The Pronk Pops Show 997, November 7, 2017, Story 1: Communist Chinese Connection To Trade — Nuclear Proliferation — and — Terrorism (TNT) — Peace or War — China Must Destroy North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missiles or Face The Consequences of Overthrow of Communist Party — U.S.Complete Embargo on All Chinese Trade and Investment — Story 2: President Trump Meets With Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Moon Jai-in As U.S. Navy Flexes Air Power — All Options Are On The Table — Video — Story 3: Saudi Arab On The Brink of War With Lebanon Controlled By Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah — Saudi Arab Blames Iran For Yemen Missile Attack — Purge and Roundup of Royal Prince Continues — Videos —

Posted on November 8, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Cartoons, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Japan, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, MIssiles, Movies, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trucks, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Image result for hina's Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitutionImage result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for trump meets japanes prime ministerImage result for President Donald Trump President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seul, South Korea

Saudi Arabia arrests princes, ministers for corruption

Story 1: Communist Chinese Connection To Trade Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism (TNT) — Peace or War — Destroy North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missiles or Face The Consequences of Overthrow of Communist Party — Total Complete Embargo on All Chinese Trade and Investment —

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for u.s. trade deficits with countries china 1900=2016

Image result for Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

Donald Trump arrives in Beijing President to tell China ‘get tough on North Korea threat’

Why Trump needs to work with China to stop North Korea from attaining nukes

Trump in Beijing and US-China trade

North Korea Crisis: Trump Threatens to Stop U.S. Trade With China. Could He?

Here’s Who Could Lose the Most in a U.S.-China Trade War

What would a U.S.-China trade war look like? | CNBC Explains

Understanding the Chinese mindset

China and Democracy

The Future of China and the Chinese Communist Party | China Uncensored

Who Would Win a US-China Trade War? | China Uncensored

Chinese Leaders Fear Military Revolt | China Uncensored

Why China Fears Japan’s Military | China Uncensored

North Korea “Fatal Mistake” WW3 Nuclear Invasion

North Korea War Countdown Initiated ~ Urgent Warning

WHY & HOW CHINA HELPED NORTH KOREA IN DEVELOPING ITS NUCLEAR ARSENAL?

How Does North Korea Have Nuclear Weapons?

Who Are The World’s Nuclear Watchdogs?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

[youtyube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTSTddC4O2c]

How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?

Nuclear Proliferation

‘THE BOMB” NEW PBS Documentary about the history of nuclear weapons!!

Published on Jul 23, 2017
The Bomb is a 2015 American documentary film about the history of nuclear weapons, from theoretical scientific considerations at the very beginning, to their first use on August 6, 1945,to their global political implications in the present-day.The two-hour PBS film was written and directed by Rushmore DeNooyer, who noted the project took a year and a half to complete, since much of the film footage and images was only recently declassified by the United States Department of Defense. According to DeNooyer, “It wouldn’t take very many bombs to really change life on Earth, … The idea that there are thousands of them sitting around is pretty scary. I don’t think people today realize that. They don’t think about it. I don’t think they are scared. But in a way, they should be. Mark Dawidziak, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, summarized the film as follows: “The Bomb moves swiftly to cover Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War, the arms race, the Red Scare, the witch hunt, the Cuban Missile Crisis, test-ban treaties, the “Star Wars” initiative, the anti-nuke movement, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of new nuclear threats. According to historian Richard Rhodes, “The invention [of ‘The Bomb’] was a millennial change in human history: for the first time, we were now capable of our own destruction, as a species…

How Does China’s Government Work?

TED – China’s Political System

Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

It’s a standard assumption in the West: As a society progresses, it eventually becomes a capitalist, multi-party democracy. Right? Eric X. Li, a Chinese investor and political scientist, begs to differ. In this provocative, boundary-pushing talk, he asks his audience to consider that there’s more than one way to run a succesful modern nation. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

Xi Jinping: Why are we called Communist Party of China?

China congress: Xi Jinping declares ‘new era’ for China – BBC News

China’s Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitution

Published on Oct 24, 2017
China’s ruling Communist Party has voted to enshrine Xi Jinping’s name and ideology in its constitution, elevating him to the level of founder Mao Zedong. The unanimous vote to incorporate “Xi Jinping Thought” happened at the end of the Communist Party congress, China’s most important political meeting. Mr Xi has steadily increased his grip on power since becoming leader in 2012. This move means that any challenge to Mr Xi will now be seen as a threat to Communist Party rule. More than 2,000 delegates gathered in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People for the final approval process to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” into the Communist Party constitution of China. At the end of the process, delegates were asked if they had any objections, to which they responded with loud cries of “none”, reported journalists at the scene.

How Xi Jinping Went From Feeding Pigs to Ruling China

China Just Sent a Chilling Warning to North Korea About The United States

 

North Korea Is SCREWED After China Issues Brutal Threat Of What Will Happen If They Hit U.S.

 

Published on Aug 15, 2017
China Just Sent a Chilling Warning to North Korea About The United States
The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack is Trump’s biggest test of leadership yet – but another country might actually end up calling the shots. And Trump, to be fair, has been warning us about China for years. But I’m willing to bet that even he didn’t see this coming.
Fact is, aside from being deadly, brutal, and destructive, war is also expensive. And if you can’t afford to do it, you probably shouldn’t start it.
Or join it, for that matter. It’s why China has unofficially leaked a government policy for the world to see – that if North Korea attacks the US, China will remain neutral.
But if the US attacks first, China will join the war. Which means, put bluntly, that the only way World War III doesn’t start is for North Korea to hit us first. Which is unacceptable. About as unacceptable as World War III.China really put Trump in a bind.
Breitbart reports:
The Communist Party organization Global Times [published] an editorial declaring that China would remain neutral if North Korea starts a war but intervene on North Korea’s behalf if the U.S. and South Korea attempt a preemptive strike.
The Chinese government may eventually seek some diplomatic wiggle room by insisting the Global Times is but a newspaper printing an editorial, and the piece is written in the style of newspaper editors lecturing officials about what they “should” do, but China’s state-run media is a mouthpiece for its authoritarian government.If it sounds complicated, it’s really not. The Chinese government is run by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party owns and runs the Global Times. Therefore, whatever the Global Times prints is what the Communist Party wants it to print.
But it’s still a newspaper, of course, which means that, if the world – or, sometimes, the Chinese themselves – really don’t like a policy, the government can pretend that the newspaper just got the story wrong.
It’s an easy way to test a policy before you pass it. Or, in this case, an easy way to tell the world what you’re going to do, without all the trouble of officially telling the world what you’re going to do.
Fact is, China can’t really afford this war – Breitbart lists off several reasons, including tensions with India, Japan, and all the work securing the South China Sea. The Korea thing is just one more brick on an already heavy pile. But their way out of it forces Donald Trump to let the US get hit first.

‘Welcome to China! I love you!’: Beijing schoolchildren thrill Trump with Peking opera performance after private tour of the Forbidden City and tea with China’s Xi and Madame Peng

  • Trump landed Wednesday in China for meetings with President Xi Jinping
  • School children waving American flags greeted him at the airport in Beijing
  • President and first lady took in an extra special performance of Peking opera during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on for him by Xi
  •  President has touted his close relationship with Xi, calling it ‘outstanding’
  • But he says that won’t stop him from getting tough with China over trade 
  • North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda as it did when pair met in April 
  • Last year when he visited China, Obama was prevented from using his stairs to deplane Air Force One in a major snub
  • Trump didn’t have that problem: Chinese authorities had a rolling staircase tall enough to reach the front door of the plane

President Donald Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday evening in Beijing during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on for him by China‘s Xi Jinping.

Xi had the production staged in the former imperial palace that is now a museum just for Trump’s visit.

‘Welcome to China! I love you!’ a group of children who were part of the performance told the U.S. president when it was finished.

The president and first lady Melania Trump ended their evening with a dinner in another section of the Forbidden City with the Chinese leader and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan.

'Welcome to China! I love you!' a group of children who were part of a Peking opera performance told the U.S. president this evening in Beijing

Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on by Chinese President Xi Jinping. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are seen here in the Forbidden City with Xi and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan

The Trumps are at a private dinner now with Xi and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan

SPECIAL MOMENT: The president and first lady share a fond moment after their arrival in the Forbidden City

President Trump tours the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City with his wife, Xi and Peng

Trump viewed a clock on a "musical clock with country scene," a "gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers," and a "clock with lifting tower," according to a placard bearing an English and Chinese-language descriptions of the items

Trump viewed a clock on a “musical clock with country scene,” a “gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers,” and a “clock with lifting tower,” according to a placard bearing an English and Chinese-language descriptions of the items

After the tour, the presidents and the first ladies of the US and China watched a special performance of Peking opera that was staged for Trump's visit

After the tour, the presidents and the first ladies of the US and China watched a special performance of Peking opera that was staged for Trump’s visit

A military honor guard and flag-waving schoolchildren greeted Trump when he arrived Wednesday afternoon in China, the third country in his 12-day Asia tour.

U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad met Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, after Air Force One stopped on the tarmac in Beijing.

Trump deplaned from Air Force One without incident, avoiding the embarrassment Barack Obama suffered a year ago as he landed in China during the annual Group of 20 summit.

Obama was humiliated when he had to exit from the belly of the aircraft because authorities didn’t approve a staircase tall enough for him to walk out of the front exit of the plane.

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft’s door on Wednesday. 

WARM REUNION: Trump and Xi greeted each other like old friends on Wednesday in the Forbidden City

Trump was especially interested in a clock with lifting tour during his tour of an artifacts restoration center in the Forbidden City.  'Unbelievable,' he said

Trump and Xi watch the Peking opera from the Hall of Character Cultivation in the Forbidden City

Trump and Xi watch the Peking opera from the Hall of Character Cultivation in the Forbidden City

The U.S. president was delighted as children in yellow and red costumes danced on stage with peacock feathers

As Trump left the performance, the told inquiring reporters, 'We’re having a great time, thank you'

Trump hopped in his motorcade and sped through Beijing to the Forbidden City, where he had tea with his Chinese counterpart, whom he had entertained at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club in April, and the first lady of sprawling Asian country that is home to 1.4 billion people.

After a warm reunion over tea, Chinese president Xi Jinping led the Trumps to the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City to participate in an artifact restoration.

Trump was intrigued by a ‘musical clock with country scene’ and a ‘gourd-shaped clock with rotating flowers,’ according to English-language placards.

Viewing a ‘clock with lifting tower, Trump said it was ‘unbelievable.’

Once Trump had moved on to another room, Tillerson entered with the rest of the U.S. delegation, including Branstad. The diplomat was eager to know more about the artifacts, asking many questions as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster milled about the room.

The two first couples next watched a performance of Peking opera, a distinctively Chinese art form that combines music, mime, dance and acrobatics.

Posing for pictures with the cast when the opera had concluded, Trump told them the extravagant show was ‘beautiful!’

Children waving American flags greet the Trumps as they arrive at the Beijing airport

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

The Forbidden City, now a major tourist attraction, has its roots in the 15th Century and was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty through 1912.

On the agenda for Trump during his Beijing visit are requests for a hardline approach to economically paralyzing North Korea, and talks aimed at shrinking America’s massive trade deficit with China.

Last year the Chinese sold $347 billion more in goods to the U.S. than America sold into the world’s largest communist nation.

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump left South Korea on Wednesday after delivering a speech to the country’s National Assembly. He said in a tweet Wednesday morning that he was looking forward to again seeing Xi, ‘who is just off his great political victory.’

He said Monday inJapan that he’s fond of Xi, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him.

But he won’t allow their mutual affection to cloud his judgement, Trump asserted, as he pledged to take ‘very, very strong action’ against China and other countries that have been treating the United States ‘unfairly’ in the trade arena.

‘He represents China. I represent the United States,’ Trump said at a news conference in Tokyo.

On the way to Beijing, a senior White House official told reporters that the president plans to keep up his habit of tweeting while he’s in China, even though Chinese citizens can’t do it.

‘The president will tweet whatever he wants,’ the official said. ‘That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?’

‘So long as he can access his Twitter account – because Twitter is banned in China along with Facebook and most of the other social media. I’m sure we’ve got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen. But it is noteworthy that none of the major western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China.’

On Tuesday in Seoul, Trump pressured Xi’s government to totally isolate Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old despot across the border, during remarks in Seoul.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

All responsible nations must cut off North Korea’s cash flow by imposing and enforcing international sanctions on Kim and his government, Trump declared, singling out China and Russia, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

‘It’s time to act with urgency and with great determination,’ the U.S. president said in a joint press conference with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Beijing is the third destination on a five-nation hustle across eastern Asia.

As with every other stop on this trip, North Korea is expected to dominate Xi and Trump’s discussions.

But in Beijing, more than anywhere else during the visit, Trump – a former titan of real estate – is also under pressure to address the regional trade practices that he said as a candidate he would fix.

Trump pounded China for alleged currency manipulation in the presidential election last year that unexpectedly put him in power. He’s said as recently as February that the Chinese were ‘grand champions’ at the economic trick.

By artificially devaluing its currency, the yuan, Beijing has been able to been able to lower the price of its exports, ‘stealing’ American jobs, Trump has said.

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

His assessment was rejected by the International Monetary Fund last year, and Trump’s own administration has shied away from shackling China with the designation.

Since his April summit with Xi, the U.S. president has also backed off his verbal assault.

‘The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding,’ Trump said after less than a day of talks with the Chinese president and his representatives.

‘We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.’

Days later Trump was still gushing about his weekend in Florida with Xi in what amounted to a total about-face of his previous criticisms.

‘Now what am I going to do? Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?’ he asked rhetorically in an interview with Fox & Friends.

Trump said later that month that it wouldn’t make sense to label Xi’s country a currency manipulator after the Chinese leader offered to assist the U.S. in its efforts to constrain North Korea.

‘Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!’ Trump tweeted.

China’s stepped up efforts to choke off Kim Jong-un’s finances has not kept Trump from complaining about the gross trade deficit between the two countries, nor has it had an immediate effect on the United States’ enforcement of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo late last month that the U.S. loses ‘hundreds of billions a year’ a year to China.

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

‘We lose with almost every country, we have massive deficits,’ the billionaire president insisted. ‘We can’t allow the world to look at us as a whipping post. Not gonna happen, anymore.’

Monday, at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump told a reporter who asked how his administration plans to enforce its mandate of a ‘free and open’ Indo-Asia Pacific without riling up China, a major power on the continent, that he would not allow the communist country to take advantage of the U.S.

‘You will be seeing things of countries that have been treating the United States and the United States worker and companies…our country, and our workers very unfairly, you will be seeing that the United States will take very, very strong action,’ Trump said.

The legal work is mostly finished, he revealed. ‘And you’re going to see a very big difference, and it’s going to happen very soon. Because the United States, by many countries, has been treated very, very unfairly when it comes to trade.’

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

The administration believes that China is behind as much as $600 million in IP theft through forced technology transfers.

China’s Commerce Ministry has called the probe ‘irresponsible’ and ‘not objective.’ Beijing would almost certainly bring additional U.S. action before the World Trade Organization.

But Trump could unilaterally impose tariffs on Beijing through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 if USTR determines that China is engaging in ‘unfair trade practices’ – a powerful weapon if he decides to use it.

Trump has been hesitant to act against Beijing so long as Xi goes along with his plans to suffocate North Korea’s nuclear ambition.

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

At a briefing with reporters on Sunday evening in Tokyo, a senior White House official insisted that the economic and security concerns of the Trump administration are wholly separate issues when it comes to North Korea and trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific.

‘The United States isn’t going to barter away our interests on the trade front in order to make gains doing what the entire world has, more or less, obligated itself to do, and that is to contain and confront the threat from North Korea,’ the official asserted. ‘So I don’t see a comingling of those two issues.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5060593/Trump-tours-Forbidden-City-takes-opera-China.html#ixzz4xt5UopYC

 

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
China
Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Simplified Chinese 中国特色社会主义
Traditional Chinese 中國特色社會主義

Socialism with Chinese characteristics, meaning Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions, is the official ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC), claimed to be based upon scientific socialism. The term means Mao Zedong ThoughtDeng Xiaoping TheoryThree RepresentsScientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought; that is, if you want to introduce socialism with Chinese characteristics in practice you have to implement, for instance, Xi Jinping Thought (which is a set of Marxist policies to implement socialism).

Primary stage of socialism

During Mao era

The concept of a primary stage of socialism was conceived before China introduced economic reforms.[1] When discussing the necessity of commodity relations at the First Zhengzhou Conference (2–10 November 1958) Mao Zedong—the Chairman of the CPC’s Central Committee—said that China was in the “initial stage of socialism” [1] Mao never elaborated on the idea; his successors were left to do this.[1]

After Mao’s death

On 5 May 1978, the article “Putting into Effect the Socialist Principle of Distribution According to Work”, elaborated on the idea that China was still at the first stage of reaching pure communism[2] and that it had not become a truly socialist society.[2] It is said[by whom?] that the article was written on the orders of Deng Xiaoping, so as to “criticize and repudiate” the beliefs of the communist left.[3] The term reappeared at the 6th plenum of the 11th Central Committee on 27 June 1981 in the document, “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party since the Founding of the PRC”.[4] Hu Yaobang, the CPC’s general secretary, used the term in his report to the 12th CPC National Congress on 1 September 1982.[4] It was not until the “Resolution Concerning the Guiding Principle in Building Socialist Spiritual Civilization” at the 6th plenum of the 12th Central Committee that the term was used in the defense of the economic reforms which were being introduced.[4]

At the 13th CPC National Congress, acting CPC General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, on behalf of the 12th Central Committee, delivered the report “Advance Along the Road of Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.[5] He wrote that China was a socialist society, but that socialism in China was in its primary stage;[5] a Chinese peculiarity which was due to the undeveloped state of the country’s productive forces.[5] During this phase of development, Zhao recommended introducing a planned commodity economy on the basis of public ownership.[5] The main failure of the communist right, according to Zhao, was that they failed to acknowledge that China could reach socialism by bypassing capitalism. The main failure of the communist left was that they held the “utopian position” that China could bypass the primary stage of socialism, in which the productive forces are to be modernized.[6]On 25 October 1987, Zhao further expounded on the concept of the primary stage of socialism, and said that the Party line was to follow “One Center, Two Basic Points”; the central focus of the Chinese state was economic development, but that this should occur simultaneously through centralized political control (i.e., the Four Cardinal Principles) and upholding the policy of reform and opening up.[4]

CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin further elaborated on the concept ten years later; first during a speech to the Central Party School on 29 May 1997 and again in his report to the 15th CPC National Congress on 12 September 1997.[4] According to Jiang, the 3rd plenum of the 11th Central Committee correctly analyzed and formulated a scientifically correct program for the problems facing China and socialism.[4] In Jiang’s words, the primary stage of socialism was an “undeveloped stage”.[4] The fundamental task of socialism is to develop the productive forces, therefore the main aim during the primary stage should be the further development of the national productive forces.[4] The primary contradiction in Chinese society during the primary stage of socialism is “the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of production”.[4] This contradiction will remain until China has completed the process of primary stage of socialism, and because of it, economic development should remain the CPC’s main focus during this stage.[4]

Jiang elaborated on three points to develop the primary stage of socialism.[7] The first—to develop a socialist economy with Chinese characteristics—meant developing the economy by emancipating and modernizing the forces of production while developing a market economy.[7] The second—building socialist politics with Chinese characteristics—meant “managing state affairs according to the law”, developing socialist democracy under the CPC and making the “people the masters of the country”.[7] The third point—building socialist culture with Chinese characteristics—meant turning Marxism into the guide to train the people so as to give them “high ideals, moral integrity, a good education, and a strong sense of discipline, and developing a national scientific, and popular socialist culture geared to the needs of modernization, of the world, and of the future.”[7]

When asked how long the primary stage of socialism would last, Zhao replied, “[i]t will be at least 100 years … [before] socialist modernization will have been in the main accomplished.”[8] The state constitution states that “China will be in the primary stage of socialism for a long time to come”.[9] As with Zhao, Jiang believed that it would take at least 100 years to reach a more advanced stage.[4]

Socialist market economy

Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the Chinese economic reforms, did not believe that the market economy was synonymous with capitalism or that planning was synonymous with socialism.[11] During his southern tour, he said, “planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity”.[11]

Ideological justification

In the 1980s it became evident to Chinese economists that the Marxist theory of the law of value—understood as the expression of the labor theory of value—could not serve as the basis of China’s pricing system.[12] They concluded that Marx never intended his theory of law of value to work “as an expression of ‘concretized labor time’ “.[12] Marx’s notion of “prices of production” was meaningless to the Soviet-styled planned economies since price formations were according to Marx established by markets.[13] Soviet planners had used the law of value as a basis to rationalize prices in the planned economy.[14] According to Soviet sources, prices were “planned with an eye to the … basic requirements of the law of value.”[14] However, the primary fault with the Soviet interpretation was that they tried to calibrate prices without a competitive market since, according to Marx, competitive markets allowed for an equilibrium of profit rates which led to an increase in the prices of production.[15] The rejection of the Soviet interpretation of the law of value led to the acceptance of the idea that China was still in the “primary stage of socialism”.[14] The basic argument was that conditions envisaged by Marx for reaching the socialist stage of development did not yet exist in China.[14]

Mao said that the imposition of “progressive relations of production” would revolutionize production.[16] His successor’s rejection of this view has, according to A. James Gregor, thwarted the ideological continuity of Maoism—officially “Mao Zedong Thought“.[16] Classical Marxism had argued that a socialist revolution would only take place in advanced capitalist societies, and its success would signal the transition from a capitalist commodity-based economy to a “product economy” in which goods would be distributed for people’s need and not for profit.[16] If because of a lack of a coherent explanation in the chance of failure this revolution did not occur, the revolutionaries would be forced to take over the responsibilities of the bourgeoisie.[16] Thus Chinese communists are looking for a new Marxist theory of development.[16] Party theorist Luo Rongqu recognized that the founders of Marxism had never “formulated any systematic theory on the development of the non-Western world”, and said that the Communist Party should “establish their own synthesized theoretical framework to study the problem of modern development.”[17] According to A. James Gregor, the implication of this stance “is that Chinese Marxism is currently in a state of profound theoretical discontinuity.”[18]

Private ownership

The concept of private ownership is rooted in classical Marxism.[19] Because China adopted socialism when it was a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country, it is in the primary stage of socialism.[19] Because of this, certain policies and system characteristics—such as commodity production for the market, the existence of a private sector and the reliance of the profit motive in enterprise management—were changed.[19] These changes were allowed as long as they improve productivity and modernize the means of production, and thus further develop socialism.[19] According to this perspective, Mao’s leftist belief that China could advance to full socialism immediately by bypassing capitalism is considered false.[19]

The CPC still considers private ownership to be non-socialist.[20] However, according to party theorists, the existence and growth of private ownership does not necessarily undermine socialism and promote capitalism in China.[20] It is argued that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—the founders of communism—never proposed the immediate abolishment of private ownership.[20] According to Engel’s book Principles of Communism, the proletariat can only abolish private ownership when the necessary conditions have been met.[20] In the phase before the abolishment of private ownership, Engels proposed progressive taxation, high inheritance taxes and compulsory bond purchases to restrict private property while using the competitive powers of state-owned enterprises to expand the public sector.[20]Marx and Engels proposed similar measures in the Communist Manifesto in regards to advanced countries, but since China was economically undeveloped, party theorists called for flexibility regarding the CPC’s handling of private property.[20] According to party theorist Liu Shuiyuan, the New Economic Policy program initiated by Soviet authorities in the aftermath of the war communism program is a good example of flexibility by socialist authorities.[20]

Party theorist Li Xuai said that private ownership inevitably involves capitalist exploitation.[20] However, Li regards private property and exploitation as necessary in the primary stage of socialism, claiming that capitalism in its primary stage uses remnants of the old society to build itself.[20] Sun Liancheng and Lin Huiyong said that Marx and Engels, in their interpretation of the Communist Manifesto, criticized private ownership when it was owned solely by the bourgeoisie but not individual ownership in which everyone owns the means of production and hence cannot be exploited by others.[21] Individual ownership is consistent with socialism since Marx wrote that post-capitalist society would entail the rebuilding of “associated social individual ownership”.[22]

Criticism

According to writer and researcher Huang Yasheng and many others, the economic theory in China is not socialism with Chinese characteristics but the opposite—capitalism with Chinese characteristics.[23]

See also

References

Citations

  1. Jump up to:a b c Li 1995, p. 400.
  2. Jump up to:a b He 2001, p. 385.
  3. Jump up^ He 2001, pp. 385–386.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k He 2001, p. 386.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d Li 1995, p. 399.
  6. Jump up^ Schram 1989, p. 204.
  7. Jump up to:a b c d He 2001, p. 387.
  8. Jump up^ Vogel 2011, p. 589.
  9. Jump up^ 2nd session of the 9th National People’s Congress (14 March 2004). “Constitution of the People’s Republic of China”Government of the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved 14 January2013.
  10. Jump up^ Deng, Xiaoping (30 June 1984). “Building a Socialism with a specifically Chinese character”People’s DailyCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China. Retrieved 13 January2013.
  11. Jump up to:a b Staff writer (3 February 2012). “Market fundamentalism’ is unpractical”People’s DailyCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  12. Jump up to:a b Gregor 1999, p. 114.
  13. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 114–116.
  14. Jump up to:a b c d Gregor 1999, p. 116.
  15. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 115–116.
  16. Jump up to:a b c d e Gregor 1999, p. 117.
  17. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, pp. 117–118.
  18. Jump up^ Gregor 1999, p. 118.
  19. Jump up to:a b c d e Hsu 1991, p. 11.
  20. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Hsu 1991, p. 65.
  21. Jump up^ Hsu 1991, pp. 65–66.
  22. Jump up^ Hsu 1991, p. 66.
  23. Jump up^http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/economics/public-economics-and-public-policy/capitalism-chinese-characteristics-entrepreneurship-and-state?format=HB

Sources

Further reading

  • A. James Gregor. Marxism and the Making of China. A Doctrinal History. Palgrave Macmillan. 2014

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

Story 2: President Trump Meets With Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Moon Jai-in As U.S. Navy Flexes Air Power — All Options Are On The Table — Let’s Make A Deal North Korea — Video —

Image result for President Donald Trump President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seul, South KoreaImage result for trump meets japanes prime ministerImage result for trump meets japanes prime minister

Trump’s South Korea speech, in 3 minutes

Trump’s speech to South Korea’s parliament (full)

Is Trump softening his stance on North Korea?

Trump urges N Korea to ‘come to the table’

Trump Calls On North Korea To “Make A Deal” – Full News Conference In Seoul

President Trump Receives a Military Briefing on North Korea from Top Generals 11/7/17

President Trump Has Lunch with U.S. Troops in South Korea (Camp Humphreys) 11/6/17

Donald Trump in South Korea, Gives hint of Handling North Korea in Some different way.

President Trump meeting with President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea. Nov 7, 2017

President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea

Trump arrives in South Korea amid tensions with North

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump is officially welcomed to Seoul, Republic of Korea.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrives in South Korea. November 7, 2017.

Is Melania Trump’s coat for South Korea fashion hit or miss?

Warning: China Russia Saudi Arabia & Iran To Use Yuan For Trading Oil Next Step Is WW3

High Alert: For The First Time In 13 Years, U.S. Deploys 7 Aircraft Carriers Simultaneously

For The First Time In 13 Years, U.S. Deploys 7 Aircraft Carriers Simultaneously

The US has simultaneously deployed 7 of the 11 U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers for the first time in over a decade according to the US Naval Institute. The three aircraft carriers with full air wings and strike groups positioned in the Western Pacific are the following: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76); USS Nimitz (CVN-68); USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Another four are conducting “short training missions as part of training operations or workups ahead of deployment”. Two out of four are operating in Eastern Pacific – USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) – and the remaining two are operating in the Atlantic, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

What 3 US Supercarriers in the Asia-Pacific Means for N. Korea

High Alert: 3 US Carrier Strike Groups Enter Asia-Pacific Ahead of Trump Visit

President Trump Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan. Tokyo. Nov 6, 2017.

President Trump attends state banquet hosted by Japanese PM. President Trump in Japan.

President Trump Participates in a Working Lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan

Trump and Abe meet at a golf course in Japan

President Trump Plays Golf with Prime Minister Abe in Japan 11/5/17

Trump abruptly talking negotiations, not threats in Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Softening his aggressive rhetoric, at least for the moment, President Donald Trump stood on South Korean soil Tuesday and urged North Korea to come to the negotiating table. It’s time, he said, for the North to “make a deal” to rein in its nuclear weapons program.

It was a striking shift in tone for the president, who for months has issued increasingly dire threats to answer any hostile North Korean action with “fire and fury.” On Tuesday, his first day on the Korean Peninsula as president, Trump said he’d seen “a lot of progress” in dealing with Pyongyang, though he stopped short of saying whether he wanted direct diplomatic talks.

“It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world,” Trump said at a news conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. “I do see certain movement.”

Trump was winding down his visit to Seoul on Wednesday with an address to South Korea’s National Assembly, where he was expected to outline his view of dangers posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The next stop on his five-nation Asian tour: Beijing, where he will press China to constrict the North’s economic lifeblood.

President Donald Trump says he believes he sees a lot of progress on the North Korean issue. Trump also urged North Korea to ‘come to the table and make a deal.’ He spoke during a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Nov. 7)

Ever the showman, Trump teased that he had a surprise in store for Wednesday, saying at a Tuesday evening banquet that he had an “exciting day” planned — “for many reasons that people will find out.” He did not elaborate.

Overall, the president sounded an optimistic note on disagreements with the North, saying confidently, if vaguely: “Ultimately, it’ll all work out.” Whether the shift in rhetoric signaled a change in policy or diplomatic strategy remained uncertain.

Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director in Washington for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said it could simply be Trump projecting “what he most recently heard” from Moon and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

“I expect he heard from both Prime Minister Abe and President Moon the need to give diplomacy a chance,” Fitzpatrick said. “Of course, it’s not the first time he has talked about engaging with North Korea. The issue has been one of timing. Now is a good time, during a pause in missile testing.”

North Korea has fired off more than a dozen missiles this year but none in nearly two months. But analysts caution against reading too much into the pause.

There’s no public sign of any diplomatic progress between Washington and Pyongyang. U.S. officials say the back channel between the State Department and the North Korean mission at the United Nations in New York remains intact, but contacts have not been substantive other than achieving the release of American college student Otto Warmbier in June. He died days after his repatriation to the U.S.

Still, Trump’s conciliatory comments would be welcome in South Korea, where both the government and the wider population have been unnerved by the president’s threats against the North.

Trump did note the United States’ military options, mentioning that three aircraft carrier groups and a nuclear submarine had been deployed to the region. But he said “we hope to God we never have to use” the arsenal. And he accused North Korea’s Kim Jong Un of “threatening millions and millions of lives, so needlessly.”

Moon, who has been eager to solidify a friendship with Trump, said he hoped the president’s visit would be a turning point in the standoff with North Korea.

The president began his day with a visit to Camp Humphreys, a joint US-Korean military base where he shook hands with American and Korean service members and ate lunch with troops in a large mess hall. The visit was intended to underscore the countries’ ties and South Korea’s commitment to contributing to its own defense.

When he leaves South Korea, Trump flies to Beijing for what the White House sees as the centerpiece of his five-nation Asia trip.

China is North Korea’s largest trade partner, and Trump is expected to press its leaders to curtail their dealings with Pyongyang and to expel North Korean workers from its borders. Trump has praised China for adopting tough United Nations sanctions against North Korea but has urged it to do more.

“I want to just say that President Xi — where we will be tomorrow, China — has been very helpful. We’ll find out how helpful soon,” Trump said. “But he really has been very, very helpful. So China is out trying very hard to solve the problem with North Korea.”

Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday will meet and have dinner with Xi Jinping and his wife and receive a private tour of The Forbidden City, Beijing’s ancient imperial palace. White House officials point to the leaders’ successful summit in Florida this spring, an event in part defined by Trump telling his Chinese counterpart about the missile strike he had ordered on Syria while the two men enjoyed chocolate cake. But experts in the region suggest that Xi will have the advantage over Trump.

“Trump keeps portraying his relationship with XI as great pals but that’s wildly naive,” said Mike Chinoy, a non-resident senior fellow at the US-China Institute at the University of Southern California. “The Chinese have figured out how to play Trump: flatter him. And there’s nothing the Chinese do better than wow foreign diplomats.”

___

Associated Press writers Matthew Pennington, Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey contributed from Washington.

___

https://apnews.com/19aece3ccf5c4c9496a777497379e709/In-Seoul,-Trump-calls-for-North-Korea-to-%22make-a-deal%22

EXCLUSIVE: We are ready for anything – don’t mess with our Hornets. Admiral in charge of supercarrier which will sail for North Korea’s doorstep sends message to Kim Jong-Un as Trump touches down in Seoul

  • DailyMailTV joined the Rear Admiral and crew of the USS Carl Vinson as the huge warship left its port in San Diego for a series of exercises ahead of its deployment
  • The Vinson will sail for the Western Pacific to relieve the USS Ronald Reagan and be one of two carrier strike groups in the region amid ongoing tensions with North Korea
  • Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the vessel and its ferocious armament of planes and escort of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser
  • Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel are fighter aircraft such as the $70million F/A-18 Super Hornet – capable of reaching Mach 1.8 (1,190mph) with a massive armament of bombs and missiles
  • In a message to Kim Jong-Un Rear Admiral Fuller said: ‘He needs to think very carefully on how he works with us, he needs to understand that we have capabilities that no other country has.’
  • The supercarrier has more than 3,500 crew which swells to 5,300 when the air wing is on board – the warship was used to transport Osama bin Laden’s body for its burial at sea in 2011
  • President Trump embarked on his 12-day trip to Asia, arriving on Sunday in Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests

The twin engines of the F/A-18 Super Hornet build into a roar and the $70million supersonic jet is catapulted from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson with an ear-splitting blast.

The aircraft disappears off the bow of the enormous nuclear-powered super carrier in a haze of steam, the bright glow of its engines disappearing into the distance.

This is one of the planes the man in charge of the supercarrier wants Kim Jong-Un to fear – because the Vinson is due to set sail for waters close to North Korea.

President Trump arrives in South Korea Monday night putting him on Kim’s doorstep as tensions mount over the ‘little Rocket Man’s’ escalating nuclear threat.

Now one of the president’s most important commanders tells DailyMailTV that his sailors are ready for anything – and that Kim needs to ‘think carefully’ when Carrier Strike Group One is in his waters.

Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the Vinson, its ferocious armament of planes, and its escort of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and a guided missile cruiser.

Don't mess with our Hornets: DailyMailTV witnessed the incredible sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft USS Carl Vinson as they put its four aircraft catapults through their paces. Its aircraft include the Hornet and Super Hornets and the EA-18 Growler (pictured) electronic attack aircraft, which jams enemy radar systems 

Don’t mess with our Hornets: DailyMailTV witnessed the incredible sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft USS Carl Vinson as they put its four aircraft catapults through their paces. Its aircraft include the Hornet and Super Hornets and the EA-18 Growler (pictured) electronic attack aircraft, which jams enemy radar systems

Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel, the twin engines of the F/A-18C Hornet were heard roaring off as the $70 million aircraft was catapulted off the deck. The strike fighter aircraft, which can reach Mach 1.8 (1,190mph), disappeared off the bow of the super carrier in a haze of steam

Aboard the 95,000 ton vessel, the twin engines of the F/A-18C Hornet were heard roaring off as the $70 million aircraft was catapulted off the deck. The strike fighter aircraft, which can reach Mach 1.8 (1,190mph), disappeared off the bow of the super carrier in a haze of steam

Preparation: Before liftoff, Navy crew work diligently to complete the complex tasks

Mini tractors tow the F/A18s into place and the Top Gun pilots ready the jets for take off

Commander Brian 'Convict' Felloney gets ready for take-off. The decorated pilot has more than 620 carrier landings on his record, and was a Top Gun instructor on a previous deployment

This is how the Vinson deploys: In May the supercarrier was photographed from the air as it and the whole strike group got an escort from two South Korean destroyers, the Sejong the Great and the Yang Manchun. The Carl Vinson's U.S. Navy escorts were the USS Lake Champlain, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Stethem

This is how the Vinson deploys: In May the supercarrier was photographed from the air as it and the whole strike group got an escort from two South Korean destroyers, the Sejong the Great and the Yang Manchun. The Carl Vinson’s U.S. Navy escorts were the USS Lake Champlain, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Stethem

In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV Rear Admiral Fuller says his strike group is ‘ready and in a direct message to Kim says: ‘He knows the capabilities we have.

‘Right now there are three aircraft carriers there, when we go through there – if we go off the coast [of North Korea] depending on our operations – he needs to think very carefully on how he works with us, he needs to understand that we have capabilities that no other country has.’

Standing on the deck of the Vinson, those capabilities are in no doubt.

DailyMailTV joined the Rear Admiral and crew of the Vinson as the huge warship left its port in San Diego for a series of exercises ahead of its deployment.

The ship raised its two 60,000lb anchors and set sail from Naval Air Station North Island, in Coronado.

Capable of reaching more than 30 knots (35mph) the Nimitz-class supercarrier – one of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Fleet – headed out into the Pacific Ocean.

DailyMailTV witnessed the awesome sight of hundreds of sailors and airmen on board the 1,092ft long, 117,000 sq ft warship put its four aircraft catapults through their paces.

Four giant elevators brought aircraft up from the hangar deep below the 4.5 acre flight deck as Super Hornets lined up on deck to be catapulted into the air – just like in a real war.

The USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are both in the region amid ongoing tensions with North Korea. The Vinson will relieve the USS Ronald Reagan, keeping two carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific.

The ship is the same vessel that was used to transport Osama bin Laden’s body for its burial at sea in 2011.

Last week it was reported that the USS Nimitz had left the Middle East and is also heading to the Pacific to join the US Navy’s 7th Fleet area of operations.

Rear Admiral John Fuller (pictured above in the flag bridge aboard the ship) Commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, will lead the Vinson. He said his strike group is 'ready' and in a direct message to Kim said: 'He knows the capabilities we have'

All hands on deck: One of the most important man on the flight deck is Lieutenant Commander Erick Stroud (pictured) who serves as the Aircraft Handling Officer (ACHO) - also called the handler or mangler and manages the movement and positioning of aircraft

President Trump will visit Asia for the first time when he leaves Washington D.C. on Friday for a 12-day trip which will include China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

The might of the Vinson is part of his message to the region’s leaders – that America has its allies’ backs, and its enemies should be afraid.

The Rear Admiral said: ‘There happens to be three carriers there that are gonna be working together for a while. This is good timing for us.

‘We’re going to go out to provide presence, stability, we’re going to go work with our partners and allies, we’re going to try to foment rules, laws and norms of theater.’

North Korea has not test-launched a missile in over a month, but has continued its threats on Guam and last week even threatened to detonate a nuclear weapon above ground.

Fuller, 52, the son of a retired Army colonel, said the ‘scheduled short cycle’ deployment is the Vinson’s ‘opportunity’.

‘I just know the Carl Vinson strike group is going to do the training to be ready to do what we’re called to do,’ he said.

Petty Officer 3rd class Joseph Newman, a 42-year-old nine-year veteran of the US Navy from Evansville, Indiana, is in charge of communications on the flight deck

‘We’re gonna go prepare our forces and our team to make sure that whatever missions they call us to do, so this provides perspective, Korea is one possible contingency plan that the aircraft carrier strike group is supposed to support.’

The Rear Admiral said the ‘beauty’ of what a carrier strike group brings is to project ‘awesome’ power at sea.

‘We don’t have to ask permission to go to some other land to operate our forces, we have the opportunity to use the seas to maneuver freely and we have the capability to project power from the sea as required.

‘But it is also a very stabilizing thing for our friends and allies that this capability is there as needed, we have the will power to use it and we have the proficiency to use it well.’

The Rear Admiral insists, however that the Navy’s first line of defense is to ‘promote peace’, adding: ‘My job is to make sure if they decide to use the capabilities an aircraft carrier and a strike group has, that we’re prepared to deliver those.

‘The civilian policy maker will do what they feel is in the best interests.

‘But I owe it to the parents of my sailors to make sure we’re ready.’

On deck getting ready is a complex task. Mini tractors tow the F/A18s into place and the Top Gun pilots ready the jets for take off.

Commanding Officer of the Vinson, Captain Doug ‘V8’ Verissimo gives the order and the jets roar into action.

Jet blast deflector (JBD) operator ABE3 Jasper Evans, who is known as a ‘Green Jersey’ describes the ‘intense’ moment a F/A-18 takes off.

His job is to raise the JBD to protect his shipmates from the searing heat of a jet engine.

‘Whenever the aircraft is getting ready to launch they throttle up and I raise the JBD so that no one behind can get burnt or blown away off the flight deck,’ he explained.

‘It gets really hot up here, really intense. But we’re fully protected, we wear float coats, flight deck pants and jersey, and a helmet and goggles.’

Evans, 27, is in his fourth year with the US Navy. Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, he has just one year left to complete his service.

Donald Trump kicked off his 12-day Asian trip in Japan on Sunday. The President met with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests

He has been on two long deployments overseas and is used to the strict routine of life at sea.

‘Everything is routine on a ship, you wake up at a certain time, go eat breakfast and get ready for when they call flight operations and we come upstairs on the flight deck, we suit up and get ready to launch the aircraft.

‘A work day ends at 10 or 11 o’clock and it repeats – very long days.’

The flight deck is awash with dedicated crewmen like Evans wearing different colored jerseys.

Green jerseys operate the JBDs, aircraft handlers wear yellow jerseys, blue jerseys work in the hangar bay and purple jerseys refuel the aircraft, while red jerseys handle aviation ordinance and crash and salvage.

The whole manic scene is watched over by white jerseys.

Interior Communications Electrician Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Newman from Evansville, Indiana is in charge of communications on the flight deck.

Everyday is routine on the ship as Navy crew are expected to wake up early in the morning, eat breakfast, get ready, arrive on the flight deck, suit up, and prepare to launch the aircraft. A typical work day ends at 10pm or 11pm

The flight deck is awash with dedicated crewmen wearing different colored jerseys. Green jerseys (center) operate the jet blast deflectors, and aircraft handlers wear yellow jerseys (right) 

‘I take care of all the maintenance of the cameras, the comms systems and the deck lighting as well as the lights up on the island,’ he explains.

Blue jerseys work in the hangar bay and purple jerseys refuel the aircraft, while red jerseys handle aviation ordinance and crash and salvage. The Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers are moved up to the flight desk on huge aircraft elevators

Four giant elevators brought aircraft up from the hangar deep below the 4.5 acre flight deck as Super Hornets lined up on deck to be catapulted into the air - just like in a real war

‘I also take care of the ‘meat ball’, [a gray boom that displays lights that pilots use to help during the final seconds of landing].

‘You’ll hear the pilots say they’re on the ball as they come in to land. We also take care of all the sound power headsets that the crew use to communicate, we keep things running.

‘It’s a big job, up here in V2 and air department and we also have ICs downstairs in combat systems.’

Newman is a 42-year-old nine-year veteran of the US Navy and has served on the Vinson for six years.

‘I joined late, I did apartment maintenance before this.’

But perhaps the most important man on the flight deck is Lieutenant Commander Erick Stroud.

Stroud is the Aircraft Handling Officer (ACHO) – also called the handler or mangler and manages the movement and positioning of aircraft.

Stroud, 42, a married father of four from Griffin, Georgia, said the most important part of the preparations is keeping his flight deck clean and free of foreign objects.

‘I don’t want to be associated with damaging a $70million aircraft so we go to the extreme to make sure we’re prepared,’ he said.

The ship operates four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornets, one squadron of EA-18G Growlers, and Seahawk helicopters for transportation and maritime patrols 

Also on board is a squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft - designed to detect jets, ships and other vehicles from long distances 

Also on board is a squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft – designed to detect jets, ships and other vehicles from long distances

There are more than 3,500 crew on the Vinson which swells to 5,300 when the full air wing is on embarked, as it was in this 2011 photograph. The warship – call sign 'Gold Eagle' - can operate for up to 20 years without refueling since it is nuclear-powered

Speaking from his control room – a buzz of phone calls and radio chatter – just off the flight deck, he added: ‘This is the nucleus of aviation and flight operations, I control the entire flight deck as well as movement in the hangar bay and all the people involved, we have about 600 people working in those two areas and we integrate with the squadrons, that’s about 500 people.

‘That’s 1,100 people working together seamlessly to make this all happen.’

DON’T MESS WITH OUR SUPER HORNETS

The twin-engine strike fighter aircraft were first introduced to the US Navy in 1999 to replace the F-14 Tomcat, made famous in the hit movie Top Gun.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet can reach Mach 1.8, which is equivalent to 1,190mph at 40,000 ft.

On the Vinson they operate alongside the older Hornet and the related Growler. 

The Super Hornets’ armament includes: 

One M61A1/A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon

The strike fighter has 11 hard points on its wings and under the main fuselage which can carry a mixture of:

Missiles: Four AIM 9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles

Two AIM 7 Sparrow/ (2) AIM-120 AMRAAM

One Standoff Land Attack Missile

One AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile

One HARM (Anti-Radiation Missile) – designed to destroy enemy radar systems

Maverick air to ground missiles: Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW); Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

Bombs: Paveway laser guided bomb; JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions); freefall bombs; mines.

As of 2011, 500 Super Hornets have been built on single-seat (F/A-18E) and twin-seat (F/A-18F) variations.

Source: US NAVY 

 Stroud keeps an eye on two large digital status boards showing the movements of aircraft on the flight deck but he also uses an old school ‘Ouija Board’ – a scaled replica of the flight deck on which templates of aircraft are moved around based on messages radioed in from spotters.

The lieutenant commander, a 25-year veteran, has four catapults to launch aircraft at his disposal as well as four arresting cables to recover the aircraft.

He moves the aircraft up from the hangar bay in the guts of the ship on four giant elevators.

When planes make an arrested landing, pilots aim to hit the No 3 cable of four arrested cables numbered 1-4 from aft to forward.

Their performance goes up on a board so it gets competitive.

But crew safety is of utmost importance.

Stroud explains: ‘There’s a red and white foul line, which is said to be drawn in blood, because you have to judge where the aircraft is coming in and everybody has to stand on the opposite side of the line.

‘If an aircraft is coming in and you get one of the tall guys level with the wing on the wrong side of the line, it’ll take his head off and we’ll have a body to clean up.

‘When we get into that level of complacency, where we get into the same routine every day, launching planes and recovering planes, that one second of being inattentive is dangerous.

‘You have to keep your head on a swivel no matter what.’

Everyone on the Vinson seems on point inside the 3,000 room hull underneath the flight deck.

There are several cafeterias, nine gyms, a Starbucks-style coffee shop and ‘luxury’ state rooms for ‘Distinguished Visitors’.

Since it is nuclear-powered, the Vinson – call sign ‘Gold Eagle’ – can operate for up to 20 years without refueling. It also has anti-submarine capabilities.

The seal of the ship is an eagle with extended wings, carrying a banner in its beak.

The Latin phrase ‘Vis Per Mare’ -‘Strength through the Sea’ – is inscribed on the banner.

The ship operates four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornets, one squadron of EA-18G Growlers – which disrupt enemy radar – one squadron of E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft, as well as a compliment of C2-A Greyhound transport planes and Seahawk helicopters.

There are more than 3,500 crew on the Vinson, which swells to 5,300 when the air wing is on board, which means working seven days a week with shifts often lasting 12 hours or more. But few complain about living on the floating city.

The massive warship has a 3,000-room hull below the flight deck which includes several cafeterias, nine gyms, a Starbucks-style coffee shop and 'luxury' state rooms for 'Distinguished Visitors'

On a daily average, the Navy spends around $60,000 feeding sailors and on Sunday, they serve a special brunch meal which includes Belgian waffles or some shrimp

On a daily average, the Navy spends around $60,000 feeding sailors and on Sunday, they serve a special brunch meal which includes Belgian waffles or some shrimp

In addition to the gym facilities, sailors also have the opportunity to take Zumba and spin classes, weight-lifting and functional fitness classes and even rowing club

‘On a daily average we spend around $60,000 to feed the crew, which is roughly about 15-20 pallets worth of food.

‘A special day for us is Sunday, we do a brunch we serve things like Belgian waffles, some shrimp, a special chance to give the sailors a chance to refresh for the next week.’

After filling up a lot of the sailors like to keep fit. Dan Larrell is in charge of putting them through their paces in the ship’s nine gyms.

‘I am a fitness director, if you imagine this warship as a large 24 hour fitness, we have 4,500 sailors and we treat them all as our clients,’ he explains.

Larrell says as well as running and maintaining the gyms he puts together the fitness schedule and offers Zumba and spin classes, weight-lifting and functional fitness classes and even rowing club.

‘Any sailor on any watch on any schedule can come to our classes,’ he added.

‘What’s really incredible is that we not only get the younger sailors at our classes but we get the captain of the ship, the XO [executive officer] of the ship and the admiral of the ship, when I train them… it’s the first time in a very long time someone is telling them what to do. It’s my time to make them work a little bit harder.’

Running the Vinson, let alone a whole Carrier Strike Group, is a huge undertaking and one that Fuller doesn’t take lightly.

He says he’s incredibly ‘honored and humbled’ to be in the position he’s in.

‘I never expected that I would have the opportunity to lead such an awesome fighting force and such an awesome group of sailors. It hasn’t even really sunk in, I’m just amazed I get this chance here. I am exceptionally proud of that.’

And the commander says America should be equally proud of the US Navy’s achievements.

He said: ‘The most awesome thing we have is some of the best people in America who volunteered to help protect and promote prosperity for our American citizens and then with those great people we have fantastic equipment and systems that allow us to project power from the sea for sustained periods of time in ways no other country can.’

Soon the Vinson will be in Kim’s waters – and those people and equipment could be tested as never before.

Story 3: Saudi Arab On The Brink of Proxy War With Lebanon Paritally Controlled By Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah — Saudi Arab Blames Iran For Yemen Missile Attack — Purge and Roundup of Royal Prince Continues — Videos —

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𝐁en 𝐒hapiro 𝐄xplains 𝐓he 𝐆odfather 𝐒cenario 𝐇appening 𝐈n 𝐒audi 𝐀rabia

Ben Shapiro: At least 17 princes and top officials arrested in Saudi Arabia. What’s going on there?

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Saudi Minister: Lebanon declared war on kingdom

Published on Nov 7, 2017
A senior Saudi minister has accused Lebanon of declaring war against the kingdom. The minister for Persian Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan also accused the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah of committing acts of aggression and attacking the Saudi kingdom without further elaborations. He then urged the Lebanese government to realize the risks of Hezbollah actions. Al-Sabhan made the comments in reaction to criticism Riyadh has been facing over the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Hariri made the announcement in a statement broadcast on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV. On Sunday, Hezbollah chief Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and other Lebanese officials accused Riyadh of forcing Hariri to quit in a bid to create tensions in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran intensifies

Iran denies arming Yemenis with missiles

Is Lebanon on the brink of turmoil? – Inside Story

Published on Nov 5, 2017
Hariri’s resignation came as a surprise. The fact that he did it from Riyadh, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world, sent shockwaves through the region. His resignation shatters a delicate deal that put him in a coalition government after a two-year political vacuum. It is not the first time a Lebanese government has collapsed- it happened in 2005, 2011 and 2013. The country’s political structure requires that the President must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia Muslim. Last year Lebanon’s parliament swore in a new cabinet dominated by Hezbollah and its allies – in a major victory for the Shia, Iran-backed group. Add to that, Hezbolllah’s military wing has been racking up victories in Syria, building up its arsenal, and steadily increasing its influence at home, and that’s upset some, including Saudi Arabia So, what’s next? And will Lebanon again become the battleground for other peoples’ wars?

Did the Saudis Force Lebanese PM to Resign?

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The Middle East Crisis in a nutshell

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Saudi Arabia vs. Iran: The Sunni-Shiite Proxy Wars

Iranian proxy Hezbollah increasing influence over Lebanese politics and army

What the rising power of Hezbollah means for the Middle East

What If Saudi Arabia And Iran Went To War?

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The Great Divide: Sunni vs. Shi’a – Full Episode

Foreign Policy Association
Published on Feb 29, 2016
From the conflicts in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘a groups for hegemony is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. But for all the religious discourse permeating the conflict, much of its roots are political, not religious. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it? Full episode from the Great Decisions PBS series: http://www.greatdecisionsonpbs.com/ Visit our website for more information: http://www.fpa.org/ Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor David Strathairn and produced by the Foreign Policy Association, each half-hour episode of the Great Decisions documentary series tackles a different challenge facing America today. This episode first aired in January 2015.

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Ben Shapiro: At least 17 princes and top officials arrested in Saudi Arabia. What’s going on there?

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Dozens of Saudi princes, businessmen arrested in anti-corruption bid

Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes Including A Billionaire

Cabinet reshuffle, crackdown on corruption in latest Saudi purge

After shakeup, can Saudi Arabia’s crown prince deliver on promise of reform?

PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 6, 2017

In the name of fighting corruption in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced over the weekend the government would hold trials for 11 princes, stamping out opposition and cementing his rule. Special correspondent Nick Schifrin is joined by Bilal Saab of the Middle East Institute and Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center to discuss the potential fallout of the crackdown.

Saudi Arabia arrests 4 ministers and 11 princes

PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the arrest of four government ministers and 11 royal princes hours after he was named the head of a new anti-corruption committee. Billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has stakes in major U.S. companies like Apple and Twitter, was among those arrested. Gary Sick, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, joins Hari Sreenivasan.

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Saudi Arabia attacked by Yemen missile in Riyadh intercepts ballistic missile

Saudi Arabia Missile: Air Force intercepts missile near Riyadh

Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border – BBC News

Published on Nov 6, 2017
A senior Saudi prince and seven other officials have been killed in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Yemen, state media report. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir province, was returning from an inspection tour when his aircraft came down near Abha late on Sunday, the interior ministry said. It did not give a cause for the crash. But it came hours after a major purge of the kingdom’s political and business leadership. An anti-corruption body led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, ordered the detentions of dozens of people, including 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers. Analysts see the unprecedented move as an attempt to cement the power of the heir to the throne.

10 Minutes: Saudi Arabia’s New Crown Prince

Inside Saudi Arabia: On front line of war with Yemen – BBC News

The 18 Religions That Make Up Lebanon’s Government

Why Lebanon Is Fractured By The Conflicts In The Middle East

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war, deepening crisis

People walk next to a poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanon has been thrust to the center of regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.

Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah.

Faulting the Hariri-led administration for failing to take action against Hezbollah during a year in office, Sabhan said “there are those who will stop (Hezbollah) and make it return to the caves of South Lebanon”, the heartland of the Shi‘ite community.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, he added: “Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return.”

He did not spell out what action Saudi Arabia might take against Lebanon, a country with a weak and heavily indebted state that is still rebuilding from its 1975-90 civil war and where one-in-four people is a Syrian refugee.

There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah is both a military and a political organization that is represented in the Lebanese parliament and in the Hariri-led coalition government formed last year.

Its powerful guerrilla army is widely seen as stronger than the Lebanese army, and has played a major role in the war in neighboring Syria, another theater of Saudi-Iranian rivalry where Hezbollah has fought in support of the government.

Lebanese authorities said on Monday the country’s financial institutions could cope with Hariri’s resignation and the stability of the Lebanese pound was not at risk.

But the cash price of Lebanon’s U.S. dollar-denominated bonds fell, with longer-dated maturities suffering hefty losses as investors took a dim view of the medium- to longer-term outlook for Lebanon.

A poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned from his post, hangs along a street in the mainly Sunni Beirut neighbourhood of Tariq al-Jadideh in Beirut, Lebanon November 6, 2017. The Arabic on the poster reads, “With you forever”. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

HARIRI FREE TO TRAVEL, SAUDI FM SAYS

Hariri cited a plot to assassinate him during his unexpected resignation speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia which caught even his aides off guard. He also slammed Hezbollah and Iran, accusing them of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said he will not comment on Hariri’s speech, calling it a “Saudi statement” and saying Riyadh had forced Hariri to resign.

The sudden nature of Hariri’s resignation generated speculation in Lebanon that his family’s Saudi construction business had been caught up in an anti-corruption purge and he had been coerced into resigning.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said it was “nonsense” to suggest Hariri had been coerced into quitting in a CNN interview on Monday. Hariri had quit because Hezbollah had been “calling the shots” in the government, he said. Hariri, a Saudi citizen, was free to leave the country at any time, he said.

Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, a senior member of Hariri’s political party, said he was under the impression Hariri would return to Beirut within days.

A meeting between Saudi King Salman and Hariri in Riyadh on Monday proved “rumors” wrong, he said – an apparent reference to speculation that Hariri was detained or forced to quit.

Earlier on Monday, President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, appealed for national unity.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another political ally of Hezbollah, said in a televised statement after meeting Aoun it was too early to talk about forming a new government.

The crisis could re-aggravate tensions between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims and afflict Lebanese government with paralysis once again. All of the sides have called for calm and there has been no sign of unrest since Hariri’s resignation.

The Hariri-led government took office last year in a political deal that made Aoun president. The deal ended years of deadlock, and last month it produced Lebanon’s first budget since 2005.

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after meeting in Beirut the top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, who described the coalition as “a victory” and “great success” afterwards.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-missiles-yemen/saudi-led-forces-close-air-sea-and-land-access-to-yemen-idUSKBN1D60I8

Saudi Arabia Blames Iran for Missile Attack

Yemeni rebels’ missile intercepted near Riyadh was made in Iran, Saudis say; Iran denies involvement

Smoke from an alleged Saudi-led airstrike on the Yemeni capital, San'a, on Sunday.
Smoke from an alleged Saudi-led airstrike on the Yemeni capital, San’a, on Sunday. PHOTO: ARHAB/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Yemeni rebels’ missile attack on the Saudi capital on Saturday could be considered an Iranian act of war, Saudi Arabia said, in a statement likely to intensify tensions between the archrivals.

Saudi Arabia intercepted the ballistic missile east of Riyadh’s main airport after it flew more than 500 miles from Yemen. It was fired by Houthi rebels, who are seen by Saudi Arabia as proxies of Iran.

The Saudi-led military coalition that has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than 2½ years “considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Debris from the missile showed it was made in Iran, the statement said, adding that the coalition “reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner, in accordance with international law and based on the right of self-defense.”

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, dismissed the claim.

“We are not basically capable of transferring missiles to Yemen,” he said Sunday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Houthi missiles, he said, are homegrown.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, on Monday called Saudi accusations against Iran “unfair, irresponsible, destructive and provocative,” according to a state television news website. He advised the kingdom to stop its assault on Yemen to pave the way for peace talks.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that Saudi Arabia was bombing Yemen and killing thousands of innocent people and spreading famine.

The kingdom “is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilizing behavior and risky provocations,” he said. “It blames Iran for the consequences.”

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Iranian intervention in the region was undermining security and repeated that Saudi Arabia had the right to respond.

The Houthis, who in the past have presented missiles as domestically sourced, have fired dozens at Saudi Arabia since the coalition began a campaign to oust them from Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2015.

The range of some, like the “Volcano H2” the group fired Saturday, has increased markedly in 2017, putting significant Saudi population centers and energy infrastructure within range.

Saudi Arabia, which controls Yemeni airspace and oversees shipping traffic through its ports, said all land, sea and air borders with the country would be closed temporarily to address the missile threat, although humanitarian supplies would still be allowed in.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni Muslim power in the region, and Iran, its main Shiite rival, have risen in recent days. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a close Saudi ally, resigned Saturday, blaming Iran for destabilizing the region and saying his life was under threat.

Saudi Arabia has more aggressively confronted Iran under 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who orchestrated Saudi involvement in Yemen.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-blames-iran-for-missile-attack-1509955160

Saudi Crackdown Targets Up to $800 Billion in Assets

Authorities detain more prominent businessmen, freeze bank accounts

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, has said tackling corruption is necessary to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, has said tackling corruption is necessary to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.PHOTO: SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/REUTERS

The Saudi government is aiming to confiscate cash and other assets worth as much as $800 billion in its broadening crackdown on alleged corruption among the kingdom’s elite, according to people familiar with the matter.

Several prominent businessmen are among those who have been arrested in the days since Saudi authorities launched the crackdown on Saturday, by detaining more than 60 princes, officials and other prominent Saudis, according to those people and others.

The country’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, said late Tuesday that it has frozen the bank accounts of “persons of interest” and said the move is “in response to the Attorney General’s request pending the legal cases against them.”

The purge is the most extensive of the kingdom’s elite in recent history. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, was named heir to the throne in Juneand has moved to consolidate power. He has said that tackling corruption at the highest level is necessary to overhaul what has long been an oil-dependent economy.

The crackdown could also help replenish state coffers. The government has said that assets accumulated through corruption will become state property, and people familiar with the matter say the government estimates the value of assets it can reclaim at up to 3 trillion Saudi riyal, or $800 billion.

“They reckon that they could get around 2 to 3 trillion riyals from these people. That’s the number they are talking about,” said a person close to the government.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince: Three Things to Know
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as crown prince, replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as first in line to the throne. WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains who he is, and what this means for the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the broader region. Photo: Getty Images. (Originally Published June 21, 2017)

Much of that money is abroad, which will complicate efforts to reclaim it, people familiar with the matter said. But even a portion of that amount could help Saudi Arabia’s finances. A prolonged period of low oil prices forced the government to borrow money on the international bond market and to draw extensively from the country’s foreign reserves, which dropped from $730 billion at their peak in 2014 to $487.6 billion in August, the latest available government data.

Who Has Been Promoted, Who Has Been Detained in Saudi Arabia

Under King Salman, many senior princes have been sidelined from power or detained, according to people familiar with the matter. Here are a few of the important moves.

King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud

The founder of modern Saudi Arabia, who ruled from 1932

to 1953

Detained

Promoted

Other direct descendant

LINE OF SUCCESSION

King Salman bin

Abdulaziz

King 2015-present

He is the sixth brother in a row to assume the throne. He became king in 2015 and in June appointed his own son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his heir.

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah

Prince al-Waleed

bin Talal

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman

He is one of the world’s richest men. Through his firm Kingdom Holding Co., he has invested in Apple, Twitter, and Citigroup. He was detained on Nov. 4.

Previous head of the elite Saudi Arabian National Guard

Previous crown prince

The 32-year-old prince has ascended to a position of unrivaled power since his father became king, and oversees most key policy areas in the country, from the economy to defense. He is the architect of the ambitious plan to end the kingdom’s dependence on oil. As minister of defense, he launched Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. He became crown prince in June.

Prince Mohammed, a former powerful minister of interior, was removed from the position of crown prince in June and replaced by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a younger cousin. His ouster faced some resistance within the royal family

He is the politically influential son of the previous monarch, King Abdullah. He was fired and detained on Nov. 4.

Prince Abdulaziz bin

Saud bin Nayef

New minister of interior

He was appointed as minister of interior in June. He belongs to the same branch of the royal family as Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the ousted crown prince.

Note: not all descendants represented

Sources: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; staff reports.

The arrests were ordered by a newly established anticorruption agency headed by Prince Mohammed.

The crown prince “needs cash to fund the government’s investment plans,” political risk advisory firm Eurasia Group said in a note on Monday. “It was becoming increasingly clear that additional revenue is needed to improve the economy’s performance. The government will also strike deals with businessmen and royals to avoid arrest, but only as part of a greater commitment to the local economy.”

Spokespeople for the Saudi government didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce, Majid al Qasabi, on Tuesday sought to reassure the private sector that the corruption investigation wouldn’t interfere with normal business operations.

The procedures and investigations undertaken by the anticorruption agency won’t affect ongoing business or projects, he said.

Running LowSaudi Arabia is heavily dependent on oilexports, and government revenues havetaken a hit as crude prices have tumbled inrecent years.THE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
.trillion riyalsOil revenueOther revenue2006’08’10’12’14’160.000.250.500.751.001.251.50

In its statement on Tuesday, the Saudi central bank said that individual accounts had been frozen, not corporate accounts. “It is business as usual for both banks and corporates,” the central bank said.

The central bank sent a list of hundreds of names to lenders, asking them to freeze any accounts linked to them, according to people familiar with the matter.

“These are just the initial stages of either asset freezes or arrests. More people are expected to be impacted as the investigation unfolds,” said a Saudi official.

The government earlier this week vowed that it would arrest more people as part of the corruption investigation, which began around three years ago.

As a precautionary measure, authorities have banned a large number of people from traveling outside the country, among them hundreds of royals and people connected to those arrested, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co., spoke at a conference in Chicago in 2013.
Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co., spoke at a conference in Chicago in 2013. PHOTO: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

The government hasn’t officially named the people who were detained.

They include billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the most widely known members of the Saudi royal family and a major investor in companies including Apple Inc., Twitter Inc. and Citigroup Inc. He faces allegations of money laundering, bribery and extortion, according to a senior Saudi official. A representative of Prince al-Waleed didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to people familiar with the investigation, those detained over the weekend also include Bakr bin Ladin, the chairman of the construction giant Saudi Binladin Group. A spokesman for Saudi Binladin didn’t respond to request for comment.

Saudi Binladin, the biggest construction firm in the Gulf region, flourished as one of the government’s preferred builders during the boom years in the oil-rich country, winning a high-profile contract to expand the grounds of the Great Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. The people familiar with the investigation said Mr. bin Ladin faces allegations of bribery in connection with that project.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-expands-crackdown-on-elite-1510062385

A resignation, detentions and missiles: 24 hours that shook the Middle East

Trump voices ‘great confidence’ in Saudi Arabia amid royal purge

President Trump on Monday gave a vote of confidence to the leadership of Saudi Arabia amid a royal family purge that has rocked the Middle East.

“I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing,” Trump tweeted while traveling in Asia. “Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!”

The president appeared to lend his endorsement to this weekend’s arrests of 11 members of the Saudi royal family, which authorities there described as a crackdown against corruption.

The mass arrests amounted to the most sweeping purge of the Saudi ruling elite in the country’s modern history. Advisers, ministers and businessmen were also taken into custody on orders from a newly formed anti-corruption committee.

Regional observers see the round-up as one of the most dramatic moves yet by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to consolidate power.

The crown prince, 32, has taken over several key government posts over the past two years while pushing aside rivals as he seeks to position himself as the next leader of the oil-rich kingdom.

He also heads the anti-corruption panel.

Among those arrested were Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, a son of the late King Abdullah and head of the National Guard, and the kingdom’s wealthiest investor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Mohammad bin Salman has pushed the hidebound kingdom to implement reforms while cozying up to the U.S., a top Saudi ally.

The crown prince, who is a son of King Salman, has also formed a relationship with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Kushner made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia last month, where U.S. officials said he intended to discuss Middle East peace.

Saudi Arabia was the site of Trump’s first trip abroad as president, a visit Mohammad bin Salman was said to have helped arrange.

Trump also has ties to bin Talal, who helped bail him out of financial trouble in the 1990s. The investor was part of a group that purchased New York’s Plaza Hotel from Trump as well as the real-estate mogul’s yacht.

No one should ever have to negotiate between getting lifesaving care or accessing their prescriptions.

Their relationship took a turn for the worse in 2015, when bin Talal bashedTrump’s campaign rhetoric and called on him to drop out of the presidential race.

“Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money,” Trump responded on Twitter. “Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/359036-trump-voices-great-confidence-in-saudi-arabia-amid-royal-purge

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The Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017, Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos — Story 2: Will American People Form A New Political Party ? Yes — American Independence Party? When? — 2024 When Over 50% Are Independents — No Longer Believe Democratic or Republican Parties Represent Their Interests/Concerns — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos — Story 4: Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

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Image result for cartoons more sanctions on north koreaImage result for cartoons on 2020 presidential electionsImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for seymour hersh seth rich murder source of wikileaks DNCImage result for cartoons 2020 presidential raceImage result for o cartoons 2020 presidential race

 

Story 1: The United Nations Security Council Vote Was Unanimous (15-0) Including China and Russia Imposing Sanctions on North Korea — Videos —

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U.N. Security Council Approves New Sanctions on North Korea

By Chas Danner

Image
The unanimous vote on Saturday. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council has approved a U.S.-drafted resolution to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, in response to its escalating nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs. The new sanctions, which received unanimous support from the council on Saturday, will impose a full ban on roughly a third of North Korean exports, denying them more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

The sanctions are the seventh set to be imposed on North Korea since its first nuclear-weapon test in 2006, but the first international measure to be taken against the regime since President Trump took office. The resolution comes a little more than a week after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that was capable of reaching the mainland U.S. It also received the crucial support of China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, and one of the countries that can veto any U.N. Security Council resolution.

In fact, Politico reports that the sanctions negotiations with China, which started following North Korea’s first successful test of an ICBM on July 4, succeeded in derailing a Trump-administration plan to open a trade investigation targeting China. That plan, which Trump and White House officials hinted at last weekend, was apparently due to be announced on Friday. Assuming the Politico report is accurate, staving off the White House represents a rare win for the State Department against other factions in the Trump administration. It also, for now, denies the White House a chance to test whether or not a trade war with China would be a smart way to protect the U.S. from a North Korean nuclear missile.

“This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation,” U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley declared before the U.N. Security Council vote on Saturday. Per the resolution, North Korea can no longer export coal, iron, lead, seafood, and a few other materials. New joint ventures with the country are also prohibited, as are new investments in existing ventures, and more North Korean individuals and entities have been added to the preexisting U.N. sanctions blacklist, which freezes assets and travel.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, declared on Saturday that the new resolution demonstrates that the world is “united in its position regarding the nuclear position on the Korean peninsula,” and said that China was glad that the U.S. said it was not seeking regime change in Pyongyang or reunification of the two Koreas. North Korea’s denuclearization (which is not very likely) is still a top U.S. priority, however. The U.S. will also continue to conduct its annual military exercises with South Korea, while both China and Russia reiterated their opposition to the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile-defense system in South Korea, though that issue did not prevent them from supporting the final resolution.

The resolution does not, as the U.S. originally had sought, cut the amount of oil being delivered to North Korea, but the U.S. was apparently able to overcome the initial objections of China and Russia. All involved stressed that they saw the sanctions as a way to force North Korea to the negotiating table over its nuclear- and ballistic-missile weapons programs, but the successful implementation of this — or any — new sanctions on the country will rely almost exclusively on China following through on its end.

Sanctions against North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sanctions against North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, have been imposed by various countries and international bodies. The current sanctions are largely concerned with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006.

United Nations sanctions

A North Korea cargo ship at the dock in Nampo

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.[1]

Resolution 1718 in 2006 demanded that North Korea cease nuclear testing and prohibited the export to North Korea of some military supplies and luxury goods.[2][3] A Sanctions Committee is established, supported by a Panel of Experts that issue annual reports.[4][5][6]

Resolution 1874, passed after the second nuclear test in 2009, broadened the arms embargo. Member states were encouraged to inspect ships and destroy any cargo suspected being related to the nuclear weapons program.[3][1]

Resolution 2087, passed in January 2013 after a satellite launch, strengthened previous sanctions by clarifying a state’s right to seize and destroy cargo suspected of heading to or from North Korea for purposes of military research and development.[3][1]

Resolution 2094 was passed in March 2013 after the third nuclear test. It imposed sanctions on money transfers and aimed to shut North Korea out of the international financial system.[3][1]

Resolution 2270, passed in March 2016 after the fourth nuclear test, further strengthened sanctions.[7] It banned the export of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals. The export of coal and iron were also banned, with an exemption for transactions that were purely for “livelihood purposes”.[8][1]

Resolution 2321, passed in November 2016, capped North Korea’s coal exports and banned exports of copper, nickel, zinc, and silver.[9][10] In February 2017, a UN panel said that 116 of 193 member states had yet not submitted a report on their implementation of these sanctions, though China had.[11] Also in February 2017, China announced it would ban all imports of coal for the rest of the year.[12]

United States sanctions

In February 2016, President Obama enacted the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, which passed the House of Representatives and the Senate with nearly unanimous support.[3] This law:

  • requires the President to sanction entities found to have contributed to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, arms trade, human rights abuses or other illegal activities.[3]
  • imposes mandatory sanctions for entities involved in North Korea’s mineral or metal trades, which comprise a large part of North Korea’s foreign exports.[3]
  • requires the US Treasury Department to determine whether North Korea should be listed as a “primary money laundering concern,” which would trigger tough new financial restrictions.[3]
  • imposes new sanctions authorities related to North Korean human rights abuses and violations of cybersecurity.[3]

This followed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013 which the Senate failed to pass.

South Korean sanctions

South Korea imposed sanctions against North Korea following the 2010 sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan. These sanctions, known as the May 24 measures, included:[3]

  • banning North Korean ships from South Korean territorial waters.[3]
  • suspending inter-Korean trade except at the Kaesong Industrial Zone.[3]
  • banning most cultural exchanges.[3]

In 2016 President Park Geun-hye ordered the Kaesong complex shut in retaliation for the nuclear test in January and the rocket launch in February.[3]

Japanese sanctions

In 2016, Japan’s sanctions against North Korea included:[3]

  • banning remittances, except those made for humanitarian purposes and less than 100,000 yen in value.[3]
  • freezing assets of suspect individuals and organisations in Japan.
  • prohibiting North Korean citizens from entering Japan.[3]
  • renewing the ban on North Korean ships entering Japanese ports and extending it to include other ships that have visited North Korea.[3]
  • banning nuclear and missile technicians who have been to North Korea from entering Japan.[13]

European Union

The European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. These include:[3]

  • an embargo on arms and related materiel.[3]
  • banning the export of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea.
  • banning the trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the North Korean government.[3]
  • banning the import of minerals from North Korea, with some exemptions for coal and iron ore.
  • banning exports of luxury goods.[3]
  • restrictions on financial support for trade with North Korea.[3]
  • restrictions on investment and financial activities.[3]
  • inspections and monitoring of cargoes imported to and exported from North Korea.[3]
  • prohibiting certain North Korean individuals from entering the EU.[14]

Assessment

A report by the United Nations Panel of Experts stated that North Korea was covertly trading in arms and minerals in defiance of the sanctions.[15]

The academic John Delury has described the sanctions as futile and counterproductive. He has argued that they are unenforceable and unlikely to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.[16]

On the other hand, Sung-Yoon Lee, Professor in Korean Studies at the Fletcher School, and Joshua Stanton, advocate continued tightening of sanctions, targeting Pyongyang’s systemic vulnerabilities, including blocking the regime’s “offshore hard currency reserves and income with financial sanctions, including secondary sanctions against its foreign enablers. This would significantly diminish, if not altogether deny, Kim the means to pay his military, security forces and elites that repress the North Korean public”.[17][18]

References

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What Is Libertarianism?

WOW! Hillary Wants To Run In 2020 (Will She Ever Learn)

What It Will Finally Take to Put Hillary Clinton Behind Bars

From white supremacy to Barack Obama: The history of the Democratic Party

The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

My Red Pill Moment: The Awakening

 

More Voters Voting Independent, Want Competitive Third-Party

Monday, August 07, 2017

Voters are more receptive to a political third party than they have been in recent years, and more than half now say they have voted for a candidate independent of the two major parties. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 1-2, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Questions – Third Party – August 1-2, 2017

See Toplines
See Crosstabs
Platinum Page

National Survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters

Conducted August 1-2, 2017
By Rasmussen Reports

 

1* Would it be good or bad for the United States if there was a truly competitive third political party? Or would it make no political difference?

 

2* Have you ever voted for an independent candidate not affiliated with either major party?

 

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/august_2017/questions_third_party_august_1_2_2017

 

Voters See Republicans As Bigger Roadblock Than Democrats For Trump

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Voters are now more likely to believe Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem for President Trump than Democrats are.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters believe congressional Republicans are a bigger problem for the president, while 36% believe Democrats are the bigger problem. A sizable 22% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily email update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20 & 23, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/july_2017/voters_see_republicans_as_bigger_roadblock_than_democrats_for_trump

 

Story 3: President Trump Takes 17 Day Working Vacation While White House Undergoes Needed Repairs — Videos —

Trump’s vacation looks a lot like those of modern presidents

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White House renovations begin as Trump starts 17-day working vacation in New Jersey

PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman)
PODS are loaded from the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The West Wing is getting a renovation while President Donald Trump is away on vacation. (AP Photo/Laurie Kellman) 
 – The Washington Times – Saturday, August 5, 2017

White House renovators didn’t waste any time overhauling the West Wing once President Trump left for a 17-day vacation Friday.

Renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue began hardly an hour after Mr. Trump boarded Air Force One en route to Bedminster, New Jersey, according to his social media manager, Dan Scavino. The president is scheduled to spend the next two and a half weeks at his golf resort there as the White House receives a well deserved makeover.

Mr. Scavino tweeted a picture of the Oval Office being emptied hardly an hour after Air Force One left Joint Base Andrews on Friday, and on Saturday he shared a photograph of the White House’s historic Resolute desk being removed for renovation.

The White House announced earlier in the week that the West Wing will undergo extensive renovations in Mr. Trump’s absence, including upgrades to the facility’s 27-year-old air-conditioning and heating systems, as well as the installation of new wiring, paint and carpets.

“Due to the 24/7, 365-day use a year, the estimated age of the system based off of usage is 81 years old,” deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters Thursday.

“I doubt that you would want to come to work on a hot summer day when the air-conditioning wasn’t working,” she said Friday.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/5/white-house-renovations-begin-trump-starts-17-day-/

Now that President Trump has left the White House and kicked off his 17-day getaway to his golf course in New Jersey, renovations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are going full-steam ahead.

Dan Scavino Jr., the president’s director of social media, tweeted on Friday a photo of an empty Oval Office with a step ladder near the fireplace.

“Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse,” he captioned the photo. “One hour after Air Force One is wheels up??the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.”

Renovations underway at the @WhiteHouse. One hour after Air Force One is wheels up🛫the Oval Office is empty. West Wing is clearing out now.

White House set for renovations as Trump takes first vacation

Trump denies he called White House a ‘dump’

As ABC News previously reported, the West Wing will be cleared out for several weeks for much-needed repairs.

Work has already begun on White House grounds to replace the 27-year-old heating and cooling system, the second stage of a renovation that started under the Obama administration.

Other work includes painting and new carpeting in the West Wing and refurbishments in the Oval Office. All of the renovations will be conducted by General Service Administration designers.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to deny a golf.com report that while speaking with members at the Trump National Golf Club, he said the White House is a “dump.”

“I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” he tweeted. “But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE.”

I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen. But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE

ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-staffer-tweets-photo-white-house-renovations-kicking-053405552–abc-news-topstories.html

 

Story 4 Seymour Hersh Exposes The DNC Leaker — Seth Rich — Not The Russians — DNC Obstruction of Trust — Videos

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report

Seymour Hersh Reveals Russian Hacking Story Fake

Exclusive: Seymour Hersh Exposes DNC Leaker’s Identity

Journalist Sy Hersh Discusses Seth Rich Situation- Leaked Audio Raw

Seth Rich’s spokesman interviews with New Day’s Alisyn Camerota about the impact of the coverage on

Seymour Hersh Bombshell: Seth Rich Leaked DNC Emails to WikiLeaks and Russian Hacking Story Is False

Seymour Hersh States Seth Rich Was WikiLeaks Source

Seymour Hersh: Seth Rich Indeed Leaked DNC Emails to Wikileaks (Confirmed by Wikileaks Itself)

SEYMOUR HERSH CONFIRMS KIM DOT COM STORY. SETH RICH WIKILEAKS LEAKER

Roger Stone – DNC and Seth Rich Murder Developments

The Truth About Seth Rich & The DNC⁄Wikileaks Scandal | Stefan Molyneux

The Seth Rich Story Changes Once Again

The Truth About Seth Rich & The DNC⁄Wikileaks Scandal | Stefan Molyneux

Seth Rich Just Latest Media Obfuscation in Grip of Mass Delusion

Unless Alternative Media Sees its Own Blindspots, We Won’t Be Effective With Change

Seth Rich Transferred 44,054 Emails to Wikileaks Per Federal Investigator

 

SEYMOUR HERSH: SPY CHIEFS INVENTED RUSSIA-COLLUSION STORY

Famous journalist claims they lied to Obama and lied about Trump

GARTH KANT

 

The entire Russia collusion story was a fiction made up by intelligence chiefs who lied about President Trump, and lied to President Obama and the media, according to a person on a just-released audio recording who is almost certainly legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Further, the person who recorded the audio is almost certainly financier Ed Butowsky, who hired private investigator Rod Wheeler to investigate the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last July.

Wheeler filed a defamation lawsuit against Butowsky and Fox News on Tuesday over a story the network retracted about the investigation.

 

WND did some digging and discovered those identical words appear on the audio recording, apparently verifying they were spoken by Hersh and taped by Butowsky. Judging by a report in the Washington Post, the conversation happened during, or before, February.

The audio was first posted late Tuesday afternoon on a site called Big League Politics then went viral after it was linked on Twitter by WikiLeaks.

Hersh, himself, acknowledged speaking with Butkowsy, during an NPR interview Monday in which he referred to the Seth Rich angle as gossip and said Butowsky “took two and two and made 45 out of it.”

But Hersh did not disavow what he said about the Russia collusion narrative.

On the recording, the reporter called the entire story that the Trump presidential campaign and transition team colluded with Russia “a Brennan operation.”

Hersh accused former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and current NSA Director Michael Rogers of peddling “disinformation” and misleading Obama and the press.

And he dded, “Trump’s not wrong to think they all f—ing lied about him.”

Hersh suggested Rogers falsely told the press that American intelligence agencies even knew who in the Russian military intelligence service “leaked it,” in apparent reference to the hacked Democratic emails that embarrassed the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

He also dismissively called Brennan an “a—hole,” Rogers a “f—ing moron” and Clapper “sort of a better guy but not a rocket scientist.”

Hersh ascribed a simple motive to the subterfuge by the top spies: They wanted to keep their jobs by assuring Clinton won the presidential election.

“With Trump they’re gone. You know, they’re done – they’re going to live on their pensions, they’re not going to make it.”

Hersh also explained why the story came to dominate the news cycle, portraying his colleagues in the establishment media as, essentially, too gullible.

“I worked at the New York Times for years and they have smart guys but they are totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (unintelligible) tells them something they actually believe it,” he said.

And, speaking of those highly placed sources, he said, “These guys run the f—ing Times.”

Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for exposing the My Lai massacre and has become one of the nation’s best-known and most-accomplished investigative reporters.

According to his biography in the New Yorker, in addition to Hersh’s Pulitzer, his journalism and publishing awards include five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

Hersh made on-the-record comments critical of the Russia collusion story to The Intercept on Jan. 25, flatly saying he did not believe the assessment by the intelligence community that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a hacking campaign designed to elect Trump.

He also blasted the major media for uncritically accepting the claims by Obama’s intelligence officials as facts.

“The way they (the media) behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff.”

Hersh told the Intercept that if he had been covering the story, “I would have made Brennan into a buffoon. A yapping buffoon in the last few days. Instead, everything is reported seriously.”

The reporter zeroed in on questionable aspects of the intelligence assessment that would become highly relevant when Brennan and Clapper finally testified before congressional committees months after the inauguration of Trump.

“What does an assessment mean?,” asked Hersh. “It’s not a national intelligence estimate. If you had a real estimate, you would have five or six dissents. One time they said 17 agencies all agreed. Oh really? The Coast Guard and the Air Force — they all agreed on it?”

He continued, “And it was outrageous and nobody did that story. An assessment is simply an opinion. If they had a fact, they’d give it to you. An assessment is just that. It’s a belief.”

Hersh’s critique of the flimsiness of the intelligent assessment parallels the analysis made by a prominent former CIA analyst after Clapper revealed during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on May 8, that it was not true that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had compiled, and agreed with, the findings.

As WND reported, Clapper not only revealed that just three agencies, the NSA, FBI and CIA, were involved in the assessment.

He also revealed that those agencies did not do the assessment themselves.

The analysis and conclusion were made by an irregular and hand-picked panel of what were called experts, who actually may have been, according to former CIA officer Fred Fleitz, highly politicized.

Fleitz served in U.S. national security positions for 25 years at the CIA, DIA, Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff.

As someone intimately familiar with the inner workings of the intelligence community, Fleitz penned an article for Fox News on May 12, that spelled out what really happened.

He had written previously that when the U.S. Intelligence Community issued an ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ (ICA) on January 6, 2017, that found Russia deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump’s candidacy, he “was suspicious because it reached unusually clear judgments on a politically explosive issue with no dissenting views.”

Fleitz was then surprised to hear Clapper explain in his May testimony that two dozen or so “seasoned experts” were “handpicked” from the contributing agencies and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.)

Wrote Fleitz, “This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.”

Describing just how unusual that was, he said, “Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure.”

Furthermore, “The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization.”

Fleitz also noted that former FBI Director James Comey had testified that the report’s conclusion of Russian interference was based on logic, not evidence.

“So we now know,” surmised the former CIA officer, “this was a subjective judgment made by a hand-picked group of intelligence analysts.”

“One has to ask how these hand-picked analysts were picked. Who picked them? Who was excluded?”

Fleitz called it a major problem that “the process gave John Brennan, CIA’s hyper-partisan former director, enormous influence over the drafting of the ICA.”

“Given Brennan’s scathing criticism of Mr. Trump before and after the election, he should have had no role whatsoever in the drafting of this assessment. Instead, Brennan probably selected the CIA analysts who worked on the ICA and reviewed and approved their conclusions.”

In other words, it seems Fleitz thought it not impossible that Brennan rigged the report to arrive at the conclusion he wanted.

Which makes Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on May 24, all the more relevant, because even though he testified he saw no evidence of collusion, the former CIA director admitted it was he who set in motion the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians.

Fleitz wants Congress to investigate the spies. He wrote:

“The unusual way that the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment was drafted raises major questions as to whether it was rigged by the Obama administration to produce conclusions that would discredit the election outcome and Mr. Trump’s presidency. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees therefore should add investigations of whether this ICA was politicized to their investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/seymour-hersh-spy-chiefs-invented-russia-collusion-story/#GCyp3JGqpJvbUcrE.99

 

Seymour Hersh audio transcript revealing Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

As reported by many alternative news websites, and as ignored by many corrupt mainstream media news outlets, audio recently emerged of award winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh stating that Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

You can listen to the audio here, or the transcript of the audio is provided below:

“I’ll tell you what I know. All I know comes off an FBI report. Don’t ask me how – you can figure out – you’ve been around long enough. I don’t think he was murdered because of what he knew. The kid was not an IT expert, but he learned stuff. He was a data programmer, but he learned stuff.

He’s living in a very rough neighborhood, and in the exact area where he lives – I’m sure you know – there’s been about 8 or 9 or 10 violent robberies, most of them with somebody brandishing a gun. And the kid’s hands – I’m sure you know – his hands are marked up, the cops included he fought off the people, tried to run and they shot him twice in the back with a .22 small caliber, and then the kids that did it ran – they got scared – didn’t take his wallet.

Okay, so what the cops do then, and here’s what nobody knows, what I’m telling you – or maybe you know something about it – when you have a death like that, DC cops, you have to get to the kid’s apartment and see what you can find. If he’s dead you don’t need a warrant, but most cops get a warrant because they don’t know if the guy has a room-mate. You need a warrant, so they get a warrant.

They go in the house, and they can’t do much with his computer, it’s password. The cops don’t know much about it. So the DC cops, they have a cyber unit in DC and they’re more sophisticated. They come and look at it. The idea is maybe he’s had a series of exchanges with somebody who says ‘I’m going to kill you, you mother ****er over a girl’ or… And they can’t get in. The cyber guys are a little better, but they can’t make sense of it, so they call the FBI cyber unit. The DC unit, the Washington field office is a hot s*** unit. The guy running the Washington field office, he’s like a three star at an army base. he’s ready for four. You know what I mean – he’s gong to go for a top job. There’s a cyber unit there that’s excellent.

What you get in a warrant – the public information you get in a warrant – doesn’t include the affidavit underlying why you’re going in – what the reason was. That’s almost never available. I can tell you that. The existence of a warrant is a public document 99% of the time.

So, and the same morning they call in the feds. The feds get through and here’s what they find. This is according to the FBI report. What they find is he makes contact.

First of all, you have to know some basic facts. One of the basic facts is that there are no DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 21st or 22nd, the last email from either one of those groups.

And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring/early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks. That’s in his computer, and he makes contact. Now, I have to be careful because I met Julian ten twelve years… I stay the f*** away from people like that. You know, he’s invited me, when I’m in London I always get a message, “Come see me at the Ecuadorian embassy.” F*** you, I ain’t going there. I got enough trouble without getting photographed. He’s under total surveillance by everybody.

Anyway, they found what he had done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails, some juicy emails from the DNC. And you know, by the way all this s*** about the DNC, you know, whatever happened the democrats themselves wrote this s***, you know what I mean. All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said, “I want money.”

Then later Wikileaks did get the password. He had a DropBox – a protected DropBox – which isn’t hard to do. I mean you don’t have to be an IT wizard. He was certainly, he was not a dumb kid.

They got access to the DropBox. He also – this is also in the FBI report – he also let people know with whom he was dealing. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also… The word was passed according to the NSA report, “I also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems.” Okay. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know whether he…

Anyway, Wikileaks got access, and before he was killed. I can tell you right now. Brennan’s1 an asshole. I’ve known all these people for years. Clapper2 sort of a (illegible) guy but not a rocket scientist. The NSA guy’s a f***ing moron. And the trouble with all those guys is the only way they’re going to make it to, you know, get hired by SAI (illegible) and delivered some fat cat contract is if Hillary stayed in. With Trump they’re gone. They’re done. They’re going to live on they’re pension. They’re not going to make it. And I got to tell you, guys in that job, they don’t want to live on their pension. They want to be on boards making six hundred thousand bucks.

I have somebody on the inside. I’ve been around a long time and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful. He’s a very high level guy. He’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business, long form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole f***king thing began.

It’s a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation operation f***ing the f***ing president. And at one point they even started telling the press, they were back-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press – f***ing c***sucker Rogers3 – was telling the press that we even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. I mean all bulls***.

I worked for the New York Times for f***ing years. The trouble with the New York Times is they have smart guys but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (illegible) told them something, they actually believe it. I was hired by the Times to write about, go after the war, the Vietnam war in 72, because they were just locked in, so that’s what the Times is. These guys run the f***ing Times.

And Trump’s not willing to… I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better Press Secretary. Trump’s not willing to think they all f***ing lied about him.”

– – – – – – – – – –

This is arguably the biggest scandal in decades, and yet despite the magnitude of the scandal, it’s a sad reflection on just how corrupt and anti-American the mainstream media has become that the majority of them will attempt to cover this story up.

Everyone needs to share this story far and wide. Tell your friends. Tell everyone you know. Sydney Hersh, arguably the greatest investigative journalist of the last five decades, has stated:

* Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks.
* Obama’s intelligence chiefs, led by John Brennan, ran a disinformation campaign to mislead the American public.

#DrainTheSwamp

 

Murder of Seth Rich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Murder of Seth Rich
Date July 10, 2016
Time 4:20 a.m. EST (approximate)
Location Bloomingdale neighborhood
(Ward 5Washington, D.C.)
Cause Shooting
Outcome Under investigation by D.C. police
Inquiries Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Coroner Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington D.C.

Seth Conrad Rich (January 3, 1989 – July 10, 2016) was an American employee for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdaleneighborhood of Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] As of May 2017 the shooting is still under investigation by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.[4]

The murder spawned several right-wingconspiracy theories about the crime, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to U.S. intelligence that concluded the leaked DNC emails were part of 2016 U.S. elections interference.[5][6][7] These theories were debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5] The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times,[10]Los Angeles Times,[11] and The Washington Post.[12]

Rich’s parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son’s death for political gain, with their spokesperson calling them “sociopaths” and “disgusting”.[13][14][15] They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News,[16] and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used.[6][15][16] The investigator admitted he had no evidence to back up his claims, and Fox News issued a retraction.[5][6][17]

Seth Rich’s early life and career

Rich grew up in a Jewish family, in Omaha, Nebraska.[18][19][20] He volunteered for the Nebraska Democratic Party, interned for Senator Ben Nelson, was active in Jewish outreach,[21] and worked with the United States Census Bureau.[22][23] In 2011, he graduated from Creighton University with a degree in political science.[24][23] He moved to Washington, D.C. to work for pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.[23] In 2014 he began working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the Voter Expansion Data Director. One of his tasks at the DNC was the development of a computer application to help voters locate polling stations.[2][25][26]

Shooting and death

On Sunday, July 10, 2016, Rich was shot about a block from his apartment in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[27][28][29]

Earlier that night he had been at Lou’s City Bar, a sports pub 1.8 miles from his apartment, in Columbia Heights, where he was a regular customer. He left when the bar was closing, at about 1:30 or 1:45 a.m.[30][31] Police were alerted to gunfire at 4:20 a.m. by an automated gunfire locator.[29][32] Within approximately one minute after the gun shots, police officers found Rich with multiple gunshot wounds, in a conscious and breathing state.[33] He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.[34][35][36] According to police, he died from two shots to the back[27][28] and may have been killed in an attempted robbery, noting that the neighborhood had recently been plagued by robberies.[27] Rich’s mother told NBC‘s Washington affiliate WRC-TV, “There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything… They didn’t finish robbing him, they just took his life.”[37] The police told the family they had found a surveillance videotape showing a glimpse of the legs of two people who could possibly be the killers.[30]

Aftermath

On the day after the shooting, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement mourning his loss and praising Rich’s work to support voter rights.[32][38] Two days after the shooting, Hillary Clinton spoke of his death during a speech advocating limiting the availability of guns.[2][19]

Bike rack and plaque outside the DNC headquaters

In October 2016, a plaque and bike rack outside the DNC headquarters were dedicated to Rich’s memory.[38] In September 2016, Rich’s parents and girlfriend appeared on the syndicatedtelevision show Crime Watch Daily to speak about the murder case.[39][40] In February 2017, the Beth El Synagogue in Omaha named after Rich an existing scholarship that helps Jewish children attend summer camps.[41]

The Rich family accepted the pro bono public relations services of Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman in September 2016.[11] The Rich family and Burkman held a joint press conference on the murder in November 2016.[11][42] In January 2017, Burkman launched an advertising campaign in Northwest D.C. searching for information regarding Seth Rich’s death. This included billboard advertisements and canvassing with flyers.[43][44] In late February, Burkman told media outlets he had a lead that the Russian government was involved in Rich’s death,[45] and the Rich family distanced itself from Burkman.[46] On March 19, 2017, Rich’s brother, Aaron, started a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise $200,000 for private investigation, public outreach activities, and a reward fund.[47] On March 24, Burkman started “The Profiling Project” with some forensics students at George Washington University, an independent investigative attempt to solve the murder of Seth Rich.[48][49] On June 20, 2017, the Profiling Project said that the conspiracy theories surrounding the death were unfounded, and published a report which speculated that the murder was caused by a serial killer.[50]

According to the Rich family spokesman, a Fox News contributor and financial adviser Ed Butowsky contacted the Rich family and recommended having former homicide detective and Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler investigate Seth Rich’s murder. The family gave Wheeler permission to investigate, though they did not hire him.[15][51] Instead, Wheeler’s investigation was financed by Butowsky himself.[52] NBC News reported that Butowsky initially denied involvement in the case, though he later told CNN he was involved in Wheeler’s investigation by offering financial support.[53][54] Butowsky told Dallas News that he advised the Rich family to hire a private investigator, and that they then chose to hire Wheeler.[53] After Wheeler asserted links between Rich and Wikileaks in a Fox affiliate interview on May 15, 2017—an assertion he later backpedaled from[55]—the family spokesman said that the family regretted working with Wheeler.[4] Wheeler then sued Fox News on August 1, 2017, for mental anguish and emotional distress, alleging that he had been misquoted in a story that was then published on the urging of President Donald J. Trump[56]

Rewards

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) posted its customary reward of $25,000 for information about the death.[2][33]

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks announced a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder leading to a conviction,[57][58][59] although Rich’s family said they were unable to verify this reward offer.[60] When making the offer for the reward, WikiLeaks said their offer should not be taken as implying Rich had been involved in leaking information to them.[2]

In November 2016, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman stated he was personally offering a $100,000 reward in addition to those announced by the police department and WikiLeaks, and he added another $5,000 to his offer in December and another $25,000 in January.[60][61][30] Burkman said he hoped the money would help “get to the truth of what happened here and will either debunk the conspiracy theories or validate them”.[62]

American businessman and investor, Martin Shkreli offered $100,000 for information leading to the murderer.[63]

Conspiracy theories

Origins

Genesis

The murder stoked right-wingconspiracy theories that arose days after Rich’s death,[64][65][66] including an unsubstantiated claim that his murder was connected to the DNC email leak of 2016.[4] A post on Twitter before Rich’s memorial service originated the idea that he was killed related to a political assassination.[64] Subsequently the conspiracy theory was publicized on Reddit and then on the website Heat Street, later popularized by Donald Trump political adviser Roger Stone via his Twitter account.[64] Reddit users attempted to tie the homicide to prior “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy theories.[65] On July 13, 2016, conspiracy website WhatDoesItMean.com promoted a similar conspiracy theory.[66]

WikiLeaks statements

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the police had no information suggesting a connection between Rich’s death and data obtained by WikLeaks.[2]Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, fueled speculation of a connection when, unbidden, he brought up the case.[30][67] People who worked with Rich said he was not an expert computer hacker helping to leak information to foreigners. Andrew Therriault, a data scientist who had mentored Rich, said although he had recently been working as a programmer, this “wasn’t his background”, and another co-worker said Rich was very upset when he heard hackers associated with Russian intelligence services had broken into the DNC computers and could be interfering with the election.[30]

Spread by social media and right wing

These conspiracy theories were promoted by Mike CernovichSean HannityGeraldo RiveraKim DotcomPaul Joseph WatsonNewt GingrichJack Posobiec, and others.[68][69][70]

The same venues that fomented the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory helped to promulgate the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories,[71][72][11] and each shared similar features.[73][74][75] Both were promoted by individuals subcribing to far-right politics,[76] and by campaign officials and individuals appointed to senior-level national security roles by Donald Trump.[77][78][79] After prior coordination on Facebook, each theory was spread on Twitter by automated bots using a branded hashtag, with the goal of becoming a trending topic.[71] Both the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory were spread in the sub reddit forum promoting Donald Trump, called “The Donald”.[80] In both conspiracy theories, the promoters attempted to shift the burden of proof — asking others to attempt to disprove their claims, without citing substantiated evidence.[52]Slate called the claims about Seth Rich a “PizzaGate-like conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death”,[81]The Huffington Post described it as “the ‘alt-right’ idiocy of Pizzagate all over again”,[75]NPR‘s David Folkenflik said Fox News coverage of it “evokes the pizza-gate terrible allegations utterly unfounded”,[82] and Margaret Sullivan wrote for The Washington Post: “The Seth Rich lie has become the new Comet Ping Pong … Crazy, baseless and dangerous.”[83]

Debunking

The conspiracy theories have been debunked by law enforcement,[5][6] as well as by fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com,[6][8]Snopes.com,[9] and FactCheck.org.[5]

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia described the murder as related to a bungled attempted at theft.[5] Police further debunked claims by Rod Wheeler, and made a statement saying: “the assertions put forward by Mr. Wheeler are unfounded.”[5] The FBI told PolitiFact.com that the MPD was investigating the homicide.[8]

A representative of the Rich’s family members, Brad Bauman, disputed the notion of conspiracy theorists that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in looking into the homicide.[5] Bauman stated: “The FBI is not now and has never been a party to this investigation.”[5]

FactCheck.org analyzed statements by Newt Gingrich related to the conspiracy theory, where Gingrich said Rich “apparently was assassinated” subsequent to “having given WikiLeaks something like … 53,000 [DNC] emails and 17,000 attachments”.[5] FactCheck.org determined this claim was “unsupported” and determined “there’s no evidence for his claim.”[5]

PolitiFact.com rated the assertion Rich gave emails to WikiLeaks as a “baseless claim”.[6] They called the claim “an unfounded conspiracy theory”.[6] PolitiFact.com analyzed the claims by Gingrich and rated their false nature as “Pants on Fire!”[6] PolitiFact.com concluded: “Gingrich and others are talking about an unfounded conspiracy theory as if it’s a matter of fact. It is far from it. We rate his claim Pants on Fire.”[6] In a separate analysis, PolitiFact.com concluded: “There’s no evidence there’s any link between Rich and WikiLeaks. The FBI has indirectly denied investigating the case, which Washington police consider a robbery gone wrong.”[8]

Snopes.com looked into the matter and stated: “We were able to confirm the FBI is not investigating Rich’s murder — it is an MPD investigation… All claims made by Mr. Wheeler are false and take fake news to a whole new level. The family deserves better and everyday MPD continues to work diligently to solve this case.”[9] Snopes rated the claim “DNC staffer Seth Rich sent ‘thousands of leaked e-mails’ to WikiLeaks before he was murdered.” as “False”.[9]

The fabrications were described as fake news and falsehoods by The New York Times.[10]The New York Times cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the persistence of false claims, concluding: “fake news dies hard”.[10]The Los Angeles Times called the conspiracy theories “unsubstantiated rumors”.[11]

The Washington Post cited the conspiracy theories as an example of the power of fake news to spread virally online.[12] The paper used the example as a case study of the persistence of fake news, and found that television news media can be a soft target for such false stories.[12]The Washington Post further found that the proliferation of fake news via Facebook had decreased, but remained powerful on Twitter due to spread via online bots.[12] They found that the conspiracy theories with the largest potential to spread on the Internet were those that held attraction for both the alt-right movements and the political left wing.[12]The Washington Post concluded that even if a particular false story had been sufficiently debunked, such fact-checking was unable to stop the spread of the falsehoods online.[12]

Fox News retracted reporting

Uncorroborated story

On May 15, 2017, Fox 5 DC (WTTG) reported the uncorroborated and later largely retracted[84] claims by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective, that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up;[85][84] claims that were never independently verified by Fox.[86] The next day, Fox News published a lead story on its website and provided extensive coverage on its cable news channel about what it later said were Wheeler’s uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich;[87][88][89] in the lead story Fox News removed from their website a few days later, they stated that Wheeler’s claims had been “corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News.”[90][91][92] In reporting these claims, the Fox News report re-ignited conspiracy theories about the killing.[73][93][94] According to NPR, within a day of the original Fox report, “Google searches for Rich had overtaken searches for James Comey, even amid continuous news about the former FBI director’s conversations with Trump.”[52]The Washington Post noted Fox News chose to lead with this story at a time when most other media outlets were covering Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russia.[88]

Other news organizations revealed Wheeler was a Donald Trump supporter, a paid Fox News contributor, and according to NBC News had “developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women”.[93][95][4]The Washington Post noted it is “rare for a news organization to have such a close relationship with the people it is covering”, as Wheeler was “playing three roles at once: as a Fox source, as a paid contributor to the network and as a supposedly independent investigator of the murder”.[73] When Wheeler appeared on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News shows, these multiple roles were not disclosed to viewers.[73] Seth Rich’s family had hired Wheeler to investigate Rich’s death; after Wheeler’s Fox News interview on May 15, 2017, Brad Bauman, a communications professional and pro bono spokesman for the Rich family, said the family was asking Fox News and the Fox affiliate to retract their reports and apologize for damaging their son’s legacy.[4]

The family spokesperson, the Washington, D.C. police department, the Washington, D.C. mayor’s office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case all disputed Wheeler’s claims.[93][96] The family said, “We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”[93] Bauman criticized Fox News for its reporting, saying he believed that the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: “I think there’s a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda.”[9]

Later that day, Wheeler told CNN he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks.[84] Wheeler claimed that Fox had presented his quotes misleadingly and that he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter.[84][52] Despite this, Sean Hannity’s show and Fox & Friends continued to promote the conspiracy theory for the remainder of the week.[97][98] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Geraldo Rivera took part in spreading the conspiracy.[98][99][100] Hannity had on his program Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who said the organization filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, and from the Metropolitan Police.[101] Sean Hannity furthermore promoted the uncorroborated claims of Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand resident sought by the United States on fraud charges who claimed without evidence that Rich had been in contact with him before his death.[102] Fox News host Julie Roginsky was critical of the conspiracy theory peddlers, stating on Twitter and on her television show: “The exploitation of a dead man whose family has begged conspiracy theorists to stop is really egregious. Please stop.”[103] Fox News was also criticized by conservative outlets, such as the Weekly Standard,[104]National Review,[105][106] and Red State,[107][108][109] and conservative columnists, such as Jennifer Rubin,[110] Michael Gerson,[111] and John Podhoretz.[112]

Cease and desist letter and retraction

On May 19, 2017, an attorney for the Rich family sent a cease and desist letter to Wheeler.[16]

Fox News issued a retraction of the story on May 23, 2017 and removed the original article, and did not apologize or specify what went wrong or how it did so.[17][113][114] Despite this, Hannity, who pushed the theory, remained unapologetic, saying “I retracted nothing” and “I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[115][102][114] In their May 23 statement, Fox News said,

The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.[115]

The Poynter Institute said that the retraction was “woefully inadequate”, noting that,

The two-paragraph statement, published under the “politics” category on the network’s website, doesn’t say what about Fox News’ reporting was inaccurate (that its original source backed away from his claim that he had information showing Rich was in touch with Wikileaks). It doesn’t replace the bad information with accurate information (that police believe Rich was murdered during a robbery). It doesn’t specify who in the organization is being held accountable. And the correction doesn’t appear on the original story to explain why it was removed, nor has it been shared in the on-air forums where the inaccurate story was promoted. As of this writing, the original URL displays a 404 error. Fox News isn’t even acknowledging to people who click the link to the original story that it’s been retracted.[116]

On May 23, 2017, Sean Hannity stated on his television program that he would cease discussing the issue.[117] Hannity said his decision to cease commenting on the matter was related to the family of the murder victim: “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing the matter at this time.”[117] In the same statement wherein he promised to cease discussion of the topic, he vowed to pursue facts in the future: “I promise you I am not going to stop trying to find the truth.”[117] Several advertisers including Crowne Plaza HotelsCars.comLeesa MattressUSAAPeloton and Casper Sleep pulled their marketing from his program on Fox News.[118][119][120] Crowne Plaza Hotels later said that it was not their policy to advertise on political commentary shows, and had not been aware of their sponsorship of the show.[121] USAA soon returned to advertising on Fox News after receiving customer input.[122]

Wheeler lawsuit

On August 1, 2017, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator hired by Butowsky who was the first to claim links between Seth Rich’s murder and the DNC hack on Fox, but who later appeared to retract his claims, filed a lawsuit (Case 1:17-cv-05807 Southern District of New York), in which 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky are named as defendants, stating that quotes attributed to him in the original Fox News piece were fabricated. The lawsuit also alleges that the fabricated quotes were included in the Fox News story at the urging of the Trump White House.[123][124]

Text messages and audio apparently supporting this assertion were included in the filing of the lawsuit. About a month before the story was aired on Fox News, Wheeler and Butowsky met at the White House with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to review the planned story on Seth Rich’s murder. After talking to Wheeler and Butowsky, Zimmerman sent Wheeler a draft of a story without any quotes from Wheeler on May 11th. On May 14th Butowsky texted Wheeler saying “Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.” Butowsky also left a voicemail for Wheeler which said “We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do.”[124] Butowsky said Seymour Hersch confirmed a link between Rich and the FBI. Hersch confirmed the conversation with Butowsky but told NPR the link was “gossip” and that Butowsky exaggerated its significance.[125]

In an email to Fox News Bukowsky also wrote about the purpose behind the Seth Rich story: “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion (between) Trump and the Russians.” He also instructed Wheeler that “[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Zimmerman’s] work prove that the Russians didn’t hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections (…) If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest.”[124]

When the story aired on Fox News, it included supposed quotes from Wheeler and was written as if the accusations against the DNC came from him. Wheeler alleges that the quotes were fabricated and should not have been attributed to him.[123]

In later recordings Butowsky admits to Wheeler that the claims being attributed to him were false but says that “One day you’re going to win an award for having said those things you didn’t say.” He also says “I know that’s not true, if I’m under oath, I would say I never heard him say that.”[124]

Family’s reaction

In May 2017, Aaron issued a statement saying “We simply want to find his killers and grieve. Instead, we are stuck having to constantly fight against non-facts, baseless allegations, and general stupidity to defend my brother’s name and legacy.”[4]

The family spokesperson said “At this point, only people with transparent political agendas or sociopaths are still perpetuating Seth Rich conspiracies.”[126]

His parents authored a piece in The Washington Post on May 23, 2017 titled: “We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder,” in which they wrote:

We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.[13]

See also

References

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

Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh (born April 8, 1937) is an American investigative journalist and political writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a longtime contributor to The New Yorkermagazine on national security matters and has also written for the London Review of Books since 2013.[5][6]

Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. In 2004, he notably reported on the US military‘s mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and five George Polk Awards. In 2004, he received the George Orwell Award.[7]

Early years

Hersh was born on April 8, 1937[8] in Chicago to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to the US from Lithuania and Poland and ran a dry-cleaning shop in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a history degree, Hersh found himself struggling to find a job. He began working at Walgreens before being accepted into University of Chicago Law School but was soon expelled for poor grades.[9]After returning for a short time to Walgreens, Hersh began his career in journalism as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in 1959. He later became a correspondent for United Press International in South Dakota. In 1963, he went on to become a Chicago and Washington correspondent for the Associated Press. While working in Washington Hersh first met and befriended I. F. Stone, whose I. F. Stone’s Weekly would serve as an initial inspiration for Hersh’s later work. It was during this time that Hersh began to form his investigative style, often walking out of regimented press briefings at the Pentagon and seeking out one-on-one interviews with high-ranking officers. After a falling out with the editors at the AP when they insisted on watering down a story about the US government’s work on biological and chemical weapons, Hersh left the AP and sold his story to The New Republic. During the 1968 presidential election, he served as press secretary for the campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy.

After leaving the McCarthy campaign, Hersh returned to journalism as a freelancer covering the Vietnam War. In 1969, Hersh received a tip from Geoffrey Cowan of The Village Voice regarding an Army lieutenant being court-martialled for killing civilians in Vietnam. His subsequent investigation, sold to the Dispatch News Service, was run in thirty-three newspapers and exposed the My Lai massacre, winning him the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.[9][10]

In 1972, Hersh was hired as a reporter for the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he served from 1972 to 1975 and again in 1979. Hersh reported on the Watergate scandal, though most of the credit for that story went to Carl Bernstein and Hersh’s longtime rival Bob Woodward. Nonetheless, Hersh’s Watergate investigations led him in 1983 to the publication of The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, a damning portrait of Henry Kissinger that won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 1975, Hersh was active in the investigation and reporting of Project Azorian (which he called Project Jennifer), the CIA‘s clandestine effort to raise a Soviet submarine using the Howard Hughes‘ Glomar Explorer. This was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2015) dollars.

After the New York Times

His 1983 book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House won him the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography. In 1985, Hersh contributed to the PBS television documentary Buying the Bomb. In 1993 Hersh became a regular contributor to The New Yorker.[11]

Hersh has appeared regularly on the syndicated television news program Democracy Now![12]

Selected stories

My Lai Massacre

On November 12, 1969, Hersh reported the story of the My Lai Massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians were murdered by US soldiers in March 1968.[13] The report prompted widespread condemnation around the world and reduced public support for the Vietnam War in the United States. The explosive news of the massacre fueled the outrage of the US peace movement, which demanded the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. Hersh wrote about the massacre and its cover-up in My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath (1970) and Cover-up: The Army’s Secret Investigation of the Massacre at My Lai 4 (1972). For My Lai 4, Hersh traveled across the United States and interviewed nearly 50 members of the Charlie Company.[14]A movie called “Interviews with My Lai Veterans” won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subjects in 1971. A movie was also produced, based on this book, by Italian director Paolo Bertola in 2009.[15]

Project Jennifer

In early 1974, Hersh had planned to publish a story on “Project Jennifer” (later revealed to be named Project Azorian and Operation Matador), a covert CIA project to recover a sunken Soviet navy submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. CIA director William Colby discussed the operation with Hersh in 1974, but obtained his promise not to publish while the operation was active. Bill KovachThe New York Times Washington, D.C. bureau chief at the time, said in 2005 that the government offered a convincing argument to delay publication in early 1974—exposure at that time, while the project was ongoing, “would have caused an international incident”. The NYT eventually published Hersh’s account on March 19, 1975, after a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and included a five-paragraph explanation of the many twists and turns in the path to publication. It is unclear what, if any, action was taken by the Soviet Union after learning of the story. It was later revealed that the leaks prevented a second recovery attempt of the submarine after a small portion of it was raised in the summer of 1974.[16]

Korean Air Flight 007

In The Target Is Destroyed (1986), Hersh alleged that the shooting down of Korean Air Flight 007 in September 1983 by the Soviet Union was due to a combination of Soviet incompetence and United States intelligence operations intended to confuse Soviet responses.

Later releases of government information confirmed that there was a PSYOPS campaign against the Soviet Union that had been in place from the first few months of the Reagan administration. This campaign included the largest US Pacific Fleet exercise ever held, in April to May 1983.

Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Maxwell

In The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (1991), Hersh wrote that Nicholas Davies, the foreign editor of The Daily Mirror, had tipped off the Israeli embassy in London about Mordechai Vanunu. Vanunu had given information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program first to The Sunday Times and later to the Sunday Mirror. At the time, the Sunday Mirror and its sibling newspaper, the Daily Mirror were owned by media magnate Robert Maxwell who was alleged to have had contacts with Israel’s intelligence services. According to Hersh, Davies had also worked for the Mossad. Vanunu was later lured by Mossad from London to Rome, kidnapped, returned to Israel, and sentenced to 18 years in jail. Davies and Maxwell published an anti-Vanunu story that was claimed by critics to be part of a disinformation campaign on behalf of the Israeli government.[17]

Hersh repeated the allegations during a press conference held in London to publicize his book. No British newspaper would publish the allegations because of Maxwell’s famed litigiousness. However, two British MPs raised the matter in the House of Commons, which meant that British newspapers were able to report what had been said without fear of being sued for libel. Maxwell called the claims “ludicrous, a total invention”. He fired Davies shortly thereafter.[18]

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

Hersh strongly criticized Bill Clinton‘s decision to destroy, on August 20, 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Al-Shifa, the largest pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, accounted for half the country’s domestically produced medicines.[19]

Iraq

Hersh has written a series of articles for The New Yorker magazine detailing military and security matters surrounding the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In March 2002, he described the planning process for a new invasion of Iraq that he alleged had been on-going since the end of the First Gulf War, under the leadership of Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Fried and other neo-conservatives. In a 2004 article, he alleged that Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld circumvented the normal intelligence analysis function of the CIA in their quest to make the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Another article, “Lunch with the Chairman”, led Richard Perle, a subject of the article, to call Hersh the “closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.”[20]

A March 7, 2007, article entitled, “The Redirection” described a recent shift in the George W. Bush administration‘s Iraq policy, the goal of which Hersh said was to “contain” Iran. Hersh asserted that “a by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”[21]

In May 2004, Hersh published a series of articles which described the treatment of detainees by US military police at Abu Ghraib prison near BaghdadIraq.[22] The articles included allegations that private military contractorscontributed to prisoner mistreatment and that intelligence agencies such as the CIA ordered torture in order to break prisoners for interrogations. They also alleged that torture was a usual practice in other US-run prisons as well, e.g., in Bagram Theater Internment Facility and Guantanamo. In subsequent articles, Hersh wrote that the abuses were part of a secret interrogation program, known as “Copper Green“. According to Hersh’s sources, the program was expanded to Iraq with the direct approval of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both in an attempt to deal with the growing insurgency there and as part of “Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.”[23] Much of his material for these articles was based on the Army’s own internal investigations.[24]

Scott Ritter, a disaffected former arms inspector, asserted in his October 19, 2005 interview with Seymour Hersh that the US policy to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power started with US president George H. W. Bushin August 1990. Ritter concluded from public remarks by President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that the Iraq sanctions would only be lifted when Hussein was removed from power. The justification for sanctions was disarmament. The CIA offered the opinion that containing Hussein for six months would result in the collapse of his regime. According to Hersh, this policy resulted in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.[25]

Iran

In January 2005, Hersh alleged that the US was conducting covert operations in Iran to identify targets for possible strikes. Hersh also wrote that Pakistan and the United States had struck a “Khan-for-Iran” deal in which Washingtonwould look the other way at Pakistan’s nuclear transgressions and not demand handing over of its infamous nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan, in return for Islamabad‘s cooperation in neutralizing Iran’s nuclear plans. This was also denied by officials of the governments of the US and Pakistan.

In the April 17, 2006 issue of The New Yorker,[26] Hersh wrote that the Bush administration had plans for an air strike on Iran. Of particular note in his article was that a US nuclear first strike (possibly using the B61-11 bunker-busternuclear weapon) is under consideration to eliminate underground Iranian uranium enrichment facilities. In response, President Bush cited Hersh’s reportage as “wild speculation.” [27]

When, in October 2007, he was asked about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton‘s hawkish views on Iran, Hersh stated that Jewish donations were the main reason for these:

During one journalism conference, Hersh stated that after the Strait of Hormuz incident, members of the Bush administration met in vice president Dick Cheney‘s office to consider methods of initiating a war with Iran. One idea considered was staging a false flag operation involving the use of Navy SEALs dressed as Iranian PT boaters who would engage in a firefight with US ships. According to Hersh this proposed provocation was rejected. Hersh’s allegation has not been verified.[29]

Lebanon

In August 2006, in an article in The New Yorker, Hersh wrote that the White House gave the green light for the Israeli government to execute an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Supposedly, communication between the Israeligovernment and the US government about this came as early as two months in advance of the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others by Hezbollah prior to the 2006 Lebanon War in July 2006.[30] The US government denied these allegations.[31]

Killing of Osama bin Laden 

In September 2013, during an interview with The Guardian, Hersh commented that the 2011 raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was “one big lie, not one word of it is true”. He said that the Obama administration lies systematically, and that American media outlets are reluctant to challenge the administration, saying “It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]”.[32] Hersh later clarified that he didn’t dispute Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan, and rather meant that the lying began in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death.[33]

On May 10, 2015, Hersh published the 10,000-word article “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” in the London Review of Books (LRB) on the fourth anniversary of the Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden (Operation Neptune Spear). It immediately went viral, crashing the LRB website.[34] Hersh outlined with extensive quoting of both named and unnamed sources the background to how bin Laden’s presence in Abbotabad came to be known to the U.S. government and how the SEAL raid was in fact known to the Pakistanis and had ISI cooperation. Hersh alleges the U.S. government’s narrative was in fact an elaborate cover story meant to conceal Pakistan’s relationship with the Al Qaeda leader and to yield maximum political payoff for President Barack Obama in the runup to the 2012 election season:

The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.[35]

Operation Neptune Spear is often contrasted[citation needed] with a low point—Operation Eagle Claw, the botched 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran ordered by President Jimmy Carter that killed eight troops and freed no captured Americans.

The official U.S. version is that bin Laden’s location at Abbottabad was identified by the CIA by tracking an al-Qaeda courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Hersh reports that in August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer walked into the office of Jonathan Bank, the CIA station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad and betrayed the secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for part of the $25 million reward, and has since been relocated with his family to Washington and is a consultant to the CIA. The ISI had captured bin Laden in 2006; he had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains. The ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him. Bin Laden was very ill and was living as prisoner under ISI control in the garrison town of Abbottabad less than two miles from Pakistan’s National Military Academy at Kakul (equivalent of United States Military Academy at West Point). The Saudi government also knew about Osama’s presence in Abbottabad and had advised the Pakistanis to keep him as a prisoner and gave financial assistance. Major Amir Aziz, a Pakistani Army doctor, was ordered to move near his compound to provide treatment. Aziz was also given a share of the $25 million reward because he got the DNA sample which conclusively proved that it was bin Laden. A real casualty in the whole affair was the doctor named Shakil Afridi. His perfectly legitimate hepatitis B vaccination programme was claimed to be the way the US obtained bin Laden’s DNA. Afridi became the sacrificial lamb because the US wanted to protect its real CIA informant, Amir Aziz, who had been held by the Pakistanis. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years by the Pakistanis. Other vaccination programmes were canceled once this lie was put forth.[35]

Hersh writes that the Pakistan Army and intelligence service was warned about the U.S. Navy SEALs’ raid and made sure that the two helicopters carrying the SEALs to Abbottabad crossed Pakistani airspace without triggering an alarm: “The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders—General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI—were never informed of the US mission.”[35] The report also states that Pakistani officials knew about the raid before it happened in May 2011 and instructed those monitoring bin Laden’s compound to allow the SEALs to conduct the operation unobstructed.

Since his killing in 2011, the U.S. media has reported that bin Laden was given a perfunctory naval funeral off the deck of an aircraft carrier, to prevent any gravesite from becoming a symbol of martyrdom. According to Hersh’s account of the assassination, bin Laden’s corpse never made it to the USS Carl Vinson, because it had been torn apart by automatic fire at point-blank range before the CIA took whatever shreds were left: “Some members of the SEAL team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” And bin Laden’s wives and children were never turned over to the Americans for questioning.

Hersh’s story drew harsh criticism from media commentators and officials. Peter Bergen disputed Hersh’s contentions, saying they “defy common sense”;[36] Hersh responded that Bergen simply “views himself as the trustee of all things Bin Laden”.[37] A similar dismissal of Hersh’s account came from former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.[38] A former intelligence official who had direct knowledge of the operation speculated that the Pakistanis, who were furious that the operation took place without being detected by them, were behind the false story as a way to save face.[39]

Others criticized the press response. In an article for the Columbia Journalism ReviewTrevor Timm wrote that “barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his [Hersh’s] claims”, and observed that Slate, for example, “ran five hit jobs on Hersh within 36 hours”.[40]

On May 12, the Pakistan-based journalist Amir Mir disclosed that the “walk-in” who had provided the CIA with the information about bin Laden’s whereabouts was Brigadier Usman Khalid of ISI.[41][42]

On May 20, a former CIA officer, Philip Giraldi, opined in The American Conservative that he found Hersh’s story credible:

Syrian Civil War

During the Syrian Civil War US President Obama argued in a 2012 speech that a chemical attack in Syria would constitute crossing a “red line” and that this would trigger a US military intervention against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[44]

After this speech, and prior to the chemical attacks in Ghoutachemical weapons were suspected to have been used in at least four attacks in the country.[45] On 23 March 2013, the Syrian government requested the UN to send inspectors in order to investigate an incident in the town of Khan al-Assal, where it said opposition forces had used chlorine-filled rockets.[46] However, on 25 April US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated that US intelligence showed the Assad government was likely to have used chemical weapons – specifically sarin gas.[47]

On 8 December 2013, the London Review of Books published “Whose Sarin?”, in which Hersh argued that President Obama had “omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts” in his assertion during his televised speech of 10 September that the Syrian government had been responsible for the use of sarin gas in the Ghouta chemical attack of 21 August 2013 against a rebel-held district of Damascus.[48] In particular, Hersh wrote of anonymous intelligence sources telling him that the Syrian army was not the only agency with access to sarin, referring to the Al-Nusra Front Jihadist group, and that, during the period before the Ghouta attack, secretly implanted sensors at the country’s known bases had not detected suspicious movements suggesting a forthcoming chemical attack in the period.[48]

On 22 December 2015, the London Review of Books published Hersh’s article “Military to Military”[49] in which he exposed the divide between the US top brass and the politicians in the White House when it came to dealing with Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. Hersh reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States Department of Defense has indirectly supported Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad with quality intelligence in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups, providing said intelligence via GermanyIsrael and Russia – to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also writes the military even undermined a US effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joint Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the US arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally Russia, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Saudi ArabiaQatar and Turkey over their support of extremist groups in Syria. These countries had armed extremists with modern weapons – which gave them the upper hand in subduing the Syrian Army – and resulted in huge territorial losses by 2013. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government supported Jabhat al-Nusra. The US JCS reported the Erdogan government were “doing the same for Islamic State” in order to disrupt the balance in the Middle East. The Turkish government refused to halt the flow of foreign militants going through Turkey.[50][51]

On 25 June 2017, Welt am Sonntag published Hersh’s article “Trump’s Red Line”[52] in which he claimed to expose the divide between the US ‘intelligence community’ and Donald Trump, the President of the United States, over the alleged ‘sarin attack’ at the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib on 4 April 2017 … ‘Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.’ A chat conversation delivered to Hersh by his informants and published by Welt am Sonntag, “We got a fuckin‘ problem”[53] seems to evidence much upset on the part of at least one ‘American soldier’ in Syria in conversations with an American ‘security advisor’ as well. However, at least one journalist accused Hersh of sloppy journalism: “Hersh based his case on a tiny number of anonymous sources, presented no other evidence to support his case, and ignored or dismissed evidence that countered the alternative narrative he was trying to build.”[54]

Criticism

Kennedy research

Hersh’s 1997 book about John F. KennedyThe Dark Side of Camelot, made a number of controversial assertions about the former president, including that he had had a “first marriage” to a woman named Durie Malcolm that was never terminated, that he had been a semi-regular narcotics user, and that he had a close working relationship with mob boss Sam Giancana which supposedly included vote fraud in one or two crucial states in the 1960 presidential election. For many of these allegations, Hersh relied only on hearsay collected decades after the event. In a Los Angeles Times review, Edward Jay Epstein cast doubt on these and other assertions, writing, “this book turns out to be, alas, more about the deficiencies of investigative journalism than about the deficiencies of John F. Kennedy.”[55] Responding to the book, historian and former Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called Hersh “the most gullible investigative reporter I’ve ever encountered.”[56]

A month before the publication of The Dark Side of Camelot, newspapers, including USA Today, reported Hersh’s announcement that he had removed from the galleys, at the last minute, a segment about legal documents allegedly containing JFK’s signature.[57] The documents signed by “John F. Kennedy” included a provision, in 1960, for a trust fund to be set up for the institutionalized mother of Marilyn Monroe.[58][59] A paralegal named Lawrence Cusack had shared them with Hersh and encouraged the author to discuss them in the book.[58] Shortly before Hersh’s publicized announcement, federal investigators began probing Cusack’s sale of the documents at auction.[58] After The Dark Side of Camelot became a bestseller, Cusack was convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan of forging the documents and sentenced to a long prison term.[60] In 1997 the Kennedy family denied Cusack’s claim that his late father had been an attorney who had represented JFK in 1960.[58]

Use of anonymous sources

There has been sustained criticism of Hersh’s use of anonymous sources.[55][61][62] Critics, including Edward Jay Epstein and Amir Taheri, say he is over-reliant on them.[55][61][62] Taheri, for example, when reviewing Hersh’s Chain of Command (2004), complained:

As soon as he has made an assertion he cites a ‘source’ to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances. […] By my count Hersh has anonymous ‘sources’ inside 30 foreign governments and virtually every department of the U.S. government.[61]

In response to an article in The New Yorker in which Hersh alleged that the U.S. government was planning a strike on IranU.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan G. Whitman said, “This reporter has a solid and well-earned reputation for making dramatic assertions based on thinly sourced, unverifiable anonymous sources.”[63]

David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, maintains that he is aware of the identity of all of Hersh’s unnamed sources, telling the Columbia Journalism Review that “I know every single source that is in his pieces. … Every ‘retired intelligence officer,’ every general with reason to know, and all those phrases that one has to use, alas, by necessity, I say, ‘Who is it? What’s his interest?’ We talk it through.”[64]

Speeches

In an interview with New York magazine, Hersh made a distinction between the standards of strict factual accuracy for his print reporting and the leeway he allows himself in speeches, in which he may talk informally about stories still being worked on or blur information to protect his sources. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people. … I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”[62]

Some of Hersh’s speeches concerning the Iraq War have described violent incidents involving U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2004, during the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, he alleged that American troops sexually assaulted young boys:

Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has. They’re in total terror it’s going to come out.[62]

In a subsequent interview with New York magazine, Hersh regretted that “I actually didn’t quite say what I wanted to say correctly. … It wasn’t that inaccurate, but it was misstated. The next thing I know, it was all over the blogs. And I just realized then, the power of—and so you have to try and be more careful.”[62] In Chain of Command, he wrote that one of the witness statements he had read described the rape of a boy by a foreign contract interpreter at Abu Ghraib, during which a woman took pictures.[62]

Link between the US government and Fatah al-Islam

In March 2007, Hersh asserted in a New Yorker piece that the United States and Saudi governments were funding the terrorist organization Fatah al-Islam through aid to Lebanese Sunni Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[65] Following the publication of the story, journalist Emmanuel Sivan in Beirut wrote that Hersh put forth the allegation without any reliable sources.[66][67]

Morarji Desai libel suit

Hersh wrote in his 1983 book The Price of Power that former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai had been paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Desai called the allegation “a scandalous and malicious lie” and filed a $50 million libel suit against Hersh. By the time the case went to trial Desai, by then 93, was too ill to attend. CIA director Richard Helms and Henry Kissinger testified under oath that at no time did Desai act in any capacity for the CIA, paid or otherwise. A Chicago jury ruled in favor of Hersh, saying Desai did not provide sufficient evidence that Hersh had published the information with intent to do harm or with reckless disregard for the truth, either of which must be proven in a libel suit.[68][69]

Controversy

On August 1, 2017, Hersh was interviewed by National Public Radio for a story on a lawsuit related to an investigation into the 2016 death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. In the interview, Hersh denied a claim by investigator Ed Butowsky that Hersh had said he’d spoken to a Federal Bureau of Investigation source who confirmed the existence of information on Rich’s laptop computer showing he had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. In the NPR interview, Hersh dismissed the claim as “gossip.”[70]

Later that same day, a purported audio recording of Hersh was made public, in which he states that his “high level” and “unbelievably accurate” source provided him with information from an FBI report confirming Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks prior to his death. Hersh has not publicly denied the authenticity of the recording, nor his alleged statements on it.[71]

Awards, honors and associations

His journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize, the 2004 National Council of Teachers of English George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, two National Magazine Awards, 5 George Polk Awards – making him that award’s most honored laureate – and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting:

  • 1969: George Polk Special Award (for his My Lai reporting)
  • 1970: Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting
  • 1973: George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting; Scripps-Howard Public Service Award; Sidney Hillman Award
  • 1974: George Polk Award for National Reporting
  • 1981: George Polk Award for National Reporting
  • 1983: National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
  • 2003: National Magazine Award for Public Interest for his articles “Lunch with the Chairman”, “Selective Intelligence”, and “The Stovepipe”.
  • 2004: following Hersh’s 2004 articles in the New Yorker magazine exposing the Abu Ghraib scandal: National Magazine Award for Public Interest, Overseas Press Club Award, National Press Foundation’s Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award, and his fifth George Polk Award.

Publications

Books

Articles and reportage

Forewords

  • Hersh, Seymour M. (foreword) (2005) in Scott RitterIraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein (Hardcover), Nation Books, ISBN 1-56025-852-7

See also

References

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017: Story 1: Vice-President On The Trump Doctrine In Speech Delivered From Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Sign Sanctions Bill For Russia, North Korea, and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — Story 3: Washington War Fever with Neocon Republicans and Progressive Democrats United Against Russia — Masking Incompetency — Videos

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Vice President Pence Speaks to Troops from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Published on Jul 31, 2017

Vice President Pence Speaks to troops from Estonia, Latvia, USA and Lithuania during Visit to Eastern Europe, the Baltic’s…

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The Trump Doctrine is easy to understand — Just look at his background

Foreign policy experts all over Washington seem completely stupefied when it comes to understanding President Trump’s national security goals. And for a long time, I was one of them.

In happy hours all over town where we love to gather, some experts would describe Trump’s approach as “uneducated,”“unsophisticated” or even “unprofessional.”

Rubbish. They just can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t share their often overly polished and overly sophisticated perspectives. I should know, it’s my profession.

The simple fact is this: you don’t need a Ph.D. from Yale or Cambridge to understand Trump’s vision for America’s place in the world—you just need to take the time to study his background.

He doesn’t care about your foreign policy schools of thoughts, deep historical perspective or game-theory workshops. He just wants the best “deals” for America. Period. End of story.

Washington’s foreign policy brain trust would be wise to take heed the words of a 900-year-old Jedi master named Yoda: “Unlearn what you have learned”.

Understanding the Trump Doctrine is child’s play—just don’t overthink it.

Put away your Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz or just war theory training because President Trump has his own ideas when it comes to global affairs.

Our new president is very different than almost any other we can remember in modern times.

He does not have the professorial pontification skills or deeply intellectual mindset of Barack Obama. Nor does he have the government experience of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson or JFK.

Trump is cut from a different cloth—he’s a street fighter and certainly not a slick, ivy league educated foreign policy expert.

The Donald is a rough and tumble, school of hard knocks, New York City businessman. He doesn’t care about your foreign policy schools of thoughts, deep historical perspective or game-theory workshops. He just wants the best “deals” for America. Period. End of story.

All of this is exactly what the American people voted for. Something different—with the old models of thinking being clearly rejected. And we need to make our peace with it.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t sophisticated or doesn’t have a sense of vision when it comes to international affairs.

In fact, Trump has his own loosely crafted foreign policy playbook, based on his own success and failures as a New York City businessman, entrepreneur and branding genius.

Our new president is taking his business acumen and applying it on a global stage. He has, at least in my opinion, what can be best described as a foreign policy balance sheet in his head. Trump looks at where he thinks America is “winning,” code for where Washington’s interests are moving forward, and losing, where America’s interests are not being served. And he tackles the ‘losses’ on that balance sheet with ruthless efficiency.

And that all makes Trump’s global agenda, one in which he takes on the toughest of problems—problems that have been festering for decades—a very hard task, but one that is worth pursuing.

Taking on China over North Korea will be an immense challenge—creating tensions in a relationship with the two biggest global economies and militaries. Taking on trade deals that many times were not always in America’s best interests might be even harder. Asking our allies to spend more towards our common defense won’t be easy. But who said change ever was?

Making all of this even more difficult is when people misinterpret the president’s own words or cherry pick his ideas to change his message, all in an effort to take him down.

Will Trump abandon NATO, leave South Korea on its own to confront a nuclear North Korea and withdraw to some sort of fortress America? Never.

Again, his past clues you into his thinking. Like any CEO, our president is using his background in business to strike the best terms for the nation in its relationships. And just like any CEO, he is not going to break a signed deal, like alliances with key partners the world over – that’s bad for the business of the nation. But he will try to ask for a little more—just like many of us do in our own lives and business deals. Shocker.

What unnerves people is the patented Trump approach—blunt and straightforward—and almost never politically correct in how he sometimes goes about striking a deal. That will get smoothed out in the months and years to come, just like many other presidents in the past. The stature of the office, the highest in the land, has that impact on the occupant.

But Trump is not going to change his core thinking or personality—that much is clear.

World leaders at the G-20 should already understand by now who our president is and his approach.

Trump is not going to coddle you, make you feel all warm and fuzzy when you do something against America’s national interests—he is not Barack Obama. He’s going to tell you in his own Trumpian way he is not impressed—and press you to change your position. And he might even do it on Twitter. And the media will go crazy over it, only amplifying the power of his message.

In fact, there might be a foreign policy vision that personifies the Trump Doctrine after all: mega-realism on steroids—and it’s what the American people asked for. Trump has stayed true to what he said he would do in foreign affairs, and it’s simple to understand, you just have to see the world through his own training and life experience—not yours.

Let Yoda be your guide.

Harry J. Kazianis (@grecianformula) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by former President Richard M. Nixon.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/07/trump-doctrine-is-easy-to-understand-just-look-at-his-background.html

VOICE

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him,” Dwight D. Eisenhower observed in 1952. Managing the future’s course is no small task, but in foreign policy the development and execution of sound strategy are a leader’s best hope. In January, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, we warned in Foreign Policy that Trump’s approach to foreign policy was dangerously nearsighted and posed unacceptable risks to national security. Absent a course correction, a trainwreck is all but assured.

Six months later, there is little indication that the president and his advisors have developed the kind of strategy — what academics call “grand strategy” and pundits refer to as “doctrine” — designed to impose America’s will on the world, rather than vice versa. Indeed, it seems there will never be a Trump doctrine. In resisting the careful patience required to develop and execute a purposive course of action over time, the administration’s method of policymaking is explicitly anti-strategic.

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This deficiency results from three operational and philosophical principles that orient the president’s decision-making: a focus on short-term wins rather than longer-term strategic foresight; a “zero-sum” worldview where all gains are relative and reciprocity is absent; and a rejection of values-based policymaking. The shortcomings of this approach — which we dubbed “tactical transactionalism” — are already apparent in the Trump administration’s foreign-policy record to date.

First, Trump has made no secret of his desire to “win,” a worldview that privileges short-term, tactical triumphs.

Nowhere was this attitude more evident than in Trump’s decision to fire off 59 cruise missiles in retaliation for a Syrian government chemical weapons attack. Although administration officials herald this decision in public and private as a signal accomplishment of Trump’s foreign policy, the strike actually had little effect: The targeted airfield was operational again within days, and the attack’s muddled rationale obscured any intended signal to American adversaries. Nonetheless, the arresting images of U.S. Navy destroyers launching missiles remain the most vivid exemplar of the Trump administration’s foreign policy in its first six months.

This short-termism was also apparent in the initial enthusiastic response to the Gulf crisis that began on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and announced a blockade on the country. Trump, eager to claim a win from his trip to the Middle East, tweeted his support for the move. Even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to take a more strategic view of the crisis — recognizing the centrality of the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar to the U.S.-led counter-Islamic State campaign — Trump undermined his chief diplomat with bravado, doubling down on his criticism of Qatar and asserting, “If we ever needed another military base, you have other countries that would gladly build it.” Unsurprisingly, when the secretary of state attempted a well-publicized diplomatic effort to find a regional solution, U.S. partners refused to participate.

Though well suited to splashy successes — or at least the tweetable impression of them — a tactical-transactional approach blinds the president to the second- and third-order effects of his actions, making sound strategy nearly impossible.

Second, the Trump foreign policy is characterized by a zero-sum worldview: Every win for another country is a loss for the United States, and Washington’s best bet is to out-negotiate both allies and adversaries at every turn. Cooperation, according to the perspective explicitly articulated by top advisors H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, emerges only when narrow self-interests exactly align.

In an illustration of this principle, on his fourth day in office, Trump signed an executive order that withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. He did so after expressing a series of deep misunderstandings about the TPP’s likely impact on jobs and wages, its power over U.S. decision-making, and its inability to deal with Chinese and Japanese currency manipulation. In its place, Trump has promised to “fix” America’s trade relations with all of its trading partners through bilateral deals. “Wait till you see what we’re going to do on trade,” Trump boasted this week to the New York Times, without offering any supporting details (as always). Meanwhile, the TPP, the text of which overwhelmingly reflected American preferences, is now being redrafted without American participation; meanwhile, China is advancing its own trade agenda through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The zero-sum perspective even extends to U.S. allies, which the president views more as competitors than enduring strategic partners. Despite Seoul’s vital role in addressing the North Korean nuclear crisis — undoubtedly the national security issue atop Trump’s agenda — the president has threatened to terminate the American bilateral trade agreement with South Korea and tried to renege on the U.S. commitment to pay for the THAAD anti-missile defense system.

By ignoring the multidimensional nature of international politics and denying the value of reciprocity, this relentless unilateralism denies the United States critical cooperative tools in countering threats and seizing opportunities.

Finally, tactical transactionalism is devoid of moral or ethical considerations.

President Trump has demonstrated an intuitive adoration for authoritarian leaders.

President Trump has demonstrated an intuitive adoration for authoritarian leaders. In April, he praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a habitual human rights abuser, for doing a “fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” Later in the month, he called Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to congratulate him, telling the man behind the deaths of thousands of his own citizens: “I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem.… Keep up good work. You are doing an amazing job.” Perhaps most dramatically, he called North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a “pretty smart cookie,” whom he would be “honored” to meet.Though it may enhance the unpredictability Trump prizes, a foreign policy unmoored from values results in a foreign policy oriented exclusively — and nihilistically — around pursuit of the “best deal.”

Over the past six months, in the wake of Trump’s cruise missile strikes in Syria and again with soaring speeches in Saudi Arabia and Poland, foreign-policy analysts have attempted to weave the administration’s actions into a coherent strategic doctrine. Senior administration officials are in on the game as well, with various factions vying to impose their strategic vision of “America First” in a bizarre, latter-day Kennan sweepstakes. But for all the op-ed ink that’s been spilled, these attempts are little more than a fool’s errand.

Even if analysts and advisors could impose intellectual coherence on Trump’s constellation of instincts and predilections, tactical transactionalism all but guarantees the inconsistent translation of those preferences into policy.

Even Trump’s well-documented antipathy toward American allies is not a reliable guide to his actual conduct of foreign relations: Despite decades of bashing both Japan and Germany, over the past six months, Trump has embraced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who cleverly came bearing golden golf clubs to Trump Tower in New York last November — while spurning German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Moreover, the administration lacks the capacity to implement any strategic vision — particularly one that requires the use of non-hard-power tools. Military officials have wisely emphasized that lasting solutions to the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and even Yemen are primarily the responsibility and role of the State Department. But the State Department itself has been gutted and demoralized. The White House’s fiscal year 2018 budget request was a paltry $37.6 billion for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (a 33 percent decrease over the previous budget) and $639 billion for the Department of Defense (representing a 10 percent increase). Tillerson has also refused to fill an unprecedented number of senior diplomatic posts and ambassadorships, claiming that it would be pointless until the State Department had been fully reorganized.

To some extent, the inability of the Trump administration to develop and execute grand strategy has resulted in an astounding degree of continuity with Barack Obama-era foreign policies. Despite Trump’s pronouncement that Obama’s “strategic patience” with North Korea is over, the “peaceful pressure” policy is not discernibly distinct. Similarly, the administration’s still-secret strategy to defeat the Islamic State clearly entails tactical intensification but remains strategically similar to the Obama approach.

While surely desirable in some instances, stability is not necessarily the best response to a dynamic world.

While surely desirable in some instances, stability is not necessarily the best response to a dynamic world.Without a grand strategy, the United States cannot seize the initiative on the world stage and, simply by default, will cede ground to hostile powers, as the effects of a reactive foreign policy accrue exponentially over time. The unpredictability that Trump prizes has already injected uncertainty into America’s alliances, as international partners question whether Washington can be trusted to uphold its security commitments. Around the world, public opinion is turning against the United States, and foreign capitals can be expected to reorient their foreign policies accordingly.Come fall, the administration will likely release a wave of strategy documents, from the overarching National Security Strategy to more specific ones like the Nuclear Posture Review. These documents may provide the fleeting illusion of strategy, but they cannot elide a fundamental truth: So long as Trump’s tactical transactionalism governs the formation of U.S. foreign policy, the United States is condemned to be the object, rather than the agent, of history.

Rebecca Friedman Lissner is a Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Micah Zenko is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

There Is No Trump Doctrine, and There Will Never Be One

Story 2: President Trump Will Sign Sanctions Bill For Russia, North Korea, and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos

Congress and the Public

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US Senate approves Iran, Russia, North Korea sanctions

Trump will sign bill imposing stiff sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump said he would sign a series of bills that will impose stiff financial sanctions on Russia.

The announcement comes after Congress this week overwhelmingly approved packages to punish Moscow for allegedly meddling in U.S. elections.

After Congress approved the sanctions, Moscow said it was reducing the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia in retaliation.

In a statement late Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had “reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”

The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. It also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Before Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.

“Over the last eight months what price has Russia paid for attacking our elections?” McCain asked. “Very little.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy in Russia to reduce the number of its diplomats by Sept. 1. Russia will also close down the embassy’s recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

Meanwhile, some European countries expressed concerns that the measures targeting Russia’s energy sector would harm its businesses involved in piping Russian natural gas. Germany’s foreign minister said his country wouldn’t accept the U.S. sanctions against Russia being applied to European companies.

A spokesman for the European Commission said Friday that European officials will be watching the U.S. effort closely, vowing to “remain vigilant.”

The North Korea sanctions are intended to thwart Pyongyang’s ambition for nuclear weapons by cutting off access to the cash the reclusive nation needs to follow through with its plans. The bill prohibits ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against it from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports.

Goods produced by North Korea’s forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the bill.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country’s Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/28/trump-to-sign-bill-levying-sanctions-on-russia-iran-and-north-korea-white-house-says.html

How U.S. Sanctions Are Working (Or Not) in 5 Countries

Jul 31, 2017

Sanctions are back in the news — though if you’re President Donald Trump, that’s not a good thing. Here’s a look at the current state of U.S. sanctions on a few key countries and how they’re faring.

Russia

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a new round of sanctions against Russia, targeting its intelligence, energy, defense, mining and railway industries. The U.S. has had sanctions in place against Russia since the 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, but this latest round also hits Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Sanctions take years to have full effect—in the short term, they’re mainly a shot across the bow (and one to which Putin has already retaliated). But you don’t often see a Republican-led Congress using sanctions as a shot across the bow of a Republican president.

Near-universal support from Congress (the sanctions bill passed the Senate by a 98-2 margin; the House of Representatives went 419-3) undermines Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift sanctions against Russia—compromising the traditional power of the president to lead the country’s foreign policy (if Trump wants to try to lift these sanctions, Congress has 30 days to approve or reject this request). The bipartisan bill had been held up by ferocious White House lobbying, but the realization has since set in that the bill will pass, even if Congress has to override a presidential veto. Trump still says that accusations his campaign colluded with the Russian government are “fake news.” Fake or not, concerns about his relations with Russia are beginning to have real impact on policy.

North Korea

While the Russia component of the bill is receiving the lion’s share of media attention, it also ramps up penalties against North Korea (in addition to Iran—see below). The U.S. has kept sanctions on the North Koreans since the Korean War. Not that they’ve done much beyond adding to the misery inside a country where 41 percent of people are undernourished and more than 70 percent depend on food aid. The Kim dynasty remains in power and continues to develop the country’s nuclear program. In fact, U.S. intelligence revised estimates just this week to say that Pyongyang could develop the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental US within a year. Some experts believe an ICBM tested on Friday could already put U.S. cities at risk.

But recent North Korea sanctions have also ricocheted on China, North Korea’s primary benefactor and link to the outside world. More than 90 percent of North Korea’s trade volume comes from China, not to mention most of its food and energy. North Korea uses Chinese banks to fund transactions throughout the rest of the world, and recent rounds of sanctions have targeted those Chinese banks and companies. Trump continues to complain that Beijing should place more pressure on the Kim regime; this is one way to add more encouragement. It’s highly unlikely to be enough to change Beijing’s mind though, given Chinese fears of extreme instability on the Korean peninsula.

Iran

Sanctions on Iran, on the other hand, have shown some results, because unlike North Korea, Iran wants a deeper commercial and political engagement with the rest of the world. Cutting off access to global markets and investments, as well as freezing $56 billion in assets, hit the country hard. Iran had hoped that signing the 2015 nuclear deal would breathe new life into its economy by allowing it to return to oil markets, and it has—though not by as much as moderates like President Hassan Rouhani had hoped.

Iran is still being kept in the cold despite the nuclear deal because the U.S. has retained sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missiles program, human rights abuses, and state sponsorship of groups like Hezbollah that Washington considers terrorist organizations. The country’s also being held back by plummeting oil prices: when Iran first signed the 2013 interim deal that would ultimately become the nuclear deal we know today, oil was selling at $111 and Iran was producing about 2.8 million barrels a day. Today, it’s producing nearly 4 millionbarrels daily, but oil is only selling at just over $50. Sometimes, the free market can be crueler than sanctions.

Syria

U.S. sanctions against Syria have been in place since 2004, long before the country descended into civil war. The Bush and Obama administrations accused the Assad regime of supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction, and undermining the U.S. in neighboring Iraq.

But instituting country-wide sanctions gets harder when the country in question is falling apart. The latest round have been more precisely targeted: following Assad’s use of sarin gas against civilian populations, the U.S. government levied sanctions against 271 Syrian individuals who work for the government agency making chemical weapons in April 2017. Members of Assad’s family saw their U.S. assets frozen in May. A strength of sanctions is that they can be aimed directly at individual sectors and officials, limiting damage to ordinary citizens and creating incentives for more cooperative behavior. But that advantage isn’t worth much when the government in question is already fighting for its life.

Cuba

More than 80 percent of Americans (not to mention a majority of Republicans) supported lifting the Cuban travel embargo back in 2015; 58 percent of Americans favored reestablishing diplomatic relations. Despite that, Trump has rolled back some of those Obama provisions by limiting commerce with Cuban businesses affiliated with the military, which owns almost all of the island’s retail chains and hotels. Trump has also ordered that any American who wants to visit the island for “educational” purposes must do so through a licensed tour group. The embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open.

The U.S. has been sanctioning Cuba in one form or another since the Dwight Eisenhower administration in the late 1950s. John F. Kennedy expanded sanctions further, and they remained in place for more than 50 years until Obama eased many restrictions. Over the decades, Cuba estimates that the U.S. embargo has cost the country nearly $117 billion, yet the island is still governed by Raul Castro following his brother’s death in November.

The lesson of sanctions: context is everything. About 10 years ago, I wrote a book called The J-Curve, where I envisioned all the countries in the world plotted on an X-Y axis.

On the far left of the curve are countries like North Korea and Cuba, whose regimes are stable precisely because they’re closed off from the rest of the world. On the far right of the curve are open countries like Germany and the U.S., whose governments are stable precisely because they engage with the rest of the world. Sanctions generally shift countries further left along the curve; sometimes, if the sanctions are significant enough, they can shift the entire curve downwards for a single country.

Put another way: a government like Syria’s that is fighting for its life will always have bigger problems than sanctions guiding its choices. But when sanctions are imposed on governments that feel safer outside the international system like those in North Korea and Cuba (i.e. on the far left of the J-Curve), the penalties are unlikely to bring about change — especially when they can rely on a deep-pocketed patron. (Cuba has recently opened mainly because the friendly Chavista government in Venezuela seems fated to join the Soviet Union on the ash heap of history.)

A larger country on the left-hand side of the J-curve like Russia is more vulnerable to its own economic shortcomings than to Western sanctions. But pressure on a country like Iran (also on the left side of the J-Curve, but near the dip), one that wants to plug into international commerce but that remains small enough to isolate, has more potential for success.

http://time.com/4875370/sanctions-russia-north-korea-iran-donald-trump/

Russia sanctions bill heads to Trump after Senate approval

 July 27

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted decisively on Thursday to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations.Never in doubt, however, was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The provisions were included to assuage concerns among lawmakers that the president’s push for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin.The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both are veto proof numbers as the White House has wavered on whether the president would sign the measure into law.The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017. The Senate voted decisively to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations. The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. McCain said the bill’s passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

“Over the last eight months what price has Russia paid for attacking our elections?” McCain asked. “Very little.”

Trump had privately expressed frustration over Congress’ ability to limit or override the power of the president on national security matters, according to Trump administration officials and advisers. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.

But faced with heavy bipartisan support for the bill in the House and Senate, the president has little choice but to sign the bill into law. Trump’s communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, suggested earlier Thursday on CNN’s New Day that Trump might veto the bill and “negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that would be a serious mistake and called Scaramucci’s remark an “off-handed comment.” If Trump rejected the bill, Corker said, Congress would overrule him.

“I cannot imagine anybody is seriously thinking about vetoing this bill,” said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It’s not good for any president — and most governors don’t like to veto things that are going to be overridden. It shows a diminishment of their authority. I just don’t think that’s a good way to start off as president.”

Still, signing a bill that penalizes Russia’s election interference would mark a significant shift for Trump. He’s repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia sought to tip the election in his favor. And he’s blasted as a “witch hunt” investigations into the extent of Russia’s interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

The 184-page bill seeks to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia’s energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow’s benefit. The bill raised the threshold for when U.S. firms would be prohibited from being part of energy projects that also included Russian businesses.

Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia’s energy sector didn’t undercut the ability of U.S. allies in Europe to get access to oil and gas resources outside of Russia.

The North Korea sanctions are intended to thwart Pyongyang’s ambition for nuclear weapons by cutting off access to the cash the reclusive nation needs to follow through with its plans. The bill prohibits ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against it from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports. Goods produced by North Korea’s forced labor would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the bill.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country’s Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against the sanctions bill.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/russia-sanctions-bill-heads-to-trump-after-senate-approval/2017/07/27/21f0a93c-7324-11e7-8c17-533c52b2f014_story.html?utm_term=.d85fb5faaa55

Now I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society.

Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one — a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little? Congress

 

Great deal Quite a lot Some Very little None (vol.) No opinion
% % % % % %
2017 Jun 7-11 6 6 39 44 3 1
2016 Jun 1-5 3 6 35 52 3 *
2015 Jun 2-7 4 4 37 48 5 1
2014 Jun 5-8 4 3 36 50 7 1
2013 Jun 1-4 5 5 37 47 5 1
2012 Jun 7-10 6 7 34 47 5 1
2011 Jun 9-12 6 6 40 44 4 1
2010 Jul 8-11 4 7 37 45 5 2
2009 Jun 14-17 6 11 45 34 4 1
2008 Jun 9-12 6 6 45 38 3 2
2007 Jun 11-14 4 10 46 36 3 1
2006 Jun 1-4 5 14 44 32 3 2
2005 May 23-26 8 14 51 25 1 1
2004 May 21-23 11 19 48 20 1 1
2003 Jun 9-10 10 19 50 19 1 1
2002 Jun 21-23 9 20 53 16 1 1
2001 Jun 8-10 10 16 49 20 2 3
2000 Jun 22-25 7 17 47 24 3 2
1999 Jun 25-27 9 17 51 21 1 1
1998 Jun 5-7 10 18 48 20 2 2
1997 Jul 25-27 9 13 50 24 3 1
1996 May 28-29 6 14 50 26 2 2
1995 Apr 21-24 9 12 48 28 2 1
1994 Mar 25-29 7 11 48 29 0 2
1993 Mar 22-24 8 10 40 35 4 2
1991 Oct 10-13 7 11 43 33 3 3
1991 Feb 28-Mar 3 11 19 44 21 2 3
1990 Aug 16-19 9 15 43 28 2 3
1989 Sep 7-10 13 19 42 21 3 2
1988 Sep 23-26 8 27 45 16 2 2
1987 Jul 10-13
1986 Jul 11-14 10 31 43 12 1 3
1985 May 17-20 9 30 42 15 2 3
1984 Oct 6-10 12 17 40 28 4
1983 Aug 5-8 6 22 42 23 2 5
1981 Nov 20-23 8 21 41 22 6 3
1979 Apr 6-9 11 23 39 23 1 3
1977 Jan 7-10 12 28 34 17 1 7
1975 May 30-Jun 2 14 26 38 18 1 3
1973 May 4-7 15 27 35 11 3 8
(vol.) = Volunteered response; * Less than 0.5%
GALLUP

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

 

Story 3: Washington War Fever with Neocon Republicans and Progressive Democrats — Masking Incompetency — Videos

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts : Trump Is Over (April 2017)

How Steve Bannon sees the world

RON PAUL URGENT WARNING TO TRUMP — A “Shadow Government” Will Infiltrate Your Cabinet!!!

Ron Paul: Dick Cheney Wants War With Russia – Deep State Desperate For WW3

Published on Mar 29, 2017

During a recent episode of The Ron Paul Liberty Report, Dr. Paul called out the recent statement from Dick Cheney that Russia meddling in the U.S. election is an “act of war.”
So the irresponsibly pro destruction viewpoint of warhawk globalists is once again on full display.

Ron Paul: Shadow Government Will Stage False Flags To Bring Trump Into War

Ron Paul – Neo-CONNED!

Elvis Presley Fever 1960

 

Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist?

04/20/2017 07:45 am ET | Updated Apr 20, 2017

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration “those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.” And he’s generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly Realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: “unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn’t appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America’s international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Herbert McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss’s unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish—Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

President Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He’s long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The U.S. is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won’t be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits.

The administration’s repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. His decision embarrassed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People’s Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America’s Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his speech hosted by the Center for the National Interest he complained that “our allies are not paying their fair share.” During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO’s Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: “based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning” to “meet their financial obligations.” Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that “the money is pouring in,” no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent. Yet after recently meeting alliance officials he even repudiated his criticism of NATO as “obsolete.”

President Trump’s signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president’s strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Moreover, President Trump’s attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump’s first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow’s withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman’s views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy.

The president is heading in an uncertain direction regarding China. How best to handle America’s one potential peer competitor is a matter of serious debate, but even before taking office President Trump launched what appeared to be confrontation on multiple fronts: Taiwan, trade, South China Sea, North Korea. Secretary Tillerson also took a highly adversarial position, suggesting in Senate testimony that the U.S. might blockade the PRC’s claimed Pacific possessions, a casus belli, and “compel,” whatever that means, compliance with sanctions against North Korea. Yet after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping President Trump appeared ready to take a more balanced approach to China. More seasoned Asia experts have yet to be appointed, however.

The Trump policy in the Middle East seems in confused flux. During the campaign he briefly pushed an “even-handed” approach to Israel and the Palestinians, before going all in backing the hardline Likud government’s practical repudiation of a two-state solution and expanded colonization of the West Bank. Since then, however, he, like other presidents before him, has backed away—though perhaps only temporarily—from the promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Moreover, President Trump has emphasized his desire to make a peace deal, which obviously would require concessions on both sides.

The president appears to be stepping into the Syrian and Iraq quagmires despite his election promises to the contrary. He sharply criticized previous policy in the Mideast: “Logic replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” He explicitly denounced interventions in Iraq and Libya, promising to get out “of the nation-building business,” and emphasized the defeat of the Islamic State rather than overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

Yet the administration launched missile strikes on Syria and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley loudly joined the “oust Assad” bandwagon. The president also proposed creating “safe zones” in Syria, which would require an extensive and potentially long-term U.S. military presence.

The Pentagon introduced a Marine Corps artillery battalion and other forces to assist in capturing the ISIS capital of Raqqa, Syria. Despite complaining about inadequate burden-sharing principle in the Middle East, President Trump risks encouraging the Gulf States and Turkey to reduce their efforts to defeat the Islamic State. There are reports that the administration is considering an extended military role in Iraq as well.

Finally, the president appears to have reversed himself on Afghanistan. Early in the campaign he said America should end its longest war, which has devolved into a forlorn attempt to create a centralized, liberal democratic state in Central Asia. More recently, however, he indicated he planned to keep U.S. forces there. In December he told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that he “would certainly continue to support Afghanistan security.” There may be no conflict which less advances serious American interests than attempting to sustain an incompetent, corrupt, and failing central government in Kabul.

Where the president stands on other issues is unclear. During the campaign he indicated a willingness to talk with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. But his secretary of state rejected that course, instead threatening military action—backed by an aircraft carrier battle group off of the North’s coast. President Trump’s support for Brexit has roiled relations with Europe, which also worries about his protectionist beliefs—highlighted by his attack on Germany’s alleged currency manipulation—and potentially softer approach to Russia.

Despite being highly critical of the Iran nuclear accord, he has not yet challenged the pact. He appears to be restoring Washington’s uncritical embrace of Saudi Arabia, which will undermine his expressed desire for greater burden-sharing by allies and yield long-term problems in Yemen. He has barely noticed Africa and South America.

It remains early for the Trump administration, and there’s no there there in much of the State and Defense departments, as well as other agencies. The president still could move in a more pragmatic, Realist direction. However, without allies in his administration that prospect seems small. Hopefully the American people, having voted against the promiscuous military intervention of his predecessors, will not end up with more of the same foreign policy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-donald-trump-morphing-into-a-neocon-interventionist_us_58f898dae4b081380af51913

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s Landmark Historic Speech To 50 majority-Muslim countries attending the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh. — President Trump: “… A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.” — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Arrives In Israel — Iran Must Not Have Nuclear Weapons — Videos — Breaking — Story 3: Explosions in England’s Manchester Arena At Completion of Ariana Grande Concert With Several Killed and Injured — Videos

Posted on May 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Coal, Communications, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Fast and Furious, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, IRS, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabiaImage result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabiaImage result for trump leaves saudi arabia may 22, 2017Image result for trump leaves saudi arabia for israel may 22, 2017 trump wife and king

Image result for explosion manchester arena

Story 1: President Trump’s Landmark Historic Speech To 50 majority-Muslim countries attending the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh. —  President Trump:  “… A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.” — Videos —

It is a choice between two futures — and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.

Image result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabiaImage result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabiaImage result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabiaImage result for trump speach to 50 plus islamic countries in saudi arabia

Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, in 3 minutes

Published on May 22, 2017

President Trump spoke to leaders of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council on May 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here’s what he said, in three minutes.

Full Speech: President Trump’s Speech at Arab Islamic American Summit in Saudi Arabia – 5/21/17

Streamed live on May 21, 2017

LIVE Coverage of President Trump’s Islam Speech in Saudi Arabia at the Arab Islamic American Summit – 5/21/17

President Trump receives Saudi royal welcome

Keys to the Kingdom: Trump visits Saudi Arabia first, signs $380bn deal

WATCH: President Trump departs for Saudi Arabia – First Foreign Trip 5/19/2017

President Trump Lands in Saudi Arabia And Meets King Salman (FULL)

TRUMP ARRIVES TO ROYALTY IN SAUDI ARABIA

Trump arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for his first foreign trip as president

President Donald Trump Welcome Ceremony in Saudi Arabia at Al Yamamh Palace #2

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Melania in Saudi Arabia Meet King Salman

President Trump & King Salman Dancing During Ceremony in Saudi Arabia (FULL)

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Cabinet At meeting in Saudi Arabia

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabis Yusuf Estes Islam?

What’s the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims?

What Does Jihad Actually Mean?

What Do ISIS & Saudi Arabia Have In Common?

How Saudi Arabia Exports Ultra-Conservative Islam

Why Do Saudi Arabia And Iran Hate Each Other?

Middle East Explained – The Religions, Languages, and Ethnic Groups

What a difference an election can make for the respect American leaders have for our country.

There were two very different outcomes when two American presidents greeted the king of Saudi Arabia.

All eyes were on President Trump today as he arrived in the country for his first foreign trip.

Video shows the president stepping off the plane and greeting King Salman:

Trump stood up straight as Salman appeared to bow slightly.

Trump’s posture stands in stark difference to President Obama’s in the early days of his presidency.

Cameras captured Obama bowing to King Abdullah, contorting nearly to a 90-degree angle in what many called a moment of American weakness:

Trump’s behavior was refreshingly noticeable, as several Twitter users contrasted the two reactions.

View image on Twitter

LOOK CAREFULLY at these two photos. The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow. 🇺🇸❤️-VJ

“Look carefully at these two photos,” recording artist Vinnie James wrote. “The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow.”

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/great-unlike-obama-trump-doesnt-bow-saudi-king/

#LionelNation YouTube Live Stream: Trump Mania Saudi Sword Dancing, Bibi Hobnobbing & Media Syncope

Trump Triumphant in Saudi Arabia, Mainstream Media Meltdown and Geopolitical Reconfiguring

Transcript of Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia

Trump’s visit to Saudi a ‘turning point’: King Salman

© Saudi Royal Palace/AFP | A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 22, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump waving as they board Air Force One before leaving Riyadh for Israel

Saudi King Salman on Monday described US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Muslim kingdom in the Gulf as a “turning point” in relations between the two countries.Trump on Monday concluded his landmark visit to Saudi Arabia, which he chose for his first foreign trip since taking office in January, during which the allies announced arms deals and investments worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

“This is a turning point in relations between the two countries,” Salman told his council of ministers, according to state news agency SPA.

He said relations between the two countries will advance from a partnership to the “level of strengthening consultations, cooperation and coordination on all fronts”.

The king also praised an “historic agreement” between Gulf monarchies and Washington “to take firm measures to target the financing of terrorism” and the setting up of a Riyadh-based centre for this task, SPA said.

The ministers also hailed the launch of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh on Sunday.

Dubbed “Etital”, Arabic for moderation, the centre “embodies the kingdom’s great efforts and its ongoing fight against terrorism”, SPA reported.

In his first foreign speech, Trump on Sunday urged Muslim leaders to take a stand against violence committed in the name of religion, describing the struggle against extremism as a “battle between good and evil”.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170522-trumps-visit-saudi-turning-point-king-salman

‘A lot of money! Big dollars!’ and ‘Jobs, jobs, jobs!’ Trump team delivers $350 BILLION in new long-term business for U.S. companies as Saudis snap up defense equipment

  • Deals inked Saturday during signing ceremony will drive $110 billion in immediate new business for defense companies in the U.S. 
  • Longer-term value will be $350 billion over 10 years 
  • White House chief economic adviser said the Saudis are ‘going to hire US companies’ for ‘a bunch of infrastructure related things’
  • He boasted that the deal is worth ‘a lot of money. Big dollars. Big dollars’
  • Military hardware going to Saudi Arabia:  ‘aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers [and] helicopters’
  • State Department also says the Saudis will acquire and missile-defense systems ‘such as Patriot and THAAD’ 

American military defense companies have agreed to immediately sell nearly $110 billion in equipment and services to the Saudi Arabian government as part of a long-term agreement inked Saturday by the Trump administration and the Arab kingdom.

The deal, formalized in a signing ceremony in the capital city of Riyadh, also calls for an expanded deal worth a total of $350 billion over ten years.

‘That was a tremendous day,’ President Donald Trump said at the top of a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

‘Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.’

The State Department released a fact sheet that described the military hardware Saudi Arabia will buy as ‘aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers [and] helicopters.’

President Donald Trump (L) was welcomed Saturday by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R), the first stop of Trump’s first foreign trip since taking office in January

Trump and King Salman had a welcome ceremony inside the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport after Air Force One landed

Trump and King Salman had a welcome ceremony inside the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport after Air Force One landed

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn (right) told reporters that a series of defense contracts inked Saturday would mean 'a lot of money, big dollars' for American companies

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn (right) told reporters that a series of defense contracts inked Saturday would mean ‘a lot of money, big dollars’ for American companies

President Donald Trump and the Saudi King gesture during a signing ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20

President Donald Trump and the Saudi King gesture during a signing ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20

Separately, U.S. companies in the oil center stand to gain $22 billion in new deals with the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco. And pacts with other companies could balloon that number as high as $50 billion.

House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters that the kingdom is ‘going to hire US companies’ for ‘a bunch of infrastructure related things,’ boasting that the deal is worth ‘a lot of money. Big dollars. Big dollars.’

Saudi Arabia will ‘invest a lot of money in the U.S. and have a lot of U.S. companies invest and build things over here,’ Cohn said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed on Twitter that the $110 billion in immediate defense contracts represents the ‘largest single arms deal in US history.’

Commerce Secretary Gary Cohn told reporters that U.S. companies would gain ’23 new licenses, and then all of these contracts.’

‘I can’t imagine another business day that’s been as good for the United States and the kingdom,’ he said.

Donald Trump is in Saudi Arabia on the first of five stops during his inaugural foreign trip as president, getting chummy with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and preparing to deliver a speech on Sunday that promises to frame his administration’s relationship with the Muslim world.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive to attend the presentation of the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive to attend the presentation of the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court

US President Donald Trump receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20

US President Donald Trump receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20

US President Donald Trump receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20

Ivanka Trump participates in a presentation ceremony of the kingdom's top civilian honor, the gold King Abdulaziz medal, to President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump participates in a presentation ceremony of the kingdom’s top civilian honor, the gold King Abdulaziz medal, to President Donald Trump

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make their way to a luncheon after Trump received the gold King Abdulaziz medal

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make their way to a luncheon after Trump received the gold King Abdulaziz medal

The new defense deals are part of Trump’s strategy to hold both the ISIS terror army and Iran’s nuclear ambitions in check through the intervention of Middle Eastern partners instead of expensive American military deployments.

A White House official said Saturday that the purchases are meant to accomplish just that, for the sake of Saudi and regional security.

The official also said a strengthened Saudi military will be better equipped to contribute to counterterrorism operations across the region.

Trump and Salman signed a joint vision statement, nine separate defense cooperation pacts – including eight that are finalized – and a separate set of ‘private sector agreements,’ according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed Saturday on Twitter that the agreements signed by the US. and Saudi Arabia constitute the 'largest single arms deal in US history'

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed Saturday on Twitter that the agreements signed by the US. and Saudi Arabia constitute the ‘largest single arms deal in US history’

Saudi Aramco will be relying on U.S. companies to build new oil rigs like this one in the Persian Gulf

Saudi Aramco will be relying on U.S. companies to build new oil rigs like this one in the Persian Gulf

The White House said the military equipment and services contracts will support ‘tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base.’

Separately, a CEO forum being held on the margins of the Trump-Salman meeting resulted in $22 billion in new deals in the oil and gas sector, according to the event’s organizers.

Saudi Aramco announced agreements with U.S. companies including Weatherford, Jacobs, Honeywell, McDermott, and Nabors.

The agreements will result in an unspecified number of new offshore Persian Gulf drilling rigs, at a time when the kingdom is pumping less oil to stabilize global prices.

Aramco appears to be planning for a future that will require greater crude production by gearing up to produce materials and equipment that had previously been imported.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right) welcomes DonaldTrump and first lady Melania Trump at the airport

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right) welcomes DonaldTrump and first lady Melania Trump at the airport

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were both seen arriving in the Middle East on Trump's first foreign tour since taking office

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were both seen arriving in the Middle East on Trump’s first foreign tour since taking office

Donald Trump and wife Melania, dressed in a black jumpsuit with statement belt, sip a drink as they are welcomed by the Saudi king 

Donald Trump and wife Melania, dressed in a black jumpsuit with statement belt, sip a drink as they are welcomed by the Saudi king

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4525224/Trump-delivers-350B-new-biz-U-S-defense-companies.html#ixzz4hqYp7HAD

 

Story 2: President Trump Arrives In Israel — Videos

Image result for trump leaves saudi arabia for israel may 22, 2017 trump wife and kingImage result for trump leaves saudi arabia for israel may 22, 2017 trump wife and king

Trump to Israel: We are with you

Trump meets with Israeli PM Netanyahu (full speech)

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Donald Trump Lands In Israel – Complete [HD] 720p

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President Trump Arrives In Tel Aviv, Urges Peace In Middle East | TODAY

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President Trump Prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem 5/22/17

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Trump visits Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Isreal raises concerns about U.S. Saudi arms deal

FULL DAY COVERAGE: ALL President Donald Trump Speeches & Appearances in Israel 5/22/2017

Breaking — Story 3: Explosions in England’s Manchester Arena At Completion of Ariana Grande Concert With Several Killed and Injured — Videos

Image result for explosion manchester arena

Breaking News: Terror and Panic at Manchester Arena – Explosion After Ariana Grande Concert

BREAKING UK EXPLOSION!!! Deaths confirmed after Manchester Arena blast reports

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Several people killed and many injured after two explosions in Manchester Arena at the end of Ariana Grande gig as bloodied concertgoers flee in terror

  • Several people killed after explosions rang out at the end of an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester Arena
  • Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after bangs ran out when the concert finished

Several people have been killed after two explosions inside Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande gig tonight.

Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after bangs rang out immediately after the concert finished.

Bloodied concertgoers were pictured being helped by emergency services outside the gig and armed police were seen patrolling the arena.

Evie Brewster, who attended the concert, told MailOnline: ‘Ariana Grange had just finished her last song and left the stage when a huge explosion sounded.

‘Suddenly everybody started screaming and running for the exit.

Bloodied concertgoers were pictured being helped by armed police outside the arena after explosions rang out at the gig

Bloodied concertgoers were pictured being helped by armed police outside the arena after explosions rang out at the gig

Concert-goers helped injured people make their way from the gig in Manchester tonight

Concert-goers helped injured people make their way from the gig in Manchester tonight

Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after reports of explosions at the end of an Ariana Grande concert (pictured tonight)

Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after reports of explosions at the end of an Ariana Grande concert (pictured tonight)

People attending the concert by Ariana Grande fled in panic on hearing the noises - some in tears

‘We could hear the police and ambulance sirens. It was terrifying.

‘There were thousands of people trying to get out at once. They were all screaming and crying. The whole place smelt smokey and burnt.

‘The explosion sounded like it was inside the building somewhere.’

Manchester Victoria train station, next door to the arena, is currently closed and trains are currently unable to run to or from the station.

Greater Manchester Police said emergency services had responded to a ‘serious incident’ at the arena.

 

Jonathan Yates, 24, from the Wirral, who attended the gig, told MailOnline: ‘The concert had finished and the lights came on almost instantly. There was a bang, a weird bang. There were lots of balloons but I thought to myself that can’t be a balloon, that’s not normal.

‘We were sat on the floor level and it came from the higher seats, people were running and screaming. Everyone stopped and I turned to my friend and said ‘we need to run’. Everyone was running and screaming and then when we got out it felt a bit more OK.

‘I heard five or six bangs that sounded like gunshots. When we got outside people were outside, crying and on their phones.

‘You don’t think it’s something that’s going to happen when you go…it was such a nice, fun concert.’

Nick Schurok, 28, from Manchester, told MailOnline: ‘Ariana Grande had just finished the concert and the lights came on. Everyone started leaving. I was on the floor and at the back of the arena people started exiting through the tunnels.

‘There was a bang in the left tunnel and everyone went to the middle tunnel. Then about two minutes later, there was another bang. The bang was so loud and crowds of people were running. There were lots of children and families there.’

Another witness Jenny Brewster told MailOnline: ‘We were exiting the building when it happened. We’d headed towards the main doors as Ariana was performing the last song because we wanted to beat the crowds, but – as we made our way there – a wall of security men blocked it and told us to go the other way.

‘Seconds later they shouted ‘RUN!’ and the explosion happened right behind them. Hundreds of people were running and screaming. Those men saved our lives.’

Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters: ‘We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming.

‘It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out of the area.’

One witness wrote on Twitter: ‘Just ran from an explosion, genuinely thought we were gonna die.’

Another said: ‘Explosion at Manchester Arena, we were evacuated, a LOT of police here.’

Former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand said: ‘Just heard the news what’s happening in Manchester.. hope everyone safe and sound!’

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Emergency services responding to serious incident at Manchester Arena. Avoid the area. More details will follow as soon as available.’

A British Transport Police spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident at Manchester Arena. We have officers at the scene and will provide further updates as soon as possible.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4531940/Emergency-services-rush-Manchester-Arena.html#ixzz4hqs2mmOV

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The Pronk Pops Show 877, April 20, 2017, Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos — Story 2: Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement Legacy Heading Towards The Wastebasket? No. Certification Granted and Sanctions Suspended — All Talk–No Action — Bad Appeasement Deal Stands — Videos– Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos — Story 4 Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —

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Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos —