morales refused to allow the DEA back into the country.[230]

In October 2012, the government passed a Law of Mother Earth that banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being grown in Bolivia; although praised by environmentalists, it was criticised by the nation’s soya growers, who claimed that it would make them less competitive on the global market.[231]

On July 2, 2013, Bolivia’s foreign minister said that the diversion of Morales’s presidential plane (FAB-001, a Dassault Falcon 900EX), when Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian authorities denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board the aircraft, had put the president’s life at risk.[232] Latin American leaders describe the incident as a “stunning violation of national sovereignty and disrespect for the region”.[233] Morales himself described the incident as a “hostage” situation.[234] France apologized for the incident the next day.[235] The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, Morales’s political allies in the region, gathered to demand an explanation of the incident.[236]

In 2014, Morales became the oldest active professional soccer player in the world after signing a contract for $200 a month with Sport Boys Warnes.[237]

On July 31, 2014, Morales condemned the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict and declared Israel a “terrorist state”.[238]

Domestic protests

Morales addressing Bolivia’s Parliament

Morales’s second term was heavily affected by infighting and dissent from within his support base, as indigenous and leftist activists rejected several government reforms.[239] In May 2010, his government announced a 5% rise in the minimum wage. The Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB) felt this insufficient given the rising cost of living, calling a general strike, while protesters clashed with police. The government refused to increase the rise, accusing protesters of being pawns of the right.[240] In August 2010, violent protests broke out in southern Potosí over widespread unemployment and a lack of infrastructure investment.[225] In December 2010, the government cut subsidies for gasoline and diesel fuels, which raised fuel prices and transport costs. Protests led Morales to nullify the decree, responding that he “ruled by obeying”.[241] In June 2012, Bolivia’s police launched protests against anti-corruption reforms to the police service; they burned disciplinary case records and demanded salary increases. Morales’s government relented, cancelling many of the proposed reforms and agreeing to the wage rise.[242]

In 2011, the government announced it had signed a contract with a Brazilian company to construct a highway connecting Beni to Cochabamba, which would pass through the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). This would better integrate the Beni and Pando departments with the rest of Bolivia and facilitate hydrocarbons exploration. The plan brought condemnation from environmentalists and indigenous communities living in the TIPNIS, who claimed that it would encourage deforestation and illegal settlement and that it violated the constitution and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[243] The issue became an international cause célèbre and cast doubt on the government’s environmentalist and indigenous rights credentials.[244] In August, 800 protesters embarked on a protest march from Trinidad to La Paz; many were injured in clashes with police and supporters of the road.[245] Two government ministers and other high-ranking officials resigned in protest and Morales’s government relented, announcing suspension of the road.[245] In October 2011, he passed Law 180, prohibiting further road construction, although the government proceeded with a consultation, eventually gaining the consent of 55 of the 65 communities in TIPNIS to allow the highway to be built, albeit with a variety of concessions; construction was scheduled to take place after the 2014 general election.[245][246][247] In May 2013, the government announced that it would permit hydrocarbon exploration in Bolivia’s 22 national parks, to widespread condemnation from environmentalists.[231]

Third presidential term: 2014–2019

Morales with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the Third GECF summit.

In 2008, Morales had vowed that he would not stand for re-election in the 2014 general election.[248] However, he successfully did so and after proclaiming victory in the election, Morales declared it “a triumph of the anti-colonialists and anti-imperialists” and dedicated his win to both Castro and Chávez.[249][250][251]

On the basis of this victory, the Financial Times remarked that Morales was “one of the world’s most popular leaders”.[252] On October 17, 2015, Morales surpassed Andrés de Santa Cruz‘s nine years, eight months, and twenty-four days in office and became Bolivia’s longest serving president.[253][254] Writing in The GuardianEllie Mae O’Hagan attributes his enduring popularity not to anti-imperialist rhetoric but his “extraordinary socio-economic reforms,” which resulted in poverty and extreme poverty declining by 25% and 43% respectively.[255]

In early February 2016 there were rumors that Morales had had a child by a young woman, Gabriela Zapata Montaño, and had granted favors to the Chinese company for which she worked. Morales admitted that they had had a son (who had died in infancy), but denied vehemently any granting of favors and said he had not been in contact with Zapata Montaño since 2007.[256]

In February 2016, a referendum was held on the question of whether Morales should be allowed to run for a fourth term; he narrowly lost.[257] His approval rating had been damaged by the allegations concerning his relationship with Gabriela Zapata Montaño.[258] In December 2016 the MAS nominated Morales as their candidate for the 2019 presidential election regardless, stating that they would seek various avenues to ensure the legality of such a candidacy.[259] In November 2017, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Bolivia ruled that—in contrast to the constitution—all public offices would have no term limits, blaming American imperialism and influence for the referendum’s outcome, thus allowing Morales to run for a fourth term in 2019.[260] In May 2019, Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, supported Morales participation in the 2019 election.[261]

Morales attended the swearing-in ceremony of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro for his second term on January 10, 2019.[262] In April 2019, Morales condemned the arrest by the United Kingdom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.[263]

2019 election controversy and resignation

On October 20, 2019, Morales won 47.1% of the vote in the first round of the 2019 Bolivian general election. His closest rival was Carlos Mesa, with 35.5% of the vote. As the gap between Morales and Mesa was over 10%, a second-round run-off between them would not have been required.[264]

The results were immediately disputed and led to widespread protests across the country. Responding to the concerns and violent protests, Morales asked the Organization of American States (OAS) to conduct an audit of the vote count.[265] Morales said he would call for a second-round runoff vote with Mesa if the OAS’ audit found evidence of fraud.[264] Morales asked the protesters to observe a truce while the OAS conducted the audit but Mesa asked his supporters to maintain their strikes and street protests.[266]

On November 9, 2019, the Organization of American States (OAS) published a preliminary report that there were “clear manipulations” including physical records with alterations and forged signatures, and evidence of wide-scale data manipulation. The next day, Morales announced that fresh elections would take place.[267][268] The police joined the protests against Morales,[269] and on November 10, according to The New York Times: “the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, Gen. Williams Kaliman, said the military chiefs believed he should step down to restore ‘peace and stability and for the good of our Bolivia.'”[270][271] On November 12, Morales flew to Mexico and accepted asylum there.[272] Morales, along with the governments of MexicoCubaUruguayNicaragua, the Nicolás Maduro-led disputed government of Venezuela, as well as the President-elect of Argentina, maintain that his removal was a coup.[273][274][275][276]

Political ideology

The worst enemy of humanity is capitalism. That is what provokes uprisings like our own, a rebellion against a system, against a neo-liberal model, which is the representation of a savage capitalism. If the entire world doesn’t acknowledge this reality, that the national states are not providing even minimally for health, education and nourishment, then each day the most fundamental human rights are being violated.

– Evo Morales[277]

Figures in the Morales government have described the President’s approach to politics as “Evoism” (SpanishEvismo).[278] From 2009, Morales has advocated “communitarian socialism”,[221] while political scientist Sven Harten characterized Morales’s ideology as “eclectic”, drawing ideas from “various ideological currents”.[279] Harten noted that whilst Morales uses fierce anti-imperialist and leftist rhetoric, he is neither “a hardcore anti-globalist nor a Marxist,” not having argued for the violent and absolute overthrow of capitalism or U.S. involvement in Latin America.[280]

Economically, Morales’s policies have sometimes been termed “Evonomics” and have focused on creating a mixed economy.[281] Morales’s presidential discourse has revolved around distinguishing between “the people”, of whom he sees himself as a representative, and the oppressive socio-economic elite and the old political class, whom he believes have mistreated “the people” for centuries.[282] Morales sought to make Bolivia’s representative democracy more direct and communitarian, through the introduction of referendums and a citizen-led legislative initiative.[283] George Philip and Francisco Panizza claimed that like his allies Correa and Chávez, Morales should be categorized as a populist,[284] because he appealed “directly to the people against their countries’ political and economic order, divided the social field into antagonistic camps and promised redistribution and recognition in a newly founded political order.”[285]

Various far left commentators have argued against categorizing the Morales administration as socialist. Bolivia’s Marxist Vice President Álvaro García Linera asserts that Bolivia lacks the sufficiently large industrialized working class, or proletariat, to enable it to convert into a socialist society in the Marxist understanding of the word. Instead, he terms the government’s approach “Andean and Amazonian capitalism”.[286] Marxist American sociologist James Petras has argued that Morales’s government is neither socialist nor anti-imperialist, instead describing Morales as a “radical conservative” for utilizing socialist rhetoric while continuing to support foreign investment and the economic status of Bolivia’s capitalist class,[287] while British Trotskyist academic Jeffery R. Webber asserted that Morales was no socialist but that his regime was “reconstituting neoliberalism”, thereby rejecting “neoliberal orthdoxy” but retaining a “core faith in the capitalist market as the principal engine of growth and industrialization.”[288] Similarly, Aymara activist Felipe Quispe characterised Morales’s government as “neoliberalism with an Indian [i.e. indigenous] face”.[289]

Personal life

First Lady Morales with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño.

Morales is ethnically Aymara, and has been widely described as Bolivia’s first democratically-elected President from the indigenous majority.[10][6] Although Morales has sometimes been described as the first indigenous president to be democratically elected in Latin America, Benito Juárez, a Mexican of the Zapotec ethnic group, was elected President of Mexico in 1858.[7] Biographer Martín Sivak described Morales as “incorruptible, charismatic, and combative”,[290] also noting that he had a “friendly style” and could develop a good rapport with journalists and photographers, in part because he could “articulate his opinions with simplicity”.[47] He places a great emphasis on trust,[291] and relies on his intuition, sometimes acting on what he considers omens in his dreams.[292] Harten said that Morales “can be a forceful leader, one who instills great respect and, sometimes, a reluctance in others to contradict him, but he has also learnt to listen and learn from other people.”[293] Farthing and Kohl characterised Morales as a “charismatic populist” of a kind common in Latin American history, who prioritized “a direct relationship” between the population and the leader.[294]

Morales is not married and upon becoming president selected his older sister, Esther Morales Ayma, to adopt the role of First Lady. He has two children from different mothers. They are his daughter Eva Liz Morales Alvarado and son Álvaro Morales Paredes.[295][296][297] Politician Juan del Granado is Eva Liz’s godfather.[295]

Morales has commented that he is only a Roman Catholic in order “to go to weddings”, and when asked if he believed in God, responded that “I believe in the land. In my father and my mother. And in cuchi-cuchi (sexual activity).”[298] According to some, Evo lives an ascetic life, with little interest in material possessions.[299] Morales inaugurated a $34 million (USD) La Paz residence (called “People’s Great House” or “Casa Grande del Pueblo”) in 2018. The Casa Grande del Pueblo is a 29-story skyscraper complete with a jacuzzi, sauna, gym, massage room, and rooftop helipad. It was designed by Bolivian architects and decorated with indigenous motifs representing traditional Bolivian culture.[300][301] The skyscraper was built to replace the former presidential palace, which Evo planned to turn into a museum. After signing the contract for the new building, Morales stated that it was “not a luxury” since it would also house cabinet meeting rooms, a centre for indigenous ceremonies and a 1,000-seat auditorium as well as rooms for exclusive presidential use.[301] Morales is an association football enthusiast and plays the game frequently, often with local teams.[302][303]

Morales’s unorthodox behavior contrasts with the usual manners of dignitaries and other political leaders in Latin America. During speeches he made use of personal stories and anecdotes,[304] and used coca as a political symbol, wearing a coca leaf garland around his neck and a hat with coca leaves in it when speaking to crowds of supporters.[305] Following his election, he wore striped jumpers rather than the suits typically worn by politicians. It became a symbol of Morales, with copies of it selling widely in Bolivia.[306][307] Unlike his ally Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, the MAS does not revolve around his personality.[293]

On July 4, 2018, Morales underwent emergency surgery at a private clinic in La Paz in order to remove a tumor.[308]

Influence and legacy

Morales with Enrique Peña Nieto and Justin Trudeau, Lima, Peru, 2018

Morales has been described as “the most famous Bolivian ever”,[5] whose personality has become “fixed in the global imagination”.[309] Morales’s government has been seen as part of the pink tide of left-leaning Latin American governments, becoming particularly associated with the hard left current of Venezuela and Cuba.[310] It has been praised for its pro-socialist stance among the international left,[224] who have taken an interest in Bolivia under his leadership as a “political laboratory”[311] or “a living workshop” for the development of an alternative to capitalism.[312] Domestically, Morales’s support base has been among Bolivia’s poor and indigenous communities.[6] For these communities, who had felt marginalized in Bolivian politics for decades, Morales “invokes a sense of dignity and destiny” in a way that no other contemporary politician has done.[313] He has received the support of many democratic socialists and social democrats, as well as sectors of Bolivia’s liberal movement, who have been critical of Morales but favoured him over the right-wing opposition.[314]

Based on interviews conducted among Bolivians in 2012, John Crabtree and Ann Chaplin described the previous years of Morales’s rule with the observation that: “for many—perhaps most—Bolivians, this was a period when ordinary people felt the benefits of policy in ways that had not been the case for decades, if ever.”[315] Crabtree and Chaplin added that Morales’s administration had made “important changes… that will probably be difficult to reverse”, including poverty reduction, the removal of some regional inequalities, and side-lining of some previously dominant political actors in favor of others who had been encouraged and enabled by his government.[315]

Critics, particularly in the U.S. government, have varyingly termed him “a left-wing radical, a partner of narco-traffickers and a terrorist”.[316] Opposition to Morales’s governance has centered in the wealthy eastern lowland province of Santa Cruz.[6] His policies often antagonized middle-class Bolivians, who deemed them too radical and argued that they threatened private property.[6] His most vociferous critics have been from Bolivia’s conservative movement, although he has also received criticism from the country’s far left, who believe his reformist policies have been insufficiently radical or socialist.[314] Many of these leftist critics were unhappy that Morales’s regime did not make a total break with global capitalism.[315] His regime has also faced many of the same complaints directed at previous Bolivian administrations, revolving around such issues as “concentration of power, corruption, incompetent bureaucracies, and disrespect for civil liberties”.[317]

Crabtree and Chaplin’s study led them to conclude that while Morales’s initial election had brought “huge expectations” from many Bolivians, especially in the social movements, there had been “inevitable frustrations” at his administration’s inability to deliver on everything that they had hoped.[318] They thought that the “heady optimism” that had characterized Morales’s first term in office had given way to “a climate of questioning and growing criticism of the government and its policies”.[315] Although the Bolivian economy had grown, the material benefits had not been as high as many Bolivians had hoped.[315] Crabtree and Chaplin argued that the experiences of his administration had “drawn attention to the difficulties involved in bringing change in the patterns of development in one of Latin America’s poorest and most unequal nations”.[319] Similarly, Harten thought that Morales’s discourse of “the people” against the socio-economic elites has brought a spotlight on the deep social polarization in Bolivia.[320]

See also

References

 

Bolivian security forces kill five and injure dozens when they open fire in ‘massacre’ of supporters of ousted president Evo Morales

  • Evo Morales exiled himself to Mexico last week after being accused of vote-rigging in an October election  
  • Supporter base has taken to the streets to protest his departure after his ouster caused gas prices to increase 
  • Five people are confirmed dead, while a nurse at a local hospital saw 75 injured protesters receive attention 

Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people, injuring dozens and threatening the interim government’s efforts to restore stability following the resignation of the former president in an election dispute.

Most of the dead and injured Friday in Sacaba near the city of Cochabamba suffered bullet wounds, Guadalberto Lara, director of the town’s Mexico Hospital, said. He called it the worst violence he’s seen in his 30-year career.

Angry demonstrators and relatives of the victims gathered at the site of the shootings, chanting: ‘Civil war, now!’

Security forces, pictured in uniform, opened fire on supporters of exiled President Evo Morales yesterday. At least five people died and dozens were injured (Pictured: Police detain a supporter of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, November 15, 2019)

Security forces, pictured in uniform, opened fire on supporters of exiled President Evo Morales yesterday. At least five people died and dozens were injured (Pictured: Police detain a supporter of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, November 15, 2019)

Evo Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous president who derived much of his support from coca leaf growers from rural communities (Pictured: Injured demonstrators are seen inside an ambulance in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Morales, who was granted asylum in Mexico after his resignation Sunday, said on Twitter that a ‘massacre’ had occurred and he described Bolivia’s government led by interim President Jeanine Anez as a dictatorship.

‘Now they are killing our brothers in Sacaba, Cochabamba,’ he said in another tweet.

Protesters said police fired when demonstrators, including many coca leaf growers who backed Bolivia’s first indigenous president, tried to cross a military checkpoint. Emeterio Colque Sanchez, a 23-year-old university student, said he saw the dead bodies of several protesters and about two-dozen people rushed to hospitals, many covered in blood.

Witnesses at the scene said they saw the corpses of several protesters and several dozen people rushed to hospital (Pictured: Police detain supporters of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)14

 

Morales has been granted permission to stay in Mexico and has been told that he may be charged for election fraud if he returns home. The ousted leader stood down on Saturday after he was accused of vote-rigging (Pictured: Backers of former President Evo Morales clash with security forces in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Anez, Bolivia’s interim leader, has also said that Morales will be barred from standing in the new presidential elections (Pictured: A doctor attends a man injured during clashes between security forces and backers of former President Evo Morales at a hospital in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Friday)

Earlier in the day, Anez said Morales would face possible legal charges for election fraud if he returns home from Mexico City, even as the ousted leader contended he is still president since the country’s legislature has not yet approved his resignation.

Bolivia’s interim leader also said Morales would not be allowed to participate in new presidential elections meant to heal the Andean nation’s political standoff.

Morales stepped down on Sunday following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an October 20 election in which he claimed to have won a fourth term in office. An Organization of American States audit of the vote found widespread irregularities. Morales has denied there was fraud14

A nurse at the hospital in Cochabamba told reporters the estimates given by the government were under the 75 people she saw injured (Pictured: Members of the military police try to destroy a flaming barricade in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia yesterday)

Bolivian officials have called on the interim government to investigate whether security forces acted within Bolivian law and in line with international human rights protocols (Pictured: Security forces form a human barrier against supporters of Evo Morales in Sacaba, Bolivia, yesterday)

Families of the victims held vigil after the protests on Friday night (Pictured: A man shows spent casings during a candle service for the fallen protesters)

Families of the victims held a candlelight vigil late Friday in Sacaba. A tearful woman put her hand on a wooden casket surrounded by flowers and asked: ‘Is this what you call democracy? Killing us like nothing?’ Another woman cried and prayed in Quechua over the coffin of Omar Calle, which was draped in the Bolivian national flag and the multicolor ‘Wiphala’ flag that represents indigenous peoples.

Bolivia’s Ombudsman’s Office said it regretted the deaths during the joint police-military operation and called on the interim government to investigate if the security forces had acted within the constitution and international protocols on human rights.

‘We express our alarm and concern over the result of an attempt to stop a demonstration by coca leaf growers from entering the city of Cochabamba,’ it said.

Presidency Minister Jerjes Justiniano told reporters in La Paz that five people had been killed and an estimated 22 were injured. Lara, the hospital director, said that 75 people were injured.

Justiniano called for a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict.

‘What we’ve been able to determine through preliminary information is that they used military weapons,’ he said.

On Thursday, Morales told reporters that while he had submitted his resignation, it was never accepted by Congress.

‘I can say that I’m still president,’ he said.

Morales told reporters yesterday that he handed in his resignation but the government didn’t accept it. He said he is ‘still president’ (Pictured: Tear gas shells fired by security forces are placed with candles around coffins of backers of former President Evo Morales killed during clashes with security forces in Sacaba, Bolivia on Friday)

Supporters of Morales have been causing disruption across cities in Bolivia since their president was ousted. They violently reacted when the ouster forced the closure of schools and caused gas shortages (Pictured: Mourners attend the funeral of backers of former President Evo Morales)

Morales said he left because of military pressure – the army chief had ‘suggested’ he leave – and threats of violence against his close collaborators.

Anez dismissed the explanation.

‘Evo Morales went on his own; nobody kicked him out,’ she said at a news conference.

‘He knows he has accounts pending with justice. He can return but he has to answer to justice for electoral fraud,’ she added.

Supporters of Morales, who had been Bolivia’s president for almost 14 years and was the last survivor from the ‘pink tide’ of leftist leaders who come to power in South America, have been staging disruptive protests since his ouster, setting up blockades that forced closure of schools and caused shortages of gasoline in the capital.

In the capital, riot police fired tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators. Elderly people and children were caught in the violence and tried to seek shelter in businesses that had been shut behind metal sheets to protect against looters. Long lines formed outside some gas stations in La Paz after blockades in the nearby city of El Alto, a major distribution point for fuel.

Pictured is a grieving relative of one of the four farmers showing the bullets they were killed with in a clash with the police in Sacaba during a vigil held in the streets yesterday

Women walk past belongings of supporters of Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales after clashes in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday

A riot police officer with a Bolivian flag is seen in Sacaba, on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, yesterday

‘There’s no gas,’ said Efrain Mendoza, a taxi driver from El Alto, who was forced to buy gasoline on the black market at twice the regular price.

‘Products are scarce. There’s no meat, no chicken, people are making long lines. It’s all because of the blockades,’  he said. ‘There’s division in Bolivia. It’s exasperating.’

Anez, the highest-ranking opposition official in the Senate, proclaimed herself president, saying every person in the line of succession ahead of her -all of them Morales backers – had resigned. The Constitutional Court issued a statement backing her claim that she didn’t need to be confirmed by Congress, a body controlled by Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism party.

Much of the opposition to Morales sprang from his refusal to accept a referendum that would have forbidden him from running for a new term.

Morales had upended politics in this nation long ruled by light-skinned descendants of Europeans by reversing deep-rooted inequality. The economy benefited from a boom in prices of commodities and he ushered through a new constitution that created a new Congress with seats reserved for Bolivia’s smaller indigenous groups while also allowing self-rule for all indigenous communities.

But many people became disenchanted by his insistence on holding on to power.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7692381/Bolivian-security-forces-kill-five-injure-dozens-protests.html

Story 2: Democrat Trump Madness Should End Thursday After Attempted Coup Cover-up Fails To Gain American People’s Support — No Evidence President Trump Did Anything Improper — No Crime — No Real Witnesses — Feelings, Hearsay, Opinions — Not Evidence — Big Lie Media — Videos

An Attempted Coup’ Says Trump

FISA order will uncover ‘corruption and bias’ at DOJ, FBI: Rep. Gaetz

Democratic call to defy Trump FISA order is an attempted coup: Judge Jeanine Pirro

Lou Dobbs Tonight 11/18/19 FULL | Trump Breaking Fox News November 18, 2019

Pence aide on Capitol Hill for impeachment probe

Pence aide´s testimony renews focus on VP´s Ukraine role

He knew nothing about the Ukrainian backchannel, his aides say.

He was unaware of a pull-aside meeting in Ukraine set up by a member of his own delegation, they insist.

And he was in the dark about a months-long campaign to push Ukraine´s leader to investigate President Donald Trump´s Democratic rivals, they attest – even as he met with and held calls with that leader.

Questions about what Mike Pence knew about the events that sparked the House impeachment investigation – and when he knew key facts – are back in the spotlight as an aide to the vice president testifies this week at a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. The inquiry centers on whether Trump abused his office for his own political gain by withholding crucial security aid from Ukraine as aides pressed the country´s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to announce an investigation into the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and into the business dealings of the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Pence´s team, for its part, is walking a thin political line in trying to make the case that the vice president was out of the loop on questionable aspects of Trump´s Ukraine policy while also presenting Pence as an influential voice in prodding the president to release the military aid.

Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer who was detailed to Pence’s office from the State Department, is set to testify Tuesday. She compiled briefing materials for Pence on Ukraine, was in the room when he met with Zelenskiy in September and was among the staffers in the Situation Room who listened and took notes during Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy.

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia, arrives for a closed-door interview in the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump's efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at the Capitol in Washington. A public appearance by an aide to Mike Pence before the House Intelligence Committee this week is drawing renewed attention to the vice president and what he knew about the events that sparked the House impeaching investigation.Williams is a career foreign service officer detailed to Pence's office from the State Department. She compiled briefing materials for him on Ukraine and was listened in on Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia, arrives for a closed-door interview in the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at the Capitol in Washington. A public appearance by an aide to Mike Pence before the House Intelligence Committee this week is drawing renewed attention to the vice president and what he knew about the events that sparked the House impeaching investigation.Williams is a career foreign service officer detailed to Pence’s office from the State Department. She compiled briefing materials for him on Ukraine and was listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In closed-door testimony to impeachment investigators earlier this month, Williams said Trump’s discussion of specific investigations in the July phone call struck her “as unusual and inappropriate.” The requests, she said, seemed tied to Trump’s personal political agenda instead of broader U.S. foreign policy objectives, and seemed to point to “other motivations” for holding up the military aid.

Yet Williams said she never raised her concerns with anyone at the White House, including her boss, Pence national security adviser Keith Kellogg.

Williams said she included a copy of the call´s rough transcript in the vice president´s briefing book, but she had no way of knowing whether Pence read it. Pence has said that nothing about the transcript struck him as off-base, but hasn´t said when he first focused on it.

As the impeachment inquiry moves forward, Pence is broadly following the careful approach he took during much of the first two years of Trump´s presidency, as special counsel Robert Mueller´s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election hung over the administration. At times, he seemed cut off from how decisions were being made.

After the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, Pence echoed administration talking points that the decision by Trump to fire Comey came only after the president received a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Days later, Trump undercut Pence and others by saying he was planning to fire Comey even before the memo and had considered it since the start of his administration.

Pence´s aides have spent recent weeks trying to distance him from the impeachment inquiry, as Pence himself insists the president did nothing wrong.

Pence spokeswoman Katie Waldman has said the vice president was unaware of efforts to push Zelenskiy to release a statement announcing investigations. And Pence has said no such push came up during his September meeting with Zelenskiy in Warsaw, even as the leaders discussed the U.S. military aid that was under review.

Waldman also said Pence was unaware of the “brief pull-aside conversation” that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, reported having with a top aide to Zelenskiy following the Pence-Zelenskiy meeting. Sondland has said he told Andriy Yermak that the “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”

Pence would hardly be the first vice president to find himself out of the loop.

Matt Bennett, who was serving as an aide to Vice President Al Gore when news of President Bill Clinton´s affair with a White House intern broke, recalled the vice president being caught offguard by the revelation. Bennett remembers Gore asking, “Who the hell is Monica Lewinsky?”

Compared with his recent predecessors, Pence has had less of an impact in shaping presidential policy initiatives, says Bennett. He said Trump often operates as a team of one.

George W. Bush, for instance, leaned heavily on Vice President Dick Cheney in carving out the rationale to launch the Iraq war and in designing the war on terrorism. Cheney was tasked to help vet potential running mates for Bush as a presidential candidate and ultimately ended up with the job himself.

Barack Obama asked Biden to spearhead his push to draw down troops from Iraq and deputized Biden to do the heavy lifting on an unsuccessful push to overhaul the nation´s gun laws following the rampage at Connecticut´s Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 26 dead. On the campaign trail, Biden often boasts that he was the “last person in the room” with Obama before every major decision.

Pence has instead largely served as an emissary for Trump, representing him on the global stage, defending his decisions and serving as a sounding board behind the scenes.

Some aspects of Pence´s involvement with Ukraine are still to be sorted out.

Williams´ closed-door testimony contradicted Pence aides who insisted the vice president canceled a planned trip to Ukraine for Zelenskiy´s inauguration in May because of logistical difficulties. Williams said under oath that a colleague had told her the trip was called off because Trump no longer wanted Pence to attend after initially pushing for him go, confirming previous reporting by The Associated Press.

But aides to Pence dispute that assertion, saying Ukraine´s Parliament formally set the date of Zelenskiy´s inauguration just a week before it took place on May 20. With the date up in the air, Pence´s team decided to instead send him to Canada to promote the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

In an email obtained by The Associated Press, Williams told State Department officials and officials at the embassy in Kyiv on May 13 that she regretted “that the Vice President´s schedule has changed and he will not be able to attend President-elect Zelenskyy´s inauguration.”

Pence aides also said Williams only would have heard about the cancellation fourth-hand at best. And they notably did not defend her from Trump´s tweeted attacks over the weekend, insisting Pence doesn´t know who she is.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-7699943/Pence-aide-s-testimony-renews-focus-VP-s-Ukraine-role.html

 

Story 3:

 

Hong Kong police storm university campus occupied by protesters

Police agreed to temporarily suspend their use of force at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the school’s president said Monday.
By Jasmine Leung, Yuliya Talmazan and Associated Press

HONG KONG — The president of a Hong Kong University said Monday that police have agreed to suspend their use of force after they tried to flush out protesters occupying the campus.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University President Jin-Guang Teng said police would allow protesters to leave the campus, and he would accompany them to the police station to ensure their cases “will be fairly processed.”

He said in a recorded video message that he hopes protesters “will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a peaceful manner.”

The announcement came after Hong Kong police stormed the university campus following an all-night standoff.

Police fired volleys of tear gas and water cannons outside the university, while protesters hurled bricks and gasoline bombs, setting an overhead footbridge on fire.

The clashes threatened to escalate the violence as protesters sought to hold off a police advance.

Amid the skirmishes, Hong Kong police said their media officer was struck with an arrow and taken to a hospital. Photos on the department’s Facebook page showed the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s lower leg through his pants.

Police later released a statement condemning the incident, adding that the officer remained conscious after he was taken to hospital.

The territory’s hospital authority could not immediately confirm the officer’s condition.

Image: Hong Kong police officer with arrow in leg

Hong Kong police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of a fellow officer during a confrontation with protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Sunday.Hong Kong Police Force via AP

Meanwhile, police deployed a long-range acoustic device, which emitted a loud noise for five to 10 seconds without warning, for the first time to help disperse the crowds.

Police said in a tweet that the device was used as a broadcasting system, not as a weapon, after speculation online that its use could cause dizziness, nausea or loss of sense of direction.

Sunday’s daytime faceoff came after a pitched battle overnight in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and gasoline bombs that left fires blazing in the street.

Many protesters retreated inside the Polytechnic campus, where they have barricaded entrances and set up narrow access control points.

Universities have become a new battleground for the protests after months of unrest in the semi-autonomous territory.

Traffic disruptions and class suspensions have become routine as protesters try to paralyze the city.

Protesters have largely retreated from several major campuses they held last week, except for the contingent at Polytechnic.

That group has employed new tactics involving flammable arrows and catapults. The demonstrators are also blocking access to Cross Harbour Tunnel, one of the three main road tunnels that links Hong Kong Island with the rest of the city.

“It’s not about the campus. It’s about what’s next to it,” said a 23-year-old masked protester who gave only his last name, Chow.

“We occupied the streets next to the campus because it’s the Cross Harbour Tunnel,” he told NBC News while sitting on the bridge outside the campus. “If we could first jam the traffic, then people couldn’t go to work and the economy in return would suffer.”

Image: Burning police vehicle
A police vehicle burns as protesters and police clash on a bridge at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Sunday.Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Police said Sunday that the “fortified” campus had stored “a large amount of offensive weapons, including flammable fluids.”

“The weapons and equipment used by the police simply cannot be comparable to ours,” Chow said. “They have real guns. They fire tear gas. They shoot rubber bullets at us.”

But police said in a tweet Sunday that the “violent activities” at the campus have “escalated to rioting” and warned that anyone who assists the protesters may be held legally liable.

Hong Kong has been plagued by anti-government protests sparked by a controversial extradition bill since June.

Although the bill has been shelved, protesters continue to take to the streets with a list of demands amid fears of mainland China’s growing influence.

“Government didn’t respond to us,” Chow said. “We have to hit and run.”

Meanwhile, a small group of Chinese soldiers at a base close to Polytechnic University were seen by NBC News monitoring Sunday’s clashes from afar.

On Saturday, Chinese soldiers dressed in shorts and T-shirts, some carrying red plastic buckets or brooms, emerged from their barracks in a rare public appearance to help residents clear debris blocking key roads.

Beijing has not interfered so far, saying the Hong Kong government can resolve the crisis.

But growing violence is posing perhaps the gravest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Jasmine Leung reported from Hong Kong and Yuliya Talmazan from London. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/hong-kong-protesters-fight-police-fire-arrows-n1084261

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1352, November 5. 2019, Story 1: Ukraine Was Interfering in United States 2016 Election For DNC and Clinton and President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by New Ukraine Government — Videos — Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos — Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos– Story 4: Trump’s New Stump Speech — Why Trump is President? — One of Life’s Mysteries, Sir — Videos —

Posted on November 8, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Climate, Climate Change, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Joe Biden, Killing, Language, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Politics, Polls, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Spying, Spying on American People, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Washington Post Super Bowl message: Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Story 1: Ukraine Government Officials Were Interfering in United States 2016 Election For Clinton and Democrat National Committee (DNC) And President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by Current Ukraine General Prosecutor — Many Countries Including United States Provide Other Countries Aid (Quid) Provided They Meet Certain Conditions (Que) Such As Publicly Acknowledging There Will Be An Investigation of 2016 Election Interference and Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma — Videos

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

What Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker said about U.S. aid to Ukraine

Hannity: I have never talked to anyone from Ukraine

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

Joe Biden’s son’s firm linked to Chinese government: New book

Testimony suggests “quid pro quo” relationship between Trump and Ukraine

Dems set to release new transcripts from two key impeachment figures

PBS News Hour full episode November 5, 2019

First excerpts of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker transcripts released

Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos —

NEW MEMO ON UKRAINE: Hunter Biden & associates used State Department to kill Burisma investigation

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

Big Lie Media Propaganda Exposed

Glenn Beck Presents: Democracy Does Die In Darkness

Glenn heads back to the chalkboard to explain how the media is intentionally misleading and, in some cases, blatantly lying to absolve the Democrats from what they’ve been doing in Ukraine. Glenn breaks down their case against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, and he shows why that isn’t the real story. Glenn devastatingly dismantles the medias disinformation campaign brick by brick.

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

Everything You Need to Know About Hunter Biden

Biden’s son booted from Navy after a positive cocaine…

Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gas Firm Urged Obama Admin To End Corruption Allegations, Report Says

DailyWire.com
JANUARY 30: President of the United States Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden (son of Joe Biden) talk during a college basketball game between Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In February 2016, a representative from Burisma sought to meet with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss the allegations of corruption that the U.S. government was making toward the company, according to memos obtained by award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon.

“Just three weeks before Burisma’s overture to State, Ukrainian authorities raided the home of the oligarch who owned the gas firm and employed Hunter Biden, a signal the long-running corruption probe was escalating in the middle of the U.S. presidential election,” Solomon wrote. “Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting.”

A February 24, 2016, email between State Department officials stated:

Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member). Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered. Would appreciate any background you may be able to provide on this issue and suggested TPs for U/S Novelli’s meeting.

“Tramontano was a lawyer working for Blue Star Strategies, a Washington firm that was hired by Burisma to help end a long-running corruption investigation against the gas firm in Ukraine,” Solomon added. “Tramontano and another Blue Star official, Sally Painter, both alumni of Bill Clinton’s administration, worked with New York-based criminal defense attorney John Buretta to settle the Ukraine cases in late 2016 and 2017.”

Solomon notes that a meeting was scheduled for March 1, 2016, between Tramontano and Novelli, although it was not known whether or not the meeting actually occurred.

However, a meeting was reportedly secured between Hunter Biden’s business partner and fellow Burisma board member, Devon Archer, and Secretary of State John Kerry.

John Solomon@jsolomonReports

Breaking: Memos detailing Hunter Biden’s contacts with Obama State Department released. VP son’s Ukrainian gas firm pressed US officials to end corruption allegations … just a month before Joe Biden forced firing of prosecutor overseeing case.https://johnsolomonreports.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-pressed-obama-administration-to-end-corruption-allegations-memos-show/ 

This entire ordeal surrounding the actions of former Vice President Biden and his son have cast a cloud over the Biden campaign that has undoubtedly at least partially contributed to his fall in the polls against his Democratic rivals.

Last year, Biden bragged to an audience about how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that if he did not fire the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma that he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from the country.

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukrainian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden told the audience. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

President Donald Trump and his campaign have hammered Biden over his remarks, which were recorded on video, in advertisements on social media and in targeted markets.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

This is the real corruption that the Fake News Media refuses to even acknowledge!

 

Ukraine Gas Firm Tied to Biden Lobbied State Department to End Corruption Allegations, Emails Show

7 CommentsNovember 5, 2019 Updated: November 5, 2019

The Ukrainian gas firm that hired Hunter Biden lobbied the Department of State in early 2016, just one month before then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the same company, according to documents obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

On Feb. 24, 2016, a State Department official sent an email discussing an overture from a representative for Burisma, the Ukrainian gas firm, to Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli. The Burisma representative argued that the allegations against the company were baseless, according to an email chain released as part of a lawsuit filed by investigative journalist John Solomon. The Burisma representative specifically cited Hunter Biden’s name as the reason for why the allegations should stop.

Earlier that month in 2016, Ukrainian authorities seized the property of Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, according to Interfax Ukraine. The seizure included several of Zlochevsky’s homes and a Rolls-Royce Phantom car.

“Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption,” the email between State Department officials, whose names are blacked out, stated. “She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member).

“Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano, there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”

At the time the email was sent, Novelli was the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department. Karen Tramontano was the CEO of Bluestar Strategies, a consulting firm retained by Burisma to address the corruption charges against it in Ukraine.

The email chain shows that Tramontano was scheduled to meet Novelli on March 1, 2016. While it’s unclear if that meeting took place, on the following day, March 2, 2016, Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, met with Secretary of State John Kerry, another email obtained by Solomon shows.

“Devon Archer coming to see S today at 3pm—need someone to meet/greet him at C Street,” an email from Kerry’s office manager states.

Archer’s meeting with Kerry is notable because Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, recently told The Washington Post that he advised Archer and Biden “that working with Burisma was unacceptable.”

“The lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden,” Heinz spokesman Chris Bastardi told the newspaper.

Hunter Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma in 2014. Bank records released as part of an unrelated lawsuit show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a firm operated by Archer, received more than $160,000 per month from Burisma starting in May 2016. Rosemont Seneca Bohai regularly sent funds to Hunter Biden, the records show.

The seizure of Zlochevsky’s assets took place on Feb. 2, 2014. At the time, top Ukrainian corruption prosecutor Viktor Shokin led the probe.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a businessman and former member of the Ukrainian Parliament, told Reuters that Zlochevsky came up with the idea to appoint Hunter Biden to the board “to protect [the company].”

Weeks after Burisma lobbied the State Department and Archer met with Kerry, Joe Biden forced the firing of Shokin by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees; Biden bragged about the move during a videotaped speech on a panel last year.

In a sworn statement, Shokin said that he was fired under pressure from Biden because he, Shokin, refused to drop the Burisma investigation.

The allegations about Joe and Hunter Biden are in the public spotlight because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that triggered the inquiry alleged that Trump may have pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

According to a transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump referenced Shokin’s firing when asking the Ukrainian leader to investigate the younger Biden.

The whistleblower alleged that Trump’s request to Zelensky may have amounted to a campaign finance violation. The Department of Justice reviewed the complaint and determined that no further action was necessary.

In an interview with ABC News, Hunter Biden admitted that joining Burisma was a political error, but defended his work. Biden stepped down from the board of Burisma in April, according to a statement from his lawyer.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-lobbied-state-department-to-end-corruption-allegations-emails-show_3137480.html

US Attorney John Durham looking into Ukrainian involvement in 2016 election

A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Wednesday. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

Durham has been Barr’s right hand as the two look into the complicated and classified issues surrounding how an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia — dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” — got its start, though the U.S. attorney from Connecticut has been virtually silent since his selection.

The DOJ’s statement comes as the White House released a transcript of the controversial July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump suggests that Ukraine should investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a company owned by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was being investigated by top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, though it is in dispute how serious that investigation was. Trump also suggested that Ukraine should look into issues surrounding the alleged involvement of some Ukrainians in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Biden boasted in 2018 that, as vice president, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukraine didn’t fire Shokin, which Trump’s allies have said was because of the investigation, but Democrats have said was part of a U.S. and European effort to oust Shokin as ineffective and a hindrance to Ukraine’s anti-corruption investigations. Ukraine removed Shokin in 2016.

DOJ also made it clear that Trump never told Barr to contact Ukraine about any investigation of Biden, nor did Barr ever discuss these issues with Ukraine or with Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Trump gave Barr “ full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the origins of the Trump-Russia probe in May after Barr had infuriated Democrats when he said “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign and refused to backtrack. Republicans have alleged that foreign intelligence agencies, like those in Western Europe, may have played a role in eavesdropping on or otherwise monitoring Trump campaign associates in 2016.

Durham’s investigation is separate from the one that was just finished by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The DOJ watchdog investigated allegations of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the DOJ and FBI, and Horowitz has spoken with Durham, who is handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz’s investigation.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/u-s-attorney-john-durham-looking-into-ukrainian-involvement-in-2016-election

Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch

Hunter Biden at a campaign event in 2008. He sits on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.
Credit…Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.traveled to Kiev , Ukraine, on Sunday for a series of meetings with the country’s leaders, one of the issues on his agenda was to encourage a more aggressive fight against Ukraine’s rampant corruption and stronger efforts to rein in the power of its oligarchs.

But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.

Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, an independent government agency, specifically forbade Mr. Zlochevksy, as well as Burisma Holdings, the company’s chief legal officer and another company owned by Mr. Zlochevsky, to have any access to the accounts.

But after Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide documents needed in the investigation, a British court in January ordered the Serious Fraud Office to unfreeze the assets. The refusal by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office to cooperate was the target of a stinging attack by the American ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who called out Burisma’s owner by name in a speech in September.

“In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people,” Mr. Pyatt said. Officials at the prosecutor general’s office, he added, were asked by the United Kingdom “to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Mr. Pyatt went on to call for an investigation into “the misconduct” of the prosecutors who wrote the letters. In his speech, the ambassador did not mention Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma.

But Edward C. Chow, who follows Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the involvement of the vice president’s son with Mr. Zlochevsky’s firm undermined the Obama administration’s anticorruption message in Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message,” Mr. Chow said. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged the country to weed corruption out of its system.CreditCredit…Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” she said. “The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company. The vice president has pushed aggressively for years, both publicly with groups like the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum and privately in meetings with Ukrainian leaders, for Ukraine to make every effort to investigate and prosecute corruption in accordance with the rule of law. It will once again be a key focus during his trip this week.”

Ryan F. Toohey, a Burisma spokesman, said that Hunter Biden would not comment for this article.

It is not known how Mr. Biden came to the attention of the company. Announcing his appointment to the board, Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who is chairman of Burisma, said, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.”

Joining the board at the same time was one of Mr. Biden’s American business partners, Devon Archer. Both are involved with Rosemont Seneca Partners, an American investment firm with offices in Washington.

Mr. Biden is the younger of the vice president’s two sons. His brother, Beau, died of brain cancer in May. In the past, Hunter Biden attracted an unusual level of scrutiny and even controversy. In 2014, he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. He received a commission as an ensign in 2013, and he served as a public affairs officer.

Before his father was vice president, Mr. Biden also briefly served as president of a hedge fund group, Paradigm Companies, in which he was involved with one of his uncles, James Biden, the vice president’s brother. That deal went sour amid lawsuits in 2007 and 2008 involving the Bidens and an erstwhile business partner. Mr. Biden, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School, also worked as a lobbyist before his father became vice president.

Burisma does not disclose the compensation of its board members because it is a privately held company, Mr. Toohey said Monday, but he added that the amount was “not out of the ordinary” for similar corporate board positions.

Asked about the British investigation, which is continuing, Mr. Toohey said, “Not only was the case dismissed and the company vindicated by the outcome, but it speaks volumes that all his legal costs were recouped.”

In response to Mr. Pyatt’s criticism of the Ukrainian handling of Mr. Zlochevsky’s case, Mr. Toohey said that “strong corporate governance and transparency are priorities shared both by the United States and the leadership of Burisma. Burisma is working to bring the energy sector into the modern era, which is critical for a free and strong Ukraine.”

Vice President Biden has played a leading role in American policy toward Ukraine as Washington seeks to counter Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine. This week’s visit was his fifth trip to Ukraine as vice president.

Ms. Bedingfield said Hunter Biden had never traveled to Ukraine with his father. She also said that Ukrainian officials had never mentioned Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma to the vice president during any of his visits.

“I’ve got to believe that somebody in the vice president’s office has done some due diligence on this,” said Steven Pifer, who was the American ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000. “I should say that I hope that has happened. I would hope that they have done some kind of check, because I think the vice president has done a very good job of sending the anticorruption message in Ukraine, and you would hate to see something like this undercut that message.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/europe/corruption-ukraine-joe-biden-son-hunter-biden-ties.html

 

 

Burisma Holdings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Private
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 2002
Founder Mykola Zlochevsky
Headquarters

,

Key people
Mykola Zlochevsky (President)
Taras Burdeinyi (CEO)[1]
Alan Apter (Chairman)[2]
Products Natural gas
Services Drilling
Owner Brociti Investments Limited
Subsidiaries Burisma Services
Aldea
Esko-Pivnich
Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya
GasOilInvest
KUB-Gas
Naftogaz Garant
Naftogazopromyslova geologiya
Pari
Nadragas
Nadragasvydobuvannya
SystemOilEngineering
Tehnokomservis
Website burisma-group.com/eng/

Burisma Holdings Limited (UkrainianБурісма ХолдингсGreekΜπουρίσμα Χόλντιγκς) is a holding company for a group of energy exploration and production companies. It is based in KyivUkraine, though registered in LimassolCyprus. Burisma Holdings has operated in the Ukrainian natural gas market since 2002. It is one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine.[3][4] It is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky through his company Brociti Investments Limited (UkrainianБросіті Інвестментс Лімітед).

Burisma’s subsidiaries include Esko-Pivnich, Pari, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya, Naftogaz Garant, KUB-Gas and Astroinvest-Ukraine.[5][6][7]

 

History

Burisma was founded in 2002.[8][9] Consolidation of the Burisma Group took place mainly in 2006 and 2007.[1] It became a major shareholder of Sunrise Energy Resources, a Delaware Corporation, which in 2004 acquired Ukrainian companies Esko-Pivnich (UkrainianЕско-Північ) and Pari (UkrainianПарі), which owned natural gas exploration licences.[10] In 2009, shares in these companies were transferred to Millington Solutions Limited.[10] However, shortly thereafter Millington ceased to exist, and Burisma claimed ownership of those two companies. In 2012, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya (First Ukrainian Oil and Gas Company, UkrainianПерша Українська нафтогазова компанія), Naftogaz Garant (Oil and Gas Guarantee, UkrainianНафтогаз гарант), and KrymTopEnergoServis (CrimeaTopEnergoService, UkrainianКримтопенергосервіс) became a part of the Burisma Group.[11][12][13]

In 2014, Burisma signed a cooperation agreement with KazMunayGas, the national oil and gas company of Kazakhstan.[14] In 2016, Burisma bought two hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fleets.[15] In 2017, it bought a 3,000-horsepower Service King Manufacturing SK 3000 drilling rig for $40 million (USD); it was the most powerful drilling rig in Eastern Europe at the time.[16]

In February 2016, Burisma acquired a 70% stake in KUB-Gas (КУБ-Газ).[5] In 2017, it bought a majority stake in Diloretio Holdings Limited, a company which owned Ukrainian gas companies SystemOilEngineering (UkrainianСистемойлинжиниринг), Naftogazopromyslova geologiya, (Oil and Gas Industrial Geology, UkrainianНафтогазпромислова геологія), and Tehnokomservis (TechnoComService, UkrainianТехнокомсервіс).[17] Also in 2017, Burisma bought Nadragasvydobuvannya (Subsoil Gas Extraction, UkrainianНадрагазвидобування)[18] and GasOilInvest (Гасоілінвест).[19] In April 2019, Burisma acquired Astroinvest Ukraine (Астроінвест-Україна), a natural gas trader.[6]

In 2015, Burisma was one of the founders of the International Forum on Energy Security for the Future and partnered the Electric Marathon.[20] In 2017, it signed a partnership agreement with the Atlantic Council to promote anti-corruption measures.[21][22]

Operations

Burisma’s primary operations are in Ukraine, supplemented by activities in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and Kazakhstan.[15] It holds 35 gas production licences in Ukraine in the Dnieper-DonetsCarpathian, and AzovKuban Basins.[5][8] Exploration and production activities are carried out at eight sites in five regions.[23] Burisma also provides natural gas well services, including hydraulic fracturing.[15] Burisma plans to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant in Kharkiv with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year.[7]

In 2016, Burisma was the second largest privately owned natural gas producer in Ukraine after DTEK,[4] accounting for 26% of all natural gas produced by privately owned companies and more than 5% of total gas production in Ukraine.[4][24] According to the company, it produced 1.3 billion cubic metres (4.6×1010 cubic feet) of natural gas in Ukraine in 2018.[8]

In Kazakhstan, the company has provided drilling services to KazMunayGas and its subsidiaries, including at the Urikhtau gas field.[25] In Italy, Burisma develops three geothermal power projects in partnership with Gesto Investimento e Gestão.[25]

Burisma’s subsidiary Esko-Pivnich operates in the Kharkiv Oblast, and Pari operates in Western Ukraine (LvivIvano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi oblasts).[26] KUB-Gas operates in Luhansk Oblast,[5] GasOilInvest in Poltava Oblast,[19] and Nadragasvydobuvannya in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[27] Burisma also owned KrymTopEnergoServis, a company which leased three gas deposits in Crimea.[13][26][28] However, after annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, KrymTopEnergoServis ceased operation as Burisma subsidiary.[28]

Corporate matters

Ownership

Burisma Holdings is owned by Brociti Investments Limited, a Cyprus-based company owned by Ukrainian former politician and businessman Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine.[29] Brociti Investments acquired Burisma Holdings in 2011.[30] Before that acquisition, Mykola Zlochevsky and Mykola Lisin each owned a 50% interest in Burisma Holdings.[10][30][31] Lisin, a Ukrainian politician, died in a traffic accident in 2011.[31]

Management

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, was appointed to the board in January 2014.[32][33]

Taras Burdeinyi is the chief executive officer of Burisma Holdings,[1] and Alan Apter is chairman of the board of directors.[2] As of 14 October 2019, the members of the board of directors, in order of seniority, are Alan Apter, Aleksander KwaśniewskiJoseph Cofer Black , Karina Zlochevska, Christina Sofocleous, Riginos Charalampous, and Marina Pericleous.[2][34] Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland, joined the board in January 2014.[32][33] In February 2016, Joseph Cofer Black, former director of the Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency (1999–2002) in the George W. Bush administration and former Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism (2002–2004), was appointed to the board.[35] Karina Zlochevska, daughter of Mykola Zlochevskiy, was also appointed in February 2016.[2]

In April 2014, Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and Hunter Biden, an attorney and the son of then-US vice president Joe Biden, joined the board.[32][36] Archer left the company in 2018[37] and Biden left in April 2019, when his term as a director expired.[8]

Financial results

Burisma Holdings does not disclose its financial results.[8][15] It has been calculated, based on a minimal natural gas price, that the company’s revenue in 2018 may have totaled at least US$400 million.[8]

Investigations

Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) have conducted in total 15 investigations on Burisma’s owner Zlochevsky.[38] In 2016, former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Burisma subsidiaries of conspiracy and tax evasion about one billion hryvnias (US$70 million) in 2014–2015, but later during investigation subsidiaries of Burisma were not mentioned.[39] Tax audit of Esko-Pivnich by the State Fiscal Service found some violations in 2016. As a result, 50 million hryvnias (US$1.9 million) of additional taxes was paid to eliminate criminal charges.[39] In total, Burisma paid additional 180 million hryvnias (US$7.44 million) of taxes to avoid further criminal proceedings.[8][23] A criminal investigation was conducted if natural resources extraction licenses were issued to Burisma subsidiaries legally during the period Zlochevsky held government office. Although violations of the procedure were established by NABU, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office missed procedural deadlines for a lawsuit and the case for nullifying licesenses was dismissed by the court.[39] In October 2019, Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka announced that all 15 investigation cases will be reviewed.[38]

See also

References

External links

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

Mykola Zlochevsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mykola Zlochevsky
Микола Злочевський
ZlochevskiyN.jpg
12th Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources
In office
July 2, 2010 – April 20, 2012
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Viktor Boiko
Succeeded by Eduard Stavytsky
deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council
In office
April 20, 2012 – February 26, 2014
President Viktor Yanukovych
Secretary Andriy Klyuev
Personal details
Born
Микола Владиславович Злочевський

June 14, 1966 (age 53)
KievUkrainian SSR

Residence Monaco
Education International University of Business and Law in Kherson [uk] – Accounting and Auditing
Odessa Law Academy – Law Faculty
Known for Burisma Holdings
Zlochevski photo.jpg

Mykola Vladislavovich Zlochevsky (UkrainianМикола Владиславович Злочевський; born June 14, 1966 in Kiev) is a Ukrainian oligarch[1] businessman and politician who was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources from July 2010 till April 2012 and was the deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council from April 2012 until February 2014 when Euromaidan occurred.[2][3][4]

Biography

Business

In 2002, he co-founded the largest independent oil and natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Ukrainian businessman Mykola Lisin [uk].[5][6] Through his sole ownership of Cyprus-registered Burisma Holdings, he owns the Ukrainian gas and oil producers Aldea, Pari, Esko-Pivnich, and the First Ukrainian Petroleum Company and the investment group Brociti Investments.[7][8][9][10][11][12][excessive citations]

Governmental posts

Zlochevsky served as Ecology and Natural Resources Minister during the most of the first cabinet of Mykola Azarov,[3] and during both the later part of Azarov’s first government and all of Azarov’s second government, he served as deputy secretary on National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.[2]

Investigations

At the end of 2014, Zlochevsky fled Ukraine amid allegations of unlawful self enrichment and legalization of funds (Article 368-2, Criminal Code of Ukraine) during his tenure in public office.[13] At the end of 2016 the Central Criminal Court in London released $23 million that were blocked on accounts of Zlochevsky.[13][14] The Serious Fraud Office stated that the funds were released due to inadequate evidence.[13]

Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after investigations into his Burisma Holdings had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him.[10][15]

On April 18, 2018, recordings of conversations between President of UkrainePetro Poroshenko and Zlochevsky were released which implicated him in graft.[4][16][17]

On June 15, 2018, after the Solomyansky District Court in Kyiv had annulled the ruling of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) to close a criminal proceeding against him in 2017, Zlochevsky was accused of having illegally issued, while he was Ecology Minister in 2010–2012, oil and gas licenses to the companies that belonged to him.[18]

As of 2019, Zlochevsky is reported to live in Monaco.[14]

References

  1. ^ James Risen, James. “Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  2. Jump up to:ab “Search for gas and oil is key task of Ecology Ministry, says PM”Interfax-Ukraine. April 23, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. Jump up to:ab “Azarov orders new minister to develop environmental protection strategy”Interfax-Ukraine. May 3, 2012. Retrieved September 18,2018.
  4. Jump up to:ab “VIP-клієнти Миколи Злочевського (розслідування)”Radio Svoboda (in Ukrainian). February 2, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Kupfer, Mark (April 13, 2018). “11 people control much of Ukraine’s oil and gas sector”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Bullough, Oliver (April 12, 2017). “The money machine: how a high-profile corruption investigation fell apart”The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Timtchenko, Ilya (January 8, 2015). “Prosecutors put Zlochevsky, multimillionaire ex-ecology minister, on wanted list”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Gorchinskaya, Katya; Andrushko, Serhiy (July 31, 2015). “Former Ukrainian Official On The Lam In Alligator Shoes?”VOA. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  9. ^ “11 politically exposed persons own a quarter of all permits for extraction of oil and gas in Ukraine –Report: Who Owns the Oil and Gas Fields of Ukraine?”Anticorruption Action Centre. April 13, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  10. Jump up to:ab “Burisma: all cases against group and group’s president Zlochevsky in Ukraine closed”Interfax-Ukraine. December 1, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  11. ^ “Zlochevsky’s Brociti Investments formalizing control over two oil and gas companies”Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  12. ^ “Burisma Holdings”PEP.ua.org. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. Jump up to:abc Liliya Hryshko. Lifehack from Zlochevsky, how to return to Ukraine (Лайфхак від Злочевського – як повернутись в Україну). Deutsche Welle. 7 February 2017
  14. Jump up to:ab Roman Olearchyk; Max Seddon (29 September 2019). “Ukraine gas company feels heat of US impeachment probe”Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  15. ^ “Media: Ex-Minister of Ecology from the Yanukovych administration returned to Ukraine”. UA Wire. February 3, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Sukhov, Oleg (April 20, 2018). “Onyshchenko releases alleged recording implicating Poroshenko, Zlochevsky in graft”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  17. ^ “Ukraine’s presidential administration calls Onyshchenko recordings about Zlochevsky fake”Interfax-Ukraine. April 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Romanyshyn, Yuliana (June 16, 2018). “Court reinstates case against Mykola Zlochevsky”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.

External links

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

Gordon Sondland

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

1957 (age 61–62)
SeattleWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Education University of Washington (BA)

Gordon D. Sondland (born 1957)[1] is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[2] He is also the founder and chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital. He was a major donor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and testified to Congress in the Trump–Ukraine scandal.

Career

Provenance Hotels

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington; Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia, Sentinel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[3]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[4][5]Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[6] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[7]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[8] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[9]

In 2017, Provenance Hotels expanded its practice of revitalizing and rebranding hotels with locally-inspired art and design as a service to other hoteliers.[10]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

Sondland donated $1 million to the inaugural committee of Donald Trump.[11] On March 12, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[12] On May 10, 2018, the White House announced that Sondland’s nomination had been sent to the U.S. Senate.[13] He was confirmed by the Senate on June 28, 2018.[2] On July 9, 2018, Sondland presented his credentials at the European Commission and to President of the European Council Donald Tusk.[14]

Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 21, 2018.[15] Both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) testified in support of Sondland.[16] Sen. Wyden suggested that Sondland’s “family history is both fascinating and instructive as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U.,” noting how his Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany before coming to the United States.[15][17]

As ambassador, Sondland has made strengthening US-EU trade relations a top priority.[18] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[19][20] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[18]

Sondland has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[21] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[22][23] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[22][24][25]

Sondland has also been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[26] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[27] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[28]

Sondland has also worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[29]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

Gordon Sondland as part of the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky.

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.[30] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Ambassador Kurt Volker, were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy”.[31] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[32]

In the complaint released by the US Select committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s alleged criminal activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim US chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[9/9/2019, 12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[33]

It took Sondland approximately 5 hours to reply to Taylor’s text message, and it was later revealed that Sondland had called Trump prior to writing a response, in which the president repeated the phrase “no quid pro quo” several times.[34]

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.[35] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

On November 5, the New York Times reported that Sondland had provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening the anticorruption investigation desired by the Trump administration. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[42]

Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff Fiona Hill viewed Sondland as a U.S. national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, but did not accuse Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk, describing him during impeachment testimony as a Trump donor-turned-ambassador.[43]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[44] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[45] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians and Grimm to Oregon[46] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[47]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[48] In 2007 President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[49] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[50] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[1]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[1] In April 2017, it was revealed that 4 companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee.[51][52][53]

Philanthropy

Sondland is a former member of the board of trustees at the Oregon Health & Science University foundation.[44]

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[54] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[55] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

Personal life

Sondland was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[56] He is married to Katherine Durant, who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Sondland is Jewish.[15][17] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[57] They have two children.

See also

References…

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

Memorandum of conversation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Example: Memorandum of conversation of meeting led by Brent Scowcroft (1976)

Memorandum of conversation (abbrev.: MEMCON) and also memorandum of a conversation and memo to the file refers to a method of contemporaneous documentation of a conversation in the form of a memorandum used by the United States federal government.[1][2]

The Weekly Standard characterized the use of the tactic in the U.S. government as among “the most basic ways of Washington”.[2]

 

Method

Typically an individual will document the events of the conversation as soon as possible after the occurrence.[1] All material statements and discussed items are quoted and described as accurately as possible soon after the discussion and filed for future reference.[1] Memcons function as documentation of historical events, such as conversations between heads of state and law enforcement officials.[3] Specific developments discussed, the time of the meeting, location, and individuals in attendance are all documented in-depth within the memo.[1][2]

United States Department of Justice attorneys and Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents commonly make use of memoranda of conversation.[1] A majority of intermediate-rank managerial staff and bureaucrats within the U.S. federal government consistently make use of the method. The creation of a memorandum of understanding allows federal employees to memorialize and keep a record of their conversations and transactions.[2]

Memoranda to file are used in investigations in the private sector. For example, the fraud unit of a large corporation may use memoranda to file, to report individual interviews and significant telephone conversations. Generally, “the memorandum will show the name of the author, date of preparation, the case name or number, and the specific subject covered. It will also contain the detailed narrative of the event, interview, or other investigative activity described and should be written as close in time as circumstances permit to those events.”[4]

History

Former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and subsequently Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Brent Scowcroft, who served as such in the U.S. presidential administration of Gerald R. Ford, kept copious documentation of his meetings in the form of memorandum of conversation.[3] He would take handwritten notes, and immediately have them transcribed in typewritten format with the assistance of his staff from the United States National Security Council.[3] The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum contains over 1,000 such memorandum of conversation documents relating to the Presidency of Richard Nixon and Presidency of Gerald Ford, mainly related to national security of the United States.[3]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e O’Donnell, Lawrence (May 16, 2017), “MEMCON”, The Last Word with Lawrence O’DonnellMSNBC
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Felten, Eric (May 17, 2017), “A Brief History of the ‘Memo to the FileThe Weekly Standard
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Summary Description”National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations, 1973-1977Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, retrieved May 17, 2017
  4. ^ Sennewald, Charles A.; Tsukayama, John K. (2015), The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector (4th ed.), Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 189–90, ISBN 978-0128001660

External links

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

Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos

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Mike Pompeo formally starts process of leaving the Paris climate change treaty – with U.S. due out the day AFTER the 2020 election

  • Mike Pompeo formally starts process of removing the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty
  • Donald Trump had announced that he would pull out of it  shortly after his election but this is first legal opportunity to start process of getting out
  • State Department wrote formal letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
  • That started the clock on a process that would be completed one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, on November 4, 2020

The United States has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, it was announced Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America’s carbon pollution cuts and called the Paris deal an ‘unfair economic burden’ to the U.S. economy.

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.

‘In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,’ Pompeo said in a statement.

The U.S. started the process with a hand-delivered letter, becoming the only country to withdraw. The United Nations will soon set out procedural details for what happens next, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Agreement rules prevented any country from pulling out in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification. The U.S. withdrawal doesn’t become complete until the day after the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.

Out: Donald Trump's administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Out: Donald Trump’s administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it+4

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Trump’s decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts, activists and critics such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

‘Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water,’ said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. ‘Long after Trump is out of office his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.’

The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, experts said.

Climate change, largely caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century, with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to 3 feet (1 meter).

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided.

That’s not the case, experts said.

The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared with 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the Global Carbon Project. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

Many critics of the Paris agreement say America is the leader in cutting carbon emissions, but that’s not true.

Since 2005, the United States isn’t in the top 10 in percentage of greenhouse gas emission reductions. The United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, the Czech Republic and other nations have done better, said Jackson, who tracks emissions.

‘The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,’ said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. ‘In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.’

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. 'No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,' he said

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. ‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ he said

Pompeo said U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 ‘even as our economy grew over 19 percent.’

Then, in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.7%, according to the Energy Information Administration, mostly due to extreme weather and the economy.

The reason for the long-term emissions drop is because the U.S. is using less coal and has tightened air quality standards, while Trump is pushing for more coal and loosening those standards, said Michael Gerrard, who heads Columbia Law School’s climate change legal center.

For the U.S. – the second biggest carbon polluter – to be in line with Paris goals greenhouse gas emissions have to drop 80%, not 13%, Gerrard said.

‘The Trump Administration’s abandonment of action on climate change gives other countries an excuse not to act either. They ask – if the richest country, the one that has contributed the most to the load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, isn’t willing to act, why should we?’ Gerrard said. ‘If someone other than Donald Trump is elected, he or she will almost certainly rejoin Paris, and the rest of the world will welcome us back with open arms.’

Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope.

‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ Gore said. ‘But those who try will be remembered for their complacency, complicity, and mendacity in attempting to sacrifice the planet for their greed.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7649093/US-tells-UN-bidding-adieu-Paris-climate-deal.html

U.S. Formally Begins To Leave The Paris Climate Agreement

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1328, September 26, 2019, Story 1: Partisan CIA “Whistle-blower” Betrays President Trump with Allegations Based on Secondhand Hearsay — This Is Not Covered Under Intelligence Whistle-blower Law — Democrat Organized Smear Campaign and Coup Against Trump Falling Apart! — Videos — Story 2:  Unbelievable Adam Schiff: Pathological Prevaricator Pervert Parody of Whistle-blower Blow Job Does Not Come Out As Expected — Videos –

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Story 1: Partisan CIA “Whistle-blower” Betrays President Trump with Allegations Based on Secondhand Hearsay — This Is Not Covered Under Intelligence Whistle-blower Law — Democrat Organized Smear Campaign and Coup Against Trump Falling Apart! — Videos —

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire delivers his opening statement

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WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of acting intel chief Joseph Maguire | DNI hearing

WATCH: Rep. Schiff’s full 2nd round of questioning of acting intel chief Maguire | DNI hearing

Sekulow: Whistleblower complaint form used to require firsthand information

Cuomo to Trump attorney: Quid pro quo isn’t necessary for impeachment

Meadows: The foundation of the whistleblower complaint is falling apart

Conway rips Ukraine report: ‘More blowhard than whistleblower’

Gowdy believes House Dems want to punt impeachment to the Senate

Former CIA leader on the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint

Former intelligence counsel discusses Maguire hearing, whistleblower complaint

Whistleblower driven by political motives: former CIA analyst

EXCLUSIVE: Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower in Private Meeting

Trump slams whistleblower as ‘almost a spy’

Gingrich: Pelosi’s impeachment push ‘makes no sense at all’

Nunes: Ukrainian whistleblower is no different than Russia hoax

Donald Trump warned not to retaliate against whistleblower amid impeachment probe| ITV News

Dems threaten to sue White House over access to whistleblower complaint

Tucker: Impeachment seemed like a fleeting prospect

Peter Schweizer: Joe Biden is the most corrupt vice president of our lifetime

Swamp Watch: The Biden family

Joe Biden’s son’s firm linked to Chinese government: New book

Ted Koppel calls out liberal media bias against Trump

UNCLASSIFIED

August 12, 2019

The Honorable Richard Burr
Chairman
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
The Honorable Adam Schiff
Chairman
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Burr and Chairman Schiff:

I am reporting an “urgent concern” in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.

In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. 1This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.

  • Over the past four months, more than half a dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort. The information provided herein was relayed to me in the course of official interagency business. It is routine for U.S. officials with responsibility for a particular regional or functional portfolio to share such information with one another in order to inform policymaking and analysis.
  • I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.

I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order” that “does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters,” consistent with the definition of an “urgent concern” in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(G). I am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper legal channels, to the relevant authorities.

  • I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.

1
UNCLASSIFIED

The Whistle-Blower Complaint: Page 1

  • 1 In the complaint, the whistle-blower said he had heard from other officials that Mr. Trump, in his July 25 call, urged the Ukrainian president to work with Attorney General William P. Barr in investigating the Bidens.

UNCLASSIFIED

To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure. I have endeavored to apply the classification standards outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13526 and to separate out information that I know or have reason to believe is classified for national security purposes.1

  • If a classification marking is applied retroactively, I believe it is incumbent upon the classifying authority to explain why such a marking was applied, and to which specific information it pertains.

I. The 25 July Presidential phone call

Early in the morning of 25 July, the President spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I do not know which side initiated the call. This was the first publicly acknowledged call between the two leaders since a brief congratulatory call after Mr. Zelenskyy won the presidency on 21 April.

Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:

  • initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;
  • assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike,3 which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’s networks in 2016; and
  • meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.

1 Apart from the information in the Enclosure, it is my belief that none of the information contained herein meets the definition of “classified information” outlined in EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.1. There is ample open-source information about the efforts I describe below, including statements by the President and Mr. Giuliani. In addition, based on my personal observations, there is discretion with respect to the classification of private comments by or instructions from the President, including his communications with foreign leaders; information that is not related to U.S. foreign policy or national security—such as the information contained in this document, when separated from the Enclosure—is generally treated as unclassified. I also believe that applying a classification marking to this information would violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states: “In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or] (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”

2 It is unclear whether such a Ukrainian investigation exists. See Footnote #7 for additional information.

3 I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine. (See, for example, his comments to Fox News on 20 July: “And Ukraine. Take a look at Ukraine. How come the FBI didn’t take this server? Podesta told them to get out. He said, get out. So, how come the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC?”)

2
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

The President also praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr. Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position. (Note: Starting in March 2019, Mr. Lutsenko made a series of public allegations—many of which he later walked back—about the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials’ purported involvement in the 2016 U.S. election, and the activities of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. See Part IV for additional context.)

The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.2 They told me that there was already a “discussion ongoing” with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.

The Ukrainian side was the first to publicly acknowledge the phone call. On the evening of 25 July, a readout was posted on the website of the Ukrainian President that contained the following line (translation from original Russian-language readout):

  • “Donald Trump expressed his conviction that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve Ukraine’s image and complete the investigation of corruption cases that have held back cooperation between Ukraine and the United States.”

Aside from the above-mentioned “cases” purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 U.S. election, I was told by White House officials that no other “cases” were discussed.

Based on my understanding, there were approximately a dozen White House officials who listened to the call — a mixture of policy officials and duty officers in the White House Situation Room, as is customary. The officials I spoke with told me that participation in the call had not been restricted in advance because everyone expected it would be a “routine” call with a foreign leader. I do not know whether anyone was physically present with the President during the call.

  • In addition to White House personnel, I was told that a State Department official, Mr. T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, also listened in on the call.
  • I was not the only non-White House official to receive a readout of the call. Based on my understanding, multiple State Department and Intelligence Community officials were also briefed on the contents of the call as outlined above.

II. Efforts to restrict access to records related to the call

In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced—as is customary—by the White House Situation Room.3 This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.

  • White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.

3
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 3

  • 2 In a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Trump brought up American aid to that country — without explicitly mentioning that he had just frozen a military aid package of hundreds of millions of dollars — and then pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Mr. Biden. White House officials believed they had witnessed Trump abuse his power for personal political gain.
  • 3 The whistle-blower writes that White House lawyers “directed” White House officials to remove records of the July 25 call from the system where such documents are normally stored and place it instead in a system for storing highly classified information, like files related to covert actions, even though it did not meet the criteria, in order to limit the number of officials who could see it.

UNCLASSIFIED

  • Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.

I do not know whether similar measures were taken to restrict access to other records of the call, such as contemporaneous handwritten notes taken by those who listened in.

III. Ongoing concerns

On 26 July, a day after the call, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with President Zelenskyy and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.

I also learned from multiple U.S. officials that, on or about 2 August, Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Madrid to meet with one of President Zelenskyy’s advisers, Andriy Yermak. The U.S. officials characterized this meeting, which was not reported publicly at the time, as a “direct follow-up” to the President’s call with Mr. Zelenskyy about the “cases” they had discussed.

  • Separately, multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelenskyy advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.4
  • I do not know whether those officials met or spoke with Mr. Giuliani, but I was told separately by multiple U.S. officials that Mr. Yermak and Mr. Bakanov intended to travel to Washington in mid-August.

On 9 August, the President told reporters: “I think [President Zelenskyy] is going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine, and I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”

IV. Circumstances leading up to the 25 July Presidential phone call

Beginning in late March 2019, a series of articles appeared in an online publication called The Hill. In these articles, several Ukrainian officials — most notably, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko — made a series of allegations against other Ukrainian officials and current and former U.S. officials. Mr. Lutsenko and his colleagues alleged, inter alia:

4 In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019, and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelenskyy adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

4
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

  • that they possessed evidence that Ukrainian officials — namely, Head of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem Sytnyk and Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko — had “interfered” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, allegedly in collaboration with the DNC and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv5;
  • that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv — specifically, U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s organization for its poor record on fighting corruption — had allegedly obstructed Ukrainian law enforcement agencies’ pursuit of corruption cases, including by providing a “do not prosecute” list, and had blocked Ukrainian prosecutors from traveling to the United States expressly to prevent them from delivering their “evidence” about the 2016 U.S. election;6 and
  • that former Vice President Biden had pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to fire then Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to quash a purported criminal probe into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the former Vice President’s son, Hunter, sat.7

In several public comments,8 Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.9

The allegations by Mr. Lutsenko came on the eve of the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March. By that time, Mr. Lutsenko’s political patron, President Poroshenko, was trailing Mr. Zelenskyy in the polls and appeared likely to be defeated. Mr. Zelenskyy had made known his desire to replace Mr. Lutsenko as Prosecutor General.4 On 21 April, Mr. Poroshenko lost the runoff to Mr. Zelenskyy by a landslide. See Enclosure for additional information.

5 Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko are two of Mr. Lutsenko’s main domestic rivals. Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials. He has publicly feuded with Mr. Sytnyk, who heads Ukraine’s only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s record. In December 2018, a Ukrainian court upheld a complaint by a Member of Parliament, Mr. Boryslav Rozenblat, who alleged that Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko had “interfered” in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing a document detailing corrupt payments made by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before his ouster in 2014. Mr. Rozenblat had originally filed the motion in late 2017 after attempting to flee Ukraine amid an investigation into his taking of a large bribe. On 16 July 2019, Mr. Leshchenko publicly stated that a Ukrainian court had overturned the lower court’s decision.

6 Mr. Lutsenko later told Ukrainian news outlet The Babel on 17 April that Ambassador Yovanovitch had never provided such a list, and that he was, in fact, the one who requested such a list.

7 Mr. Lutsenko later told Bloomberg on 16 May that former Vice President Biden and his son were not subject to any current Ukrainian investigations, and that he had no evidence against them. Other senior Ukrainian officials also contested his original allegations; one former senior Ukrainian prosecutor told Bloomberg on 7 May that Mr. Shokin in fact was not investigating Burisma at the time of his removal in 2016.

8 See, for example, Mr. Lutsenko’s comments to The Hill on 1 and 7 April and his interview with The Babel on 17 April, in which he stated that he had spoken with Mr. Giuliani about arranging contact with Attorney General Barr.

9 In May, Attorney General Barr announced that he was initiating a probe into the “origins” of the Russia investigation. According to the above-referenced OCCRP report (22 July), two associates of Mr. Giuliani claimed to be working with Ukrainian officials to uncover information that would become part of this inquiry. In an interview with Fox News on 8 August, Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General Barr designated to lead this probe, was “spending a lot of time in Europe” because he was “investigating Ukraine.” I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Mr. Durham.

5
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 5

  • 4 A widely criticized Ukrainian prosecutor piqued Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Giuliani’s interest by floating allegations to The Hill — but then backtracked. In the July 25 phone call, Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Mr. Lutsenko when he told the Ukrainian president that, “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.”

UNCLASSIFIED

  • It was also publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had met on at least two occasions with Mr. Lutsenko: once in New York in late January and again in Warsaw in mid-February. In addition, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.10
  • On 25 April in an interview with Fox News, the President called Mr. Lutsenko’s claims “big” and “incredible” and stated that the Attorney General “would want to see this.”

On or about 29 April, I learned from U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the situation that Ambassador Yovanovitch had been suddenly recalled to Washington by senior State Department officials for “consultations” and would most likely be removed from her position.

  • Around the same time, I also learned from a U.S. official that “associates” of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.11
  • On 6 May, the State Department announced that Ambassador Yovanovitch would be ending her assignment in Kyiv “as planned.”
  • However, several U.S. officials told me that, in fact, her tour was curtailed because of pressure stemming from Mr. Lutsenko’s allegations. Mr. Giuliani subsequently stated in an interview with a Ukrainian journalist published on 14 May that Ambassador Yovanovitch was “removed…because she was part of the efforts against the President.”

On 9 May, The New York Times reported that Mr. Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to press the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations that would help the President in his 2020 reelection bid.

  • In his multitude of public statements leading up to and in the wake of the publication of this article, Mr. Giuliani confirmed that he was focused on encouraging Ukrainian authorities to pursue investigations into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family.12
  • On the afternoon of 10 May, the President stated in an interview with Politico that he planned to speak with Mr. Giuliani about the trip.
  • A few hours later, Mr. Giuliani publicly canceled his trip, claiming that Mr. Zelenskyy was “surrounded by enemies of the [U.S.] President…and of the United States.”

On 11 May, Mr. Lutsenko met for two hours with President-elect Zelenskyy, according to a public account given several days later by Mr. Lutsenko. Mr. Lutsenko publicly stated that he had told Mr. Zelenskyy that he wished to remain as Prosecutor General.

10 See, for example, the above-referenced articles in Bloomberg (16 May) and OCCRP (22 July).

11 I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.

12 See, for example, Mr. Giuliani’s appearance on Fox News on 6 April and his tweets on 23 April and 10 May. In his interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani stated that the President “basically knows what I’m doing, sure, as his lawyer.” Mr. Giuliani also stated: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do… There’s nothing illegal about it… Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy – I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

6
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

Starting in mid-May, I heard from multiple U.S. officials that they were deeply concerned by what they viewed as Mr. Giuliani’s circumvention of national security decisionmaking processes to engage with Ukrainian officials and relay messages back and forth between Kyiv and the President.5 These officials also told me:

  • that State Department officials, including Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, had spoken with Mr. Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security; and
  • that Ambassadors Volker and Sondland during this time period met with members of the new Ukrainian administration and, in addition to discussing policy matters, sought to help Ukrainian leaders understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official U.S. channels on the one hand, and from Mr. Giuliani on the other.

During this same timeframe, multiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani. (Note: This was the general understanding of the state of affairs as conveyed to me by U.S. officials from late May into early July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.) See Enclosure for additional information.

Shortly after President Zelenskyy’s inauguration, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani met with two other Ukrainian officials: Ukraine’s Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Mr. Nazar Kholodnytskyy, and a former Ukrainian diplomat named Andriy Telizhenko. Both Mr. Kholodnytskyy and Mr. Telizhenko are allies of Mr. Lutsenko and made similar allegations in the above-mentioned series of articles in The Hill.

On 13 June, the President told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.

On 21 June, Mr. Giuliani tweeted: “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 and alleged Biden bribery of Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Clinton people.”

In mid-July, I learned of a sudden change of policy with respect to U.S. assistance for Ukraine. See Enclosure for additional information.

ENCLOSURE: Classified appendix

7
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 7

  • 5 The State Department saw Mr. Giuliani’s rogue outreach to Ukraine for Trump as a threat to national security. The whistle-blower recounts the struggles by the senior United States diplomats to deal with the confusion created by the president dispatching his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure Ukrainian officials to develop dirt against the Bidens, both in the run-up to the July 25 call and its aftermath.

TOP SECRET/■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

August 12, 2019

(U) CLASSIFIED APPENDIX

(U) Supplementary classified information is provided as follows:

(U) Additional information related to Section II

(TS/■■■■■■■■■) According to multiple White House officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President’s call with President Zelenskyy was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Intelligence Programs. This is a standalone computer system reserved for codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action. According to information I received from White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was “not the first time” under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive—rather than national security sensitive—information.

(U) Additional information related to Section IV

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(S/■■■■■■■■■) I would like to expand upon two issues mentioned in Section IV that might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure the Ukrainian leadership. As I do not know definitively whether the below-mentioned decisions are connected to the broader efforts I describe, I have chosen to include them in the classified annex. If they indeed represent genuine policy deliberations and decisions formulated to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security, one might be able to make a reasonable case that the facts are classified.

  • (S/■■■■■■■■■) I learned from U.S. officials that, on or around 14 May, the President instructed Vice President Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President

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  • Zelenskyy’s inauguration on 20 May; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry led the delegation instead. According to these officials, it was also “made clear” to them that the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelenskyy until he saw how Zelenskyy “chose to act” in office. I do not know how this guidance was communicated, or by whom. I also do not know whether this action was connected with the broader understanding, described in the unclassified letter, that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.
  • ( S/■■■■■■■■■) On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.

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Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act

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The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998,[1] amending the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 and the Inspector General Act of 1978, sets forth a procedure for employees and contractors of specified federal intelligence agencies to report complaints or information to Congress about serious problems involving intelligence activities.

Under the ICWPA, an intelligence employee or contractor who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information of “urgent concern” involving an intelligence activity may report the complaint or information to their agency’s inspector general or the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG). Within a 14-day period, the IG must determine “whether the complaint or information appears credible,” and upon finding the information to be credible, thereafter transfer the information to the head of the agency. The law then requires the DNI (or the relevant agency head) to forward the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees, along with any comments he wishes to make about the complaint, within seven days. If the IG does not deem the complaint or information to be credible or does not transmit the information to the head of the agency, the employee may provide the information directly to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. However, the employee must first inform the IG of his or her intention to contact the intelligence committees directly and must follow the procedures specified in the Act.

The Act defines a matter of “urgent concern” as:[2]

  1. a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters;
  2. A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity; or
  3. An action constituting reprisal or threat of reprisal in response to an employee’s reporting an urgent concern.

ICWPA doesn’t prohibit employment-related retaliation and it provides no mechanism, such as access to a court or administrative body, for challenging retaliation that may occur as a result of having made a disclosure.[3] In 2006 Thomas Gimble, Acting Inspector General, Department of Defense, stated before the House Committee on Government Reform that the ICWPA is a ‘misnomer‘ and that more properly the Act protects the communication of classified information to Congress.[4] According to Michael German with the Brennan Center for Justice, the ICWPA, “provides a right to report internally but no remedy when that right is infringed, which means that there is no right at all.”[3]

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, from 1999-2009, 10 complaints/disclosures were filed under this law, four of which were found to be credible by the relevant Inspector General. In three of these ten cases the whistleblower claimed that s/he was retaliated against: two CIA cases and one DOJ case. Subsequent investigations by the CIA and DOJ failed to find evidence of retaliation in any of these cases.[3][5]

Additional protections for national security whistleblowers are provided through Presidential Policy Directive 19 and the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.[3] For more information about whistleblowers protections that apply to the intelligence community see the “national security protections” subheading under Whistleblower protection in the United States.

References

  1. ^ Title VII of Public Law No: 105-272
  2. ^ Goss, Porter J. (1998-10-20). “Text – H.R.3694 – 105th Congress (1997-1998): Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999”http://www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-20.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security and Free Expression” (PDF). PEN America. November 10, 2015. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 14, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  4. ^ “Statement on National Security Whistleblower Protection” (PDF)Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  5. ^ “Letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence” (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. March 8, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2015.

 

Story 2:  Unbelievable Adam Schiff: Pathological Prevaricator Pervert Parody of Whistle-blower Blow Job Does Not Come Out As Expected — Videos —

Schiff slammed for ‘parody’ of Trump call transcript

Jeanine Pirro: Dems don’t have a case for impeachment

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement on whistleblower complaint | DNI hearing

Fmr. Intel Official: Trump Aides Could Face Criminal Exposure | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Gowdy goes after Schiff for ‘making stuff up’ at DNI hearing

Adam Schiff Makes Up His Own Version of the Trump Transcript I White House Brief

Donald Trump rages against Adam Schiff reading a parody version of his Ukraine phone call demanding he resign for ‘fraud’ – and accuses CNN of dropping the ‘hyphen’ from insulting Schiff as ‘Liddle’ Adam’

  • Donald Trump erupted on House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff for reading a ‘parody’ of the president’s call with Ukraine at a Capitol Hill hearing
  • Schiff did not characterize it as such at the time of the reading
  • Trump said that Schiff should resign from the House of Representatives  
  • Still raging against Schiff some two hours later, he said Schiff ‘totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions’
  • ‘He must resign and be investigated,’ Trump tweeted. ‘He is a sick man!’
  • The president was on the warpath against Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff
  • ‘I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff,’ he argued in a tweet in which he misspelled ‘describing’
  • His assault immediately trended on Twitter as users pointed out that he meant to claim the network had dropped his apostrophe in the nickname not a hyphen
  • Schiff told Trump in a response tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’ of the call
  • ‘But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery. Your own words and deeds mock themselves,’ the Democratic lawmaker charged

Donald Trump erupted on House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff on Friday for reading what the congressman later described as a ‘parody’ of the president’s call with Ukraine at a Capitol Hill hearing without characterizing it as such at the time.

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives.

He wrote: ‘HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!’

Still raging against Schiff some two hours later, the president claimed the Democratic congressman is deranged.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions. He must resign and be investigated. He has been doing this for two years. He is a sick man!’ he said.

The president was on the warpath against Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff.

‘I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff,’ he argued.

The president is on the warpath against House Intel Chair Adam Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the 'hyphen' in his attack on 'Liddle' Adam Schiff.

The president is on the warpath against House Intel Chair Adam Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff.

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives

Schiff also told Trump in a response tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’ of what happened in his call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.

‘You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country. And then you tried to cover it up. But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery. Your own words and deeds mock themselves. But most importantly here, they endanger our country,’ he stated.

Schiff angered Trump during a Thursday hearing where lawmakers pressed the acting Director of National Intelligence to explain why the administration attempted to ‘lock down’ the transcript of a call between Trump and the Ukranian president, according to a whistleblower complaint.

‘I have a favor I want from you,’ Schiff read aloud without disclosing that he was about to read from a parody of the call. ‘And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.’

Trump did ask for a favor but he did not use the phrasing in a rough transcript the White House released that Schiff went on to use as he mocked him while reading from a piece of paper that led some to believe he was sharing verified information.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty,’ the president on Friday morning charged.

He said at another point his assault on Schiff that he intentionally calls him ‘Liddle’ instead of ‘Little’ as he responded to commentary he’d apparently been watching on CNN.

‘To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!’ he stated.

Schiff told Trump in a tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught - caught engaging in a 'shakedown' and a 'cover up'

Schiff told Trump in a tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president's acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. He's seen making a statement at a photo op where he delcined to take questions on the White House's South Lawn

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president’s acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. He’s seen making a statement at a photo op where he delcined to take questions on the White House’s South Lawn

In that tweet, he did spell a word wrong – ‘describing’ – leaving out the e and replacing it with an errant i.

He sent out corrected versions of his Schiff tweets as Twitter users ribbed him for mistakes while complaining about his coverage.

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president’s acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. The president told traveling press that he caught some of the hearing before he left his New York City penthouse.

‘We’ve done so many things that are so incredible with tax cuts and regulations. And I have to put up with Adam Schiff on a per- — on an absolutely perfect phone call to the new President of Ukraine. That was a perfect call,’ the president said on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews after landing near Washington.

The president declined to take reporters questions – he only wanted to rail against his Capitol Hill nemesis.

Trump said that Schiff should be investigating payments that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son received from a Ukrainian company while it was under investigation.

‘But Adam Schiff doesn’t talk about Joe Biden and his son walking away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and then millions of dollars from China. Walking away — in a quick meeting, walking away with millions of dollars,’ he fumed.

‘He doesn’t talk about Joe Biden firing a prosecutor, and if that prosecutor is not fired, he’s not going to give him money from the United States of America. They don’t talk about that.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7512109/Donald-Trump-demands-Adam-Schiff-resign-fraud-revives-Liddle-attack.html

 

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

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

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See the source image

See the source image

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

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

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

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

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

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

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

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

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

Gidley on Iran agenda, Kavanaugh attacks, Lewandowski testimony

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

 

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

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

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

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

History of US-Iran Conflict Explained

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

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

Israel and the Gulf: an unholy alliance?

Why the US and Iran are fighting over this tiny waterway

Can Iran Stop the US? A look at Irans Defenses

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

Saudi Arabia’s Emergency Arab Summit

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

UNITED STATES vs ARAB LEAGUE – Military Power Comparison ✪ 2018

Crucifixion, beheading: Saudi Arabia carries out executions

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quds-1 missile 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

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

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Country comparison Iran vs Saudi Arabia

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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